Too Hot to Bake: Chicken Rice Paper Rolls

Melbourne’s heat wave has made it impossible to turn on the oven, so I have decided to share some general cooking that I’ve been doing. We visited the Victoria Markets the other day and every time I go to the market I love to buy fresh herbs so that I can make Vietnamese rice paper rolls. I have a dear friend who has taught me a few pointers about making rice paper rolls and I am forever grateful. She uses specific a rice paper brand, which can only be purchased from a Vietnamese supermarket. This is the brand she recommends…

- Best brand to use -

The other ingredients are totally up to you. I poach some chicken tenderloins in some water for a few minutes, then shred them and that makes a great addition. I also finely chop cucumber, carrot, spring onion and also mint, coriander and vietnamese mint. Rice paper rolls also need to have vermicelli rice noodles to pad them out. I chop all my ingredients and tub them, so that I can continue to make them over the next few days, without all the extra chopping.

- tub the ingredients for future use -

My friend also taught me about a yummy dipping sauce that includes hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce, with a little water added to thin it out. YUM! They are surprisingly filling and oh so good for you.

- So good for you -

What do you like to make that tastes yummy and makes you feel healthy?

Alison

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Love: Cutex Nail Polish

Everybody’s always raving about top-end nail polishes, like OPI, Essie and Chanel. Sure, they’re great quality and lasting polishes, with a great colour-range, but I believe I’ve found a nail polish brand that almost meets their standard, and you can buy it a the supermarket. They’re not trendy, they have a fairly limited colour range and you do purchase them in a packet. But, I think, they represent excellent value when you can purchase a bottle for between $7 and $8.

- Left: Flamingo Dash & Right: Red Alert! -

My gorgeous sister-in-law bought me my first Cutex nail polish, as part of a Christmas present, a few years ago. As soon as I started applying it, I knew I was in love. All cutex nail polishes have a wider brush, so your coverage is better and takes less time to do. I’ve since purchased two more bottles, and more recently, a hot red one (Red Alert) for the Christmas period, and have fallen deeper in love with this brand. This colour is ADORABLE! And it has lasted longer than any of my other polishes, including some OPIs. Highly recommend and truly LOVE!

- Cutex: Red Alert! -

Have you come across a product that is cheaper, but works better for you?

Love: A Saturday morning gym session

I love exercising – most of the time. I certainly go through phases where I lack motivation, but if I don’t get out there and just do it, I pay for it later with my cranky moods and a general low feeling. I especially love getting to the gym on a Saturday morning. It’s such a great way to start the weekend and means you can be a bit naughty for the rest of the weekend.

What exercise do you love? What motivates you to get out and exercise?

Love: Yellow, Navy & White

Once again, I have been checking out affordable, wearable fashion that can be purchased in Melbourne (or online). Photoshop has also been getting a good workout.

These colours are a bit conservative (that’s my style) and easy to wear. A cute outfit that could be worn to a fancy restaurant at night, a classy bar during the day, or even to the races in Spring.

Love these colours

1. Forever New Camara Tri Knot Enamel Stud (14.99)

2. Sportsgirl Mimi Lock Sling Bag (29.95)

3.  Sportsgirl Pippa Sundress (49.95)

4. Portmans Ponti Pick Stitch Jacket in Vanilla (149.95)

5. Sussan Greta Blush Sunglasses ($34.95)

6. Sportsgirl Josie Wedge (69.95) 

Are you more conservative in your dress sense? Or do you like to push the boundaries?

Bake & Love: Australia Day Lamingtons!

Today I have awoken early, and as my baby and husband continue to sleep-in, I am already baking lamingtons to celebrate today, on Australia Day. We are attending a BBQ in a local park with friends, and it looks like the sun will be shining – bonus! I couldn’t think of a more Australian dessert to share with friends today (even though many of them are Kiwis).

Once again, I used my trusty “Cooking: A Common Sense Guide” to bake these lamingtons.

- My Trusty Cookbook -

- Before Mixing -

- After Mixing -

- Ready for the oven -

The kitchen (and whole house) is filling with the smell of baking lamington sponge as I type. I will upload photos of the final product later.

I hope you all have a fantastic, enjoyable and relaxing Australia Day!

- Australia Day Tattoo -

How will you be celebrating Australia Day?

And this is how they turned out…..delish!

- The Final Product -

Sew: Dapper Day Bag

I recently borrowed a look from my local library that inspired me to sew myself a bag. The book, ‘Sew Liberated’, by Meg McElwee includes many practical sewing projects with easy-to-follow instructions. Meg McElwee also has her own blog site that includes projects, downloadable patterns and beautiful photography to entertain and inspire. The blog site is also titled ‘Sew Liberated‘.

The project I started with was The Dapper Day Bag. This is a photo of Meg McElwee’s version, as printed in her book.

- Sew Liberated Dapper Day Bag -

Here are some photos of my final product…

- My Dapper Day Bag -

I bought some light-weight furnishing fabric from Spotlight for the outside and some faux quilted fabric for the lining. The cording was also made by covering some thick string with fabric that matched my lining colours.

- Dapper Day Bag: A Closer Look -

I have had numerous compliments on my bag. When I tell people I made it myself, they seem amazed. It is the perfect size (when I am baby-free), but I may even make a bigger version, for when I have to carry nappies and wipes and all the other things you need when you’re out and about with Bubba.

- Applique Birdie -

Have you ever made anything that you just LOVE?

Love: Batiste Dry Shampoo

For as long as I can remember I have been someone who has washed their hair every day. Every hairdresser I spoke to and many friends would gasp at the idea of daily hair washing. Since having my bub, I have found that time is at a premium and that daily hair washing soon became every-second-day washing and more recently, with the amazing product, dry shampoo, has become every-third-day washing. My mum tells me there were powder products similar to this around when she was younger, but I think the emergence of these spray dry-shampoos is fairly recent. There are certainly more brands now, that are making this product. I have tried a few (certainly not all) and found that Batiste is the best for my hair. I spray it into the roots of my hair (turning it white and ageing me ten years), wait five minutes, then brush it through, to disperse it (back to my original colour). Batiste also make a product for brunettes, which I have tried, but it leaves brown dye around the top of my scalp, which I do not like.

This is what the packaging looks like - a small travel-size and the standard

What beauty products do you use to save you time?