Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Irish Tea

 Finally, I can reveal my Irish Project.  I made a tea cosy inspired from a bought tea cosy brought back from Ireland about two years ago when my in-laws went over.   I sent this one over to Ireland to my sister in-law.


A cheeky teapot pose!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 The Shamrocks!

Serving "Irish Tea"

I have a lovely recipe for "Bunratty Scones" that my parents brought back for me when they went to visit Ireland a very long time ago.  They were served these scones with tea at Bunratty Castle(if I am not mistaken)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pretty Triangles

My son Joshua and I got up early this morning to go to gym, we were there from 6am – 7am, so before my body had time to register what was going on, the exercise was complete.  We got home and then everyone scattered off to their various activities for the day except for Emma and me.  Having done the gym thing so early in the morning seemed to give me so much extra time.  I sat in front of the TV completing the crochet bunting for Emma’s bed and when I looked again, it was around 12 o clock. I had managed to watch the end of an action movie, a snippet of a series I know nothing about, a reality show of a young girl who went into labour and had no idea who the baby’s father was except that it could be one of three men and I cannot remember what else. Oh yes, I also watched a cooking show, they cooked and baked with a lot of sugar and two kinds of syrup.  They even put it into the meat dish and I mean a lot of sugar.  There is a saying “never trust a skinny cook”, but this is taking it to the extreme!

The crochet bunting is beautiful and I am very happy with the result. Emma’s bedroom has been re-arranged, sorted, organised, cleaned and rubbish chucked out, not sure for how long it will stay that way?  She collects a lot of bits and pieces of this and that, let me give you an example;  bits of paper, sticks, old flower petals, stones, sucker sticks, material, little foam alphabet letters, sticky tape, lids from bottles, string, wool, get the idea?  It is quite an undertaking to sort through and pick out all the itsy bits of things and best to throw out what I consider rubbish without her around.  What she doesn’t see, she won’t miss and should she does for something I threw away, it will be quite a long time since I tidied up and I would have forgotten anyway. School art is another thing, what to do with it all?  Besides all the little things that have to be thrown out, there is the sorting I mentioned.  Lego ends up the Barbie drawer, what does Barbie want with Lego?  The Baby Born clothes are on the fluffy dog, the Barbie’s are often naked and the Brat doll is without her feet. I do love giving a room a make-over!

Then with all this triangular business I decided to bake some shortbread for us.  Usually I make millionaire shortbread which is shortbread with a whole tin of caramel spread on top, completed with a large slab of melted chocolate. It is decadent when made that way but the shortbread on its own is just as pleasant and I’m certain with fewer calories. 

The shortbread looks delightful when baked in a round cake tin, cut into triangles and sprinkled with castor sugar. Lovely served with a nice cup of filter coffee!  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Something New

I am crocheting something new that I haven’t tried before that looks very beautiful, I am making some Granny Bunting.  Emma’s bedroom has been irritating me for a long time now and I want to re-arrange it and make it look all pretty and girly.  So what has Emma’s bedroom got to do with the “Granny Bunting”?  Well I am making a string of crochet bunting to hang on her bed to pretty up her room.  I would also like to make a scatter cushion cover to finish off the look but all in time.  Bunting as described by Wikipedia is as follows:  Bunting (textile), a lightweight cloth material often used for flags and festive decorations. 

So with new beginnings, I have also photographed the one and only Foxglove that came up out of a packet of seeds, it stands in a pot close to my patio so I am looking forward to it magnificent show.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Makes:  20
Baking time:  20 minutes
Oven temperature 160˚C

Biscuit Dough:
250 g Stork margarine
125 ml Icing Sugar
2, 5 ml Almond Essence
500 ml (2 Cups) Cake flour
125 ml Corn flour

125 ml margarine
125 ml Icing Sugar
2, 5 ml Almond Essence
Pink Food Colouring (Optional)

Beat the margarine and icing sugar together until creamy.  Add the almond essence.  Stir in the cake flour and corn flour a little at a tie until the dough is soft but pliable. 
Press shapes through a biscuit gun or roll walnut-sized balls and shape into small rectangular shapes that are about 3mm high.  Using a fork, make an indentation into the biscuit dough. (Personally I prefer to use my biscuit gun)  Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until pale golden.  Cool before removing fro the baking tray.

