Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Accidently Spending Street

There are a few things that I refuse to buy as presents for people, unless I reeeeeally know their taste well. These things include - art, crockery & bed linen. It's wayyy too personal and I have had too many of those things given to me and I feel totally obligated to keep them because of WHO bought them. It sucks.

Someone close to us bought us a Royal Dalton (not the expensive stuff) 6 person crockery set, and whilst I really appreciated it and it's served us so well for the last few years, I've never liked the colours and now that a few bowls are broken I'm feeling less guilty about wanting a new crockery set in case they come over and see us using something different.

This is what we were given.... it's a nice set but it's just not 'me'.

I've searched high and low for a set in stores that I would say is 'me' but sadly they are all too perfect, too matchy. I love the idea of antique, but I'm just not a floral or gold type person, either.

I have been hunting in the op shops and ebay (NOTHING on ebay) for so long and I've only had luck in finding some white bone china dinner plates with black deco borders. I gave up my hunt for second hand and bought some black and white side dishes for $1.89 each on clearance from Target. I also found some square little bowls reduced from $8 to $4. I think they look quite fetching together....

I am so obsessed with red and green, I simply cannot choose one over the other. The upside of this Libran trait of mine - total indecisiveness - is that I will not have to redecorate at Christmas time. I popped into Robin's Kitchen and found some red and white polka dot (my second favourite print EVER) bowls which I snapped up too, for $4 also.

We have also been searching for well over a year for the perfect mug. By chance, I found a set at Aldi with 'Daddy Rocks' and 'Yummy Mummy' written on them. Although my one is pink, and I'm so not a pink person, the mug is a dream to drink out of. SD LOVES his. I was going to tell everyone over at Sausage Mama about them, but figured as they were in Aldi they probably had limited stock. But they had them even cheaper at Robins Kitchen! $9 for a pair! So I bought another set - one is red, wahoo.

At first I was pissed that there is pink and blue, but I hoped that all together, the mix would work quite well along with my favoured leopard print mug and our black cat mug. They seem to. I'm happy. If you are looking for a gift for a parent I really recommend these.

Our cannisters are pretty sad on the other hand.
Coffee in a coffee jar? Original! Sugar in a tea cannister? Awesome. Tea in stainless, not bad. I am truly a style icon. (I'm unsure why Vogue Home haven't returned my calls.) These have served us well, and I kept getting outbid on ebay on sets like this...

And when I saw these at Target....I couldn't resist.... polka dots in green OR red!

Are you a tea or coffee person? Try as SD might (he is an awesome barista apparently) I just can't love coffee. I'm too sensitive and get an instant headache. I'm a tea girl through and through. Black, no sugar. Don't care what is is, I'll probably drink it.

My love for tea started back when I was 16. I was dating a drummer, one of 3 brothers who were into heavy metal, wearing their goatees long, black faded Metallica shirts, etc. The youngest, was a mad tea drinker. I loved that he was hardcore, a smoker, but loved his tea pots. I have been in the market for a cute tea pot for forever also (I get tired of using my plunger with loose leaf tea all of the time) and I was thrilled to find this little beauty for $15. I might start collecting them....

This is as matchy as I get. I'm going to have to back away from any more polka purchases now.

How cute is this??

I also bought this for shopping...
for $9 at Target. I am the worst offender for forgetting my green bags when shopping. I have them beside the front door and I look at them as I'm walking out and think 'there are shopping bags' and I don't think to stop and take them with me. Lame. So now this basket is where those bags will be stored, and I can't NOT think to take this. Surely! It looks super cute with unbagged fruit and vegies in it....




I justified not being super tidy because I didn't have nice stuff. So now that I do have nice stuff, I gotsta keep it clean.
Let's see how that goes!

Oooh and check out my kitsch glass fruit bowl from a garage sale for $5

What's your favoured style of decor?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Spinach & Ricotta Gluten Free Pasta Bake

This dish serves 4 - perfectly. I ate 3 bowls and SD had 1 :0p This recipe is from The Australian Womans Weekly Healthy Babies Recipe Book, available from most newsagents and supermarkets. Nothing baby like about this! But SB sure helped me devour it...

280 grams of gf pasta (if anyone knows where to find large gf shells, please let me know! I used penne)
500g trimmed spinach (I just used a huge handful of frozen spinach as the fresh stuff looked dodgy)
600g low fat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used about half a teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint (didn't have any)
700g bottled tomato pasta sauce
125ml (half cup) of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese (I just used grated tasty)

Cook pasta as per normal (I find gf pasta takes less time to cook....).
Let it cool.
Preheat oven to 180/160 if fan forced
Boil, steam or nuke spinach until wilted. Drain. Chop it finely, squeeze out excess liquid.
Combine spinach, ricotta and herbs in a bowl. Spoon it into the pasta if you can.
Combine sauce and stock into oiled shallow 2 litre overnproof dish. Place pasta shells in dish, sprinkle with parmensan.
Bake (covered) until pasta is tender (the book says for like an hour but that seemed crazy and I was hungry. We did it for 20 mins - the last 10 mins uncovered so the cheese would brown a bit)
Let stand for 10 mins.

So I only got half the amount of ricotta required, it seems I need direction on how to write a freakin shopping list. So I added in some free range, organic chicken and it was a hit. Will totally have this again. SD is super impressed. 3 nights in a row of cooking fandangle (for me) recipes. It's SUCH a nice feeling to have both of my boys really enjoy my meals...and make happy eating noises.

Is it lame that I'm annoyed all of my recipe books aren't the same size and shape, some are cut of of magazines or cards from the supermarket? I wish they all matched and looked pretty.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

More GF Cooking...

Did you know in supermarkets, the most expensive product is at eye level? The cheapest products are at the top and at the bottom of the sections. Cheeky huh? When it comes to gluten free shopping, it's damn expensive. I was so excited when San Remo began making gf pasta, that I wanted to support them so they would keep making it. Meanwhile, I was paying twice the price! I've now vetoed them in favour of smaller companies on the bottom shelves, we're talking pasta at home brand prices here folks. I dabble in vegetable, corn and rice pastas and cannot tell the difference between them. So anyway, this is the latest one I bought and LOVED.
I mentioned a while back that I was interested in trying TVP gluten free mince, and boy does it look like meat! The way you cook it is be pouring an equal amount of TVP and boiling water into a pot and covering with a tea towel for 5 minutes. Weird huh? But it WORKS.
As if this doesn't look like mince! What's even better about eating this instead of meat, is that you don't have to worry about making sure there isn't any pink leftover. There has to be less chance of getting food poisoning from this, right?

Added some 3 beans, some LSA and some cheese and voila - awesome.
At first I found it really obvious that it wasn't meat - it didn't have that.... heaviness. Initially I likened it to having a vanilla thickshake with pink colouring (knowing it's not strawberry, but still being suprised when it tastes like vanilla) but after my second bowl, I decided I actually really liked it in a meal. Some curry powder wouldn't have gone astray, I guess really, TVP is just a filler and you can make it taste how you want. How do you cook it?

At the time of cooking, SB was nibbling on some gluten free icrecream cones, so I popped some in the cones and we each ate one - delicious! (I've always eaten weird foods, toasted noodle and peanut butter sandwhiches, for example, and a psychic even told my sister that I ate weird food!).

In other exciting news, I COOKED GLUTEN FREE JELLY. Took me back to the days of making 'Airoplane Jellyyyyyyy' with my grandmother. It is DELICIOUS and suits people with allergies, check out the box, I TOTALLY recommend.