Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- cherry tomatoes, beans, mung bean sprouts

- leek, carrots,

- Risotto Cakes (with organic vegies and produce from our garden)

- My time at our kindy fundraiser, selling egg and bacon rolls at a big local billie kart race ☺

- A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise

- making a list of all the new things that I want to start cooking from scratch (first on my list is water crackers a la Julie at Towards Sustainability)
- sheet mulching some of the newly bordered garden beds in preparation for planting screening trees and fruit trees (we’ve been using recycled bricks from the previous owners)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cast Iron Frypan

I’ve fallen in love with my cast iron fry pan and cast iron wok. This is meaningful because I used to be a card carrying member of the anti-fat brigade ;-) Mainly because I had so many health issues that I attributed them (wrongly I might add) to fat and meat. Since finding out about my food allergies when Little B was diagnosed, I can now make our food choices based on the best things for us physically, ethically and sustainably.

But back to the cast iron frypan. This works so much better than my non-stick frypan that I don’t know why I didn’t change over years ago. Things cook evenly and quickly and its become virtually non-stick anyway with constant use (also the wok makes our stir fries taste so much better). I’m also comfortable now with seasoning them and cleaning / caring for them properly.

In hindsight, my conversion is hilarious. Mr B used to swear by cast iron cookware and I used to look at him like he had two heads. Now he looks at me like I have two heads as he cant believe after 8 years that I’ve so completely come around to his way of thinking ☺

PS If anyone is investigating seasoning cast iron cookware, I can heartily recommend the salt method. I’ve done it both ways and this is sooo much better!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A baking we will go....

Little B and I have been baking up a storm today ☺ What better way to spend a lovely Thursday morning…

Pear Muffins

Our trusty Grandma Poss cookbook from when I was 8 years old ☺

Yummy scrummy Anzac biscuits as a treat for Mr B

Our beloved bread maker making our daily bread (well every 3rd day LOL)

And finally Pear Icypoles (no pictures for this one as it’s a mad scramble to get them into the freezer before Little B eats the liquid – in his mind its still an icypole whatever state its in ☺

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Garden Update

Our garden is still producing well. We’ve eaten all our lettuces and are having one more go at growing some more even though the hot weather just makes them bolt so quickly. Our pumpkins are charging along but no actual pumpkins yet.

I haven’t been too sure what to plant this month. The weather is just so weird – really hot, really steamy and lots of storms. Our shade cloth shelter for the raised veggie bed has worked really well on hot days. So we’ve lost very little to sun burn – only one Lebanese cucumber so far.

I have started germinating brussel sprout, beetroot, peas, broccoli and pak choy seedlings for our winter garden. The brussel sprouts and beetroot are just showing now ☺. The plan is to sit and map out what we would really like in our winter garden and then to stagger our germination and planting as the week’s progress. I’m hoping to put in garlic fairly soon as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- peas, broccoli, red cabbage, pak choy

- carrots, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, beans, Lebanese cucumbers

- Slow Cooker Sausage & Kidney Bean Casserole (with organic chicken sausages and our home grown vegies) and soooo yummmm!
- Lemon Cordial

- 5-minute microwave bottling by Isabel Webb

- so many ideas from the Sustainable Living Festival yesterday. My mind is just racing with things to try and do ☺.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sustainable Living Festival

Picnic lunch (with the extra important thermos of coffee for Mr B)

On the train (with Little B listening to Little Kipper Stories on our iPod)

Before all the crowds

Little B enjoying his first public allergy friendly ice cream

Wash against waste stall - the festival hopes to be zero waste so had reusable crockery and cutlery (I love this concept)

Picnic lunch by the Yarra (with our infamous Gozleme :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rubbish Bin

I love the idea of these LOL - but they are really too decadent for us to purchase

One of my New Years goals is to reduce our plastic usage and rubbish. I’m proud to say that we have now got down to only having to put our rubbish bin out every 2nd week. And even then it’s not full. My goal is to get down to putting it out every 3 weeks.

The way I’ve been managing our rubbish at the moment, is to make really careful shopping choices. I buy in bulk where I can, and now I choose glass and cardboard over plastic coverings for food. For example, I buy our oats in cardboard not plastic.

Obviously I compost as much as I can – all our kitchen waste (barring meat, dairy etc), all paper and small cardboards as appropriate. I also have a separate compost bay for our cat litter – it’s made from recycled phone books. I used to have a worm farm dedicated to this which worked really well but I cant seem to keep the worms alive in extreme heat so have given this up for now. This compost is for garden plants not veggies etc.

I sheet mulch any large cardboard boxes we receive depending on their coatings.

I also use up all our food and leftovers as much as I can. Creative cooking at its best but also only buying what we need and like to eat makes the difference. My next goal is to get more into preserving and canning so that I don’t need to buy things in cans and can reuse glass instead.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Washing Experiments

I’ve been using a variety of eco-washing powders for the last 3 years and have been fairly happy with them. But Mr B is not happy with them. As an engineer he can have days where his clothes get really greasy and grotty and the eco powder just doesn’t cut it. I tried soaking them first but still his clothes just don’t come out fresh and clean and often have an odour that smells really damp and stale.

The last straw has been during our renovations, where Mr B has developed a bed sore type rash from clothes chafing against his legs in the warm weather while he worked. Our gp said he believed our washing powder was contributing as it wasn’t cleaning his clothes properly and this combined with the chafing has caused infected wounds.

