Posted in Kai - Recipes

Feel Good Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup

There is something so comforting about a hot bowl of nourishing soup,  it’s soul food.  Cheap and filling you can feed the whole whanau for under $5 bucks! There’s a new spudshed which has just opened it’s doors and it is splendid! If you know me you know I love a good bargain. So our latest shopping trip resulted in the ultimate pumpkin score, large whole pumpkins for 99cents a pop – that sucker was in our trolley faster then you could say FREE spuds! Which they were also giving away yes…for FREE. (Spudshed I heart you!)

Naturally, with the weather starting to cool down and the days starting to get shorter soups will definitely be featuring more on the whanau menu. This recipe is super fast and easy. I like to add a lot of spices + herbs to the soup for extra punchy flavour.

Ingredients

Pumpkin
Butter
Onion
Chicken stock or stock cubes
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Cumin
Dried Coriander
Tumeric
Curry Powder

Chop onion, clean and peel pumpkin. Melt butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Once the onion is cooked through add in the different spices + herbs – please add to taste, about a teaspoon of each to about half a large pumpkin. If you like more of a specific spice then add more. I especially love coriander in this recipe so I tend to add a bit extra, but each to their own.

Once the spices are fragrant add the pumpkin and toss to coat in the spice mix. Add chicken stock, cubes (or vege stock) and water making up enough liquid to cover the pumpkin. Once pumpkin is cooked allow to cool, then simply strain and place pieces into a blender. Reserve the liquid in the pot. Blend the pumpkin adding stock to the puree until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need all the liquid, it is up to you to add how much you want depending on the thickness of the soup you are after. If you don’t own a blender you can also go old skool and mash the pumpkin by hand adding the stock a little at a time. You can also use one of those stick blenders but we aint fancy! You already know…

Add the soup back to the pot to re-heat and keep warm. Season with salt and pepper. It’s super hearty, thick and luscious on it’s own but if you are in need of some extra comfort factor stir through a splash of cream or a couple of table spoons of sour cream to make the soup rich and silky and sprinkle extra coriander on top. Serve with home made bread, scones or a crusty loaf. You can’t help but smile when you see your little ones tucking in to this dreamy soup, full of wholesome goodness knowing it is good for their lil puku’s. Ka pai!

Top tip: if peeling pumpkin is not “appealling” to you, cut the pumpkin into larger sections and boil till the skin has softened. Remove each piece and you should be able to scrape the skin off the pumpkin more easily. Chop into smaller pieces and continue cooking as above!

Posted in DIY Projects

2 Min Table Makeover

Transform a plain table in minutes using minimal supplies for a quick table refresh. The best part is you can keep transforming your table top time and time again!

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You will need:

Good quality wrapping paper

Scissors

Circular Table (I used a round table purchased from Kmart on sale for $19)

It is a tray top style table which is perfect to use as the edge keeps the paper in place without any need for glue or adhesive. This way you can swap out the decorative paper base every season if you wanted too!

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Simply take your paper (make sure it is wide enogh to cover the surface of the table in one whole piece) Press the paper into the edges of the table so you get a template of the area you are going to cover. Similar to how you would cut paper to line a baking tin. There are probably more precise ways of doing this using maths and a pencil but this is a 2 min table make over, seriously who has the time?!

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This technique will leave you with the impression of the table top, flip the paper over, start cutting until you are left with a large circle

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Place your circle of wrapping paper into the base of the table and you are good to go!

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Posted in DIY Projects

Marbled Paper

This is such a great messy activity for kids of all ages, perfect for a sunday afternoon when you have some free time on your hands. With a few household supplies let the kids create some impressive decorated paper that they can use for their own custom stationery or simply frame and enjoy!

You will need:

A large tray

A4 paper

Shaving cream

Food Colouring

Bamboo sticks for mixing colour

Ruler

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First and foremost this activity is MESSY! So make your surfaces are well protected or if it’s a nice day head outside to a nice open space.

  1. Begin covering the bottom of your tray with a thick layer of shaving cream.
  2. Dot a few drops of different coloured food dyes on to the top of your shaving foam.
  3. Using a bamboo skewer swirl and mix the design until you have a pattern you are happy with. The more you mix, the more diluted the colour will be so just a few quick movements should do the trick.
  4. Place your paper face down into the dish and press down so the underside of the paper is covered with the shaving cream mixture.
  5. Peel back the paper and place design side up. Using a ruler scrape and remove the coloured foam to reveal your patterned paper underneath. Clean away the excesss with some paper towel or scrape it back into the tray to be used again.
  6. Once this layer has been removed leave your paper to dry. Repeat until you have a stack of marvelous marbled paper ready to use for card making and other projects! No two designs are ever the same which makes every piece unique.

