Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Dinner

Tonight we had beef stroganoff with rice. I really love this dish. Of course I leave out the onion and mushrooms (substitute onion powder) and use plain rice.

My guys all love this and always ask for seconds (sometimes thirds). So I guess I need to start doubling the recipe so they can eat more :)

I cheat and use a jar of the strog sauce. I wish though you could buy the sour cream in smaller tubs. I guess I'll have to start making this every week so nothing gets wasted.

This is great too as leftovers for lunch. On bread! Yummmmmm fresh bread, butter and strog/rice. I'm looking forward to tomorrow :D

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spring Clean Your Kitchen any Time of the Year

By Glynnis Whitwer

Although spring is the traditional time to deep clean our homes, it can be productive at any time of the year. Our kitchens are a great place to start since we spend many happy family hours in this room. In addition to making your kitchen more sanitary, cleaning also helps us get organized, thereby saving time and money. Get started today with these four easy tips to sprucing up your kitchen.
  1. Clean out the food in the cupboards, freezer and fridge.

  2. Use this time to go through all the food items in the pantry and throw out items past their expiration date. Don’t forget your spices and seasonings. Then go through your refrigerator. Throw out anything growing or suspicious looking. If you can’t identify something in your freezer, toss it too. This is especially important to do before holidays when you’ll be entertaining. It will give you room for all the yummy leftovers.
    Then, commit to using up items close to their expiration date. Design your menus in the upcoming weeks to use those items. If you’ve got unusual items you aren’t sure how to use, then use an Internet search engine. Type in the name of the product and the word “recipe” and see what shows up. offers a great search program for their recipes.

  3. Reorganize your pantry.

  4. We spend lots of money and waste time buying duplicate items. Take an hour and group similar items. If you’re really organized, I suggest you alphabetize your spices too. A lazy Susan is a great tool for this.

  5. Deep clean.

  6. There are lots of little spaces that need attention. Even in the cleanest kitchens, grease builds up on the most surprising surfaces. Spend some time cleaning these often-neglected spots:
    • Microwave oven – To soften built-up food, microwave 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bowl and wipe with clean cloth. Repeat if necessary.

    • Coffee maker – Run with equal parts of white vinegar and water. Run clean water several times until vinegar smell is gone.

    • Underneath your refrigerator and oven.

    • The hood over your stove – Remove filters and soak in hot soapy water.

    • Inside your oven.

    • Top of your stove – Remove your knobs and run through a dishwasher cycle.

    • Top of the refrigerator – When clean, use this area to display plants and decorative items – not cereal boxes.

    • Light fixtures.

    • Fronts of cabinets.

    • Cabinet shelves.

    • Tile grout on floor or counter tops.

    • Windows and window treatments.

    • Mini-blinds.

  7. Add new accessories.

  8. Now that your kitchen is sparkling clean, invest a small amount of money in brightening it up. Toss out ragged towels and dishrags and replace them with crisp clean new ones. Treat yourself to some fresh flowers and place in an attractive vase. Buy a new canister set that makes a statement. Replace your grocery store plastic hand soap dispenser with something ceramic and attractive. To really get creative, pick a color theme for each season and add accent pieces in that color.
    Since our kitchens are often the heart of our homes, they deserve some extra attention. Break up your cleaning project over several days to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You’ll find renewed interest in cooking and baking, once your kitchen is shining clean.

Quick & Easy Quiche

4 eggs
3/4 bacon rashers ~ chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 onion ~ chopped (I use onion powder instead)

Mix altogether. Please in a greased pie dish and bake in moderate oven (180 C ) for 45 minutes.

So simple. So easy. So yummy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prawns - Storage and Selection

Fresh prawns from the market are mostly likely thawed frozen prawns

Prawns come in a variety of sizes and types. Raw prawns are a green/white-blue colour. When these prawns are cooked, the colour turns in colour from pink to bright orange-red due to a chemical change brought on by heat.

Prawns are normally graded by size and count, meaning the average number of prawns to make a pound weight. The higher the number, the smaller the prawns.

Prawns are highly perishable. Select firm prawns with a mild scent. If there is any hint of the aroma of ammonia, it is a sign the prawns are way past its prime. Some may have spots, an indication of poor handling. Commercially-sold prawns are defrosted, in which case the flesh will appear opaque. Truly fresh prawns will have almost translucent flesh.

