Treen Clean your drain

This week I have had to clean our drains in this house. I know it’s pretty yuck and I wasn’t sure whether to share it with you or not, but I thought maybe you might like to Treen Clean your drain too? (You probably don’t want to but you might need to!)

Cleaning our drains is somthing I don’t do very often.  It’s not part of any elaborate cleaning routine I have. One day this week I walked into our laundry and thought that a dead animal must be hiding in there somewhere. There was a smell that I couldn’t explain.  I searched the room and no dirty socks could be found on the floor and no dead rodents were lurking behind the washing machine.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that it must be the drain!  Yuck!  That thought made me squirm and I was detemined to get rid of this smell! (Don’t worry, I didn’t take a photo of it.)

I did a bit of research online to find the most effective method of cleaning the drain.  Buying a bottle of poisonous chemicals didn’t appeal to me so I decided to try the old favourite method of bi-carb soda and vinegar.

Baking soda and vinegar to clean drain

Here’s what to do:

Pour about 1/2 cup of bi-carb soda into the drain.

Now pour about 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the drain and immediately cover drain hole with a cloth to trap the reaction in the pipe.

Cloth over drain

Leave for around 5 minutes.

Now pour around 2 cups boiling water into the drain to rinse and move any foreign bodies.

Clean drain

I found that this method cleaned my drain very well and got rid of the smell.  After this, I went around the house and cleaned all the drains (to be sure!).

Preventative measures

What can I do to keep my drains cleaner for longer?  I don’t think that this will prevent smelly drains completely, but from now on I will be spraying my bathroom cleaning spray into the drain while I clean the kitchen or bathroom.  I am hoping that this will help keep the drain clean.  Of course I will probably need to use the trusty bi-carb soda and vinegar method every now and then because I don’t want to smell that horrible smell again!

Do you have any special drain cleaning tricks?  I’d love to hear them!

Trina xx

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Lime Cashew Noodles

I’ve had a couple of goes at these Lime Cashew Noodles recently.  This recipe has needed a bit of tweaking but I’ve finally nailed it (according to my girls!). The flavours in the sauce are delicious and the texture of the cashews add another dimension to the dish. I’ve also tried a few different vegetable combinations in my Lime Cashew Noodles in order to come up with this combo, although, as usual, the recipe is flexible in regards to the veggie content.

The best thing about these noodles, other than the texture and flavours, is that it’s really quick to throw together.  The chopping of the veggies is the part that takes the longest. The actual cooking part only takes a few minutes. I have had great success at chopping my veggies in advance and even combining all the sauce ingredients in the pan ahead of time, then just coming along and cooking it up.  By the time the noodles were done the rest was cooked and ready.

I did find that a little water was required in the pan after the veggies were added to the sauce, otherwise the veggies would stick to the bottom of the pan and be a bit dry. Once a scoop of water was added I placed the lid on the pan so that the veggies could steam.  If you want your veggies to be a bit crunchy, like a stir fry, then leave the lid off and add the noodles straight away.  You may not need to add any water to the pan in this case.

Lime Cashew Noodles

Yield: 4

Lime Cashew Noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup cashews (unsalted - but salted work too!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 pkt dried noodles (enough to feed family of four)

Instructions

  1. Prepare all the veggies according to the ingredient list above.
  2. Heat an oiled frying pan on medium-high heat.
  3. Add the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and garlic. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the cashews and stir to coat. Saute for two minutes.
  5. In a separate saucepan, commence cooking of the noodles.
  6. Add the vegetables to the sauce in the pan. Stir to combine with the cashews and sauce.
  7. Add a splash of boiling water, then place lid on pan to allow vegetables to steam and soften.
  8. When noodles are ready, add them to the vegetable mixture in the pan. Use tongs to gently mix the noodles in until all is lightly coated and heated. Add more water at this point if you want the sauce to be more runny,
  9. Serve in bowls and enjoy!
http://trinamichellehouse.com/lime-cashew-noodles/

This was a super-quick Meatless Monday meal.  Add this dish to your menu this week and I hope your family enjoy it as much as we did.

Start thinking about what you will do with all the extra spare time you will have because this meal will not take you long to make!

Trina xx

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Plum Tart

I know, it’s another dessert recipe from me but you need to make this plum tart this week. It is the week after Easter and I’m sure you are still busy catching up with friends and family these school holidays.  This recipe is a bonus treat that you might like to make for everyone.

