The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 30th March, 2018.

This week was an Autumn cleaning blitz and easy cooking week!  The weather has changed to cool at night.  It is so nice and helps me sleep well.  The days are beautiful.  I had started organising and cleaning a couple of weeks ago and I just kept going!   Because I had made lots of meals for the freezer and pesto last week we used things up and had a week of super easy dinners.

I did cook sausage rolls.  I made 48 large sausage rolls then cut these up and they were a dinner, lunches and lots for the freezer.  Since one sausage roll is $3.80 at the bakery this is where making your own is a huge saving.

During the week I gave the inside of my car a good clean out.  It is all shiny and clean and fresh.  Plus organised... I keep first aid, water,  a blanket, walking shoes, torch (flashlight) and all sorts of things in the car. In winter also a coat.  This all needs refreshing now and then.

Finally my craft cupboard is done!  There is no way I am showing you before photos!  They are the stuff of blackmail lol   but now my chaos is sorted and I have something to store things in.
They are all labelled and I have lots of good supplies for my projects.


I started this weeks ago and it took ages.  I mainly use the "a few minutes each day" method until finally it all adds up!


I quite like looking and admiring it now! 

The batteries were in several places and I found a little chest of drawers and sorted them all into types so they are all in one safe place now.  We could power South Australia I think!


I sorted through my makeup and this was a big job!  


And jewellery...


This means my whole dressing table is made over too! 

Cleaning and organising seems to have a domino effect and just goes on and on once you get started.

I cleaned windows...


I even cleaned the vacuum cleaner.  I took it apart and washed the filters and cleaned out everything.   When you clean the vacuum cleaner you are the vacuum cleaner!

As I won't see the girls on Easter Sunday I snuck around there yesterday and hid Easter eggs in the front garden.   Then I gave Harper a little basket and we went egg hunting!  She caught on fast and loved it!  There were even eggs in the letter box! 


Scarlett is too little for chocolate so she got bunny ears...


Andy had a good week and saved $520!  He has more savings lined up as he plans to trim the back hedge which is quite a big job.   We had this done professionally once so we know the cost there.

March is almost over!  It was a good and busy month.  I was reading Patsy's report of what she achieved during the month over at A Working Pantry.  This made me think about just how much we can achieve in one month.  If we set some goals we can achieve a lot!   So now I am thinking about goals for April.

How did you build up your home, save or get ahead this week?

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Easter.   Easter Sunday is also the end of daylight savings for us and the first of April, all on one day!   

It is good to look back over the month and the week!  I am better for it.  I am off now to make chocolate fudge slice the weekend. xxxx






Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Gluten Free Sour Dough.

Last week I experimented a lot with converting my sour dough starter to gluten free flour.  I know a lot of you are on gluten free diets and even if not you are likely to know someone who is.   Let me tell you... gluten free baking is a very welcome gift to anyone not eating wheat!

I was very doubtful that this would work!  But it does!
My original starter came as a dried starter from Nanna Chel.   This is aa regular starter from wheat flour.   You can read how to start a dry starter and make your first bread here on my post Getting starter with Sour dough.   This covers how to build up, feed and grow your starter.
I have never made a starter from scratch so I can't help there but it should also be possible to start one in GF flour.   I always feared a science experiment gone wrong though so having a good starter given to me was easier!

To get a GF starter I took a little bit of what I had, I used less than a quarter of a cup and fed it gluten free flour.  At first it was really small so I gave it a quarter of a cup of flour and a quarter cup of water and stirred it in.  I did this twice a day for two days.  I soon saw tiny bubbles.  As it grew I fed it a bit more and on the third day it started to get quite bubbly and healthy looking.  Just like old times!   By day four I had quite a lot and it was really bubbly and puffy.  When I stirred it the bubbles were crazy!  It was just like regular starter, bubbly, puffy, stretchy... smells a bit sour and yeast like.

On day five I thought ok I have enough to make bread.   Now this bread is still going to contain a tiny amount of gluten from the little bit I started out with... by now it is a tiny percent.  For a celiac I would still not consider this safe but for someone intolerant we are getting pretty good by now.  This is your call.... over time you are going to have a tinier and tinier percentage of gluten in there,  at this point I have kept using it and feeding it so I am now feeding it is safe to call mine gluten free.

