Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Wrap Around Ruffle Skirt

Last weekend I went to Port Fairy with some girl friends for the night. In the morning we did a bit of shopping and I came across a skirt I fell in love with at a little boutique. It was a long, purple, lined wrap around ruffle skirt. I loved it and was going to buy it but thought I could probably have a go at making one myself. When I was next at Spotlight I bought some pink material that looks a bit like cheese cloth. I chose it because it was really light whereas the one at the store had been quite heavy and I think it would have been too hot in summer.

Over the past week I have been running in and out of the sewing room making the skirt. If I had sat down and done it all in one go it would have taken about two hours but I just couldnt seem to string that much time together. Little Elyssa has turned from a placid baby into a full on toddler who is on the go so I dont have as much free time as I used to.

I love this skirt, it was easy enough to make, which is pretty good considering I was making it up as I went. It was just a bit boring doing all of the gathering. Im definitly going to make a few more though. Im also going to add a bit of trim or something to this skirt, I just have to find something I like in the exact same colour.

Im thinking of having a go at putting together a tutorial for this skirt. I have never done one before. Maybe Ill take some pics when I make the next one and go from there...

Friday, October 29, 2010

5 Minute a Day Bread

Im posting this because everyone needs to give this a go. We just finished eating the last of our first batch of bread and it is to die for! The yummiest bread I have had in years. EVEN better than bread in the breadmaker. I have just whipped up a second batch of dough and I am waiting for it to rise before I put it in the fridge. It has taken about ten minutes to make the dough. Thats it! It lasts in the fridge for two weeks. You just pull off a chunk, let it rise for 40 minutes (I put it on a baking tray in a big lump, then fill a sink with boiling water, then put the tray over the sink) then stick it in the oven for 40 minutes. SOOOO GOOOD!!

Tonight I am going to pull off a chunk, spread it out thin, and make a Tandoori Chicken Pizza. Yum!! Ill add a pic later.

Here is the link to the recipe:

ETA: OK after some issues with the above link I am copying the info here. It is a direct copy from the original website though so I can't take any credit for it! If you want to see pics of the process go to the above site.

Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:

3 cups lukewarm water (you can use cold water, but it will take the dough longer to rise. Just don’t use hot water or you may kill the yeast)

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast ( you can use any kind of yeast including: instant, rapid rise, bread machine, active dry or cake yeast*. I buy the 2-pound bulk package of Red Star Yeast to drive down the cost. You can also decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by following the directions here. Or you can bake with a sour dough starter, see instructions here.)

1 1/2 tablespoons  Salt (use less salt to suit your taste or eliminate it all together. Find more information here.)

6 1/2 cups (2-pounds) unbleached all-purpose flour (we tested the recipes with Gold Medal and Pillsbury flour. If you use King Arthur or other high protein flour check here.)

Mixing the dough:

In a 5 or 6 quart bowl or lidded Food Storage Container, dump in the water and add the yeast and salt. Because we are mixing in the flour so quickly it doesn’t matter that the salt and yeast are thrown in together.

Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon or a Danish Dough Whisk, which is one of the tools that makes the job so much easier!

Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, as you can see it will be a wet rough dough.

Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it shut. You want the gases from the yeast to escape. (I had my husband put a little hole in the top of the lids so that I could close the lids and still allow the gases to get out.
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise. When you first mix the dough it will not occupy much of the container.

But, after the initial 2 hour rise it will pretty much fill it.

The dough will be flat on the top and some of the bubbles may even appear to be popping. (If you intend to refrigerate the dough after this stage it can be placed in the refrigerator even if the dough is not perfectly flat. The yeast will continue to work even in the refrigerator.) The dough can be used right after the initial 2 hour rise, but it is much easier to handle when it is chilled.

The next day when you pull the dough out of the refrigerator you will notice that it has collapsed and this is totally normal for our dough. It will never rise up again in the container.

Dust the surface of the dough with a little flour, just enough to prevent it from sticking to your hands when you reach in to pull a piece out.

You should notice that the dough has a lot of stretch once it has rested. (If your dough breaks off instead of stretching like this your dough is probably too dry and you can just add a few tablespoons of water and let it sit again until the dough absorbs the additional water.)

Cut off a 1-pound piece of dough using kitchen shears* and form it into a ball. For instructions on how to form the ball watch one of our videos. Place the ball on a sheet of parchment paper… (or rest it on a generous layer of corn meal on top of a pizza peel.)

