Monday, 31 March 2014

Karla Easy Meals No.1 - Penne Pasta, ricotta and chives

Today my morning started like any other morning packing lunches, practicing magic words, school drop off, what was different today from any other day is that I decided to have a ME day after school drop off. I lazed around the house just me  the TV  and some much needed reading which meant no food preparation for tonight's dinner.

This dish will never make the pages of Gourmet food mags but it is my own recipe and it is easy and delish just perfect for days like today where really I had better things to do than to be thinking about dinner.

And....... I might of had a Me day but that does not mean we can not have homemade food like everyday.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes


500g Penne pasta
400g Tin tomatoes
1/2 onion
1 Clove garlic
1 TBSP vegetable stock powder (Massel)
a dash of red wine
1/2 tsp of Hungarian paprika (sweet paprika)
1 TSP olive oil
2TBSP sour cream
a handful of chives
100g ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to season (optional)


1. Place Penne pasta in boiling water and cook until al dente

2. While cooking the pasta place olive oil, onion and garlic in a small pot and lightly sautee onion and garlic.

3. place the sauteed onion,  garlic and tin tomatoes in a hand held food processor and puree until smooth (if you don't have a food processor just chop the tomatoes finely)

4.Return onion, garlic and puree tomatoes to the small pot add Vegetable stock, Hungarian paprika and a dash of red wine, simmer on low heat and bring it to the boil.

5. Remove from heat add sour cream and stir until is well combined.

6. once pasta is cooked drain water and return pasta back into the pot

7. add creamy tomato sauce to the pasta and combine well until all pasta is well coated with the sauce.

8. add salt and pepper to season to your own taste

9. Serve pasta in individual bowls place crumbled ricotta on top as much or little as your heart content and garnish with chopped chives.



In order to  cook this meal in short time  start by boiling the water for the pasta and place the pasta in a pot then proceed to prepare the sauce and the other bits and pieces.

I usually alternate ingredients just for something different for example

Ricotta for fetta

Chives for basil leaves

*if you want to make it gluten free just use gluten free pasta just pre- wash the pasta like you would with rice to remove some of the starch and keep a close eye on the pasta while cooking.

This recipe is not only delish warm but I also serve it as a salad by adding

Cherry tomatoes cut in half, fetta cheesse, steam green beans cut in 1/3 and add a bunch of baby basil leaves




Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Cupcake Lady's Cookies

This morning my brother embarked on a year long holiday around the world, I am sad that we will not see him for such a long time but I am excited that he is following his dreams and we look forward to hear about his adventures.

One thing I am super excited about is that his first stop is Los Angeles and he is visiting our cousin which we have not seen for nearly 25 years I wish it was me, I speak to my cousin on a regular basis we remember the good old days she always says how she wishes that she could taste my baking so what better opportunity than to send her a batch of cookies with my little brother.

I want to share the love these cookies are just fantastic for any occasion.

The cupcake lady's cookies

250g butter chilled and chopped
3 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 TBSP milk
1 TSP vanilla extract


1 cup icing sugar
food colouring
a dash of hot water


1. place all ingredients in food processor and process until comes together into a dough

2. lightly flour a surface and knead dough until smooth

3. divide dough  in half wrap in cling wrap and chilled for 30 minutes

4.pre-heat oven to 160c fan force and line baking trays with baking paper

5. roll the dough and cut shapes from dough on tray and bake for 10 minutes

7.Cool on wire rack then decorate


Mix icing sugar, food colouring in a bowl add hot water slowly in small dash until you are happy with the texture then dip the cookies and let them dry.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Tahn Scoon and Hampton Style

Today I had the pleasure of attending a styling workshop by the very talented Tahn Scoon,  Home Beautiful Magazine Stylist and author of the book series "New Vintage".

The event was held at Hampton style in Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast what a perfect place to hold a fab morning, we were greeted by the gorgeous Donna - Hampton Style owner, the store is just wonderful with the most gorgeous furniture, homewares and the soft furnishings they were just calling my name to take them home.

