Thursday, April 28, 2011

Apple Cider Donuts (or is it doughnuts...)

There is nothing yummier than a nice hot donut and a warm drink on a cold winters day! I discovered some scrumptious doughnut recipes today on the Recipe Goldmine site.

This one particularly grabbed my attention; I haven't tried it out yet, and of course will be substituting the flour for a gluten free option,  but think this will be one to try out over the weekend! After I go hunting for a donut cutter tomorrow!

Makes: 20


1 cup apple cider
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Vegetable oil or shortening (for frying)

For Glaze:

2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup apple cider


Boil apple cider in small saucepan until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes; cool.

Beat sugar with shortening until smooth. Add eggs and mix well, then add buttermilk and reduced cider. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in another bowl. Add to liquid ingredients; mix just enough to combine.

Transfer dough to lightly floured board and pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2- to 3-inch doughnut cutter; reserve doughnut holes and re-roll and cut scraps.

Add enough oil or shortening to fill a deep pan 3 inches; heat to 375 degrees F. Fry several doughnuts at a time, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to paper towels with slotted spoon.

For glaze, mix confectioners' sugar and cider. Dip doughnuts while warm; serve warm.

Happy baking everyone

Talk about eye candy!!

Check out this amazing desert table I just found ......the only word that comes to mind is STUNNING!

Coloured glass, handcrafted hearts, fresh blooms and an eclectic collection of brightly coloured pieces....Any party would look beautiful in this colour palette!  Pop over and be inspired by more on this shoot at the Somewhere Splendid site

It almost has an Indian inspired feel to it don't you think?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Styling at the last minute

What a perfect Easter weekend we have had here in Brisbane! Magical weather and a 5 day weekend have been the perfect setting for a wonderful Easter break!

You may have read my blog on our traditional family Resurrection Sunday Breakfast Party.  For those who missed it you can check it out here.   I have to admit I had decided I wasn't going to do much for our Easter Sunday breakfast this year; the weeks leading up to Easter have just been so busy with kids holidays; church holiday club; preparing for upcoming client events etc I just didnt think I had the time, or frankly the energy....however at 8pm on Saturday night I couldnt contain myself any longer, the styling itch got the better of me. How could I possibly let the opportunity of styling a beautiful breakfast in honor of such an important day slip me by?

 And so, much to the entertainment of my loving husband, I quickly got to work to put together a beautiful setting for the mornings celebration.

Sometimes its fun not to have a specific plan, and at 8pm I sure didn't have one in mind! The setting developed as I went....finding bits and pieces in my cupboard and event supplies which would compliment the the vision as it evolved.  Tones of blues, lemons and pinks, old chinaware, recycled milkbottles and mason jars, gingham and timber transformed our upper deck into a homely, spring inspired, farmhouse atmosphere.

These little white ceramic bunnies were a great place to start styling the table!  I adorned each one with a different blue or beige ribbon and they became the feature for the individual place settings.....

Positioned in the morning sun overlooking the pool and gardens; I transformed the upper deck with a round table, just the right size for the gathering of 5, with white whicker chairs and assorted blue cushions. Then added my favourite antique dresser as the buffet table.  The table was simple and uncluttered with a lemon gingham cloth,  individual place settings and a small arrangment of lavender and boiled eggs on old china plates as a cenrepiece.  (you can see the table refelcted in the mirror of the buffet)

I love fresh flowers and usually would incorporate them in a setting like this, however as I had left styling this breakfst to the last minute I didnt have any fresh blooms on hand and had to get creative. Artificial Lavender was located in the cupboard and a beautiful pink peonie clip added a touch of spring to the look. Fresh lemons and limes always look great displayed for a splash of colour, so i they went.  Luckily I had some pom poms from a  previous event hanging in my daughters room, these were put into action and arranged in a staggered bunch above the table for a more nestled and intimate feel...I just love the whimsy her pom poms add to any occassion!

In keeping with our tradition, the meal was a simple affair, humble and reflective of the act of the first Easter.  Our menu consisted of warm hot cross buns,a symbol of Christs death; and boiled eggs , a sign of hope, and New life.  I had decided to try out a new Banana Bread recipe too...but it was a disaster and at 11.30pm I had to whip up something in its place.....Lemon cupcakes did the trick and not only did they taste great but the icing and lemon wedge on top perfectly complimented the colour scheme.  (I'll share the cupcake recipe with you in the next few days)

and of course not to forget the low allergen chocolate crackle eggs we have come to love!  I didnt dip the ends in white chocolate this year, preferring the more rustic look of them plain and simply finished with a little coloured ribbon....

I loved how "country" the little milk bottles made the breakfast feel.  Both young and old enjoyed sipping on banana flavoured milk with their breakfast...

and of course what would Easter be without a visit from the Easter Bunny.  We never go overboard on the Easter treats, but the bunny always drops something small off to the children around breakfast time.  These little muslin bags were ideal for popping a handful of small eggs into and sitting at each of the childrens places at the table.  I created  a simple bunny silhouette image on the computer and ironed a trasnfer onto each bag.  I was really happy with how these turned out...

