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Foodporn Friday: Gruffalo Cake

Two weeks ago Destructaboy turned 3. He is a Gruffalo fanatic, knows both books by heart and I challenge you to try and skip a page at bedtime! He likes to tell everyone that he is the “Little Brown Mouse” so of course for his birthday I just had to make a Gruffalo cake.

My first fondant Gruffalo and Little Brown Mouse were left out one night to dry and when I got up the next morning the ants were feasting, so the ones on the cake were made the night before the party using fondant with some tylose powder added.

The cake is a zebra cake using my standard chocolate and vanilla cake recipes and the frosting was green buttercream made into grass with a grass icing nozzle.

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Foodporn Friday: Salted Caramel Walnut Slice

This is a family favourite that always seems to get eaten before I can get a photograph. This time I snuck a slice away before anyone caught sight of it (meaning of course I could also eat it in peace and quiet later too). What’s not to love about buttery shortbread layered with salted caramel!

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Salted Caramel Walnut Slice

Ingredients
250 g Butter, softened
100 g Sugar
100 g Cornflour
50 g Icing sugar
350 g Flour
1 can Caramel flavoured sweetened condensed milk
50 g Walnuts, chopped
1¼ tsp Salt
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 170C and line a 20×30 slice tin with nonstick baking paper.
  2. cream butter and sugar, add cornflour, icing sugar and flour. Mix together until it forms a ball.
  3. Divide the mixture in half, use one half to press it into the tin and place the other half in the fridge.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until just starting to colour. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. Mix salt into the caramel condensed milk and spread evenly over the cooled base. Sprinkle over the walnuts. Dice up the remaining dough and sprinkle evenly over the top.
  6. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. When cool, slice into squares and store in a biscuit tin.

That’s it. No more parties!

introvertAfter 3 parties in 3 days I am Christmas partied out. Which is too bad because we still have about 4 of these social gatherings still to go.

The thing most people dont know is that I am an introvert. I’m an anti-social little hermit. Definitely not a people person and whatever you ask me to do or attend, know that I’d really rather be reading a book. I manage to hide this and fake being an extrovert 5 days a week because my job requires it (and its something I can fake to the point where all the Myers Briggs and other tests say I am an extrovert – ha!), but its hard work.

So when I am expected to attend social gatherings after hours and fill entire weekends with them, well… I panic.

Right now, I’m scrambling to come up with a plausible excuse to skip this afternoons “festivities”.

I don’t do small talk. I don’t know what to say/do in social situations. I am almost 100% sure I come off as a stuck up bitch at parties (last night’s one being a particularly awkward evening for me). If someone wants to discuss the awesome book they just read, or the amazing place they’ve just visited then I am there with bells on! But this “space filler” stuff that passes for conversation has me stumped.

And its not because I’m shy. Far from it! I just don’t want to talk when I have nothing to say.

I am exhausted. So I am opting out. There is only 1 of these next 4 social things where I will be with people who know me and love me as I am so that is the only one I’ll be going to. The rest of this week will be filled with some nice quiet time (and cookies… always cookies).

I’ve been tagged in 11 Randomness…

Cyndi tagged me to take part in the 11 Randomness challenge and its good timing because I dont have much to blog about (or time to blog) lately.
First the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. Post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in your tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers YOU tag to answer.
5. Tell the bloggers you’ve tagged that they’re it.
6. Oh, and no stuff in the tagging section about “you’re tagged if reading this”. 

