Monday, January 30, 2012


Have you seen these at your local fruit shop or supermarket yet?

I saw them for the first time this week.  It's a fruit called "achacha".  They originate from the tropical Amazon Basin of Bolivia, and are now grown commercially in North QLD - aren't we lucky !! Check out the Australian Achacha website here.

I bought a couple just to try, because I was intrigued...I'd never seen them or heard of them before this week.  Well guess what, they were so good, I bought some more the next day, the kids love them too.
They are kind of tangy to taste, and not unlike  guavas, which I love.  They are also a funky fruit to open up ...

First, pierce a hole in the  skin with your finger nail...

...then give it a gentle squeeze on the sides.  It will sort of pop and split open all the way around...

...revealing a delicious white fruit...with a very large seed on the inside (kind of like a lychee).

Now, before you go throwing the skins away, there is a recipe here for an achacha drink made by infusing the skins in cold water (don't waste anything!!).  I just made it today and it is the most refreshing drink I've made in a long time, really yummy.
I've kept a couple of seeds too...wonder if I can grow and achacha tree ?  Can't hurt to have a try hey?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

the origin of lubely...and caramel popcorn...

THIS  IS  THE  ORIGIN  OF  little movie star. 

A few people have asked me what lubely means, as in my blog title - Something lubely everyday.

About 6 months ago, Marlise, ( my  little movie star ) came up with a new word, and the new word was LUBELY.  It soon became obvious that lubely was her version of LOVELY !!!

'Lubely mummy' was a favourite phrase for a long time, but sadly she doesn't say that anymore.  My 2nd favourite was when she was slurping on a super juicey mango, then she paused and said out loud "mmmmmmmmmmmm................lubely! "  And just a couple of days ago, we were watching the Australia Day fireworks, and she used 3 words to describe what she saw ...nice...pretty...and lubely !

So there you have it, the inspiration for my blog title was my little girl, and my intention is to find "something lubely  (in) everyday".

And the 'lubely something' that we had today was caramel popcorn !!  yummy!!  Here's the recipe we used.


4-5 cups of popped corn
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup nuts (any kind) (I used macadamia nuts)

In a large pot, combine sugar, golden syrup, butter, vanilla and salt. 
Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Increase to a medium high heat and cook without stirring for 5 mins.
Stir in baking soda and remove from heat.
Add popcorn and nuts to sugar mixture and stir well to combine.
Spread onto a tray to cool.  (We were impatient so we put it in the fridge).

Dig in everyone !!!

This stuff is seriously good,  make sure you share some with your neighbours !!

Friday, January 27, 2012

homemade deodorant...

Ahhhh...deodorant.  It's one of those things you just have to use.  Well in this climate you do.  I live on the Centeral Queensland Coast of Australia.  It's hot and it's very humid here, especially now with all the wet weather we've had.   You wake up in the morning and you're feeling sticky.  So you get up and have a cold shower, get dressed, and 10 minutes later, you're feeling sticky again.  Gotta love it though!  This is a beautiful part of the world. 

I'm not a heavy sweater, thank goodness, and for the last year or so, I haven't worn any deodorant (aaaahhh!!!!!!!!  it's OK, i do shower every day !! ).  Reason being,

1.  I refuse to buy a commercial deodorant that contains too many ingredients that I can't pronounce,

2. My 'natural' crystal deodorant shattered, and I just never got around to buying another one, coz I figured it would shatter too.  And it hurts trying to rub fragments of shattered crystal on your arm pits - really, it does !!

3.  I was too tight to spend money on a chemical free - green - type deodorant from the health shop, becuase I knew deep down that I could find a recipe and make one myself.  I'm a bit like that. 

So....I finally got around to making one.  Last year actually.  Around about October, so I've been testing it for almost 4 months now during the hottest and most humid part of the year,  And the verdict - I'm very happy.  It's easy  to make, cheap to make, easy to use, and I can pronounce the names of all the ingredients - that's the BEST part!  OK, so lets get down to it.

There are lots of different recipes out there but the one I liked and tried was this one from the Angry Chicken blog.  Why?   I had all the ingredients, and I love shea butter and cocoa butter on my skin because they feel so luxurious.  Yes, even under my arms that matters.

(Please note that I have changed the recipe a bit, so check the above blog for the original recipe.  I chose to omit the Vit E, and essential oil, and I added some glycerin.)