*I actually use a pair of Sewing Shears because I like the long blade. I just dedicated a pair to the kitchen.

Let the dough rest for at least 40 minutes, (although letting it go 60 or even 90 minutes will give you a more open hole structure in the interior of the loaf. This may also improve the look of your loaf and prevent it from splitting on the bottom. ) You will notice that the loaf does not rise much during this rest, in fact it may just spread sideways, this is normal for our dough.

preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a Baking Stone* (or a tray)on the center rack, with a broiler tray (I used a cake tin filled with water) on the bottom, which will be used to produce steam. (The tray needs to be at least 4 or 5 inches away from your stone to prevent it from cracking.)

Cut the loaf with 1/4-inch slashes using a serrated knife. (If your slashes are too shallow you will end up with an oddly shaped loaf and also prevent it from splitting on the bottom.)

Slide the loaf into the oven onto the preheated stone (the one I’m using is the cast iron) and add a cup of hot water to the broiler tray. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until a deep brown color. As the bread bakes you should notice a nice oven spring in the dough. This is where the dough rises. To insure that you get the best results it is crucial to have an Oven Thermometer to make sure your oven is accurate.

If you used parchment paper you will want to remove it after about 20-25 minutes to crisp up the bottom crust. Continue baking the loaf directly on the stone for the last 5-10 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool on a rack until it is room temperature. If you cut into a loaf before it is cooled you will have a tough crust and a gummy interior. It is hard to wait, but you will be happy you did! Make sure you have a nice sharp Bread Knife that will not crush the bread as you cut. Or you can tear it apart as they do in most of Europe.

If you have any leftover bread just let it sit, uncovered on the cutting board or counter with the cut side down. If you cover a bread that has a crust it will get soggy.

Enjoy and have fun baking. Bread that is made with love and joy tastes better!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ely's first Reversible Pop Over Pinafore

Yep. Its my fav Grain and Gusset Pattern again! I bought some material on a shopping spree the other day and wanted to make something quick and easy with it so I pulled out the pattern. I wish I had made it one size bigger though, I don't know how long it will fit for. Ill get an action shot and add it later. Next I am going to make some ruffle pants to go with it. Too cute!!

I have no idea why this pic keeps coming up sideways lol

Friday, October 15, 2010


We have a big bag of lemons from mum and dads garden. I dont know who is more excited about it, Chloe, Ben or me. So far we have made Lemon butter, Lemon cordial, Lemon Impossible Pie and Lemon Pudding.

Some recipes:

Lemon Honey


125g butter
1 cup of sugar
2 large lemons
1tbsp cornflour or custard powder


Melt butter and sugar in the juice from the lemons. Add grated rind. Remove from heat. Moisten the cornflour with water so it can be mixed smooth. Stir this into the mixture and return to heat. Stir while cooking until the mixture is lovely and smooth. Remove from heat and cool a little before bottling in small jars and labelling. This lemon honey can be stored in or out of the fridge.

This is one from Destitute Gourmet:-

Lemon Curd Krummeltorte

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
100g butter, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup lemon curd
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Place SR Flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Run machine until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. add the eggs and pulse to combine.

Press two-thirds of the dough into a greased 23-25cm cake tin
lined with baking paper. Spread the lemon curd over this and crumble the rest of the mixture over the top.

Bake for 35-40 mins.

Dust with icing sugar before serving

Lemon Cordial

6 lemons ( I use a mix of citrus fruits)
5 cups sugar
30g citric acid
1 litre boiling water.
1/2 tsp lemon essence (optional preservative)

Take the juice of six lemons, finely grated rind of two of them, add sugar and acid, then pour over boiling water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat as soon as boiling and add essence. Bottle and use as cordial.

Lemon Cordial

6 cups white sugar
3 cups lemon juice
6 cups water
2 level teaspoons tartaric acid
2 level teaspoons citric acid
Bung the lot in a saucepan. Boil five minutes. Boil 5 minutes. Strain. Bottle . Throw out if it bubbles or grows mould

Salted Preserved Lemons

Cut lemons in quarters, but not right down to the end (should open up like a flower).

Next, put as much salt as you can into the open lemon then re-form it back into its original shape. Fill jars with salted lemons. Squish them right in, they don't mind being forced in.

