Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter time sticky pictures...

Take a sheet of contact and blu-tac it to the wall, sticky side out.  Fill a small table top with easter egg cutouts, lady birds, grass, real leaves, cup cake papers and anything else you can find...

Add a couple of kids and a bit of cooperation...

And you get busy little little fingers having lots of fun!

Plus a bonus beautiful wall hanging for Ruby's bedroom !

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to make a felted egg...

I made a felted egg the other night, and now I'm loving wet felting.  It's not hard to do, and it's so much fun to see something take shape so quickly.  So far I've made 5, one more and the kids will have a half dozen eggs in a carton to play with - a fun toy !  Then I'll have to make some more because I need some for my easter decorations...ho hum....!

If you want to make some too, this is how I did it.  I bought some little foam eggs from Lincraft to use as my mould.  Then I used 11 grams of wool fleece.  I decided to weigh the fleece after my first 2 eggs came out very different in size...the rest are sort of similar !

First, wrap your egg in fleece, firmly, but not tightly.

...i know, looks nothing like an egg hey !

 Carefully wet your egg with hot water, either under the tap or in a bowl, whatever works for you.  Make sure all of the wool gets wet. 

Then add a few drops of dish soap.

And start very gently patting your wool down to the point where it looks like it's all holding together.

Wet it or add more soap if you think it needs it - too much soap will easily wash out! so don't worry.

Then as the wool felts more, start to rub your egg more vigorously and roll it around in your hands firmly.  Roll it both horizontally and vertically to ensure even shrinkage.  I was amazed at how quickly you can see a change in the shape and form of all that wool fleece! It's pretty cool !

When it looks like it's done, rinse it under cold water to remove all the soap.

And here's my finished egg - a lot smaller than when I started  - it should shrink by about 1/3, and the whole process took me only about 10-15 minutes.

This would also be a great activity to do with your kids !

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gift Bags...

The Relief Society Organisation is celebrating it's 170th anniversary this year. 

In commemoration of this event, the local women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are having a small get together and asked me to make up some gift bags for the ladies.

So here's what I prepared....some homemade soap and a nourishing face cream.  I hope they like it !

All packed up and ready to go...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A sourdough kind of week...

I learned how to feed my sourdough starter and ended up with way  more than I needed, so I searched the internet for recipes and discovered there's a whole sourdough world out there outside of sourdough bread!

It all started with a simple batch of sourdough crackers using this recipe.

Sour dough crackers - so good!

Honestly, I expected them to be pretty ordinary. But they were truly AMAZING !  Very easy to make using the instructions given.  I sprinkled some salt and garlic powder on them before I cooked them, and they were seriously good crackers - especially with some fresh guacamole the next morning for breakfast with the kiddies.

Now I was getting a little bit 'hooked' on sourdough and wondering what else I could make.  I had more starter bubbling away by the next afternoon, so I got busy and found this chocolate chip biscuit recipe.

The recipe made a really big batch, I think I made somewhere around 40 biscuits and I was just hoping my family would like them so I wouldn't have to eat them all by myself !!  Well ummm...entire batch gone in less than 24 hours ! My husband loved them, well we all did, but he let me know I can make those again!  Now there's a compliment ha!

Next day, my starter was just begging to be made into something else.  How about crepes?  Everyone loves crepes.  Try this recipe  for the most delicious crepes and soooo easy to prepare.  I thought they were way better than plain old flour crepes.  I'm really loving that funky 'sour' taste in all of this baking !!

These were so yummy !  I filled the crepes with a mixture of mince, blackbeans, parsley and sourcream.  Best crepe dinner ever.

And finally, the last recipe I'm going to share with you is this one for sourdough english muffins.

This is what my dough looked like as it was still fermenting - I added chia seeds to the mix.

And the finished muffins!  They sort of look like the real thing hey!  And they tasted pretty good with pumpkin soup for dinner.

So that was the end of that sourdough kind of week...I really enjoyed playing with these new recipes.  I wonder what else is out there to try....I saw some homemade sourdough nacho chips...that sounds interesting !!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sourdough starter recipe...

A couple of weeks ago,  I made a loaf of sourdough bread from my new starter, and it was delicious!  It's been way too long.  I haven't made a sourdough bread since last year.  Consequently,  my old starter went to pot in the back of the fridge somewhere.

Starting again though, has been a positive thing, I've gone a bit sourdough crazy I think!

I got this sourdough starter recipe from my mum, so not sure where it came from originally, but it works!  It really works, and it is so easy to maintain - I've tried a couple of other recipes and failed miserably, so I'm really happy with this one.

