Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fruity jelly cups recipe - the deliciously healthy treat

I have been meaning to write up a recipe for jelly cups for ages, but never seemed to find the time.

These are my go-to saviours when it comes to pre-school parties, 'bring a plate' events and last minute 'Mum, I feel like something yummy' treats. They're simple, easy and most of all HEALTHY! Yay!

Fruit juice (pictured: apple) - pick a 100% juice for maximum goodness
Gelatin or alternative
Fruit - (pictured: tinned peaches and grapes) a mix of fresh and tinned is delicious
Lollies (pictured: Natural Confection Company snakes) only for treats :)

Large measuring jug
Small measuring jug
Spoon measures
Cups/bowls/disposable cups
Cookie tray

1. The mathematical bit. Grab your cup and fill it about halfway with water, take note of the measurement. Multiply your measurement by the number of cups you want to fill. This is how much juice you need, pour it into the large measuring jug.

Juice left, gelatin and water right.

2. Chop your fruit into chunks. I love tinned peaches, fresh grapes, fresh pears and fresh cherries but any fruit is good. Come to think of it I probably wouldn't use bananas, I don't think they would like to be immersed in jelly for too long.

3. Evenly distribute your fruit in your cups.

4. My gelatin pack says 1 tablespoon dissolved in 100mLs of water will set 400mL of liquid. That's about right but I heap my tablespoon measures slightly to ensure a firm set. Use 3 heaped tablespoons of gelatin dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water. Add the gelatin mix to the fruit juice. Stir well, don't let the mix sit too long or it will set.

5. Evenly distribute the juice mix between your cups.

6. Optional: Carefully arrange snakes over the side of the cups, with about half the snake in the fruit mix.

7. Pop the cups on a cookie tray and set in the fridge for a few hours.

You get to control exactly what goes into these sweet treats and the recipe can be altered to suit any palette.

  • Use disposable cups and spoons for picnics, bbqs, school parties and bring-a-plate events
  • Use transparent cups and orange juice/apple and raspberry juice/green-tinted apple juice for ghoulish Halloween jellies. Add some snakes or crumbled cookie 'grave dirt' and worms
  • Jellies set in a few hours
  • GREAT for babies and toddlers. Use a mild juice like apple or pear and water down as needed and add soft or stewed fruits. Babies practice chewing on the jelly, without the hazard of choking and you can introduce the flavours and fruits you want.


It's all fun and games till someone gets murdered with a butcher knife

Hot on the heels of our jack-o-melon escapades came our family Halloween party. Loads of fun!

We had spider (chicken and corn pot) pies, chocolate spider biscuits with strawberry legs, snake jellies and balanced it all out with an unhealthy amount of m&ms and salted peanuts. mmmmmmmmmm

Spiders biscuits were inspired by these amazing treats and I used the recipe for these scrumptious cookies.

With the cookie recipe I tweaked it a bit due to time restraints. I eliminated the whole choc chips and used Sweet Williams lactose free chocolate chips for the melted choc. Seriously delicious but I would not recommend the recipe for these double, icing filled concoctions. The biscuit recipe is just too rich to really be able to enjoy these creepy crawlies. The filling is regular icing made with icing sugar and a little butter and the legs are strawberry licorice snipped into skinny threads. These would be phenomenal with a light filling and homemade blackcurrant or blueberry roll-ups for the legs.

Spider pies inspired by these yummy tentacle pies. I just made a quick chicken and corn pie filling from shredded bbq chicken, frozen corn kernel a basic white sauce and some concentrated chicken stock. Delish!

We topped it all off with Monsters Inc for Xavier, followed by Scream 4 and Pirates 4 + snuggles on the couch with the Mr.

Jelly cups recipe coming right up...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This year's Jack-o-melon has been born!

So we hunted down our quarry at the grocery store and set to carving him a handsome countenance. And a spider. AND a dinosaur. But I regress.

Here we go, with guts in a bowl:

Yep, that's the same tablecloth as seen in the first ever jack-o-melon. I love that thing. $2 from the local discount store, flannel-backed vinyl with 'kiss the cook'. It makes me smile :)

Nearly ready:

Ta daaaaaa:

I think this year the spider is my favourite.

While carving I asked Xavier if he would like to help scoop out the innards. He said 'no'. I said 'but if you don't scoop out the inside you'll just be watching. Don't you want to do a bit?' To which he responded 'that's ok Mum, I'll do the eating bit'. And that's a big reason why we have a jack-o-melon. Gotta love kids!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pinterest obsession. And an unhealthy fixation on the weeks until Christmas.


Need I say more? I am seriously addicted to the concept of creating a digital noticeboard that saves your pictures, links and information in one handy-dandy spot to be retrieved from anywhere. Except TAFE, it's blocked. Weird, I know.

