Monday, January 13, 2014

Sweet as Pie Baking Challenge – Choc Chip Cupcakes with Fudgy Ganache

I made these lovely, chocolately cupcakes back at the beginning of December and they didn’t last very long in our household. I also took them to share with the Uni kids for one of our catch ups.

Like most recipes in this book they are very rich so one is more than enough to satisfy any chocaholic. They were really simple to make and I suggest using cute cupcake wrappers, I used Christmas ones because it Twas the Season!!!



Enjoy your baking!!
       

Sweet as Pie Baking Challenge – Banana and Caramel Layered Cake

It’s been a very busy time around our household for almost 2 months now. We’ve had visitors, Christmas time, Christmas day, a wedding and lots of other activities in between. Now that things have started to slow down I thought it was time to share a few of my latest baking creations from over Christmas.

I wanted to save this Banana and Caramel Layer Cake for a day when lots of people would be over to share it. Having fresh banana involved made me think it should be consumed fairly quickly or the banana would go off.  I made it for Christmas Day to share at the Gadenne family lunch and my family’s Christmas dinner. With all the delicious foods on offer that day, I didn’t actually try any but I’m told it was really nice, especially the caramel.




I made the cakes about a week ahead of time and it froze just fine. I made the caramel on Christmas Eve and let it set on the cake overnight in the fridge. You don’t have to do this but I was just getting organized as Christmas day around here is normally fairly chaotic.

Happy Baking!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Goodbye 2013

Yet again we have arrived at the end of another year. It's time to say farewell to 2013 & welcome in 2014. Here's a little post about the year gone with a few of the highlights.

What was the best part of 2013?
This year I've really enjoyed spending time with my little family. It's been such a blessing to get so much work this year so I've really appreciated any of the down time I've had.

What was the worst part of 2013?
Unfortunately we've had a few bad things happen this year. We had a huge storm come through in the new year & lost power for 3 long days. We had our car stolen from our driveway in February & someone attempted to break into our house a few days later. We don't know if the two are related. We also had our little bird Magallen die which was really sad.

What was the biggest surprise of 2013?
The biggest surprise was for Jeff. I surprised Jeff with two days off work & a trip to Sydney to see Josh Groban perform in the Opera House. I also surprised him with tickets to see Josh perform in Brisbane QPAC the following Saturday. It was the best surprise ever & I had the most wonderful time too!!!!

What are you most looking forward in 2014?
Nothing in particular but I do hope we get to have a few trips away during the year.

Is there anything you are not looking forward to in 2014?
I have a 3 week contract booked in for week 2 back at school. I have a feeling it's going to be a tough class so I'm not really that excited about it. But I might be wrong & really enjoy it!!!

Which new years resolutions did you keep in 2013?
I didn't keep any because I didn't make any.

What will be your new years resolutions in 2014?
I'd love to challenge myself in some kind of way. Do something new, see something new... Who knows!!

What will you be doing on new years eve?
We have my brother & sister in-law staying at our place so our plans will be something with them. I've heard Mooloolaba & Noosa ideas so far. Time will tell where we end up.

Who will you be with at new years eve?
My husband for sure & probably some of Jeffs family members.

Who do you want to kiss to see the new year in?
My husband as usual!!! No one else I want to kiss!

What was the best song of 2013?
Anything from Josh Groban's All that Echoes CD

What was the best TV show of 2013?
Still loving The Big Bang a theory. Keeping up with Grey's as well. Also found some old TV shows on YouTube which I enjoyed.

What was the best book you read in 2013?
My bible & I read a lot of cookbooks this year.

What was the best film of 2013?
Now You See Me. I really enjoyed it, especially the twist at the end. Hunger Games 2 was pretty epic & I loved seeing The Christmas Candle just a few days ago with Rachel too.

What change would you like to make to your life in 2014?
I'd like to be braver. Do some of the things I've been putting off because I haven't been brave enough. Nothing in particular just a general thought.

What change would you like to see in the world in 2014?

I'd like to see people embracing happiness a little bit more. Focus on the good in the world & in our lives. Smile more often, laugh more & enjoy life!!

Cue the mass of photos... in no particular order. 

