Tuesday, 30 June 2015

SORREL (Rumex Acetosa, R. Scutatus)

The zippy, lemony taste of sorrel leaves is unique among herbs. Its leaves are long, arrow shaped and are refreshingly acidic and are brilliantly used especially for sauces and salads. Unfortunately, it is not very commonly known and is rarely stocked at shops.

All about sorrel
Image Source
It is a hardy perennial. When planting, keep it in mind to establish a permanent patch to offer a year-round supply. It should survive the winter. Even if the leaves may die, the plant will bounce back in spring. In fact, since we planted ours some years ago, we have never needed to re-plant it. Fingers crossed for the coming years too.

To maintain your sorrel patch, simply, harvest regularly as the leaves will regrow. It is better to consume when the leaves are nice and young especially eating raw but can still be used when they grow much larger, particularly chopped and added to some cooked meals such as some soups and stews.

Sorrel is rich in Vitamins A and C, fiber, iron and potassium. There are studies to suggest that it is used in cancer prevention. It is also claimed that sorrel improves digestion problems and is helpful in lowering blood pressure. Sorrel is also helpful in improvement of eyesight and the immune system. The consumption of dried sorrel leaves stimulates urination and therefore can act as a diuretic which is helpful in cleaning out the kidneys.

It is recommended that sorrel is only consumed in smaller amounts as its oxalic acid can be toxic and can also contribute to the growth of kidney stones.

Clean eating and sorrel
Sorrel in my son's lunchbox
How we consume it:
  • Simply as raw salad leaves or snacks. 
  • We cook a green lentil soup and add it to the pot at the end, soon after turning off the stove. 
The recipe of the green lentil soup that we use sorrel with is below:


1 medium onion, chopped finely.
1 clove crushed garlic (optional)
1 table spoonful of tomato paste (optional)
1/2 cup of boiled and drained chickpeas (chickpeas can be prepared in advance as boiled chickpeas can be stored in the freezer)
1/2 cup of boiled wheat (optional)
1-1,5 cup of boiled green lentils
Olive oil
Chilli flakes (optional)
Some boiling water
A handful of coarsely chopped sorrel leaves


Fry onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add paste. Once the onions are soft, add the lentils and keep stirring for a few minutes. Then add boiling water (about 3 times the level of lentils in the pot). Add the chickpeas, wheat, salt and chilli flakes and cook on slow heat for approximately 10-15 minutes. Then turn off the stove and quickly add the sorrel leaves. Stir a few times to make sure they soak. Then it is ready to eat.

Blogger Tricks

Monday, 1 June 2015

Guest Post: Personalised Wooden Door Hanger (Tutorial)

About the Author: 

My name is Beyza Nur Bilge Kircali and I am a nurse. I left my job as a nurse with the birth of my first child, after 10 years. I now have three sons and live happily in Istanbul, Turkey. My interests have changed vastly after becoming a mum. I have completed a certificate course in 'teaching brain training games' through Aydin University. Currently, I am a first year student at Istanbul University, studying Sociology. Whenever I get some extra time from my children, I try to do some homework or take my children to kids activities in Istanbul as often as I can. I love upcycling, recycling and reusing materials at home. I find it very enjoyable to spend time with kids. I recommend it for anyone seeking a happy and fun life. 

This project is something that depending on age and level of readiness, your child can do independently, with some supervision or with you. It would also make a great 'birthday party' activity and gifts to take away for your child's friends on his/her birthday. It makes a wonderful recycling project too. 

kids with their artwork

You will need:
  • A piece of wood to be used as a base in a preferred size (in this project, a piece of recycled crate made of poplar was used)
  • Various coloured felt pieces
  • Small pieces of cut wood
  • Glue
  • PVA glue or any type of glue that will stick to wood
  • Sandpaper to smoothen the surface of the wooden base
  • A pen or anything that will write on wood
wooden door hanger

  • Using the sandpaper, make sure the base wood is nice and smooth.
  • Write the name in the middle of the wood in a large font.
wall art for kids
  • Using the glue, stick the little wood cubes/pieces on the letters shown in picture below.
recycling cranes
  • Start cutting your felt pieces for decoration. 
personalised wood art
  • Cut little squares or rectangles of felt and stick them on letters.
art for kids
  • Keep decorating until it satisfies your taste and then voila! Your personalised door decoration is ready!
easy personalised wall art tutorial

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Lunch Ideas for School Kids (4)

Below is another set of four lunch ideas for school children. If you would like to check out the previous ones, you can check here, here, and here.

