Sunday, January 20, 2013

~Favourite Movie~

My favourite Movie to date...

I choose to jot down about one of the best movie to date I have seen - Lord of the Rings, written by JRRTolkien.

The book was very exciting and was eager to see how they would get away with this movie out in this rather special universe and the rather unique action with the many amazing respective characters, but must say that it was created excellent.
Now ... can I just look forward to the get its act together to make a movie of the book "Hobbit", which of course takes place before the movie trilogy they have produced. ... Well as I write this, the movie Hobbit is already released and I saw and could still not get enough of this excellent movie:)

My favorite character is clearly Gandalf and Sméagol (Gollum) and therefore I have choose to put pictures - of just them! Don't take me wrong as all the actors were excellently potrayed and matched all the characters!!

A little about JRRTolkien: (John Ronald Reuel Tolkien) He was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, the 3 January 1892 of English parents. When his father died, moved the rest of the family returned to England, where he 1911-1913 received his education in language studies at Exeter College, Oxford. He married Edith Bratt in 1916 and they had four children - three sons and a daughter. Tolkien worked constantly to develop its mythological stories and language and he was strongly inspired by ancient narrative traditions and themes and characters from the Norse, Celtic, Greek and oriental myths and legends etc. In 1937 appeared Hobbit, which was 'born' on a piece of paper one day when he was working to correct exam papers and he sat next to, to find out what a Hobbit was actually a size.

Publisher George Allen & Unwin was captivated by Tolkien's story about 'the halfling' and the universe Middle-earth and told him to make a sequel. It took Tolkien miss 20 years to complete the story of the brave Hobitters fate. In the years 1954-55 published trilogy Lord of the Rings, which has achieved cult status among millions of readers worldwide.
Tolkien died in 1973 and is buried with his wife Edith in Oxford. ...

It is just a little bit about my favorite author/movie ;-))

Hugs from M.S


Strawberry jam (adapted from Simple Essentials: Fruit by Donna Hay) makes approximately 2-3 cups.

500g Strawberries (you can use any seasonal fruits)
500g white sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Place a small saucer in the freezer, you'll use this later.
Wash, hull, and halve strawberries. Place sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice in large wide-based sauce pan, such as a stock pot. Dissolve the sugar over a medium heat, and then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Be sure to skim off the foam with a metal spoon while the jam is simmering. At around 15-20 minutes place a small spoonful of jam on the cold saucer (from freezer) and run your finger through it. A line should remain, if it doesn't cook jam for a further 5 minutes and test again.
Once cooked carefully pour jam into hot, sterilised jars. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Banana Caramel

Some may say I’m a bit obsessed with desserts… and I’m sure they’re right.  A few weeks ago I was laying in bed late at night, dreaming up the creation I have for you today.  Mind you, it’s nothing all that ground breaking… but it sure is delicious!  A layer of rich pastry cream, fresh bananas, whipped cream, caramel sauce (optional - you can use any sauce), and a cracker crust (i used Muesli). 
Each element is pretty tasty on it’s own, but when layered together they create a pretty amazing dessert!

Banana Caramel Cream Dessert
Vanilla Custard (recipe below)
Bananas (I used two bananas for 6 small dessert servings)
Good quality caramel sauce, or dulce de leche or any sauce of your choice
Fresh whipped cream (I used 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar)
Cracker crumble (recipe below)

Vanilla Pastry Cream
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tin condensed Milk (sweet as per your taste)
1 tblspn Custard Powder - dissolve in cold milk
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 tblspn butter

In a medium bowl,  pour in milk & condensed milk and boil, while whisking add the custard powder to the hot milk stirring all the time, to make a smooth mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.   
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Set aside to cool.  When the pan has cooled, place in the refrigerator to fully cool. 

Cracker Crumbles - Muesli or even corn flakes
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs 
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar

Crush crackers in a large ziplock type bag.  Pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and , stir until fully combined.  Pour into a 9″x13″ casserole dish and press into a even layer.  Bake at 350*F for 10-12 minutes, until light brown.  Allow to cool.
Dessert assembly~
(pictured below as well)
1.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumble into individual serving dishes.  Use a small glass to press the crumble into a firm layer (as pictured below).
2.  Add a layer of custard cream into each dish. 
3.  Add a few slices of banana.
4.  Top bananas with a layer of whipped cream.
5.  Add some cracker crumble and a drizzle of caramel (scoop caramel or dulce de leche into a small ziplock bag and snip off the end for easy application).

Repeat layers 2-5
Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours.  Top with a slice of fresh banana just before serving.
Note:  I used 6 small dessert dishes.   If you make 6 desserts, you will have custard cream and cracker crumble left over.  If you want to make more desserts, or one large trifle dish, you will have enough custard cream and cracker crumble for 10-12 individual desserts.  For a large trifle, or more than 6 individual desserts I would double the amount of whipped cream listed above.

