Looking back on ’13

2013 was a great year for me in many ways – I graduated AND got married! – but there were lots of sad and stressful times too.  I’m looking forward to this year being a little more quiet and easy-going, once we finally get settled!

Crafts – As I always do, here is a look back at the crafts I got through in the last 12 months:

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1. Andrew’s T-shirt blanket
2. Crochet hexagon blanket (still in progress)
3. Puppy jumper
4. Bec’s T-shirt blanket
5. T&A sign for the head wedding table
6. Wedding invitations
7. Origami flowers – about 200 of them!
8. Wedding table centrepieces – all the jars were decorated with cut-outs, ribbons, sheet music and candles
9. Red shirt refashion
10. Travelling leaves scarf
11. Travelling leaves hat
12. Knitted Christmas tree

Food – I didn’t do a lot of exciting cooking last year while I was living with my parents, but I have a few new favourite recipes that I tried out that I’ll be sharing with you soon.

Reading – I read a pitiful 4 BOOKS. That’s terrible for me! I blame it on the distracting TV in my room!  2014 is already better, but more on that next time.

Wedding – It’s all over, and it feels like it was a really long time ago!  My hands still feel like they need to be making flowers, and I still check my emails more often than I should expecting to hear from vendors, but that will lessen over time! If you haven’t already, go and have a look at some of the photos.  I’m well and truly over weddings now!

Life – Being away from Mr EP for the bulk of the year was a strange feeling, but thanks to Skype we were able to talk almost every night.  A couple of days after graduating we headed to Melbourne for Bec’s wedding, and my parents went away on a Hawaiian cruise for their 30th wedding anniversary! But as well as those exciting times, my family went to 4 funerals last year, (including the minister who ran our pre-marriage sessions and said grace at our wedding – he was taken far too soon…) which really is 4 too many.

Blogging – My top posts for 2013 were Origami Flowers (still at number 1!), DIY Butterfly Sleeve Tunic, DIY Jewellery Cleaner, DIY T-shirt Blanket, and Apple-Cinnamon Pancake Muffins.  I’m excited about a new style for my blog for 2014, which is in the works!

Farewell ‘13 – bring it on (gently…) ‘14!

Trina xo

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Apple-Cinnamon Pancake Muffins

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Go and have a look at this pin, then come back.  Remember the picture? Now look again at the picture above.  Look like the same thing? The right answer is “kinda…. but no…”.  And you’d be right.

I saw the pin and thought it looked amazing, and I couldn’t wait to try it!  The problem with these kinds of pins is that I tend to ‘pin it now, read it later’, but still remember vaguely what was written about it.  One Saturday morning Mr EP came round for brunch and I thought I would try it out.  Unfortunately I don’t have internet at my house, so I had to go with what I remembered – half fill with batter and it will make this crater!

What I ended up with didn’t look all that flash, but it sure tasted good! I didn’t have any berries on hand but I had a couple of apples so I used that instead, and for the batter I just used the same batter I’ve always used for family pancakes, with a little extra vanilla.

If you want to have a go, here’s a little how-to of what I did:

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  1. Half-fill muffin pans with pancake mixture and pop in the oven.  I preheated it to 180 degrees C
  2. Thinly chop apples to bite size and mix well in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar – I think my ratio was 1tsp cinnamon to 2tsp sugar.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes until the liquid from the apples starts to build in the bottom of the bowl
  3. Cook the apples in a frying pan until tender, including all the yummy liquid
  4. Cook the pancake muffins until the spring back to the touch and are lightly browned
  5. Place on a place and then spoon the mixture on top, and drizzle some of the extra apple/cinnamon sauce from the pan

Looking back at the original pin (hindsight is 20/20, as they say!) it looks like I didn’t add enough eggs.  She also used a special muffin pan that is made from fiberglass and silicone, where mine is just silicone, so I’m wondering if that made a difference as well.  It didn’t quite form a crater, more like a little hole, but it was enough to collect the topping.  And as I said, it tasted really good, and that’s really all that matters – I’d definitely make it again!

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Have you tried this, or something similar? How did it work out for you? What’s your favourite brunch food?

I’ve been a fan of shortbread since the days of visiting my great-aunty – it was her go-to snack. Mixed with my favourite flavour, I can’t wait to try out this recipe!

Splash of Something

It’s summer. It’s hot. My poor little oven groans every time I feel the culinary call. “Again?” it says. “Can’t we just pop in a Christmas movie and snack on a pack of Oreos?”

“Oh, little oven,” I reply. “These are the days life lessons are made of. We must put in the effort, even when we feel zapped by the sun. No day should be wasted when lemons are near.” And so, with that, we bake.

