Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eye of Newt

Grocery shopping is one of those tasks that I don't really enjoy. I find it tends to make me frustrated looking at the great variety of 'food' products as well as walking past chemicals that we need to keep our families safe from all of those nasty bacteria. The words of Michael Pollan and his rule number 12 comes into my mind - "Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle".

I took a walk through the aisles recently just to see what I was missing. Our supply of flour was running low so I knew we needed a top up. Sitting right a kiddy eye level was a packet of Harry Potter pancake mix. I'm a little unsure as to how this is any different to normal pancake mix. Perhaps there is some eye of newt involved somewhere? I perused the ingredient list and was amazed at what was in there. How can such a simple product involve so many strange ingredients?

We follow the Jamie Oliver 1 cup recipe. It is easy, cheap and tastes fabulous.

I love the bubbles.

The age old debate about the best pancake topping still rages in our house on a Sunday morning. The kiddie stick together with maple syrup while the grownups unite with lemon juice and sugar.

What is your favourite topping?

Take care and I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Calling all Perthites

I have a ticket to the Jude Blereau seminar that is on Saturday 26 February (tomorrow) and have double booked myself. The session is called Everyday with Wholefood and Jude also has a guest speaker, Julie Eady, who wrote Additive Alert. If you are interested in having this ticket email me and let me know. I don't want any money for it but hate to see the ticket wasted as the session is a sellout.
Take care

Update - The ticket has been taken.

You might want to check our a review of the Jude Blereau seminar at Little Piece of Pie.

Handmade Toys Are On My Mind

I am really enjoying joining in with the On My Mind project over at Down To Earth.

I took part in The Toy Society project a few years ago and felt  I really wanted to get back to it. Sewing is back on the agenda but I really don't like making 'stuff' for the sake of it. The thought of making decorative bits and pieces with no real function drives me crazy. Anything I sit down to make must certainly have a purpose.

I have made a few of these Black Apple Dolls for The Toy Society and these now have new homes. Only one person even replied that they had rehoused the doll but that was enough to make me smile. I know that the idea is to do something for nothing, but I think we would all agree it is nice to know that it is appreciated.

The doll pattern is really easy to follow and the only modification I make is that I found the arms and legs were a little too narrow for my level of sewing ability so I make these a little wider.

So here I am, one and a half years later, and I am about to take this little lady out into the world. If you want to see how she goes, keep an eye on The Toy Society. I will keep you updated here too. You may even like to join it.

Take care

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food Rules

I had quite a productive weekend baking. I usually find that the weekdays just fly by and I take whatever chance I get on Saturday or Sunday to get the oven earning its keep. The bananas that I found in the bottom of the basket were calling out to be baked into a C.W.A. banana cake, and I really wanted to make another zucchini cake. Too good. 

I often think about Rule 39 from Michael Pollan's book, Food Rules. which states that you can "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself". Now I'm not someone that reads a book and then changes my entire way of thinking. I just really like the common sense approach this book takes to food. I also love that my children picked it up one morning and started reading and discussing the rules. (Their favourite is Rule 57 "Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does"). It is a really easy book to read and covers 64 rules about food and eating. I know that 64 seems excessive but it really doesn't feel like you are being preached to. I found that it just articulated the sort of things I had been thinking. Most of the pages have an explanation or justification of the rule but some have just the rule, because it is such a no-brainer.

So basically I don't mind creaming butter and sugar to make a great base for a cake when I know it contains no additives or preservatives. I even sprinkled a little raw sugar over the top of the banana cake before I popped it in the oven to give it an extra crunchy topping. Everyone must have been happy as half of the zucchini cake is gone and there is only about one quarter of the banana cake left.

Take care.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tangerine On My Mind

Warning - I feel a rant coming on.

This has been on my mind for a few days now. We were watching a bit of commercial television the other night and I was amazed to see an ad for an air-freshener that automatically dispenses a fine mist of 'fragrance' into the room whenever you walk in the room. Now, these ads may have been around for a while but ABC and Buffy DVDs don't show them so I'm a bit out of the loop. It just seems so wrong! I don't feel comfortable with my children entering a room and having chemicals sprayed all over them. Has no-one heard of opening a window to clear the air? The whole consumerist aspect of "you need this" does my head in sometimes.

End of rant.

I was given a reed diffuser as a Christmas gift a few years ago and loved the fragrance. It was super subtle but effective. After looking at the price of buying a new one I decided making my own was probably to way to go. After looking around I found a great tutorial by My Green Australia a few months ago. I realise that the initial outlay is quite a a bit but there is enough raw materials to make quite a number of these. They would make a great gift too.

With the combination of tangerine essential oil, safflower oil and a little vodka (I hadn't bought a bottle of this in about 15 years) I now have a homemade reed diffuser sitting in my bathroom. Quite a few of the different tutorials even mention using bamboo skewers and these seem to be working perfectly.

I am really happy with the end result.

