Sunday, 25 September 2016

How I keep the house, mostly cat hair free, some of the time

Hello Dear Reader,

We have one pet, a cat named Ninja, she is a typical cat, aloof, self centred, and can sometimes be nasty. You know, cute but a little evil. But, I do love her, she barely tolerates me, except for when I have the sticky roller in my hand. One of Saturdays jobs is to "de-hair" the lounges, bedding, carpets and any where else the little devil has chosen to sleep, that week. The office chair is often a favourite and whom ever is sitting there (that would be me) can end up with a fluffy butt.

This whole sticky roller thing happened by accident when lovely hubby was cleaning the lounges one day, now Ninja loves my hubby and follows him around like a dog would, for a laugh he started "brushing" her with the roller and she just loved it, it must just feel like a really firm rub! Any way, as soon as she hears the sticky roller doing its thing, she comes running, what a little monster she is.

It super funny but I also think its great because it goes straight to the source of the problem, you should see how many full sheets of paper we can go through, she would let you do it all day. At least it cuts down on stubborn  cat hair sticking to every surface. She is one strange cat!

So, tell me, any strange pets at your place? And how do you remove cat hair in your home?

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Thai Pork Cakes with Nam jim sauce

Hello Dear Reader,

A while ago, I picked up a tray of pork mince that had been marked down dramatically, at the end of the day, from our local supermarket. I was saving it for when the common green cucumbers are in season, to make stuffed cucumbers, which is another of my husbands late Grans recipes. It is made with pork mince, shiitake mushroom, ginger and light soy. You just mix all the ingredients together and spoon them in to the cucumbers (peeled, cut in half and seeds removed) they look like little boats, then you steam them, it's another really deliciously difference meal.

As I keep forgetting to ask lovely hubby to check if they are in the supermarkets yet, I used that tray of pork mince in this recipe, this past week. It is basically the same as my Thai Fish Cake recipe but with pork mince and with the addition of lemongrass, ginger and garlic. They were a hit and just delicious with the Nam jim sauce.

Ingredients for Thai Pork Cakes, from top right- 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass, 1 to 2 spring onions, finely chopped, 1 clove of garlic and a 3 cm piece of ginger, grated on a microplane, 450 grams lean pork mince, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 3 tablespoon red curry paste, 
45 grams rice flour and 1 egg (not pictured) 
Finely chopped spring onion and grated ginger and garlic on a microplane
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well incorporated
With wet hands, form into little cakes and fry in a heavy based, non stick fry pan until golden brown and cooked through
Serve with steamed rice, asian greens and Nam jim dipping sauce
Nam jim Dipping Sauce
Ingredients for Nam jim dipping sauce
Place all ingredients into TM bowl or food processor and blitz until smooth
Nam jim dipping sauce, it is so delicious and versatile 


2 chillies, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, quartered

2 spring onions, roughly chopped

Juice of one lime

2 tablespoons oil (I use Rice Bran Oil)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (I grow Perennial Coriander)


Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth

So, tell me, does anyone go to the supermarket near closing time to check out marked down, fresh produce? Where have you found the best markdowns?

Friday, 23 September 2016

This weeks 5 Frugal things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

Our seasons are changing, with longer and warmer days, we have also had some welcomed rain, there is something in rain that you don't get out of a tap, that's for sure. I spent last weekend at home, which was so lovely, I think you all know by now that I love my home and derive so much joy from just pottering about at home. If someone said"You have two choices, go out shopping or stay at home " I would choose home, every time.

I have so many ideas that I want to try and bit by bit I am getting to those ideas, by staying at home, when I have the chance. As always, most of those ideas involve being frugal and kind to the environment. At the moment, I am experimenting making beeswax wraps to replace plastic wrap. I will let you know how I go.

So, this weeks 5 frugal things on a Friday are-

1. Made some magnificent golden chicken stock from the carcass of Sundays Roast Chicken. I have plenty of Sorrel growing at the moment and I want to make a classic Sorrel Soup.

2. Cleaned the showers with home made shower cleaner. This one is my favourites at the moment

3. Finished the little baby quilt for a lovely co-worker. I have some beautiful pre cuts that I bought ages ago, I want to make them into an "I Spy" quilt. Just another of those ideas I want to make a reality. I want to make it for my little grand nieces for Christmas.

