16 November 2023

New mugs, Zwilling storage and Pinkie is in and growing

I'm still living in the outernet, still loving it and still glad to be alive. I wrote about the outernet here if you have the time to read about it. Every time I walk out into the backyard and look around, I have a feeling of gratitude for everything I have, especially the gardens and access to the private, open space. The garden brings balance to my days, keeps me active and reminds me of the benefits of the past and the promise of the future. Earlier this morning, I planted my rose, Pinkie, in a large pot so she can climb up the lattice. When Pinkie flowers she will create a beautiful backdrop to the garden that I've spent almost three decades tending. I am one lucky gal.

I bought these gorgeous mugs recently and have been enjoying my morning cup of tea with them on the front verandah. They make me smile everytime I see them.

I've gone back to making bread. I have a loaf on the rise now and it should be ready by lunchtime. I plan on having a leg ham, salad and tomato relish sandwich for lunch with homemade lemon cordial and lots of ice.  The forecast temperature is 35C here today, I've just turned the airconditioner on and when I get a fair bit of this post written I'll look forward to doing the rest of my housework in comfort. I have a load of washing in, the weekly grocery shopping was delivered earlier and although I put all the cold things in the fridge and freezer, the rest is waiting for me on the kitchen table.

Some of you will remember I bought a Zwilling Fresh and Save vacuum starter pack in January this year. I've been using it non-stop since then. It's changed how I shop and cut my food wastage to almost zero. I recently bought a three pack of a small, medium and large glass container set and I'm using them for storing cold cuts, cheese, strawberries and leftovers. A good friend of mine bought a starter set when she heard about mine and recently she told me it’s been “life changing” for her. It's a truly wonderful system of food storage in a vacuum. When used correctly, it enables food to last five times longer than normal.

The two photos above are the new vacuum set I bought recently.


This is bacon stored in a Zwilling vacuum container. This lot is 4 weeks old, generally when it goes a bit slimy and disgusting, but this was as fresh as the day it went in. I finished off this bacon the following week and didn't waste any of it.

This lettuce looked good - it was three weeks old at this point - but it was bitter when stored in the plain glass container with no vacuum. I stored half this lettuce in a Zwilling container, finished it off when it was six weeks old and it was tasty and delicious.  Another batch of food saved from the compost.

This is more non-Zwilling storage but this time it worked out well. A cucumber from Woolworths with parsley and cherry tomatoes from my garden - so really fresh. The photo was taken at week three, I finished off this box in week four and all the food, including the cucumber were good to eat.

This beef ravioli will be eaten in a couple of weeks time after being stored in the fridge. 

I took a small amount of parmesan cheese off the top of this block and I know when I come back to eat more, it will be good to go after being stored in this Zwilling vacuum bag in the fridge.

The bags are easy to clean - I clean mine with a brush to get into all the corners and edges, then dry them in the sun on the back verandah.

Recently I decided to test the Zwilling against the methods of food storage I used in the past. What I discovered surprised me a bit but it was a pleasant surprise. When storing fruit and vegies in the plastic bags I bought them home from the supermarket in, vegetables and fruit lasted about a week. For instance, cucumbers and ripe capsicums went soft and mushy after a week, especially if they'd been cut into. Storing the same things in a plastic box with a clip down lid, they lasted a bit longer. But storing them in a glass box with a clip-on lid, well, they lasted three to four weeks. The Zwilling containers come out on top with taste though. The non-Zwilling glass containers with no vacuum looked good but the lettuce was bitter.  The food stored in the Zwilling boxes all looked and tasted fresh.  I'm certainly a Zwilling convert and I recommend the vacuum system to you.  I have no connection to the Zwilling company.

This is the relish I made last week.

Times are tough at the moment. For mortgage holders and for people who shop for groceries (at our two major supermarkets who say they're helping us as much as they can yet they're still making billions of dollars in profits 🙄) I hope you're keeping your head above water, especially at this time of year when usually we're shopping for Christmas presents and food. Try to make use of any produce you're growing to make christmas drinks and food. I've just made some cordial and tomato relish. I'll be storing it all but it will make it onto our Christmas table too. Everything you can make now will be less you have to spend later.  If you are struggling, I hope you get through the Christmas period and look forward to a better year in 2024. Be kind to yourself, don't let pressure from family and friends get to you and just do what you think is right. ❤️

Here are two recipes for relish I'm happy to share with you.

And finally, here are a couple of photos of Gracie taken this week.  She's in good health but she had to endure a clipping and a bath this week.  Thankfully, she started talking to me again yesterday. 🫤


1 November 2023

Becoming capable and content

I've been battling the bush fires here since Saturday and it's been very stressful. I'm close to the area that was evacuated so we were all on a Prepare to Leave warning all Sunday. Thankfully, I was able to stay. Gracie didn't know what was happening as I kept walking outside to see what was happening. Bush fires are unpredictable and fast so you have to stay alert and follow the guidance of the local fire brigades. I'm amazed and so grateful for all the work the volunteer fire brigades, helicopter and fire bomber pilots did to keep us safe. They worked around the clock to fight the fires and then monitor them so we could stay in our homes. In my town, they saved not only homes and human lives, they also saved pets, horses, chickens and farm animals. What a wonderful group of people. 

