Monday, 24 October 2016

Meal Planning This Week

Joining this week with I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

First, I'd like to share a recipe that I tried this week, that I tweaked a bit into this version.

Lemon Coconut Pudding

3 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder bloomed in a cup of water
400ml coconut milk
2 small lemons, juiced
4 drops lemon oil
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat all except lemon oil and gelatin in a pot till almost boiling, remove from heat and add lemon oil, stir in the bloomed gelatin till dissolved.
Pour into glass container and leave overnight till set, tip out, cut up and enjoy.

I served this with mixed berries, but if I had them, I would have used either mango or lychees.

I use doTerra essential oils as they are CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade). Please do not use any essential oil for cooking or other internal use that you are not 100% sure of the origin. There are many cheaper oils that are not pure, that contain synthetic substances that can be harmful.

And some more recipes I have made this week.
Lemon Cashew Bliss Balls, Nut-Free Minty Bliss Balls and Jaffa Bliss Balls, using Lemon and Wild Orange oils. Oh my, these were delicious and even better, the kids would eat them! I think these will end up on the weekly roster.
I especially liked the nut free recipe. It is always good to find a healthy, kid-friendly, nut-free recipe to take for school events. But, I don't know about the US, but nuts here are super expensive. It costs quite a bit to make some of these recipes on a regular basis.
Please let me know if you decide to try any of these or if you have some yummy recipes that you use.

Pork chops, Roasted Sweet Potato, Spinach and Avocado Salad, steamed rice
Peach and blueberry yoghurt

Chicken tacos with all the fixings
Apple and rhubarb crumble

Smoked salmon fettucine
Peanut Butter Dessert Bars

The smoked salmon fettucine recipe is my favourite quick recipe. And as I have the school community planning session tonight, I need quick!

This is all I do. Cook fettucine. While this is cooking, in a large bowl place a slug of olive oil, salt, pepper, capers, toasted pine nuts, smoked salmon (I use the cooking pieces one - cheaper!), spinach, chopped herbs as you like (I use whatever is in the garden - chives, parsley, mint, etc), lemon zest and juice of one lemon (or to taste). Toss fettucine through when cooked. Simple!

Lemon roast chicken pieces, grilled zucchini, sweet corn, tomato salad
Chocolate mousse

Homemade pizza
Banana ice cream, probably with nuts and chocolate sauce

Beef stew (or beef salad, if it suddenly becomes warmer!)
Peach pie

Roast lamb, roasted root veggies, steamed greens
Fruit salad

Choc chip cookies
Larabar - Larabars must be a US product. I've never heard of them but thought I'd try this out.
Hedgehog slice
Chocolate chip cookie dough bliss balls, plus the other bliss balls from above. So far, the lemon cashew has been the favourite.
Coconut macaroons - these look like they could taste like Bounty, and then I would be in heaven!

Pizza bases
Lemon butter
Choc chip cookies
Lemon tea cake

Have a lovely week!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Recipes Using Essential Oils

I talked last week about my experiment making liquid castile soap. It worked! I am so pleased as this will save me heaps of money on postage. No point paying postage on water!

I don't know if you can see in the photo, but even after leaving it for a week, it still had lumps. So I tipped it into a saucepan and heated it up.

It turned from the gel into this clear liquid and I was a bit worried I had ruined it.
But when it cooled back down, it was back to a slimy gel, but super smooth, ready to use.

Using my liquid castile soap, I made the Gardener's Scrub.

It smells divine and works a treat. This quantity only makes about half a jar so I will probably double it in future.

Do you love my new measuring spoons and cups?

And who knew that there were actual designated measurements for these terms?!
I also made a Lemon Coconut Pudding, and various Bliss Balls - the recipes will be in my Monday Meal Planning post next week.

As noted there, please do not use any essential oils that you are not 100% sure are certified for internal use.

So why use essential oils in cooking at all? The concentrated taste is unbelievable. Just a few drops give incredible flavour. It takes a lot of lemons to make lemon oil!

Using the liquid castile soap, I also made laundry soap. I have tried this before over the years, with hubby never being quite happy with the results. Fingers crossed this will be a success over time!

Image from

I really wanted to store mine in a pretty glass jar like this.  But I have an outdoor laundry with a concrete floor and I just know it would get knocked over and smashed. So just a plastic bucket with a lid for me.

My daughter spends a small fortune on 'healthy' skin products. Some of these are crazy expensive! And they aren't even healthy, if you read the long list of synthetic ingredients. So I have been looking for some recipes for her to try.

I have also been using this Coconut Salt Scrub. I love that this recipe only has three ingredients and the blog post contains about 20 different essential oil blends to try. And leaves your skin super tingling and refreshed.
My favourites are the ones with citrus and spearmint, like Mojito, Sea Breeze and Chill Out. Just smell divine! And these are in a pretty jar!

Please do let me know if you try any of these recipes, as I would love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Very Sad Day - Book Destash - And Some Knitting

It is a sad day when it is time for a book destash! But even I will admit that just maybe, the books are taking over a teeny bit.