Cover lemons with lemon juice in filled jars.

Put on lids and leave for at least a week before using. Can last for up to about a year in a cupboard or pantry.

Categories: Foreign, Fruits
Yield: 4 servings

Eureka/Meyer lemons, rinsed
Kosher salt

Quarter lemons lengthwise and put in a noncorrosive airtight container.
Freeze for 8 hours. Add 1 tablespoon salt per lemon (4 quarters).
Store airtight at room temperature for 6 days; shake occasionally.
Use as suggested.
To store, chill up to 6 months (colour darkens).
Each lemon makes 4 pieces.

Preserved Lemons
Categories: Condiments, Fruits, Harned 1994, Moroccan, Preserving
Yield: 1 batch

5 Lemons
1/4 c Salt; more if desired
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Cloves
5 To 6 coriander seeds
3 To 4 black peppercorns
1 Bay leaf
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
-- if necessary

The author writes: “Preserved lemons, sold loose in the souks, are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetables Tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives, and salads. Their unique pickled taste and special silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice, despite what some food writers have said. In Morocco they are made with a mixture of fragrant-skinned doqq and tart boussera lemons, but I have had excellent luck with American lemons from Florida and California.

”Moroccan Jews have a slightly different procedure for pickling, which involves the use of olive oil, but this recipe, which includes optional herbs (in the manner of Safi), will produce a true Moroccan preserved-lemon taste.

“The important thing in preserving lemons is to be certain they are completely covered with salted lemon juice. With my recipe you can use the lemon juice over and over again. (As a matter of fact, I keep a jar of used pickling juice in the kitchen, and when I make Bloody Marys or salad dressings and have a half lemon left over, I toss it into the jar and let it marinate with the rest.) Use wooden utensils to remove lemons as needed.”

“Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used. Preserved lemons are rinsed, in any case, to rid them of their salty taste. Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired.”

To make preserved lemons: If you wish to soften the peel, soak the lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.

Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2″ of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, and then reshape the fruit.

Place 1 tb. salt on the bottom of a sterilized one-pint mason jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices, between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add freshly squeezed lemon juice - not chemically produced lemon juice and not water.*) Leave some air space before sealing the jar.

Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days.

To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired - and there is no need to refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.

*According to the late Michael Field, the way to extract the maximum amount of juice from a lemon is to boil it in water for 2 or 3 minutes and allow it to cool before squeezing.

Cathy's note: I thought that the Safi spice combination sounded so good that I included it all as part of Wolfert's recipe although, when she wrote it, she only called for the lemons and salt as the main ingredients and made the rest of the ingredients optional.

From _Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco_ by Paula Wolfert.
New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1987. Pp. 30-32. ISBN 0-06-091396-7.

Lemon Butter
1/4 lb butter - 125grms
1 lb sugar 450 grms
4 eggs
rind and juice of 4 lemons

Mix altogether, stir over low heat till thickened - not to boil

I found all these recipes on the Simple Savings Forum

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Planting the Square Foot Garden - Spring

I decided this morning that today was the day to get planting. Chloe had Kinder this morning so I went and purchased all of the seedlings and seeds while I was one child down. I had my garden plan with me and pretty much stuck to it although I was able to pick up a few bargains of reduced to clear seedlings so I bought them as well, even though they weren't a part of the original plan. Im glad I did because when I actually measured the garden out it was bigger than I had planned for so I definitly had the space for a few add ons.

I also purchased a big triangular wooden trellis that expands and collapses. It fits really well in one of the plots and I'll use it for all of the climbing plants and the plants that need a bit of support. It was the perfect gardening afternoon, not too hot and not too cold. I packed the picnic blanket, drinks, should have packed snacks but didn't, hats and all the gardening tools. I also threw in a bag of Blood and Bone.

This plot has Tomato, Eggplant, Lettuce, Spinach, Silverbeet, Pumpkin and 4 Cucumber seeds. Lots more plants to be added tomorrow including Roma tomatoes and Rocket

I was wondering what I was getting myself into, trying to do both plots while keeping two kids occupied. One that desperatly wants to help and one that desperatly wants to explore, eat little things and climb. Luckily Elyssa had a big sleep in the stroller under a tree and Chloe used her little watering can to make mud up one end of the garden bed. She loved it but was covered in it!

