Going Shopping & Gluten-Free Muesli


As many of you would be aware, I buy most of my dry goods from the bulk bins at Simply Good.  This means I can buy as much or as little of an item as want with no packaging and no waste.  This is a topic dear to my heart and one which is being encouraged during ‘Plastic-Free July’.  I use re-usable mesh bags for things like dried fruit, seeds and nuts and reuse paper bags for flours and almond meal.  Once I get home they are decanted into storage jars.

Storage jars
These are the ingredients I use to make my gluten-free muesli.  You can adjust the quantities to suit yourself.

3 cups coconut
3 cups pumpkin seeds
3 cups sunflower seeds
3 cups almonds (roughly chopped) – I use the food processor
2 cups sultanas
2 cups flaxseed meal
1/4 cup cinnamon

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Gluten-free muesli
I store my mix in a large airtight container.

Muesli container
To serve – I use 1/4 cup of muesli and add 1 dessertspoon each of chia seeds and psyllium husk.  I usually add 1 apple (grated) and 1 kiwifruit (chopped) plus a spoonful of plain yoghurt.  It makes a delicious and satisfying breakfast.

Spreading the Love

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If I am speaking to someone about a particular topic, I often find myself referring to something I have written on my blog.  Then comes the inevitable question – what is the blog address?  I then find myself scrabbling in my bag or surroundings for a pen and paper.

Even though it is purely a personal pursuit, I have often thought about creating a ‘business card’ for my blog.  I finally designed one a few weeks ago and here it is.

Business card - front
The quality of the photographs is rather poor but I can assure you that they look great in real life.  The web address for the blog and a contact email are on the front of the card while the reverse contains a brief description and a quote.

Business card - back
I ordered them online through Vistaprint.  500 cards cost me a little over $50.00, including postage.


Garden Progress

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After our visit to the Garden Expo on Saturday, we spent Sunday afternoon out in the garden.

Our first project was to remove the old bird netting from the peach tree and to prune it.  This is what it looked like before we started.

Peach tree
This is one of the nets which we bought at the Expo.

Fruit tree net
The nets will protect fruit trees or garden beds from birds and pests, including fruit fly.  I had been looking at them online but when I saw them at the Expo I decided to go ahead and buy 2 of them.  Here is the website.  We bought the 2m ones.

It is recommended that you do not put the netting on until after the fruit has set otherwise it impedes pollination.  Since it is likely that the time to install the netting will be while we are away, we decided to have a trial run after pruning the tree.

New netting
While this would be sufficient to keep the birds away, you need to gather the fabric up and secure it around the base of the trunk to be sure of eliminating any fruit fly infestation.  We will ask the housesitters to put the netting on at the relevant time and hopefully look forward to a crop of unblemished peaches.

We also pruned the fig tree, grapefruit tree and one of the lemon trees.

Next weekend I will be planting as I have ordered some rhubarb crowns and asparagus.  I had a phone call today to say that they are ready so I will pick them up on Thursday.

A Dose of Inspiration

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The Duke and I went to the Queensland Garden Expo today.  It is a huge event which is held annually in Nambour which is a major town about 30 km from where we live.  We do not go every year, usually about every 3 years.

We checked the program of speakers before we left home so had a definite plan for our visit.  First, we wandered around some of the many exhibits to see what was on offer.  There are so many stalls that it is difficult to take it all in.  We bought 2 nets which are suitable for fruit trees or vegetable gardens.  They are small enough mesh to eliminate fruit fly so we will be using one on the peach tree this year.

Our other purchase was 5 hibiscus plants which we will plant in the garden in front of the house.  We already have 1 hibiscus and are keen to remove some of the other shrubs and make the hibiscus a feature in this bed.

I will tell you more about our purchases in future posts.

We took our drink bottles of water and some mandarins for a snack but we bought some lunch from one of the many food stalls.  We had satay chicken skewers with spiced cous cous.

Then it was time to join the queue for a very popular speaker – Costa Georgiadis from Gardening Australia.  The title of the presentation was, “Growing our food future. Simple ways to participate that bring us all along for the ride. So hang on!” – and hang on we did.  Costa is a passionate and entertaining presenter – even more so in real-life than on television.

