Pandemic Picnic

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Today we had a picnic. The occasion was meeting up with several of my Year 8 cohort from high school. 2021 marks 50 years since we began high school. 10 of us shared fun, laughter and crazy memories.

This event started me thinking that picnics seem to have become our default method of socialising. Even though our area has been mostly spared from Covid 19 cases, more and more of us appear to be enjoying the great outdoors for social occasions.

One of my cousins contacted me yesterday and suggested a get together with several of my extended family – a possible picnic! Most definitely count me in.

A picnic naturally means food. Do you have any favourite picnic fare? Picnics come in as many guises as participants. It is not all stereotypical rattan picnic hampers with red and white checked cloths.

Your set-up can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. In fact, one of the guests today brought a wedge of cheese, a baguette, knife and wooden chopping board in a backpack. This was happily shared with others in the group.

I would love to hear your thoughts on picnics and other socialising. Has the pandemic changed your outlook?

Wrapped Up

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I have made salad wraps for our dinner tonight as we will be out of the house and between events.

Wraps are a great portable alternative to takeaway. An added bonus is that you can tailor-make them to meet individual choices and dietary requirements and there are no unknown, hidden ingredients.

In order to make this a totally waste-free option, I make my own wraps which are simple and gluten-free. The recipe is here.

Today the fillings include a spread of refried beans topped with mushroom and cucumber slices, leftover quinoa salad, grated cheese and a little mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce.

The rolled wraps are the rolled up diagonally in greaseproof paper and can be eaten by unfolding the paper from one end.

What is your favourite portable meal or snack? Is plastic-free? Love to hear your ideas.

The Kitchen Garden

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It never ceases to amaze me that I can find some produce in the garden even when things are looking a bit sparse.

Today I picked a couple of sticks of celery, some parsley and spinach to add to our quinoa salad bowls for dinner.

I also planted some seeds – zucchini, cucumber and eggplant as well as ordering some corn seeds which I will pick up tomorrow.

Hopefully, the summer garden will be thriving in a few weeks or so.

Production Line

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When making Boomerang bags I do not simply make one bag from start to finish as I try to use my time efficiently.

Today I cut out, hemmed and edged 50 screen printed pockets.

Then I added a prepared pocket to each of 32 bundles which include a pre-cut piece of fabric for the bag as well as a pair of prepared handles.

I am not about to make 32 bags in one go but it is now a simple matter of grabbing a pack and making a bag without having to find and cut material as well as choosing fabric for suitable matching or contrasting handles.

These are all made from used doona covers, sheets, pillow cases, cushion covers and curtains.

Last Grapefruit

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This morning I picked the last of the crop of grapefruit and juiced them.

Although our vegetable gardening efforts can be a bit hit and miss, our fruit trees continue to provide with minimal effort on our part.

There are still plenty more citrus with the 2 Valencia orange trees still loaded with fruit.

I also picked another 270g of mulberries from our young tree. I now have just over 700g of mulberries in the freezer and will hopefully make some jam in due course.

Bargain Buy & Brains Trust

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On Tuesday I went to the dentist which is adjacent to my latest favourite op shop. I popped in and found a pair of fitted white stretch pull-on trousers for the princely sum of $4.

Of course, they were too long and needed taking up. The next question was what is the correct or most flattering length.

I was unsure and turned to the collective brains trust of some of my online fashionista friends. After a couple of attempts I settled on this length.

Here are the trousers hemmed, pressed and ready to wear.

Homegrown & Reused

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Today some of my family went to the memorial gardens where our mother’s ashes were to be placed.

These are the native flowers which I took from my garden.

The arrangement is not quite up to the standard of commercial floristry but I was pretty pleased with my effort. Especially since flower-arranging is definitely not my forte.

The wrapping was some that I had squirrelled away from previously received flowers and I even managed to find a piece of matching ribbon.

Rest in peace Mum and Dad. We love you and miss you both always.

Upcycled Packaging

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My last couple of posts have focused on avoiding packaging when grocery shopping. While avoiding packaging and waste is ideal, we still need to consider all potential waste and whether there are other options for it.

Upcycling is one of the strategies for removing items from the waste and recycling stream.

I would not buy Pancake Shaker mix but I ended up with a container of it which had come from my mother’s pantry. I decided to use it rather than waste perfectly good food but was then left with an empty plastic container.

I decided to cut it down to make a scoop.

After marking the proposed cutting line with a felt-tip pen I then carefully cut it with a Stanley knife. These are the 2 pieces I ended up with.

The offcut will go in the recycling and the scoop will be handy for GMan when measuring our flour during his breadmaking adventures.

There are many opportunities to reuse or upcycle all sorts of packaging. Do you have any examples?

Mission Accomplished

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Yesterday I showed you the boxes of jars to be filled with dry goods.

It took me 30 minutes at Simply Good to have these weighed and fill them.

Once I was home I could just put them in the pantry.

This is what I bought today. It is not an exhaustive list of everything I buy there, just today’s purchases.

Chia seeds
Psyllium husk
Kidney beans
Red lentils
Sunflower seeds
Pepitas
Arrowroot
Potato starch
Brown rice flour
Quinoa flour
Baking powder
Cinnamon
Turmeric
Smoky paprika
Mixed herbs
Cashews
Black beans
Coconut