Do not confuse the term "fresh" with never-frozen. Truth be told, you probably will be unable to find never-frozen prawns fresh from the ocean these days unless you net them yourself. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Nowadays, prawns are harvested, cleaned, and flash frozen on the boats before they ever reach the shore. This makes for a fresher product, until it reaches the market.

Once it reaches the market, you are at the mercy of the handlers. If it goes right into the freezer, all is well. If you are buying from the seafood counter, there is no telling how long the prawns have been defrosted, although icing it does help. You are better off buying frozen prawns and defrosting them yourself in the refrigerator. It does not take long to defrost.

Cooked prawns can be stored in a sealed bag no more than 3 days in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Both cooked and raw prawns may be frozen, but freezing raw preserves a better flavor. Raw prawns can be frozen with shell or without, but should have the heads removed. Raw frozen prawns will last 6 months in the freezer while frozen cooked prawns should be consumed within 2 months. Commercially-frozen raw prawns will last longer in the freezer without deterioration, since they are flash-frozen fresh with little handling.

Frozen cooked and uncooked prawns should ideally be thawed in the refrigerator in advance of need. They can be added frozen to casseroles and baked dishes. If you need to quickly thaw, you may put the prawns under cold water, not warm. Warm water will begin the cooking process

Lunchbox Laughings

Today we are back to the grindstone! That's right, back to making school lunches every day for the next 9-11 wks. I haven't been game to count up exactly how many weeks the term hold.

The challenge is to give the kids a healthy, appetizing lunch that they won't bring home or toss in the bin. I stress the word healthy.

My 7 yr old is fine for lunches. He eats just about anything I put in his lunchbox. It Mr5, starting year 1, who is the fussy eater. (Yes, I know, its my fault)

Lucky for me but unlucky for my kids, I am not a tuckshop mum. I don't give my kids tuckshop every week or even every term.


I know, shock, horror. How can I be so cruel.

That's the easy part. Now that my food budget is cut, I don't have the extra $5 to send for food that I can make at home and much more yummy.

So today, the kids will take fresh fruit, a sandwich, a couple of biscuits, yoghurt, cheese sticks and I'll throw in a popper as their treat. Oh I can't forget the muesli bar but this is the last week of store bought muesli bars. From next week on I plan to make muesli bars for them and hubby from a recipe a friend posted at another site.

So stay tuned for more Lunchbox Laughings!

Monday, January 26, 2009

King Prawn Stir-fry


12 green King Prawns, without shells (or more if you like plenty)
Zucchini, cut in strips
Beans or Snow peas
Corn cuts
Red/Green capsicum, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tblspn Soy sauce
2 tspn Sesame seed (optional)


Heat oil with garlic on a high heat in wok for 30 seconds.
Add zucchini, beans/snow peas, corn and capsicum and cook over high heat to soften for approximately 2 minutes constantly stirring.
Sprinkle with soy sauce and lemon juice and toss through the mix.
Add prawns and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring constantly.
Take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over noodles or rice.

I omit the capsicum and garlic but add onion powder for a bit of extra kick to the flavour. I usually serve this with hokkien noodles but any type would go great with this dish.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chicken Curry & Rice

Where would we be without Rice Cookers? I love my rice cooker.


500-600 gm Chicken (I know it says this amount but I use 4 chicken breast)
2 chicken stock cubes
4 tbls plain flour
1 tbls curry powder (more or less as you want)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 tspn sugar
1 tbls lemon juice
Vegetables (as you desire)


Melt butter.
Add curry and flour.
Gradually add milk and water.
Add stock cubes and stir until boiled and thickens.
Add chicken and vegetables, return to boil, reduce heat and add sugar and lemon juice.
Simmer 20-25 minutes.

Will add a photo after its cooked. Yummy! I can't wait for dinner.

And so here I am

I know its not the most quirky of names but hey......

I've finally made a recipe/cooking/baking/kitchen/tips blog.

Well, that's what I hope this to be. I don't have enough time now but tomorrow I will start adding recipes and cooking/kitchen tips to the blog.

If you have any recipes or tips you'd like to add, please email me.

See you soon!