It was difficult to capture a photograph as standing still is clearly not one of Costa’s strong points.

He really did wear that beanie!

009Warming to his theme…………

014And finally, presenting the ‘evidence’ to the judges.

This was the beginning of the presentation, where Costa showed the audience pre-packed, hard-boiled and peeled eggs packaged in a hard plastic case.  The one hour presentation absolutely flew and we really did have to hang on.  This was not a formal, staid lecture but more like a wild ride.

Some of the messages I came away with were:

  • We can all make a difference
  • Be positive
  • Engage with your community
  • Be innovative

It can sometimes be difficult to maintain your enthusiasm and passion in the face of the negativity that so often surrounds us but a dose of Costa was just what I needed get get me inspired to continue to push to grow and share food, reduce waste and packaging and encourage others to do the same.

Another First


Following on from my first attempt at patchwork, I decided to try my hand at some bunting.  My thoughts on making this is exactly the same as patchwork – it should be about using up the scraps that you have – not buying a bundle of mix’n’match fabrics for a ‘perfect’ look.

Miss O and Izz are here tonight and they were keen to help.  They both gave their opinions on the fabrics we chose to use and Miss O was able to turn the triangles after 2 sides had been stitched.  I completed the turning with the aid of a knitting needle to fashion the point of the triangle.  She also helped to arrange the sequence so that there was a good combination of patterns.


This is what we ended up with – a couple of metres of decorative bunting in a selection of pink tonings.  There are large and small florals, checks, stripes and abstract prints.  Some of the fabric is very lightweight and other is quite heavy.  All of it has been salvaged from the offcuts of other projects – some new and some used.

It is a quick and fun project which uses a relatively small amount of fabric and produces an almost immediate result.  A perfect school holiday activity if you have small helpers!

Something from the Garden


Back to one of my favourite topics – eating what is in season.

Last night we had salmon for dinner.  While the salmon is not strictly local, it does come from Australian waters.  It is farmed in the clear water of the Huon River estuary in southern Tasmania.  The salmon could hardly be considered a budget meal as it costs about $10 for enough for 2 serves.  We always barbeque the salmon and season it with a little salt and some lime juice to enhance the flavour.

I served it with pumpkin mash, stir-fried pak choy, balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and avocado slices.  I poured some of the balsamic/tomato juice over the salmon as a glaze to finish it off.  All of these ingredients came from our garden so you can’t get much more seasonal or local than that.  It also means that a meal of salmon is quite a reasonable price.  What would you pay in a restaurant for a meal like this? $30 – $35 perhaps?

Not every meal contains as much of our own garden produce but I do try to include it as much as possible.  Tonight we are having pizza which will be spread with mango chutney (made from the neighbour’s mangoes) instead of tomato paste and have balsamic roasted pumpkin as the main topping.

We have had a bumper harvest of pumpkins this year so I am constantly looking for creative ideas to use them.  As well as the ubiquitous pumpkin soup, pumpkin mash and being used on pizza topping I have also made some pumpkin scones recently.

What do you have a glut of?  Do you have any pumpkin suggestions?

Hello Again

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I think I am finally back on track and hope to have regular blog posts for you most days.  I have finally caught up and replied to all of your comments.  There has been a lot going on and I am working on a few different projects as well as the routine stuff and a full-time job.

Since I buy a large percentage of my groceries from bulk bins and bring it home in reusable bags, I decant it all into sealed containers in the pantry.  Even though it is all in reused jars I like the idea of having matching containers.  In order to achieve this I have tried to limit myself to just a couple of different jars and I am quite pleased with how it looks.  The labelling has been a bit hit and miss though.  The Duke finds it a bit intriguing that the raw sugar lived in a jar labelled ‘Quinoa Flakes’ and so on.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on improving the labelling.  The catalyst was the fact that we will have housesitters staying here while we are on holidays in a couple of months.

I have not finished it completely but enough is done to give you an idea.

Pantry storage
I have also labelled the spray bottles in the laundry that have pre-wash spray, diluted clove oil and window cleaner in them.

It amazing what we just accept as the norm in our own homes but it is an interesting exercise to stop and think about how a stranger would view your ‘systems’.