Monday, March 25, 2019

Around here - Home Made Laundry Powder

Around here I'm making an effort to reduce my weekly grocery bill.  A year ago I made the decision to do most of my shopping at Aldi and then Woolworths for half a dozen things that I like [ie skim milk, greek yoghurt, frozen raspberries etc] however most of my shop is done at Aldi.

Whilst my local Woolworths and Aldi are in the same shopping centre they are not next to one another as one is in the centre and one is not in the centre and sometimes if I only need 2 items from Aldi and I'm at Woolworths I'll just buy it from Woolworths.  In saying that, I have reduced my grocery bill a lot in the last twelve months however it could still do with some more work.

In the past twelve months I have got into the habit of buying laundry liquid from the supermarket.  I only ever buy the expensive stuff when it is half price however at nearly $9.00 it's still too much.  Last year I did stock up on about 6 bottles of the Coles $1.50 laundry liquid which was great however I used to make my own using the Thermomix so yesterday I did just that.  I have tried making laundry liquid about 8 years ago however I didn't like it and much prefer the powder.

Rhonda from Down to Earth has a post on making laundry liquid and other cleaning recipes.

Here is the link to my original blog post and the recipe is below.


  • 1 x Sunlight [or pure] soap, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 x bar of Sard [or stain removing] soap, rough chopped
  • 200gms Borax
  • 315gms Washing Soda [powder]

  1. Place soap into the Thermomix bowl and chop for 30 seconds on Speed 7.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together on Speed 7 for approximately 20 seconds.
  3. Place into a Tupperware container with a scoop.
  4. Use 2-3 heaped tablespoons per wash.

To save time you can make a double batch however make 1 batch per the recipe and then put it into your Tupperware container and then make your second batch.


If you do not own a Thermomix just grate your soaps and mix together the other ingredients and you'll have your own homemade laundry powder.

You can get Borax from Bunnings as the supermarket no longer sells this although I couldn't find any Lectric Washing Soda at Bunnings and you can get this from the supermarket.

Back in 2014 I wrote a blog post about how I peg my washing and what makes it efficient.  I swear by the Ikea Octopus hangers as they are sturdy and if it rains you can race out and take the whole thing off the line in a second.  It's so simple to peg socks, undies, dishcloths etc. and I would recommend buying 3 of them when you are at Ikea.  PS...did you know Ikea do online orders now for $9 delivery if you can't waste half a day getting there and we all know once you are at Ikea you can spend more money than you want to because everything is great and while you are there, why not.  The online ordering of these will make financial sense because you only buy 3 items and don't have to spend 3 hrs getting there and home.  My local Ikea store is a 45-50 minute drive, times that x 2 and add in the time spent there plus what else you buy it can be an expensive trip so $9 sounds worth it to me.

Do you make your own laundry powder or laundry liquid?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Around here - Raising Seedlings

Around here I still can't believe we are still getting hot days of 35 and 36 degrees.  I'm so over the summer heat however at least we have had some good rainfall and the grass is green again and the veggies are thriving.  I bought myself some little seed growing pots from Bunnings and have planted some seeds out.  This is exciting for me because I normally buy seedlings for my veggie garden or I direct sow into the garden like corn, zucchini etc.  I used a little spray water bottle to water them each morning and I get a nice surprise to see what has sprouted over night.  I find it fascinating that some of the seeds are just sprouting one day and then the next day they can be 5cm tall overnight.  It's been fun for me growing these little seeds and looking after them each morning with a coffee in hand.

The seeds I'm growing are tomato, wombok, celery, butternut pumpkin, beans and for some flowers sweet peas and poppies.  The sweet peas have come up however no sign of the poppies yet.

Here's a few photos from my adventures in seed raising.  The box at the back in the middle has the flowers in it and I started my first seeds using egg cartons however once I bought the seed boxes from Bunnings it was better because they were in a hot house which allows the seeds to sprout so I bought two to start with and went back and bought another two more.  I just placed the lids over the egg cartons to see if I could get these ones to sprout and some have and some haven't.  The celery which sprouts in 14-21 days has got one seed starting to sprout so some more should sprout in the next week.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cheat's Sourdough

One of my goals is to learn how to make sourdough bread and so far I have failed miserably at getting a starter to work.  I've tried on 3 occasions and have not got it to what I think is a bubbly starter.  I usually decide in January to do this and it's quite hot in Queensland however it still feels intimidating to me.

About 6 months ago I started following "Sophia's Kitchen" and she uses her Thermomix for all her recipes.  I saw a recipe called "Thermomix Cheat's Sourdough" so I thought I would give this one a go.  You could make this recipe using your Mixmaster/Kitchenaid or even by hand if you don't have a Thermomix.  Here is the Thermomix recipe that I followed.


