Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Hand Dyed Wool

Today I had my first attempt at using vegetables to dye wool. I boiled some purple cabbage which created a lovely light pink . When I let it boil for half an hour it turned my second batch a lovely lilac. When I added some baking powder it turned into a teal colour.
The first batch used vinegar to set the dye but it was too smelly so  I tried Cream of Tarter but that turned the teal back into lilac. So clearly a few more trials. I was such fun showing the girls and seeing all the jars lined up on the window sill. I dried them on the oil heater but will try them in the sun tomorrow.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Little Lamb

I have started a little ETSY and MADEIT shop. Yippee. It is called Little Lamb and will sell knitting and crochet kits for beginners/kids. I have ordered the materials for the kit and now I'm waiting for them to arrive, packaging, labelling and seeing if it looks the way I envisaged.   I'm excited about having a new hobby and sharing  it with the girls.
I will be using hand dyed yarn and promoting local wool. That's the plan.
Now I'm looking for a little pattern for to include.

As we are all beginner knitters it will be something fun for all of us.
We have already learnt some new terms like mini skein, spindle, roving...
Maybe I could include some of this in the kit.......sort of educational too?
Sheep outside our window

Friday, 26 July 2013

August Project List

At the moment I'm trying to have a project list that is value drive so I use my time to do things that are enriching. As opposed to lots of projects, they are small but meaningful.

Finish Georges jumper- Progressing....
Knit squares for Daisy's blanket
Bake mini friands and freeze
Make herb butter
Plan chicken run-Decided on design and area
Make guinea pig hutch- Finished
Plan Etsy Shop-Finished
Jam project with the girls-Sourced jars
Bind Liberty quilt
Buy clay for the girls-Bought
Make cushions for the cottage
Manure for garden
Mulch for garden
Finish path
Find BBQ area for stone fire pit-Had our first BBQ at the cottage
Paint cupboard and attach handles
Source knobs for dresser

Muesli Slice

This is a really simple slice to have for a snack and easy to load with lovely seeds and nuts. The top is sprinkled with baby chocolate chips which always helps to encourage the kids.

Muesli Slice

1 large bag GF muesli
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tb honey
Added seeds of choice
Small dark chocolate chips

I've just bought a small cupcake tin and looking forward to making mini friands for the weekend. I finally found some segmented lunchboxes so I can arrange bite size food for the kids.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sweet Potato Burgers

This is our new Vegetable Burger recipe. One of our daughters has a potato allergy which leads her eczema to flair up so we use sweet potato instead.

Sweet potato roasted and mashed
Red onion
Cannellini beans
Rice flour
Brown rice
Finely shredded vegetables
Sesame seeds

I coat these in Tapioca Flour and fry them in coconut oil.

Making Changes

Today I went and refilled my glass bottle at the health food store with Levander Grove Olive oil. It seems such a small thing but it felt ggod to make even a small change. Sometimes its so easy to get caught up in convenience, especially with a large family and a small budget. So we have laso been making our own dips which the kids love when they come home from school.
Avocado and Cream Cheese
White bean and Herbs
The chicken patties have been a hit. They are a great size for the lunch box and snacks and mixed with lots of fine vegetables too.
Made little falafals which are great with a teaspoon of dip on top and some grated cheese too. I'm excited to have some new healthy recipes for the kids and us too!
I'm reading The River Cottage Vegetarian Cookbook at the moment and its got some lovely meals. It's inspiring me to use less meat and more vegetables, which with the help of Hugh should be a breeze!
Went to the markets and bought some somap from....another local olive escapes me. Thats not good marketing. Anyway, we love this soap. Lemon Myrtle essence again but without the slime. I think maybe a bar a week in a family of 6!
I ahve frozen some banans for the girls to make a super Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie after netball today. See how they like that.

