Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making More In My Kitchen

 With the kids home because of school holidays, its very important to have the cupboards full with baking. It stops the temptation to buy things we don't need, and makes great bribes (I mean encouragement hee hee) to behave and be helpful. Yes even the teen boys :)
I started with making Afghan biscuits, don't need a lot of ingredients for these. A great use for our walnuts :)

Next Gingerbread Men, DS8 helped with the icing. Next time will make car ones. As DS8 does like his Gingerbread cookies :)

Then I made Feijoa Jelly. This is my first time, and I was please to see it's as easy as making Crab Apple Jelly. A great use of fruit that kids weren't eating (the small sized feijoas, that a teaspoon don't fit). Now I know they will eat on pikelets and scones (with some fresh whipped cream YUM!)

Look at those beautiful Autumn colours. Feijoa and Crab Apple Jellies make a pretty stain glass window for my kitchen :)

Now I can focus on catching up on washing (got behind after boys came back from camp), and cleaning. Need my lounge back :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Autumn In My Kitchen

Do you love the colours of Autumn? I sure do :)
Even better when you find them in your kitchen with the autumn flavours to go with them.
Washing crab apples to make crab apple jelly. I love the red, oranges and yellows.

The finished Crab Apple Jelly is also very pretty with the sun shining on them. Had them by the kitchen window to cool.

Orange of carrots and the browns of walnuts. Getting ready to make carrot cake.

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. YUM! Perfect for an autumn afternoon tea (or dessert)
Also made chicken stock for tonight's dinner, more for comfort food then colours. The carrot cake I made double batch so half could go into the freezer for a day when I don't have time to bake.
Came away from the kitchen today very happy. now DH has cooked us dinner :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Country Drive = Cheap Food

Our family driving through the Karangahake Gorge. Love our country :)
 DS13 and DS14 have been on a christian kids camp as junior leaders. The camp is at Waihi Beach, a lovely place (beautiful beach). It means having a country drive to and from, but well worth it. The boys had a great time, and we got to pick up some cheap fresh food.
The results from a night of cracking walnut shells.
There was a couple of cute kids selling walnuts on the side of the road. We had to stop and buy a bag. It cost a $10, but well worth it when we almost filled to jars with them. To buy them from the shops and fill the same jars would cost over $28. So plans are to use them for carrot cake and yummy dinners of Bacon and Walnut Gnocchi. Also should make a batch of Afghan biscuits with walnuts on top :)
But that was not all we got. At a fruit and veggie shop heading home (before the city) , we picked up some carrots and onions. 20kg onions for $6.99 and 15kg carrots for $7.99.
At another shop brought 500g of garlic for $5, we love our garlic.
Now I need to prepare some of our carrots for the freezer, to make them last like our broccoli we did. With this type of buying I might be able to get our grocery budget lower than $100 per week. That would be helpful.
Waihi Beach on the day I dropped the boys off to their camp. Could of stayed there for the week myself :)

Baking Soda Shampoo

Ok baking soda is not really shampoo, but it sure has been doing a great job with my hair. Many times I had trouble with shampoos, my skin reacting to them. Then buy the ones I didn't react to cost more money.
Then thanks to Pigs Tits and Parsley Sauce, I gave Baking Soda a go. And love it, it's cheap, easy and I feel so clean afterwards. And then using vinegar for conditioner is a bonus.
But just this week I read about Apple Cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. (Was a blog post from last year) Got to give that a go :) Found in my pantry Honegar - naturally fermented from New Zealand apples with raw honey. Mmmmm sounds good for a conditioner :)

My baking soda and vinegar bottle. Easy to use in the shower.
Amazingly I don't smell like vinegar afterwards. But my hair is easier to manage, and no skin reactions. Kids happy to use too. Now if I wasn't so scared to try, I would make my own soap.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Autumn Veggie Garden - Welcome the Greens

Planted out a lot of seedlings on the 21 April. Filling up our veggie garden again.
So thankful for our veggie garden, it blessed us with a lot of food for Summer. Now with this next lot of plants, should help us through autumn and winter.
Have planted out celery, Brussels sprouts, sliver beet (have some colourful ones as well as the good ole green kind), cauliflower, broccoli, pak choi, and kale seedlings. Also planted some pea seeds.
Later on will plant some bean seeds.
One of the things I have done this year is re-planted our capsicum plants into pots. Somewhere I heard to do that as they can keep giving your more capsicums and grow into bushes that keep giving for a few more years. And I have to say it's true so far. We are getting lots more capsicums.
One of our 4 capsicum plants i have re-planted. Look at all those capsicums! Very handy for soup, stews and stir-frys.

Veggie garden this morning 26/04/2013, the celery at the far end is what we planted first and have already used some in making chicken stock. Love watching plants grow.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Starting Kombucha

Thanks to a dear friend we got a scoby/mother, and some Kombucha tea. I love it and hubby is getting use to it. DS8 and DS13 both had half a cup no problems. DS14 couldn't understand why would we want to drink a cup of vinegar ha ha, think it's just his taste buds have gotten use to the sweet stuff he spends his money on. So we have made some up which is easy to do. I can make ginger beer so why not Kombucha (kombucha is easier)
Here's the scoby ready to go. Same dear friend also told us where we could get a large jar. Which was helpful as the ones I wanted to use were just under the size we wanted.

All made up and ready to set aside and wait. The lip on this jar was perfect for my tea towel and rubber band lid :)
Now we wait, and that is not easy :)
I'm buzzing about the health benefits. Sort out my tummy :)
It's good for your digestion, detoxification, immune boosting, all things that I need. Also read that it helps with joint care, which would be wonderful help with my hips.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


My small preserving cupboard is full this year
I might have been quiet in blog land, but I sure have been busy at home. After making over 40 jars of food (some given to others). I realised we need a better place to keep our preserves. So I have been in the hunt of a secondhand pantry, to go into our garage. That would free up more space in my little kitchen again. We had a good year for peaches, our tree blessed us with heaps.

One of the reasons I have been so busy is I'm now homeschooling my DS8. He can be a bit of a handful (more so when he is sick). But he is progressing with his learning, even doing maths out of school time hours. Still have a lot of work to do on his writing.
One day at a time :)

Other exciting news is we have been making progress with our garden. (not that you would think so at the moment, with the mess out there) We are working on a new fence behind our garage and clothes line area. No more jasmine trying to take over my clothes line. More light, more space. Our dear grapefruit tree is having a new lease on life with room to grow and breathe. The fence that was there before was built on our side and took a chunk of space from our land. It also gave a great frame for the jasmine to grow, and a wonderful living space for rats. No wonder our cat would go crazy with that fence, walking up and down beside it. But now it is gone and new frame work is going up on the fence line. Waiting on some secondhand metal fence materials (and one day a fresh paint).

Now if we could just get the other fence done on the other side near my apple tree, and the new chicken palace done I would be very happy :)