Tuesday, 31 May 2016

From The Web This Week

Life is really busy at the moment.  I have 2 University assignments due Friday which finishes up two subjects and then I have an exam on the 16/06 which wraps up the last subject I am doing.  I also have about 6 weeks of work left before I take long service leave followed by maternity leave and boy am I hanging out for that leave.

But I did find a few interesting reads this week when taking a break from all the study.

Most of us have heard of companion planting but what shouldn't we plant together?  Check this out
Incompatible plants 

Ever heard of Pemmican the survival superfood?

Retrofitting the suburbs from Milkwood Permaculture

Here is a great recipe for Peppermint Headache Salve

Sad report about the Barrier Reef

I am sure you are all aware of the big push to support dairy farmers and independent milk suppliers. The reality is that we all make a difference even when we just change what band we buy on one product.  Check out the thanks from Maleny Dairies which happens to be the milk we buy.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Soup Season Starts - Pumpkin And Leek Soup

I love the cool season and all of the warming nourishing food that goes with it. Our summer just went on and on and to be honest I was a bit over salad so I am glad to be moving on to comfort food.

I love the simple, humble, nourishing and tasty nature of soup and I have kicked off soup season with a thick and tasty example, pumpkin and leek.

Pumpkin and Leek Soup

1 kg of Pumpkin
1 Leek
2 Brown Onions
1 Sweet Potato
1 litre of Chicken stock
4 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Ground Cumin
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Peel and dice your pumpkin and sweet potato and place in a roasting tray along with the peeled garlic cloves.  Drizzle with oil and give it a good stir before placing in a 200 degree oven and roasting till they are cooked and starting to brown around the edges.
In the mean time halve and finely slice your leeks and dice your onion and cook over a low heat with a bit of oil and a pinch of salt.  Cook until they are soft and translucent and turning a bit mushy then add the coriander and cumin and cook for 1 minute before adding your stock and roasted veggies.
Cook for 5 minutes, season to taste then blend with a stick blender then cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add some water if you need to thin it or leave it thick.

Serve with a drizzle of cream and serve with hot buttered toast.

Have you started soup season yet?  What are you cooking?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Leibster Award Fun

Liz recently nominated me for a Leibster award which is to recognise bloggers that you enjoy connecting with and hearing about. There is 10 unique questions to answer.  Liz has asked some interesting questions then I need to come up with my own 10 questions for my nominated bloggers, Over to Liz's questions:

1. If you had a big lottery win what would you do with it all?
We are in the process of setting our new farm in NZ and it would go towards making this a reality in a shorter time frame.  I would also go on a world tour for six months and put most of it in the bank so that I can set up a business combining psychology (my current field of study) with my passion for growing and cooking food.

2. How do you think you'd fair in a zombie apocalypse?
Even though we have been without power, phone and access for 5 days without an issue and we are seasoned campers currently not so well.  We have a good stock pile of food but have been whittling it down in preparation for our move to NZ.  Once there and set up I think we would do much better. 

3. If you had six months warning do you think you could grow all you needed to feed yourself and your family?
Not here at our rental as easily as on our future property in NZ but I think we would do ok with 6 months warning.  We would have to bring in a lot of soil as we currently have about 5mm of topsoil over rock, but once we had soil we have the skill to manage quite well.

4. What life-skill should every child have to learn in school?
All children should learn how to cook from scratch, basic sewing, growing food and basic budgeting skills.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Back to NZ to be close to my family with good soil and regular rainfall to enable our 5.5 acre farm to thrive and us to garden and farm with greater success.

6. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to live more self-sufficiently?
Just start.  Every skill you gain brings you one step closer.  Read as much as you can and search the web for tips and tricks.  Don't be afraid just have a go.

7. What's your most hated food?
Tripe but this is easy to avoid.  Bananas are the regular food I hate.  I want to like them as I know they are good for you and they make a great snack but every few years I give them another go and I still hate them.

8. What is your favourite quote/saying?
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

9. Is there a time you've made a massive fool of yourself in public that you laugh about now?
I once went to a costume party dressed as a nun and it was a really convincing costume and after the party my friends all changed back into their normal clothes and we all went into the city to the night clubs with me still in my costume.  It was hilarious and people often wanted to get deep and meaningful and ask for advice.

10. If you had a warning label what would it say?
Ideas person - Likes to come up with the concept and do the fun bits but leave the boring stuff to others while moving on to a new project.