After trying to get through several boxes of tea bags, which Hanno used to drink, I've gone back to loose tea.  I use this teapot, it's exactly the right size for me - two cups. The teapot has a strainer in it so it's easy to make and clean up afterwards.  I got this little pot a few years ago from Odgers and McClelland in Nundle.  It's an old fashioned shop, there are very few of these old stores left now. Have a look at their website, I'm sure you'll love it.

The more you stay at home the more important your home becomes. I think a lot of people feel differently about their homes after the pandemic. Homes became our havens and made us realise how lucky we are to have safe homes to live and thrive in. Food plays an important part in life too. There was a time there when we couldn't go out to eat and the weekly trip to the supermarket became a treasured time out in the open air. Those who didn't cook quickly gathered recipes and started cooking and baking and many of them realised how wonderful home cooking is.  Did you learn to cook or expand your cooking skills during the lockdowns?

I have to work on this new bread recipe. I want to make smaller loaves, mainly a one kilo loaf.  This is a one kilo loaf but it's a bit tough and I think there's too much dough for the little loaf tin.  I won't be satisfied until it's light and fluffy inside with a crunchy crust. When I get that right, I'll start on my wholemeal and rye loaves.

Over the years I've talked to hundreds of people who dived into household routines, preserving, cooking and baking, and many of them changed how they live because of it. Some people I've talked to said there's too much to learn and they don't know what to do first. It is possible to learn hundreds of cooking and baking skills but you only need to learn and practise what YOU need to know. You choose what you will include in your life, so don't bother with everything, just learn and then practise what you want to eat. You might get back to other things later; you might not. So whether you just want to learn how to bake a decent loaf of bread or if you want to bake bread, cakes, pies, sausage rolls, biscuits etc., just work out what you want to feed your family, then learn those recipes one at a time.

This is a recent lunch - macaroni with red capsicums/peppers, onion, garlic and bacon. Instead of making a sauce, I poured on some cream and added parmesan. Delicious!

I've gone back to eating and enjoying the food I loved as I was growing up. I have a list of about 40 meals that is my main source of inspiration. There's a post about that here.   If you struggle with the what's for dinner question, making up a list of your own favourite meals will give you plenty of ideas to get you through.

You can never have too many jars.

This is a photo of my future mending and sewing.  I can see a new scrunchie at the very top, a couple of old towels that will be cut up and edged on the overlocker/serger for rags, a new linen apron and a larger linen check which will probably end up a skirt. I like having my sewing and mending pile in full view so it reminds me that when I have a spare hour, there is work to do.

If you don't have a sewing machine, it can be a very useful appliance to add to your home. It will save you money when you can mend torn clothing and household linens. It will also give you the ability to alter clothes to make them bigger or smaller.

I love this Zwilling vacuum seal system I bought a few months ago. I'm keeping bacon in this container, I can unseal it, take out what I want then reseal it.  It holds food fresh for five times longer than normal. I kept this bacon fresh for a month when it usually goes a bit slimy after two weeks.  In the other container I have strips of capsicum but I also keep lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers fresh for a lot longer than I used to. Vacuum sealing has saved a lot of food from being wasted, I don't have to shop for fresh vegetables each week and no doubt, it's saved money along the way. I also have resealable plastic bags that I can store cooked food in - again, it lasts five times longer than storing it in a freezer bag or sealed bowl.

Of course the ongoing chores, such as cleaning and organising the fridge and freezer keep going with the peak times being the change of seasons.  I remove one shelf at a time and clean it, edit what was on the shelf and return what needs to stay on that shelf.  It takes about 10 minutes to clean one shelf so I often do this when I'm waiting for something to cook or dough to prove. Breaking it up like that makes it an easier task.

In the past few months I've been learning how to do some of the jobs Hanno prided himself on doing. Maintaining our home and property was his way of showing how much he loved us. He never complained about the work and most of the time he did it silently. Now it's my turn. Yesterday I attached tap timers to the two hoses attached to the tanks. In the next day or so I'll attempt to repair the garden table which blew over when the wind lifted the garden umbrella and tipped the umbrella and table over, making the legs quite unstable.  I've also removed and reattached a venetian blind, pruned the orange tree, emptied and cleaned out the 500 litre water tank on the front verandah and sorted through the power tools and their batteries. I'll never do those jobs as well as Hanno did them but I feel I'm looking after myself and I feel thankful that I have the strength to do as much as I can for myself.

Kartoffel Puffer - potato pancakes

Everything from our sleep to our hormones relies on the dark. So why are we so intent on destroying it?
How to tell if it’s time to replace your solar panels and what to do with your old ones

I hope things are going well for you and you've closed the gate and taken time out for yourself and your family. We've got everything at home - fresh air, gardening and household routines help us simplify our lives and become capable and content.  And that's a very good thing.  xx

Blogger Template by pipdig