So I decided to make my own washing powder as per Rhonda’s recipe at Down to Earth. I had most of the ingredients on hand and decided to omit the Borax as I’m really not comfortable using a product that is a) mined and b) can be toxic to children.

The result?

Surprisingly good actually ☺ I couldn’t stand the smell of Lux flakes so moved onto grating the Sunlight soap and that helped heaps. Mr B’s clothes are really clean and he didn’t mind the smell of either versions (and I will say once the clothes are dry they don’t smell so strongly of the Lux flakes).

It doesn’t make my whites any whiter but then again none of the eco washing powders I have used make clothes any whiter. But a few days on the line in full sun works wonders – a cool trick I learned when we used cloth nappies. Sunlight is the best stain remover!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- cherry tomatoes, spring onions, carrots

- pak choy, some mixed lettuces, germinated brussel sprouts and beetroot

- chicken stock, then chicken noodle soup (organic free range chicken), fresh bread rolls

- toy bags to hold Little B’s collections (to avoid plastic containers)

- The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

- planning Granny B’s birthday lunch on Monday and working out our plans for the Sustainable Living Festival next weekend

Banana / Pear Muffins

I thought I would start posting some yummy recipes that are dairy, soy, egg, nut free and low salicylate

Banana / Pear Muffin
Makes 9 texas muffins

1 ½ cups Self Raising Flour
½ cup rice bubbles or ½ cup quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup castor sugar
1 mashed banana
1 mashed canned pear (pears in syrup)
1 cup rice milk
30ml white vinegar

1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) In a separate bowl / glass jug mix wet ingredients
3) Fold wet ingredients into dry and mix until batter is combined.
4) Spoon mixture into cupcake tins
5) Bake on 175 degrees for about 35 mins or until golden brown
6) Cool for 5 minutes in tin then turn out onto wire rack.

** You can use whatever fruit you like in these – it’s just a basic recipe. Works well with two mashed pears**

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plastic-free Toys

You’ll have gathered from my previous posts that I am on an anti-plastic crusade at the House of B. After attacking the kitchen, I’m now ransacking Little B’s bedroom and toy box. I’ve thrown out all the extraneous plastic rubbish he plays with and have now ear marked the things I need to replace. All of it will go onto op-shops or I will sell via ebay to fund the new purchases we need to make.

What has been pleasantly surprising is how many plastic free environmentally friendly toys and toy companies there are out there.

I love Plan Toys and also Haba Toys.

We’ve also been inspired to replace all of Little B’s plastic play food with knitted play food. This way we can actively control what goes into them. Lots of family members have come on board to help us in this respect and Little B is now the proud owner of a knitted banana, pear, strawberries, donuts and cupcakes ☺

Clearing out his toy box also made me realise how much Little B prefers imagination to things. He spends ages playing with toilet roll people (even though he has toy ones) and play dough creations. The branded toys rarely get a look in.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I’m sure this recipe has already done the rounds of blogia but it has been such a hit in our house recently (and its so easy) that I thought I’d post it anyway. I found it on Simple Savings. It’s great for using up stuff out of the fridge.


200g plain yoghurt
pinch of salt
250g self raising flour
Then whatever filling you like – traditionally spinach / rocket, and feta with some lemon, salt and pepper

1. Beat yoghurt and salt until smooth
2. Gradually add flour and stir with knife until it becomes a stiff dough
3. Knead by hand until the dough becomes soft and sticky
4. Put in a clean bowl, cover and stand for 30 minutes
5. Divide into 4 round pieces, roll into a 20cm circle
6. Add filling, fold over to form a half circle, then press edges with a fork
7. Brush with oil on one side, cook in frypan until golden, then coat other side with oil and repeat

We’ve made these with leftover vegies and cream cheese and they were yummed up by all. I’m next going to try with different cheeses as Little B passes those food challenges.

I love that the dough is really pliable. It’s given me lots of ideas of how I could use it in a dessert form with a little bit of sugar added to the dough.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lazy Sundays

– cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, mung bean sprouts

– Kidney Bean Biryani (with our own and bartered produce) (I loved this dish as it uses up all our left over veg)

– more dishcloths (new knobbly pattern for scrubbers)

- The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham

- planning where the new veggie beds are going to go in the new back yard (mainly where to put the cardboard to kill the kikyu grass)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

OMG :-o

If you only ever read one book, then it has to be this one:

Chemical Free Kids: Raising healthy children in a toxic world, by Dr Sarah Lantz

It is profound. Even Mr B who doesn’t like to read outside of work, read this from back to front in one evening.

You’ll never want to use plastic again!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bonus :-)

Well we have had a very unexpected bonus from the A2 milk. For the first time in his life, Little B is consistently sleeping for 11.5 to 12 hours per night. And even more shocking to us, a wake up time of 7am is becoming the done thing.

Why is this amazing I hear you say?? Well for most of Little B's life, a wake up time of 5-5.30am has been the norm. Sleeping only 9 hours a night and no day nap for a year was all he got. We used to think the dark circles under his eyes were primarily allergy shiners. But lo and behold with a few weeks of consistent sleep (and a nasty cold bug thrown in for good measure) there are no dark circles to be seen.

Its also helped that we've had warm weather. Little B always sleeps better when he's warm. Will just have to see how long this miracle continues ;-)