Chloe also ammused herself by watering everyone elses gardens with her little watering can and by picking snails out of everyones gardens. I don't think anyone will mind....

It all went a bit pear shaped towards the end though, we had been there for two hours, Elyssa woke up grumpy and I didnt want to pick her up because I was covered in the mud Chloe had made. Chloe was being a pain because she wanted to go play at the park next door. I had a sore back from all of the planting and we were all hungry. We packed everything up, loaded up the car and Chloe had a play at the park. I put a blanket out on the ground and had a lie down while Elyssa sucked on my keys and climbed on me. I knew it was time to go when Chloe screamed 'wake up Jeff!'. The Wiggles have alot to answer for! Then Chloe lay down next to me and Elyssa climbed on top of both of us. I convinced Chloe to go home without a drama by reminding her there was yoghurt in the fridge at home and Daddy was home from work. We all had a big bath when we got home.

So far in this plot is 2 Chillis, 2 Capsicum, 8 Dwarf Bean plants, lots of Beetroot and the Rhubarb plant

The Dwarf Beans in their square foot. I marked every 30cm with an oil pastel

More Beetroot! This wasn't on the plan but I don't think the winter crop will last long :)

I moved the silverbeat from one plot to the other so that it was with the spinach

A grumpy, tired Elyssa
Overall I think the garden is looking fantastic, but I need to get quite a few more plants though. Its amazing how much fits in such a small space. Im going to head back tomorrow while Chloe is at daycare and finish it all off...ssshhhh! don't tell Chloe....

Planning the Spring square foot garden

See? I didnt kill it last year afterall

Usually when I do a vegie garden I just do it on a whim. I go to Bunnings, see what they have, decide what we like to eat and buy seedlings. I then randomly stick them in the ground and wait for them to grow. This method seems to work quite well although I do tend to go a long time with nothing to harvest while everything grows, then I end up with a heap of the same thing. Like the Beetroot and Leeks I planted over winter. I pulled out ten Leeks today. Im going to have to slice them up and freeze them. See them all in the right of the pic?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been looking into the square foot garden method of gardening. Basically the idea is you plant alot more different vegies, alot closer together than the pack recommends. You get fewer weeds because everything is so crowded. I really like this idea and it suits my two little plots because they don't have alot of room in them. I followed the advice on the 'My Square Foot Garden' blog (see side bar for button/link) and drew up a plan. I used the advice on the blog about how many plants to put in each square, depending on what type of plant it is. For example, a tomato plant needs 1 square foot (I decided to do 30cm squares, since we are metric) whereas you can put 9 dwarf bean plants in 1 square foot. I decided on what plants to buy based on the types of food we like to eat and the quantities of things we like to eat. Tomato and tomato products are very popular here so I planned to plant alot of them. I also considered space in my planning because it would be best if I didn't have too many over hanging plants as Im not sure how much space outside of my garden bed I am able to use. Below is the picture of my plan. See all the dirty finger prints from all the gardening?

After drawing up the plan Chloe and I went on a walk to the garden with our wheely bucket of garden tools (thats what Chloe calls it) and pulled out as many weeds as we could in preperation for planting the following weekend. She is very excited about the whole process which I love. She is definitly eating alot more veg now that she is helping to grow it. She LOVES the pickled Beetroot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miracle Cleaner

Household Cleaner

1 litre water
200ml vinegar
40ml detergent
40ml eucalyptus oil
2 dessertspoons of washing soda

Mix all ingredients together, and it's ready to use. Use 60ml of solution in warm water to wash your floors. Fill a spray bottle and use it to clean your table, benches and bathroom.

This recipe comes from the simple savings forum.

I used to make this. Im not really sure why I stopped, it is fantastic stuff and it makes your house smell so fresh and clean. I just made up a double batch this afternoon and filled all the empty spray and wipe containers with it. I put one in the kitchen, one in each bathroom and one in the laundry to use as a pre-stain remover. I have never tried it as a stain remover but apparently it works really well.

The Yogurt Experiment

I have been making my own yogurt on and off for a couple of years now, using my Eziyo, Eziyo sachets and an extender recipe that allows you to get 6 ltrs out of one sachet. I got the recipe over at the Simple Savings forum. The idea came about because one very clever lady read the back of the packet and realised that the sachets are something like 95% milk powder with a  bit of powdered yogurt starter thrown in.