My five nominations are a bunch of interesting folk sharing their lives with us via their blogs:

My ten questions for these lovely people are:

1. If you had to choose 3 charities to give $100,000 to which charities would they be and why?

2. What is the worst job (at home or work) you have had to do?

3. What strange food combination do you love?

4. What is the one skill you don't have but would love to master?

5. If you could create a new law what would it be?

6. If you could change the perspective for every person on the planet about one issue what would it be?

7.  If the shops closed tomorrow how long could you feed your family for?

8. What do you think the 3 biggest environmental issues are?

9. Which famous people would you have over for dinner and why?

10.  What is your guilty food pleasure?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Awesome Op Shop Finds

As I have mentioned we are all for buying second hand when it comes to our baby due in October and last weekend my friend Sandra and I went Op Shopping to see what I could get.
I did have a bit of a list including some maternity clothes and baby stuff that I would be keeping an eye our for but have plenty of time to source including a nappy bag, baby wraps, and baby carrier.

Do you ever find that some days when you go shopping you can find everything you want and more and other times you cannot find a single thing?  Well it was the former for me last weekend.

In one op shop I came across this baby gym with all the bits and pieces, even the battery operated kick pad, included plus a few extra things (2 rattles and a couple of fabric books and a teething ring) that had been added to the bag.  I had thought we would not bother with one of these as they are not that cheap but this one was only$10 and in great condition.  It was only after I had decided to purchase it that I noticed the original price sticker was still on the bag, $129.95.  Yep bargain.

At another op shop I found a nappy bag that can be worn as a back pack, over one shoulder or hooked on your pram.  It fods out to be a change mat and is is an older version of this one which retails for $119.95 and I paid just $14.50. The only thing it is missing is the toweling mat to change on, no biggie.  Another bargain.

The same op shop delivered up a couple more bargains in the way of modern cloth nappies.  The blue pair turned out to actually be swimming pants but the others were nappies that just happen to be the brand (peapods) we have been looking at.  Both of these normally retail for $20 a pair so the $1.50 price tag was amazing. 

Back in the car and the next op shop turned up the biggest bargain of them all along with some of the maternity clothes I had been looking for.
A Caboo Close Carrier RRP of $139 was marked at $5.  Yep just $5.  It is made of organic cotton and does not look like it has even been used.  I suspect no one knew what this funny bundle of fabric and rings was, the staff had no idea and I had to explain it at the counter.  It was just stuffed on a shelf and is missing the very outer support that is optional to use if you still want to be using it between 10 and 15kg.  If I wanted I could make the additional support but we will not need it for quite a while and we may want to switch to a backpack by then anyway.

Sandra also managed to find me some great maternity clothes.  She found me some jeans $8, a merino jumper $12 and a polar fleece jacket $7.50.  Both the jumper and jacket are XL and I normally take a M - L so there is plenty of room for the bump this winter and the Jeans are a 16 and I normally take a 14 so I will just deal with them being a little baggy in the legs and butt (who knows I might fill them too).

At our final stop they were having a sale and I picked up a polo shirt and an elastic waisted skirt for the grand total of $3.

So for less than $60 I got over $600 worth of things which is an amazing haul and even though a nappy bag and a baby carrier were not on our radar to purchase just yet I could not go past these bargains.

Have you picked up any amazing bargains lately?

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A Post To Share

Sometimes when you are on a simple living journey I think there are things you need to remember and this post really sums it up well.

Check it out: When Simple Isn’t Easy : 5 Ways to Cope with Homestead Overwhelm

Monday, 9 May 2016

Hand Me Down And Second Hand Baby Paraphenalia

I am now at week 19 of my pregnancy and everything is going well.  I am healthy, the baby is growing and I have not put on any weight yet which according to my doctor is a very good thing as it means I am not putting on wasted kilos that I just have to try and loose after the baby is born.

We are now taking steps to get set up for the arrival of our first child and we are focused on only buying a few key items new (car seat and pram), not over spending, borrowing where we can and buying second hand as much as possible.

Hubby's mum recently handed down to us items she had used on Hubby and his brother ( 40 + years ago) as well as some sheets they no longer had a bed to fit.
She has gifted us 18 terry towel flat nappies, a assortment of cotton cot blankets, a couple of heavy woolen cot liners, 2 single flannelette sheets, 3 double fitted sheets (plus 2 other double sheet sets that we will keep for our spare bed).  I plan to cut the flannelette and fitted sheets down and turn them into cot sheets and although we plan to use modern cloth nappies the terry toweling flat nappies will make good spares and are the right size for burping cloths and change mats.

There was also a carry basket that we probably won't use as it does not have a matress but time will tell.