View of Olive Grove from the window

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Health food store

Our local health food store sells eggs from a local organic apple orchard and we can get our local olive oil from Levander Grove at half  price if we bring our own bottle. I can get a lot of things there so I am going to try and use it instead of the store. Some things I will have to get from the store like milk, cheese, nappies etc. However we can make small changes.

What's working:
Lights off
Cooking on the fire while its on
Op shopping
Less consumption

Changes in line with values
Health food store
Farmers Markets
Mindful consumption
OP shop/Mend Clothes
Vinegar/Lemon/Bicarbonate cleaning
Lemon juice
Grain free cooking
Less cooking
Nature time each day

Friday, 19 July 2013


Tody we made quite a few changes. We started a compost bin which now has worms, soil and scraps. It is the girls job to take out the scraps for the compost and the chicken. Poor solo Pecky really needs a friend. I bought some candles so we can focus on turning off some lights and helping the kids get into more of  natural rhythm. We cooked on the top of the fire tonight. 1 hour later and the potatoes still haven't boiled. It was fine to heat up dinner though. We set up the cottage a little bit more so we can go there after school and feel a bit more at home. I'm going to stock the fridge with raw food so we can graze without cooking while we re there. We timed our showers to 3 minutes and the kids shared.
Small simple changes.
I'm going to make some cordial now and knit.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Local Produce

There are two farmers markets on this Saturday so we will go to one and try and buy enough vegetables for a fortnight.  Is that viable? Will we have enough to last or will I be running back to the store? I have been watching low impact man and I think it's a really good idea to try to reduce in stages eg. shop local, reduce rubbish, save power, less tech. I loved the way they talked about questioning the way we live the second part of our life and values.

1. Use the wood stove to cook.
2. Think about what I'm cooking and when eg. double batch
3. TV only on at certain times and for limited time
4. Turn the lights off.
5. Paper?
6. Make own chutneys, jams
7. Reduce meat/buy grass fed
8. Eat seasonal produce
9. Create water run offs
10. Vegetable beds
11.Second hand clothes
12. Put a jumper on!


We have made our first batch of Marmalade. Ella helped and we are taking it up to her Granddad as it's his favourite. I normally buy some and bring it up but we decided this time to try it ourselves. It was a bit difficult because none of us like marmalade and didn't quite know how to try and taste test. It was quite bitter to start with so we added some honey and it rounded off the flavour. I hope he likes it. so nice to do something special with Ella and share the joy.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Local Support

We have thrown out all our crappy soap and have decide to support our local olive grove and buy their soap and olive oil for 3 months. Considering it is not something we can make ourselves at the moment, I think it will be good to help others that are making lifestyle changes too. When I walk into the bathroom , I get a nice waft of Lemon Myrtle from the soap....lovely.

We are using essential oils in the toilet and laundry and for cleaning at the end of the day. I am using lavender oil in a spray bottle and an eco cloth I have knitted from cotton yarn. Nice to know the girls can help with cleaning without worrying about chemicals. Maybe these small changes that we make will help make it second nature for them when they have their own homes.


Grain Free Chocolate Cake

This cake is lovely and moist and will keep fresh for 2-3 days. I have been playing around with using natural sweeteners and find that this recipe, using apple sauce and honey, good.

Chocolate Cake

1 cup almond meal
I cup coconut
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
2 tb honey
1/2 cup apple puree/sauce
1/2 cup cocoa
1 ts baking powder

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Chocolate Nut Cups

These were a big hit and  way to help the kids learn about healthy seeds and nuts. I cut up some home made trail mix and put it in a mini muffin paper cup along with a spoonful of peanut butter and topped with melted chocolate. They all loved them.
We had them with some of Kylies lemon and lime home made cordial. It was made from left over fruit from her orchard. Lovely.

Tried the new bacon. At $30 a kilo it is not something we can eat lots of but it cooks beautifully and smells unlike any other bacon we've tried. No, corn or wheat or potato, lovely.
We have decided to eat less meat but by grass fed from Boyup Brook. Looking forward to getting started.