I have been scrolling the joyous boards gathering ideas for our Handmade Christmas. This year, handmade's the bomb baby. X and I have been brainstorming ideas for handmade gifts and we have been encouraging our family to make presents for us too. If anyone is really uncomfortable with making their own, we just ask them to please consider buying handmade and supporting small business.

Pinterest has been such a hub of ideas, I just adore it. Do you have an account? Drop me a line so we can hook up and share the Pinterest love!

Pinterest - Eveningsong Ink

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tis the season to be scary

So, Halloween is rapidly approaching. I love Halloween, really I do. My problem lays in the fact that it is not really Halloween in the Southern Hemisphere; that it is really Beltane, not Samhain; and that time is so very limited right now that I feel as though I scarcely have the time to smell the roses, never mind picking some to decorate the home.

That being said, With X in preschool he has become very aware of Halloween (based mostly on the fact he has yet another excuse to dress up as a pirate, I suspect) and is really quite excited. This of course reminds me of the joy of the season so we have been celebrating our 'Samhain' in a spring-like fashion.

While we have been tending our garden - 2 enormous zucchinis to date and plentiful herbs - we have been discussing how the seasons work and why there is a cycle to everything. So, as we have in Halloweens past, we will be celebrating this year by carving our newest jack-o-melon. Since I totally made that up on my own years ago and to my knowledge have been the first person to jack-o a melon rather than a pumpkin, I totally claim it. Yep, you heard it here first folks ;P

Behold! the Jack-o-melon!
Our two previous jack-o-melons turned out quite spectacularly. The first was an astonishing success, liberally sprinkled with a sense of wtf? It WORKED? And the giddy overload of happy-creative-hormones.

Jack-o-melon. Type #2.
So this year we will be carving our melon and we also plan to have our own little Halloween party the weekend before. Which will probably include a vast array of winsomely scary treats and a child's Halloween movie, followed by something suitably adult-scary that I would probably do best to avoid.

Added to this should be some fresh flower decorations and possibly some window drawings if I can rustle up a chunky chalk pen.

All in all, a respectable nod to the false Samhain and another venture into teaching the children the importance of seasons, seasonal eating, respecting the earth and drawing a shitload of skulls.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Creative conference of inspiration

Today was the first ever Analogue Digital Creative Conference. A brand new event (and on the Gold Coast, no travelling!) featuring inspiring arty types from various disciplines. Two speakers in particular stood out for me, Claudio Kirac and Dare Jennings, though all were interesting to hear and I came away with advice from everyone.

What captured me about these two were the way they expressed themselves to us. Both were very visual, interesting and funny but where Claudio caught me with his outrageous videos and humour, Dare's stunning photos and fascinating life were just as impressive.

Their stories could belong to any of us. I could have the same success and adventure they have had. Those two points are what really brought things home for me. I could DO that, I remember thinking. They both emphasised hard work and dedication but I expected that bit, I don't think anyone truly values something if they didn't need to sweat or try or burn for it. But their stories began so normally; I found myself noting that it didn't take some unattainable situation or opportunity for them to get started, so maybe I could reach those heights too.

Possibly the only thing that sets me on a different course is that with a young family, my considerations are directed differently. They will always be most important but I am a person too, and if I can make a success of my art then that paves the way for them too. I have found time to go to a gallery opening already and will be attending the Rabbit and Cocoon opening too. I'm pleased at taking the chance to attend, hopefully at the Rabbit and Cocoon event I'll actually find the chance to introduce myself and engage some artists in conversation. Honestly, self-marketing and breaking the ice in an industry where you know so few is really quite overwhelming, but if I don't then I am expecting people to just stumble across me and love me.

That sounds great, really, but I'm at least trying for realistic.

Plus, Rabbit and Cocoon have the Miami Marketta a local art/craft/local produce market. I've been looking at The Village Markets for a possible space next year but I want to check them out too.

So here's my favourite bits:
  • Be inspired by things, rather than design SouthSouthWest
  • Believe in yourself (cause if you don't, why should anyone else, right?) Claudio Kirac
  • Inspiration, Imagination, Innovation. The three I's Claudio Kirac
  • Do what you love (or would you rather spend your life hating what you do 40 hours a week and living for your weekend. Make life the weekend) Claudio Kirac
  • Challenge people's preconceptions, if they can pigeonhole you they can dismiss you (the epitome of 'keep 'em guessing) Dare Jennings
  • Find the art in the object (how true. Art can be found in the strangest places, it doesn't need to grace the walls of a gallery to be art) Dare Jennings 
Personal musings in italics. They were much better versed than I :P

If you have a chance, check these guys out. They are creative, dedicated, talented, inspirational and generous. They are who I will be.

One day.