The first tries I learned a few things.  I found the bread will rise well.  But normally you would let your dough rise then knead it again and then put it into your pans to rise before baking your bread.  This failed.  It didn't rise that second time.  I decided, fine, from now on I will let it rise in the pans then bake and this worked.  So ONE rise only worked for me.

I used what I had learned baking so much sour dough.  Yeast loves gluten.  And its not getting any of that.... but yeast also loves WARMTH, HUMIDITY,  and PROTEIN.  So to my original bread mix I added all these things.   For the protein I added a desert spoon (or three heaps teaspoons) of powdered milk and one egg.  I also decided to use all the rising power I could muster ad used a teaspoon of baking powder and I used gluten free SR flour mix.  All these things somehow gave me decent airy bread!



So  this is my basic bread recipe....
Take two or three cups of good bubbly starter. Remember to have put some aside for future batches and feed that too.
Make your sponge.   A sponge is when you feed up your starter with a big feed to get it super bubbly!
You must have a bubbly starter then a good bubbly sponge.  No bubbles or low bubbles will not succeed.



You add a full cup of your gluten free flour and a full cup of water to your starter and give it a big stir.
I left mine an hour as it was super bubbly and happy.
When you are happy with the bubbles add your basic bread mix.
I added a pinch of salt,
a big blob of olive oil,
1 egg,
1 spoon of honey,
1 big spoon of powdered milk,
3 cups of gluten free SR flour.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
I set in my mix master to knead.
You will always have varying amounts of starter so add a bit more flour if you need to. You are looking for a good dough not too wet. Think play doh!

Line two loaf pans.  (or one really big one) Put your dough in and put it somewhere slightly warm to rise.  It should at least double in size.
Then bake as you would normal bread,  mine were about 25 minutes.

That is it!   Obviously you can use your own favourite bread recipe.  I would just suggest the egg, powdered milk and baking powder as additions as you are tying to compensate for lack of gluten!

It smelled like bread, sliced beautifully and tastes like bread.  Weirdly it is super white which is the give away.  But as far as I have tasted this is good gf bread.
And the exciting bit to me is I can use this mix to make Naan bread, flat breads, pizza bases.... all so exciting to have!



I also think this will work to make scrolls which are great for work and school lunches.
If you are cooking both regular and gf then just have two starters running and make up a gf batch of everything.   Then no one is missing out.
Given the huge prices of gluten free cooking in the stores this could be a massive saving.

I did also make GF Raisin Bread.
To my sponge I added 2 tablespoons of milk powder,  1 and a half teaspoons of cinnamon,  3 tablespoons of raw sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of soft butter,  1 cup each of raisins, chopped apricot and sultanas (you could use 3 cups of any dried fruits you like) and 3 cups SR GF flour, one teaspoon baking powder.
I mixed it up adding the dried fruit last.  Form into two loaf tins, let rise until doubled and bake.
This also worked and sliced so nicely ready for toasting.   I guess you could also make this up as buns. Or scrolls... then ice.


Meanwhile I have fed and grown the starter I retained.  Now it is asleep in the fridge.
I hope this gives you the confidence to take some starter and just feed it Gluten Free flour.  It works!  I have used Aldi GF flour.  As far as I can see GF flours are usually a mix of flours such as rice flour.
The softness and puffiness of a yeast dough lends itself to so many things and is just different to cake like mixes.   The stretchiness, bread smell and bubbles give you that bread texture and crust too.



I think you have to experiment.   I would say use any recipes you have loved and just factor in some substitutes of things you know yeast likes.... some protein,  some warmth...  and in spite of no gluten it still has food.  At the end of the day you are dealing with a living thing.  We all live in different climates and temperature and humidity play a part.  Also knowing how dough should feel etc. is something you have to try.  So be prepared to experiment a little bit.   The internet is full of recipes and help.  Look up a website called Cultures for Health.  They have a series of free books to download and one of these is about Gluten Free Sourdough bread making.   Once you have a sour dough starter you can make anything and never have to buy yeast again!  You have your own yeast farm!   I have other sour dough recipes and information if you look to the index and follow Sour Dough.

I hope this helps someone and helps the budget.  Over the next weeks I will post how I went with Naan Bread and pizza etc.

