Category Archives: Recipe

Homemade laundry powder

Well there was no progress made on the master bedroom front over the weekend. But only because Andre and I got to spend an entire weekend playing tourists in our own city, while the kids had a fabulous time at their grandparents! We are all back together again and feeling refreshed and ready to hit the last half of the year running. We have a lot to pack in… we just don’t know what yet?!

So I started today by walking to kindy in the rain, and then a morning of chores, with the fire crackling and the washing machine humming.

I also finally got around to making my own washing powder!


Mum knew I wanted to make some, so she bought me all the ingredients from Wendyl Nissen’s shop a few weeks ago.

It’s so easy to make… here’s how:

  • Combine 1 cup of Soda Ash and 1 cup of Baking Soda in a food processor.
  • Mix 60mL of Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap and 20 drops (or 2mL) of essential oil (I used lavender) together.
  • With the processor running on low speed, slowly pour the liquid mixture into the powder until it is all combined.
  • Store the laundry powder in an airtight container. Use 1-2tbsp per load.

It smells amazing, and I can’t wait to try it out!

Happy Monday x



Homemade citrus cleaner

Happy Friday!

In honour of my biggest cleaning day of the week I thought I’d share a recipe for some home made cleaner which I’m using at the moment.

1108_8464 Since having kids in the house, I’ve become rather wary of chemical cleaning products and do my best to stick with natural products. It’s nice to not have to be overly concerned when Dad gives the kids a bath and you walk in to find they’ve mistaken the cloth you used to clean the bath earlier for a facecloth. True.

Having tried everything from Eco Store to home show purchases, I’ve been a little annoyed that products seem to be either ineffective or very expensive, or both!

I found that straight vinegar doesn’t work so well, and adding baking powder to make a paste is a bit of a nuisance. But enter citrus peel… and we have a winner!

1108_8465It’s so simple: fill a jar with orange peel, add vinegar to cover the peel, screw the lid on. And wait a week or few. Then pour the infused vinegar through a fine sieve into a jug, then into a spray bottle. Top up with water (Anywhere between 1:1 or 2:1 vingear:water ratio seems to work) and add a few drops of essential oil. (I use tea tree or eucalyptus for their antibacterial properties.)

Done! To save a little elbow grease, spray it on and wait a few minutes before wiping.

I’ve used this recipe for a couple of weeks now, and slowly the cringe areas of built up grime are disappearing. It’s not without some scrubbing, but surely a work out while cleaning beats eating cake while leaving nasty chemicals to do the dirty work? In the long run anyway!

Pin of the day: Mothers Day gifts

Sorry I missed you yesterday… I was otherwise occupied at the zoo, until we gave up and took a raincheck, and made our way across town to Kelly Tarltons. Fun day!

Mothers Day is not too far away for us here in NZ. Andre…? It’s May 12. Ok?

This lavender and sea salt caramel might get whipped up in my kitchen for our mums. It sounds pretty delish!

A mummy moment disguised as an oven review

In the name of reviewing our new Parmco oven I thought I’d bake a cake.

Actually, I just thought I’d bake a cake so I could eat it.

I deserve it after the morning I’ve had – a not quite two year old who is trying on the terrible two’s and half of said cake being mopped off the oven, floor and bench after I put the ring tin together upside-down and it dropped out the bottom.

Thankfully I managed to rescue a fair bit of it and dumped it unceremoniously in another tin. So it looks a little on the small and lumpy side of things but I think I’ve found my new quick chocolate cake recipe.

Aaaahhhhhh! I’ve literally just scraped the last spoonful off my plate and am now enjoying a coffee with cream (what decadence!) to wash it all down. If that sounds like I just ate the whole cake I have to say I didn’t… although it does feel a little like I did!

Now, to the oven review. We contemplated brands and prices and styles and all those things, but I kept coming back to Parmco in general as a value for money deal.

There were mixed reviews out there so I have put all my confidence into the 5yr guarantee at this point. This is what really stood out to me in comparison to other brands. Being a kiwi, I have a bit of a thing for Fisher & Paykel, but with only a 2yr guarantee I couldn’t rec0ncile it with their prices.

We bought the Parmco Dimoda oven in white (Model No. OV-1-6W-8). I believe it comes in stainless also, but with our white cabinets I thought the stainless would stand out too much. White also happens to be a bit cheaper which was a bonus.

We bought it from Great Deals Direct (now Appliance Smart) who gave the best deal out there when combined with the hob. Of the 8 functions, I have used only 4 or so, so don’t take this as a comprehensive review if you’re a real baker.

We’ll keep this simple and start with good things:
– Even heating
– Digital countdown timer
– Easy to wipe down (as proven just an hour or so ago with cake all down the front of it)
– Lots of racks/trays (see below in bad things also)
– Style
– Price

Bad things:
– Slide out racks (these are just annoying and not useful at all)
– Too many racks/trays (I have taken two out permanently and stored them in the space below the oven as spares)
– Door doesn’t open out flat (so you can’t sit trays on it – this is quite possibly a safety feature)
– Have to stand back when opening the door if the oven is on as you get quite a blast of heat come out at you (see even heating above… might just be because it holds heat very well)

Overall, I am very happy with it and secure in the fact that if anything goes wrong in the next 4 1/2 years we should be well looked after. We also bought a Parmco hob but I’ll hold off on a review of that until another day… I’m a bit full right now.

Here are a couple of photos of the oven in our kitchen (you can see the white is actually quite different to the white of our cabinets, but to be honest, it hasn’t concerned me since about day 3 after installation):

You can see in the above picture where our builder put a handy handle on the cover panel below the oven. This means we can use the otherwise wasted storage under the oven for trays and things.