11 Random Things about myself
1. I am a plodder. I like things predictable.
2. Pinterest is my favourite place.
3. I loathe Blogger.com and if people weren’t my friends I’d unfollow their blogs just for using it.
4. I’ve lost 2kg’s, so only 5 more to go. Urgh.
5. I miss ice cream and chocolate sauce (see above).
6. I’d rather read a book than do anything else.
7. I loathe exercise.
8. I wish I didnt loathe exercise.
9. I’ll be finding a way to get rid of a few of my daughter’s birthday gifts.
10. I made it through leap year without proposing. Phew.
11. I’m completely tone deaf.
I’m answering Cyndi’s questions as well as my own, and if I’ve tagged you then you should too :P…
Cyndi’s questions:
  1. What is the movie you enjoy watching the most and why?
    The full monty. I like British movies, especially funny ones.
  2. Where is your favourite holiday destination?
    The Coromandel (or Bali)
  3. Coffee or Tea?
    Tea
  4. When you were at school, what was your favourite subject?
    Art & History
  5. What is the one thing you hope to achieve this year?
    Would like to do some renovation work on the house so we have a guest room
  6. What have you done / achieved (to date) that you are the most proud of?
    Getting through emigration in – mostly – one piece
  7. What did you like most about today?
    My 20 minute reading break for lunch. Being permanently employed again.
  8. What happened in 2011 that surprised you the most?
    Cant think of anything – I’m not easily surprised
  9. What is your favourite colour?
    To wear: Black
    To look at: Green, or Blue or Orange
  10. If we had to do something together today what activity would you choose for us to do?
    The Takapuna – Milford walk and then coffee and cake at the beach cafe
My 11 Questions:
  1. What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Getting pregnant. Staying pregnant. Emigrating.
  2. What is your dream job? I’d love to be a food critic. Or a travel writer.
  3. Who would you most like to have dinner with (dead or alive)? Nigella Lawson, if she cooks it.
  4. What did you do that got you into the most trouble at school? I was too much of a nerd to get into any trouble.
  5. Who is the most important person in your life? My family.
  6. What hobby would you take up if you had no time or financial limitations? Travel!
  7. What is your least favourite food? That you eat anyway. Chinese/Japanese food – but I avoid it where possible.
  8. What is the farthest you’ve travelled? From SA to NZ I think.
  9. Use five words to describe yourself. Level-headed, loyal, honest, smart, boring.
  10. What is your favourite song and why? I dont think I can pick one, I love music. Probably Anouk, Nobody’s Wife. Love angry chick rock.
  11. Where would you live if you could live anywhere? Thailand.
I tag:

The Happy Secret…

I saw a TED talk this week that I liked so much I thought I’d share it. Its well worth a watch but he has a few tips for a healthy life, and its all stuff we know but I needed a reminder!

1. 3 Gratitudes

2. Journaling

3. Exercise

4. Meditation

5. Random acts of kindness

The week in pictures

Its been a very eventful fortnight, here are the pics.

Destructaboy before the flight

Diva with her flying impression

Loving Fiji

Idyllic…

Destructaboy trying coconut

Swimming with dad

Me and the boy

Dinner on the beach

Sunset walks

The results of drinking the water?

Diva’s first day at school

Things I’m Loving This Week

Things I’m loving this week…

Good books, and having the time to read them.

My new bluetooth speaker that allows me to do this.

Spicy chai lattes.

Finding old videos of my kids… even if its a video of them having a tanty!

 

A very moody photo of me taken by DH – the first photo of me without one of the kids in a long time.

A day out climbing trees with girlfriends.

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Holiday happiness

Its back to work for me on Monday but its been a really good 2 weeks off. Here are a few pics from the holidays…

Opening presents on christmas day.

Watching tv with a favourite “aunty”.

Destructaboy’s first haircut.

The holiday reading material.

A little sunshine after a 2 hour walk on the beach.

The new chalkboard wall in the kitchen – after being gotten hold of by 3 girls.

The family.

Ice lollies on the deck.

Savouring the last bit of sunshine.

Me time?

I’ve been on leave for the last two weeks with the kids and for the last 3 days of my leave they will be going back to daycare. It was an accidental issue with booking but when I found out they were booked in these last few days I thought it’d be a good opportunity to have some time to myself to relax before going back to work.

So, day 1 and I’ve spent most of the day doing laundry, cleaning the house and organising to have our washing machine fixed…

I dont really know what I want to do. Its like after years of focussing on what the family wants/needs I dont really know what I want.

I’ve read my book (in the laundromat, a cafe and the library). And now I am at a loss. Maybe I’ll just keep reading!

What do you do if you get time alone?

 

Kids are far too honest sometimes

The Diva is at “that” age. You know, the one where they say absolutely everything that comes into their head. It has a way of keeping your ego in check…

We had the day she asked if I had a baby in my tummy because it was “still big”.

And recently, staring at me in the bath she said “Mum, if your milk is finished why are your boobs still big?”

WOO! Right?

Not quite, she followed it with “and Mum, why do they point down?”

*sigh*

I refrained from yelling “because of YOU and Destructaboy!”. But I thought it.

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