Month: November 2012

Easy Christmas decorations – homemade wrapping paper

Today’s Christmas craftiness began with a potato and an old book, and ended with creative and cute gift wrapping!
I love collecting old books when op shopping, to use for a myriad of purposes. This is another thrifty way to cut down costs of Christmas and make it more personal.
I carved some rough star shapes into a potato, ripped some of those old book pages I so love to use, got out some paint, and here you have it. Stamp the potato in the paint, I used green, red and gold. Then go crazy on your recycled vintage paper. I wanted a rough and natural style, so the stars aren’t always distinguishable in my pattern, but you can definitely be more meticulous. Easy peasy, and another great one for kids to help with. My gift tag is an old Kikki K bag cut up, and some cute brown twine will top off the natural design. Have fun!





Xmas Present #3 – Green Bean Relish – In memory of Pippa

My grandmother (Pippa or Lorraine) used to make the best green bean relish. I’ve recently had memories about it after she passed away last year, and have been trying to recreate it. (Family members reading this, if you have any idea where the original recipe could be, please let me know!)

I’ve discovered that there aren’t many people in the world who know about the delights of Green Bean Relish, but I am changing their ways.

This is the recipe I’ve come up with, and I have to say its pretty darn good… with eggs in the morning, sandwiches at lunch or meat in the evening. Again, its also a pretty low cost thing to make, and could be used as a very delicious gift!

500g green beans
2 brown onions
1 cup water
1 cup malt vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tblsp mustard seeds
2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
2 tblsp corn flour

Basically, I just chopped the beans and onions, and put all these ingredients in a pot for about an hour. After an hour, I put the cornflour in a jug, and mixed a bit of hot water with it to make that white milky consistency. Note, I tried this by ladling some of the liquid out of the pot, but it didn’t work, it was too lumpy.
Pour the cornflour mixture into the relish and stir and allow to thicken. It depends how thick you like it, but you could put more in if you like it thicker.


Xmas Present #2 – Cinnamon Almond Butter

I’ve been busy again this week, creating home made gifts. This is one of my faves, so if you get one of these, you know that you’re dearly loved by me. Its soooo easy, a thrifty christmas present, and nutritious and delicious. I usually do a regular version just sweetened with honey, but this is a bit special for Christmas. Delicious on toast with slices of apple. That’s my personal favourite way to eat it.¬†¬†Here’s how you do it!

Cinnamon Almond Butter

Almonds. It doesn’t really matter how many you do, I did about 1.2kg and got 6 x 250ml jars.
Coconut Oil
Brown Sugar
Pinch of salt

If you like a nice toasty roasty flavour, then put your almonds on a tray, lather them in coconut oil, a bit of the cinnamon and sugar and toast them in the oven for about 15mins. Set aside to cool.


Then, put them in the food processor and blitz! Well, add brown sugar and cinnamon to your taste, and turn the machine on. Depending on how good your machine is, it may take 15 mins or an hour. You’ll need to scrape down the sides pretty regularly, and just keep going until all the oils come out and its nice and thick and goopy.

Put it in a nice airtight jar, put a label or a tag on it and you’ve got a healthy eating christmas gift!


Easy Christmas decorations – paper snowflake chains

At my mums the other day, we discovered an old Paul doll. If you recall Barbies rival Sindy, you’ll remember her beau Paul. Well, the poor guy was mixed up in some of our old toys naked, with some vicious stab wounds to various parts of his body. I decided to make some paper clothes for him. The clothes didnt turn out that great, but what it reminded me and inspired me to do was make some paper snowflakes! I thought this would be a great idea for easy christmas decor, and I won’t have to spend a cent on this.

You’ll need
Vintage book pages (this is my current favourite thing to try an find uses for)

I cut large book pages lengthways, and then fold them into 4, cut some diamond and circles and whatever shapes you like, remember that to make a heart or arrow you cut half the shape in lengthways to get one. Like the trees I’ve done here.
Then I cut the piece down the middle again to make two skinnier ones, and tape them all together to make a string of pretty paper! You can adapt this however you like, and it’s great for kids if you they are of scissor using age!
Have fun!









Easy dinners: Sausage, Tomato & Pumpkin with Quinoa

When I’m thinking about writing these recipes down to share, my main goal is to give you a guideline so that you can experiment and make things to your taste.
This is a common type dinner in my house and these items can all be substituted and mixed and matched. The idea is a kind of mix up of veges, protein and a carbohydrate if you want it. I like using quinoa, because it’s low carb and high protein, really nutritious and filling. It’s actually a seed did you know! You could also use lentils or pasta, or brown rice.


4 gourmet sausages
1/4 pumpkin
2 celery sticks
1 onion
1 tin tomatoes
3/4 cup quinoa grain (I use red and white mixed)
Chicken stock

Cook the quinoa in the chicken stock. Cover the grain with liquid and put on the stove.
Cook pumpkin in salted water until soft.
Cook sausages, then take them out and cut them up. Return to pan with celery and onion, cook a bit and then add the tomatoes, pumpkin, cooked quinoa and all the juices. Mix up a little and voila you have the easiest, really nutritious dinner!