Monday, April 15, 2013

Pantry Staples....

Basil and Dandelion drying in our pantry
I make most of our food from scratch and I would love to be able to do more things like pickling and preserving our own garden produce, I have to be a little more patient though as our garden is still new, and I think it will be at least springtime before it can boast quantities of vegetables large enough to keep a lasting supply for our family!
 When planning menu's for my family nutrition is very important to me, I take care not to be wasteful and use real ingredients.
Here is the list of  pantry staples that I keep, these are used often and quantitys always checked when writing my weekly shopping list. There is not alot you cant invent in the kitchen if you are well stocked with these items!
flour- plain
flour- self raising
flour- wholemeal P
flour- wholemeal SR
sugar- raw
sugar- castor
sugar- brown (quality dark)
sugar- icing
rice- brown
rice- long grain white
rice- med/short grain (aborio)
pasta- soup ( alphabet pasta is fun!)
pasta- noodles (penne, farfale or macaroni)
pasta- spaghetti or fettucine
legumes dried
-red lentils
-green lentils
oats- rolled
oats- quick
pearl barley
dessicated coconut
bi-carb soda
baking powder
dry yeast
cocoa (premium, its so worth it!)
vanilla extract
golden syrup
dried apricots
dried cranberries
nuts- almonds
nuts- hazel
nuts- cashews
dried herbs & spices
- ginger
- nutmeg
- cinnamon
- whole cloves
- cayenne pepper
- corriander seeds
- oregano
- chives
- rosemary
- dried garlic
- sage
- bay leaves
- marjoram
olive oil
vinegar- balsamic
vinegar- white
mustard powder
curry powder
dried parmesan
massel natural stock powders
- chicken
- beef
- vegetable
passata jars
tomato paste
tins- crushed tomatoes
tins- canelli beans (for making baked beans)
tinned fruit- variety
tins- corn kernels

As well as pantry staples I also make sure I have a chicken and some beef mince "spare" in the freezer, also frozen spinach and puff pastry comes in very handy!
The fridge almost always contains fullcream milk (I never buy low fat dairy products)
cream, cheese, butter, eggs, lemons and bacon.
I buy our fruit and vegetables seasonally at the farmers markets and to be honest with a store of the above items, you can make so much! Anything from toasted muesli, breads, puddings,cakes and muffins, to stews, soups, pasta dishes, roast dinners, and lots more, all without MSG and preservative laden packet mixes and jars of stuff!
Obviously if you were purchasing all these items at once yes it would be costly,but you dont run out of everything at the same time, and I have found that cooking this way is not only healthier for my family, it is very budget friendly too!...


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In the Laundry...

When it comes to homemaking the laundry is really very important, especially if you have a large family. To be honest its probably the thing I struggle to maintain the most, dirty washing is never ending and just keeps on coming, and dont even get me started on the mountains of ironing! I found it became more difficult when our old top loader passed away and we replaced her with a smart new front loader machine, please dont mistake me our front loader is a lovely machine BUT each load takes such a loooong time! I could have had 2 loads finished and on the line with our old washer in the time it takes to do a load of whites now, so if I get behind in the laundry it can take days to catch up!

I have been very lucky to get a house with a nice big laundryroom this time as usually I end up with one that is quite small.
In the very top photo you will see a large wooden chopping board that I bought at Ikea, I have always used it in my laundry's and sat it over the trough to give me a little more space to sort things or sit a pot plant etc, it also keeps things looking tidy when I have things soaking in the trough underneath.
I have 4 baskets that were $10.00 each at Kmart for Linens, Darks, Lights and Whites and a large white nappy bucket for all socks and underwear. I find if they are put in the bucket, pairs and sets stay together in the same load and it makes sorting easier. I think I would like a basket just for army and school uniforms but I am hesitant as I think I will be pushing it for space. With a smaller room, the baskets do fit well along the hall by the laundry door as they are fairly narrow and dont get in the way.
I have a hanging rack that I love!! It is actually security bars off someones old windows painted white, my dad put it up for me when we were in Brisbane and it was so brilliant it has gone up here too! I use it to dry clothes and to hang everything on when I'm doing the ironing.
Here is my housekeeping kit, I use laundry powder for all sorts of things, cleaning the bathrooms and toilets, mopping the floors it even brings the oven up beautifully. All anyone really needs to keep a home clean and fresh is laundry powder, eucalyptus or lavender oil,vinegar, bicarb soda and some good quality furniture polish.
Dont forget a few little touches to make it a pleasant place to work! Its certainly worth the effort to keep it tidy and attractive since we spend so much time in there...
Happy laundering!