Filling:  Beat the margarine and icing sugar together with the almond essence until creamy.  Add a drop of pink food colouring if you prefer.  Sandwich the biscuits together with the filling.

These are just as lovely as the bought Royal Creams and look so pretty in a glass jar with a pink ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle.  Make a pot of tea, pick out a pretty tea cosy, lay out the tray and you are sure to have a lovely tea party, even if it’s just you!

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  ~Author Unknown

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux
~ ~ ~
~ It is around 3.30 pm in the afternoon and I have finished my "Little bit of Irish" project, I have photographed it and packed it into a gift bag together with a few small goodies to send to the family in Ireland.  I will only be able to post a photo of it on Friday once I know the gifts have reached their destination for fear of it being spotted on my blog.  So till Friday then to view my "Little bit of Irish" project. ~

Friday, March 25, 2011


I am finally on holiday, schools closed today.  I work for a Grade 0 school, we have 110 children and 11 staff. Every afternoon from around 1.30pm children flock into the Grade 0 School area(directly in front of my office window) from the Primary school to come to aftercare for the afternoon. There must be over 100 children who come there in the afternoon. When the children arrive from the primary school, that is it, you have had it, it gets terribly noisy and rowdy and my office becomes a thoroughfare.  The last week of school is usually quite hectic with trying to get through all the work but I am happy to say I was on top of my work this term.  I write a list of the things I need to do and then just cross them off when they are done.  NO DOUBT, by the end of school today, running seemed like a very appealing exercise. Now with two weeks of "freedom" ahead, I cannot wait to get some serious crocheting done.  Some projects I have in mind  include crocheting some bunting, a crochet poncho for my 5 year old and of course a tea cosy or two.  I also intend to get back to gym next week, it's been three months since my last spinning class, hope my muscles remember, hope I even know how to get onto an exercise bicycle again!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A little bit of Irish

I am busy with a new little project to send overseas with a friend of mine to my sister in-law in Ireland, I am calling it my “Little bit of Irish” project without revealing too much of what it is going to be. 

I am married to a South African who is of direct Irish Decent. Both his parents are Irish and moved to South Africa soon after being married, they had all their children in South Africa.  I hope I am saying this all genealogically correct.  He is very capable of putting on an Irish accent and very proud of his heritage but thoroughly South African, supporting the rugby, loving biltong, beer, braaivleis(An Afrikaans word for a barbecue) and sunny skies.

I met my husband more than 20 years ago, now that sounds like quite a long time ago, but feels like it was yesterday.  When we were still going out (dating) Andre went to visit his parents for the weekend.  On arriving back from the weekend, he told me all about his weekend and mentioned that his mother made Irish Potato bread.  I had never heard of Irish Potato bread before but having had a very keen interest in cooking and baking from a very young age, I exclaimed that I would love to have the recipe.  He just bluntly said “sorry you can’t have it”.  I was quite taken aback at the time but over the years realized that it was a recipe that his mom knew out of her head based on what consistency was required for the end result. I would also like to add, it is by no means a loaf of bread, some would say that sound like Greek to them, no, it’s Irish. The “Your Family” magazine published the recipe some years into my marriage which I was delighted to get and the result was pleasing.  My mom in-law has kindly shared her recipe with me and it really is a consistency thing and the feel of the dough.  I even managed to make them out of my head when we were on holiday recently from left over mash potatoes and they turned out just perfect!  I am very pleased to have achieved making this wonderful Irish Potato bread; it is delicious with fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and pork sausages and, like I mentioned before it’s not a loaf.

