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Meet the Girls

Meet the GirlsA few months ago I welcomed three lovely ladies into my home….Shirley, Dot and Betty. These pink feathered creatures reside serenely over our mantlepiece and were handcrafted only 5 hours away in Wagga Wagga, NSW by Studio Australia. Galahs are native to Australia and I’m especially fond of them as they can be seen everywhere in my home state of South Australia.

After ordering online, I was worried that the dainty ceramic birds would not survive the transit, but it turns out I needn’t be.

This organisation takes its packaging seriously.

And so do my kids.

Pizza for Picky PeopleIt’s a truth universally acknowledged that once you make your own pizza dough, it’s near impossible to buy a shop-bought base again. Not only is it insanely cheap (the cost of flour and a yeast sachet) but the results are incredibly delicious. It also becomes a family activity when you have the kids on the bench helping out with their own little ball of dough and a small rolling pin.

My trick for the little picky people in my life is to put a bunch of mixed vegetables into a food processor and blitz. The blitzed vegetables can be stirred into some organic tomato paste with a pinch of salt and pasted liberally over the pizza base and topped with grated cheese.

The pizzas look deceptively vegie free but are filled with all the sneaky goodness of kale, capsicum, mushrooms and carrot.

For a quick and easy pizza base recipe, try this one from taste.com.au.

The Summer of the ZucchiniAt the start of summer we planted a number of zucchini seedlings along the back of our yard and it wasn’t long before they’d taken over half our garden and we were reaping over a kilo of zucchinis a day. For months we had so much zucchini we couldn’t even give them away (I am continually amazed by the food we manage to produce with our neglectful gardening style.) In the last month our ‘crop’ began to slow and we think we picked our last zucchini the other day. You know zucchinis have become part of the family’s psyche when your 4-year old son starts to produce artworkΩ involving vegetables.

Roar Sweetly tips for growing zucchinis

  • Plant in full sun.
  • Leave loads of space between seedlings because these babies will grow like you can’t imagine. They’ll produce dinner-plate sized leaves and football sized zucchinis.
  • Water frequently in the early stages…then forget about them.
  • Try to pick the zucchinis when they’re slender, delightful things… before they morph into ginormous marrows (see below).

Gwyneth Paltrow CookiesI’m a little ambivalent about Gwyneth Paltrow, but I’m really starting to love her mum. These gorgeous cookies are a creation of Gwyneth Paltow’s mother and they feature in her cookbook My Father’s Daughter. They’re all the the things you would expect of a Gwyneth Paltrow recipe…sugar free, nutritious and healthy, but what suprised me was that they actually tasted like real cookies! So many sugar free recipes have a strange texture and taste, but these are just lovely.

The recipe is everywhere online if you google Lalo’s Cookies. I quarter the recipe because there’s no need for such a huge quantity of biscuits in my house, and they do start to soften after a day and lose their crunchiness. I am very fortunate to be in supply of lovely homemade jam from an aunty so I use real jam in the recipe which makes them extra special. I think little carob buds would be great also.

Lalo’s Cookies (Recipe Quartered)

Ingredients

1 cup barley flour
3/4 cup raw whole almonds crushed in a food processor (about ten 2-second pulses)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup
Your favourite jam

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Combine all the ingredients except for the jam together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
  • Form into tablespoonful balls and space them evenly on cookie sheets.
  • Using your index finger, make an indent in each cookie. Fill each indent with a small spoonful of jam.
  • Bake until the cookies are evenly browned, about 15 or so minutes.
  • Let cool before eating.

Lalo Collage

 

A Particular Shade of Blue There’s a lot of fun you can have with a tester pot of paint from a hardware store. This particular blue is called Dulux Tropical Haven and it has a great retro look about it. I used it to revamp a few plain wooden items including a foot stool, rolling pin and old cigar box turned jewellery box. I put a light spray of clear gloss over the finished paint to seal and harden it. It really is a cheap and cheerful way to give everyday items a new lease on life.