Normally this would so be me! No such thing as too many books. But I really do have literally 1000s and as we are no longer homeschooling, quite a few can go. I am also clearing out DVDs and sob, sob, my china collection.

If you happen to be in Australia, you can join this Facebook group, Homeschool Buy, Swap, Sell - Australia, to see what I have for sale.

So while I am stash busting my books, I am currently reading The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport.

I was halfway through before I noticed this is actually the second book of a series. But it is perfectly fine as a stand-alone novel. I am really enjoying it - a quick and interesting read as I love historical fiction.

I haven't cast anything on for a while, except for this garden gnome. And I have done so little - two boots and about a quarter of the jacket.
But this is what he will look like, eventually!

I also purchased two gorgeous new patterns from Georgie at Tikki.

This is Vexillum.

And this is Oolong.

Photos from Tikki Knits on Ravelry

It is spring here (not that you would know!) but I am still looking at shawl patterns. My favourite thing to knit.
What is your favourite thing to knit?

Linking today with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Have a lovely knitting and reading week!

Blending With Essential Oils

I have been making some gorgeous essential oil blends for roller bottles with my essential oils.

This wonderful blending board just arrived in the mail this morning - love it! Now little ones, hopefully, will not knock over any bottles.

The blends I made are:

True Self
Helps bring out inner truth and self expression
4 drops lavender
3 drops wild or sweet orange
3 drops frankincense
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO (fractionated coconut oil)

Anti-Itch Stick
Soothes irritated skin
3 drops lavender
3 drops peppermint
2 drops frankincense
2 drops tea tree (melaleuca)
2 drops lemon
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO

Ditch The Witch
Calms and reduces irritability
2 drops sweet or wild orange
2 drops lavender
2 drops Lavender Peace
2 drops Balance
2 drops Citrus Bliss
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO

The above blends all contain citrus essential oils which are phototoxic. Do not use on skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 12 hours. So apply under clothing or apply on a garment you will be wearing.

These blends, and many other recipes, can be found at One Essential Community. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. Use at your own discretion.

That being said, essential oils, used correctly, are so effective and so gentle on your system that, once you use them, you will never turn back.

Also loving my new diffuser. I already had one, but this one is very lovely. Diffusing a citrus/lavender blend that is so gorgeous.

Do you use essential oils? What do you find to be their most effective use?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday

Joining in today with Happy Homemaker Monday at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom. And this will be my 300th post!


On The Weather Front

And what a surprise - it is raining again! We did have two days where spring managed to sneak in and I actually hung the washing outside on the line for the first time this season. But all gone now! Spring has gone back into hiding.


I have just started reading In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom. The book is about her life before WWII, before the events of The Hiding Place. I have only read two chapters but just wonderful so far, particularly her love of children and of helping them place Jesus in their hearts.


I am really loving watching a new free to air channel, 9Life. It is a lifestyle channel, so last night there was a Tiny House special, four episodes in a row.

I would have to declutter big time to fit in a tiny house. But I just love the idea - whether it would translate to reality, well that is another matter!
There was a couple planning on downsizing from a 4000 sq ft house to a 200 sq ft tiny home. Maybe a bit drastic?!

I'm Hoping

To get the garden water tanks installed BEFORE the rains stop. I'm frustrated that as soon as hubby gets to doing the tanks, the rains will stop for the year. Murphy's Law says it will though!

I'm Learning

I have been reading up this week on successional planting for large scale flower and food production. It takes so much planning! I have been fairly haphazard to date but now realise I have to spend a lot more time in the planning stages, rather than just jumping in.

Jean-Martin's book is my favourite, I think because he advocates the use of hand tools.


Christmas gift planning this week, after some one scared me this week when they posted how many (or few!) days there are to Christmas. I will be doing a post later in the week with more of my Christmas plans.
I have placed lots of Tone Finnager's books on hold from the library to look for some lovely ideas.

I especially like the look of this book.

How are your Christmas gift plans going? Are you planning handmade gifts?

Grateful For

The wonderful opportunities we have in our lucky country, that we so often take for granted.
I have been writing letters to Compassion children this week and they have so little, yet are so happy and grateful for the little they do have. Their thanks and prayers to their sponsors are so genuine and heartfelt. I remember one boy wrote a letter thanking us for his Christmas gift as he was able, for the first time at the age of 17, to buy some new clothes. He chose a suit so that he could wear it to church and look special for God. He sent a photo of him in the suit and his smile was ear to ear gorgeous (barefoot though as he couldn't afford shoes as well).

Dreaming Of

Spring coming! I planted 144 sunflower seeds in the greenhouse and will be doing succession planting every week as Whirlwind has been dreaming of growing fields of sunflowers and selling his flowers since we read this post. His favourite paintings are Van Gogh's sunflower ones!

Maybe like this!

Favourite Photo

A trip down memory lane with this photo. My computer died recently and I had to rescue all the old photos from it. This is Whirlwind, who is now 8. Why do all children love making that screwed up face for photos?! Too cute - makes me a bit sad that they are growing up. My littlest is now 5, and acting oh so cool as he will be heading to school with the big boys soon. Gotta let them grow up, I guess, but I just want to squeeze them forever.

