23 July, 2014

HOME ORGANIZER: FREE PRINTABLE EXPENSE RECORDS

Free Printable Home Organizer - Expense Records

Today's Free Printable Home Organizer is an expenses sheet to help track where you're actually spending your money.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but sometimes we have a heap of money come in, and then it's gone again before I can blink! So for a while now I've been keeping track of them with an expenses sheet like this, although I must say, none so far have been quite as pretty as this printable :)

Just like the Budget we did a few weeks ago, I've kept this simple - just so it's flexible enough to cope with everyone's situations. And there are a couple of ways you can use it too, depending on your personal preference...

Free Printable Home Organizer - Expense Records
1. THE DAILY OR WEEKLY DOCKET:

If you're the type who likes to keep track of every purchase you make, no matter how small, then you can easily list your purchases each day on this printable. The upside of closely monitoring every single expense is that you'll know exactly where your money has gone. The downside is that it's very intensive, and hard to maintain long term. However, this would be awesome to do for a week or month to get a really good idea of your spending habits, and how you can cut costs.

2. MONTHLY BILLS COVERSHEET:

This is the way I use this printable. Every month I start a new sheet, and write in all the bills I receive and clip them to the back. I add in the date as I pay them, and at the end of the month, I just staple it all together and file them in my bills folder. This makes tax time easy because I'm only looking at 12 sheets for reference - not 120! (nb: I write any specific payment details, like a reference no, on the actual bill)

3. ANNUAL OR QUARTERLY TOTALS:

This printable can also be used at the end of the quarter or year to total up all your bills and see how much you spent on things as a whole. For example, in summer, our gas bill is negligable, but through the colder months it goes through the roof as we have gas heating. So, a total annual tally for gas is really useful and allows us to budget a weekly amount more accurately the following year.

4. FOR SMALL BUSINESS:

Now, please remember, I'm not an accountant - just organized!

To track small business expenses, I would use this printable as a Monthly Bills Coversheet (No.2 above), especially if you are an Australian business, as it will make your BAS super simple.

If you will be filling in a few pages worth of expenses each month, it may be easier to have a whole page for one specific category, for example: An etsy shop may have three categories - one for fabric and materials, one for postage, and one for everything else. This way you have a more streamlined - and useful! - view of where your money is being spent. If you're using more than about 6 - 8 sheets per month though, its probably more effective time-wise to use proper software.

If anyone's interested, I could probably do up some proper income and expense printables just for small business bloggers, etsy stores, market sellers etc - just let me know in the comments :)

TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE EXPENSE RECORDS - CLICK HERE

Anyway, I hope this printable helps everyone get a little more organized with their expenses! If you missed my last Home Organizer post - the Free Printable Budget, you can find it here. And next up, on Saturday, I've got some simple Debt and Investment Trackers so we can all get those organized too!

All the best,

Eliza.

22 July, 2014

QUICK TIP #7


The Quick Tips Series: Quick Tip #7
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15 July, 2014

CHOCOLATE RIPPLE CAKE: LAST MINUTE SPRINKLES PARTY PART SIX

You know, it wasn't until I started posting about Missy's birthday party, that I realized just how much of a classic Aussie party we'd thrown her.

Not only did we have Fairy Bread and Chocolate Crackles... we had Chocolate Ripple Cake. Here in Australia, it's a tried and true crowd-pleaser - the basic party cake everyone one knows and loves. 


Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

And I must say, I posted photos to instagram and Facebook as I made it, and was absolutely floored by the amount of people who've never even heard of it! 

So, for all those who requested it, here's the recipe!