Tip: If your colours become muddy or you want to try some other colour combo’s, simply scrape away the top layer of foam in your dish and add in more shaving cream for a fresh surface to take your print from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Kai - Recipes

Banana Choc Chip Muffins

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When I was at school and we had a class trip or camp my Mum always supplied the best home baking. Chocolate cake and slices ahoy but one of my fav’s had to be her banana choc chip muffins. Now originally my Aunty T was the first to serve these up to our family, so I must give credit where credit is due. They can be served as is or split with extra butter. Still warm from the oven it is pretty difficult not to scoff the whole lot in one go! These are especially good for morning or afternoon tea and are a welcome addition to any lunch box or baking tin to have on hand for when guests call around for a cuppa. What I really love about the recipe is it calls for three mashed banana’s. In our household you can guarantee we will hardly ever get through a whole bunch of banana’s before they start to brown, as soon as they start to turn really dark I put them straight into the freezer. They are the best for baking in this state as they are so sweet and once thawed they mash really well giving a better texture than yellow eating bananas.

You will need

125 ml Oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 Bananas (Thawed if using frozen and mashed)
2 Tbl sp Milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour (I use whatever flour we have on hand, self-raising gives a spongy texture, while plain flour is denser – it just depends on what’s in the cupboard at the time)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup choc chips

Pre heat oven to 180c
Grease muffin tins
Mix oil + sugar together
Add eggs, mix well
Add mashed bananas
Stir baking soda into milk (if you can be bothered, you can warm the milk first and then add the baking soda – but I don’t find this essential)
Add to mix
Add remaining dry ingredients + choc chips. Mix until just combined.
Pour mixture into muffin tins

Cook for 45-50 mins or until golden brown and cooked through.
Tip the choc chips can be omitted if you are craving plain banana muffins, trust me they are just as delish! This mixture makes 12 jumbo muffins or 1 large cake if poured and cooked in a cake pan.

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Posted in DIY Projects

DIY Jewellery Organizer

These are my fav kinds of projects. The kind when you start out with a whole bunch of materials, no blue print or plan and then miraculously some way some how you end up with a finished product you love more then you could of imagined. This is how my brain works. Sometimes I have a clear objective with step by step details mapped out and sometimes I don’t. All I knew when I started was I had some pieces of styro-foam and cardboard to get rid of and that I wanted to make something practical for my daughter so she can display her most precious possesions. In doing so I was also hoping to show her first hand that beautiful things can be created from a few basic supplies and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

With a pretty vague design brief in mind I set to tinkering. I have wanted to make her a jewellery organizer of some sort for a little while but every DIY project online never seems to quite fit the look I like. I have seen people make them out of large frames and chicken wire, cutlery trays and even old cheese graters! They are all clever ideas but I really wanted something unique that really expressed my daughters unique style. So with all that in mind I set to tinkering.

Materials

  • Sturdy Cardboard
  • Styrofoam (polystyrene from packaging)
  • Paint (in fav shade)
  • PVA Glue
  • Tin Foil
  • Light wire hooks or paper clips
  • Wool

Using the cardboard to form the base I started by positioning the various pieces of styrofoam on top in various ways until I got a simple lay out I was happy with. I knew she would like the geometric shape of the triangle piece anyway (geo is all the rage apparently!) so I based the design around this piece. The rectangle pieces became shelves then I trimmed all the pieces to fit. Framing the top with a flat piece to balance the over all design. Then I set to gluing the pieces in place

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I completed this step in an afternoon then left the project to dry thouroughly – this also gave me some time to think about how to finish the project and also if there were any other elements that needed to be included. I added two lengths of string just under the frame to hang hook earrings and little knick knacks from. I tied these securely around the top piece of styrofoam before attaching it to the cardboard.

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The weekend rolled around and I decided to paint the entire piece in my daughters fav shade. I let that dry thoroughly also. Then I remembered a technique that I learned in highschool which is using tin foil to not only add a metallic finish, but you can also manipulte and shape it into coils which you can use to add embellishment and decoration. So once the paint was dry I covered the shelves with foil using pva glue. Then I covered the top border and shaped some simple koru patterns and glued these firmly into place. Again I let this dry to make sure everything was set and sturdy.

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Finally we pressed a few wire hooks into the top edge of the triangle piece of styrofoam for her necklaces and bracelets to hang from. We also shaped a few paper clips into an s-shaped hook as these turned out to be the perfect fit for the end piece of the triangle. I braided some wool and threaded it through two holes in the top of the organizer on both sides so it could easily be hung on the wall. Ready to display everything near and dear to a young girls heart!