Welcoming in the new Year at Uncle Greg and Jeanette's place 

Tiger walk with the family 

3rd wedding anniversary at Noosa. 

We walked 8km through the Noosa national park 

Talia's baby blessing 

My obsession with Review dresses began when I found this stunning outfit in Chermside!! 

We spent a night away at Brisbane Marriott

We had a view of the story bridge from our room

Tillie was dedicated to God

Lior had his first birthday 

I photographed and reviewed most of my coffees during 2013 on facebook


Kathryn and Justin got married

It was a beautiful wedding 

In the new year we had a huge storm/cyclone hit the coast and were flooded in and lost power/phone lines and reception  for 3 days 

We used esky's for fridges but in the end we threw everything away because 3 days is too long to keep things cold on ice. 
We lived by candle light for 3 nights

We watched Misty's puppies grown and said goodbye to them as they found their homes. 



We celebrated lots of birthdays 












Snuggles was the star of our birthday cards 

A basket of puppies

We celebrate Chinese New Year with Jeff's boss and his wife. It was lots of fun

Valentine's Day was spent having dinner on our deck 

Snuggles stayed well and healthy 

I had lots of teaching work 





Our car was stolen and found written off :( 

We bought a new car 

With Jeff's Mum we travelled to Sydney 

To help Laree with her dance concert 

We visited the harbour 

And Max Brenners 

Walked around Centrepoint tower 

Stayed at Darling Harbour for the night 

Discovered my favourite cafe - Guylian Chocolate Cafe 



We drove out to Toowoomba for Easterfest 

Getting ready to watch Relient K at mainstage 

Mainstage was amazing

It rained on the last day and created a mud pit 

We kept dry 

I flew to Canberra with my parents and the Buchanan's to see Chris. We visited parliament house 

And the Australian Institute for Sport 

We took the dogs to the beach 
We flew to Sydney for Jeff's birthday surprise 

We watched Josh Groban perform in the Opera House 
And ate Guylian chocolate waffles after the show. 

I gave Jeff another surprise over breakfast... at Guylain cafe again!!
Tickets to see Josh Groban again in the Brisbane QPAC Concert Hall 

We saw an amazing sunset at Brett and Kate's place at the end of December 

Shared Christmas lunch with the Gadenne's at our house

And Christmas dinner with my family in the evening

Some Christmas day highlights 

Jeff played Santa at the Lodge 

We went to the Christmas carols at the nursing home with Nana 

Jeff lit our house up again 

We visited New Earth Cafe at Coolum for their opening 

Our Christmas card photo 

Magallen inside our Christmas card 

Our Christmas tree

We got a bird named Magallen but he sadly died

We bought 2 new birds Bella and Georgie. 

I saw the biggest hail stones of my life at Sunshine Plaza 



Andrew and Carly got engaged 

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary at Noosa Sheridan Resort 


Jeff people watching over breakfast 


Relaxing at our room 

Happy snaps in Noosa 

Flowers from Snuggles on our anniversary 


We walked through life in 2013 together

I started a veggie garden 

I flew back to Canberra with Mum, Dad, Nana and Poppy to visit Chris

We went on the Segways

I was especially impressed with this photo i took at the flower festival in Canberra 

Father's Day with Jeff's Dad

Father's Day with my Dad

I worked on my Sweet as Pie Baking Challenge 

And took lots of photos of my baking 

We went to the Ekka with Mum and Dad

I sampled the ice creams 

I did a little drawing but not well 

We caught up with the cousins and went bowling 

We went for a drive out to Kingaroy with Jeff's Dad to visit Simon and Jan 


I practised my photography skills 

Lots of Jeff photos 

I tried my first Macaroon and loved it!

The uni girls went to the strawberry farm with these two cuties 

We helped Rhonda run a cent auction 

And helped her run another a few months later 

We ate chips and drank coffee on the rocks at the beach 

Spent Mother's Day night in Noosa 

And had Mother's Day lunch at Mum and Dads 

We kept cool in an inflatable pool in the last few days of 2013

Had Gadenne family photos taken 

Had Owen family photos taken 

Dad and Jeff drove V8 racecars 

They loved every minute of it 

I had to remind myself of this many time during teaching this year!!!