I had the time of my life enjoying the store, the champagne, and the cupcakes but most importantly I learnt so much about styling the ways how to make my home more warm and inviting without making it look cluttered the idea is to for my home to look more like the pages of Home Beautiful and New Vintage and less hoarders alive.

After the event I got to meet the other ladies in person I have seen them and their space on Instagram or their respective blogs, it was nice to place a face to their name,  I am a newbie on this social media I learnt a lot while at lunch.

One thing that resonated with me from Tahn Scoon was how to decorate your home with little or no money by ways of upcycling what you already have in your home. that is the motto I live by most of our furniture we have given a new lease of life and in the process we have a unique home and our furniture tells a story.

Well I am sitting in my lounge room and trying to workout how am I going to hide those electrical cords, I have come back from this event with new lease of life, there will be loads of rearranging furniture around the whitecottage today so I better get a move on.



Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sick little munchkins

Today  I had grand plans to pot around and to do the much needed tidy up around the garden, but instead I have been playing nursery for my two little munchkins who have caught a tummy bug and are vomiting galore, my poor car and baby munchkin got a good shower of it Farmer Joe had the pleasant job of cleaning it up.

Today will be a day of washing bedding and mopping I am thinking!

I feel so sad for my poor little munchkins as a mother I don't like seeing them unwell and I totally hate saying no to them when they are asking for foods that might make them sicker, today the Whitecottage is in quarantine there will be loads of indoor playing, paracetamol, dry toast and juice.

While I have two sick little munchkins, the cottage work never end the plans for today are to finish mending the toys who are in much need of surgery, the chicken house needs cleaning and mulching and an important job I have is to find those grasshoppers that are eating my roses.

I hope your day is much more cheery than mine, 

what are you up to today ? would love to hear.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Samford Valley Markets


Yesterday we got up early to go to the Samford Valley Markets, we had seen earlier in the week that the market is on every second Saturday of the month.

The markets are just wonderful they are small but the charm of country living is all around. We met so many wonderful stall holders some of the ones that stood out was the lady who we bought honey from she only lives over the fence where the markets are held, she told us bee stories and she has been selling honey at the markets since 1988, incredible.

Down a few stalls we met these really nice little girls they were selling homemade Lemonade, of course we had to buy some, they attend the markets every month they were really excited telling us the money goes towards clothes shopping, so cute and so entrepreneurial of them.

We walked around the markets listening to the folk music in the background, the markets are small but great value to visit because the whole town comes alive after the markets we wandered the streets, the restaurants were busily working. I had to do my mandatory stop over at the Samford Antique Centre and it did not dissapoint.

We finished the morning with a bit of play at the playgrounds and a drive around the valley.

Why don't you check it out?

The markets are on every Second Saturday of the month from 7 am-12
at Serendipity Drive corner, Samford Valley

Get there early if you want to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.



Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Summer that was.....

Life lately.....

I can not believe this is my first post for the week. 
It's like that sometimes, the time just flies, we are mid school term and I am back in the hustle and bustle of life, school drops, extra curriculum activities for the kids, volunteering, Domestic Goddess work, paid work and looking after little miss munchkin.
I love it and wouldn't have it any other way, it just means I have to prioritise what I have to do for the day, the week and so on... This year I have decided that I will have one day a week for me and miss munchkin of course (we are joined at the hip) I decided I will have a day where I will not do domestic goddess duties and I will just do that much needed catch up with friends or just sit on the couch to watch tele, yes that's what I will do because I think that's what I need to do to recharge my batteries to continue for the rest of the week.
I know that I am not any different than other mums out there we just go and go and juggle a squillions balls, for me I have come to the conclusion I need a break and just have a ME day.

This week I met with two lovely friends we had coffee, chin wag and I did that much needed shopping for me just girly shop and yes I didn't buy a whole heap of things but I enjoyed just wandering the stores pushing that stroller while baby munchkin slept. 

I am looking forward to my next ME day
how about you? 
do you do something special just for you?

Would love to hear.