One trick to enjoying meals from the farmers market is to keep your pantry stocked. I like to visit my health food shop or supermarket occasionally and purchase items that I can keep on hand so I can go to the farmers market every week and skip the weekly trip to the chain supermarkets.
Here is a short list of what I like have in my pantry:
A variety of flours, grains and dried pulses
Spices and dried herbs
Tinned tomatoes, tuna, and pulses
Olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes
Good quality tomato sauce or passata, coconut milk
Stocks, either homemade or good quality packaged
If you keep you pantry stocked you are free to create a menu or decide at the last minute what to make with your items from your local farmers market.
My family has been enjoying several varieties of sweet potatoes from our farmers market. Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors and they have unique flavors when cooked. It is fun to get a few different potatoes and roast them up and enjoy the different textures and levels of sweetness. There is also no shortage of ways to prepare sweet potatoes-in soups, roasted with other root vegetables and in salads.
A simple roasted sweet potato salad makes a lovely light dinner, I like to make extra for lunch the following day. You can also roast up extra sweet potato to use in a soup for another meal. If roast vegetables are on the menu one night, throw in some extras to make a salad or soup the next day.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
one large or two medium sweet potato
one onion, preferably red
four cloves garlic
a handful of trimmed green beans, a few cups of fresh spinach or cooked silver beet or kale
optional sweet chilli sauce or feta cheese
Chop sweet potato into small cubes. You can remove the skin if you like but if your sweet potatoes are organic the skin is full of nutrients, I love the taste of roasted sweet potato skin. Lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes on 180-200C.
Add sliced onion and cloves of garlic along with a bit more olive oil and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile lightly cook your beans or greens if you like them that way.
Make a light dressing out of the roasted garlic(simply squeeze the garlic out of the skin when roasted) and balsamic vinegar, sweet chilli sauce if you like and maybe a little olive oil. Mix veggies and coat with dressing. Add a bit of feta cheese. Lentils would also mike a nice addition. To make a nice meal, serve with salad greens and bread of your choice. Also makes a lovely side dish.
image courtesy of Drew Avery under a Creative Commons license
I've had a cold for four weeks now...
When not working on theClover, I work in an office with lots of people and their germs...
So last week I bought a bottle of hand sanitiser for my desk, so my colleagues and I could try and keep our germs to ourselves. But it's horrible stuff. Smells like methylated spirits and dries out your hands.
So here are some recipes for homemade hand sanitisers from No Ordinary Homestead.
A very good idea, indeed.
Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser Gel
• 1 cup pure aloe vera gel
• 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel (add until the desired consistency is reached)
• 8 drops of essential oils (as listed above)
Mostly Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser Gel
• 2 cups pure aloe vera gel
• 2 tablespoons 90% SD40 alcohol (perfumer’s alcohol if you can get it)
• 2-3 teaspoons essential oils (as listed above)
Alcohol-based Hand Sanitiser
• 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel
• 1/4 cup grain alcohol or vodka
• 10 drops essential oils (as listed above)
Read the complete article here.
Thanks to No Ordinary Homestead and thanks to Naturally Better Kids for putting the post on Facebook :)
image courtesy of danshill under a creative commons license
I'm not crafty but I do love all things handmade and when Jesse found Mollie Makes I had to have a look. Mollie Makes started in the UK as a craft blog and has recently started a print magazine with a downloadable option. If you enjoy crafts or even just looking at all the beautiful things you could make than have a peek at Mollie Makes. The site features some very inspirational people and projects, it might even get me going on one of those amazing Emily Peacock Needlepoint Kits...
Remember the old saying 'Too bad kids don't come with a handbook'? Well we all know that's not true anymore, in fact there are probably too many parenting books out there. Not that this makes one bit of difference, sometimes us parents can still get caught unawares. I've shared a few of the times where it's happened to me in this very article and guess what? This school holidays it's happened to me once again.
To parents of primary school children, term break means spending more time together, letting go of the routines and relaxing. As many parents of teens could have told me school holidays means a pack of teens spending as much time together as humanly possible and a parent's job is to get the kids together, make sure they have enough money to do whatever is on the agenda and occasionally it is your turn feed everyone who happens to be present at the time.
When the pack is at my place I like to remind them that they have parents who may actually like to know where they are and that a phone call might be appreciated. In a brief moment of insight I bought a huge car about a year and a half ago and am now able to ferry the pack from house to house and take my turn driving them to the beach or the movies. Not the most environmentally friendly I know, young teen and family friendly though.