4. Stayed home all last weekend to catch up on the house work after my little holiday away the previous week. I also made a batch of passionfruit butter from home grown passionfruit and some home made muesli bars

5. Packed my lunch everyday, this was yesterdays morning tea and lunch, nothing really exciting, just real, good food. Morning tea was a slice of sourdough fruit and spice loaf with butter and vegemite and a Cacao chia pudding. Lunch was a cheese toastie (toastie maker provided by work) and some small tomatoes and pineapple and lets not forget my treat-a piece of dark chocolate. I pack cutlery as well, as like most work places, we have a dozen wonky forks and little else.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, what did you get up to on the frugal front?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

How to make great chicken stock

Hello Dear Reader,

Golden Chicken Stock, full of goodness
A roast chicken dinner is just about my favourite meal, any roast really, but a chicken one really speaks of home to me. My mum made the best roast chicken with mint stuffing, oh my it was something special. Every last shred of meat was used and of course mum would make real gravy as well. It's funny how you learn by just watching, isn't? I saw mum make countless batches of gravy from roasts, she had a giant fork to scrap all the golden crispy bits from the bottom of the roasting tray and would bring to the table magnificent real gravy. 

Another fantastic by product of a roast chicken is the chance to make the best chicken stock in the world. It is such a wonderful thing to do and it takes no effort at all, especially if you have a slow cooker.
Put the carcass of the roast chicken in the slow cooker along with two carrot, peeled and cut into chunks, about two ribs of celery along with some green tops and one onion, peeled and roughly chopped.
Cover with cold water and cook for 12 to 24 hours
This was after 12 hours however I chose to continue cooking for another 12 hours while I was at work
After 24 hours
Sieve stock into a jug to remove all the big chunky bits of chicken and vegetable
Then sieve again, this time using a clean kitchen "chux" like cloth
This removes all the really fine bits that will make your stock cloudy

Golden and clear chicken stock after the second sieve
This produced about 1.5 litres of really amazing, golden chicken stock
would thoroughly recommend you give it a go. A great outcome for very little work

So, tell me Dear Reader, what is something that your Mum did, that you have learnt, just by watching?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

It has been lovely to get back into the swing of being at home after my little break away. I was able to finish the little baby quilt I have been working on, I made some magnificent, golden chicken stock from the lovely Roast Chicken we had for Sunday dinner and caught up with the cleaning schedule.

Everything is now up to date and I feel happy about that. I like to keep on top of everything and don't mind the extra work if it means I can go to bed knowing my home is humming along nicely. It may seem totally boring to some, but it is what keeps me relatively stress free and able to focus on pastimes that bring me joy, like sewing, gardening and cooking.

What we bought
Sorry it's a bit blurry. Shopping from ALDI and Woolworths
What we spent

Coles(extra on Sunday)-$34.91-(10 kg bread flour, carrots and celery and coconut quench) 


What we ate 
Wednesday-Creamy Bacon and Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Steamed Snow Peas
It's Thursday, so that means Pizza Night. As always, we had a voucher and saved $$ on full price. Or thats what they have you believe! Any way it's a night off that doesn't cost the earth and it is my Mother in Laws shout. My late Father in Law started this Pizza night years ago and seems to have stuck. 
Friday-Pan Fried Pearl Perch with a big tossed salad
Saturday-Silverbeet, Feta and Roast Pumpkin Parcels with sautéed mushroom and steamed snow peas
Sunday-Good old fashioned Roast Chicken with Rosemary Roast Potatoes, Roast Pumpkin and English Spinach. I kept the carcass of the Roast Chicken and made the best home made chicken stock.
Tempura Whiting that lovely hubby caught and cooked to perfection 
Monday-Tempura Whiting, Steamed Basmati Rice and Asian Greens

Thai Pork Cakes with Nam Jim sauce, Steamed Basmati Rice and Asian Greens

So, tell me, what is your "thing" that brings you joy?

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Another little baby quilt

Hello Dear Reader,

Its been awhile since I made a new patchwork quilt, in fact its been 4 months since I last was sewing something cute and lovely. I have made another baby quilt for a lovely co-worker who is pregnant. I just love sewing up these little quilts as they don't take very long to come together and my newish sewing machine makes it a breeze.

This is the last baby quilt I made for a lovely girl at work. She has since had a beautiful baby boy. The pattern is called fast and easy pinwheels and it really is fast and easy using Jenny's system of cutting and sewing
Cute as a button. I used the simple wedge ruler to cut out the triangles and assembled them in a haphazard design. The lovely co-worker knows she is having a girl, hence the soft feminine colours
The simple wedge ruler from the Missouri Star Quilt Company made it super easy to cut out perfect triangles
I bought this sewing machine about a year ago and I just love it.

I really need to go and have some lessons on my Husqvarna sewing machine, so I can really use it to its full potential. The place where I bought it from does offer free lessons. I just need to make the time. The feature I love the best is the easy snap on and off foot to interchange it with the walking foot for quilting. It also has a simple slid button so the feeder dogs just go down for free hand quilting. I haven't had a go at freehand quilting as yet but it's so good to know that this process doesn't require you to take your whole sewing machine apart just to get to the feed dogs.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, do you sew? What brand of sewing machine do you own? Any Quilters reading?

*This post is not sponsored and the views are entirely my own.