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And what do you know – success!! It turned out better than I imagined but more importantly we have one happy tween on our hands that has seen with a few supplies and a bit of imagination something unique and useful can be created from bits & pieces destined for the trash heap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIY Projects

Tinsel Square

Having recently moved into our new home we have had to purchase some new items like beds and furniture and a few household essentials. But along with all of this new stuff comes a tonne of packaging, it’s overflowing from our garage. Western Australia has a fantastic recyclying system where each house is provided with two wheelie bins (sometimes three depending on your location.) One is for general household waste and is collected weekly, the second wheelie bin is for recycling which is collected fortnightly. Despite our best efforts we still have a truckload of cardboard piling up. So I have set our family a challenge – to turn this trash into treasure!

Christmas is just around the corner so what better excuse is there to get all kinds of crafty?! At first my request was met with moans and groans and cries of “can’t we just buy stuff like normal people” but I am hopeful that by the time the big day rolls around they will have a new appreciation for re-using, re-purposing and re-cycling, and hopefully a new appreciation for creating!

Our walls are pretty bare as we are waiting for all of our sentimental belongings, pictures and art work to be shipped over. But in the mean time we still want to create a homely feeling and a festive mood. We needed something to fill some wall space in our lounge – hence this tinsel tastic creation.

You will need:

  • cardboard
  • tinsel
  • pva glue
  • brush or sponge (to apply glue)
  • string or wool (to hang your creation)

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Start by cutting your cardboard to the desired size and shape depending on the wall space you wish to fill. I cut my cardboard into a large square.

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Get gluing! Paste your cardboard with pva in a straight line then press your tinsel carefully onto the glue. Hold for a few seconds to make sure it’s secure.

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Follow along with another strip of glue then loop the tinsel around to cover the cardboard, press and hold in place as before.

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Continue until all of your cardboard base is covered. If there are any gaps or spaces where the tinsel is a bit thin, use any remaining scraps of tinsel to fill in theses spaces attaching with a little more glue. Once you are happy with the fullness, leave for a couple of hours to dry. Attach string to the underside of the cardboard ready to hang. I cut two small  holes in either side of the cardboard and threaded string through both of these, knotting + tying in the centre so that once hung the string wouldn’t be visible, making for a cleaner finish.

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I really love how this turned out, it reminds me of a sparkly korowai or cloak. Apart from the drying time this project is so fast and an awesome way to get the kids involved. My daughter was impresssed with the finished result and we discussed how, if you were to make one on a larger scale it would be a perfect New Years photo back drop. Who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle? With the variety of coloured tinsel available you could colour co-ordinate to match any theme.

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Posted in Kai - Recipes

Pickled Radish

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Today was a very special day! We got to celebrate my sisters birthday. The last time we celebrated a birthday togther she had just turned 22 which was six years ago so this occassion was extremely significant and symbolic. Being our first dinner guest in our new house, we were amped + excited to have some good company!! The kids wanted to help cook a special lunch which included chicken korma, rice, steamed broccoli, papadams + home made garlic naan bread.

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We also had chocolate bday cake and strawbs with choc sauce for dessert. It was truly delicious and a beautiful way to enjoy the afternoon.

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One of the sides we decided to serve was pickled radish slices. I’ve always been interested in pickling, preserves + chutney making. I love how families pass down secret recipes and pantries get stocked with jars of goodness ready to be used over the coming months – call me old skool, nostalgic even. But what I truly appreciate is it’s such a practical and economical way to use excess seasonal produce and a way to make the most of what’s available. I love the idea of taking something humble and turning it into something next level. So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this bunch of radishes for $1.99 @ our local spudshed.

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Previously I wouldn’t of exactly called myself a radish fan, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I would do with all 27 of them but for that price, it was a challenge I was willing to take on. Cue my new obsession – pickled radish

It is so easy you will kick yourself for not having tried it sooner, and if like me you are not a fan of raw radish and find the flavour quite intense this pickle will definitely mellow it out.

You will only need a few basic basic ingredients including:

  • vinegar 1/2 cup (white) however here I’ve used apple cider
  • sugar 1/2 cup
  • salt 1 tsp
  • pepper corns (optional) 1 Tblsp
  • and the star of the show radish! Approx 2 cups sliced

 

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First wash then slice the radish into thin slices discarding the ends and tops. Keep the slices slightly thicker if you want a bit of crunch.

Then you can make your pickling liquid. It’s equal parts vinegar and sugar with a dash of salt. You can also add a few whole peppercorns for extra pep. I chose to leave out the pep this time round as I really wanted the bright white + red of the radish to pop when served to the table. Simply mix everything together until all the sugar is dissolved.

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Once it’s thoroughly mixed add in your radish slices, cover + chill – 8 hours or more would be ideal. But we only had a couple hours up our sleeve and this recipe still worked a treat so YOLO

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Keep covered in the fridge and consume within three days. Use in salads, on platters or in sandwhiches and burgers. But at this rate I think they will be long devoured by then!

Enjoy x