For the most part it is a lovely thing to see, young people hanging around free to do what they want and just happy to be together. My mistake was not having the boundaries in place at the beginning of the term break, so I have felt like I was playing catch up the whole time. Who knew three boys would want to be together 24 hours a day for a week? Those of you who have been down this path before me did, I did not.
So the question is how do we teach our younger teens about balance in life? Is it even possible? Should we even try?
Jesse and I first heard about Good Return on Bush Telegraph on Radio National. The idea behind Good Return is for those of us living comfortable lives in developed nations to assist in loaning money to people in developing nations who have business ideas that will help to bring them out of poverty.
Good Return uses the concept of micro financing, which aims to give the poor access to financial services many people take for granted these services including: loans, the ability to save money, make money transfers and be insured.
You can help Ofa Falau (pictured) and her husband who live in Tonga, purchase a bag of peanut seeds and other things needed to add peanuts to the the crops they already farm. Their current crops do not yield enough money for the family of six to live on and Ofa and her husband would like to add the reliable cash crop of peanuts to their farm so they can pay for the education of their children.
There are many others like Ofa who have sound business ideas that they would like to bring to fruition so they can lift themselves out of poverty.
I write out a weekly menu almost every week of the year. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Well it isn't the highlight of my week but it is essential to my sanity. There are several reasons why I do this and thinking back to the weeks when I have let the menu go, I can tell you it is well worth it.
Having a menu written out helps you with your shopping list, saving you time and money. The more trips you make to the shops the more you spend and the less time you have, it’s as simple as that. My weekly menu is laid out out along the bottom of my shopping list and the menu gives form to the list, I can simply can go through the meals and see what is needed for each one.
Making out your menu with your family ensures that everyone has at least one meal a week that they are looking forward to. In my family everyone shares the cooking. With both parents working late some weekdays and there is always lots of driving to do in the afternoons, everyone pitches in so we can eat dinner together most nights. The boys know they have a regular night to cook or help in the kitchen. They will also help out when asked, especially if they are hungry and dinner isn’t on the table as soon as they would like it to be. When my boys cook, they like to cook things they like, which is fair enough and discussing the menu with them gives a sense of ownership. It also saves me from having to think up all the meals myself.
I'm guessing most mum's answered this question with something like "Yeah great, brunch at such and such or the kids made me a lovely whatever."
This was not the case for me this year. There were no brunches, no flowers, no store bought or hand made gifts whatsoever. My husband did make me some lovely eggs Benedict but that was followed by a Sunday that was even more intense than the usual ones I have.
My youngest son (yr 7) had a science project due and since it was his first one since he started high school he still had quite a bit to do. Why would this coincide with the start of high school you may wonder, well he is quite a bit busier than he was last year. More homework, more sport and lots more socialising.
To top it off our printer was broken. A trip into town to print up a few bits and pieces for the project gave me the chance to catch up with a few other mums that I know, mostly they were sitting at sidewalk cafes and in the park with their families enjoying a sunny day with their dutiful families.
One mum was at her print shop, normally closed on Sunday but fortunately for us, she was there printing her son's project with him. Score! A major leap forward for my son. And a chance for a nice chat as well. Thank goodness for small miracles. A quick gelato (mmmm) and back home for us.
As an interesting mother's day gift I got my oven cleaned. My oven desperately needed cleaning, I absolutely couldn't use it until it was done, so in between helping with the Science project my husband cleaned the oven and I did some other much needed chores. Not the usual Mother's Day activities but necessary nonetheless and why put off till tomorrow what can be done today as the saying goes.
My oldest son had been away since Thursday night playing rugby. He sent a lovely text early Sunday morning before his final day of games began and throughout the day we checked the website to see how his team was going and we got a few brief texts with details of what was happening for him. The main thing that was looming over us was that we would have to pick him up after the tournament and his bus trip home. The bus trip was said to be about thirteen hours long, which puts the team arriving back around 3 or 4am and we live forty minutes from where the bus drops them off.
This week life was a bit hectic and my family didn’t eat as many veggies as we normally do.
This happens from time to time for a variety of reasons, this time I think it might have been a combination of my husband doing most of the cooking and us not being home a couple nights this week. Needless to say when I opened the veggie drawer to see what was left in there before I went to the markets this morning I saw some two yellow zucchini, a piece pumpkin, spring onions, flat leaf parsley, cos lettuce, corn and some green and wax beans.
