DIY Flycatcher

Now that the weather has warmed here in Australia, I’ve had to reestablish a fly catching device in the kitchen to grab those insects that are far too interested in my tomatoes.

IMG_8435.JPGIt’s simply an old plastic bottle that’s had the top sliced off and reinserted into the base of the bottle…. with some Apple Cider Vinegar at the bottom to serve as bait. Although this setup worked quite well earlier in the year, I decided to make an alteration to the last design. I found that the mouth of the bottle top was too large and the flies that were supposedly caught still had the ability to fly out again if they were crafty enough.

IMG_8431.JPGTo remedy this problem, I attached a piece of plastic bag to the top secured with an elastic band. A small hole was cut to allow flies to enter the bottle… but small enough so they wouldn’t be able to fly out again. This has proven to be a lot more effective… and after a day, several flies were already seen floating in the vinegar.

Avocado Germination

About a year ago, I saw a post on Facebook describing a special device created to grow avocados from seeds. It was essentially a piece of plastic that floated on top of the water that also allowed the base of the seed to be submerged. In my opinion, it was another excuse to sell off a piece of plastic. I asked myself this question… isn’t it possible to just use what’s available to construct something similar? And a new project was set.

I found a plastic tray that once held cookies and cut off one of the segments. I then carefully cut a circular shape at the bottom to hold the avocado seed. This was then pressed into the opening of a glass jar and then filled with water. I was careful to notice the water levels to ensure that the bottom of the seed was constantly submerged in the water and would add water if too much had evaporated.a

After a couple of months, a root started to form until it reached the bottom of the glass jar. The original jar lacked depth and didn’t allow the root to grow further… which was also why a stem wasn’t forming as I was expecting. I then shifted the seed to another jar, and the root very quickly extended in length.

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The seed in the new jar

 

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Finally beginning to sprout after many, many weeks

 

It was also at this point that a stem has begun to sprout from the top of the seed. In another week or 2, this seed will be ready for some soil! Will post the progress in the future.

DIY Compost Bin

If you haven’t seen War On Waste by ABC, I highly recommend you take the time to do so. It gives you a look at how wasteful we are as a society, but also an idea of what an individual can do to change that. In one particular episode, it was pointed out how much food waste ends up in a landfill, decomposing and producing methane. No longer wanting to be part of the problem, I decided to create my own compost bin out of an unused storage container.

 

 

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Using a drill, holes were created around the bin and in the lid to allow air in.

 

 

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The bottom of the lid was sawn off to create an access door at the bottom of the compost bin. I used duct tape and velcro to secure the “door” to the bin. I plastic tray is placed near the door to capture any loose “juices” that may run out of the compost (and would need to be thrown back in).

 

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The compost bin required access from the top to dump in materials, so using a hacksaw a makeshift “lid” was created. The original (grey) lid was then hot glued in place.

 

 

 

Masterpiece Pizza Vol. V

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This photo was taken on 21st June… so it took a little while to remember exactly what the toppings were for this particular ‘za. Tomato paste base, onions, cheese, chicken, bacon, tomato slices and celery leaves topped with the usual BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. A couple of friends have gotten me into celery leaves lately… and it worked a treat on this!

Lego Fidget Spinner

Since my son has been going to school, I’ve had a different way of handling each coming “fad”. When he wanted to buy Pokemon cards because all the other kids were trading, I took him away from the collection aspect of the cards and introduced him to the actual card game. Now that fidget spinners are the latest craze, I refused to give into the hype…. the last thing the world needs is another poor excuse to sell bits of plastic.

So an idea was seeded into Owen’s young imagination… why don’t you make your own “fidget spinner” with what you have available? I let him know that I had seen people making their own spinners using Lego. I then dived into his collection of Lego and created my first version of the “spinner”… something that worked (badly) but gave him enough fuel for his creative juices to come up with something better. After playing around with a few different versions he managed to come up with something that spins quite well (but not as good as ball bearings).

 

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Owen spinning and posing

 

 

Masterpiece Pizza Vol. IV

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Trying something different on this occasion. We went with BBQ on the base, onions, cheese, 2 eggs (beaten and poured on top), and bacon on top…. Kind of like a Carbonara pizza. It was OK… but need to remember to add some herbs or spices. Could have also cooked a bit longer, since the bacon hadn’t gotten to the crispy stage and the top could have goldened a bit more.. but the base was definitely ready to go. Might need to place the pizza on a higher shelf in the oven!

Cheeseburger Sausage Rolls

A couple of weeks ago, this video came up in my Facebook feed > Cheeseburger Spring Rolls. A fantastic idea, but it was something that I wanted to make immediately and I didn’t fancy having to go shopping just for Spring Roll pastry. Knowing that I still had puff pastry in the freezer, the idea was tweaked slightly to form this creation… Cheeseburger Sausage Rolls!

Ingredients remained the pretty much the same…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400-500g beef mince
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese – I didn’t have any Colby cheese to add
  • 2 large dill pickles
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

Since I would need to form the mix into sausages, I didn’t cook the ingredients and simply mixed everything into a bowl (minus the pickles). The pickles were cut at length and quartered, then placed into the meat mix. The sausages were then formed around the pickles. 4 were made using the amount in this mix. The puff pastry was then separated into 4 and each sausage was rolled into a piece. The sausage rolls were then placed in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 220ºC.

Once they came out of the oven, each roll was wrapped in sandwich paper and placed in a paper bag… ready for dinner. I also brought a small bottle of tomato sauce… needed if it’s to have that “cheeseburger” flavour. Those that got a chance to try it thought it worked out… apart from my son who had very little interest in it. I thought it tasted a bit rich… maybe that would even out if I added that extra cup of Colby. Perhaps this idea will be revisited in the future.

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DIY Breadcrumbs

When it comes to food in our household, we try our best to use everything and not allow anything to go to waste if it can be avoided. Often, the ends of our bread loaves aren’t given much love when sandwiches are created and are saved in a bag in the freezer. Once that collection has gotten large enough… we turn those unwanted bread ends into crumbs.

The bread is laid out on one of my large chopping boards and covered with a tea towel… allowing it all to get stale, flipping the slices over once it’s dried on the initial side. I had them out for about 2 days before I felt that were ready for the blender. After blending in batches, we had breadcrumbs ready to go.

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