The recipe:

2 Tblsp Cocoa Butter
3 Tblsp Shea Butter
3 Tblsp Baking Soda
2 Tblsp Cornflour
1 tsp glycerin (optional)

Melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler, or a set up similar to what I did here.

When it's melted take it off the heat and add your shea butter.  Stir it in to melt.

Note:  Shea butter may become grainy if heated for too long.  That's what happened to the batch I made for christmas presents, but I didn't know that then!!

Now add your baking soda, cornflour and a teaspoon of glycerin. 

Sift the baking soda if it has lumps.  Trust me, it will make your life so much easier! 

And don't be afraid to enlist the help of a little 'stirrer'.  She will love you for it.

Let her stir until is is completely smooth.

Then pour it into a small container, and put it into the fridge to set.  I keep mine in the bathroom for convenience, but you can keep it in the fridge if you prefer.

To use it, I just scrape a pea size piece out with the back of my finger...

And rub it a bit between my fingers to soften it.  When it gets creamy like this, smear a thin layer under your arms.  Easy !

I don't particularly like 'smelly' things in my homemade skin care products, so I choose not to use essential oils.  I like my stuff fragrance free, but that's just me.  Feel free to add whatever essential oils you like to this recipe.  TeaTree, Lavender, Rosemary and Eucalyptus all have anti- bacterial qualities and are great for odour protection.  Oils of orange and ylang ylang are also a nice combination to use.

I used glycerin in this recipe, simply because the first batch I made was quite hard, and took a bit of effort to soften it.  Using the glycerin makes it much softer and easier to use.

You can also add Vitamin E to your deodorant.  Vit E is a powerful anti-oxidant.  Great for your skin, and also great in homemade preparations as it increases shelf life by slowing the oxidation of any oils you might be using, so they don't go rancid.

OK,. so that done, bear in mind that this is a DEODORANT, not an ANTIPERSPIRANT.  Big difference.  An antiperspirant stops you from sweating, which is not necessarily a good thing.  Antiperspirants contain aluminium salts which clog your pores, thereby stopping you from sweating.  Sweating is a natural process that allows your body to cool itself when it gets too hot.
The aluminium can accummulate in your body and your brain.  Are the alarm bells ringing yet??  AND aluminium accumulation has been linked to Alzheimers Disease and Breast Cancer.  Now, although the evidence for these things may be inconclusive, would you risk it?  Really, would you?

OK, enough of the scary stuff, I was talking about deodorants and antipersiperants.  A deodorant won't stop you from sweating, however it will stop you from smelling stinky, and that's what I'm talking about !!  Deodorants neutralize odour, if you want the more proper term !

Another interesting point to consider - the more toxins you consume in your diet - I'm talking junk food, processed foods etc - the more stinkier your stink will be than if you eat a clean diet consisting of more whole foods, fruits and veges etc.

I hope you give this a try at home, it really is an easy step towards 'greening' your bathroom.  I guess the hardest part will be sourcing the shea and cocoa butters.  Here in Australia,  I buy most of my ingredients from Escentials of Australia in Noosa, QLD, they have pretty much everything you could possibly need to make your own skin care products, and more.   You can also try your local health store, they may sell some raw ingredients in small packets.
I'll be posting more skin care recipes this year, so you'll have the opportunity to use up your ingredients.

Friday, January 20, 2012

a child's felt treasure bag...

We had a wonderful afternoon just me and my girl...Marlise was alseep, so Ruby and I spent some quiet time together, doing 'stuff '.  It was so peaceful and relaxing...  She's spent every minute of everyday for the last week and a half playing with the neighbourhood kids.  And it's been great.  They've been riding bikes, scooters, a go-kart, and a tricycle, making bright chalk pictures all over the driveway, writing letters to the fairies and leaving them in a jar under the frangipani tree, drawing, eating popcorn, playing chasings, dancing and singing, climbing trees...just being kids and having lots of fun.  But today, was our day, none of the other kids were around and we both enjoyed some quiet time. 

Ruby started out drawing while I started sewing an elephant - at her request.  I got the pattern from a book called Sew Soft Toys, by Karin Neuschutz.  I love this book !  It has so many wonderful  patterns for all sorts of animals.

Ruby's elephant - being made out of an old wool blanket I got at the op-shop ages ago.

Anyway, after a little while, she got bored with drawing and wanted to sew "I want to do what you're doing mum !" - Isn't that so true - young children always want to imitate their parents.  That's why it's so important to be a good example to them, but that's another topic all together !  So we decided she could sew a little treasure bag out of felt. 

