Spice jar labels (with free printables!)

My pantry is chock-a-block. We never even used to have a pantry and as soon as we got it, it was overflowing. Like, literally, that day. Where did all that food even come from?? I need another cupboard!

Something that has recently taken over in my cupboard is spice boxes. I had the usual suspects – cinnamon, ginger and maybe some mixed herbs but lately I have become addicted to spices, putting them in or on almost everything. Ask Josh how impressed he was when I made a spice mix to go on fresh fish fillets…I’ll give you a clue. (He wasn’t!) But they were delicious! Even he thought so once he got over the shock of me trying to mess with his fish. Continue reading

Stir-fry sauce

I’m usually pretty good about what I eat. But then there are certain times of year when you feel like you’ve spent a month eating nothing but cookies and cheese & crackers, drinking too much wine and following it up with dessert every night (yes Christmas, I’m looking at you) and you just think “I need vegetables!!”

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You know what I mean?!

I knew it was really bad when I suggested nachos for dinner and Josh asked if we could have something healthy instead!

Lucky for us, this is also the time of year that our garden is chock full of veges. I figured a stir-fry was the best option…only problem being I have never found a stir-fry sauce that I like. They’re all gloopy/too sweet/leave a nasty taste in your mouth. What’s a girl to do? Um, duh…make a sauce!

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The babies are growing up!

Remember these guys? These adorable little balls of fluff?

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Look at them now! All grown up.

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We have still have all 12 that hatched – even the little runty one made it through! 11 Australorps and 1 Barred Plymouth Rock. We’re still trying to figure out which are hens and which are roosters…we know for sure that the Plymouth Rock is a rooster – he may be the smallest but is he is definitely the boss and stands proud on the roost in the morning and crows his little heart out…well, sort of! Continue reading

Hamburger Buns

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of my favourite things to make at home is bread. Not only does it taste miles better than anything from the shop, it makes the whole house smell incredible.

Tonight I made pulled pork for the first time (more on that, and the epic coleslaw to go with it another time). It smelt so good cooking away in the crockpot all day that I knew boring old bland supermarket burger buns were not going to be good enough…enter homemade burger buns. And it was so easy! Mix, rise, knead, rise, shape, rise, bake, EAT!!

Burger buns

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DIY Batten Shelf

What do you do when you have a few days off work, the sun is shining, the garden needs to be weeded and the house needs to be cleaned?

Build a completely unnecessary, but extremely adorable shelf out of old fencing battens of course!

I had been feeling creative and collected a few old battens from up the farm a few weeks earlier but couldn’t decide what to do with them. I then saw a couple of beautiful coloured ladder type shelves in a shop next to my work…but with a price tag of $145 on them! So I thought, surely I can build one of those…and by “I” I mean Josh. 😀

And I was totally surprised by how easy it was! Ok, so it probably wouldn’t have been anywhere near as easy if I was attempting to do this on my own but lucky for me I have a clever DIY man around the house. And I was not going to turn down his offer of help.

Within about an hour and a half we went from this…

Battens

The frame

to this…

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to this!

Complete batten shelf

We gave it a bit of a waterblast to wash off the wear and tear…I thought it added character but when we decided to put guest towels on it we thought we should clean it up…guests, you’re welcome. And just like that…instant super cute and actually quite useful shelf. All it took was about 12 battens and 30 screws at a grand total cost of around $5. Not bad for a bit of afternoon DIY!

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Spiced Pear Paste

It’s the middle of summer here, and for us that means trips to the beach, spending time with family and friends, and eating. A lot. And mostly snack food. We are BIG fans of cheese platters in particular…crackers, pate, relishes and lots of delicious cheese. I recently had my mind absolutely blown by a combination that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. Blue cheese and fruit paste. It was amazing! The saltiness of the blue cheese combined with the sweetness of the fruit paste…a match made in heaven!

But when you’re paying $8+ for a nice blue cheese and $7 for a 100g pack of fruit paste…it’s turning into a pricey little platter! So in the spirit of the homemade challenge I thought I would attempt a fruit paste…I’ll leave the blue cheese to the professionals! We had tried a few different fruit pastes…fig, quince, pear…so I opted for the most readily available, and familiar – pear. Continue reading

Raising chicks – the business end

*Please note this post does contain some slightly graphic images of the process so if you are squeamish, maybe just scroll through the pictures really fast!

Well it’s only taken me another 8 weeks to write this post so here goes. The business end of raising chicks for meat. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about having to kill the chicks that we had raised from 1 day old but I was absolutely fine. I think knowing right from the start that the purpose of these birds was for meat made it much easier. And I was looking forward to my roast chicken!

We ‘graduated’ the chicks in 2 batches as it is quite a lengthy process by the time you cull, pluck, gut and clean – first time we only did 3, and then the other 8. They all weighed in at just over 3kg which we were very happy with.

Firstly, we had made sure not to feed the chickens for about 12 hours before we were going to process them – this just makes it less messy from the gutting point of view. We picked the first chicken out of the paddock and took it to the cone that we have attached to a tree. Josh used a knife to cut the throat and we let the chook bleed out which only took a few minutes. This is an important step in the process as if not bled out, the birds have a tendency to bruise in the plucker. Continue reading