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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vintage Hairstyling

I think I fell in love with vintage style, namely 30's & 40's, when I was maybe soon as I saw the movie Swing Kids. The clothes, the dancing, the music; everything about it is beautiful and inspiring! The care everyone took in their clothes and hair is something to admire. I think it also (probably falsely in most cases) conjures up a feeling of innocence and simplicity, if you forget about the whole World War II thing...I've always wanted to learn how to do my hair in those styles. Since re-runs of The Wonder Years, I've branched my love of vintage into the 60's too.

I've been using hot rollers for a few years now, but kind of making things up as I go. In the past I would try to find rolling patterns online, but those aren't easy to come by. I drew up my own sketches to work from by what I learned by trial and error. I do have a copy of a hard to find, and expensive book, called 1940's Hairstyles, by Daniela Turudich. I've seen it sell for over $400 (but I just looked on ebay, and there are a few, as well as on amazon). I didn't find it that easy to follow, not knowing many techniques myself, and I haven't had the time to perfect any basics. Plus, some of those 40's styles are quite dramatic, and I wanted something I could do for less formal day-to-day things.

So, I bought myself the book Vintage Hairstyling. Sadly, I've had little opportunity to actually try anything with any great effort yet. This book was a great purchase though, because it explains things very clearly. Vintage Hairstyling has a large range of styles too, from 30's to 60's, and is very easy to come by and not expensive. It has great step-by-steps, so all I need to do now is pick up a few more products to get going...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Biscuits & Chili

I'm a huge fan of a quick and easy meal these days. We're working so hard on our little side project (seat upholstery) I don't have any spare time. I mean it. 1 day off in 8 weeks. I work EVERYDAY. Not always a full day on weekends, but a few hours at least. I'm wearing thin, but I refuse to go back to the bad habit of frozen dinners. I think they helped put me in the hospital in April. This is a favorite anyhow, and my love rekindled when we were in Canada. A friend had a chili cook-off, and we each brought our version of chili along. It was amazing! Everyone had a different interpretation, and all were so good! I still use my own basic recipe, but I've since been adding the things I like from the other recipes. I add either brown sugar, or molasses, or a combination of the two. I also add more vegetables, and I get a few toppings ready as well. And baking biscuits to go along makes for such a comforting meal.

Chili Recipe:  Here is my original chili recipe, but in this photo, I added a can of corn, and about 2 tbsp of brown sugar. I've also done 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and 1 tbsp of molasses in the past. Other roast veggies can be added too. I sometimes chop up some red pepper (red capsicum, for the aussies) and saute it with the onion and garlic and add it to the beef. I also regularly change up the beans too. This recipe in the photo I added a 4 bean mix, instead of chick peas, since Hubby hates chick peas. This chili recipe can feed us for at least 3 meals. I freeze left overs in 2 containers.

Toppings: This is the fun part. So many options! These are my favorite, but any more ideas are appreciated...
-Sour Cream
-Shredded cheese (I used cheddar and mozza)
-Diced green onion
-Avocado slices
-Tortilla chips

Biscuit recipe: I used the recipe from here. I half this recipe for just me and Hubby. Lots of left over biscuits are not so good.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caramel Apple Cider

Since it's been *winter* here (20°C days, 10° nights, so cold, right? Ha!) I do the comforting winter things I miss from not being in Canada. I wear scarves (you'd never, ever really need one), I have worn gloves (ridiculous and embarrassing for a Canadian) and wear my thick fleece PJ's (do-able. But you wake up sweating like a pig).

One thing I miss is Starbucks. They have them here, but believe it or not, I'm pretty sure I don't live within 100kms of one. I've checked. I think Brisbane is the closest they come to me. And, they don't even sell all the wonderful comforting drinks like they do in North America! My favorite one is the caramel apple ciders. So, I make them myself....

Caramel Apple Cider

1.5 litres apple juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and simmer for as long as you want. I sometimes add another cup of water to the mixture to allow for the reducing. Also, all those flavours can be quite strong, so adding water makes almost no difference to flavour.

Whipped Cream
Hershey's Caramel Topping***.

So simple, just poor yourself a cup of hot apple cider, top with some stiff whipped cream, and drizzle on some caramel sauce. Such a comforting treat!

***Australia also does not have Hershey's readily available (and if you do find some, it's usually in specialty shops where a small package of kisses costs you $8!!). I had to get my mom to send me some, and then on our recent trip, I brought back a few more cans. But I've made my own before, and it was lovely. Here is the recipe.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marshmallow Butterscotch Squares

Ok, I'm back...for now...if there's anyone still around (besides you Mom! I love you!)...??

We've been back from Canada now for something like 6 weeks, and the butterscotch chips I loaded my luggage up with are burning a hole in my...fridge (?), so I decided to make a childhood favorite for old times sake. I LOVE these things. So simple, so sweet, so addicting. I did a half recipe, so I could stretch my precious butterscotch chips even further.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 bag butterscotch chips (a little more than 1/2 cup, I think)
mini marshmallows

Melt the butter and peanut butter in a double boiler, or whatever (microwave). Take off the heat, and stir in butterscotch chips until completely melted. If you need to get the mixture hotter to melt all the chips, very carefully re-heat. Those chips will harden if they get too hot, so best to let them melt as slowly as possible. Leave mixture to cool for about 15 minutes. Then mix in marshmallows. Australia doesn't have mini marshmallows** like North America does, so I used a bag of jet-puffs, (which they also don't have here, but were brought over for me with my sister when she came in March), cut into small pieces*. Pour into a 8" square pan lined with baking or wax paper, and put in the fridge to cool completely. Once cool, cut into squares.

*Handy Hint. When you need to cut marshmallows (do you ever? I do, for some reason...) I use a cheese knife, you know, the one with the holes in the blade a dab the fresh wounds with icing sugar. Works a charm!

**UPDATE: They DO have mini marshmallows! I found some! I've never seen them until my last grocery trip! They are in the baking isle, near the choc chips. The big ones are in the candy isle.

When I was looking for this recipe, I saw a variation to just use regular chocolate chips (instead of butterscotch), so I did one version like that too. Not as good, but still so good! You just substitute choc chips for the butterscotch. I used semi-sweet, so milk would probably be really sweet.

 Now I have all these other ideas, like adding Rice Krispies and peanuts too...