So there we have 5 hours I went from "get motivated" to beautiful farmhouse Easter breakfast setting.  I must say Iwas really happy with the result.  But, I think I might start planning a little earlier next year!

I do hope you and your family had a blessed and relaxing Easter and were able to reflect on the real meaning of the day.  I'd love to hear what you got up to!

Where to find:

Scalloped cake stands and muslin bags- Sharnel Dollar Designs
Tissue Poms - Ah Tissue
Paper straws - Polka Dot Prints
Ceramic bunnies - Bed Bath and Table
Antique blue mason jars -

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winter beauty

I haven't much time to blog this week I am afraid, so thought I'd share another post I came across in my blog travels.

Winter is just about here.  I was hit with that reality today when our beautiful Queensland temperatures plumeted down to 20 degrees (celcius) today, 10-12 degrees lower than we have had in Autumn so far this year.  I admit, I HATE winter, I am no fan of the cold at all.  However isn't there something romantic and magical about beautiful pine forests and crisp white fallen snow!  Although we won't see too much snow here in Queensland this winter, I was immediately inspired by the magical atmosphere of beautifully creative winter photo shoot. 

I love the crispness of the freshly fallen snow, the splashes of colour in the styling and the whimsical feel of the setting.  and I do almost makes me wish we were going to see some snow this winter afterall.

Check out more of the shoots stunning images at JL Designs blog.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lantern Makeover Tutorial

I was looking through various blogs today and came across this great little lantern makeover.  Not only does it look amazing but would cost very little and definately get your guests talking!  Its very eyecatching. 

I was thinking it might make for a great feature piece at a party or something special to make for a little one room over the holidays?

Be sure to mention you saw the tutorial on Lifes little touches blog .

Have a creatively blessed day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Low Allergen Easter Treat - a twist on an old favourite

My eldest daughter has a myriad of food allergies so when it comes to Easter treats our options are very limited.

Last year I gave up on searching throughout the city, and online for suitable options and took matters into my own hands.  I decided to play around with an idea I had  for low allergen chocolate crackle eggs.

They turned out so well I will definitely be making these again this week!

These are just too cute, and yummy, to keep to myself here is the recipe and how to make your own beautiful homemade Easter crackle eggs.....And with no cooking involved the kids will love assisting you on this holiday project


(I have listed the low allergen ingredients I use, but of course the regular Chocolate crackles recipe will be just as delightful if you don't have allergies to worry about)

What you will need:


Chocolate Easter egg moulds
wooden spoon
measuring cups
cake rake


4 cups Freedom Foods Gluten free Rice Bubbles
1 cup Gluten Free icing sugar
1 cup Organic, preservative free desiccated coconut
250g copha®*, chopped
3 tbsp cocoa


Sweet Williams Gluten Free/Dairy Free Chocolate block
Gluten free/natural coloured sprinkles


In a large bowl, mix the rice bubbles, icing sugar, cocoa & coconut.

In a saucepan slowly melt the copha over a low heat.  Then allow to cool slightly.

Add melted copha to rice bubbles mixture, stirring until well combined.

Spoon mixture into chocolate Easter egg moulds and press in firmly

Refrigerate until firm
Once firmly set....

Slowly melt the chocolate block in a bowl over a pot of boiling water

Once melted remove crackles from fridge, turn out of moulds and rest gently on cake rake

Dip the smaller end of each each crackle egg into the melted chocolate and replace on cake may be a good idea to have some grease proof paper of a plate under the rack to catch any chocolate drips

Sprinkle chocolate coated end and get back into the fridge


Remember Chocolate crackles do melt in hot weather so keep them refrigerated as long as possible before serving.

I tied different ribbons around the middle of each egg for a finishing touch.

I'd love to hear how you go if you make the eggs and see pics of your creations!!

Easter Celebrations

Easter is a very special time for our family. It is a time of reflection and thankfulness, a time to be humbled by love and reflect on our Faith.
The story of Jesus’ death, is one of hope and truth. And as we reflect on his death and resurrection we can be excited about the freedom his love has given us.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the occasion with so many beautifully wrapped and decorated Easter themed goodies around when you have children. A couple of years ago, I spent alot of time considering how I could ensure my children embraced the meaning of Easter while still being able to share in the magical delight of the Easter bunny and his gifts.

And from that grew what has become our Easter tradition of a Resurrection Sunday Breakfast Party. Easter is, like any occasion in our home, a time of fun in the kitchen, of styling pretty things and enjoying fun and laughter with family and friends.  This breakfast allows us to do all of that, to laugh, to grow and to honor God.

This though is a party with a difference.  While the table is adorned with pretty things and sweet treats...the meal itself is simple and humble, reminding us of the sacrifice that was made at the cross.  Our menu consists of foods which represent to us the act of Easter.  A plate of warm Hot Cross Buns are a reminder of His death, of His flesh broken on the Cross; while Gleaming White boiled eggs symbolise New Life clean and unblemished; and finally some yummy treats remind us that Our Heavenly Father is a God of joy and delights in us coming to him with the heart of a child. 

We have found this a simple and beautiful way to take some time on Easter Sunday morning to reflect on Gods love.

From our family to yours, we pray you too have a blessed and joyful Easter however you celebrate it.