Saturday, 27 December 2014

How to grow Rosemary

Rosemary is one of our family's favourite herbs. I think we have about 20 bushes of it over both our properties. Here is how to grow Rosemary and some extra tips for how to use it around the house.  

 

  • Rosemary is a wonderful herb to grow in your garden with a variety of uses.
  • Use it dried or fresh with many meats, sauces and soups.
  • Keep rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) well clipped and use it as a border hedge for your herb or vegie garden. 
  • Plant in well-drained soil in sunny location in gardens, or an open potting mix in pots.
  • Plants are slow growing at first, but pick up speed in their second year.
  • While rosemary tolerates partial shade, it prefers full sun and light, well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 7.
  • Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil at planting, and reapply in the spring.
  • Keep the soil moist, allowing it to dry out between waterings.
  • Mulch your plants to keep roots moist in summer and insulated in winter, but take care to keep mulch away from the crown of the plant.
  • In the spring, prune dead wood out of the plants.
  • You can even train rosemary into topiary shapes.
  • Rosemary plants are tolerant of salt spray, making them a good choice for pots on the beach.
  • Snip rosemary stems in the soft stems, not the harder woody parts of the plant.
  • Rosemary, olive oil, and a dash of sea salt make the perfect simple dip for fresh bread.
  • Cut stems at any time for fresh rosemary.
  • To dry rosemary, use a rack or hang it upside down in bunches to dry. See more here:
  • Once stems are dry, strip the leaves from them. You can also freeze rosemary sprigs, preserve them in vinegar, or use them to flavour oil or butter.
  • Add a sprig to flavour oils and vinegars or use a bruised branch as a brush when basting roasts. 
 
Dried lavender flowers, basil leaves and rosemary leaves.
 
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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas drinks

I love Christmas and all the yummy things it brings. Here are some ideas for Christmas drinks for any celebration or party you may be having.
 
 
Here is one of my family's favourite homemade alcoholic drinks for Christmas time.
 
 Raspberry & Lime cocktails at a recent Christmas party. Here is similar recipe that you just add alcohol to.
 
We have been busy at various Christmas parties over the last few weeks. Here are a few happy snaps of the drinks at the events.
 

 You just can't beat a traditional wine or champagne.
Lady Creativity

Monday, 22 December 2014

Week 52: Household tasks and cleaning checklist


Household tasks and cleaning
* Clean gold and silver jewellery with correct products
* Back up computer on external hard drive
* Dust surfaces, including furniture, objects and light fixtures.
* Wash glassware and crystal that has been stored on open shelves.
* Clean prams, bouncers, playpen and baby car seats. Put liners through the wash if needed
 
Garden and outdoor care
* Top up worm farm with scraps. Use worm tea on unhealthy plants. Turn the compost heap.
* Ensure that tomatoes, berries and soft fruit bushes are netted.
* Water plants in garden beds if 3 or more dry days. 

Lifestyle
* Do an op shop run. Look for books, clean toys, clothes and furniture.
* Take photo family shot and of baby
* Visit local nature park, attraction, zoo or beach with family.
* Get library books for me, meal ideas and baby’s reading time
* Update addresses and contact info
* Do Wii fit workout and walk dog. If I cannot walk or do Wii fit, then run up and down stairs 20 times.
* Make meal planner for week. Cook dinner and invite family over
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Lady Creativity

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas trees shortbread

This is one of my mum’s favourite recipes for Christmas time. She always bakes them each week so we never run out in December.  I used a tree cookie cutter, but you could make them any shape you like.
Ingredients
  • 250g softened butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour 
Step 1:  Preheat oven to 150°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and brush trays with melted butter to grease. 
Step 2: Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until pale and creamy.
Step 3: Gradually add the combined flour, beating on low speed until almost combined.  
 
Step 4: Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Knead the dough gently until smooth.
Step 5: Once the dough is smooth, use a cookie cutter to shape dough into Christmas trees. Transfer to one of the prepared lined trays. Use a hot flat-bladed knife to smooth the surface of the dough trees on the tray. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm. 
Step 6: Bake the shortbread in oven, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 40 minutes or until light golden. Sift some extra icing sugar onto the shortbread. Set aside on the trays for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  
 Lady Creativity

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Seed Pod Centrepiece from nature

 I found these large seed pods on a walk down by the creek and thought they would look great in an old glass vase I had. I also added some potpourri to the base. 
 