This week I have the cleaning bug.   Meals are easy as I am using the pesto I made and some of my spaghetti sauce I froze.   I hope your week is going well! xxx





Sunday, 25 March 2018

The World Within our Walls. Easiest meals.

Last week we were talking about how the smell of baking, full tummies and the family gathering around the table are such cherished and important parts of the world within our walls.   They are important memory making times too.  Often they are times when people will relax and talk and share their day, thoughts and problems.  This is all so important.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to share family memories about your own families cooking and traditions.   There were so many beautiful memories too.
When we consider our own memories we soon realise the impact we are having on our own children and grandchildren with the meals we make and the comforts we create at home for them.

I was reminded of lots of things too!   I remembered how when I stayed at Nan and Pa's the bed was made up so crisp and tucked in so tight it was hard to get into.  And when you did you basically couldn't move! haha!  But I liked it!  And Nan would always have heated the bed first with a hot water bottle.  When I would wake up I never knew where I was until I saw the wardrobe then I knew I was at Nans.  Then I would get out and race into Nan's bed,  Pa would make us toast and vegemite and it was delivered on to a tray on the bed.  It was great!   Pa always make Nan breakfast in bed for all the years I remember.

We also established that most of the meals we loved were not fancy they were ordinary good comforting things.  My Nan almost always seemed to have soup on. She very often made scones.  There was just always warmth and food.  There was plenty.
So today I want to look at really very simple meals.  Meals that we can have ready in a few minutes or ready in the slow cooker.   Comforting wholesome food.  Ways to serve up something that is affordable, manageable and easy.

To start us off we have  Mimi's recipes in four sentences.  You will find this at the top of her home page at A Tray of Bliss. These are my kind of recipes.   Busy Mum's need this kind of thing. Further down she has a few a bit more complex but still easy and good.

I have had many recipes from the books in the 4 Ingredient series.  I have seen people mock this but in my opinion very simple recipes are wonderful to build up the confidence of a starting out cook.  Some things are more assembly than cooking.  But for both starting out and super easy and fast then these four ingredient recipes are wonderful.   They have many free recipes and a Facebook page also.
4 ingredient recipes.   Better yet, many are thing you hopefully have in your pantry... a can of soup, a few eggs, some rice etc.  Many are VERY clever.  Certainly better than take away!

My go to recipe website is Taste.com  and they have a section of quick and easy recipes.  They are in sections to explore but there are some great super fast things there.   Taste. Quick and Easy.

Tonight dinner is this easy recipe.  I already made Pesto last week but you could buy a jar.


You slice up and pan fry some chicken. When it is cooked add a big spoon of pesto and some cream, enough to cover the chicken.  Stir and taste.  Add more pesto if needed.  Serve over rice and veggies. Tonight we will have a big bunch of broccolini and carrots.  That's it!

Hopefully you have some left, use the chicken in wraps or rolls.  So good!


A winter recipe I make is Easy Golden Syrup Pudding.   This is ridiculously easy and everyone loves it.


This is good when you have served a light dinner or soup and need to fill people up! 

Other easy meals are cheats meals.   I call them cheating but they can be so good.  One of mine is to simply  cook up a heap of pumpkin and sweet potato.  Then blend in a can of chicken soup or a packet, taste and adjust.  This is kind of emergency soup but it tastes really good!

Another is cheats sausage rolls.  Someone I knew always served these and finally I asked how she made them.  To my shock she said she just wraps sausages in puff pastry and cooks them.  Then she slices them up into bite sized pieces.  Kids go mad over them.  Well, so had I!  Mind blown!  haha!

Another is Hilde's Scones.  In the US biscuits.  We serve these either as a sweet i.e. with jam and cream or as a savoury with soup etc.   They are so handy and will fill a lunch box too.   Another meal stretcher.   Here is the recipe... Hilde's Scones.

Apart from easy things my regular trick is just to always at least double recipes and then I have another dinner or a meal to freeze.  Very often I quadruple recipes.  A meal from the freezer very often saves the day.

Next week I plan on sharing family recipes, recipes that have been passed on by Mum and Nana.   But this week I thought lets just do the very easiest and fastest things ever!

So over to you... what is your recipe in a sentence or two?   What do you make when time is out!  Between us all I hope we can come up with a good list that will help everyone have a few more of these kinds of recipes up their sleeve.   I will share a few more in comments later in the day too.

