Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

What do you have growing in your garden?
Jacki's sunflower

We're trying to establish some "eating plants". At least that is what my kids call them.

We have a lot of concrete, and are growing things mostly in pots.

We have some lettuce, spring onions and silverbeet seedlings coming up. Have to keep the giant slugs away from them though. Those slugs are gigantic, and it doesn't help when you have a daughter who loves to make them 'pets' and give them food and water. Just makes the rotten slugs more determined.

I have potatoes, sweet potatoes and an assortment of herbs growing. There are so many other things I could plant besides potatoes, but we use the ones that have gone soft and are starting to grow in my potato box (Phil made it for me), and the kids can't really go wrong planting potatoes. Keeps them busy and helps them understand where their food comes from.
We have silverbeet. I call it silverbeet because that's what it said on the packet, but I believe it's also the same thing as spinach? Or at least in the same family. The kids don't know it's a spinachy thing yet and are quite happily watering it and watching it grow :D

Minature beetroot in a pot

Strawberries are so easy to grow in the right position. We have chicken wire around our most prolific strawberries to keep the birds and blue tongue lizards away. Jacki picked all the red strawberries this morning, so here are some she is keeping her eye on.

I love to use fresh herbs in things, especially lots of fresh herb butter on turkish bread lightly grilled. The herbs we have growing in pots are oregano, basil, sage, mint, I think we have an apple mint but I have to check exactly what it is. It was given to us along with another herb I don't use which is probably in the aniseed family, but it's not dill and it's not a herb that my parents grew in their herb garden, so I don't recognise it.

I have two varieties of lavender growing along my retaining wall. I love lavender in the garden, but I don't use it to fragrance anything. I think I've been around lavender for too long and these days it reminds me of toilet air freshener (ewwwww). I much prefer the scent of Lillies and frangipanis.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New challenges for a New Year. Bring on 2010

I was a tad slack in typing up the monthly challenges I had in 2009.

My challenge for January 2010 is to de-clutter and to minimise household chaos.

I'm also going to renew my challenge last year of reading one chapter every night from the BOM. A yearly challenge that one. Successful so far. It's not a very tough challenge though (not as bad as the next one...)

Here's some ideas I found (on the Simple Savings website - see 'links') to de-clutter:-

A – architraves, archiving, address book, appliances, appointments
B – banisters, brooms, brushes, batteries, books, blinds, beach gear, belts
C – cornices, cook-books, coffee mug collection, candles, cushions, coasters
D – draught-stoppers, dishwasher filter, dust-buster, dress-ups, drinking glasses
E – eiderdowns, egg cups, emails, earrings, eye-glasses
F – filing, frames, fans, fridge shelves, footwear
G – garden tools, globes, games, glove-box
H – hats, hairdryers, hampers, hoses
I – iron cleaning, ice cube trays, invitations
J – jars, jelly moulds, jewellery, journals
K – key collections, knitting patterns, knick-knacks, keyboards, keyrings
L – laundry cupboard, linen, light-fittings, lampshades
M – moth balls, mouldy bits, moving furniture, make-up, medicines, maps, menus
N – necklaces, notices, naps in the afternoon
O – ornaments, open packets,
P – piles of paper, pens, piles of piles, purses, platters, pet stuff, peg basket,
Q – quilts, questions
R – Rsvp’s, recyclables, recipes, rugs, receipts
S – sewing supplies, skirting- boards, sports equipment, stamp collections, suitcases
T – telephones, trays, toys, tickets, toiletries, tax stuff
U – underwear, umbrellas, under anywhere, utensils
V – vases, vanity cases, Venetians, vegetable gardens, vinyl records
W – warranties, wallets, worm farms, wrapping paper
X – Xtra time for ourselves
Y – yards, yarns,
Z – Zzzzzzzzzzz ( napping, see N)

An entire alphabet dedicated to de-cluttering and cleaning. You tick off the things in the list you have sorted through, and decide whether or not to keep said items, clean them, find a home for them etc.

A motivational help to get me some organised chaos (except I'm having a break on Sunday):-

(Sung to the tune of A Partridge in A Pear Tree)

On Monday 4th of January, ClutterCath said to me:
One load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Tuesday 5th of January, ClutterCath said to me
Two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Wednesday 6th of January, ClutterCath said to me,
Three dusted shelves or cupboards, two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Thursday 7th of January ClutterCath said to me,
Four cleared surfaces, three dusted shelves or cupboards, two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Friday 8th of January ClutterCath said to me,
Five sparkly windows, four cleared surfaces, three dusted shelves or cupboards, two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Saturday 9th of January ClutterCath said to me,
Six things decluttered,. five sparkly windows, four cleared surfaces, three dusted shelves or cupboards, two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing will help you to have OC

On Sunday 10th of January ClutterCath said to me,
Seven new recipes, six things decluttered, five sparkly windows, four cleared surfaces, three dusted shelves or cupboards, two clean floors, and one load of washing and ironing …………and now you all have some OC!

Zucchini Slice

I know that Zucchinis will be out in full swing soon, and wanted to have this recipe to hand:-

Zucchini Slice

500 gms zucchini grated
1 onion
3 slices bacon, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cheese, grated
½ cup oil
1 cup SR flour
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients together. Stir well. Place into deep flat pan. Cook in moderate oven for 35 mins.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What else to do with strawberries...


500g berries
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cups sugar

Hull berries and place in large dish with lemon juice. Cook on high for five minutes or until soft. Stir in sugar, cook on high 20 minutes. Stir after every five minutes to ensure sugar dissolves. Check on cold saucer to ensure it jells. Pour into hot jars, cover and seal.


2 punnets strawberries washed and hulled and sliced in half
1 cup raw sugar
Juice of half a lemon

Microwave strawberries in a tall sided m/wave safe bowl for 1 minute on 100%.
Stir in juice and sugar then microwave 100% for 10 minutes, check that it doesn't boil over (if it looks like it is going to, stop machine for a few seconds then continue) stirring every 2 minutes.
Cool then serve over icecream. Delicious!


Doughnut toast:-

2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60 mls milk
8 slices of bread (we like the thick toast kind)
oil for light pan frying
a flat plate with enough caster sugar to dip cooked bread onto

1. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla in a shallow, wide bowl.
2. Dip bread, both sides, into egg mixture.
3. Put bread straight into hot oil in pan. Fry until lightly golden and crunchy.
4. Dip cooked bread lightly in caster sugar.
5. Drain on absorbent paper.

You want to eat this drizzled with Strawberry Coulis:-

In your food processor blitz 1 punnet strawberries, about 2 tablespoons lemon juice, a few tablespoons icing sugar until desired taste

Strawberry Pie

'Tis the season to be strawberried...

A friend gave me this recipe. My little peoples adore it:-

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 packet strawberry jelly
2 tablespoons corn flour
2 cups strawberries
1 baked pie crust pre-made (or pack of crushed biscuits - snap lock bag and whack with a rolling pin - with enough melted butter to hold together, pressed into pie plate)

1. Mix sugar and corn flour. Add water, bring to the boil and cook until clear and thick.
2. Add strawberry jelly and let cool.
3. Add fresh strawberries and mix (or place strawberries on pie crust and pour jelly mixture over top)
4. Refrigerate until set. Top with whipped cream.