We went on honeymoon to Ireland in 1990; we spent an entire month in the British Isles with about two and a half weeks in Ireland.  We stayed with my husband’s relatives, some he had never met and some he had not seen in a very long time.  We were also very privileged to stay with both his grannies at the time.  It was a wonderful experience for me to meet his grannies and to visit in their homes, Ireland was magical.  I felt quite at home, a young bride of 20 at the time.  We received some amazing Irish gifts from the family there.  Irish crystal wine glasses (Tyrone Crystal), an Oneida Cutlery Canteen and more.  I thus have a lot of Irish items in my home.  One such item is an Irish Linen table cloth I got from Granny Stratton, Andre’s mom’s mother.  It got torn somewhere along the years but I managed to repair is quite beautifully that one could hardly notice. (It was a very big tear)

I would love to go back and visit Ireland, especially to show my children all the lovely places we visited.

Now look where all this talk of a “Little bit of Irish” has gotten me, here I am digging all kinds of things out of my treasure chest of my memories.

Monday, March 21, 2011


My hands always feel a little empty when I have just finished another tea cosy.  I like to make something new and unique, each with its own flavour and flair.  The inspiration for this tea cosy came simply from a photograph of tea cosies from another blog, no pattern I might add, so I did my best to figure out the pattern and ta-da.(Meaning of “ta-da” - INFORMAL used to suggest the sound of a fanfare: an exclamation of triumph or pride accompanying an announcement, a bow, etc) 

I am quite pleased with the outcome, just had to check on some complimenting colours for turquoise and the result, another cute cosy with it’s own eccentricity!

Oh what to do next, I just cannot stop myself, I am having the craziest amount of fun.  Then again I guess that is just what hobbies are all about.  I looked up the meaning of the word “hobby” on the internet, according to Wikipedia the meaning is as follows:  A hobby is an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, typically done during one's leisure time. Hobbies are practiced for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward. Examples include collecting, creative and artistic pursuits, making, tinkering, sports and adult education. Engaging in a hobby can lead to acquiring substantial skill, knowledge and experience. However, personal fulfillment is the aim.
The meaning of hobby from “”. 
A hobby is usually defined as a pastime
A hobby is usually something that you really enjoy doing which is not paid work, although people can and do make money 
from their hobbies.
As opposed to your work, which you may enjoy, a hobby is something of your own choosing. It is something chosen for pleasure and enjoyment. They can also provide a lot of fulfillment.
Although they are not usually done for financial gain they can lead to this for example if knitting is a hobby you could sell the finished product.
It is thought that the origin of a hobby derives from the hobby-horse. These poles were usually made of wood with a model horses head and were ridden for fun or as part of a tradition. Children still ride hobby horses which have never really gone out of fashion for children.
Having a hobby can lead to acquiring a lot of skill and, knowledge, and experience. Fulfillment is the prime aim of having a hobby.
Do yourself a favour and go read the full meaning of the word "hobby" on Wikipedia, it is most interesting.
Whole heartedly YES, I am having the greatest of pleasure in what I am doing.  What is your hobby, what makes you tick?  These pastime pleasures are good for our soul.
Interestingly enough, the heading of my devotional reading for today was, “The excitement of new ideas.”  I believe God gives us new ideas and new pleasures, not only for ourselves but for Him.  It is good for us to find a calm as one of the things mentioned in my devotion was that these new things may lead you into exciting spheres of thought and service. God after all is the author of creativity.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Many are the Plans"

Proverbs 19 v 21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

I think we need to be flexible enough to allow for changes in our plans or in what we hope for.  Things do not always turn out the way we hope and therein is either our despondency or happiness.  I often find myself disappointed because things did not turn out the way I hoped, but in all honesty if we apply the Lords word in our life, we can overcome those things quickly and be thankful that He does indeed care about us.  Proverbs 3 v 5 is just such a wonderful scripture. (See below) Romans 8 v 28  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Where am I going with this well, we often formulate the ideal solution to a problem as such but then in humbleness, we have to often accept a different result.  Is it pride; is it out of concern for those the result may affect?  We must strive to live an upright life making careful choices and learning to take advice on important decisions so as to have the perspective of those we trust and who walk life closely with us.  