Have a wonderful new week!  xxx


Thursday, 22 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 23rd March, 2018.

I had a really busy week!  So busy I didn't even post on Wednesday and it is rare for me to skip a post.  So I have a lot to report.
It is good to stop and look back over it all and catch my breathe.   I was very lucky with lots of opportunities this week!   Very often you just have to say yes and make use of things right away.  Like yesterday I finally had enough basil to make up a big batch of Pesto.  My own basil was never very big this year, not like most years at all.   Hilde gave me a bunch of hers.  Combined I had plenty so I got to making this up as it is so good, fresh and beautiful!


I use the recipe on A Tray of Bliss.  Mimi got me going on this and it is so useful.  It is so good in wraps with chicken.   It is so good with a steak!   One recipe I always do is cook cut up chicken in a fry pan.  When it is getting golden and is cooked add cream and a big blob of pesto and blend.  Serve with fresh steamed vegies on rice.  It is so delicious!    I love easy recipes like this!   

I continued on with my sour dough experiment.  I have converted my sour dough starter over to Gluten Free.  It works.   If you are interested in Sour Dough I have a whole section in my index on that.  It is very easy and it means you never have to buy yeast again.  
I started with a little bit of my starter and just fed it Aldi gluten free flour and built it up.   It acted like normal, bubbly and stretchy.   I found out a few things though along the way.  I found out for me that if you make dough it will rise.  But it won't rise the second time.  So  I now make the dough and place it directly into the tins and let it rise then cook.  This works.

My first success was with raisin bread.   It tastes so good and especially toasted.  


Then I finally got bread right.  It smells like bread, it tastes like bread and it slices perfectly and doesn't break.   


I am pretty happy with it.   Overall I know I am better off grain free.  I definitely cannot eat wheat without suffering badly.  But sometimes it is blissful to have bread!   I can make this for Mum too and baking is so nice for anyone GF.  Plus these products are expensive.   I figure now with my starter going I can easily make pizza base, Naan Bread,  focaccia, rain bread, regular bread,  all GF very very cheaply.   In the supermarket one not very big GF pizza base was $6. 
For anyone interested I will do a post with these recipes.   Now I have a simple way to do it,  but after a fair few mistakes first! 

I also tested the GF flour on pancakes and it worked perfectly.

I made up some bubble bath and added essential oils.


We picked the Quinces from our tree which was leaning over with the weight of the fruit. 



And made a batch of flourless peanut butter biscuits.



Then my week got really interesting as I went to see Hilde.   Ages ago I discovered her area is much cheaper for groceries especially fruit and veggies.   Travelling a bit for amazing prices is worth it.  Plus I get a day with my friend.  Well it was a big day!    I headed off with a basket of farm honey,  Miracle Cleaner and things for Hilde.

On the way I stopped at the op shop.  I got friand baking trays for $2.50


I love these!  To me they are the best way to make things like meatloaf.  They look so neat and you have nice individual serves to freeze.  Also cakes, quiche, muffins... maybe even actual friands! 
I found slicing meatloaf often the slices were not so neat.  Then I started making them in muffin trays. They look so nice!  

Hilde had made me a beautiful lunch.  Just as I expected I ended up with new recipes!  It was a perfect Autumn day and after lunch we went into the garden and picked lemons.  This is funny as she has a balcony and she goes up there with a big stick and breaks lemons off and I am underneath getting pummelled by giant lemons if I am not fast enough.   
She also gave me lots of baby succulents...


Plus Sage,  basil,  a stack of cookbooks and cooking magazines... 
Also beautiful bottles.  Hilde knows I love bottles for Miracle Cleaner, Bubble Bath and other recipes...



We went through her Grand Mothers hand written cook book.  Her Grand Mother was born in 1890.   I will show some of the recipes in an upcoming post. The hand writing is beautiful and Hilde has used all of the recipes. 

It was a fantastic day!   I got three kilos of bananas for 99c and other bargains.   When I got home the car was full!   It's a wonder I made it over the hill! 

Thursday the bananas needed using.  So I got busy with them.   Sour dough was going too and I made my banana cake x 4.  