CHOCOLATE RIPPLE CAKE:

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP ONE: For the cake above, you will need roughly 4 x 200g packets of chocolate biscuits, and 3 x 600ml cartons of cream. Before you start, whip the cream until it is stiff, but don't add any sugar as the finished cake will be sweet and rich enough. If you live in Australia, this cake is classically made with Arnotts chocolate biscuits, if you live overseas, look for Oreo-type cookies without any cream centers, chocolate coating or frosting. You'll also need some sprinkles.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP TWO: Take your serving plate and spread a circle of whipped cream in the center. This serves as a guide to keep the cake centered as you put it together, and it will also help 'glue' it to the plate and keep it stable...

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

... I also placed one biscuit dead center as a starting point, and just to make doubly sure I wouldn't have a wonky cake :)

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP THREE: Sandwich a few biscuits together with the cream, and place them on that centered one from before.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP FOUR: Then cover the outside of the stack with cream.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six
STEP FIVE: And keep doing more stacks, making sure there is cream between each biscuit, and around the outside of each stack, making seven in total in a flower pattern. Push them together a little bit to make sure the stacks are all sitting tightly together and straight.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP SIX: I wanted my cake to be a bit higher than it was so far, so, I put a layer of cream over the top to fill in all those holes between the stacks, and then built it up with more stacks.


Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

STEP SEVEN: When you're happy with the height, add more whipped cream to the top and sides, completely coat the cake....

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

...like so. Then pop the cake in the fridge overnight to let the biscuits soften and absorb the cream.

Now, I forgot to get a photo of this, but when you take it out of the fridge the next morning, the surface will be cracked, and it probably won't look that pretty. It just means the biscuits have absorbed lots of cream - which is what you want. All you need to do is put another layer of cream on the outside - it doesn't have to be terribly thick - just to give it a nice appearance! You can see the difference in texture from the image above and below, what a few hours in the fridge will do.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

Coat the top and sides with sprinkles just before serving - I found this was a case of less is more.

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

Just on a side note, I made the '3' topper from a piece of pink craft foam. I used my iPad to blow up the number nice and big (the font is Lobster by the way), then traced it onto a piece of baking paper, and from there onto the foam.

I then taped a skewer to the back, painted the number in PVA glue, and dipped it in sprinkles. This gave a medium/ok coverage. So I got out my giant can of hairspray, gave it a spray (not too much or the colors will run), and pressed on more sprinkles. I repeated the hairspray/dipping in sprinkles a few more times until I was happy with it.

If you look closely, you can see I could have pressed a few more on, and also, I shouldn't have used blue pen when I was tracing it out... :(  Ats, you live and learn!

Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

 And Missy loved the whole thing, so I'm happy with that :)


Chocolate Ripple Cake: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Six

When the Chocolate Ripple cake is cut, you can see where it gets it's name, with lovely rippling stripes all the way through.

It's also often made in a log or square shape, which makes serving a crowd nice and easy, and as it's no-bake - just refrigerated - it's great for summertime too.

So that finishes up my little Last Minute Sprinkles Party series. If you missed any of the other posts, you can check them out here:

Part One - White Chocolate Crackles 
Part Two - Sweet Sprinkles Popcorn
Part Three - Classic Fairy Bread

I'll be back with more Quick Tips and Home Organizers again tomorrow :)

All the best,

Eliza.



14 July, 2014

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS: LAST MINUTE SPRINKLES PARTY PART FIVE

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

I love to cook and can pretty easily make most things, but sweet making is always something I steer clear of.

Sweet making means sugar syrup, and I have an uncanny knack for messing that up. Not that long ago, I made Creme Brulee for a family do, and it took me four tries to get the caramel looking right (while everyone sat waiting at the dinner table...) and even then it wasn't edible.

But these marshmallows, well, even I can do these!

They're super easy and don't require any fancy thermometers - and they certainly don't require you to burn your fingers testing out the squishy-ness of little balls of molten sugar :) And they don't require egg whites, so they're safe for kids.

Marshmallows are also something not many people make anymore, so they're always a bit of a novelty at a party too.

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS:


STEP ONE: You'll need 1.5 cups of white sugar and half a cup of water, 2 tablespoons (30g) powdered gelatine, some sprinkles, and a little essence, if you want to use it.