I picked up a baby change table at an op shop for $35 and it just needs a change mat on top.  We could have not bothered with a change table but we also needed a set of draws so this one covered that need as well.

I also picked up a baby bath for $5 at the op shop too.  I was thinking that I would just bath the kid in the kitchen or laundry sink but for $5 I could justify the spend.

Later this week we are having our next scan and are excited to find out what sex we are having and that everything is on track.  I am also starting pre-natal yoga this week which I am looking forward to as they cover breathing for labor as well as stretching and strength for child birth.

I also had another day op shopping with my friend Sandra on the weekend and came away a massive winner but more about that later in the week.

If anyone has tips on things that are not worth buying and should be avoided please let me know what and why.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Liz's Magical Herbal Salve

As I posted the other day our dog Jessie managed to hurt herself recently when we visited our friends Liz and Pete.

As luck would have it a little while back Liz gave me some of her herbal salve to try and after checking all the ingredients were safe to use on dogs even if they licked it I decided to apply it to Jessies skin tear.

This was less than 2 weeks ago and the hole was about the size of a 10 cent piece and right through all the layers of the skin.

This is today.

As you can see it is completely healed over with just a tiny little scab bust mostly new skin.  To be honest I thought it would take a lot longer to heal to this point and you can tell that not much time has passed based on the lack of hair growth.

You can buy Liz's Salve here at her Etsy shop.  Just to be open and honest, yes we are friends, no I didn't pay for my pot of salve, no I am not getting paid to endorse her products (but I am happy to as I have tried the lip balm and a soap that she made a while back and they were great) and finally Liz does not know I am posting this (till now) and has not seen the attached photo either.

So a big thanks to Liz for gifting me this salve.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Must Watch - Interesting Clips From The Web

This week I came across a few interesting Clips on line

This one is short and sweet and to the point - Good on you Woody!

Why cows are good for the planet when managed the right way which is the key.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Pests Naturally

Pre-schoolers growing their own food
Interview with an Amish Farmer and Agronomist.  This goes for just over an hour but is really interesting.  Did you know that glyphosate is an antibiotic? That is why it kills all the good bacteria in the soil

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Pizza Puffs

In your world these might also be Cheese Puffs but I call them Pizza Puffs as I like to include more veggies.  I often add odds and ends from the fridge too and things that go well are diced olives, corn, diced mushroom, left over meat, feta or anything else that is not too watery.

Pizza Puffs

1/2 cup milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups cheese grated
1 cup self-raising flour
2 bacon rashers diced
3 Spring onions chopped
1/2 Capsicum finely diced
pinch of salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200C.
Combine eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and drop golf ball size blobs of the mixture onto the tray.
Place into oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Monday, 2 May 2016

How To Keep Different Types Of Fruit And Veggies Fresh

I found this somewhere the other day (not sure where sorry) and put into a Word document so I could print it out and store it in the front on my recipe book as I thought it was a great reference.


Artichokes ‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.

Asparagus ‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge).

Avocados ‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them.

Basil ‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. Try an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.

Beetroot ‐ Cut the tops off to keep beetroot firm, (be sure to keep the greens!) by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.

Beet greens ‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.

Broccoli ‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.

Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If they're bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.

Cabbage ‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to loose its moisture after a week , so, best used as soon as possible.

Carrots ‐ cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they're stored that long.

Cauliflower ‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it's bought.

Celery ‐ does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.

Corn ‐ leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best eaten sooner then later for maximum flavor.

Cucumber ‐ wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you're planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.

Eggplant ‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don't wash it, eggplant doesn't like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper.

Fennel ‐ if used within a couple days after it's bought fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

Garlic ‐ store in a cool, dark, place.

Green garlic ‐an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before dried out.

Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

Green beans ‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.

Herbs - a closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

Lettuce ‐ keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

Leeks ‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).

Onion ‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don't stack them.

Parsnips ‐an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the fridge.

Potatoes ‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.

Radishes ‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don't draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.

Rhubarb ‐wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.

Spring onions ‐ Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.

Sweet Potatoes ‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don't like the cold.

Tomatoes ‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.

Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.

Zucchin i‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.


Apples ‐ store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus ‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.

Apricots ‐ on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe

Cherries‐ store in an airtight container. Don't wash cherries until ready to eat, any added moisture encourages mold.

Berrie s- Don't forget, they're fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.

Dates ‐ dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they're going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it's porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.

Figs ‐ Don't like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.

Melons ‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.

Nectarines ‐ (similar to apricots) store in the fridge is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.

Peaches (and most stone fruit)‐ refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.

Pears ‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.

Pomegranates ‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.

Strawberries ‐ Don't like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.