Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

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Why you need a morning routine

Hello my lovelies,

There is no doubt about it.  People who consistently stick to a morning routine are more successful.  There have been various studies that prove this.   But how does a morning routine make you more successful?

A morning routine, or lack thereof sets to the tone for the day.   A good morning routine sets the tone for a day where you are in control.  Basically, you want to drive your day instead of letting your day drive you. Think about it.  On those days where you’ve woken up late and your usual morning ritual has gone out of the window it’s been chaos.  You’ve been late for work, you didn’t have time for breakfast, you got stuck in traffic… see? Chaos!

But imagine a day where you wake up, get dressed (you showered the night before) and have a cup of coffee in the quiet before your kids wake up. You unpack the dishwasher ready for the breakfast dishes later and start breakfast before the kids come running through.  While the kids eat breakfast, wipe the counters, take out the recycling, feed the dog and get a load of laundry on. Dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher.  While the kids get dressed, make the beds, take out something from the freezer to defrost and do a quick 5 minute tidy of the main living areas. By the time you leave the house, you’ve gotten quite a bit done, leave the house in a decent state for later and you feel in control.  Go Mom!

Before the school holidays started I decided to make these 6 weeks count.  I have been working on various techniques in order to get my home looking good, staying motivated and basically, training myself to spend as little time as possible cleaning on the weekends.  I can’t tell you have having a simple morning routine, especially during the school holidays is making life simpler.  I didn’t normally have a routine for the Summer.  But maintaining what I do during term time during the summer holidays means that by 8:30, I can go out for the day with my daughter and come home to a clean, peaceful home.

If you don’t have a morning routine, now is the time to start thinking about creating one. this is my morning routine:

Get up and make the bed

Make coffee (I don’t have to unpack the dishwasher because I did it before I went to bed)

Make breakfast and eat.  Take our vitamins

Tidy up after breakfast (dishes go straight into the empty dishwasher)

Take out meat for dinner to defrost

Laundry on

Quick tidy of the main living areas

While I’m in the bathroom after brushing my teeth, I swish the toilet bowl with the toilet brush, wipe down the mirror and basin with a bathroom wipe.

Boom!  You’re all set for your day. The kitchen is clean.  Laundry is on.  Dinner is defrosting. The bathroom is clean. The main living areas are tidy.  Your kids have been feed and are dressed.

Now that my routine is more established, I plan on working some personal development into my day.  So perhaps, wake up a few minutes earlier for some meditation with my coffee.  This part is going to take a while to establish because I can’t even think before my first hit of caffeine but I’ll work on it.

Get yourself into a morning routine and see how well your day goes.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

Family Command Centre

Hello my lovelies,

Today I wanted to share my Family Command Centre with you.

For the longest time, I have been struggling with keeping my household running smoothly.  I am one of those people who needs to have a plan. So I’d scribble my to do list on a piece of paper along with my grocery list which I’d lose in the course of the morning.  Then there would be letters about hospital appointments and notices about school trips that I would need to action. Those would get dumped in a pile somewhere I wouldn’t be able to lay my hands on them when I needed them.

You see, my problem stemmed from perfectionism. I wanted a Pinterest worthy home before I could organize it. I wanted everything to be like a House and Home magazine before I could create a system that works for me. And I realized that these were just yet more excuses!  I could stay unorganized  and anxious or I could live and work with what I have and feel less stressed.

So, I pulled my finger out and went shopping.  And after my hard work, this is what I came up with.

Again, excuse my horrid kitchen units. When I win the lottery, I’m going to replace them. For now, I’m stuck with making the best of it.

This is the side of my fridge. So, at Poundland I got this dry wipe board which I hot glued some magnetic strips so it sticks to the side of my fridge.  I got the striped pad at Pound World too. It came in a set of two – one for a grocery list and one for a to do. I cut it in half because I intended to use this ‘Fresh out of’ grocery list instead.   In the corner, is the holder the keeps my little menu idea cards that go with my menu planner which I’ll show below.

The holder is just a paper bag that I got in a pack from Ikea that I just laminated and cut down to size and glued on a magnetized strip.

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This menu planner was an idea from one of Clutterbug’s Youtube videos and I adapted it to suit my needs.  I had the photo frame already and just made it pretty with some scrapbook paper that I got in The Works.  The little pegs were from Wilko.  I made the text on my computer and laminated the small meal ideas for longevity.

Underneath is my calendar – I have turned it over to a blank page for privacy sake.

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I used another dry wipe board and attached it with blue tack to the side of the Kallax unit that I blogged about yesterday.  This one is for my daughter’s chores and things she can help me with, or activities we are doing that day or just for little messages from me.

