Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 37 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Store 4 cans soup and 1 bottle vinegar

$20 Challenge
Store 4 cans soup, 2 bottles vinegar and stock cubes/liquid

Soup: Because it's so easy to make up when you're short on fuel resources.  Make sure you store a little extra drinking water to cover the soup you are storing.

Vinegar is very handy for so many 'wierd' reasons.  There are 1001 of them here:

I use vinegar mainly for cleaning purposes, but I do use it to drizzle over a leg of lamb before I season it and roast it.  It makes it very tender.  Yum!

I also use vinegar for a citrus zest cleaning solution.  See this post for information:

I did try and make a pineapple vinegar at one point, but it smelled so bad I had to throw it out. I may have forgotten to stir it every day to introduce oxygen.  If you want to know how to make it, the instructions are here:

Stock: Oh what would I do without my bacon stock cubes!  I use them in soups, chowder, savoury mince, meat patties, and sometimes in a creamy sauce I cook chicken in.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 2011 Challenge

Have you got working torches, and do you know where your spare batteries are?

Purchase a good torch, some candles, a box or two of matches and batteries if you need them.

Keep a small torch in an easy to get to place (mine is on top of my fridge), so that if there is a blackout at night, you can head straight for that torch.

We have had so many blackouts due to our strangely wired house, and my children freak out if the power is out for too long.  I keep a dolphin torch on top of my fridge which my husband takes outside so he can turn the power back on.  We have a smaller torch on top of my writing desk, with nothing that will get damaged if I accidently knock it over in the dark.

We have a wind up torch/radio that I purchased a few years ago in case we have a nasty storm and lose power for a week (which is what happened last time).

I have a storage container on top of my kitchen cupboards that is labelled 'torches and candles'.  It contains torches, batteries and various candles and candle holders so that if I know we are going to be without power for a little while, I can pull it down and use what I need.  It has certainly come in handy when I have needed it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So what are you good/clever at?

Ever been asked this question?  By your kids?  By yourself?

Society's perception seems to have changed to think that stay-at-home mums aren't clever, because they don't have a paying job.

I know some men out there who had no idea how to change a baby's nappy, or heat up a bottle properly let alone operate a washing machine. It takes some skill to look after a baby, let me tell you!

The point is, that IQ isn't based on a sit down written test.  Dr Thomas Armstrong back in 1983 came up with this theory of different intelligences:-

  • Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")

  • Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")

  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")

  • Musical intelligence ("music smart")

  • Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")

  • Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")

  • Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

  • I totally fail at the Logical-mathematical intelligence and the Interpersonal intelligence, but I'm not bad at most of the other ones (well, maybe Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence leaves a little to be desired... that might involved sport, but I was great at ballet!)

    We need to teach our children that there are lots of different things you can be good at, and we need to start by recognising what we are good at.  If our personal self esteem is good, we will raise happy, confident children.

    You can read a bit more of his article here:

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Chocolate Chunk Mud Cake

    I have made this cake a few times, and it comes out differently each time.  Once my Thermomix didn't have 'clean feet' so it didn't measure out the butter properly.  Too much butter in a mud cake isn't a good thing, it turns out.

    Another time it ended up being a bad cake because my son burnt it.  Long story.  It wasn't worth eating.  And that's saying something folks!

    The other three times it has been DIVINE!!!

    The cake batter was certainly edible enough.  I wasn't sure if there was even going to be a cake.

    I freaked out a little when I pulled it from the oven.

    You see, mud cakes like to collapse on me.  Maybe it's because I don't like turning the oven down quite so low and having to wait 2 hours for them to cook because I want to eat them NOW.  I admit, I was worried about this one.  I didn't want to overcook it, but it was gooey.  I took it out of the oven and the middle sank.  I waited for it to cool - just cool enough to smother Betty Crocker Frosting on it, had a piece and it was okay.