Devotionals, Scripture, Key Verses

One of the sponsor children sent me this verse in his letter.

Wishing you all a lovely week.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Essential Oils and DIY Liquid Castile Soap

I have tried a few 'recipes' using liquid castile soap over the last few years, but never seem to consistently use them due to the cost. Being rural, I have to order online and the postage is SO expensive for something that heavy.
But I was given a recipe for a gardener's hand scrub that I wanted to try, so the search was on again. Somewhere during the search, I thought surely I can make the soap itself or look for a substitute of some sort. And this is what I found.

One of those things that is so blooming obvious, you wonder why the lightbulb hadn't gone off ages ago!

We've all seen what happens to a bar of soap if you leave it in the bath, so it is just so obvious to stick a cake of castile soap in water until it dissolves!

As I am using this for gardener's scrub, I chose the tea tree soap. But I also purchased some fragrance free ones.

This is what it looks like after five days.

Still a few lumps though. I think you would need to use a stick blender or something similar to get it completely smooth, or heat it in a saucepan to completely melt it.

This is what I am planning to make first.

I am looking forward to making lots of recipes with my gorgeous new essential oils. DoTerra are just so wonderful to use and I am slowly building up my collection. 
My 12 year old son had a bad cold when I received my first oil order, which included a blend called Easy Air. I diffused this as well as applying topically on his chest and he was breathing easier within an hour. Great stuff!
Hubby also really enjoyed an Ice Blue massage after a hard day's work around the farm. I don't like the smell, but that is the camphor and wintergreen in it.

Love my nifty box too! Looking a tad empty at the moment, but I will be making a monthly order to fill it up. Also looking forward to doing some blending.

Update coming very soon with some 'recipes'!

Independence Days Challenge: Week Sixteen

'I've been accused of fatalism, because I don't think we're going to have the money or resources to radically transform ourselves into a society powered by alternative energies, and I don't think most of us are going to have the money to put tens of thousands of dollars into retrofitting our homes. But what I do think we could do is dramatically reinforce and recreate our public infrastructure, and to create public solutions to problems we now typically examine as private. We can live in homes that are dramatically stripped down, with low-energy infrastructure, if we have access to a few powered public resources that we share with others.'
Independence Days by Sharon Astyk, pg 302

I must admit that I have trouble with this one. I have a natural tendency towards being solitary and this leads to me feeling that I need to do it all myself and not rely on anyone else. Unfortunately, all the apocalypse, end-of-the-world type movies, novels and blogs out there do not help with this feeling, as they all seem to focus on the violent and terrifying way that humans will all behave when faced with shortages of resources. It does not seem to bode well for the human race. I am just not sure how to view it. My heart wants to feel that the human race can rise above and come together, but my head says it will be every man for himself. I would love to think the above scenario will play out, but as I am just not sure, I am hedging my bets by attempting to put away enough for ourselves.

Wow, way to begin a blog post with a cheery topic! Let's move along now.

1. Plant Something

Pumpkins and zucchini seeds this week. Planted out broccoletti, snow peas and purple podded peas.

2. Harvest Something

Same as last week - rhubarb, lemons, eggs and herbs.

3. Preserve Something

More lemon butter. I really need some more mint jelly as we used the last jar a week ago and am down to one jar of applesauce.

4. Minimise Waste

I am making more of my own cleaning, bathroom and beauty products now. I will be posted soon about the wonderful essential oils I am using for these.

5. Want Not

I recently received a gardening catalogue that had this pea and bean netting.

Photo from Diggers Club

And I figured I could give that a try. I had bamboo stakes and some rolls of jute twine. I also had some plastic garden stake connectors that I had bought on eBay last year. I wouldn't recommend them - I don't think they hold the stakes any better than lashing them.

One and a half balls of twine and probably an hour later, I had two pea trellises. After use, they can be put in the compost - no trying to disentangle pea vines from trellis!

Just don't look at my less than straight pattern. I like zig zags! Now to see if they will hold up to the wind - always a challenge.

6. Cook Something New

I tried this recipe for Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Bark. Hubby tends to love Cadbury blocks so am trying to find a replacement that won't taste too 'healthy' for him and the kids. The recipe didn't make much but I am trying to convince people that one piece a day is plenty!

I love it! It does have a bit of a coconut oil taste, which doesn't bother me.
And I received high praise indeed. My 18 year old daughter, who is a super health nut and usually buys only the best (and most expensive!) healthy chocolate, said this was the best she had ever tasted! Love to have a win!

7. Manage Your Reserves

The way I am working on this at the moment is to have a big cleanout/declutter, so I will have more room and can be more organised. The stuff in the house is really bringing me down at the moment and it is always find to find something when there is clutter. Starting with books (makes me cry!), I am selling a lot on Facebook groups - fingers crossed!

8. Work On Local Food Systems

Nothing specific I can pinpoint here.