The Good Life: Barter Economy

While my potato harvest has been extremely good, we are getting a little sick of potatoes here at The New Castle of Corke.  I have been seriously running out of things to do with potatoes!  I’ve made nikujaga, mashed potatoes, irish stew and have even fried the darn things in my airfryer[1]!

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Check it out.  More than half a kilo of potato right there.

Yesterday, I dug up the biggest potato I had ever seen in my life and realised that I had gotten to the end of my potato threshold.  Neither the Boobook nor I felt like eating potatoes anymore.

Thankfully, my friend, Mrs Peacock, was visiting family in Newcastle and she had had far too much citrus.  So, we did the only thing that made sense:

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Have a bag of taters

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Oranges, lemons and tangerines oh my!

We traded produce.

I have now participated in the barter economy!  Check me out being all productive and stuff!

Now all I gotta do is figure out what to do with all this fruit…


[1]With little success, unfortunately.  Some potatoes were not made to fry.  They disintegrated instead.

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Sisterly Challenge 2016 results – Baking Challenge: PASS

Okay for those of you who have been following the Owls Well sisterly challenges may remember that I gave A Becky C a knitting challenge, whilst she gave me a baking challenge that I was very nervous about.

Well, I would like to say that I completed 4 out of 5 of the baking challenges that A Becky C gave me, which I think warrants a PASS.

I made a traditional baked dessert that was also a pie. I also made something savoury that wasn’t a pie.

And this year, I hosted Christmas ‘Everything Baked’ Dinner for the Owls Well family at my house – and everything that was served (except drinks) had been oven-baked!

Evidence:

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Happy Christmas Dinner!

I made Baked Potato Mash, Roasted Broccoli, Roast Lamb with root vegetables! Yay!

So. How did your knitting challenge go?

12 Ideas for Last Minute Crafty Christmas Joy 2016

The Christmas weekend is upon us and if you are anything like myself, you might be looking for some brilliant ideas for Christmas decor, Christmas party food or Christmas Crafty activities to keep little hands busy whilst the grownups catch up over a glass of eggnog!

Don’t Panic!

Owls Well is here with a round up of a dozen last minute Christmas crafts and general activity for Funtimes And Merriment from around the web!

Christmas Decorations

  1. I really like these super cute and simple paper angels from Growing With The Tans which I think would look very cute on the tree or as seating cards on the table!

  2. This super creative upcycled Nativity scene by Growing Hearts 123 also doubles up as musical instruments which would be fun for carolling (and there’s also a very clever Christmas Angel tutorial)!

  3. Here is a simple but very pretty stocking stuffer by A Pancake Princess using plain wood blocks – and it comes with a free printable!

  4. This is a very straightforward tutorial for shrink art decorations over at Mamawearpapashirt, which the kids can easily get involved in.

  5. These Marbled Christmas Cards from Fun-A-Day are very unique and a great deal of fun for the kids to make. I mean, who doesn’t love messing about with shaving cream?

    Christmas Gifts

  6. It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas – especially with this Homemade Peppermint Sugar Scrub by AdeSays which would make a lovely and useful gift!

  7. Our Owls Well yarn coasters keep little hands occupied and would make some pretty shiny christmas ornaments too! A perfect take-home craft for a Christmas party.

  8. What could be better than a tray of chocolate cookies fresh from the oven? This frozen cookie dough gift idea from iheartnaptime is brilliant and comes with a free printable – and you can use the Barn Owl’s FoolProof Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe too!

  9. I think these Rudolph candy bars from i heart arts n crafts would make very nice door gifts for a Christmas party! You can even set these up on a craft table at the party for any visiting kids

     

    Christmas Food 

  10. I think these Rudolph Baked Potatoes based on an Annabel Karmel recipe are super cute and would be a real crowd pleaser!

  11. Our Owls Well no-bake cake is a great idea if your oven is full of turkey and has no room for dessert – and the kids can help with it too!

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    Delicious and chocolatey

  12. I really like these Santa Fruit Pops from Clean and Scentsible’s Welcome Elf on a Shelf Breakfast! You might have to do the face yourself, but imagine how much fun the kids would have assembling these.

P.S. For more great ideas, check out our 12 ideas for Last Minute Crafty Christmas Joy from last year as well as 35 Simple and Foolproof Christmas Crafts and Free Printables

P.P.S. And don’t forget to use the Owls Well Christmas Party 2016 playlist for your own party!

Last Minute Christmas Dessert: The Outlaw’s Doggie Biscuits (aka Chocolate No Bake Fridge Cake)

So, the Outlaws are in town this year end, which gives me the opportunity to poach one of their favourite dessert recipes, lovingly named ‘Doggie Biscuits’ by the Barn Owl.

This chocolate-based dessert would probably make the worst dog biscuits ever (unless you’re secretly plotting a poisoning of that yapping midnight horror from downstairs), but they sure do make a deliciously satisfying snack! Additionally, this is a fun no-bake dessert to get the kidlets involved in some messy and rewarding fun.

This easy to make dessert is a big favourite in the Owls Well household, and the kids ALWAYS ask their grandma to make some for them (at the behest of the Barn Owl, of course). By the way, I have also included additional Thermomix instructions at the end of the recipe for those of you who own magic stirring pots.