I love finding natural things to bring into the house!
 


Here is another example that my friend made for her house. This vase has a lot more large gumnuts underneath the seed pods.

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Lady Creativity

Monday, 15 December 2014

Week 51: Household tasks and cleaning checklist


Household tasks and cleaning
* Dust surfaces and sills, vacuum and steam clean floors.
* Spray and wipe benches, windex glass surfaces and mirrors. Wipe hand and pet prints from windows, walls and sliding doors.
* Spray and wipe hand and pet prints from windows, glass doors, TVs and surfaces.
* Clean pots and pans
* Sort through books, paperwork, DVDS, CDS and photos 

Garden and outdoor care
* Scrubs porch floors, decks, patios, the driveway and walkways. Recoat in oil paint protector if needed.
* Plant out eggplant, French beans, leeks, lettuce, rocket, melons, pumpkins, runner beans, tomatoes, sweet basil, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and zucchinis.
* Continue to mulch or compost garden beds.
* Water plants in garden beds if 3 or more dry days.

Lifestyle
* Make or create a new fun activity for grandparents to do when minding children.
* Check out the local markets. Make list of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit to get from next farmers market.
* Make sure that there is something special or unique about each day.
* Do Wii fit workout and walk dog. If I cannot walk or do Wii fit, then run up and down stairs 20 times.
* Make meal planner for week. Try new recipes
 
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Lady Creativity

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Potting up seeds for summer in biodegradable cardboard pots

Just a quick update today as I have been very busy in the garden and on my potting table in the shed. Today my job were to re-pot rot bound fruit trees (see the mess) and to plant some tomato seeds in these biodegradable cardboard pots. I have been told that you can actually plant them in the ground and they will rot as the roots spread to the edges of the pot (in the next month). However I'm not sure how they will go. I think they could become rot bound very easily.
I think I will still need to remove the seedlings in a few weeks when they are ready for the ground and replant the tomato plants in the vegie patch. I have chosen tomato plants to experiment with as they don't mind having their roots disturbed. All you have to do is plant them with an each 5cm-2inches of stem under the ground and they will grow new roots happily.  
Lady Creativity

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas decorations on front table

 Here is the front entry table at one of our relative's house. I think it looks very festive. Each person in the family gets a stocking on the table. When Santa comes he will fill them with presents and place them at the end of everyone's bed.
 Here is our collection of Christmas cards so far in the living room. 
Lady Creativity

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Mince Pies recipe

One of my favourite parts about Christmas time is cooking and baking all the yummy food. This is our recipe for yummy mince pies.
 
Serves: 12 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (250ml) brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 125g softened diced butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 250g currants
  • 250g peeled and finely chopped granny smith apples
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g sultanas
  • 65g mixed peel
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • grated rind of 1/2 orange
  • pinch each of nutmeg and allspice
  • sifted icing sugar to dust

For the Pastry
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
 
Directions
Step 1: Make sure all ingredients are finely chopped to around the same sized pieces. In a large bowl, mix all the fruit, chopped apples, butter, rind and spices together till well combined. Dissolve the sugar in the brandy and pour it over the mixture. Cover and let stand overnight.

Step 2: To make the pastry sift the flours and then either rub in the butter or combine in a food processor. Add the sifted icing sugar and then stir in the egg yolk and water and mix it all to dough.

Step 3: Combine the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later. Wrap in plastic wrap, then put in the fridge for an hour.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 12 muffin or pie tin.
Step 5: To assemble: roll out the dough on a floured surface till about 2mm thick. Cut out shapes to fit the muffin holes, fill each tart with a generous teaspoon of mince. Cove the top of each tart with another circle of pastry, pressing the edges gently together to seal. You can even use biscuit cutters to add different shapes to the top.

Step 6: Bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
Here I am reheating them the day after I baked them for a Christmas party.
Once they are warmed for 5 minutes, sift icing sugar onto the top.
 Lady Creativity

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