1. Lunch and Snack:
  • Cream cheese and chia wraps
  • Lightly boiled squash with some dried mint on top
  • Cranberries
  • Homegrown corn on the cob
full of nutrients
2. Lunch and Snack:
  • A sandwich in multigrain bread (with poppy seeds) with cream cheese, cucumber, tomato and chia seeds
  • A vegetable salad with raw mushroom, cucumber, carrot and some homegrown salad leaves
  • Green and red grapes
  • An apple
lunch ideas for kids

3. (Light) Lunch:
  • Green salad leaves (sorrel, baby spinach and lettuce)
  • Red capsicum
  • Fetta cheese cubes
  • Linseed
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goji berries
light lunch

4a. Lunch and Snack:
  • Cooked pasta shapes
  • Lightly boiled broccoli
  • Lightly boiled green beans
  • Raw red capsicum
  • Apple slices
  • Strawberries
lunch for school

4b. Snack for Miss Junior
(Same as 4b except for pasta and apple)
  • Lightly boiled broccoli
  • Lightly boiled green beans
  • Raw red capsicum 
  • Strawberries
healthy lunch

Friday, 15 May 2015

On the Road with Kids and the Spud Festival

local circus
A local school circus
Just recently, I read an article somewhere that suggested a great distraction idea for kids during road trips. The timing couldn't have been any better! Just the other weekend, we decided to go to the 'Great Trentham Spudfest' in a beautiful little town in Victoria, Trentham.

potato types and where to use them
Types of potatoes and when to use them

We decided to go to the festival the night before. Since the kids were in bed by then, I easily went online, checked them out on their website, and made a few print outs. They had some printable colouring pages for a competition and a map, which was what I had just needed. 

Trentham primary school
Local school kids' potato sack artwork
The map wasn't much detailed and only showed a few streets but I found another one online that worked better for the purpose. Here is the distraction! I highlighted the route for them to keep a track of our way to the festival. While we were enjoying the beautiful views, kids were busy trying to follow the highlighted instructions on the map and see what was coming up soon. It worked really well for my 6 year old son and our 4 year old daughter was happy to just keep trying and also following her brother's map with him. 

kids artwork
Potato sacks turned into canvases
The festival was really well organised. There were many paid and free activities for kids and lots to see for adults. The hat shop was just amazing and my son also scored himself one of his most favourite pairs of gloves. They played golf, raced in potato sacks, had some hot potato swirls and more. There were over twenty types of potatoes on display! We also watched lots of shows both by professional bands and groups and some local school children. Hubby's favourite was the famous Australian chef, media personality and several restaurants owner Guy Grossi's live cooking show. He made making gnocchi from scratch look so easy and he was quite funny too. 

beautiful Victoria
On the way to Trentham Spudfest

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Lunch Ideas for School Kids (3)

This is the third set of four lunchbox ideas here after this and this on Home of Homemade Treasures blog so far. Definitely more is planned. Please feel free to share your lunchbox ideas with us in the comments section below as well. Enjoy!

1. Lunch and Snack
  • Warm green lentil and pasta soup (in thermos)
  • Pineapple slices
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Melon slices
2. Lunch and Snack
  • Homemade pancakes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries

3. Snack:
  • Watermelon and banana kebabs

4. Lunch and Snack
  • Couscous with cherry tomatoes and green leaves
  • Cucumber slices and carrot sticks
  • Melon slices and blueberries

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Teddy with a Story

bib for doll

This curious little teddy bear you see in the picture above is as precious to us as a teddy can ever be. Her name is 'Teddy' and no, it is not a typo, it is a 'she', not a 'he'. 