I made a tray of little cakes for Harper.  Some larger ones for Andy's work lunches.   I took the opportunity and made a Birthday Cake for my niece,  two loaf cakes for Chloe and Luke.  These I slice up and put baking paper in between the slices then freeze.
I gave all the banana skins to the roses.

During the day I sent Mum a text.  She told me she was baking a cake for Luke!   haha!  I said "so am I!"  Well he will be happy!   I said ok Mum please take a photo of your cake and she said she would when she had iced it as it was still warm.

 


Chloe slices up the cakes and freezes portions.   When the boys stop for a break it is called Smoko.  Even though they don't smoke.   So she has a drawer in her freezer with the label "smoko"  and the challenge is to keep up with filling that drawer! 

So I had cooking everywhere!   I also made the first soup of the season.  It was sweet potato and pumpkin as Aldi had both on special.  It was beautiful.  I also froze portions of that for lunches.

We had one use it up night where I had soup and Andy had meat and veggies as I had a single portion of chicken in the freezer.  

Chloe and Luke's puppy is settled in.  His name is Sully.   He trots along with Chloe and helped her go and pick figs from the fig tree.  πŸ˜Š


Because Chloe had a Wedge Tailed Eagle try to take a chicken she keeps Sully close as he is smaller than a chicken! 

Yesterday I babysat Scarlett in the afternoon and then Harper came to visit too.   They love the chickens!   Scarlett seems determined she would like to catch one.   They seem to know it and go and hide. 

So that was my week.   It was productive and I got ahead in lots of ways so I am very happy with it. 
The football season started last night.  This means I will get a lot more crochet done. 

Andy said that he knew I had been doing a lot of baking  BUT.... it is ages since I made sausage rolls. haha!  I told Chloe about this and she said she is sure Luke would agree!   So guess what I am making tonight?   

It is a beautiful day.   I love this weather, it makes me feel really good.   I am meeting my friend Nerilie for coffee.  

How did you build up your home, economy,  pantry and family this week?  Because of the change of seasons many of us are cleaning, organising and fluffing around the house I notice.  

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx 





















Sunday, 18 March 2018

The World Within our Walls. Food on the table.

We have been talking about the world we create at home, the world within our walls.    Our efforts to make our homes nice are all building up our nests!   The wise woman builds her home and there are so many ways to do this!

Mary sent me these gorgeous photos. 
Her husband took them in their garden. 
I thought they are so perfect! 

No matter how lovely we have things everyone needs warmth and nourishment!  Walking in the door to the smell of a meal cooking... nothing is better.  I love winter when it is cold outside and the family can walk in to the warm and to a hot meal.  We have all experienced the relief of a bowl of soup on a cold day.  A good meal at the end of a long working day.  Meal times together with the family.

Lots of our good memories are based around family together and meals.  When we were little Nan used to cook for us a lot.  She always had soup on.  She supplied cakes and biscuits, scones and slices.  For many years Nan cooked a big roast lunch for after Church on Sunday.  We would all gather, her kitchen table was huge!  It was wonderful.  That was the best table ever!


Now it is Mum who has a big table and we all gather around.  Mum's table seats fourteen but sometimes we have more family than that and then we set up a second table.  Roasts with lots of vegetables and sides followed with pudding or pavlova are the usual meals at this table.

If you think about your most wonderful family and food memories I bet the food wasn't fancy.  Many times we remember something delicious but it wasn't necessarily  anything spectacular,  it might have been something simple but we remember how it made us feel.  

Nan's meals were beautiful.  They were all kinds of roasted meats, gravy, roast veggies, mashed potatoes, scones and soups.  She was very good on sponges and cakes.

When I was little I loved when Mum made pancakes,  fried rice, open grilled cheese sandwiches...  tuna mornay.   I loved these!    I got cup cakes in my lunch box.


Mini's beautiful preserves from her kitchen. 


Other memories I have are not specific i.e. the memory is the house smelled of cooking.  Or there always being something to eat after school.   Mum always in the kitchen!

Cooking does not have to be fancy!  It needs to be wholesome.  


Mimi's packaged and ready to go baking. 
Gorgeous! 


Today is the first really cooler day we have had.   Being Autumn I have jumped at the chance to make soup!  I love soup!   One of the biggest helps to me for many years is the slow cooker.  Last night I loaded up my biggest cooker with pumpkin, sweet potatoes and onion and I only had to flick the switch this morning and my soup is on.   
At the end I take out some pumpkin as I want to make scones.   Also maybe some for Scarlett.   Then the rest will be blended with chicken stock. I add turmeric to my soups for an extra blast of goodness.

