Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Around here

It's time to get into my garden again so I bought some seeds and I'm ready to do some growing again.  I also made a NY Times No Knead Bread in my camp oven however I'm more excited as my friend and I are doing a Sourdough Baking one day course.  I'm really great at baking bread however still intimidated by the sourdough starter and the loaf.  I've had several attempts over the years and unsuccessful so this is one thing I want to be taught in person.  No amount of you tube watching is going to help me with this one so I'm looking forward to my day out in November with my friend. 

I threw some old bread rolls over the fence to the chickens and a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo flew down walked on the ground and picked up one and flew up on top of the trampoline and continued to eat it.  I went and grabbed my big lens and took some photos of it.  While I think they are lovely and we have heaps around in the trees and footpaths near us I don't really want them in my yard as they can do damage but it was fun watching this one and take some close up pics of it.

Here's a few photos from around the house and garden.

 My purchase of seeds ready to be sown.

Tomato seed saving so going to give these a try thanks to Fiona at Stay Home Instead.

Carrotts & some spinach growing together.  Both of these were planted using the "seed tape".

The replacement chicken fencing is finally up as the other one had too bigger holes and the chickens just pushed there way through and broke the netting.  This one is stronger so hopefully it will be good and keep them in.

The Jasmine is in full flower and smelling great.

Blue skies and Jasmine, what's not to love.

Finally potted some pretty flowers in my pots.

NY Times No Knead Bread that Rhonda from Down to Earth wrote about.

The kids made waffles for breakfast over the weekend.

Backyard sunset.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Around here - Home Made Mayonnaise & Coleslaw

Apart from making things from scratch which I have been doing for years, the other motivation has been about eliminating preservatives and additives from our foods.  One thing we buy all the time is Coleslaw Dressing so it was about time I made some for myself.  I printed out a recipe abut 6 months ago that Cheryl wrote about from A Simply Good Life blog back in 2017 and it's been sitting in my recipe file for that long.  Today was the day I decided to make it and I can't believe it is so easy to whip up.

This is the finished product and I can tell you it was amazing....no more store bought dressing.

First of all you make up the Mayonnaise recipe which only took a few minutes.  Once you put the ingredients into a jar or bowl you whiz it for 30 seconds and then it's done.  So easy and quick.


2 eggs
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 and 1/2 cups of sunflower oil

Place all the ingredients into a tall glass jar that can fit a stick blender [or a bowl].
Whiz it up for about 30 seconds until it becomes thick and creamy and you are done.
Put it in the fridge and that's it.

Use it as a flavour base for coleslaw dressing, potato salad dressing or dressing options.

To make the coleslaw dressing you use the mayonnaise that you just made.

Next step for the Coleslaw dressing is to use 1 cup of the Mayonnaise recipe you just made and add a few more ingredients to it and mix.  It took about 10 minutes to make both of these up and I can't wait to mix it into the Coleslaw for dinner tonight.  I did a taste test and it was great.  We will be making this from now on and won't buy a commercial brand with chemicals in it.


Combine the following ingredients:-

1 cup of homemade mayonnaise
1/8th cup of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic
3/4 teaspoon of granulated onion
Salt & Pepper to taste

Note : Be sure to whisk the mayonnaise mix until the sugar dissolves as you don't want crunchy bits of sugar in your coleslaw.  I did this and at then at the end added the granulated garlic and granulated onion.

Prepare your vegetables and add the Coleslaw dressing to them.

Shred a head of cabbage
1 small red onion thinly sliced [see note below]
1-2 carrots grated
1 red capsicum finely chopped up

Note: If the raw onion is too strong you can soak it in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and it should take away the rawness.  I tried this and it worked really well so I will be doing this from now on so you don't get the aftermath of the raw onion on your breath.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Around here - Simple Living blog posts

It was years ago that I started on the "Simple Living" lifestyle all because I read an article by Rhonda Hetzel from Down to Earth blog which was in the Burke's Backyard Magazine.  At the time I was in Melbourne visiting relatives who had a wonderful veggie patch and they would go outside and pick fresh veggies lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, shallots for a salad for dinner.  It really inspired me to want to grow fresh veggies and get chickens which was about 10 years ago.  I thought it might be fun to go back and read some old posts of when I started out to see how far we have come.

First of all check out this beautiful home grown lettuce picked from the garden yesterday.  I need to refresh my veggie garden as I have neglected it while I have been painting inside the house however I have got quite a few lettuces growing which is handy for summer salads.

This was my very first blog post on 7th July, 2012.

In 2013 I started making the Five Seed Bread in the Thermomix which is our families favourite.

Again in 2013 our first pasta making session, love seeing how little the kids are.

2013 was a big year for tying things and I made some home made butter.

I joined in a blog link called "Slow Living Essentials" where we posted an update on what we had been up to.

Our first home made tortillas were a big hit.  We actually now make Rhonda's flat bread recipe all the time now.

