Month: May 2013

Midweek Meals- Zucchini Fritters

Preparing the midweek meal can be a stressful affair. It needs to be nutritious, frugal, quick, and easy. Meal plans can go a long way to easing the stress of getting dinner on the table but it also helps to have a few stand-by midweek meals you can call on in times of needs. These zucchini fritters are something I turn to when my plans fall apart and I need something stat! It isn’t an exact recipe but it always seems to come together and taste delicious.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:
Zucchini grated (however many zucchini you can spare, I usually use two or so)
1 onion diced/grated
1 egg
Self-raising flour (I never measure, I just shake in enough to coat the zucchini and make a batter)
Milk (enough to make a thick batter)
Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper

Method:

  • Grate the zucchini and dice the onion. As I’m usually making this when I’m pressed for time I simply use the grating disc on the food processor for both.
  • Squeeze excess liquid out of the zucchini
  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and adjust amount of milk and flour until you get a nice thick batter consistency
  • Heat your skillet and add suitable oil such as coconut
  • Ladle spoonfuls of batter into skillet and fry until golden

Serve with homemade yoghurt and whatever else you have on hand e.g. tomato salad, bacon, ham, pickles, sliced cheese. The egg and yoghurt both have a good amount of protein to keep everyone full so adding meat isn’t really necessary. I’ve also added grated carrot or potato when I didn’t have enough zucchini, it’s a very forgiving recipe and nice to change things up every now and then.

What are your favourite stand-by meals? The ones you can make with your eyes closed while helping your toddler sing Old MacDonald?

Laundry Liquid & Fabric Softener

With a toddler in cloth nappies we do a lot of washing. A lot of washing. Although it’s more economical than disposable nappies I wanted to reduce that cost even more so I decided to start making our own laundry liquid. In Rhonda Hetzel’s book Down To Earth she crunches the numbers and estimates making your own laundry liquid costs $1.75 for 10 litres. Now that’s a big saving! It’s also a big saving for the planet as the number of chemical nasties used is greatly reduced (and you can tailor the ingredients to make it septic tank or grey water etc. friendly). Ingredients below (yep there’s only three!) plus water.

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Recipe:
1 cup grated laundry soap or soap flakes (whatever you can find, I grate my own)
0.5 cup washing soda
0.5 cup borax (if you can’t find borax it will work without it)
1.5 litres water + enough water to dilute the mixture to make 10 litres

Process:
Grate your soap if necessary and dissolve in 1.5 litres of water in a saucepan on the stove
Remove from heat and add washing soda and borax
Once combined pour into a large bucket and top up with water to make 10 litres of laundry liquid
Stir while the mixture cool to ensure a smooth consistency then transfer to your storage bottles (any old bottles will do, I use old vinegar or milk bottles)
Use about 0.5 cup of laundry liquid for a large load, you may need to give your container a shake if it appears the mixture has separated

I’m not a big user of fabric softener, I generally find it unnecessary, but sometimes I want to make something extra soft and fluffy. When this occurs I turn to one of my all time favourite ingredients- vinegar! Fill the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar and add a couples of drops of essential oil such as lavender (totally optional) and away you go! It works beautifully and again, it’s extremely cheap. It also means one less product crowding your shelves or the cupboard under the sink. Gotta love products that do double duty!

Masala Chai

The Autumn chill has started to set in and this means hot drinks will be consumed more and more frequently! One of my favourites is masala chai, a delicious spiced tea. The spices seem to warm me up that little bit more than a regular cup of tea, so I find it perfect for colder weather, and it always feels like a wonderful indulgence with those heavenly spices and a touch of something sweet like honey or agave nectar. Masala chai can be expensive if you buy it ready-made but it is oh so easy to make your own and if you make up a concentrate it’s as easy as adding a splash to your normal cup of tea or a couple of frozen cubes of concentrate to your pot of milk on the stove.

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I make my masala chai concentrate in the pressure cooker using my favourite combination of spices (I like it spicy) including lots of black pepper! Simply add your spices, grating the ginger if you choose to use it, add water and boil away. Once your concentrate is strong enough strain out the spices and store in a clean bottle in the fridge or pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

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It always amazes me how potent these spices are. So much power in such little packages.

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Kale Crisps

Are you a kale lover? If you haven’t yet given kale a chance, or you have and you or members of your family weren’t too keen, you must give these kale crisps a go! The texture is divine. Large waxy leaves transform into bite sized wafers of heaven! And they are so simple to make!

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Ingredients:

  • Bunch of kale
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Flavourings such as tamari, maple syrup, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, za’atar, vinegar, lemon juice, whatever you fancy!

Process:

  • Wash the kale and tear the leaves into smallish pieces, discard the stalks
  • In a bowl mix together the olive oil, sea salt, and chosen flavourings (I love tamari balanced with some sweetness and chilli heat)
  • Add your kale pieces to the bowl and mix with your hands to ensure they’re covered
  • Lay the kale on baking sheets. Give them room rather than crowd them together as you want them to crisp up
  • Pop in the oven on a low heat, around 90 degrees celcius, for about fourty minutes or until kale is crisp (you may need to turn kale to ensure it dries out evenly and doesn’t stick to the baking sheet depending on what flavourings you use)
  • Try not to eat them all at once!

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You can store them in an airtight container but I’ve never had any last that long. Have fun experimenting with flavours, if you don’t know where to start try recreating your favourite chip flavours like ‘salt & vinegar’ or ‘honey & soy’ etc. You’ll soon start getting a bit more outlandish with flavour combinations and throwing in things like sesame and poppy seeds for extra texture and crunch. This is also a great way for kids to eat more greens and because the kale is cooked at such a low temperature all that goodness remains. My toddler just loves them!

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