I was so proud of her, she sewed it up in no time at all, with no help from me, except to thread the needle.  And when she was finished she was so excited!  It made my day to see her with big smiles from something she had achieved.  She went rummaging through my craft box to find treasures to fill it with - a bell, some ribbon, piece of felt, beads and other things small enough to fit.

This is how she did it.....

First I cut a circle out of a piece of wool felt, about 10cm diametre. (OK, a circle-ish shape, my freehand cutting skills are obviously lacking !!)

Then I double threaded the needle and tied a knot at the end.  I have to do this for her otherwise she keeps pulling the needle of the thread.

Then it was up to her to sew....starting about 0.5-1cm in from the edge.

All the way around the circle.....

It doesn't matter too much that the stitches are uneven, it matters most that she did it all by herself !

Make sure that the last stitch finishes on the same side of the felt as the starting stitch.  Then cut the needle off and tie a knot.

Now pull your two strings gently to gather up the edges, forming your treasure bag.  oops!  note in the picture, that I did it wrong the first time - the string tails should be on the OUTSIDE of the bag !

And there you have it, one pretty little felt treasure bag...

And don't forget to let her raid your craft box for all those shiney little treasures she's had her eye on for ages, because now she has a safe place to keep them all !

I wrote this blog over 2 days, and she made another treasure bag today so I could take photos - forgot to yesterday, so now she has 2! 

"What can I sew now mum ?"    ummmmmmm....ok, will have to think about that ! 

Any ideas anyone ???

Thursday, January 19, 2012

mango heaven...

Do you know what these are ???

This my dear friends is a truck load of mangoes.
Heaven on the back of a truck !

We were at a playground the other day and this truck pulled up right next to us.  Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads, WOW !  never seen this many mangoes before.  The smell of the mangoes was so strong, and so sweet.

I have always thought  mangoes were the fruit of the Gods.  So delicious.  So, thankfully, they grow in abundance here in Queensland.

I remember when I was a kid, mum would buy a couple of small mangoes for our family.  It was a rare treat, because they were expensive for us, but it was better than Christmas!  I could never understand why Dad got to eat a whole mango for himself, and Mum, my sister and I had to share the other one - so not fair...but I'm making up for it now!

Look at the SIZE of this mango !

And y'know, she ate all of that!   MY baby LOVES mango, actually it must run in the family because we ALL love mango.

Not suprisingly, mangoes are healthy in so many ways.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.  100g of fresh mango alone will give you 25% of the  recommended daily amount of Vitamin A.  At the moment, every member of our family must be getting 100% of our daily Vitamin A from mango alone - yes we are eating truck loads.

But don't stop there....with all those fabulous Vitamins and antioxidants, mangoes are also great for your skin!  Before you throw out that mango peel, rub it (flesh side down)  all over your face.  Your face will love you for it.  It's also great as a skin exfoliant to get rid of dead skin cells. 

My kids enjoy rubbing the insides of mango skins all over themselves in the bath - too messy otherwise.

And then, Ruby discovered that the peels make great boats that stay afloat even when they are full of water!!

With such an abundance of mango, we've had mango iceblocks everyday - a healthy snack for the kids and they can't get enough. 

To make them,  puree a fresh mango and mix in a Tablespoon of natural  yoghurt.  I also added a couple of passionfruit too.

I've also frozen slices of mango for smoothies, or just to eat mmmmm......frozen grapes are yummy too!!!

And have a look at this delicious ice-cream recipe.  I've never come across an ice-cream recipe that uses egg whites !  They usually all call for egg yolks and then I never know what to do with all the left over egg whites (I've done enough pavlovas !!)  Now with yolks to spare I can make custard for a change, yum!!!

Aren't the colours fantastic !!!

1.5 kg diced mango flesh
1-3 birdseye chilli (optional)
50g grated fresh ginger
1 lemon. zest and juice
250mL apple cider vinegar
700g brown sugar
3/4 cup sultanas
1chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp turmeric

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.
Simmer gently for an hour, stirring often.
Bottle it.

I've made 2 batches of chutney so far and it is soooooo good!  I made one batch with chilli and one without,  As a result, one batch is really sweet and the other is really spicy.  I also used less sugar the first time becuase I ran out, but it was still sweet.  Now I'm eating chutney with everything!!

We are able to get boxes of  12- 15 Bowen mangoes for $15 at the moment so we are making the most of it, they probably won't be around for too much longer!!

What's your favourite way to eat mango?