Again in 2013 our first home grown potatoes were very exciting.

in 2014 we started making home made baked beans and have been using this recipe ever since.  We never buy store bought baked beans now.  I make a big batch and then freeze some in containers for the week.

James made his first Turkish Bread with the Thermomix.

When I first started making laundry powder which I love.  I tried making a laundry liquid however I didn't like it so I have stuck with this recipe which I love.

My first time making soap which I've only made 3 times.

In 2013 we started making our own Vanilla.

My sisters and I made our first mozzarella cheese in January 2014 and we loved it.  Sadly we haven't given it another go however I think next year I will focus on this.

Our first home grown cucumbers were so exciting Sienna had to cut it up herself.

Our suburb getting into the community spirit by creating a local Farmers Market.

One of my favourite books I've read about creating a simple living life.

I started crocheting a knee blanket.

Making homemade Granola.

Meeting Rhonda and Hanno from Down to Earth Blog at a talk at a local library.  She was the inspiration that led me to these wonderful activities.

The easiest way to clean your microwave. Once I learnt this trick I have never looked back so simple.

My friend and I got together to do baking at her property with a wonderful book that I had bought for myself and when she moved to her property I gifted her a copy too.

This is the best fluffiest bread roll recipe which we now make.

Planting out some new veggies.

Home made Christmas Ornaments using 3 ingredients.

The first time we made home made dumplings...OMG - amazing.

Hummus from scratch including cooking the chickpeas.

My absolute favourite book in the entire world about life with your kids and how quickly it goes.

Further on from cooking from scratch I went deeper this year listening to the podcasts of Jo and Tracey form Additive Free Lifestyle which was so informative and something that everyone needs to listen too.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Around here - Bathroom Vanity Make Over

In my last post I mentioned that I have been doing a lot of painting around here...3 bedrooms and a huge hallway and at the end of the hallway is the toilet and bathroom.  I decided to give the vanity a modern makeover using the Dulux Renovation paint especially made for repainting laminate and cupboards.  I'm so happy with the end result and it was very straight forward process.  It looks so different and makes the bathroom look brighter.  Here are a few pics.

This is the bathroom vanity before...white cupboards, plastic cream handles and a yellow-ish top.

This is the newly painted vanity - White high gloss top and semi-gloss grey cupboards

New handles from Bunnings - Prestige matte black handles.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Around here - Camping

It's still school holidays and then we will be heading into the last term of the school year.  Soon it will be 2020 and we will be starting another school year in the blink of an eye.  Last week we went camping for a couple of days and had a great time.  Sitting around relaxing, laughing, eating good food and generally just having some down time.  Unfortunately due to the weather there were no camp fires allowed and for the first time ever the creek was not flowing and only half the creek had water in it.  It was such a shock as we were there a year ago and it wasn't as bad as that.  We had a little Mikey Bird that spent most of it's time in our camp site wandering underneath our chairs and was very friendly.  It was such a great time and I'm so glad we booked at the last minute to go.

I have been busy painting 3 bedrooms and a huge hallway and my sister helped me out as it was such a huge job.  It looks amazing and I'm so pleased it's all done.  Now I have to get to my bedroom and do the same however as it's only one room so it will be much quicker.  I'm also painting the bathroom vanity to make it more of a Hamptons grey and white look vs the cream-yellow counter top it is now.  Lets just say I'm at Bunnings on a daily basis at the moment.  I used British Paints gloss paint "Star White" on the door frames, window frames and skirting boards and then on the walls I used "Snow Peak" which in fact was [by accident] a perfect match to the existing colour.  All the walls look so fresh and amazing and I'm thrilled with it all.  Will have to get back to painting the doors in that section as there are 5 of them however for now the main part is all done.

I'm also going to refresh the bathroom vanity by using the Dulux Special Renovation Range to paint the laminate bench top and the doors and cupboards.  You need to apply a special primer which is like a tacky glue liquid and paint that on first so that your special paint will adhere to the surface.  The primer needs to dry for 4 hours and then you can apply the paint.  On the laminate bench top I used Dulux "Natural White" [they tint the special Renovation Paint range for this] and on the cupboards I used a semi-gloss and the colour is "Silkwort".   The paint needs 8 hours to dry between coats.  I'm going to use matte black handles on the cupboard doors and drawers and get black tapware as well.

As I have terracotta tiles on the bathroom floor and toilet floors I wanted to paint them as well so I started out painting the toilet floor as it's a small area and used Dulux semi-gloss and the colour is "Dieskau".  I've done one coat on the toilet floor tiles and it looks great and it needs 8 hours between coats so today I will apply the 2nd coat.  It totally changes the look of the toilet without the orange terracotta tiles on the floor the small room looks so fresh.  I'm so happy with how easy it was to paint the vanity top and cupboards and it will make a huge difference without the cost of a new vanity, pluming or tiles.  Next week I'm going to paint the toilet and bathroom walls in the British Paints "Snow Peak" bathroom wet area paint which will have a special anti mold component in it.