Thank you to my precious family and friends for being there for us, life would be so empty without our loved ones, we should keep them near us always and never be lacking in reciprocating our love back.

It sounds like a heavy blog today, it’s not actually.
I am thinking of “The Serenity Prayer”

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6

To end on a funny note, we did not have scones for breakfast today, we had toasted Chelsea Buns! 

Have a lovely Saturday, xxx Janine

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brumpets, oh pardon me, Crumpets!

Today I am going to give you my “brumpet”, pardon me, my “crumpet” recipe and I will explain the whole “brumpet” thing to you just now. 

This recipe is from the “Cook and Enjoy It”, S.J.A. de Villiers recipe book.  I have two sisters and we each received a copy of the “Cook and Enjoy It” recipe book from our dad.   It has been a joy to me as I have learnt many a method of how to cook chicken, freeze vegetables, make jam, mix a substitute for baking powder etc from this book.  It has almost anything and everything in it, it is a treasure and I will most certainly give my daughters a copy too one day.  Just in my first year of marriage, my neighbour asked to borrow my recipe book, I was a bit uneasy about lending my book out, however insisted on having it back the very next day.  Some things are just too personal and special to lend out and I have never lent it out again.  I have learnt the art of saying no by offering an alternative when my answer is actually no. 

¾ Cup Sugar
1 Desert Spoon Butter/Margarine
2 Eggs
1 ½ Cups Milk
2 Cups Cake Flour
1 Heaped Desert Spoon Baking Powder
1 level Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, beat well then add the milk and flour alternatively, lastly adding the Baking powder and sifted Bicarb.  (Not nice to bite on a piece of bicarbonate of soda clump that did not get blended in)  Mix well and drop spoonfuls on a greased electric frying pan or griddle.  Turn over once.  (Wait for bubbles/holes to appear in the crumpets then you know they are ready to turn)

There are always guinea pigs in my family eagerly awaiting to sample the first crumpets to make sure they taste good!
Now what on earth is the whole "brumpet" issue?  A couple of years ago we were having home cell (fellowship group) at our house for which I made crumpets for out guests.  Our home cell leader at the tie and a very good friend commented that the crumpets were delicious, and were they "brumpets"?  I said I had not heard of "brumpets" but thanks for the compliment on the crumpets. It was not the first time he had asked if they were "brumpets", it came up every time we were together that I made crumpets.  I think that "Brumpets" were the name of a packet of a ready mix one bought at the shop to make crumpets with by just adding the wet ingredients.

If you are fortunate enough to have any remaining crumpets from this batch, they are extremely yummy when buttered and sandwiched together to have in your lunch box the next day at school or work, but like I said only if you are lucky enough to have left overs!

