Monday, 31 August 2015

The Weekend Kitchen

This weekend saw quite a bit of action in the kitchen with preserving, baking and meal planning in action.
Our little lemon tree was loaded with lemons this year and I have made some preserved lemons and used lots in baking but there were still heaps on the tree so I picked a bucket full to make some cordial which barely made a dent.

I also made a couple of date loaves one for this week and one for the freezer.  We are heading off to New Zealand for most of September, and October looks like being a very busy month for us, so I have also been stocking the freezer with meals and baking ready to just heat and eat.

Saturday night I made dahl and kashmiri chicken curry (recipe later this week) and I had 3 portions of each for the freezer after dinner.  I now have 2 weeks worth of meals ready to call on when we get back from New Zealand.
Even after making 3 x 750 ml lemon cordial concentrate (recipe below) I still have heaps of lemons left so now I have to come up with another plan.  I think I might just throw them in a bag and freeze them.  The juice will be fine once defrosted but I am not sure about the rind.

Lemon Cordial

This recipe is very tart which is how I like it but you might want to cut back on the acids

9 Large Lemons
3 Cups Sugar
9 Cups Boiling Water
6 Tsp Tartaric Acid
6 Tsp Citric Acid
6 Tsp Epsom Salt

Zest and then juice all off your lemons into a stock pot,  Add all of you other ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Bottle in sterilised bottles and store in a dark cupboard.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Garden Of Shame

Since we put our house on the market the veggie gardens have become very neglected and they are full of weeds.  I had hoped that the house would have sold quicker and so I really didn't do any planting and since we thought were not going to be here to harvest spring and summer crops I got quite demotivated and just ignored them.

It is so weedy that the parsley is lost in there and there is even a lettuce off to the left.  Can you spot it?  It is like a game of Where's Wally?

There is actually an Eggplant in there flowering so we will probably get some more fruit before we move

But due to all the work I have put in in the past and my method of letting things go to seed the garden is still producing for us.

There are plenty of herbs, silverbeet and kale.  There are self seeded lettuces popping up everywhere, the cherry tomatoes grow everywhere like weeds and there is plenty of bananas and citrus.  

Self seeded lettuce popping up everywhere

Just today I also found some spring onions I planted a while back hidden among the weeds.

Hello Spring Onions

The garden bed that is producing well and mostly free of weeds

Last weekend I planted some potatoes, some in the ground and some in pots.  The ones in the ground might come to something (some are already shooting) before we move and I will be taking the pots with us when we move.

This week I also picked the first asparagus spear and look forward to all the ones to come.

And as always my number 1 helper is always on hand (usually with a stick for me to throw) to help out in the garden.  She does not dig anywhere and never has but if I am in the garden digging she then likes to have a little dig in the soft dirt.  Unfortunately sometimes this is after I have put the seedling in.... 

How is your garden looking?
Do you have any bits that make you feel embarrassed?

Monday, 17 August 2015

A Weekend Of Joy And Sorrow

Over the weekend Hubby's brother, his wife and their 18 month old son came and stayed.  It was lovely to spend time with them and our nephew loved all the animals.
He is just learning to talk and while he can say dog he mostly calls dogs Ba.  So all weekend he was pointing at Jessie and saying Ba Ba and while he is very interested in her and spent all weekend following her and wanting to throw things for her, he is still a bit scared and if she gets to boisterous he likes to be picked up.

Throwing the ball for Jessie

Where's Auntie Fee?

Hanging out with Uncle Randall
Then late Sunday we had this guy and his partner come for a visit.  They are very tame and if I had to guess  i'd say they get fed by different people around our area.

I gave them some chicken food and they pick through for all the sunflower seeds and leave the rest which I scoop back up and give to the chickens.  It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful they are.

But we do wish they would leave our banana alone.

But sadly this weekend we also lost Hubby's aunt unexpectedly.  She had been unwell for the past 6 weeks with a terrible flu and just could not get better.  She was rushed to hospital over the weekend and passed away at age 71, so very very young.  It made us even more grateful for the time spent with family over the weekend.

Have you spent quality time with your family recently?  When you do remember how special it is and make the most of it.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Slow Parenting

  1. Slow parenting (also called simplicity parenting) is a parenting style in which few activities are organised for children. Instead, they are allowed to explore the world at their own pace
I don't watch a lot of TV but of late I have come across a few great shows recently and last night on the ABC I watched a documentary about slow parenting called Frantic Family Rescue which you watch here until August 25th.  The show was lead by Carl Honore  and he is in the business of selling slow.  He encouraged 3 family to cut back on all structured activities for their kids (bar one), ditch all screens for a month (parents could keep their mobile phones during the day and do alternative activities together as a family.

  1. Image result for slow

The symbol above is one of the 12 priciples of permaculture "Use Small and Slow Solutions"
and while it may not directly relate to parenting I think it is a reminder that excessiveness (not really a word I know) in any aspect of our lives is unhealthy and means that we loose balance in other areas.
I am not a parent so I do not judge anyone for their choices but I firmly believe kids need time to be kids, unstructured time where they can exercise their imaginations and take small risks to help them become more confident people.  If their time is fully structured they miss out on the opportunity to develop these skills.

Do you practice slow parenting?
Did you the the show the other night?

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Visitors From New Zealand

For the last four days we have been lucky enough to have family come and stay from New Zealand.
My uncle and auntie (mums twin sister and her husband) are over here for 3 weeks and have spent a few days of their trip with us.
On Saturday we took a day trip to Maleny and Monville in the hinterland of the sunshine coast and on the way we stopped off at the lookout to take some photos of the Glasshouse Mountains.  We did a bush walk, had lunch out, visited the cheese factory and wandered through the towns checking out the shops and the sites.

The Glasshouse Mountians

My Auntie and Uncle

My Uncle and Hubby
We will be seeing them again next month when we head to New Zealand but it has been a nice interlude with family until then.

Have you had any visitors lately?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Monthly Nine - July

Well here we are again and we are looking back and focusing on the 9 areas of simple living that Christine started back in 2012.  Linda our wonderful host has been really busy so pop over and check out what she has been up to and join in and share what has been going on in your world over the past month.

Here is what we have been up to over the month of July.

Nourish -Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
July was a busy month with me going back to university and this month the stockpile of meals in the freezer came in so handy.  It gave me so much more freedom to get into a routine and get used to studying again.  I also tried to make meals that lasted a few days.

Prepare - Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.
I made some pumpkin soup and I have made another batch of fresh pasta that gives us 6 meals.

Reduce - Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
Not much happening on this front this month.

Green Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.
Not much to report in this area although I have been reading a great book on making your own herbal remedies.

Grow plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden?

Just like last month there are spring onions, mini capsicum, as well as lettuce and silverbeet too. The egg production has picked up a little which is great as we love eggs.
We have heaps of herbs going and I have both thyme and sage going well and ready to use as a cold remedy should one hit. 

Create - To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
I have been working on a crochet blanket and it is coming along nicely.  It is currently over 1.2 metres square and every night I do a little more.  I am using it as one of my tactics to help me sleep better at night.

Discover Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I have been reading lots over the past month both fiction and non fiction and a few of the books have been really great so will be getting a post of their own.

Enhance Community
Not much to report here

Enjoy - Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment.
This month both Hubby and I celebrated our birthdays this month and Hubby turned the big 40 so we had a party in the park with family and friends.  I did all of the catering except the cake and got lots of compliments about the range of tasty salads I made.

Hubby and I

My bestie and I

Jessie keeping our friend Frank company

All the boys

What have you been up to?