Much to most people's surprise when I mention this, everything was still fresh, despite the fact that I bought it all last week at the markets. This dispels yet another myth about farmers markets. I talk to lots of folks that think you can only by a few days worth of produce from the farmers market and then you need to get the rest of the weeks items later in the week. Sometimes I need to get more produce, usually just a small top up but quite often the things I buy last the whole week and then on Monday or Tuesday I make something that uses up whatever veggies are left.
One thing I do when I get home from the markets is empty out my produce drawer, give it a wipe and reload it with the fresher things on the bottom. This way anything left in the fridge gets used first. I also have a couple of large plastic containers to put the veggies in that don’t fit in the drawer. I have recently bought another one for my bread. I slice the bread up when I get home and pop it in the container in the freezer so we have fresh market bread but unless I buy a couple of loaves the bread doesn’t last a whole week.
Some ideas for the end of week veggies clean up are:
Frittatas or omelettes – almost any veggies tastes nice with eggs and depending on what kind of cheese you have in the fridge, both make an easy and delicious meal.
Stir fry or pasta – check your pantry and get creative.
Soup – if you have some stock, dried or canned beans, pasta, barley, rice…
Australian based, Bluecaravan [Ethical] Design Market is an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of all things independently designed and ethically made.
Shannon Sheedy and her partner started fair trade homewares label The Dharma Door.
Follow the blog, sign up to receive the newsletter, or like them on Facebook to be alerted to their fantastic giveaways.
This week Osiris Jewellery are giving away this beautiful stack of 'heart rings', below. Just leave a comment on the Bluecaravan blog to enter.
Bluecaravan is the perfect place to find a special, original, ethical, fair trade gift for family, friends or yourself.
They also have some of the most reasonable postage prices we've seen online.
Visit the store: www.bluecaravan.net
Follow them on Twitter
Fashion Less WasteThe Australian Museum's Fashion Less Waste competition aims to raise awareness of sustainability issues in the fashion industry. Entrants design and create an outfit that is mostly made from materials originally bought and used for a non-clothing purpose. In 2011, entries will be inspired by the birds of paradise and there will be an extra award for the best accessory hat. During a parade of the finalist entries at the Museum, judges from the fashion industry choose winners and runners-up who are awarded with cash prizes on the night. There are two categories-Secondary School and Open.
About two weeks ago I used the last of my moisturiser and the one I was using was nothing special. It was organic and expensive but it really wasn't doing much for me. It was time to buy a new moisturiser for my face and this time I wanted to find something that I could get excited about, one I would recommend other women use. The requirements may seem simple to some but I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
First of all it is coming to terms with what skin care products I am shopping for. I guess I could be classified as middle aged because I would like to say it is feasible for me to live to be ninety years old or more. Sometimes it is tempting to buy a product that claims to give me skin as beautiful as Isabella Rossellini or Cate Blanchett but the reality is I have to work with what I've got and it's never worth it to fall for gimmicks and expensive ad campaigns. With age my skin is getting drier and needs a bit more loving care than it used to. I have been blessed with skin that has always been pretty easy to care for but as I get older I am beginning to have some interesting but not unusual issues crop up from time to time. Dry patches in the winter, sometimes a pimple, my pores are growing and wrinkles, typical stuff for a woman my age.
The other criteria that were important to me were that the product be organic or at least mostly organic, ethically produced and made in Australia. Finding skin care products that has that particular combination is more challenging that one might think. It is becoming easier to tick all these boxes but having that product also work for your skin can be very difficult.
So off I went to my local heath food shop. I tried a few moisturisers on the inside of my forearm and went to run a couple other errands before I made my decision. A couple things strike me right away about the EVOHE moisturiser. First of all, it smells amazing, which is a bonus. Secondly it is a bit thicker than the other every day moisturisers I have used. My initial thought about the thickness was that I didn't mind that as winter is right around the corner.
I have now been using the EVOHE moisture 24/7 day and night for the past two weeks and I must say I am very pleased. I have no need to use a separate night cream and the thickness is not a problem in the morning either. My skin feels great, I can honesty say that my skin is noticeably smoother than it was before I started using 24/7. According to the package the ingredients that are responsible for this are certified organic and sustainably harvested edelweiss and nectapure, plants that are known for surviving extreme weather conditions. These conditions sound remarkably similar to what happens on any day to my own face! Damaging wind, extreme dryness, pollution and UV rays.
The final thing about EVOHE that makes it so easy to use their products is their Conscious Living Checklist. This checklist is located on all their packaging and on their ads as well. There is no need to search the net for ingredients or practices that are harmful to you, the planet or the people and animals we share it with. Oh and then there is the adorable baby orangutan….
EVOHE Moisture 24/7