Pies ready to add to my freezer have always been so handy to me.

My gluten free sour dough  starter now looks like perfectly normal starter so this morning I made half of it into the sponge to make bread.  That is looking really bubbly now so in a minute I can go and make dough.  That will be rising (well I hope!) during the day while I run errands etc.   So tonight I can bake a loaf and see how it turns out... hopefully this will be hot out of the oven just as the soup is ready.    Getting things started in the morning is just the biggest help.  


Beautiful baking from Maria's kitchen.
I know her Grandchildren already associate her with beautiful meals!


I started writing recipes into a cookbook,  cutting clipping and sticking them in when I was a teenager.  Since then I have filled many books with things I would like to try,  Nan's and Mum's recipes and pictures I think are inspiring.   When the girls were little I had one of those cook everything cookbooks.  It was the Nursing Mothers Cookbook and everything in it worked, was easy and had simple ingredients.   These old books are the best!  Another famous one is the CWA cookbook.   They were just recipes from members that worked.  They were not daunting.  Truly wonderful!

More baking from Maria.  Her Grandchildren now put in requests.

In the last few years I have become a better cook and tried things outside of my usual range.  I have learned more things from scratch too which I think is a good thing.  I am still trying to become a better cook and learn more.  Tomorrow I am going to see Hilde.  I almost always come home with a recipe to try from her.   

I try to make things easy.   It is easier to make loaf or slab cakes to feed a lot of people than cup cakes or biscuits.  I always use non stick baking paper for everything.  I double recipes and freeze things.   Left over casserole and stews become meat pies.  
I love that left overs can become a great meal with baking.  Some ham and sun dried tomato can become a big quiche.   All kinds of odds and ends can go on a pizza.  Fruit can be used up in  a crumble or muffins.   Baking is a great stretcher of ingredients and a good way to use things up.
These all can become the lunches that go off to work or to school.  
This all helps the home economy,  builds everyone up,  keeps you ahead with meals and spares in the freezer,  welcomes family home and to the table.  
When you are sick or over run you thaw something from the freezer and have a nourishing meal ready to go.
Cooking is building up your home.  It blesses people.  
Nana always said that an ounce of help is better than a pound of sympathy.  Her way to help was usually making someone a meal and delivering it.   So really your baking can be a ministry. 
You do not have to go to far off places to have a ministry.  It can be from your own home. 
Mother Teresa said "if you want to change the world go home and love your family."
Cooking for your family shows a lot of love. πŸ’—

What are your food memories from when you were little?
How do you handle a busy life and still put good food on the table? 
All tips and recipes are most welcome.  This is an area we never stop learning. Sometimes a small tip makes the world of difference.  Many of us are noticing food prices increasing too.  Ways to stretch what we have and use things up are most helpful.  Maybe even a good subject for another post.

Have a great new week.  I will go start this dough....
xxx







Thursday, 15 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 16th March, 2018.

The week has flown by! It has been a mixture.  Every week I find that what I get done on the weekend and then on a Monday sets the scene.  I always try and do as much as I can on Monday's to get the week off to a good start and knock a few things off my list.  If I do this I seem to get lots done.

I have been drying Olive Leaves.  I crushed some up to send to Patsy and some to start a big batch of Olive Leaf Extract.


Mum had been here and she left to go back to the farm so I sent a tray of little cakes for Chloe and Luke.


We have had lovely Autumn weather.  I took on the job of re potting my Fiddle Leaf Fig trees (indoor plants) as they had grown so much!   Suddenly they seem huge!


It was a bit of a circus but it didn't cost a cent as I had really big pots I found on the side of the road and I took apart my herb pots as they need refreshing at the end of summer.  I had spare soil from that.   Now they look even bigger as the pots are larger. 

I was given $30 in free postage stamps.

Andy had a big week and his Vicky Challenge Savings amounted to $560! He is proud and says "don't forget to tell the ladies" haha! 

I was given 14 pairs of designer jeans. Not my size but I said yes as I googled the prices!  I am going to sell them!