She also has a behaviour chart of things she needs to work on. It’s actually a magnetized chart but I didn’t want the front of my fridge to get cluttered up.  It’s a dry wipe magnetized board which is really useful because the things we work on can change as they need to.  At the end of the week, my daughter, having worked on the behaviour modifications gets to choose a little treat from the treat bag.   I’ll post in another post.

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Inside my Kallax unit I keep my control journal, my Christmas planner and this box file.  IMG_4126

There are tabs for each of us and this is really to keep all the paperwork that comes into the house in one place for when I need it. I usually write anything that needs to be diarized on the calendar but then the paperwork will be kept in this folder for easy reference. IMG_4125

Inside the cupboard next to my menu planner is this chores checklist of my morning and evening routines.  It’s in a plastic folder so I can tick off the list with a dry wipe marker.

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I’m so proud of this Family Command Centre.  I got almost everything from Poundland/Poundworld or used what I had.  It is cute and functional and while it’s not perfect I am embracing the wise quote, ‘Progress not perfection’ right now.  I feel like I am making major progress and my mind feels clearer and less anxious.

What does your family command centre look like?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

From doom and gloom to va va voom!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been a woman on a mission recently.  I have been watching loads of Youtube videos from some inspirational women who have been sharing their organizing and housekeeping tips and ideas. I’m totally hooked!

You see, for some reason if my home is messy and unorganized, I feel stressed.  And anxious.  And miserable.  And one thing I’ve learned in my life.  ‘Ain’t Mama happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  I’ve been feeling completely anxious in my home for years but haven’t known how to get my home in shape.  Not only that, I have been so trapped in my own anxiety and misery that I haven’t been able to do something more permanent about the clutter and craziness.   Of course, I’d open a wardrobe, see it in a mess, tidy it and next week it would be back to being a mess. I couldn’t understand why.  The answer, is mostly because

a) you can’t clean/tidy clutter

b) you gotta have a long lasting solution – not just refolding everything in the same way and hope that it will stay like that when it’s never stayed tidy before

So, watching these Youtube videos has been really motivating for me and is really helping me to see how I can improve the organization of my home. Not only so that I can keep it more tidy, but also so that it becomes easier for my husband and daughter to keep things tidy.  Another thing I am finding so refreshing and amazing is that I can now open a cupboard and lay  my hands on exactly what I need withing 30 seconds.  Life changing!  I’ll be sharing some of these organization pictures with you over the next few weeks but today I wanted to show you how we transformed a ghastly corner in our living room.

Our living room, dining ro om and kitchen are open plan. It’s basically a big L shape and up until a few weeks ago, we shared this space with my dirty little secret.  By this I mean, the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom.

It was just horrible.  So bad in fact, that I would chuck an old duvet cover over it just to hide the contents. I’m going to show you a picture, so you may want to sit down.

Are you ready?

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It was just plain nasty!  It was like a clutter magnet and sucked every bit of nasty clutter straight into it like a black hole. Something had to be done.  The problem was that in order to clear out this bookshelf, I needed to re-organize my kitchen cupboards and get rid of some stuff to make space for the things in the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom that we actually used.

So one morning, after a good bolstering of Youtube videos and motivation, I get down to work. We’d bought a Kallax unit from Ikea which one of my Youtube guru’s Clutterbug and I was determined to have it in my living room before the end of the day.

I’m not going to lie.  It took me the entire day!  And two trips to do the charity shop to donate items.  The ENTIRE day.  To sort my kitchen and set up this gorgeous unit. But it’s sooooooo much nicer and not only looks pretty but it’s so functional.

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Some of my glassware made it into the unit along with my Christmas planner – the striped file and my home control journal in the other folder along with a few recipe books we frequent.

The drawers contain all our hair supplies that we use every morning like hair brushes, ties, detangler and the hair dryer.  The second drawer keeps our stationery for homework.

The bottom drawer holds all our school homework aids, work books, dictionary/thesaurus etc. The bottom drawer on the right holds all my seasonally changed candle holders and other decorative knick knacks that I like to change around.

I am so happy with the way it came out!  Now when I see it, I feel almost zen like calm!  I go into the kitchen and can immediately find stuff.  It’s a homemade miracle!

Now you’ll have to excuse my kitchen cabinetry.  We are still renovating our house and the kitchen, while it has been rejigged using the existing cabinets, is still in need of a complete make over.  We’ve scrubbed the cupboards out but they’re still gross inside.

But look!

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When I open the plastic cupboard door everything doesn’t fall out on me!  It’s so liberating!  The blue plastic baskets were purchased years ago and were in the spare room holding crap we long since got rid of so they landed up in the plastic cupboard to corral everything. The plain white bin on the right was bought a few days ago at Poundland. I bought a whole stack and you will see how handy they are in later posts.

And I’ve just realised that I’ve stuck the labels for the blue baskets on the wrong baskets!  Nevermind!