This is the recipe, a sweet one and a plain one:

SS easi-yo -plain

1 cup water
1 1/3 cup powdered milk (dry)
2 TBS starter (dry powder: recommmended: natural, greek)

Combine the above in easi-yo container, shake or stir to mix well. Top up to 1 ltr with water, seal and process in easi-yo flask.
SS easi-yo sweet vanilla

1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cold water
1-2 TBS vanilla (extract with no alcohol seems preferred)
1 1/3 cup powdered milk (dry)
2 TBS starter (dry powder: recommmended: natural)

Dissolve sugar in small amount of boiling water..add another cup of cold water...allow to cool a little if needed (should not be too hot) Add vanilla, starter and milk powder, shake or stir to mix well. Top up to 1 ltr with water, seal and process in easi-yo flask.

I usually make plain and add fruit or just cinnamon. Chloe loves it without sugar so I don't bother with the sweet one anymore. Also another tip, the Greek Eziyo seems to be the best and I use Homebrand or Aldi milk powder. Also, do not attempt to make it with low fat milk! this method has been working wonderfully and saves us alot of money as yogurt is so expensive and we all love it so go through alot. We also cook with it so having such a cheap supply means we can use as much as we like. I also like it because I know whats in it! This was all great until little elyssa came into our lives with her various allergies and sensitivities. After thinking she couldn't eat gluten for a year and that she is lactose intollerant, it turns out it is more likely to be an allergy to the cows milk protein in dairy. The peadiatrician we saw thinks that she can tollerate lactose free stuff because the process used to remove the lactose also can break down the protein a bit making it easier her her to digest. So...she can't eat our yogurt!!

Today I am trying an experiment. I am attempting to make an almost lactose free yogurt in the Eziyo. I am using about 1/2 cup of left over natural yogurt and her UHT lactose free milk. If it works Ill then make another yogurt with her lactose free milk using 1/2 cup of todays almost lactose free yogurt and if that works Ill try Elyssa with it. By this stage Im hoping most of the lactose will be out of the yogurt. I should then be able to continue to make lactose free yogurt with the lactose free milk...Did that make sense? Ill report back if it works because I know Im not the only one out there with this problem!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pickled Beetroot

This is  my first attempt at cooking Beetroot. Ben has done it a couple of times but I was a bit intimidated by it. I found this blog this morning and was feeling very inspired so I decided to give it a go and quite honestly it was really easy, made a bit of mess but cleaned up in about 5 minutes so it really was ok. I made the pickled beets with about 8 big beetroots from my garden. Here is the recipe...

Boil up the beetroots and peel when tender. Combine:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
some new fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper
Slice up the beetroot, put into a pickling container and Pour the pickling mix over the top. It keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months. I made two jars full but I don't think it will need to last 6 will all be gone pretty quickly around here!

Now I need to plant more beets...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sewing Barbie Clothes

We have recently gone a bit Barbie crazy at our place. Chloe received lots of Barbies and a (surprisingly) big doll house for her 4th birthday. I found the doll house at Big W on sale for $90 reduced from $200 so I thought 'Bargain!!'. I didnt realise how big it was though until Ben started putting it together. It is massive! I do love it though. It has an old style cottage feel to it and has older style furniture, even a swing. One of the things I love about Barbies is that it provides opportunities for creative play....for me! lol. So today I got out the material scraps and started sewing. I made a pattern for a dress by measuring barbie and looking at the clothes she already has to see how they did it. The first dress I made took an hour and a half. I gave that one away to one of Chloes friends who also likes Barbies when I picked Chloe up from a play date. I then made another one exactly the same and it took about twenty minutes but didn't fit as well as the first one had. I made a couple of alterations to the pattern and made another one, the one in the picture and Im really pleased with it. Next time Im going to decorate it a bit more with some ribbon, buttons or ric rac.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Adjustable Summer Enid Hat

I love the whole process of drawing up patterns and making adjustments so that you end up with an item that you really love. This is why I have become fascinated with Enid Gilchrist and her pattern books. I recently went looking on Ebay and purchased a few very old Enid pattern books and I was itching to try them out. Spring has also arrived here in Camperdown (finally!!) and the girls both need a new sun hat so I decided to give one of Enids sunhats a go, with quite a few alterations to suit the current times and current materials.