I used a teaspoon of strawberry essence - the color is actually a lot weaker than it looks in this image, and because of that my marshmallows stayed white, which was what I wanted :) You might like to add a few drops of coloring to yours.

You will also need a few tablespoons of icing mixture to toss your finished marshmallows in.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP TWO: Combine sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan, place on the stove on low heat, and make sure all the sugar dissolves - the mixture will be clear not cloudy when you have. You can stir it if you want.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP THREE: When all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, but don't let it brown at all! You know when you heat honey, and it's very runny but still a bit thick? That's the consistency you're looking for. Anyway, when you get there, set the mixture aside to cool for five minutes or so.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP FOUR: Dissolve the gelatine in a little hot water and add it to the sugar syrup, then get your beaters out and start beating. This can take a while - like 5-10m of beating on high speed. I find it easiest to just beat it in the pot I made the syrup in too. It will gradually fluff up, and get thicker and thicker. When you notice your beaters struggling because it's gotten so thick, it's ready. Using a spatula, stir in any flavoring or coloring.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP FIVE: Pour the mixture into a greased tin, top with sprinkles, and let it set for an hour or two.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP SIX: When it's set, use a greased knife to loosen the edges...

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

... and the whole thing will easily peel out. Place on some baking paper.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

STEP SEVEN: Use a straight bladed, greased knife to slice the marshmallow into squares. The marshmallow will be super sticky, so liberally dust with icing sugar where you need it. When all the squares have been cut, make sure they have all been tossed in icing mixture and shake off the excess. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

I couldn't tell you how long these will store for, because they've never lasted more than a day or two when I've made them! Given their sugar content though, I would think they would be fine to store for three days to a week in a sealed plastic container.

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

And I almost forgot! These Homemade Marshmallows also toast up just like store bought ones!

Homemade Marshmallows: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Five

If you missed my earlier posts about the last minute birthday party we threw for Missy last Sunday, check them out here:

Part One - White Chocolate Crackles 
Part Two - Sweet Sprinkles Popcorn
Part Three - Classic Fairy Bread

The last post in this series is coming up next - Chocolate Ripple Cake - up next :)

All the best,

Eliza.

13 July, 2014

CHOCOLATE DIPPED WAFERS: LAST MINUTE SPRINKLES PARTY PART FOUR

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

These little Chocolate Dipped Wafers couldn't be simpler to make, and were a hit with both kids and adults at Missy's party last Sunday.

They literally took ten minutes to do, and were an easy way to add a few more sprinkles to an already sprinkle filled party. After all, a little girl can never have too many sprinkles!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED WAFERS:

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

STEP ONE: I used a packet each of vanilla and strawberry cream wafers, about 100g of melted white chocolate and some sprinkles. Have some baking paper handy to lie them on while they set, too.

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

STEP TWO: Dip the end of a wafer in the chocolate. You only need a tiny amount to act as glue for your sprinkles, otherwise the chocolate and sprinkles will run as they set, and you won't get a clean, crisp finish.

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

STEP THREE: Dip the chocolate covered end lightly in the sprinkles, and tap off any excess.

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

STEP FOUR: Repeat steps two and three, and lay wafers on baking paper to dry. Repeat for remaining biscuits, and leave them all in a cool dry place to set. Don't put them in the fridge to set, as the biscuits will go stale very quickly. When set, put into a sealed plastic container until ready to serve.

Chocolate Dipped Wafers: Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Four

Like I said, these were simple, quick and effective to make - perfect for last minute birthday preparations. They were also an easy 'extra detail' to help make Missy's party even more special.

If you missed my earlier posts about the last minute birthday party we threw for Missy last Sunday, check them out here:

Part One - White Chocolate Crackles 
Part Two - Sweet Sprinkles Popcorn
Part Three - Classic Fairy Bread

I'll pop the next post - Homemade Marshmallows - up next :)

All the best,

Eliza.

