Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simple Life Challenge :: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Dirt Girl says it's the little things- change starts in the little things we can do everyday.  As I have said here before, I would like to find ways of doing the everyday things a little cheaper, kinder to self and environment and educational for my boys.  The other day I found this awesome post that totally sums up how I feel on the matter (thanks Rhonda Jean). I share all these same views and I am endeavouring, at a pace that won't kill me, to roll out some changes for good.

So, I have started with learning to knit, crochet and sew.  I cook most of my meals from scratch and buy in bulk where possible.  I have only a small herb garden but in time I hope to expand it to vegies and fruit.  I have stopped using shampoo

Now, what can I do about cleaning?  A few years back I purchased Spotless by Shannon Lush.  It is an excellent resource book but seeing as I have lent it out, I am now turning to the internet for advice.  I also went to Aldi yesterday and purchased some microfibre cleaning cloths.  Look, I have no idea if this means the end of cleaning chemicals or not; I have no idea if these cloths were manufactured in a enviro friendly, person friendly way- but it is a start!

I asked Tammi what she does for her laundry needs and she posted this excellent dry powder recipe.  And then I popped over to Down To Earth and found this lovely liquid recipe.  The powder recipe seemed a little less fussy to produce so that is the one I have tried first.

Totally happy with the results.  I add a capful of Napisan to whites and Rick's work clothes and also add vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser to prevent soap build up.  Even with these additives it is working out to be heaps cheaper.  I have done this now for only a month and so far so good.  I will let you know if anything changes.

Anyone else using homemade laundry powder?  What's your recipe?


Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm Sew Excited :: Oh yeah! Top is done!!

Sashing is complete (thanks for your help again Jen).  I'm not showing you more than this snippet as I think a grand unveiling is in order, don't you think?  Only has taken me months and months.  But I am very proud of myself because before this project I had only clocked up a few minutes behind a machine, not hours.

I've selected the fabric for the back and for the binding.  And after much thought, I have decided to get it professionally quilted as I am not prepared to learn quilting on this little baby.

I am truly sew excited, even my heart rate has increased during the writing of this post!  Yay!!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

One of My Favourites :: Cashew Cream

At my old church, there are a team of lovely ladies who teach gourmet vegetarian cooking.  I have learnt a few winners from them and this is one of them.

You take these ingredients . . . .

And blitz them in a blender! Too easy!!

We love cashew cream:

~ on cereal
~ on cake
~ on Grape Tapioca Pudding (cook tapioca in grape juice until opaque)
~ on fruit salad
... possibilities are endless

Here's the recipe ::

Cashew Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup soy milk
1 large tin pears, drained (reserve juice for soaking oats to make a delicious bircher museli)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.  Keep in fridge (keeps as long as the milk would normally).  Pour it over every cakey, cereal, jelly dish you can find.

Great one for diary intolerant but not for nut intolerant!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One of My Favourites :: Vegetable Mulligatawny

Liam loves to eat vegetables- if they don't look like vegetables!  Our diet is 95% vegetarian, so you can see the dilemma I have.  While Rick, Dean and I happily fix the vegetable feed bag on every night, Liam has to have 'gourmet vegies'.  I usually just give him a vegetable puree that contains legumes, poured over pasta (it's vegetable sauce Liam!) but I am always trying to get him to eat it in its more natural state . . . trying, yes, it is trying!

So the latest discovery is this delish dish for winter

I have adapted it from Delia's (who adapted it from Eliza Acton 1840 vintage!) as seen in this book.

But this is what I do:

Vegetable Mulligatawny

3 large onions, chopped
3-4 zucchini, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 large kumera (red sweet potato), diced
1 tin diced tomatoes
50g butter
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
1 tsp each of cumin seeds and coriander seeds
1 cup basmati rice, boiled
1/2 cup red lentils, cooked (I throw these in with the rice into the rice cooker)
850 mL vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan, then add onions.  Cook slowly over medium heat until brown and slightly caramelized.  I tend to put the onions on and then commence to chop the other vegies.

Place spices into a small frying pan and dry roast for 2-3 minutes or until the seeds jump and pop a little.  Tip them into a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder, then add to the onions.

Next, add all vegetables and tomatoes to the saucepan and cook gently, covered until soft which will be about 20-30 mins.

This next step is optional.  If you want a smooth soup (as pictured), add stock and puree vegetables using a stick blender or pour into a conventional blender.  I have served it chunky, hence I cooked the rice and lentils in one operation with the vegetables, but only half a bowl was eaten by Liam

Add the cooked rice and lentils to the puree and stir.

I served this dish up four times in one week, twice to impromtu guests- Julie, it was diary-free when I made it for you, just used olive oil. We think it is very yummy and as you can see, Mr Fussy himself ate it all up!

Do you have to hide your vegetables too?  What's your favourite hidden vegetable dish?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baking Therapy :: Apple Muffins

I am so into diversional therapy right now! 

I like to report in to God's office every morning with reading the bible and prayer- to seek comfort and motivation.  That is great to feed the inner Mary but she doesn't get the housework done.  So to feed the inner Martha, who better to turn to than our modern-day Martha, Martha Stewart.  I catch her shows some mornings and find myself doing the housey chores during and for a few hours after.  As long as I stay focused, I can get almost everything done before lunch time, even cooking the dinner!!

This morning, my inner-Martha energy produced these sweet muffins.

Keeping it real with this shot!

This delightful recipe came via Catherine who found it in a Donna Hay Magazine.

Mine did not turn out as aesthetically beautiful due to the pan and patty case combo I used.  It was a cupcake pan and the cases are for a muffin pan as their bases are bigger.  The result was tipping cases and the muffin mix spilling out over one side.  Still tastes jolly good!

My only change to the recipe was that I cut the sugar down by a third and I used demerera sugar instead of raw as the sprinkle on the top.  I didn't have any raw sugar left and the demerera had a promise of toffee sweetness (according the to pack!).  The muffins were still very sweet. Oh, and I used a pink lady apple instead of a green one.

And I couldn't blog a baked goodie that wasn't in a fancy patty case or show a glass of milk without the quintessential stripy paper straw.  I'm pretty sure I bought these both from here

What is your favourite diversional therapy technique?  Do you have a combo like me?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Creative Space :: knitting therapy

Yes, I know, it has been 2 weeks since my last blog post.  I am sorry!  I did not intend to shut you out these past two weeks but . . . . too many personal and highly sensitive issues going on that I couldn't tell you and my mood was very low.  I have felt such disappointment, sadness, shock, displacement and lack of direction recently that I didn't want to bring the world down with me.  Prayer, reading His promises and confiding in those I trust most have brought me out of this darkness.  And carrying me through the anxiety ? . . . knitting of course!

I would love to tell you more about this little project but I will wait until it is complete.   It is a gift for someone I love very much.  It has such a sweet little 'butterfly' stitch, can you see it?  It will look better when finished and blocked.  I already have plans for this stitch in other garments too. . .  really leaning towards aqua and chocolate next . . . gotta get some more yarn!!!

Now, back to Our Creative Spaces (sad about no more space on Kootoyoo but I understand!)

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