garden, In The Garden, Veggie garden

In The Garden… Zucchinis Anyone?

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Hello! Would you like some zucchinis? I currently have three in my fridge ready to eat. Do you need more? Well, there is five more growing as we speak!

Say hi to my first zucchini harvest. What do you think? I am pretty pleased with my zucchini. After trying to grow zucchini before and to end up with just failures, I think this is a great first success!

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Everything in the veggie garden has something growing. The plants are either flowering or starting to grow their edible goodies.

My beans are getting to be a good length for harvesting.

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I have started to cover the young fruits on the apricot and peach trees with net bags. Even though the fruit is still green, the possums would come and eat it. One year the possums had destroyed nearly all of the fruit. I can tell you that I was very peeved that year!

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I have finally replanted my strawberry plants into their new home.

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And my blackberry and loganberry bushes are beginning to produce bunches of yummy goodness.

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How is your veggie garden going? Do you have anything that is starting to produce some yummy goodness?

I would love to see or hear about what you have in the garden. All you need to do is just have a chat in the comment section below or add your garden post link, and we can pop on over and have a look.

You can also join in with me via Instagram. You can just share your garden photos and tag using #_inthegarden_

Happy gardening and enjoy your weekend x

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Capturing life, Photography

Five Day Black And White Photo Challenge

Last week on Instagram I was nominated by the gorgeous Dee @wildaboutmelbourne to take part in the Five Day Black and White Photo Challenge. I excitedly accepted!

Here are my five photos for the Five Day Black and White Challenge:

Day One ~ I took this when we were at The Motorclassica 2014 at the Royal Exhibition Building.

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Day Two ~ Healesville Train Station. Imaging what these tracks would have carried so many years ago.

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Day Three ~ My daughter loves her Converse shoes.

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Day Four ~ An old driveway between two buildings in Maldon. A beautiful place to visit.

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Day Five ~ Enjoying the inside charm of the H&M store in Melbourne.

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On the fifth day, you then get to nominate someone else for the Five Day Black and White Photo Challenge. I nominated Sarah @chantillefleur. She takes amazing photos and captures the wonderful things that happen around her farm.

It was a fun Instagram challenge to join. I love seeing photos in black and white. It sometimes changes the way you see that photo.

Do you have any photos captured in black and white?

Happy snapping!

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Baking, Cakes

Magic Cake

Magic Cake (1)

I have always wanted to try this cake. When I look through Pinterest, I would sometimes see this Magic Cake recipe pop up from time to time. So I pinned it to my big cake board. I wanted to give this recipe a go as I was wondering how it would turn out. It has been called a Magic Cake for a reason, so I needed to find out why.

Here is the recipe that I used to find out what the magic was!

Magic Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks from whites)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 125 g butter, melted
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • icing sugar for dusting cake
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan forced. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish.
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg white and set the egg yolks aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  4. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla essence and continue beating mixing. Then you can add the flour and mix until all combined.
  5. Slowly add in the milk and gently beat until everything is well mixed together. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 40 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. Check the cake after 40 mins as every ovens cooking time is different.
  7. Once the cake is ready take out of the oven to cool.
  8. When ready to serve sprinkle some icing sugar over the top.
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
This recipe was adapted from Jo Cooks

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After an hour of baking, I pulled the cake out of the oven and set it aside to cool. I was waiting with anticipation to see what had formed while cooking. Afternoon tea came around, and it was time to cut this cake up. I cut a few slices, and it looked pretty good. There we found what the magic cake did. While the cake is baking, a base and a custard filling form finished off with a moist cake on top. That is the magic!

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The verdict: my hubby and I loved it. It was lovely eating it with our coffee. The three layers were nice especially the custard. The kids however didn’t like it as much. Their words were: “We like the cake top bit, but the custard tastes like scrambled egg”. I have to say that the custard layer does have a strong egg taste, and I think that is because you are using four eggs. It still tastes lovely though.

