Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Make it! Christmas decoration: Snow family bauble

I was hoping to have another bread review for last week, but things have not gone as planned (when do they?).
So instead I thought I might share an easy decoration that you can make with the little ones (or not so little ones, or you can do it too cos you know what? It's a bit of fun!


I love the simplicity of these baubles, and although I don't have a step by step photo process, I'm sure you'll get it!

Materials needed:

Baubles (however many you wish to decorate)
white paint and small cup
sponge or brush to apply paint
fine tip black permanent marker (I think a non-permanent could also work well)
fine tip red permanent marker
Wet cloth to wipe hands clean afterwards
a place to hang bauble while paint dries (I  used a clothes airer and a peg, but you could just hang them on the tree if you dare!)
to wrap:
silver cupcake/ muffin patty pans


If you have chosen the sponge to apply the paint, moisten it slightly (not wet, just flexible and absorbent).
Place about 3Tablespoons worth of white paint in your paint cup.
Have the cloth wet and ready for little painty hands
Coat your child's fingers and thumb evenly, and almost sparingly (having too much paint on their hands takes the characteristics away from the snow families bodies) with the white paint.
Ask your child to hold their hand out
my perfect hand model will show you what I mean ;)

Place the bauble in their hand and if they are not grasping onto the bauble encourage their hand to cup the bauble so that each finger leaves a painted impression.
Ask your child to slowly and carefully let go (so as not to smear the paint).
Hang bauble to dry.
Super fast wash the painty hand with the cloth before it grabs ahold of anything!
I repeated this process on the other side of the bauble once the first impression was dry.

When bauble is completely dry, draw your snow family some faces and give them some character with hats or simple clothes such as a vest or accessories like a scarf or necklace. Make them your own!

Pop your child's name and the date they created their work of art on the very bottom, or around the top.
To wrap as gifts I popped the baubles into foil muffin liners and then wrapped in cello tied with a ribbon.

Do you make gifts at Christmas?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Even the cats need love!

Check out the staff picks on madeit this week.

Axl you rock (oh, no reference to guns n' roses there)

There's a whole lotta lovin goin on there!

If you need some lovin from your sweetheart, you could always order some custom, handmade cookies to sweeten things a little!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Bread review #3: Country Life Low GI White Bread

Country Life Gluten & Dairy Free Low GI White Bread
So our mission continues to find the best gluten free bread, and as much as I would love to make a bread from scratch, I don't have the skills nor do I have the time. So I have resorted to reviewing a store bought gluten free bread. And while this one is better than many others, I don't think you will have to check the ingredients to make sure that it is actually gluten free!

Country Life has recently released a 'New & Improved' recipe for their bread range. I must admit that it is better than it was. I prefer the Low GI as most gluten free breads are high GI due to the type of flours used, so this one sustains me a little longer. Their other varieties are White, Multigrain and a fruit bread. It is also dairy free for those that need this, but it is not suitable for nut, soy or egg allergies.

I can't say that I eat GF bread in the bread form very often. This is mostly because I am used to it falling apart, and because I don't eat that much bread (you get out of the habit quickly when all of your options are sub-standard to the homemade bread you were brought up on!), I usually freeze all my loaves so they last longer. So in this test, I have eaten this bread as bread, and you know what, it's not so bad...well at least not on the first day.

The first day this bread holds up really well. While it is still smaller than 'normal' bread, the packaging states that it is "great for sandwiches". I agree. This bread is soft, with a soft crust, and is larger than most other GF breads you can buy from the supermarket. This means that you can fit more than half a piece of lettuce and a stingy bit of ham.

I must also admit that I have only had my wisdom teeth taken out a week ago, so this soft bread is ideal for me.

Day 2 the bread is still fine, but is starting to fall apart a little. By day 3 the bread is almost falling apart as I spread Nuttelex on it, and even worse when I try my favourite chunky fig & ginger jam. By day 4 a sandwich is out of the question, and toasting is essential to keep the bread holding together.

This bread also lasts really well frozen. I have done this many times, often buying it on special close to the use-by date and then keeping it frozen for over a month, toasting it when I need a piece of bread.

This bread, while soft and light, also tends to become quite cakey when you are eating it. It loses all of it's texture and just feels like you have something really heavy and dense in your mouth. I must admit that this is better than this bread used to be where I felt like I needed a water to get it down!

Mmmmm Fig & Ginger Jam!
Ok, to rate the bread.

Would I go back for more? 6/10
Yes. It is one of the better store bought GF breads, so for convenience, yes. But that's not saying that I'm not on the lookout for better store bought breads!

Cost: 6/10
This loaf costs $6.50 for 13 slices and 2 crusts. That works out to be about 45c per slice (including the crusts), which isn't too bad, but I must say I always check out the GF bread section even when I don't need any bread, because getting it discounted when it's close to use-by date is a real bonus. I would much prefer to pay $4 or even $2.60 when I am really lucky!

Longevity: 5/10
To only be able to eat this loaf in bread form for 3 days, I would say this isn't very good. If we were rating toasts, this would have done much better, but as we are not, it only gets a 5.

Freezing: 7/10
Like I said, I often freeze this bread for over a month in a freezer bag, and it toasts back to almost as good as it toasts on day 1. If it is frozen as soon as I purchase, it will refresh back to pretty much the same quality as it was when put in the freezer. Therefore if it is frozen on day 4, it probably isn't going to be good enough to use for sandwiches, but toasting is the best way to get the most out of this loaf.

Toasting: 8/10
I think this bread has a great flavour, a little bit sweet, and toasting adds something to this. I think this is probably due to the linseed and almond meal. It may not be for everyone, but I certainly love this bread toasted with tofutti and my favourite jam!

Overall this bread gets 6.4/10. Mostly the accessibility, reliability and size of this loaf make it score above 5. Still, I am sure that there are other store bought breads out there that will give this one a run for it's money (or at least I hope so!).