Take care

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Results of Sewing

I was right. There is still enough washing and cleaning to keep me busy until … forever, but I managed to have a fairly productive day between the sewing machine and the ironing board.

I started with a very easy project. I bought some gorgeous tea towels on a trip back to Dunedin, New Zealand, last year and wanted to do something with these other than dry dishes. I measured one up again a pillow and the match was perfect so I decided to turn these into cushions. They would make a great addition to our lounge and be very convenient for those long nights in front of Buffy re-runs. All I did was cut two pieces of creme fabric, each a little over half of the length because I wanted to be able to make a button-up back panel. I surprised myself and even managed to cover my own buttons! Super simple and quick, and very handy for last nights viewing.

I tackled another project that was a little more detailed but not overly tricky. The pieces of the Japanese fabric are not very big so they need to be more of a feature rather than the main piece. I had been inspired by this, this and this as that whole disposable cutlery 'thing' gets to me, and used these as references to come up the dimensions.

I am really happy with the final product and will certainly be making some more. I just wish that I had taken all the measurements as I went because now I'll need to remeasure it all as I would like them all to look similar. 

Back to the cleaning.

Take care.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sewing is On My Mind

Today I have spent most of the morning just pottering around the house. There is washing to be hung out, a new load to get started, floors to be cleaned, but I figure that those jobs wont be going away so I may as well spend some time with my much neglected sewing machine. Sewing is on my mind.

Last year we had a fabulous holiday in Tokyo and after reading this blog, headed straight to Fabric Town. Both sides of the road is lined with fabric shops, most being multi-storey buildings. Just about every imaginable design, colour and type of fabric could be found along this street. I picked up a few small pieces, as I knew that we didn't have a great deal of room for metres of material, but just enough to remember my trip to Japan.

Today I am planning to do something with these. I have a few books for inspiration and will check our some lovely sewing blogs to put these pieces to good use.

Hope you are all enjoying your Friday too.

Take care

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zucchini Cake

At the inaugural local Farmers' Market one of my purchases was a gorgeous organic zucchini. I bought it having this super easy recipe in mind.

Being that I no longer work on Thursdays, I took this as an opportunity to do some baking before my afternoon tea guest arrived.

I didn't have any walnuts so I substituted with some pecans that were in the cupboard.

This was such a great way to get some zucchini into the whole family and they absolutely loved it.

Thanks so much to Kate from Two Little Banshees for sharing this fabulous recipe. It is certainly one that I will be making regularly. My afternoon tea guest has already asked for the recipe.

Make sure to check out Kate's sewing and knitting. She is so talented.

Take care

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farmers' Market Fabulousness

For over a year now we have had a ritual Saturday morning visit to a farmers' markets. Our market of choice is a good 20 minute drive away. This is also the closest market.

This morning things were different. We all dressed ready for riding our bikes to a new market that was opening today. It was so lovely to ride out bikes for the 20 minutes that would normally be spent dealing with impatient Saturday morning drivers, traffic lights and parking issues.

First stop was breakfast with sausage sizzles and bacon and egg rolls consumed, while I walked around and looked at all of the stalls. Bread, quiche, fruit, vegetables and preserves were quickly running out. I was glad we had arrived early as I think many of the stall holders had underestimated the turnout.

I was happy the Freshline Organics were there as they usually have a great supply of delicious fruit and veg.

I must say that my 'Find of the Morning' was a bunch of purple carrots. We can't wait to give these a try.

Being in my community, it meant that there were a lot of people that we knew that we were all able to stop and chat with. For many of them this was their first taste of a farmers' market and they all seemed fairly impressed.

I try to ride my bike where possible and recently purchased a fabulous quick-release basket. This simple bike accessory has already saved us many trips to the shop in the car. It didn't let me down today either.

This is where I now need some help. There were bunches of kale but I had no idea what to do with it. I have heard about people making kale chips but I'm just not too sure. I would really love to hear about what other people do with it.

Take care

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tea On My Mind

I've been thinking...up until a few months ago, English Breakfast tea was the drink of choice in this household. We would stumble out of bed and before a word was uttered, the kettle on. Weekends were certainly the worst. It seemed like the kettle was reboiled before I could even see the bottom of the cup. We had changed from tea bags to loose leaf, for environmental/packaging reasons, and had even bought a gorgeous little Zero Japan tea pot with a stainless steel infuser. 

We made the decision to try to cut back on the amount of tea we were drinking as the line between habit and addiction was becoming a little blurred.

Since then, herbal teas have become more regular. We have started growing mint (I haven't killed this one), lemon verbena and lemongrass, and making different combinations, which are definitely very refreshing during these summer months.

Now this is where I need your help regarding which herbs I should be planting to make some delicious teas.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It worked!

After 2 days I now have some sprouted chickpeas in the fridge. The cooler temperature apparently slows down the sprouting.

They have a delicate nutty flavour about them and a lovely crunch.

Take care
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