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Sunday, July 31, 2011

DIY Cleaning Products ep.2

Anyone try the DIY spray cleaner and glass cleaner? If you haven't, you should it's really good. Anyway here's the next one to try. It's a bit more complex and you will need to do some specialist shopping but it is worth it. If you want to try some to see if it works as good as the store bought stuff; you can buy it ready made here

(This is another one from Wendyl Nissen by the way)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Farmers markets

Though not always the cheapest place to buy food, buying from local farmers markets means that you support your local producers by buying direct from them, and buying food that hasn't traveled the length of the island from farm to auction to store is fresher and better for the environment. Also farmers markets are a great place to get organic and free range produce and to try something new. More than often you do end up picking up some great specials too!

Yesterday we discovered the Hobsonville Point Farmers Market which is located on the land where the Hobsonville Air base used to be. Its on every Sunday morning from 9am-1pm and is undercover so even though the weather wasn't so great today, we were still able to go and enjoy it.

One of the products we love to buy at the markets is local honey. We have bought EarthBound Honey which is produced in Bethells Valley many times and it is great (try the Pohutukawa). We also got some Harmony free range (dry cured) bacon for a steal! They are SPCA Blue Tick accredited and have a great range of other meats too.

Other farmers markets:
Oratia Farmers Market: Artisan Wines, 99 Parrs Cross Road, Oratia. Saturday; 9am to 12.
Parnell Farmers Market: Jubilee Building Carpark, 545 Parnell Road, Parnell. Saturday; 8am to 12.

There are many more out there (check out but we have been to Oratia and Hobsonville Point and have heard good things about Parnell from friends.

So check out your local farmers market and let us know what you think.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DIY cleaning products

Have you ever added up how much commercial cleaning products cost? We first noticed when our shopping bill almost doubled every time when needed to buy several products at once! Also there is the environmental and health concerns with all the chemicals in them. There is now lots of 'green' options but they cost even more and a lot of the time just seem to be marketing and stink of green washing. 

There is a alternative that is both cheaper, better for the environment, and your health - making them yourself! All credit for inspiration and these recipes goes to Wendyl Nissen ( First up I'll start with some that you can make with stuff that is already in your cupboard.

Spray Cleaner (replaces spray&wipe, etc)
1 L Water
1-2 Tsp Baking soda  
2 drops of soap/detergent (for ecological niceness use Dr Bronner's Castile liquid soap but anything will work)
10 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional, but it does help it kill bacteria)

Glass Cleaner
650 mL water (or 2 parts)
350 mL white vinegar (or 1 part)
2 drops detergent

The exact amounts are not important for either of these recipes, just get the ratios ruffly right.

We have been using both of these recipes for months now and they work great! They are sooo cheap to make, and most of the ingredients are eaten regularly so they are safe and healthy.

Enjoy the savings!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free ranging it

I (Em) have been trying to write this post for nearly 2 weeks now. It's not that I don't want to talk about free range animals and products, it's not that I don't believe whole heartedly in the practise and promotion either. We've been free range egg, chicken and bacon consumers for a number of years now and absolutely believe in it. Buying free range was the first change we ever made although at the time there wasn't the range of free range products that you can get now.

Winter tends to have a habit of sucking the passion right outta me, so instead of harping on about why we believe in free range chickens, pork etc, please tell me whether you believe in free range and what it, if anything, means to you.

I'll start to make this easier: We buy free range items that gare guarranteed cruelty free. Namely eggs and bacon. We love the SPCA's Blue tick scheme which audits participating farms making sure that they are up to standard.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winter Warmers

Hasn't the weather been horrendous? There's no doubting its winter here!
At least this weather is perfect for eating those hearty soups, delectable desserts and steaming hot drinks, so we thought that since we've been a bit slack with posting lately, we would share one of our favourite simple recipes for each of these categories!

Hearty red lentil and chickpea soup: this is yummy, cheap and easily modifiable
1 large onion (pref red as they are the best)
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock (4 cups water with a few oxo cubes works fine too)
1 can of tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas or equivalent cooked
a few herbs- we use a bit of oregano and sweet basil from our garden
salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the onion and fry over a little oil until soft.
2. Add the onion, stock, canned tomatoes and lentils to a pot and bring to the boil.
3. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
4, Add the herbs and chickpeas and simmer for another 5 minutes.
5. Eat!

Mulled wine: simple to make and you don't need to use an expensive wine.
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups Water
Grated rind of 1/2 Orange
6 whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
1 bottle red wine

1. Put all of the ingredients apart from the wine into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes and then strain
3. Add the red wine and gently reheat but do not boil.
4. Serve hot with a sprinkling of nutmeg

Baked rice pudding- one of my favourites and a definite comfort food!

1 tsp vanilla essence
2 TB short-grain rice (or whatever you have, really- apparently it works fine with brown rice too, just not Quinoa- tried it- didn't work)
2 cups milk
2 TB sugar
1 Cinnamon stick

1. Preheat your oven to 150°C.

2. Rinse the rice and place in a baking dish along with the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick. Stir to combine.

3. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Best served warm and with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top

We have the lentil soup one probably once per week in winter as it really is a cheap meal and you can add all sorts to it for variation.
I'd love to hear what your winter warmer favourites are! Please feel free to comment below :)