Super Simple Clothes Washing Powder

OK… my darling baby has just gone down for what is meant to be her second nap of the day (who am I kidding?) which means we have approximately 12.36 minutes to get this post out! I’ve painted red stripes down each of my arms because apparently that makes you go faster.

My laundry cupboard

My laundry cupboard

In my last post about Greening Your Cleaning (see it here) I mentioned that I hadn’t found a good clothes washing solution yet. Well HUZZAH! I have for the past week been using a different blend and it has been awesome. I do some pretty heavy duty washing – I am using cloth nappies only! – and they come out as clean as ever. Best yet this is such a sensitive mix which is perfect for the soft little bum that is going to be wearing the garments.

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 1 bar (50 – 80g) vegetable-based soap (AKA Castile Soap)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (could be substituted with bicarb soda)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • Optional: 10 – 20 drops Essential Oil

Equipment

  • Blender

Method

  1. Chop your soap into smaller chunks and put into blender
  2. Add borax, washing soda and essential oil (if you are using it) and blend into a fine powder.
  3. I used 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender oil for anti-fungal, anti-viral properties… as well as just a nice bit of smell!
  4. Store in sterile jar. For an upcycled scoop you could use an old milk lid, or save one from your old laundry powder (which you will no longer need ever again!)

See I wasn’t lying… SO EASY. Use 1 tablespoon in a full wash load.

Enjoy.

 

Teacup Cake

Gluten Free – Grain Free – Refined Sugar Free – Dairy Free – Paleo

Cooking time – 3 minutes, Serves 1

So is it a Teacup Cake or a Tea Cupcake?

A Mud Cake or a Mug Cake?

Scrumdiddiliumptious or Yumskiddilidumptious?

Some of life’s great questions. All I know is that I played around with a few healthy ingredients and ended up with the most gorgeous little cake-for-one recipe. This is perfect for when you have a sweet craving but cannot be trusted with the whole cake. This being said, it is a healthy (read; gluten free, sugar free, grain free, dairy free) recipe so even if you don’t limit yourself to just one cup you are doing okay!

I have to apologise for the photo quality… I didn’t expect to be successful so I was just playing around on my phone before putting it up on Instagram (come follow me! My user name is @oliveonblonde). Don’t worry, the photo quality is not representative of the taste. It is Delicious with a capital D.

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons Almond Meal
  • 1.5 tablespoons Organic Raw Cacao
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Butter
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt (try go for an unprocessed one like Pink Himalayan)
  • 1 Egg

Optional

I topped mine with some Cashew Cream I had already made and some Cacao Nibs.

To make Cashew Cream you need raw cashews, non-dairy milk, natural sweetener and a vanilla pod. I swear by Vegan Sparkles (one of my fave bloggers and friends) fail-safe recipe – see it here. (This will mean recipe takes about 10 minutes instead of 3)

It is perfect by itself but if you want something extra but don’t want to make the cashew cream get creative… berries, nut butter and honey. Get creative!

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a teacup.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Optional: Top with Cashew Cream and Cacao nibs.
  4. That is it. Seriously.

NOTE: If you want to make a bigger cake, double the ingredients, put in a mug and microwave for two minutes!

Great for kids!!! (My husband wanted to add that he is proof that it is child friendly – even he managed to cook one!)

A Super Simple Cushion Tutorial

I am slowly but surely teaching myself to sew. It makes sense on so many levels and brings with it so many benefits – a lot of them in line with my eco philosophy’s:

  • I can source locally made and/or organic fabrics to make my own products.
  • I can create a whole heap more upcycling projects that I spy on Pinterest (follow me here) which not only have less impact but can help me be greener – produce bags… I’m comin’ for you next!
  • It will be a whole lot easier to avoid that nasty ‘Made in China’ label
  • I will have a greater attachment and pride in my possessions because I will understand all the work that went into them!

My first project to get me into the groove has been making a recycled pallet day bed (which I can’t wait to share with you next week once it is complete!). And what does every daybed need? A million throw cushions, that’s what! As this is my first time behind the machine I didn’t want to have the trouble of zips and buttons – I wanted quick and simple. I found a few blog sites that detailed how to make this pouch style cushion and I am happy to say it was easy enough for even me to master. And I mean master… I have sewed 19 of them in 2 weeks! Here are a few being enjoyed by Velcro the little stray kitten we rescued last month (read about her here).

**Special thanks and love has to go to my amazing, stupendous, wonderful and above all progressive husband here! My first attempt at sewing a cushion was after our antenatal class where I was shown all the surgical equipment that can be used during labour and was told of all the possibilities that could go wrong. To say I was emotional was an understatement. I knew so little about sewing that I didn’t know you had to even clamp the sewing foot down and I buggered up the machine and ended up face down on the table bawling. But my man of many talents cleaned me up and showed me a few basics and I haven’t stopped since. What a superstar!  

Equipment

  • Sewing Machine
  • Pins
  • Fabric
  • Cushion Insert
  • Chalk / Pencil
  • Ruler / Measuring Tape
  • Scissors (Fabric scissors are SO worth it!)

