30 January 2015

sticky garlic chicky (+ zucc balls)

This was a really tasty meal I threw together yesterday afternoon, so there was something ready for my Mum, who was babysitting for us while we went for an evening wakeboarding session at Lake Arapuni (not a bad exchange, eh?).  It was quick and, best of all, can be prepared in advance as is good hot or cold.  Eat with a salad and some new potatoes, or steamed vege and chips.  Or as part of a tasty picnic lunch.  Versatile, me likey.   

Sticky garlic chicken: 

6 chicken drumsticks (or 2 breasts, or equivalent wings)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp brown sugar (less if you prefer)
dash sesame oil
salt and pepper
  1. Sauté garlic in a little butter.  Stir in brown sugar, oil and salt/pepper.
  2. Place chicken in dish for baking and top with garlic mixture.  
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes in 200 degree celcius oven.  
Zucchini balls: 

2 zucchini, grated 
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp grated parmesan 
handful chopped fresh herbs
salt and pepper
bread crumbs (optional)
  1. Mix everything together, except bread crumbs.  
  2. Place golfball-sized balls on baking tray (lined with baking paper)
  3. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, if using.  
  4. Bake at 200 degrees celcius for 20 minutes.  
  5. Serve with sweet chili, or aioli.  

28 January 2015

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's keep the flies away...

Chem-free bug spray.  Me likey.  So did KB when I said I was going to give it a try.  We both hate the smell of the insect repellents you can buy at the supermarket, and the fact that they're full of things that frankly we'd rather not have on ourselves, let alone on the kids.  There are some fantastic natural bug sprays available out there - Goodbye Sandfly is a great product and found in most supermarkets and even superettes in insecty, holidayey areas.  It is, however, fairly pricey, especially if you go through a fair amount of the stuff.  The price difference between Goodbye Sandfly (and I mean this as no disrespect to the product, and kudos to the folk in Kerikeri who make it) and the product we made at home was $25.98/100ml and $1.52/100ml.  

Needless to say, we're stoked that this natural homemade bug spray has been effective.  I mean, there's no guarantee that they will be.  But we've gotten onto something good here, so time to share it and hopefully you'll be able to keep yourself and the fam bite-free without having to worry about nasty DEET etc, or about how much the kids are wasting, spraying up and down their legs a million times.  

Incidentally, this is also an effective fly-deterrent - we spray it around the area (ie, the table) of where we're sitting.  Doesn't last forever, but at the price of making this we just keep on spraying/reappying as required.  We're going to make up a separate spray of vinegar and pyrethrum (the daisies are planted, so hopefully will have flowers next summer), but for the moment, this spray works double duty.  

Anyhoo, here we go...

1 litre apple cider vinegar (this is more effective against biting insects than white or malt vinegars, due to the fermentation process, so I have discovered in my researches)
60 drops each of tea tree oil and citronella oil 
packet of cloves (the more the merrier)
spray bottle (150-250 ml is ideal) 
slightly bigger than 1L bottle (washed-out 1.5L water bottle or something)     
  1. Pour vinegar into your 1.5L bottle.  Add all other ingredients.  
  2. Leave for 2+ weeks (the longer the better), if possible, but you can start using straight away.  Once all mixed together, I'd decant as much as will fit into your spray bottle, start using that, and keep the rest in the pantry to do its thing, until you're ready to refill the sprayer.  
NB: This is a strong smelling spray - the oils, let alone the vinegar.  But the smell dissipates fairly quickly, and to be fair, it's no smellier than its chemical counterparts.  Enjoy guys!!  

05 January 2015

Lip balm, with a hint of mint and shimmer

A friend, Erin, and I made these little pots of lip balm just before Christmas, and they've been a hit in my handbag AND as little gifts for friends over the summer season.  Some had peppermint, some didn't, but they were all very very very moisturising.  Which was good, 'cause we spend a lot of time out in the sun, and on the water. 

I love the minty taste/smell of peppermint oil, but if you were making this for someone who didn't, it's an easy thing to leave it out.  The same goes with the mica - it doesn't actually colour your lips, just gives it a bit of a shimmer, but if I were making lip balm for my partner, or another male, I'd probably flag the shimmer and go for an au naturel pot.  

Makes about 8 little pots (10g)

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp shea butter
1 tbsp beeswax
15 drops peppermint oil
1/2 tsp mica powder (I used a bronze)

  1. Melt coconut, shea and beeswax together in a glass jar sitting in a pot of water (or in a double boiler if you have one).  
  2. Stir well, remove from the heat, stir in the peppermint and mica.  
  3. Carefully transfer into containers (use a dropper if you have one, or just pour slowly). 
  4. Once cool and hard, they're ready to go!   

Before the cream sets out too long, You must whip it!

Shea body butter.  Smooth, feels great on summer-dried skin, and smells great.  I decided to make some whipped body butters for my Mum and mother-in-law for Christmas, and was really pleased with the results.  They were inexpensive to make, yet used kick-ass natural ingredients.  So nothing in there that's not good for your skin, can be tailor-made to suit people's scent preferences (or left fragrance-free), and work out to be about the same price as a cheap and nasty tub of moisturiser you'd find at a $2 shop.  Can't argue with that!  

It took a little longer to make than the sunblock etc, but that was only because it needed to sit in the fridge until semi-firm, then be whipped for a good few minutes.  The actual time I had to spend doing anything with it was probably only about an extra 5 minutes.  By whipping it, it stays nice and 'soft' even when kept in the fridge.  Best applied to dry skin, as the oil will sit on top of damp skin, rather than easily soaking in.  

1 cup shea butter (or 1/2 cup shea and 1/2 cup cocoa or mango butter, if you want the scent)

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup olive oil (or almond, jojoba, apricot) 
15 - 30 drops essential oil, if you like it scented (I like lavender) 

  1. Melt all ingredients together, except essential oils, in a double boiler (or in a glass jar sitting in a pot with some water).  
  2. Allow to cool slightly, scrape into a bowl and remove to the fridge.  
  3. Leave in the fridge for an hour or so (I left it in there for almost three hours) until starting to harden, but still soft enough to whip.  
  4. Whip with hand mixer until fluffy (electric takes about 3 minutes or so, non-electric about 10 minutes).  
  5. Put back in the fridge for another quarter hour to set.  
  6. Scrape into jars for keeping butter and start to enjoy!  I keep it in the fridge, especially in the warmer weather.