  ~ ~ ~ ENJOY ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ship Shape

I did not realise what a cleanliness militant I was until recently.  When I shake people’s hands, as soon as I get a chance, I go wash my hands, when I get to work; I wipe my desk, computer keyboard, mouse and telephones.  I am driving our delivery van at the moment (it is used to deliver jumping castles for children’s parties); I wanted to wash it on the weekend to make it more presentable to drive but only got a chance to do so yesterday.  I wiped it down with warm soapy water as well as the inside.  I wiped the floor, the dashboard, seats and all, sprayed it with air freshener and put a few drops of essential oil on the seats.  I just hate untidiness and dirt.  Thankfully I have Sophie who cleans the house for us every day but I still end up showing her areas that I want cleaned, and spotless I might add.  I have tried to relax over the years so as not to give my husband and children a hard time but I reach a point and then just go on a cleaning/tidying rampage.  They just know though, when I go on a tangent to all stay clear.  I used to be so fussy before I had children that when visitors had just left, I would puff up the cushions on the couches, wipe down the tables and mop the floor where marks were left.  If my home was not sparkling, it was dirty and messy.  It is a real problem being like this as you are not always able to notice the nice things but your eyes immediately notice the mark on the cupboard, the sticky fridge door, the ring the cup left on the table etc.  Oh mercy me.  When my eldest daughter Tara was little, I used to sort her toys in her room according to dolls, Lego, puzzles and even go as far as marking ice cream containers with the toys in.  I would sort the crayons, lay out the colouring in books and sort the story books from biggest to smallest.  Things never stayed sorted for long but three children later and I am still doing my best to help them sort their rooms and keep my youngest daughters room in order.  I generally let things go for a month or two and then spend a whole afternoon on a weekend doing a big sort and throw out!  I don’t do this for my teenagers anymore though; I just send them to their rooms to do it now but often pop my head in to see how things are progressing.  I haven’t done this for a while but when my children used to go on their school tour, I would use the time while they were away to tidy and revamp their bedrooms for them to come home to a nice fresh bedroom.  It was my way of dealing with missing them and also getting a hand on the clutter that had gathered in their rooms.
You are either exhausted by now from just reading all of this busyness or laughing at this craziness.  As I work at a school in the mornings until 2pm every day, I am privileged to enjoy the school holidays as well.  I am looking forward to doing some tidying up this holiday while my oldest daughter is at school, her school terms run slightly different from mine and her room is calling me!  I also need to get my hand into a tin of enamel paint as the interior doors are begging for a fresh coat of paint!  And amidst all I have planned for the holidays I plan to crochet, bake, gym (seriously need to get fit again) and fit in a morning movie with popcorn and Smarties.   Oh and did I forget to say that I am seldom bored or without something to do, somehow I always find something to keep myself entertained with. 
In the summer months when all the nice fruit is in season, I make apricot jam.  I also make plum jam but add some other fruits to make a special blend.  The jams are also given as Christmas presents together with peanut brittle and/or homemade biscuits.

I just remembered one other thing I am so fussy about, before going away for a weekend or on holiday, the house must be "ship shape" before leaving.  No doubt by the time we get going on the trip, I am exhausted but am fortunate enough to have a designated driver!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My home My Love

I am very much a home bird, and love doing things around the house.  My number one passion has always been baking and cooking with other interests in gardening, doing crafts such as crocheting, sewing etc, all depending on the inspiration. I discovered that tomato plants had come up in the beer crates we had placed along the back wall and (the purpose of the crates is to act as a bit of a retainer to stop the soil from washing away under the wall) figured that if the tomato plants were thriving so nicely there, so could some other vegetables.  We cleaned the weeds and grass out of the crates, put in compost and planted some seed.  It will be very interesting to see whether the other vegetables do well there too.  I have seen vegetables growing and thriving in the most unusual places.  At the school where I work, the ground staff have obviously made a small vegetable garden just off of the school field through a little gate on the land between the field and the boundary wall.  I sometimes take a walk around the field in the morning just to clear my head and get a little exercise from sitting behind a computer all morning.  It was on one of these walks that I discovered their secret vegetable garden with mealies up to the wall and other vegetables as well.  One does not need a fancy laid out vegetable patch to sow some seed and grow some great vegetables.  I believe my friends mother has her vegetables growing out from their compost heap as that is where she tosses all her vegetable peels and cuttings.  Interesting food for thought!

We have been experiencing the summer heat for the first time now since summer started, even though we are already into autumn.  We didn’t have much of a “summer” during the summer months as we had a very wet season with almost torrential rains, flooding and mushy gardens.  For the first time since summer began, we actually spent our Sunday afternoon enjoying swimming and sunning ourselves.  This was great as I have really had to make a plan about getting my five year old daughter swimming and gaining her confidence in the pool. 

After a lovely refreshing swim, I sat down and completed my “retro” tea cosy.  I must admit, I wasn’t actually sure how it was going to turn out and didn’t really enjoy making this one much.  I am quite delighted with how it turned out though.  It seems my cat Alice liked it very much as she enjoyed sprawling herself out across my work yesterday afternoon as I was completing the second side of the cosy.  She is such a cheeky cat with the most self-assured character, she is very demanding and chooses when and how you may give her attention.  She allows you to stroke her coat but only for a short while, it’s always best to stop before she tells you she has had enough!