11 July, 2014

CLASSIC FAIRY BREAD - LAST MINUTE SPRINKLES PARTY PART THREE

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

A kid's party just isn't a kid's party in Australia, without Fairy Bread. 

The kids love it, and for the adults, well, it's one of those retro-kitsch tastes that take you straight back to childhood.

Fairy bread is cheap, cheerful, and completely unfussy - the perfect thing to make for Missy's 3rd Birthday Party. It's also quick to prepare, which is great for last minute party preparations.

Today, I've got a little tutorial on how to make it, because funnily enough, Fairy Bread isn't that common outside Australia - so for everyone who hasn't been eating this since they were in nappies, here's how you make it!

FAIRY BREAD:

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

STEP ONE: You'll need plain white bread - don't get fancy with an artisan loaf, and under no circumstances use wholemeal! The best fairy bread is made with fresh, thinly sliced, whiter-than-white, home brand white bread. You'll also need some margarine and sprinkles. Traditionally the bread is just cut into triangles with a knife, but if you want to copy mine, then I used a big round cutter, and a smaller star one that fitted inside.

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

STEP TWO: Using the big round cutter, cut circles from each slice of bread.

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

STEP THREE: Using the star cutter, cut stars from HALF of your bread circles.

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

STEP FOUR: Take a plain circle and a star circle, and spread with margarine.

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

STEP FIVE: Top the plain circle with sprinkles, then sandwich together. Repeat for remaining bread and place on a serving plate.

Classic Fairy Bread - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Three

Fairy bread is best made right before you want to serve it, so it's nice and fresh, and be prepared to make two batches - kids adore it, and it'll just fly off the plate!


So there we go :) An easy, cheerful classic - Fairy Bread.

If you missed my earlier posts about the last minute birthday party we threw for Missy last Sunday, check them out here:

Part One - White Chocolate Crackles 
Part Two - Sweet Sprinkles Popcorn

I'll pop the next post - Homemade Marshmallows - up later this afternoon :)

All the best,

Eliza.

SWEET SPRINKLES POPCORN - LAST MINUTE SPRINKLES PARTY PART TWO

 Sprinkles Popcorn - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Two

A little bit sweet and a little bit salty - the kids at Missy's party on Sunday just loved this colorful popcorn.

It looks super sweet with all those colorful sprinkles, but there's really only a little bit of sugar in there, so it isn't too bad for them. And it couldn't be simpler to make!

SPRINKLES POPCORN

Sprinkles Popcorn - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Two

STEP ONE: You'll need about 1/2 cup of pop corn kernels - popped and hot, 1 heaped tablespoon of icing mixture, some sprinkles, and 3 - 4 tablespoons of salted butter (shown below).


STEP TWO: Add the sprinkles and sugar to the popcorn, and mix thoroughly. Don't worry if all the sprinkles fall to the bottom, just make sure everything is covered in icing sugar.

Sprinkles Popcorn - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Two

STEP THREE: Melt butter in the microwave, drizzle over the popcorn and mix, mix, mix. The melted butter will help the sprinkles stick to the popcorn, and you may want to add more butter or sprinkles to get the mixture to your liking.

Sprinkles Popcorn - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Two

STEP FOUR: Pile it all in a bowl, top with a few more sprinkles for good measure, and it's ready to serve!

Like I said this was absolutely delicious, and the kids just inhaled it! But next time I make it, I'll do so right before I want to serve it, rather than the day before, so its nice and fresh and hot at the party.

Sprinkles Popcorn - Last Minute Sprinkles Party Part Two

These photos were taken the day I made it, and it tasted just as good as it looks!

If you missed my first post in this series about how I threw a last minute Sprinkles Birthday Party last weekend, check it out here.

In my next post, and Part Three of this series I'll be featuring a quick recipe for that Aussie classic - Fairy Bread!

All the best,

Eliza.