Method

1. When you buy your cushion insert you will be given the dimensions – pictured below is Size 24: 61cms x 61cms (24″ x 24″). Measure out with your tape measure a shape the same size as the dimensions. You do not need to allow for a hem or for the stitch – you want your cushion to be snug and… well… cushy!

Mark out the shape with chalk or a proper fabric pencil (obviously on the inside of the material). This may take a bit of playing around to make sure you get it square.

This piece will be the front of your cushion.

2. Cut out your front shape.

3. You then need to cut out the two back flaps which will form the pouch to insert your cushions. There is no exact science on this and there is a little wiggle room but you want the ‘flaps’ to be approximately two thirds the height of the front piece of fabric. For example both flaps should measure…

  • As wide as the front piece of fabric
  • Approx two thirds the height of the front piece of fabric PLUS 2cms (approx 1″) for a small hem

EXAMPLE: The three pieces of my fabric were as follows;

  • Front Piece – 61cms x 61cms (24″ x 24″)
  • 2 x back pieces – 42cms x 61cms (16″ x 24″)

4. You then need to hem one edge of each of the back flaps. To do this fold the material over and pin it. My hems were 2cms (approx 1″). If you want to really crease the hems  then iron them which will flatten them. Whizz it through your sewing machine and tie off the ends.

5. Then pin all your pieces together ready for sewing- which for the amateur sewer can be confusing at first. Lie your cover piece flat on a table with the pretty outside of the cushion facing up. Then place your first flap squarely onto it so that the ugly inside of the fabric is facing up. Repeat with the other piece therefore completing the back square.

Pin along the edges securely. Make sure you pin the edges of the flaps down to ensure that they don’t get folded while you sew.

Sew along each edge and tie the threads off.

6. Once you have sewed all four sides turn your cover inside out and stuff your insert into it. Give it a bit of a plump and a fluff until it looks deliciously inviting and voila! You have a sturdy, simple cushion!I hope that made sense! I have had great success with them and have used all sort of different materials with them. The best bit is, your average store-bought, mass-produced cushion seems to retail for $50 these days. That is an absolutely HUGE mark up. If you want your life filled with beautiful cushions, this is the way to go!

 

Olives’ Healthy Anzac Biccies! (Vegan)

Vegan

Preparation time – 10 minutes; Cooking time – 10 minutes

Makes 12 big beautiful biscuits

Finally… after literally years of deliberation… I am ready to plant seedlings into our veggie patches. Helping me with the job is my delightful sister-in-law and my beautiful niece and nephew. So how does one ply a 2 and 3 year old to actually assist with the planting rather than setting themselves to ‘distract and destroy mode’? Well, surely you can’t go past a good old Aussie biscuit for that job? So I quickly make a batch of my version of Anzac Biscuits. While they aren’t super-duper healthy they are free from dairy and are a million times better than anything you are going to find in a packet. Instead of being chock full of butter I used coconut oil and I slightly reduced the flour content by bulking it up with sultana’s instead. Best thing – they took 10 minutes and are delicious.

Such an easy way to create a waste-free healthy treat! And I think it is safe to say that my bribe worked and the little gremlins were all too happy to help with the planting afterwards…

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup wholemeal self-raising flour (if you use plain make sure to add 1 tsp baking/bicarb soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of boiling water + 1/2 tsp salt at Step 3)
  • 2/3 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 Cup sultana’s
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2.5 tablespoons golden syrup

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease a baking tray in preparation.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients: oats, flour, coconut, sultana’s and sugar.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat. (if you have used plain flour add the bicarb mix now!)
  4. Pour your golden syrup/coconut mix into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Roll the mixture into 12 even balls (I used a soup spoon to measure them out). It may be a little crumbly so just squeeze it tightly into a ball with your hands.
  6. Place on baking trays and softly press the center of them down with a fork so they are slightly flattened.
  7. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.
  8. They will still be very soft when you remove them from the oven – don’t let it fool you into putting them back in. Everyone loves a soft biccy! Let them cool before removing them from the tray.
  9. Take your prompt from John and… NOM!!!

Nom nom nom

A Plastic Free Platter (Vegan too!)

On my quest to live a life free of plastic I found myself wondering if having friends over for light nibbles would ever be an easy affair again. Have you ever seen a dip that isn’t found in a plastic package? Occasionally you find them in fancy glass jars but if you are on the run it can be virtually impossible. But – in keeping with all my learning’s from Plastic Free July – I have found that avoiding plastic can send you down the most interesting and delicious of pathways!

The challenge: a plastic-free platter that doesn’t break the budget and can be thrown together in an hour. Impossible you say?

Well I say “Get your sunglasses out because you are about to be dazzled!”

Dip #1: Zesty Guacamole

Fresh ingredients, ready to be mixed

  • 3 x Avocado
  • 2 x diced tomatoes
  • 1 x diced red onion (small)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ Cup Coriander, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Mint, chopped
  • 1 x red chilli, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Optional – 2 x spring onions

Method

  1. Cube the avocados in a bowl
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together
  3. Garnish with coriander

10 minutes down… we’re on a roll….