    Put it in the fridge overnight, and that's where the magic happens.  I had forgotten, that's what I did with the first one as well.  YUM...the cake just merges together in all its chocolatiness and ends up tasting like the perfect mud cake, even if it didn't look cafe worthy.  I think that means it has 'set'.  I should write that on my recipe.

    See the collapsed middle?  That's 300 grams of good quality chocolate in that cake.  It tastes much better than it looks from this angle.

    Served up with some fresh strawberries, and I'm in Heaven!

    *Sigh* Someone has to eat all that mud cake now!

    Here's the recipe, from the Thermomix Forum (

    "This is a recipe I found in a magazine - I think it was a Food Ideas one but not sure.


    - 200g butter
    - 300g cooking chocolate - good quality
    - 1/4 cup hot water

    - 20g cocoa
    - 1 tspn vanilla extract
    - 200g castor sugar
    - 3 eggs - at room temperature
    - 120g SR flour


    Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 20 cm round cake pan and line it with baking paper.

    Place butter, 200g of chopped chocolate and hot water into TM bowl. Melt for 5 mins at 37C on Speed 1.

    Add cocoa to warm chocolate mixture and stir for 5 secs on Speed 4. Add vanilla, castor sugar and eggs. Mix for 10 secs on Speed 4.

    Sift in flour and stir on for 1.30 mins on Speed 2.

    Pour half the mixture into prepared cake pan. Chop remaining chocolate and sprinkle half over the batter. Top with rest of the batter and chopped chocolate.

    Bake cake for 55 to 60 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging".

    Note: I found my Thermomix doesn't like to measure butter properly, so I used 170 grams of butter instead.

    It took about an hour and a half before I gave up and pulled the cake out of the oven.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Easy Pasta Salad

    This one's a really easy salad.  Here's what you need:-

    Easy Pasta Salad

    - Cooked spiral or large shell pasta
    - Bacon (cook under the grill so it is cooked and crispy)
    - A small can of corn kernels, or half a large can, drained
    - Baby spinach or other herbs from the garden
    - Creamy dressing (see below)

    1. Throw your cooked pasta into your salad bowl
    2. Add corn kernels
    3. Chop up your herbs/spinach/celery/whatever green stuff takes your fancy over the pasta.  I use scissors.  Much easier!
    4. Chop up your bacon into bite sized chunks over the pasta.
    Add creamy dressing and mix to coat evenly.

    You could add sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, black pitted olives, marinated chicken (see , capsicum, mushrooms...anything you like really.

    Creamy Dressing

    Whisk together the following:-
    - 4 splodgy large tablespoons of S& W Whole Egg Mayonnaise
    - 1 squirt American Mustard
    - A sprinkle of salt
    - A splash of Aristocrat Spiced Gherkin juice (yup, you read that correctly)
    - A sprinkling of Dill

    Quick taste test to ensure balance of flavours, then mix through pasta salad.

    I put this dressing on my potato salad.  I could eat the dressing alone, but I don't think anyone else would appreciate that. ;D

    Week 36 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

    $10 Challenge
    Store 3 packets of spaghetti

    $20 Challenge
    Store 6 packets of spaghetti

    If you find spaghetti a bit messy when you're eating it however, store whatever pasta you and your family likes to eat.  I like to store Pene and Spirals, because I can get that easily at my local Aldi store.

    I store my pasta in a large plastic tub (with sauces) on top of my kitchen cupboards.  This keeps rodents and other nasties away from the pasta.  I haven't had any weevil problems yet either *knock on wood*.

    I really do like to make my own fettuccine, but let's face it - sometimes there isn't time to be Super-Mum and the family have to survive on packet pasta sometimes.

    This is what I use packet pasta for:-
    • Tuna Mornay
    • Pasta Bake
    • Pasta Salad
    • Pasta, Tuna, Tomato pasta sauce and fresh herbs from the garden
    I'll put up a quick pasta salad recipe that I made last night that was rather yummy in another post this week.  It has my secret recipe dressing, so once you read it, you will explode into a thousand pieces ;D  Well maybe not.  But it is very tasty!