                                      Sour Dough Starter Recipe
Days 1,2 &3:
50 grams water
35 grams white flour
15 grams rye flour
Mix & set aside for 24 hrs (covered)
DAYS 4&5&6
Discard most of starter & leave 1 Tblsp in the bowl
Add 100grams water

70 grams white flour
3O grams rye flour
Mix & leave 24 hrs (covered)

The first 3 days for me, were  a bit discouraging.  My starter didn't look like it was doing anything.  Infact, it looked kind of flat and lifeless.  I didn't even take any photos because I thought it was going to be a flop.  But then day 4 happened!  This photo was taken a few hours after the morning "feed".

Look at those lovely air bubbles !
On days 5 & 6 my starter looked like it was starving in the mornings...

Looking a bit shrivelled and hungry.

I obviously have a lot more to learn about sourdough starters, but after a morning feed, my starter was happy again.

Nice and light and fluffy.
At this point, your starter is ready for action.
I have been using this recipe, and I love the bread it makes.  The loaf is made over 24 hours, but really requires little time or effort on your part, just a few minutes, a few times over during the whole process.  Try it and see what you think!
Now while we all love sourdough at our house, we don't really eat a whole lot of

bread, which means I'm baking only one loaf a week at the moment.  (I freeze

half for the last part of the week.)  So I had to find out how to look after my

new 'friend'.  I learned how to maintain my starter while I'm not using it, with

this video from Cultures for Health

and after watching it, I got a bit curious as to what else I could do with that

sourdough starter that just keeps growing and growing...and it just feels wrong

to be throwing most of it away each time...look for the next post coming soon

to see what I did with the rest of that starter!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slow Living in 2012 - Month 2

Keeping track of what I did this past month...and what a fun month it's been !!

Sour dough crackers

Nourish: This month I have experimented with a few new things in the kitchen.  Sourdough has been on top of the list.  Made a successful starter, followed by a loaf of delicious sourdough bread...then I got a wee bit excited...and made sourdough crepes, sourdough choc chip cookies, sourdough crackers, sourdough english muffins...yum yum !!  Also bought some quinoa to try, and after quinoa porridge for breakfast and quinoa tabouli with dinner, I'm hooked.  I think this will definitely become a staple in our home. Made lots of delicious icecream using our stash of mango and passionfruit from the freezer, and some lacto fermented mayonnaise which the kids prefer to eat by the spoonful... hmmmmmmmmmm.

Prepare: Carrot muffins and chocolate muffins frozen for school lunches.  Chocolate, yes I know, maybe not the healthiest, but homemade is always a better option right?  Froze lots of passionfruit pulp.

Reduce:  Called in at an op shop (on the way to Lincraft to buy some more embroidery thread), and guess what?  I found a big bag of embroidery threads in a variety of colours for $2.  I won't need to buy thread for a very long time.  
  I didn't realize how many sheets of A4 paper come into the house and get thrown out ! So now I keep them all, as long as they are blank on the back, and cut them either in half or quarters for kids to draw on, and for note paper for me.  Have also been keeping all envelopes that come in the post - not so many these days, but if I carefully slit the tops open, they can be reused for stashing scrap paper or small sewing patterns, or to be donated to school.  And as luck would have it, this month in my daughters class room, they have a post office corner.

Green: Made my second batch of laundry liquid.  Can't believe how much money I'm saving with that stuff.  Also made a fresh batch of citrus cleaner which leaves my bench tops smelling so lovely and clean.  I have made a few lotion bars - they are lovely to use.  And for the first time, I had a go at making some sunscreen and an insect repellent and both work, so I'm pretty happy about that.  Now I'm trialing my first batch of homemade toothpaste, so far so good.

Grow: Not doing so much here....I let my basil go to seed and now there are seedlings popping up all over the place.

Create:  Skirts for the girls, a cute little felt hen and chicks,, a couple of baby dolls and felt starfish.  Also some flower girl bendy dolls....I've been in a bit of a crafty mood !

Discover:  I've started reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration  by Weston A. Price - really interesting.  Sally Fallons Nourishing Traditions Book is just permanently lying around somewhere begging to be opened any chance I get, such a wealth of information in there.  And the other book - yes another food book, I found The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein, full of wonderful recipes, I might just have to buy it someday. 

And speaking of discoveries, I saw this on the way to school this morning, anyone know what kind of a nest it might be?  The width of it would be about the same as my hand length, and it is sitting on the ground attached to the base of a tree.

 Enhance:   A few weeks ago I found, completely by chance a Steiner inspired playgroup in my local area. They had been running for only 2 weeks when I found them so I'm pretty happy about that - great to be with like minded people!  I've offered to make the bread dough for the kids each week - they love to 'make' bread. 

Enjoy:  I have really enjoyed the few days of rain we've had recently to break the humidity, and cool the earth for just a little while.  I've also enjoyed seeing how excited Ruby is to be at school, she loves learning new things, and is surprising me with how quickly she is picking things up.  Love talking to my big girls on skype - thank goodness for modern technology ! (sometimes !!)