April 25, 2013

Making healthy tasty

My good friend Lien mentioned something really important the other day. She told me that she didn't want her girls to grow up thinking that healthy food wasn't delicious. So true!

We're both keen for our kids to eat mainly fresh, wholesome food. But I think we're also both pretty good cooks and make some rather fine and tasty dishes! So I reckon we're doing okay in promoting good lifetime habits... and no doubt a love of food like ourselves!

Happily my kids think a plate of raw veggies, a bit of cheese and a gerkin is the perfect lunch. However, I do still get a never-ending stream of requests for icecream, lollies (especially at the supermarket checkout) and other sugary treats.

So I'm gradually building my repertoire of baked goodies that the kids love but are still up there on my good-for-you scale. Happy kids, happy mum!

Lien has shared her recipe for these dairy-free, sugar-free rhubarb muffins, which are absolutely delicious! I love the tartness of the rhubarb in these muffins but almost any fruit can be substituted depending on what is in season... try apple and cinnamon, pear and ginger, mashed banana or stonefruit. Lien's tip for light and fluffy muffins is to combine the wet and dry ingredients just before baking and not to over-mix the batter.

Lien's Honey & Rhubarb Muffins

230g wholemeal flour (spelt flour or wheat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
¾ cup light-flavoured oil
¾ cup milk
200g thinly sliced rhubarb

Preheat oven to 180C.
Sift flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients. Combine the wet and dry mixtures just before baking – do not over mix.
Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 mins until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

April 21, 2013

Etsy Treasury

Pop over to Etsy and check out my first ever Treasury compilation!

Some of my favourite Australian makers are included here including Glorydaze bags, Brave Monday Designs' bamboo jewellery, Topaz Turtle's resin jewellery, Ambette's felt mobile device covers, and Harvest Haversack's lovely storage bags.

Of course you could also drop by my Etsy store too...  ;)

Off my needles :: Fluted Cowl

My Fluted Cowl is done... I love, love, love it!
It's always nice to have a finished project before the cold weather arrives too! Raveled here.

April 20, 2013

April 18, 2013

Walnuts & sourdough

Have you noticed how work never feels like work when you're doing it in the company of friends? Even doing the dishes can be enjoyable if there's someone to have a good chat to while you wash!

This is the third time we've headed into the hills of this beautiful part of Gippsland, near Dargo, to help our  friends harvest their annual walnut crop. Good company, fresh mountain air and delicious food and wine accompanied the good old-fashioned labour of harvesting, washing, drying, grading and bagging the nuts.

I also had a chance to bake my first ever wood-fired sourdough loaves. Ooh I love the way the hot pizza oven gives the bread that extra oomph as it rises! Yum.

April 12, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a simple, special moment from the week. More links over at Soule Mama.

April 8, 2013

Easy DIY printed tees

My kids love to design their own cool t-shirts and printing them is super easy! A great school holiday activity.

When I say 'design', what I really mean is jump on Google Images and have a browse for something that appeals. Just use the search term 'stencil' plus whatever subject matter the kids have in mind. Dragons and ghosts were the objects of desire in our household today.

Materials required:
Plain t-shirt (old or new)
Stencil design (printed or hand-drawn)
Clear adhesive plastic sheet (eg. Contact)
Small foam roller
Fabric paint

Start by printing out your image then stick it to the window with a piece of clear adhesive plastic sheet over the top (paper side facing outwards). Be sure to cut the adhesive plastic large enough so there's at least 10cm of space around the outside of the image. Trace over your design, then use a small pair of scissors to carefully cut it out. Be sure to only cut out the inside of your stencil area! (You could also use a stanley knife to cut out your stencil, especially if it's detailed, but with the kids keen to do it themselves we tend to stick to simple designs and scissors!)

Then carefully peel off the paper backing and stick the adhesive plastic to your t-shirt. Press around the edges of your design to ensure the plastic is well stuck down. Also slide a piece of cardboard or a few sheets of paper inside the t-shirt so that the paint can't soak through to the back - don't forget to do this! 

Also pop on some old clothes and a smock!

Use a spoon to spread your fabric paint on a plate or the lid of an ice-cream tub. This makes it easier to evenly coat the roller.