The Outlaw’s Doggie Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 Digestive Biscuits (about 250g)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp Golden Syrup (you can also use honey or molasses. We used a date syrup.)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 bar of chocolate – roughly 200g (we used Cadbury’s Old Gold 70% Chocolate)

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Method:

  1. Place digestive biscuits in a ziplock bag, squeeze out as mush air as possible, then smash the biscuits into smithereens using a rolling pin. The best way to do this is to get a Batgirl to help you using an old wooden train whistle.
  2. Melt butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water. Add golden syrup and cocoa powder, then mix until smooth.
  3. Add smashed up biscuits to the mixture, mix together, then pour out into a greased 13×9 inch cake tin to cool.
  4. Pack the biscuit mixture down tightly to form the base of the cake. Use your (clean) hands!
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  5. Eat biscuit mixture off hands, then wash hands.
  6. Break the chocolate up into pieces then melt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  7. Once the chocolate is melted, pour over the biscuit base and spread it out as evenly as possible
  8. Lick excess chocolate off spatula
  9. Let the cake cool, then place the cake in the fridge for the chocolate to set
  10. Cut into pieces to serve!
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Delicious No-Bake Chocolate Fridge Cake

Kid-friendly snacks: BeBeMi Organic Baby Snacks – A Product Review (and exclusive discount code!)

Now that Thumper is weaned onto solid foods, I have been encouraging him to self-feed more often. Self-feeding is a great way to encourage independence, and practice those fine motor skills, and it is also great for prolonging mealtimes by keeping little hands occupied so that mummy can finish her noodles using both hands.

However, it is a challenge to find healthy snacks in different textures and flavours that are non-messy. Although he loves his rice puffs from Heinz and Plum Organics, I have been hoping to find something with a little bit more variety. This is why I was really excited to have a chance try out the range of organic snacks from Korean brand, BeBeMi, which comes in a very impressive variety of shapes, textures and flavours.

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BeBeMi Organic Baby Snacks in an assortment of shapes (Left to Right: Petite, Ring, Rice Cake and Stick) and flavours (Left to Right: Curry, Lemon, Lotus Root, Brown Rice). 

These rice-based snacks are made from 100% organic ingredients, have contain no sugar, salt, artificial colouring, synthetic additives or preservatives and they are not only delicious but healthy. After trying them out over the last few weeks, I have to say that they appeal to all three of my kids (and myself), not just little 18 month old Thumper!

What I find particularly interesting about that is that the larger sized biscuits (the BeBeMi Rice Cake Biscuit and BeBeMi Stick), although they are not baked or fried in oil, will still provide a satisfying snap and crunch before melting away in the mouth. This is fantastic because it doesn’t make a big mess on the hands or on the table, and little teething kids who have not yet gotten the hang of chewing can still enjoy a crunchy snack without the risk of choking on large chunks.

The smaller sized cereals (the BeBeMi Petite and BeBeMi Ring) can be eaten on their own or with plain yoghurt as part of breakfast, and they are much much softer in texture but with a stronger flavour. I don’t recommend eating them with milk, though, as they will disintegrate!

 

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Thumper’s favourite – the BeBeMi Sticks

I am most impressed with the range of flavours that are available – sweet fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, strawberry and carrot, savouries like broccoli and spinach, mildly sour and refreshing lemon but by far my favourites are the complex flavours like curry (non-spicy of course), pomegranate, shitake mushroom lotus root.

Such a great way to tempt even the most picky eaters!

Buyer’s Note: Bebemi is exclusively distributed in Singapore by Totsworld (who also sent me the samples to try out) and each packet retails at SGD$8.90. Bebemi products are also available at all OG and BHG departmental stores, 1010 Mother and Child and at Redmart.

A Special for Owls Well Readers: You can purchase 2 packets for $14 or 4 packets + 1 free packet for $28 from Totsworld you key in the code OWLSWELL during checkout.

The Barn Owl Plates Food (again)

So I found this great recipe for pork and apple burger patties, and I decided to make homemade burgers for dinner as a special treat at the end of a long busy week.

After frying up the patties, I was feeling sweaty and sticky, so I headed for the shower. The Barn Owl was in charge of burger assembly – mayo on the bread buns, salad, burger patty, then sliced tomato and cheese on top, with fresh strawberries and blueberries on the side.

Here’s what he made:

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Hello!

Not playing with my food, honest!

Harvest Time at the New Castle Grounds

Hey Debs, check it out!  It’s harvest time at the New Castle grounds!

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Check it out!  Not all of them sprouted or grew to size, but… still, not a bad harvest, all things considering.

Two months ago, I planted some daikon radishes.  Yesterday, they were ready for harvest!  How did I know this?  Well, the tops of the daikon root poke out of the soil when they’re ready to harvest, just like in Harvest Moon!

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Radishes ready for harvest!  Photo from Harvest Moon Memories, by Snoring Seal of Milk Can Anime.

Daikon have fragile leaves, so you can’t pull them out by pulling the leaves.  You’ll have to dig into the ground to liberate the root a little before pulling them out.  I needed a lot of strength to get mine out the ground – some of them were really big!

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Tops ready to pop!

Once they’re out of the ground, you’ll need to get the leaves off as quickly as possible, otherwise the root will shrivel as the leaves use up the stored nutrients.

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Nature’s bounty!

Then, it’s a quick wash and they’re ready to peel and eat!  Check out how white they are when they’re washed~!  I kept the dirt from the washing, since it can be returned to the garden.

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Ready for the pot!

Daikon are a surprisingly low maintenance plant.  I don’t think I needed to water them all that much, but it’s been pretty rainy out here in Australia so that might have helped a little.

I used some of them in daikon and pork-rib soup.  I made it with American style ribs by accident, so it’s a little less rich than I’d hoped.  I’m planning to pickle the rest Japanese and Vietnamese style.  I’ll let you know how that goes if it goes well at all.

As for the daikon tops, they were generously donated to the Bonnie and Clyde Fund for Starving Rabbits.  The donations lasted them all of 1 minute.

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The Bonnie and Clyde Fund for Starving Rabbits