Oh I almost forgot the cake recipe – it’s a good one, from the recipe book that comes with the Easiyo Yoghurt Maker:

Yoghurt Chocolate Cake

125g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
60g cooking chocolate, melted
2 cups plain flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup Easiyo yoghurt
1/3 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180. Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and beat in, then add melted chocolate. Mix well. Sift dry ingredients and add a little at a time, alternating with the yoghurt (I just chucked all these bits in then mixed). Add boiling water and beat well. Pour into a buttered/floured/lined 23cm round tin (make sure you assemble properly if a ring tin!). Bake 35-40mins.

For the frosting, beat 125g butter until creamy. Add 1/4 cup Easiyo yoghurt, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 3 cups icing sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa. Mix well.

Eat while little one is fast asleep and Mr is at work. Leave some for them later if you feel like it.

So much to say… but so much to finish!

I’ve been avoiding what to write about next because although loads has been happening around the place (until 11pm or midnight night after night!) nothing is “finished”… I had a horrible thought yesterday that maybe I’d never get to post about our new kitchen because it might never be finished!

Here is one thing that I started and finished last Friday:

A hammer cake for our little boy’s half birthday celebration! He’s too close to Christmas to celebrate then so we picked the middle-ish of the year instead and will keep that going until something better (like early December?) takes over.

That occasion was the incentive for getting our kitchen “half-finished” and saw us disconnecting the water pipes for the old kitchen sink and hooking up the new late on Friday, finishing with shifting the dishwasher over around 10.30pm.

The celebratory glass of grape juice (no wine for 15 weeks preggo) was a little flat knowing there was still much to be done, but let me tell you it was still well earned and enjoyed!



Happy Neighbours Day

It’s Neighbours Day in NZ tomorrow. Apparently it is not the first time, but it is the first time I’ve heard of it, and incidentally the first time we have are “real” neighbours (as in we own our house, and plan to stay more than a few months) so I thought I’d do a little something just to say hi really.

One particular neighbour (over the side fence) has a lemon tree, which spreads over said fence, and I have been freely helping myself whenever a recipe calls for a bit of zest or a squeeze of lemon juice.

So it’s been in the back of my mind that really I should make a little lemon something just to say “hey thanks for the lemons!”

So I whipped up (sounds quite domesticated doesn’t it… whipped up… just like that!) some lemon honey and plan to pop a jar in the letterbox of the side neighbour and the back neighbour, along with a little note and our contact details for emergency purposes.

The back neighbours happen to share our crosslease title so it’s the first step in the plan to sweeten them up before we want to do any outside work that will have some impact on them (namely, a new deck which will give us quite the vantage point for looking down on them…).

While there have been the odd little chit chats over the fence with both of these neighbours, they’re certainly not neighbours that I’d call in on to ask for a cup of sugar (luckily I had enough for the lemon honey or I might have needed to spoil the surprise!). But maybe the little offering in their letterboxes along with the weekend paper might smooth the road in case we need their permission for anything down the track!

Moving right along, here are the photos:

Why I Love Soapy Water

We came home late the other night, and while I put the little one straight into bed I could hear Andre running around the lounge. As I walked in he yelled “look out!”. This is what he was chasing:

As you can imagine I hopped around in mad circles squealing. Of all creepy crawlies, these have got to be the worst. Although we do sometimes get these in and around the house which are pretty up there with the worst (because of the horrifying experience of nearly picking one up in the dark of night when I somehow mistook it for a dummy dropped on the floor):

We did some more demolition over the weekend and I wonder if that is why this big one appeared inside (we tend to see the little, paler ones usually)??

Anyway the good news is the killer recipe that I can confirm is tried and tested on the above and numerous other unsuspecting non-humans that make their way inside my house (MY house – how DARE they?!). In the interests of human health (particularly little humans) and the environment I prefer not to use chemical killers so after some research on the internet I found this recipe coming up time and again and am so pleased it works amazingly well:

1 x spray bottle

Fill with water, a generous squirt of liquid dish soap, shake it all up and spray spray spray!

That’s it!

Some of the tougher (and larger) creepies take quite a lot of spraying, and you do need to keep up the chase, but it works every time! All that is required once the legs have stopped jerking is a wipe up of the spray trail and (if you’re brave enough) to pick up the culprit with a giant wad of tissues in hand and flush/throw ’em away!

The other life enhancing recipe I am trying and testing is a repellant – mainly designed for spiders I believe but may also be effective on the above (if you dare to take another look…). After afore-mentioned traumatic experience on Sunday night I picked up my other trusty spray bottle and sprayed a line under the little one’s bedroom door (just in case great Grandaddy Cockroach had brought any of his family in with him). Lo and behold over the next two days I found dead in his room 1 x cockroach (smaller than the sickening 10 or so cm Grandaddy but large enough all the same), 1 x centipede and 1 x clicky beetle. Coincidence?? Not sure.

Moving on though, this repellant spray I have been using for a few months now, and would love to promise it works but I’m waiting a few more months to be sure it’s nothing to do with the weather…

400mL White vinegar
50mL Fractionated coconut oil (a bit hard to find but ask in your local health store/search online)
Liquid dish detergent
1 x Red chilli
Lavender oil

Mix together in a spray bottle and spray weekly around windows, doors, corners, crevices etc (If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, a few extra drops of any essential oil will help).

I have noticed a definite reduction in the number of cockroaches (the small – German maybe – variety) and centipedes inside and we have few spiders.

Fingers crossed the coming winter doesn’t bring them all back!