I used this book. How adorable is it! It has newspaper cuttings in it from 1968

I chose this adjustable Sun Hat pattern because it will fit both girls

I made quite a few changes though. I used interfacing instead of the reommended Canvas and I lined it, although I didn't have anough of the butterfly material so had to pick another colour from the stash. I widened the brim considerably to provide more sun cover, I changed the way Enid suggested sewing a fold for the ribbon to go through and I used sew on velcro rather than metal hooks to help make it fit better. So, a 2010 version!

Overall I am really happy with it. It is really adjustable, fits well and doesn't come off unless little hands give it a pull. Next time I will use a stiffer interfacing and make the whole thing slightly larger to get even more wear out of it. I love that it fits both my girls.

Elyssa is getting the most use out of it at the moment so I think I will make another one for Chloe. It does look pretty cute on her too though. I love a hat with space for a pony tale!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Square Foot Garden

One of the things I have been looking forward to since I leased our two little garden plots last year at the community garden is Spring. I love Spring, it is my favourite season. I have waited along time for Spring to come this year...Winter did not treat us well and it kept going on and on and on. We have all been sick more than once and the two kids have faired the worst, as kids do. In the last week Spring has finally sprung a month late. We have been outside constantly soaking up all those good sun rays and I can already see an improvement in the energy and health of my oldest. Chloe has been sick almost constantly for over two months and it is like she has just been waiting for the sun to return so she can get out and about. Elyssa however is still quie sick with a possible case of the Measles which has become a chest and throat infection. I am confident we are at the end of it all though!

This week we returned to our garden plots for the first time in about a month and pulled out the last of the Winter harvest. About 7 Beetroot, 12 Leeks (although we only pulled out a few and left the rest in the ground until needed) and some Spinach. I was delighted and surprised to see the rhubarb plant starting to grow again because I was certain I had killed it by accident last summer. Im thinking about taking it out and putting it in a pot because it takes up heaps of space in our small plot, about half a bed. Chloe and I also got to work pulling all the weeds and snails out in preperation for putting more vegies in.

When we arrived home I started thinking about what I wanted to put back in for the Spring and I have decided to go way out and try to grow as much as we possibly can. My plan is to grow Tomato, Chilli and Capsicum plants on our upstairs balcony as well as Strawberries, Basil, Chives, parsley and Corriander. Downstairs in a garbage bin I am going to plant Potatoes and keep adding soil so they keep growing up and I end up with a bin full of potatoes. I have some organic potatoes that have sprouted in the pantry that I am going to use. I just need to cut them up and let them dry out a bit. Im also going to attempt to plant a pumpkin vine in our backyard which might not be very successful considering how small our little deck area is but Im willing to give it a go! I also want to get a compost bin going and maybe even plant a zucchini. I think our little yard may end up looking like a wild vegie patch though!

Over at the garden plots I am going to try and use the square foot garden method of planting. I have been researching it on the net and came across this site that explains it really well. Basically you divide your bed into 30cm squares and each plant or variety of plant takes up a square. I am going to plant lots of salad greens, peas, dwarf beans, lebanese cucumber, asparagus, beetroot, celery, radish, spring onion and zuchini. My ultimate aim is to grow enough that we should be able to eat mainly just from our garden without having to buy too many vegies from the supermarket. Im going to try and preserve alot of it so that we can keep eating our produce through out winter.

I also really want to get the kids involved. Chloe loves coming to the garden with me and exploring. She really loves pulling out the weeds and watering the plants. She also loves washing up the dirty veg in the sink when we get home which is fine with me! Its not my favourite job! We visited my parents place on the school holidays and came away with a huge bag of lemons to cook and preserve with. Chloe helped Nan get the Lemons off the top of the tree and was so excited that we were taking them home with us. She keeps coming up with all these wonderful and unusual things we can do with them, like lemon soup? and Lemon drink. She is carrying them around the house and trully thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread! To quieten her down the other day I made an Impossible pie with one of them that was trully the most beautiful and easy pie. Then when Ben arrived home from work he made up a small amount of lemon cordial with her. She loved the process so much (not the taste though!) that she has managed to talk him into doing it the last two nights as well. I don't mind, I think it tastes sooooo good and sooooo fresh! On the weekend I am going to make some lemon butter with Chloe, I know she will love that!! Tomorrow I am also going to pickle some beetroots for the first time. Ill post the recipe and pics tomorrow.