Recipe Source- Final recipe by Glorious Treats.
Alterations:  The recipes posted above are what I used, if you’d like to experiment with substitutions, such as using prepared pudding mix in place of the pastry cream, or cool whip in place of the whipped cream, feel free, but I can not attest to the results.
Press graham cracker crumble into individual dishes.
Add a layer of pastry cream and bananas.
Top bananas with whipped cream, graham cracker crumble and caramel.  Repeat layers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

~Mirror Mirror on the Wall Decor~

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Gone are the days where mirrors were only used for personal grooming. Mirrors are perfect accessories for homes. It creates an illusion of a larger space and adds more light to the room. It’s all about reflection and transformation of a room if it’s placed well. I share with you some pictures from Houzz via Tickled by Inspiration, that will inspire you to add that extra touch to your home.
Heather Garrett Design contemporary dining room
contemporary dining room design by raleigh interior designer Heather Garrett Design

Foyer modern entry
modern entry design by boston interior designer Rachel Reider Interiors

Upper West Side Residence contemporary hall
contemporary hall design by new york interior designer Jarlath Mellett

Entry contemporary entry
contemporary entry design by boston interior designer Rachel Reider Interiors

Living Room / Dining Room. eclectic living room
eclectic living room design by other metros media and blogs Michelle Hinckley

Glamour Mirror from the 30s. Buena vista Deco eclectic entry
eclectic entry design by san francisco interior designer Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc.

If you are in crafty mood and want to play around with mirrors click here and find out what you can do. I love the tennis racket mirror!
Tennis Racket Image via countryliving

Images via Houzz

~Mistakes & Sins~

I believe that there is not one of us that has not made and is still making mistakes in life.
Some of us once we make a mistake become very  hard and refuse to console ourselves in the knowledge that we have a forgiving Lord, providing that we repent and promise not to repeat.
Forgiveness and repentance is  mentioned in a multitude of ayahs in the Noble Qurâan.
Allah says in the Noble Qurâan:
But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:192)
Except for those who repent after that and do righteous deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Aale Imran 3:89)
So once we realise that we err, we must stop immediately, repent and try our very best not to repeat.
A believer should always be in the state between fear and hope.
For these there is hope that Allah will forgive them, and Allah is Ever Oft Pardoning, Oft-forgiving. (An-Nisa 4:99)
Fear as to not disobey Allah and His Commandments and Hope for the Forgiveness of the Most Merciful.
We must be well aware of the whispering of shaitan, who wants us far removed from our Lord. He will whisper... You have repeated your Mistake/Sin. No point in asking for forgiveness?
Now for a different scenario:
Some of us turn our attention to others and we become very critical and judgmental to their mistakes/sins, self assured of our own perfection, blind to our own shortfalls. Astagfirullah.
Oh! No, no, no, this is not the way to stand in prayer, No, no, and no!!! This is not how a good Muslim behaves..., No, no, no, sister you are wearing your hijaab the wrong way!!! Do I need to continue? Of course if we see something in others that we are convinced is wrong we can approach the matter in a kind and gentle manner and give advice but with the purest of intentions. InShaAllah.
Let’s see how the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi WA Salam) dealt with the mistakes of others:
Narrated Abu Huraira: A Bedouin urinated in the mosque, and the people rushed to beat him. Allah's Apostle ordered them to leave him and pour a bucket or a tumbler (full) of water over the place where he has passed urine. The Prophet then said, “You have been sent to make things easy (for the people) and you have not been sent to make things difficult for them."  Bukhari (Book #73, Hadith #149)
Mistakes/sins can be made in ignorance or  in matters that we are well aware that we should not do.
The believer struggles day in and day out to correct himself/herself and lead a pious life.
The believer learns from his mistakes, refuses to keep on berating himself and does not say “ What if..
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your" if" opens the (gate) for the Satan. (Shahih Muslim- The Book of Destiny)
When a mistake happens due to ignorance or due to weakness, the believer remembers the words of His Lord:
Anas (radhiallahu anhu) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) say: “Allah the Exalted said: “O son of Adam! As long as you invoke Me and plead to Me, I will forgive you whatever you have committed, and I will not make much of it. O son of Adam! If your evil deeds reach the borders of the sky, and then you ask Me for forgiveness, I will forgive you. O son of Adam! If you bring forth the earth full of errors, then you meet Me while you do not associate anything (or anyone) with Me, I will bring forth for you its full of forgiveness.  [At-Tirmidhee (Shaikh Albanee rendered it as Hasan)]
I just hope and wish that we all become a little more forgiving towards each other.

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Say Alhamdullilah

Whatever happens is by the Will of Allah, whether it be good or bad. Sometimes we forget Allah when it comes to happy moments, but immediately turn to Him for the bad. We should always be thanking Allah (SWT) for His infinite blessings, even in the tough times. He still gives and gives and we don’t even ask. The mercy of our Lord is beyond.. Subhna’Allah. “Its better a calamity that turns you to Allah, than a blessing that makes you forget Allah”
Always say Alhamdulillah for everything….