This was our junk drawer. Excuse the crap picture.

IMG_3945You couldn’t close this drawer. It was shoved so full of rubbish. Now it has 4 little baskets – I got these in a set of 2 at Poundland – that hold our flashlights and lighters for the BBQ and my various candles.  The other little basket hold the electric toothbrush charger that we always charge on the kitchen counter for some reason.  We also keep batteries in another little basket (with zip lock bags to separate some rechargeable batteries that have been charged and some disposable batteries to be taken for recycling) and the last bin holds ties and pegs for open packages in the pantry.  It still looks messy but it’s organised mess and I can lay my hands on stuff in a second.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Now I could show you under the sink but it’s just more organizing really and nothing revolutionary.

But I wanted to show you this clever idea to help your kids feel more accomplished and give you a break.  My daughter is turning 7 this week and can quite easily make herself some squash or get herself a snack if she asks.  But she wasn’t able to do this because not only could she not reach the snacks/squash, she would have to  wade through the nightmare of a plastic cupboard to find her cups.  Well, no more!

She now has a little cupboard with her things in it.  She has her sports bottles and cups with the squash ready for her to use. And She has a basket of snacks that she can choose from if she asks.  She loves this idea and says she feels like a big girl.  Aw! Mommy heart melt moment!

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If you’re wondering where I found these fabulous labels that you can personalize, print off and laminate at home, check out Clutterbug’s website where she has them free to download.

Today I finished my Family Control Centre which looks fabulous!  I’ll show you that next time.

For now, just know that organizing like this takes time but it’s so rewarding when you feel less stressed.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Sugar free spiced apple ice tea

Hello my lovelies,

I’m trying to cut sugar free fizzy drinks from my diet and let me tell you it’s really difficult!  Especially since I’ve got my coffee consumption to just one a day.  I mean, I like water but it’s getting really boring and I’ve been craving something a little tastier to drink while at work.

Enter, my recipe for Sugar free spiced apple ice tea!

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It’s low carb, sugar free and deliciously refreshing! What more could you ask for in a Summer drink?

The recipe is basically the same as my ultimate southern sweet ice tea just sugar free.

This recipe will make approximately 1 litre of base tea.   To make up a jug of iced tea, you will need to add 750ml of icy cold water to 250ml of the cold base tea.  If the base has just been made and is still warm but you’d like to make up a batch of iced tea for later, add 750ml of cold water to 250ml of the warm base sweet tea and refrigerate for about 4 hours.  Overnight is better, I’m told.

To make the tea base you will need:

  • 1 litre cold water (more for topping up)
  • 6 Spiced apple teabags
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 100g of Truvia

Place 1 litre of water on to boil. Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat and dump in your tea bags and let them steep for about 15 minutes.  Add the lemon juice.

Remove the tea bags and discard.  Pour in the Truvia and stir to completely dissolve.

Pour into a bottle and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before placing in the fridge. Don’t ever put hot stuff straight into your fridge.

I’ve filled my large water bottle and it’s in the fridge ready and waiting to go to work with me.

Can’t wait!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Basic Pikelets

Hello my lovelies,

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Today I wanted to share one of my family’s favourite breakfasts.   We’re creatures of habit and usually have things like over easy eggs with toast fingers, cereal or toast with some sort of spread – all of which are super easy to make in the morning.  When I am not too tired, I’ll make up a batch of pikelets the night before and freeze half the batch.  If any pikelets aren’t used for the next day’s breakfast I’ll simply pop them in the fridge for snacks or for breakfast over the next few days.  This recipe is super quick and easily doubled for the freezer.

150g self-raising flour

55g caster sugar

1/4t bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk to make these dairy free for DD)

1t white vinegar

15g melted butter (or dairy free spread)

Place the flour, sugar and bicarb in a bowl and mix together well.  Make a well in centre into which you will crack the egg.  Add the milk, vinegar and melted butter and combine until smooth.  I like to use my hand mixer to do this but it’s easily done with a good old fashioned wooden spoon.

Heat your frying pan, and lightly grease it with a little oil that you spread around with a piece of kitchen towel.  The pan should not be dripping in oil. You need surprisingly little oil and probably won’t need to re-grease the pan again unless you have doubled the recipe.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan from the tip of the spoon to make nice round pikelets.  Allow room in the pan for spreading.

When bubbles start to form, but just before they burst turn the pikelets with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Slide the cooked pikelets onto a plate, cover with a clean tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.

We serve our pikelets with different spreads depending on our mood.  Sometimes we’ll have them with some butter /dairy free spread and strawberry jam or with syrup and blueberries.  DD’s favourite combo is dairy free chocolate spread and sliced strawberries. Don’t know it until you’ve tried it. Pure heaven!

As always, if you try my recipe, please let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x