We did not have our usual Saturday morning breakfast this weekend as when I went shopping on Friday afternoon I bought Hot Cross buns that were looking very appetising.  We did however have Chocolate chip muffins for breakfast this morning for breakfast.  My son has started preparing muffin mixtures on a Saturday night to make for breakfast on Sunday morning before church; this is the second week so we will see if he keeps it up.  He loves muffins and last weekend he made us Lemon Poppy Seed muffins for breakfast, and all this without my help.

Tomorrow is Monday, the choice is ours, we can try to have a good one and next weekend, well, we can look forward to that as it will be a long weekend with Monday being a public holiday, one extra day to sleep in, yippee!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Life's Simple Pleasures

Some of my favourites are crumpets, french toast and scones.  In fact, we have scones for breakfast every Saturday morning, it's a tradition I just cannot break. My children don't even need to ask what is for breakfast on a Saturday morning, they know what they can look forward to already.  Sometimes I vary the scone recipe, I have even made lavender scones.  We set the table all pretty, lay out the place mats, put the jams on the table and most importantly, the cream.  We enjoy the scones either with filter coffee or tea(that's for when we are out of filter coffee).  French toast is also a family favourite, it is so versatile as it can be enjoyed with tomato sauce on, syrup, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar, honey, grated cheese or strips of bacon... everyone eats it the way they like it.  I enjoy a savoury one first with tomato sauce on, if I can manage to fit in another, I will put syrup on my second slice. Now that you are feeling all hungry, why not go beat up some eggs and whip up a slice or two of delicious french toast.                                                                                                                                                                      

Why it is called "french toast", I have read, has nothing to do with the French but it most certainly does sound better than saying "egg bread for lunch" though doesn't it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Techno Retro

Technology is wonderful in that it allows you to stay in contact with friends and family around the world, "blogging" and "face booking" but be sure you will encounter struggles when the darn thing won't work or software is created with all kinds of safety blocks to prevent duplicating it.  Just this afternoon I spent over an hour loading my accounting package onto the computer only to encounter obstacles, it is so frustrating as it is no easy process let me tell you.  First you have to phone the call centre to register your package, then you need to speak to a technical support consultant who can't fathom why the codes they gave you do not work and then eventually when you say, "well do something because I sure do not know what to do", that they finally put you on hold and get the answers on their side.  By the time the programme was loaded and working perfectly, my back was aching and head  pounding, then I still had to set up my email accounts! I still can't seem to fathom why I can't send email, but receive .... some setting is wrong no doubt!  Must be the technology bug, there are good bugs and bad ones.  I need some antibodies against these frustrations.  So as a result my creative writing juices dried up and thus not much to say today. At least I got to sit down and crochet the first side of my new tea cosy complete.   Now that I have figured out the design with the first side, the other side will proceed with more ease.  It's a colourful, striped granny style cosy, it's kind of my retro design.  So, I'll see how it turns out tomorrow then. Retro, as I was reading in a magazine this morning is much of the 1950's style.

It all seems so weird, we live in this fast advancing technology era and yet we enjoy the old style in a new style world, retro meets techno!  Think I had better go to bed now as my computer (me) has slowed down now, needs to reboot for tomorrow.

Can't wait to finish this cosy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue, especially where these tea cosies are concerned.  It all begins with a ball of wool and something you have in mind and as you crochet, so it develops its own charm.  This is especially true with the white cosy I made,  I put about five balls of wool together and knew that somehow I wanted to incorporate all the colours, then one fell out and I was left with four and so this charming cosy appeared.  It does require patience as I mentioned before, I am forced to set my crocheting aside for when I get home from work to continue. Here are some funny sayings I found about patience, which one do you like?

The secret of patience is doing something else in the meanwhile.”

