Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #24

Spring always makes me crave fresh vegetables and juicy fruit, and so I am very glad that salads are back on my menu.

I have been excited to try out a recipe called Bang Bang Chicken from my recipe book What Shall We Cook Today?, but have simplified it a bit. Who wants to roast a chicken when it is swelteringly hot outside? This salad combines two of my favourite things- satay and roast chicken, and serves them on a salad bed. Simple, delicious and full of flavour.

Bang Bang Chicken
adapted from What Shall We Cook Today?

400 grams pre-cooked chicken
1 medium cucumber
1 large carrot
salad leaves
for the dressing
5 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon castor sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons hot water

Shred the cooked chicken and put onto a plate.

Slice the carrots and cucumber into sticks, then add to rinsed salad leaves.

Add a pile of the salad to each plate then place the sliced chicken on top.

Combine the dressing ingredients and spoon over the chicken to serve.

The verdict: I really enjoyed this! The sweetness of the apple cider was a bit different to my usual satay sauce recipe, but the spring onions helped to balance it out and make it not too sweet. The roast chicken and salad mix was very refreshing, and it was a great way to get a good vegetable intake into the kids. I will be making this again, and experimenting with adding other favourite salad ingredients such as boiled egg, bean sprouts and croutons. 

Linking up with Wow Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reese Witherspoon Inspiration

I was over on Mama Stylista's blog the other day and she asked who our style inspiration was. I love Reese Witherspoon- she makes casual chic look effortless and know the power of accessories. Here are some outfits I have put together based on her signature looks.

Being on a SAHM budget, I shopped within my favourite stores: Boohoo, Ezibuy, The Warehouse, Shopolla, Colette, Glassons and No1 Shoes. These shops are affordable and yet I can usually find what I am looking for at a fraction of the price of other stores.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 1

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 1 by laurenmoore-ii featuring skinny leg jeans
This outfit is great for school pick ups, heading to the supermarket or running errands. I love the touch of tortoiseshell glasses- and the striped top is a bargain! Total for this outfit is $160- a bit beyond my usual range but those boots will last multiple seasons.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 2

This pink and floral ensemble is a bit out of my comfort zone, so I have kept with pastel tones for Spring, but I am also splashing out on some Guess sunglasses here! I did not realise that the Warehouse had Guess brand, they are really pushing the bar when it comes to bringing New Zealand some recognisable brands.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 3

This one is my favourite- I love everything about this outfit! I will roll up the sleeves on the shirt and unbutton it more for a relaxed look. This entire outfit comes in at just under $200, but once again there are a lot of accessories that can be mixed and matched with different outfits.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 4

This outfit is the epitome of casual chic- and yet this outfit can be worn for a movie night, preschool run, day out with the girls or any other occasion where you want to look stylish yet comfortable. This Guess tote is on sale today only at The Warehouse too by the way!

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 5

Lastly, I have a few weddings and special occasions coming up, so this outfit is definitely on my to-buy list. I love the navy and green together, paired with nude and gold accessories and a pretty clutch.

Which Reese Witherspoon outfit do you like the best? I would love to know!

Joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday and What Wives Wear.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Leaves are Falling

Here in New Zealand, Spring has finally arrived! However, I have had a few activities I still wanted to do for Autumn and Winter, and when I saw a Facebook prompt about doing leaf activities I decided to spend an afternoon crafting with my two boys.

The first thing we did was to print out a leaf template and smear glue all over it.

Then we placed bits of coloured paper over the leaf templates.

The next step was to run the templates through the laminator.

We then cut out the colourful leaves.

The boys were very excited to see the finished product!

This activity took only a few minutes to set up, and the boys loved it. Glue and coloured paper can be used for a range of activities, and the possibilities for templates are endless. you could do colourful dinosaurs, planets- the choice is yours!

Linking up with the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop and Mom's Library.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas has a beautiful smile, but always hams it up for the camera.

Adam is being a "little teapot" with Dad's sunglasses!