Then the fun part! Use the roller to apply the paint so that the area of fabric within the stencil is evenly coated. Just be careful not to get paint on the t-shirt outside of the plastic-covered area - though of course with kids at work this is nearly impossible. :)

Carefully peel off the adhesive plastic and check out your awesome handywork!
Leave your t-shirt to dry fully then iron it to set the fabric paint (as per the instructions on your container of paint). All done!

Your might also like to pop over HERE for more inspiration and ideas for printing kids' tees by Cheri from I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar.

April 7, 2013

Slow Living :: March

My monthly update of the little ways that I am living more slowly, simply and sustainably. More links to Slow Living updates over at Slow Living Essentials.


{nourish} With the arrival of some cooler days, soup is back on the menu - pumpkin, broccoli & zucchini, corn chowder... Best of all the kids love it! Plus it's great to be able to make a big batch and pop some in the freezer.

{prepare} Not so peachy in the preserving department here! I harvested several kilos of peaches from a roadside tree, however my decision to poach the peaches to remove the skins wasn't entirely successful (despite the pretty pictures). The skins slipped off only the perfectly ripe peaches, while the rest weren't at all cooperative. Then, after leaving the covered bowl of peeled peaches in the fridge for a couple of hours, I discovered that all the exposed surfaces had gone brown. Not so pretty! By the end of the day I only ended up with 3 fowlers jars of fruit. Next year I'll be trying a different approach!

{reduce} My revamp of an old daggy bookcase was a great success... in fact I was so inspired that I picked up a few more pieces of 2nd hand furniture to refurbish in the coming months.

{grow} The garden is still providing us with tomatoes, zucchinis, carrots and plenty of greens. The winter veggies are coming along nicely and I've just planted a big patch of garlic. Hubby has also been building some fences so that we'll have several small paddocks to allow us to rotationally graze our small flock of sheep.

{create} It's actually been a pretty crafty month around here!
I made a couple of cushion covers from two fat quarters of the my favourite Bird Textiles print, Vine Leaves in Red. I'm so sad that Bird Textiles have now closed their studio doors and their beautiful products are no longer available.
On my needles a Fluted Cowl is in progress. I'm in love with the Berocco Ultra Alpaca yarn that I'm using - so cozy and soft and the silvery grey colour is really lovely and should go with anything.
Best of all I finally had a go at screenprinting for the handprinted fabric swap, which was so much fun! I can't wait to do some more designing and printing!
There's also a few sewing projects I've started on... more about those soon.

{discover} I've discovered a couple of lovely magazines this month, both with a focus on simple living, sustainabilty, handmade and homemade: The Simple Things, a UK publication, and Good, from New Zealand. I do love curling up with a good magazine!

{enhance} I arranged a produce swap in our little community a couple of weeks ago. In a small community like ours it's such an easy thing to do - send around an email, pop a poster on the community noticeboard, and provide a table on the day. With the abundance of autumn some people brought along whole boxes of tomatoes, pears, and cucumbers to share. I feel very lucky to have access to so much fresh, local-grown food.

{enjoy} Weekend trips with friends (here, here and here) have been a highlight this month. Plus our little overnight trip for our wedding anniversary.

{breathe} Enjoying the early autumn sunshine and warm weather, lighting the fire on the first cool evening, walking barefoot in the garden, a slow coffee and a read at the corner cafe.

April 3, 2013

A backyard visitor

Echinda's are seriously cool aren't they?

Funky spines...
One of only two species of monotreme worldwide (the other being the platypus)...
Baby echindna's are called puggles (cute hey?)...
Puggles hatch and live in their Mum's rearward-facing pouch (so bub doesn't get smothered by dirt when Mum's burrowing) until they get too spiky at around 6 months old...
And they're found only in Australia.

They're pretty reclusive little critters so we were pretty chuffed to have this one visit us!

April 1, 2013

Easter fun with friends

We had a great Easter weekend with our wonderful friends at their holiday house in the hills... chatting, playing, meeting the newest family member, making new friends, cooking, eating, hunting for eggs, decorating eggs, egg rolling, splashing in the river, canoeing, fishing, making mud puddles, colouring in, being silly, sitting by the campfire, toasting marshmallows and soaking up the serenity. Perfect!
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