Harper hasn't been eating her carrots.  So I made carrot cakes.  Since carrots aren't popular I decided calling them Carrot Cakes might not be the smartest so I called then Bunny Rabbit Cakes. 😊
This worked! They weren't scoffed at the same rate as Banana Cakes but they have been eaten!


I also tried out a grain free carrot cake recipe as I was dying to have some cake.  Jenny asked for the recipe so I thought since there are a few gluten free (plus also grain free)  cooks here I will include it.

It is 350 g grated carrot.  (3/4 lb)
1/2 chop chopped pecans.
5 large eggs.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda.
250g almond meal (1/2 pound)
1 cup dark brown sugar.
1 teaspoon cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon ginger.

Line a cake pan with non stick baking paper.  I have found each time I have made an almond meal cake that it looks cooked and the middle isn't really cooked enough!  So I made it more as a slice in a thinner layer in a square tin. Then it is easier to tell.  Look for it to be risen, golden and a skewer come out clean then add a few minutes.
Sorry no directions just whip the eggs and sugar first then add the rest.... I was looking for butter or oil but it has none.
Anyway it turned out just like carrot cake! 
I used cream cheese plus icing  sugar plus golden syrup for icing... for Harpers cakes and mine.  Do whatever cream cheese icing you like.  
It was good!

Later in the week I had a big spaghetti sauce cook up.  I made two big pots full.  This gave me two dinners and I froze the rest into meal size portions.
When I have things to freeze most of it goes over to Mum's freezer.


I stacked in ten meals of meat sauce.  I brought back frozen stewed cherries.  I have so many things now in that freezer!


Also I made play doh for the girls.  I made it pink with glitter...



Then I had a fun hour of making snakes and balls,  the two top choices! 

So this was my week!  I don't have to make dinner tonight since we are having zoodles with my meat sauce.  

Chloe sent me this last night...


Luke got a working dog puppy!  To me he looks guilty like he just did something naughty.  This is probably more something he is planning to do!  

How did you build up your home, savings, pantry or any other area of your nest this week?
Have a good weekend.  We have a state election here.   
I am planning to see if I can get my sour dough starter going for gluten free bread.  I wanted to have a wheat free pizza base and when I saw the prices in the shops I decided that is it I am converting my sour dough to GF.   I want pizza at least now and then!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx










Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for Feb. (catching up!)

Finally I think I have caught up with Show and Tell, after this post anyway!  There have been so many ideas I can use. I hope you find the same.  Also in this post seeing what Kelley has been making I can now picture her working away in her sewing room as I now know what that looks like!  So she has been busy!

She made little dresses and sun hats both from her stash of fabrics and from old bed sheets!



So much beautiful work in these!  It opens your eyes too that lovely fabric can be found in places other than an expensive store. 

Kelley also made gifts of purse sized tissue (kleenex) holders for her friends...


I love these and I love making a stack of the same item. This really does help build up the gift cupboard.

She also stitched cards...


Well done Kelley and even with travel and a new Grand Baby you achieve so much! 

Tanya made the sweetest gift for Harper.  Little fabric tea bags.  They are just gorgeous and such a hit! 


What an idea fro pretty little scraps! 
Also shopping bags...


Re using baby formula tins for all kinds of purposes...


Tanya also made beautiful baby shower invitations for her friend.  You are so productive Tanya and al with homeschooling too. So well done!

Vicky has been working on a Shabby Chic style patchwork quilt. I love the soft and faded colours! 



So pretty! 

Jen (from NC) blew me away again with her knitting...



She made this cardigan for herself. Amazing work Jen!



And she embroidered napkins for her Mum.  So beautiful and a lovely gift.   I think your Mum would treasure these Jen.

Cookie has been making  bags....



You are so talented Cookie!  And I know she has also made lots of baby items as she has a new Grand Son!

Mimi has  made beautiful  and useful things.  This is a home deodorising blend that can be sprinkled to clean anything from your mattress to your carpet.  A kind of dry cleaning really.   And very effective!


You can find the recipe here.  If you like natural cleaning and essential oils this is for you! 

Thank you all so much!  I love that we can make beautiful things, lovely gifts,  beautiful our homes and build up our present cupboard all with our own work and using things we have.  What happiness!

I hope your week is going well!   It is beautiful here.  Autumn days are the best!  xxx