30gms Rye Flour
500gms Strong White Bread Flour
1 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast
375gms Water
10gms Sea Salt Flakes
3-4 ice cubes


Place the rye flour, 180gms strong white flour, yeast and 220gms water in the Thermomix mixing bowl.
Combine 30 seconds on Speed 4.
Pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film.
Leave to rise at room temperature for 24 hours.
The "sourdough starter" will develop and grow a lot. Keep an eye on it, if you feel that the bowl is not going to be big enough or if it is a particularly warm day, change the bowl or place it in the fridge.

STEP 2 - 2-3 HOURS
The next day, uncover the bowl and tip the mixture into the Thermomix mixing bowl.
It should look very bubbly.
Add the remaining 155gms water, 320gms strong white flour and sea salt flakes and knead for 2 minutes using the kneading function.
Transfer to large bowl and leave the dough to rise for another 2-3 hours until doubled in size.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and fold into a round shape.
Do this by gradually folding in one edge at a time towards the centre of the dough.
Then turn it upside down and form it into a ball using your hands in a circular movement.
Set the dough into a bread proofing basket with the seam side down and dust with more flour.
Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200c fan forced [220 not fan forced].
Put an empty tray in the oven to heat up.

Once preheated, remove the tray from the oven and line with greaseproof paper.
Careful as the tray will be very hot!
Tip the bread upside down onto the tray and score with a sharp knife a couple of times.
Place in the oven on the middle shelf.
Add 3-4 ice cubes to the bottom of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 180 fan forced [200 not fan forced]
Bake for a further 30 minutes until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.

I've added in the times for this bread so it helped with the the prep process.  Like all bread, the hands on time is minimal and there is a lot of resting/proving time.

I was very happy with the starter as it was bubbly and all looked good.

I ended up cooking my bread about 30 minutes longer than it suggested as it didn't sound hollow on the bottom.

The crust looked amazing, the shape of the bread was great.  I didn't get many holes in the bread so it was more dense that I was expecting although not unpleasant.

My understanding of placing the ice cubes in a tray at the bottom of the oven is it creates steam and helps to get the crust nice and crunchy [don't quote me on this one though].

For a first go I felt it was okay and the recipe whilst looks complicated, was very easy to follow.

You could make this using your Kitchenaid or Mixmaster and could hand knead the bread.

Sourdough starter after 24 hours.

Into the Banneton for proving.

Reading to rise.

After the rise.

Ready for the oven.

Finished bread.

Straight from the oven ready to cool.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Around here - Simple Living blogs & Podcasts

I can't believe it is still so hot at this time of the year and I'm looking forward to the Autumn weather.  I thought I would share with you some recent podcasts that I have been listening to.  I'm haven't really been into podcasts however lately I have found some that have caught my interest.

Living Homegrown is about Homesteading without the farm.  Her motto is "Live Farm Fresh Without the Farm" which I love.  So many people think of simple living and moving to the country.  She actually lives in the middle of LA however her Mum has a property a couple of hours away and they have the farm next to her Mum.  Most of the time they are in LA and they have a caretaker for the farm until they move there when her sons go off to college.  I have listened to quite a few of her podcasts and loved them.

She did an interview with Alana Chernila.  The name rang a bell with me as I had purchased her first book The Homemade Pantry back in 2013.  I also gave one to my girlfriend when she moved to their 6.5 acre property.  When I got this book my friend and I used to have a day baking in the country even though she only lives 10 minutes from my house.  Things are busier now so we don't get to do it anymore however we both loved our day together.  We would pick a couple of recipes out and make them.  Alana has since written two other books as well, The Homemade Kitchen and Eating from the Ground Up.

I enjoyed listening to Homemade cheese in one hour.

I have also found another one called "This is Homesteady" I don't think there has been a new podcast in one year however there is a list of interesting interviews.  This is the podcast link.  I listened to Episode 4 about a girl and her husband who after trying to babies for years were unable to have them and wanted to get a property in the country and it came with 2 Alpacas and now they make and dye wool and have renovated the farmhouse and have a Flower Market Garden.  When they bought the house the owner handed over a folder full of photos and historical facts about the property and they have honored the original owners of the land calling the Flower Market Garden after the family.  I loved hearing this story.  They are at Old Homestead Alpacas.

I have loved listening to anything to do with growing veggies, canning, wool, natural remedies etc. even if I don't do half of those things I love hearing stories about these topics.

A couple of other blogs I have come across that I have enjoyed reading:-

Garden Therapy

I have loved looking through this Australian IG account....the images are so quintessentially outback Australia.  What an amazing childhood those kids are having. Dirt, mess, old tricycles.  Loved ever image in her feed. 

I purchased this book written by Lauren and her husband from Tasmania.  They have a blog called Owlet.  Here is their "about page".  The book is beautifully illustrated and I can't wait to read through it all.

I hope that will encourage you to have a listen to some of these podcasts while you do the housework or cook or even in the garden.