Showing posts from August, 2014

Essential Kitchen Items

If you had the opportunity to start with a clean slate in your kitchen and purchase only essential items, what would they be?  Would your kitchen have in it exactly what it has now?  Or would you do it differently?

A year ago, when we arrived in Australia, I did have this opportunity, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  Most of our kitchenware and tableware came from the thrift stores and the local buy/swap fb page; although I did get a new set of cast iron pans from the camping expo, and a few bakeware items came from a regular retail store.

The only item that I would have like to have was a food processor for weekly chopping of onions and grating of cheese.  But that said, I didn't lose any fingers doing it manually, so it's not so much a necessity as much as a strong like.

Searching "kitchen essentials" on pinterest pointed me to some websites like this one:…

8 Days Until we Leave Australia :(

The final days are flying by.  But this story started 2 weeks ago on a Tuesday.  Husband was home not feeling well, and somehow we both got to poking around the immigration website to find out what we needed to do next for me to get permanent residency in Australia.

It didn't take long until we reached a point where we looked at each other and said we need to go to the office.  So in the span of a half hour, we went from pajamas to fully dressed and snacks packed.  We headed over to the kindy to pick up our daughter and hit the road down to Brisbane (3 hours) to meet with an agent at the immigration office.

We were stunned to learn our best bet for getting my permanent residency approved was for the paperwork to be filed back in the states, and it would take 8 - 9 months for it to be processed.  We weren't expecting that.  Not even a little bit.

Should I go back by myself?  Take our daughter?  How would we manage being apart so long?  Where would I stay?  Did we want to be apa…

Thought for the Day

If you are looking for a way to reduce food waste, get a small fridge.

"What??!!  Noooo..  I need a bigger fridge to put more food in because it's going bad!!"

Think about what you just said.  Really, think about it.  You already have a fridge, probably a fairly spacious one.  And food is rotting in there.  Why?  Did it get pushed to the back (rotting zone)?  Is there more than one so one is good and the other bad?  Did you put it in there with all the best intentions of eating it tomorrow? And then forgot about it?

See, I know whereof I speak.  I had one of those refrigerators.  It was big!  I mean really big!  It stuck out 6 inches in front of the kitchen counter.  And I was throwing away SO MUCH FOOD!  After a while, I started filling empty milk jugs and putting them in the back on each shelf, yep in the rotting zone.  That helped.  Finally when I opened the door, I could see everything in there without having to dig.

But the biggest change I made that has cut down on…


Winding down winter in Australia, I miss snow.  I like snow.  It's pretty.  I like the way it muffles sound.  I LOVE waking up to a fresh blanket of snow of a cold, crispy morning and being the first to make prints in the snow.  I like looking at the prints of other animals in the snow to see who visited while I was away.

That said, I will miss the frugality of the Australia winter.  No winter snow boots.  No heavy winter coat.  No hat, scarf, and mittens.  I wore my capri pants all winter.  With sandels.  Oh yes, some of the mornings were cold and I borrowed mid-calf socks from my husband, but those days were few and far between.  Most days I wore a tshirt with a flannel shirt over it.  Or a singlet (tank top) under a blouse. No jacket.  Yes, winter in Australia is much more frugal than winter in the midwest of the US.

Sustainable Living Win.....

Yesterday, I popped a pork roast into the slow cooker with some potatoes, carrots and seasonings for a few hours.  And during clean-up, I poured off the liquids left into this jar for some pork stock.  

Not sure yet what I'll do with pork stock, but I for sure wasn't going to just dump it out.

What do you save back that others might be willing to toss?

Homemade French Bread

Do you love crusty bread with a soft crumb on the inside?  I know I do and today, I ventured into the world of baking it at home.
Baking bread is not as difficult and time-consuming as I want to think it is.  The biggest chunks of time go to rising which I don't need to be present for!  So join with me and we'll make french bread together.

This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
French Bread 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast 2 tsp salt 2 cups warm water (115F to 120F) cornmeal
1 slightly beaten egg white (optional) 1 TBSP water (optional)

In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt.  Add warm water. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.  (I followed this part of the directions exactly, using a timer.)

Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon.  (I dumped in 1 cup of flour at a time, up to a total of 5…