She was a gift for my son from a friend of mine when he was first born but he has never been a big fan of soft toys, of course except for his 'storm friend'. Also, these days, he enjoys watching TV with Snoopy the dog (about the size of our 4yo daughter) at times but no other soft toys have been much of an interest to him. Therefore, teddy was left lonely up until Miss Junior was born and was close to the age of one, I believe.

teddy bear bib

Out of all those dolls and other soft toys that we had at home at the time, she chose her, Teddy, to be the most precious and even share her bed with. When she was approximately 2 years old, when we said that it was a boy, she was totally upset with our misinterpretation and incorrect assumption. Luckily, she had the intelligence and patience to explain to us (and others who called her a boy or 'he' a few times over the years) that it was a girl, just wearing her brother's pyjamas! To that explanation, there was no other word we could argue or add. That was it. It -now- is a female teddy wearing her hand-me-down jimjams of her elder brother. 

star themed bib

Now, Teddy has a family of her own. Her mother is the 'Brown Teddy' and father is 'Snoopy'. She also likes to call her 'her baby' which qualifies her as a second mother. Don't be fooled with the word 'second', she is no less than the first in any way. 

Normally, she is too precious to leave home in case she gets damaged or lost. Only when we go on extended trips or holidays she comes with us, The last time we went overseas for a break, we kept checking our passports and Teddy each time, to make sure there was no trouble awaiting us. 

Teddy has claimed the doll stroller and the doll highchair at home, of course. Even though my daughter has recently started to pay a bit more attention to dolls, no doll can compete with Teddy at this stage in her life. She even asked me to put away some of her 'now-small- clothes' for Teddy. She uses her unused nappies that were left over from when she used them for her, she sleeps with her in bed, and each time we have a meal, she places Teddy in the highchair and puts the highchair next to hers at the table. She doesn't feed her or anything but she really enjoys the 'pretend' games and this is a great opportunity for her. 

teddy in a highchair

Recently, she has told me that she is tired of washing Teddy's clothes and there are so many food stains on her clothes and she really needs some bibs. She also told me that 'she likes the sky, and the moon, and red'. Then she went to my fabric stash and picked out this fabric in the picture saying that 'she likes stars too and Teddy said OK to pink'. She is quite a decisive person. She just looked at the stash and easily and very decisively told me which fabric was to be used for the bib I was to make for her. Don't I wish sometimes my customers over at MADE BY Y  were as decisive?

The same day, she went to bed for a nap and I started making the bib for Teddy. I also added a little teddy bear applique to the bib to surprise her as well. She seemed to be quite happy and Teddy seemed to be quite curious about her little friend. Now, Miss Junior puts Teddy's bib on her during meal times and then takes it off when she remembers or when she takes her off the highchair. Appearantly, Teddy is getting cold and now needs a pair of shoes too but I am yet to decide how to come up with a pattern for her tiny feet. I may have to crochet a pair instead of sewing but that still is up in the air. Until then, a pair of Miss Junior's socks on her should do.


Does your child have a precious toy too? Have you ever needed to make anything for it?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Lunch Ideas for School Kids (2)

I have been longing to make this post for such a long time now but it looks like today had to be the day. I seriously am one busy woman! (Who isn't, ha?)

I had shared four lunch ideas/recipes with you here previously. I prepare lunch for my son on a daily basis, and Miss Junior now has lunch at school a few days a week as well, so, do expect many more to come in time but for now, enjoy the ones below:

1. Lunch and Snack:
  • (Homemade organic) bread and spreadable cheese with chia
  • Avocado slices
  • (Homegrown) cherry tomatoes
  • (Organic) cranberries
  • Pineapple slices
2. Vegetable and cheese kebabs:
  • Red capsicum, 
  • cucumber, 
  • mozzarella cheese

3. Lunch: 
  • Carrots
  • Raw fresh garden peas
  • Slice bread
  • Cheese slice
Snack: Fruit Salad
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarin

4a. Lunch and Snack for Mr. Junior
  • Homemade roast beef - cold cut.
  • Baby spinach and fetta cheese salad
  • Flat bread chips
  • Cucumber, yoghurt and mint dip (tzatziki)
  • Fruit salad with melon, kiwi and strawberries

4b. Lunch and Snack for Miss Junior
  • See 4a for content.