"Never run after a bus or a man.  There will always be another one."

Patience is a virtue, Virtue is a grace; Both put together Make a very pretty face”

Now, what can I crochet? Let me think!

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Doors and Blessings

It, the tea cosy craziness, all started long time ago when I purchased a crocheted tea cosy from a quaint little shop about two years ago, it was a dear price I paid and I felt I could make tea cosies too.  My only problem was that I had no idea how to crochet them like that as all the crocheting I had ever done was blocks!  I downloaded a couple of knitting patterns and managed to knit a few cute tea cosies for myself but in the back of my mind... always wondered how I would make a similar crocheted tea cosy. 
Anyway, when Sophie came to work for me in January this year, I saw she was busy crocheting a doily and gave her my purchased tea cosy with wool and asked her if she could fathom out the pattern as I wanted to learn how to crochet one.  About 2 days later, I checked in on her progress and she was still busy, but with her second tea cosy.  She came into the kitchen where I was and told me to look in my cupboard; I looked but didn’t see anything then looked again and there it was the first tea cosy she made was sitting on my tea pot.  I have subsequently been downloading patterns and gathering lots of inspiration from the internet.  I am hooked and loving it! I have crocheted four tea cosies, and lots of flowers.  It’s a new passion in my life as is the blog, 2011 has most certainly awakened new things for me.  Sophie also came into my life this year and she has been such a blessing to me and my family in fact, she has been part of our family for a long time as she worked for my sister for about 10 years so, we have known her for a long time. I look forward to what more 2011 holds but for now, I am content!  I hope 2011 also holds good and nice new things in store for you!

A scripture comes to mind here as I believe God wants to bless us and take care of us, we just need to stand back and we'll be able to count our blessings!  Enjoy your day and your blessings.
James 1:17 (New King James Version)
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Creatively Cooking

Cooking on a budget has led to some interesting and creative meals that ordinarily we'd not even attempt, as thinking out of the box would not have even be required like this evening.  I threw some chicken portions (these frozen packets of chicken portions are the cheapest to buy) into the oven, when cooked removed the meat from the bones - the result a juicy and tasty chicken.  Now when the budget is not so tight, one would resort to those beautiful deboned chicken portions, chop them up raw and add them to the fried onions, green peppers and mushrooms, (that’s if you are making chicken ala king)and possibly throw in a special 'chicken ala king packet mix'. The result in this case is generally a dry, non juicy chicken!!  This evening, to make the meal go further, (possibly to put half away in the freezer for a chicken pie another night) I added frozen peas, scratched around in my fridge and found the leftover coleslaw mix, (no mayonnaise in yet) added that and wow, what an amazing chicken ala king.  Now let me add that when you use the wonderful deboned, skinned portions, there is no left over brine from cooking the chicken as with the chicken portions.  This brine is the crème de la crème of this meal, the finger licking good end result!  Now please don't take me wrong, if you prefer to use the deboned, skinned portions, don't feel guilty, I too used these nifty, quick to throw together meal deals! So go ahead use whatever you like, it's just when the budget is limited, creativity need not be!

I have another interesting story I would like to share with you too, it’s my ‘end of the month pilchard special’!
As I have previously mentioned, creativity need not be lacking (well at least with me where cooking is concerned as this has always been a passion for me anyway, so relax if you can’t conjure up the same excitement as me on this) when the budget is tight or let me rather say limited.  Last week, the day before pay day, my freezer was bare, but in my cupboard I had one last tin of pilchards staring at me.  Now one would think ok, fish cakes, uh no – No potatoes to add, no eggs to bind!  So creativity out of the hat I really had to pull to feed my family.  So what else did I have, I had pasta – no rice, I had half a cabbage in the fridge and some carrots.  So I stir fried the cabbage and carrots and finally added the pilchards, (the ones in a tomato sauce) a couple of herbs and spices and served this on the pasta. 
It was so enjoyable that this ‘end of the month pilchard special’ will definitely be on our menu during the month as well!