Dulux Tropical Haven

Make Great

Make Great

Last month I took the plunge and started a self-hosted blog on presentation design to compliment my professional work. I’d love you to pop by for a visit at makegreat.com.au.

Starting a self-hosted blog has been quite a learning curve. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • It’s great to have a proper website address and building it up this way gives you loads of new skills.
  • You have much more control over the aesthetic elements of your blog…but there’s a huge amount of technical skills required to achieve even the smallest things (thank goodness for my husband).
  • It’s quite a lonesome world outside the wordpress community, with no ready-made audience to embrace you!
  • It’s been a juggling act wearing two blogging hats and trying to switch hats when commenting on different blogs. So for the most part I haven’t been commenting but have still very much enjoyed reading everyone’s blog updates in my reader!

BookI’m still on my journey and Make Great is a long way off looking the way I want it to look. I would definitely recommend The Creative Person’s Website Builder by Alannah Moore if it’s something you’re considering.

If you’re interested in presentation design or just like to look at animal pictures, I’ve uploaded my first slide deck to Slideshare and have had a surge of views thanks to the very kind endorsement of Chiara at Tweak your Slides. I’ve included my slide deck at the end of this post.

Oh and there will be more Roar Sweetly posts coming soon!

Happy Halloween

Halloween

Vintage Sacrilege

Vintage Sacrilege [ˈvin-tij ˈsa-krə-lij]

n.

1. The violation or injurious treatment of a mint-condition vintage item.

I love all things vintage, however it’s recently occurred to me that some of the behaviour I exhibit towards my vintage collection may be a little less than admirable. Today, in the spirit of honesty, I reveal my top six acts of vintage sacrilege.

1. Cutting up vintage sheets to make fabric tape for gift wrapping.Fabric Tape

2. Ordering vintage Thunderbird 3 online for my son to tear open the packaging and use as a…toy. Vintage Thunderbird

3. Drilling holes into the bottom of tin kettles to convert into plant holders.

Vintage Kettles

4. Bedecking my toddlers’ beds in beautiful vintage quilt sets (not injurious but high risk).Vintage Childrens Bedding5. Dismembering vintage atlases in the name of craft.

Vintage Atlas Hearts

6. Dismembering vintage dictionaries, and other vintage books, in the name of craft. Vintage Book CraftThere…I’ve fessed up.

My deepest apologies to any lovers of vintage offended by this post.

Carrot and Apple Ice BlocksSeveral years ago I attended the Newtown festival on an incrediblly hot day and was blown away by a stall selling 100% pure fruit ice blocks. I immediately went home to experiment with my own version. After a little trial and error I realised that the secret to making a good ice block was to create a mixture that doesn’t ‘separate’ as freshly juiced fruit is prone to do. The trick I came up with was to puree the fruit to mix with vegetable juice. This ‘fluffs’ up the mixture and creates lovely even ice blocks. With the warmer weather upon us, I thought I’d share my simple instructions for homemade ice blocks. These are pure wholesome goodness and the kids love them. The only drawback is the amount of equipment you need in comparison to your available bench space, but it’s well worth the time and mess to stock your freezer for summer.

Carrot and Apple Ice Block CollageEquipment Needed

Juicer

Steamer set

Food Processor

Ice Block Moulds (these are a few dollars in K-mart or discount variety stores)

Ingredients

2-3 Carrots

4-6 Apples

1/4 cup of water

Instructions

1) Peel and chop apples.

2) Steam apple pieces on stove-top until soft (approx 15 minutes)

3) Place apple pieces in a food processor and blitz until thick and smooth. Set aside.

4) Juice carrots.

5) Combine pureed apple with carrot juice. Add water to dilute a little.

6) Pour into ice block moulds and freeze.

Makes approx 6-8 ice blocks depending on the size of your moulds.

Cool Bath Toys for Kids

Bath ToysWhale Shark, Tiger Shark, Hammerhead Shark and Mackarel Shark.

Beats a rubber duck.

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