Something from Nothing (Almost)

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About a week ago I made Thai Beef Salad for dinner.  The first step was to marinate some thinly sliced beef which was done the day before.  I did not not have a recipe for the marinade but it did include lime juice, olive oil and fresh chillies.

On the night I quickly pan-fried the beef before adding it to the salad.  The meal was truly delicious.

However, the essence of this post is the residue that remained in the pan.  After dinner I added a cup of water to the pan and heated it gently to lift the remnants of beef marinade.  This resulted in a rich and tasty ‘stock’ which I allowed to cool and then froze.

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Today I thawed this to make gravy.  All that was required was a sprinkle of herb salt and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot blended with a little water and I had a delicious gravy.

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A simple yet tasty meal – sausages with mash, peas and carrots topped with gravy made from last week’s pan residue.

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Rescued Fruit

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Even though I do my best to minimise my waste on a personal level, it can be very difficult to control the waste that occurs in other facets of my life, most notably my workplace.  I work in a corporate office and there are instances where there is catering ordered for business lunches and so on.  I generally try to make sure that any leftovers are not wasted.  Last week there was a small amount left on a fruit platter which I retrieved with no particular plan in mind.  I decided to put it in a container in the freezer with a view to using it for smoothies at a later date.

Yesterday morning I removed this frozen block of mixed fruit which included a couple of types of melon, strawberries, grapes and a few blueberries.

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Into the blender…………

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I added juice of a lime and a banana and blended it until smooth.

About 1/3 of the mixture was added to a small amount of water and became part of my breakfast.

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The remainder went back in the freezer.  I whizzed it briefly in the evening and we had a delicious fruit sorbet for dessert.

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It is a small but important step to save whatever perfectly good food that I can.  Otherwise, I know it will simply be thrown out.

A Bulk Buy

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As you know, I am not a great fan of shopping.  However, there are still things that need to be purchased.

I needed more eucalyptus oil which is an ingredient of the homemade cleaner and wool wash that I make.  It is also a useful disinfectant and aid for removing labels from jars and the resultant glue residue.  Needless to say, I use a bit of it and was keen to buy a larger quantity than the 200ml bottle that I had recently emptied.

After some online searching we managed to source a 4 litre bottle in Australia.  It is the same brand as the previous bottle and was significantly cheaper.  In fact, I calculated that it cost about 60% of the cost of buying an equivalent volume in 200ml bottles from one of the major supermarkets.

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Although it is in a plastic container, this quantity will last me a lifetime and I will not be buying any more 200ml plastic bottles of eucalyptus oil.

I understand that many people would not be interested in buying this sort of quantity as there is a significant financial investment as well as storage issues.  Neither of these are a particular problem for me so I am happy to have been able to buy a large quantity of eucalyptus oil.

If you live in my vicinity and would like a smaller portion of this eucalyptus oil, please let me know and I will let you know all of the details including pricing which will be the same as I paid.  I am not doing this to make a profit but simply to give others the opportunity to access eucalyptus oil with minimal packaging in quantities that are appropriate to your needs.

**Please note that this is labelled ‘Commercial Grade’ and the directions are for use in cleaning applications.

There are a couple of hyperlinks in the second paragraph to the ‘recipes’ for cleaning products that I make using eucalyptus oil.

Almost Brand New

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I recently mended a cotton blanket which was wearing out.  It must be close to 20 years old and it would have been very easy to simply buy another one but I decided that was unnecessary.

This is what the top edge looked like.

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However, the bottom edge was pristine.

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So, I removed the satin binding from the top edge and unpicked the hem at the other end.  Then I bound the bottom edge using the salvaged satin binding.

Here is the result.  It looks as good as new.

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Sadly, the previous top edge was in a rather sad state.

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I contemplated cutting the damaged part off and then re-doing the hem.  This would mean the loss of some length so I was not keen on that solution.  Instead, I used some fabric from an old sheet to make a wide binding that covered the damaged part while still maintaining the original length of the blanket.

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The colour blends in nicely and it will mostly be tucked in at the foot of the bed.

I was very happy with the repair and hope that the blanket will last for many years to come.

A Matching Set

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Since I buy all of my dry goods from bulk bins, I need to have storage containers for my pantry.  Some are glass and others are plastic but most are screw-top jars that I have either inherited from my mother or collected from various sources over a period of time.

This photo gives you an idea of what my pantry looks like on a good day.

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This is an old photo and some things have been moved around but you get the general idea.

However, it has been quite some time since I last cleaned and tidied it properly and it definitely starting to show.

I really need to keep larger quantities of some of the ingredients in the small plastic jars so I have been considering my options.  A couple of weeks ago I was in one of the local charity shops (there are 4 in our small town) when I spied some large glass jars.  They are Moccona coffee jars and have a tight-sealing lid.  I bought all 5 of the largest size for $4 each.

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Today I optimistically checked to see if there were any more and was surprised to find another 4 matching ones.  I now have 9 large glass canisters which are airtight and cost me the princely sum of $36.

I will do another blog post with photos once the pantry is sorted out and the new containers are in place.

Another Quilt

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No, this is not turning into a quilting and patchwork blog, however, I am making another quilt using the same techniques as the one I have just finished.  This is for another work colleague – a retirement gift this time.

It is very different colours – generally autumn tones.

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Here are some of the squares cut out.  I had some of the fabric in my stash but nowhere near enough as it is not the colours I tend to use.  The remainder is made up of some new fabric specifically for the project as well as some that I found on an op shop crawl this morning.  We are fortunate to have no fewer than 4 op shops in the small town near where we live.

I spent the afternoon and evening cutting out and piecing fabric. It is coming together nicely and these are the first 5 completed blocks.  There are another 11to do before I arrange them to get the best balance of colours.

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While I was hunting out suitable fabric at an op shop, this piece caught my eye.

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A 1 metre length of brand new cotton fabric which is 112cm wide.  It cost me 50c and will be used to make a sleeveless shirt for me.

The other thing I bought was not fabric so I will save the story of that for another blog post.

 

Pretty Patches

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About 3 weeks ago I wrote about starting to prepare the fabric squares to make a baby quilt for a work colleague.

This project was set aside for a couple of weeks while I concentrated on the Boomerang bags but in the last few days I made some real progress.

I needed 180 squares and here they are all cut out and sorted in preparation for sewing.

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Each block consists of 9 squares sewn together and then cut into 4 squares which are turned, re-arranged and sewn back together.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the step-by-step process.

The next step is to arrange the finished blocks and finally, sew them all together.

Today I finished the patchwork.

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All of the fabric has been gifted or thrifted.  I need to buy some batting and then assemble the quilt.  I have a dark pink sheet which I bought from an op shop some time ago that I intend to use for the backing.  I will make the binding from a doona cover that belonged to one of my granddaughters.  It will match some of the fabric used in the patchwork.

While it is far from perfect, I know that it will be loved and appreciated.