Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pintrest Challenge Catch-Up

Time for a catch-up on my Pintrest Challenge!

I actually finished my nursing cover using the DIY Modern Nursing Shawl tutorial a few weeks ago, but had to wait for hubby to be home to take some photos, as well as my prego brain to remember to take said photos WHILE hubby was home.

It was just as easy to make as the tutorial proclaimed... if you read through the instructions and comments very VERY carefully. And aren't pregnant and fuzzy brained or maybe a little better at sewing than I am. Fortunately  I wasn't the only one to make the mistake of sewing up more than what was needed. But, comments clarified and it really was a super easy thing to sew. (Yes, it says sew one line, but I managed that while still sewing up an extra side).

Sewing mistakes aside (really, all I did was sew up an extra side. Easily undone.), this is both a very pretty, stylish, practical, and CHEAP nursing cover.

I have to admit though, trying to find fabric here in Tasmania made me LONG for home and Hobby Lobby. Or JoAnnes. Or Hancock Fabrics. Heck, even Walmart. There just isn't nearly as much of a selection anywhere here as there is back home. Especially if you're on a budget. But I did find a cute black with small polka-dots knit fabric for $7 a meter (which was a little more than needed), and it turned out nicely.

Also, yay for finally getting a much-needed haircut!

I also managed to spruce up my Epsom salt jar in the bathroom using this as inspiration. And then I found a great tutorial on how to actually MAKE the fishnet around a jar at Craftberry Bush.

A jumbling of junk as well as bath things.
A prettier jumbling of junk and bath things.

Epsom Salt jar now all prettified, and my home made
sugar scrub. Oooohhh it's nice on my feet!
I'm constantly changing what is in the jumble of junk on the tub "shelf". At least for now, until it gets taken up with baby things. And I found four glasses to use as candle holders (unless that was their original purpose, then I found four candle holders) for $0.10 at a second-hand shop to put around the tub. In keeping with my "I love shells and love to stuff them in glass jars and show them off" theme, I did just that and added a tea light. It makes for some nice relaxing baths, though maybe not quite enough light to read by. And what is a relaxing bath without a good book?
I love love love broken shells.

And, bonus, it's actually raining again. which means we have enough water in our tank to enjoy a bath now and then. After experiencing a real Australian summer (the hottest on record), and having only half a day maybe of real rain in four months, I actually find myself looking forward to long rainy days.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blackberry Peach Cobbler, and my inability to stick to a recipe

Being blackberry season again, and given my near annoyance for making blackberry jam, I am somewhat at a loss on what to do with the massive amounts of blackberries that Phillip and I manage to pick. Other than, you know, eat them.

Phillip claims he can eat the many pounds we collect in one evening in that same amount of time.

Me? I want to bake, and preserve and bake some more. Mostly, bake. So when I stumbled across the Sugar and Spice recipe for a blackberry and peach cobbler via Pintrest, I had to try it.

Of course, I am terrible at simply following a recipe most of the time. So, apricots are close enough to peaches, right? And we had nearly a full case (5 kilos) left in the fridge, ready to be made into jam... it'll do, right?

Blackberries fresh and drying,
apricots waiting to be sliced and diced
In one evening, Phillip and I managed to pick four-ish pounds of blackberries. Four-ish pounds of beautiful, sweet, just ripe blackberries. A quick rinse in some vinegar water (a whole lot of water with just a splash of vinegar, really does help clean the fruit better than plain old water, and it has lasted me longer since I started doing it), then some plain water, and they sat to drip-dry until they were ready to be made into deliciousness.

Since I was making this for a Sunday afternoon lunch after meeting, I mixed up all the dry ingredients Saturday night so I could throw in the wet and bake on Sunday morning so the cobbler would be nice and fresh. 

And, again, to confess my horribleness at actually fully following a recipe, it called to have the peaches stoned and peeled. I have never peeled a peach, or an apricot. And I really didn't want to. So I just cut up my little apricots and left the skins on. Also, rather than mix 1 1/2 cups of sugar with the fruit (which I did the next morning), I used only one cup. It's fruit, and very ripe, very fresh fruit at that. And was intended to be consumed by children not used to eating sugar. So... why a whole cup and a half when it's sweet and juicy to begin with? And I used whole wheat flour when making the biscuits. We mill our own, so it's cheaper and healthier (though not nearly as fluffy or smooth as white or even store-bought whole wheat flour).

Mixing everything together in the morning and plopping it into the baking dish was super easy. And baking... oh how delicious it smelled! I set aside an extra, small, dish so Phillip and I could taste test some for breakfast.

And it. Was. GOOD. We drizzled a little cream on top of the hot cobbler and dug in. With hot coffee, it was a most delectable breakfast. WITHOUT coffee, it would be delectable. It was just... GOOD. The tartness of the berries, the near buttery sweetness of the apricots, and the savory plain-ness of the biscuits ... ohhhh.... it was so yummy. Most definitely a keeper! Even re-heated in the oven a few hours later as dessert for lunch (we ended up just sharing it with Phillip's family, as no one else made it to fellowship lunch that day), it was still just as good! 

Fresh out of the oven, the fruit still bubbles and steams
Along with the wonderful taste and aroma, I LOVE the colors of the fruit together

As it turned out, I don't think my little deviations from the original recipe made a real difference in how good this was. Maybe it's a little less juicy than the original (if you look at her pictures), but, no one who ate complained. 

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