Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vanilla Sugar, Bay Leaves, Grab n Go Cakes & True Treats.

Today I did more research and housework than anything else...but I did decide to make some Vanilla sugar...I haven't had vanilla sugar in the house for a few years....so it will be nice to be able to use it again...

A good tip when slicing open a Vanilla Pod, is to hold it above some boiling water for a few minutes...this will rehydrate it slightly; making it easier to slide the point of your knife down the entire length of the pod...Slicing into the pod allows you to extract the lovely seeds inside. I use a teaspoon to scrape the seeds out of the pod. I will leave this sugar to work its magic for a few weeks before I start using it.

A while back I was given a large amount of Bay Laurel leaves from my Freecycle friend Sonia....After hanging them to dry I removed the leaves from the branches...Today I sorted out what I will use for cooking and what I will use for getting rid of cockroaches...It's all out war here at the moment, with bugs of all sorts wanting a small slice of our heaven....We have little fruit bugs hanging around in the kitchen, getting into everything I do in the kitchen...The trap I made yesterday is working, but I think I need more of them to eliminate the bugs quicker....I also have scale on the Lemon Tree and a caterpillar that looks like bird poo....And a different scaley bug thing on the fejoa tree...Oh cockroaches....they are everywhere...I think this whole area is really bad for them...Oh and I have a rat again in the garden....I know because he made a lovely neat tunnel  in the compost heap directly down to the buried bokashi waste. Grrrr!!!!

I already had these little organza bags, but if I had to make them, I would have used some tuille from my craft supplies. So when I get time, I plan to empty out the store cupboard, clean the shelves down and space these bags of Bay around....I have heard that Cockroaches don't like Bay....Hope it works...
Needing Yoghurt again...I put some milk in the crockpot while preparing tea last night....It always amazes me that I can wake in the morning to find yoghurt ready to be drained....When ever I have a huge amount of homemade yoghurt in the fridge..I get more creative in the kitchen, thinking of different ways to use it...I'm not buying sour cream any more...I used this yohurt in my Turkey Stroganoff tonight and all plates were licked clean...well, you know what I mean.

Following on from yesterdays baking...Last night,  after tea, I wrapped all the cakes to go in the freezer. These cakes I like to call Grab n Go Cakes...DS19 and Hubby can grab one out of the freezer to go with their lunch for work....DS16 can grab one to go with his lunch for school, and even Nanna takes one and it is defrosted by the time she has her first break at Bingo.
Grab n Go Cakes ready for the freezer

You know they are good, when DS16 comes running in after school asking..."Where are the cakes Mum?, they were so good, I want them again tomorrow."  He was most disappointed when he found out nearly all of them went in the freezer.
Some children get lollies as treats...some get McDonalds or Pizza as a treat...I have noticed on some blogs I have been reading lately...that people are listing off the wonderful things they do and the meals they cook from scratch. Which is all good, yes, we have some very clever cooks out there, but when I read that 'they' sometimes let the kids have a treat, by taking them to McDonald's....well....Is it really a treat????
I mean, isn't the true treat the effort you go to when you make a lovely home cooked meal, or a yummy dessert....and the quality, don't get me started on all the horrible chemical and preservatives you are avoiding for them......Isn't all that the real treat?  What about tending to a dough for a few hours, making a lovely bread, only to have it devoured with one meal?  You can't get any better treat than that....You don't get the lovely aroma's from store bought foods, like you do from a home-cooked recipe.

My boys know a treat when they smell one...."You can smell that cooking way out in the street mum"...."All the neighbours will be jealous".   And hubby comes in from work, saying, "I hope that smell is coming from our house...it's really good, hope it's for tea".

Sorry it's been such a long post today, and here I thought I had nothing to write about...lol .

I would love to hear what you think about these 'treats'...
If you have any other suggestions on how to get rid of these bugs, let me know...
Other readers will want to know too....so leave your ideas in the comments and I will reply shortly.


  1. I have much to say today!
    I fell in love with your blog the first time I came across it. I read for 2 straight hours all the way back to before Christmas. I found I love it because we are two like minded ladies on two different sides of the world.
    I have been wanting to try the vanilla sugar and vanilla beans are on my list to find. I have not been lucky in the local markets nor the Mexican markets. I looked online and the cheapest I could find was close to 8 bucks a bean. 8 BUCKS! Are you kidding me? So, do you have a good resource you could share? I love home baking, cooking and canning. I have found the extra sour cream yogurt a great substitute for fat or oil in home made breads. They taste amazing! I look forward to getting to know you, I think we will make quick friends.
    Much love,

  2. What a great idea, making vanilla sugar, thanks for sharing! I've been meaning to make my own vanilla extract also. You are so smart making grab and go healthy treats. Fast food is in NO way a treat.

  3. Hi Melissa, I got my Vanilla Beans on ebay...You are in Texas, so I did a search for US .....the only supplier I could find was in Canada...but they are cheap, so I guess you could ask them how much postage would be...it never hurts to ask.....http://cgi.ebay.com.au/25-ORGANIC-Madagascar-Vanilla-Beans-6-5-AAA-BR-Pods-/250484102241?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a52041461#ht_2647wt_1139 ....let me know how you go...love your blog,
    Kate, I can't imagine trying to do what you do in all that cold snowy weather.

  4. Hi nelly mary, it's Kellie in Tasmania. Since moving here I have not seen one roach, maybe they don't like the cold. When I lived in sydney I could see that they could become a problem. I have heard that pepper spray made from tobasco sauce in water sprayed around helps, as does cedar oil or peppermint oil shaken in water and sprayed around in cracks and crevices and under fridges etc.

  5. Hi Nellymarry, I dropped in for a visit the other day, I had a quick look very impressive blog, Now I'm a follower, thanks for dropping by and visiting my blog and becomming a follower. Boy I love the blogging world, there is so much to learn from each other.
    Sherrie from Simpleliving :)

  6. Hi There,

    Good to have some spare time again to catch up on what you have been up to. We have go really bad cochroaches here at the moment. Its driving me crazy. I have a bay tree will have to try putting some around the place.

  7. Hi Kellie, thanks for sharing your idea of pepper spray....will have to try that one....
    Hi Sherrie, love your simpleliving blog......
    Hi Donna, did you get some more tomato sauce done....Have you had another go?

  8. Not done any tomato sauce yet. Been really busy got some work for a few weeks. i love reading about what your up to keeps me motivated to try harder and not buy so many kids snacks which i have done of late with working.

  9. McDonald's a treat? No thank you, mama's home made soft caramels stashed in the freezer are a treat round here. Home made ice cream, coconut oil/honey/raspberry essence dipped in dark choc, or for parties, mama's cupcakes, homemade sausage rolls, breads and dips. Hehe, now I'm hungry.

    What your boys say about food is exactly what I imagine my boys saying when they're teenagers...smells great mum, what's cooking?

  10. hi Cat...soft caramels...oh your making my mouth water...I love making sausage rolls too....now there are some treats...thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...