I found the cake easy to make, and I will be making this again, much to the kid’s delight. I also would like to try these different variations, Lemon Magic Cake and Chocolate Magic Cake. I might win the kids over with the Chocolate version! The Chocolate Magic Cake recipe coming soon…

Have you ever tried making a Magic Cake?

Happy baking!

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Christmas, Holidays

Christmas Already?

Yes, it’s Christmas already! I love Christmas; I do. But sometimes I’m not so sure when we start seeing the Christmas decorations galore in October. Why do they need to be in the shops in the month of October?? I remember when I was little and not seeing anything Christmasy until the first week of December. That’s right December!! The year goes fast enough. I don’t want Christmas in October. I want Christmas in December. It belongs in December.

I have found that keeping myself from enjoying the Christmas goodies until December; there is nothing good left to buy. I have tried to hold back and wait, but it’s no good. I needed to buy tinsel a couple of years ago to decorate the outside table. It was two weeks into December. I headed off to the shops and started searching. Well, there was nothing left. I love the big thick tinsel. I wanted red and green, the traditional colours. Did I find any? No. I had to use the thin falling apart tinsel that I had at home in the just in case decorations box.

So after that bad Christmas decoration experience, I have had to succumb to buying my decorations early. If you want the good stuff, you need to get in quick. Sometimes you get lucky, and the shops start their sales on the Christmas goodies in November and you can get some good bargains. But at times I don’t wait for the sales and buy early. If I see something good and I can afford it, I just buy it.

We received the Kmart catalogue the other day, and it was full of Christmas goodies. I have put together a little board to show you eight pretty Christmas things. I might just have to go and check it out. Yes, I am going to buy my decorations early!!

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Christmas Wreath with Berries 45 cm   $10.00 (aus)

Christmas Print Cushion – Robin   $10.00 (aus)

Ceramic Reindeer Lantern   $8.00 (aus)

Silver Tinsel Tree 90 cm   $5.00 (aus)

Snow Scene in Jar – Deer in Christmas Forrest   $6.00 (aus)

Stackable Christmas Doll Set   $8.00 (aus)

Woven Christmas Star   $8.00 (aus)

Glass Drink Jar with Straw   $2.00 each (aus)

I think there is quite some good stuff there and priced reasonably well. Just remember if you want to purchase any of it, get in early!

How do you feel about Christmas? Do you think the Christmas decorations are in the shops too early?

Happy Early Christmas shopping!

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P.S This isn’t a sponsored post. I just wanted to share with you a little Christmas goodness. And maybe I might just be buying some of these myself xx

 

 

 

 

 

Product reviews

Lucky Smart Snax Review with a giveaway

Ok, I love eating nuts (and I’m not being rude here!) Nuts are one of my favourite snacks. I don’t think that there is any type of nuts that I don’t like. A handful of nuts is a nice little snack that you can have any time of the day. And sometimes I mix it up a bit and add some dried fruit, sultanas and dried cranberries come on over!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to receive a sample of the Lucky Smart Snax range. Boy was I excited to see all the different assortment of nuts and dried fruits. I wanted to open every single packet and start trying them straight away. I withheld but once the kids saw all of these goodies they were opened and indulged in! I am very happy that my kids love nuts too as they are a full of nutritional goodness and are a delicious snack choice.

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The popular range of nut snacking mixes, Lucky Smart Snax have been re-launched in the Dried Fruit & Nut aisle. The Lucky Smart Snax range has been extended to include six products – all of which have been specifically formulated to meet individual needs.

Here are the six yummy Lucky Smart Snax packets, opened, eaten, photographed and eaten some more:

Lucky Smart Snax Power – Oven Roasted Peanuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts and Dark Chocolate. Gives a boost of natural energy.  The mix of oven roasted peanuts, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts combined with dark chocolate make this a perfect snack to help you power through each day.