Hearty Stew

Today I tried a new recipe from Nourished Kitchen. It is a very basic stew that simmers in beef broth and doesn't need any wine or tomato to flavour. It is very light and leaves you feeling like you have eaten well but not about to fall asleep.

Hearty Stew

Beef cubed
Sweet Potato
French Beans
Beef Broth

Nice over mashed potato for the kids.

Just bought some peanut butter chocolate from a New Zealand company and making a note not to buy it too often as there is not much left!

Whittakers Chocolate

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Lemon Myrtle Soap

We bought some Lemon Myrtle and Lavender soap from Levander Grove today.  They have some handmade gloves I'm going to buy for my sisters knitted from Alpaca Fleece. Such  a beautiful set up with Olive Grove and Alpacas. Very inspiring. I'd love some animal pens for some goats or lambs.....
The snacks went ..ok.  
Everyone was still hungry. We bought a large box of apples which helped for the drive home.
Started the ribbing on Georges jumper. Looks good. Shale Grey.
Try to buy local. Have found a local farm we can go to for local winter vegetables.
Tomorrow we are off to a small farm where they are producing pink garlic.
Lovely day


Friday, 12 July 2013

Winter List

I was just looking at last winters list and I'm feeling inspired......
Ideas for this winter

Georges jumper
Tomato pickle
Help Daisy with her blanket
Focus on herb beds
Cut and dry lavender
Finish Liberty Quilt
Make lunch sacks
Find more healthy recipes
Find some special picnic spots

Now to find the time.....

School Holiday Cooking

I really want to test lots of recipes over the holidays so next term I won't be stumped with what to cook. The plan is that we will have a list of go to meals and snacks to inspire the whole family!
I'm also on the look for leftovers that will transfer well to the lunchbox......

Zucchini Fritters
Corned  beef  fritters
New vegetable Frittata
Tomato Pickle
Fish pie
Almond milk smoothies
Zucchini puttanesca
Roast chicken

Picnic Food

We are going on a picnic tomorrow to the Alpaca Farm. What shall we eat.......

Bacon and egg muffins
Peanut butter and chocolate truffles
Baby carrots

Tonight I'm making some bars which I'm wrapping in waxed paper to make them look store bought!
Excited about making the peanut butter truffles, rolling them with the melon baller and then putting them in their pretty mini patty pans.

Hoping for a sunny day

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Healthy Cooking Plans

Plan school lunch ideas
Make more triangle lunch sacks
Banana Pancakes
Herb butter
Sweet Butters
Source local grass fed meat
Bulk Almond Meal
Buy Food Mixer
Make coconut butter
Support local growers
Wrap energy bars in brown paper
Use Almond Milk

Grain Free

We are trying to adapt to a healthier lifestyle in our family. So I thought I might keep track of the recipes we're trying  and keep  a journal of what works.

What worked today

Getting the kids involved
The girls got up early made a garden salad and a fruit salad. They loved using the melon baller and squeezing lemon juice on the fruit salad to keep it fresh. They served it for morning tea and it was delicious and quite sweet with the little shapes they had made from the melon baller.

We are serving our Greek yoghurt in small bowls with blueberries and honey. Just  small amount of yoghurt, one large tablespoon seems to satisfy them and is  healthy sweet snack.

Routine Foods
Having routine go to healthy food that they recognise is comforting for us all.

Chocolate Truffles
1 cup coconut
20 dates softened
half  cup cocoa
1 tb coconut oil

Roll into teaspoon size balls and roll into coconut.

The kids only need one of these and it is  sweet little bite on the run

Baby Carrots
Having small  carrots in  little basket is something they like and its  a vegetable!

Cauliflower Rice
We had a sit down lunch with vegetables, tuna, cauliflower rice and cheese. Such  healthy lunch and the not only ate it....they also enjoyed it. Not always the case but such  a bonus for a basic cook like myself. Next time I will try and sneak in some avocado and sesame seeds......