Joining in here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #23

My boys are both kitchen whizzes, and so when I saw this book I knew we would get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

This book follows in the footsteps of the original "I want to be a chef" book by the same author, but focus on baking and the skills needed for success in the kitchen. Baking is a lot more precise than putting a meal together, and I am lucky that both my boys are quite mathematical and enjoy measuring, weighing and converting cooking times.

We decided to make a version of the Apricot Cookies featured in this book.

Apricot Cookies
adapted from I want to be a chef Baking

120g butter, cubed

3/4 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons good-quality apricot jam
200g dried apricots, chopped
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour

Lemon icing:
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 lemons, juiced

Line two trays with baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy then add the jam and apricots- mix to blend.

Lucas thinks the cake mixer is hilarious- as long as it doesn't get too loud!

Stir in the combined sifted flours.

The boys love to sift and make it "snow" into the bowl.

The good thing about baking with the boys is that they can do a job each- sifting and juicing going on! It can get messy but it keeps the boys happy.

Divide the mixture into two portions and roll up in the baking paper to form two logs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut the logs into 1cm slices and place on the trays. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

It was at this stage that I realised the boys had put all plain flour into the mix and no self raising flour, so the cookies came out rather flat!

Combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and 3 teaspoons of hot water. Drizzle over the cookies.

The verdict- Even though we had a bit of a flour failure, the cookie taste was so good! They were a very soft cookie, nice and chewy. We will be making these again and again, with the correct flour of course! I encourage you to make these cookies with your kids, baking is such a great skill to have and kids get a kick out of creating something to eat.

Linking up with Mom's Library, Worth Casing Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Outfit under $100- on the Case!

At the beginning of this month, Ms Mystery Case put forward the following challenge.

Mystery Case

The idea is to put together an outfit under $100. I have chosen to work with New Zealand dollars for this challenge, which I hope is OK!

I was very excited to take part, since most of my outfits are under $100 anyway due to thrift shops, secondhand online retailers and swapping clothes with friends. To challenge myself more, I am going to put together an outfit using items that can currently be found online or instore, featuring the latest Spring trends. This way, the outfit will be more relevant to other people looking for ideas on how to put together an outfit for under $100.

Two two trends I have focused on are monochrome and floral- two of my go-to looks for Spring anyway, so I am glad they are trending again.

Outfit under $100 Spring challenge

The top is so cute, and black and white together are always easy to wear with any other clothing item. This particular top is from one of my favourite online stores, Sammydress, and is a bargain at only $14.94.

The shorts are also from Sammydress, and come in at a cheap as chips $11.03. These will be great for spring and summer to be on trend, yet not spend a lot of money keeping up to date with what is popular.

 I always try to spend less on "trend" items, and splurge a bit more on the staples and accessories to go with each piece. This is why the shoes and sunglasses are my two most expensive items, as they will be staples with most outfits throughout the season. Number One Shoes and Ezibuy are well known in Australia and New Zealand for great basics at affordable prices.

Lastly, a fun bracelet works with bare arms to add interest, and once again this piece can be worn with a number of other items in my closet. Colette Hayman is a relatively new store to Christchurch, and it has come across from Australian shores, so I am sure a lot of you will be familiar with their on-trend accessories and bags! I could spend all day in that shop- but here I have shown restraint and just gone with the bangle.

Here is a full breakdown of the items and cost:
Black sleeveless blouse: $14.94
Floral shorts: $11.03
Sandals: $34.99
Sunglasses: $29.99
Bangle: $8.98
Total cost: $99.93

This outfit just scrapes under budget, but is full of versatile pieces that can be worn in different ways. the shorts would be great with a plain white t-shirt, the top would be very cute with black pants and heels for an evening get together, and all of the accessories have been chosen with multi-tasking in mind.

If you think you are up for the challenge, join in with us!

Linking up with Wardrobe Wednesday and What Wives Wear.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas was very proud of his Duplo creation.

Adam loves to draw.

Joining in here.
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