Clearly the heat is causing hallucinations, as my frequency of communicating with kitchen appliances is decidedly less in the winter. But I suppose even in a heat-induced state, there is truth to be found in ye olde “When life gives you lemons” adage. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that summertime is lousy with lemons (and I mean lousy in the loveliest sense of the word). It must be nature’s way of reminding us that…

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P is for…

Mr EP and I have been doing this alphabet dating thing for a year and a half now, and its been great fun! We take it in turns drawing random letters, so we never know what’s coming next, and one of us plans a secret date starting with that letter for the other person.  So far we’ve had M (meal and moonlight walk), Z (Zirka Circus), Y (wanted to do yum cha but couldn’t find one, so we settled with another restaurant and played Y games instead), K (Keystone Restaurant), and Q (quesadillas and Buzz quiz games).

This time I drew the letter P.  My initial idea was to go out for a picnic to the gardens, but waiting for a nice enough day when we both had some free time was looking to be too far in the future!  When we were lucky enough to get a pancake/crepiere set as an engagement present, as well as enough store vouchers to buy ourselves a pasta machine, I had to put them to good use!

We used this MasterChef NZ recipe, although I halved it just to try it out – turned out to be a perfect amount for just the two of us.  We rolled the pasta out to setting 5 on the machine, though we’ve since tried it to setting 4 and it proved to be much better.

Pasta adventure!

We had to leave the pasta to rest until it had dried out a bit, so we had a starter of homemade pumpkin soup while we waited.  I also whipped up a quick basil pesto to serve with the pasta… second time was a charm – the first time I heated it too long in the microwave, and cooked it solid! The second time I just left it cold, and it heated up when mixed with the hot pasta.

Pasta adventure!

Result: Absolutely amazing! Such a different taste to store-bought pasta, and incredibly easy to make.  We then made amazing pancake-crepes for dessert, served with lots of maple syrup.

A perfect P dinner date with pumpkin soup, pesto pasta and pancakes! (I wanted to watch ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to top it off, but couldn’t get away with that one…)

Our next date is J…. I think Mr EP has a Japanese theme in mind – stay tuned!

Brownie in a mug!

As I was browsing Pinterest one night after dinner, I came across this pin, and it looked too delicious to resist!  You just put all the dry ingredients in a mug, add the water and oil, mix it up and cook it in the microwave for a minute or so!

Brownie in a Mug

(excuse my cellphone photos, I was too excited to find my camera!)

End result: a little undercooked, therefore deliciously gooey, at the very bottom, but overall – a great success! Definitely one to make again.  Its great that you can make single serves.  Super tasty with French Vanilla ice-cream!

Brownie in a Mug!

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Cola Chicken

This is one of my all-time favourite recipes to make, and it’s super easy! I found it in one of those ‘four ingredients’ cookbooks years ago.  Makes for really tasty leftovers too, if it lasts that long…

Cola chicken

Ingredients:

4-6 uncooked skinless chicken breasts
1 cup coke
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Cut chicken into bit-size pieces, and spread them out in the bottom of a large casserole dish
  3. Stir together coke, tomato sauce and soy sauce in a jug
  4. Pour evenly over the chicken in the dish.  Ensure that all the chicken is covered
  5. Cover the dish in foil and put in the oven for 45mins-1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly
  6. Serve with pasta – I prefer large spirals or penne but spaghetti works too

Modifications – it would probably be nice with some herbs mixed in with the sauces before you add it to the chicken, or you could stir through some cooked green veges before serving.

The ingredients sound very odd, but I guarantee if you try it you will love it!  The fizz gets cooked out of the coke, and the flavour of that with the sauces mix together really well.  The chicken comes out really juicy too 🙂

Enjoy! I’d love to know what you think if you try it!

Friday Four

(Same as Thursday Three only a day late….)

1. Life

  • My classes start back again next week so I’m enjoying my last few days of freedom, as my friend would say!  The house is being cleaned to within an inch of its life, there is absolutely no dirty washing anywhere, and today I’m treating myself to a little at-home spa which I’ll tell you more about in the coming weeks!  I’m actually really looking forward to starting study again though; I’m doing a double major this year with bass guitar and vocals, so its going to be super busy!

2. Crafts

  • I finished the brown log cabin blanket! Looking back at my Ravelry page for it, I realise that it took me exactly one year from cast on to cast off (with a lot of projects in between of course)! Photos and more details to come, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.
  • My first FO for the year was another baby surprise jacket, and since I found out another friend is pregnant, another one will be on its way soon!
  • I’ve started charity knitting for the Waikato hospital – so far I’ve made two and a half little preemie hats.  I can’t find the link to the pattern but they only take a couple of hours each so I should get a couple more done before classes start back.
  • Oh and by the way? My Molly disaster was salvaged – it makes a very nice cowl 🙂 Photos and more details to come.

3. Reading

  • I’m reading a book at the moment that my dad lent me called Betrayed by J. M. Windle, about tree huggers and people huggers in Guatemala.  Very interesting, although a little hard to get into at the start.
  • I’ve also organised my books around the flat so I know which ones I have still to read, there’s quite a few so I won’t be needing to go to the library any time soon.

4. Foods

  • I made my favourite chicken dish for dinner the other day, its called Cola Chicken. Sound intriguing? I’ll let you know the recipe next week!

Hope you’re all having a lovely day and keeping busy 🙂