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Lucky Smart Snax Cardio – Almonds, Sultanas, Cranberries and Blueberries. Is a delicious mix of natural almonds and berries – to keep you pumping through each day.

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Lucky Smart Snax Womens – Cashews, Almonds, Brazil Nuts and Walnuts, a source of Vitamin E, iron and good monounsaturated fat, as well as calcium, folate and selenium.

luckynuts3Lucky Smart Snax Recovery – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews and Pepitas. Is a good source of protein, a vital nutrient that is important for body systems, growth, muscle development and recovery from exercise.

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Lucky Smart Snax Low Carb – Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Pepitas, Almonds and Walnuts. Is a tasty mix of nuts and seeds that is perfect for people watching their intake of carbohydrates.  Nuts and seeds are one of nature’s super snacks and fit perfectly in a balanced diet.

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Lucky Smart Snax Digestive – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Cranberries, Sunflower Kernels and Pepitas. Is a source of dietary fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive system.

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Look at all those delicious nuts and dried fruit! Now I can tell you that I have sampled every packet, and (ahem) not just once. I loved each and everyone! And all of them were a favourite with the kids too.

At home I like us all to have a snack sometimes on some nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I find that they are a perfect way to fill in the in-between mid-meal snacking because they are all packed with nutritional goodness, and they taste great. Lucky Smart Snax are the smarter way to snack!

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If you would like to see the Lucky Smart Snax range, you can find more information on their website: http://www.luckynuts.com.au/our-products/lucky-smart-snax.html

You can also find them being sold at Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets – IN THE DRIED FRUIT & NUT AISLE (near the sultanas and the other Lucky nut baking products).

RRP:  $4.99 each

But before I go, I have some great news that Nuffnang and Lucky Smart Snax have given me 1 x Lucky Smart Snax hamper which includes the whole range – 6 products to giveaway.

All you need to do to be in the running for these yummy super snacks is answer this question:

“Which Lucky Smart Snax product would be your favourite and why?”

Leave your answer in the comment section below by Midnight on Thursday 20th November 2014 for your chance to win.

The winner will be contacted by email after the closing date. This giveaway is open to Australian Residents Only.

This competition has closed.

Good luck!

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Baking, Cakes, Recipes

Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes

Nutella is a pantry staple in our house. I always hope that the kids will want it on toast for breakfast so I can grab a spoon and start eating it. Once I get the taste I can’t stop. But don’t worry I do stop after I have licked the fifth spoonful!

This recipe of Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes is a favourite and of course I love it because it has Nutella in it.

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Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cupcakes
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 teaspoons Nutella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan forced. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. There are two ways for preparing these: Option 1: Scoop a spoonful of batter evenly into the muffin tray. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into the center of each cup. Top with remaining batter to completely cover the filling. Or Option 2: Scoop the batter into each of the muffin liners. Drop 1 teaspoon of Nutella into the centre of each cup. Then using a tooth pick or cake skewer swirl the cupcake batter over the Nutella. You just need to cover it up a little bit. This will give you a Nutella swirl effect on top.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
This recipe was adapted from Damn Delicious

 Look at all those yummy teaspoonfuls of NutellanutellacakesTo get the Nutella swirl effect on top, you can use a toothpick or cake skewer and swirl the cake batter over the Nutella
nutellacakes2 nutellacakes1 nutellacakes3A centre of choccie goodness!
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These cupcakes are easy to make and taste nice warm. The texture is lovely and moist. I don’t know how long they will stay fresh for as these are all gone within two days.

Do you have a favourite recipe that uses something for a yummy centre?

I have enjoyed sharing this recipe with you so much so that I am going to head into the kitchen and make these again!

Happy baking,

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Happy

5 Things To Make You Smile

Around Basil and Chook today, I’m sharing 5 things to make you smile…

1. doglove

2. awwww-moment-with-the-new-puppy

3. puppy-dreams

4. sweet-bull-terrier-pup

5. doglove1

What is making you smile today?

I hope you are having a happy Monday!

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