Dip #2: Hummus

  • 600g canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed thoroughly (until the water doesn’t look bubbly)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 if you like it zesty… i do! Highly recommend!)
  • Optional: Smoked Paprika and or toasted pine nuts to garnish

Method

  1. Place the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini paste, cumin and lemon juice in a food processor and process until combined.
  2. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) of water and process again until quite smooth.
  3. Place hummus in a bowl and dust with smoked paprika if you have it or toast some pine nuts and sprinkle on.
  4. Swirl with some good quality olive oil when served.

 …booyah! that one only takes 10 minutes too…

Dip #3: Fresh Herby Salsa

And mix it! Nom!

  • 6 tomatoes (or 500g cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 spring onions, sliced finely
  • ½ Cup coriander, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Mint, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes

Method

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Then dice the flesh.
  2. Gently mix with the spring onions, coriander, mint, chilli, ground coriander, cumin and lime juice.
  3. Stand for 30 minutes (to give the flavours some real zing)
  4. Note: If you like your flavours punchy then add more lime and chilli!!!

 … with some cheating with my food processor that one is down in 10 minute too… half an hour so far and we are almost done…

 Serve With…

If you can, get to a local bakery to get two big Turkish loaves – that way you can specify for it to be wrapped in paper. It is hard at other shops to find it in anything other than plastic! Then when my guests arrived I toasted the bread and sliced it up. The smell of fresh bread was gorgeous and got everyone ready to tuck in. And you thought I couldn’t do it??? This only took me 30 minutes and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all – even the dedicated carnivores. I even got excited and made my own plastic free Ginger, Mint Lemonade to go with it! Best thing was it only cost me $35 and I had enough salsa and hummus to last until the next day when we had more friends coming over.

MYO Cordial – Sugar free!

This is a platter that is utterly brimming with nutritional benefits, is free of the 3 p’s (packaging, palm oil, preservatives) and is all vegan! If you would like to make the trio of dips together I have added a little shopping list below;

Shopping List for entire platter

Fruit and Veg

  • 3 x Avocados
  • 8 x tomatoes
  • 1 x red onion (small)
  • 3 limes
  • 2 x red chilli
  • 1 x lemon
  • Bunch of spring onions
  • Bunch of Coriander
  • Bunch of Mint
  • 3 garlic cloves

Aisle

  • 600g canned chickpeas
  • Olive Oil
  • Tahini Paste

Deli Stores that Allows Bulk Buying – take your own container! 

  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground Coriander
  • Pine Nuts – optional

Bakery

  • 2 x loaves Turkish Bread

Voila…

Raw Fruit and Nut Chocolate

Vegan – Sugar Free – Gluten Free – Paleo

 Preparation – 10 mins; Freezing time – 1 hour

Makes a massive block! 

Insanely yummy!

And just like that… my life will never be the same again! Everyday, bang on 2pm, I find myself with an all-consuming urge to seek and destroy all chocolate products within a 5km radius. Instead of denying myself though I wanted to try and make my own healthy version. Then I was reading a post on the Wellness Warrior’s blog where she provided a super simple chocolate recipe with just 5 nutritious ingredients and 6 easy steps. Surely it can’t be so simple? Well… IT IS. This is the best stuff I have ever made and both my husband and I took stashes into the office to experiment on our colleagues. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Woot woot! This will only take you a few minutes and is so deliciously indulgent that I can guarantee you will be hooked as well!

Where To Buy

If you can do a regular shop at a health food store or one that allows the bulk purchase of things like grains and flours then you will find all the ingredients you need in the one place. It’s also great for you to take your own container and go plastic free! Otherwise you can check out these alternatives…

  • Dates, Almonds and Maple Syrup – can all be found at supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • Coconut Oil – I have recently heard that Coconut Oil is available in supermarkets  in the Asian food section.
  • Raw Cacao Powder – I have only seen this at health food stores or bulk style shops.

Ingredients

  • 110 grams raw almonds
  • 170 grams coconut oil (try cold pressed, virgin if possible)
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao
  • A handful of medjool dates, chopped (I will use more next time… probably 15. But I LOVE dates at the moment).
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (make sure it’s 100% pure – not just flavored syrup)

Method

1)   Line a baking tray with baking paper or alfoil and place in the freezer to chill.

2)   Grind almonds in a blender / food processor until they are finely chopped (not quite a powder though).


3)   If your coconut oil is solid, gently warm in a saucepan until it is all liquid (do not boil!).

4)   Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients; almonds, raw cacao, dates and maple syrup.

5)   Pour the mixture onto your tray and spread it out evenly then put into the freezer until it has set. This won’t even take an hour!

6)   Chop the chocolate into chunks or rough squares. For Christmas pressies I am going to try and set the chocolate using cookie cutters shapes too!

NOTE: You’ll need to keep this stuff in the freezer between snacks. That is if you can hold out on the nom nom nom…

NOTE: That is a pregnant belly… not a chocolate belly!!!