Plum Tart

Plum Tart

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets puff pastry, just thawed
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 825g tin whole plums in juice
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Raw sugar to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a 20cm pie dish.
  2. Line pie dish with one sheet of pastry, trim to suit.
  3. Bake for 10 min or until almost cooked. Once out of the oven use a spatula to flatten the pastry where it has puffed up.
    Make the filling
  1. Drain the juice from the tin of plums into a saucepan. Add cornflour and caster sugar.
  2. Place saucepan onto medium heat and whisk until sauce is smooth and thick.
  3. Meanwhile, chop plums and remove seeds. Spread chopped plums out over partly cooked pastry base.
  4. Pour thick sauce over the top and spread evenly.
  5. Cut heart shapes out of second puff pastry sheet and arrange over tart.
  6. Brush pastry hearts with beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle tart with raw sugar.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is puffed and golden.
  9. Remove from oven and either serve immediately or allow to cool, then refrigerate or freeze until required.
http://trinamichellehouse.com/plum-tart/

This year I made this plum tart before Easter and froze it, just like I did with the raspberry brownie bites. The plum tart is a delicious dessert that was so nice to thaw and reheat on a day that didn’t allow me time to make a fancy dessert. After I had made the tart I just left it in the pie plate it was cooked in, waited until it had cooled completely before covering with 2 layers of cling wrap.  Once wrapped so that it was airtight, it was ready to go into the freezer.

One of the things I really like about this plum tart is that it’s comfort food, yet isn’t heavy and over filling. You can serve it with ice cream, cream or custard.  In hot weather you could serve this tart cold, straight from the fridge (not freezer!).  I also like that it uses tinned plums, so can be made at any time of year.

For best results…

Thaw in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove all cling wrap before placing in a 180 deg C oven for around 30 minutes or until reheated to your liking.  Reheating in the oven ensures the crust and top retain their crispness.

Plum tart

I hope you enjoy this tart.  It was a huge hit at our house after a big afternoon at the footy.  It was so good to come home to a delicious dessert like this! Let me know if you make this one.

Trina xx

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Raspberry brownie bites

We’ve been making these raspberry brownie bites for a long time now. The recipe is simple and every time I make it it goes down very well. I thought you might need it this week as you contemplate what to whip up for Easter.

I found this recipe on the internet on the “Taste” website. This website is Australian and has lots of great recipes.  You might like to check them out (and let me know if you find something you think I’ll like!). Unlike most recipes I come across, this one didn’t need “improving”! We love it just the way it is.

Raspberry brownie bites

Click HERE for the recipe. You must print it out and keep it.  It’s the perfect dessert and travels well.

When I made these raspberry brownie bites this week, I doubled the recipe and made two.  We took one of them (straight from the oven!) to a friend’s house.  We were invited over for dinner and I was in charge of bringing dessert. I thought that the raspberry brownie bites would be perfect. When it was time for dessert I just cut the brownie into serves in the tin and warmed them up on a plate before placing them in serving bowls. We added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was delicious.

Raspberry brownie bites yum

The other tin of raspberry brownie bites I let cool completely before turning out into an airtight container. This went into the freezer and I will pull it out over Easter when our house is full of people.  It will be an effortless dessert! It will serve 8 very generous servings, but can serve up to 12 quite comfortably.

Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate Easter this year. Other blog posts I have done that might be helpful to you for Easter are the Easter Egg tomb (the perfect table centerpiece), chocolate coated caramel fudge and my delicious chocolate fudge.  Check them all out!!

Trina xx

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Baked sweet and sour veggies

For Meatless Monday this week I made Baked Sweet and Sour Veggies. This recipe was so easy and versatile.  It can be adapted to suit your mood or your fridge contents.

This week we had Baked Sweet and Sour broccoli and cauliflower with rice. This veggie combination was really delicious because of the textures.  I recommend it!

Baked sweet and sour veggies

Baked sweet and sour veggies

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups chopped veggies
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • rice to serve
    Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is ok)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch + 2 Tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 220deg C and grease a baking sheet. Combine veggies with oil in a freezer bag, shake to coat.
  2. Add corn starch to the freezer bag and toss to coat again.
  3. Transfer coated veggies to greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the veggies have softened and start to brown.
  4. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the sauce: Add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic salt and tomato sauce to a small saucepan. Stir and bring to the boil. In a small bowl or glass, whisk together the 1 Tbsp corn starch and cold water until dissolved and smooth. Add to the saucepan and stir until thickened. Then lower heat to a simmer.
  5. In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the veggies and the sauce.
  6. Serve with rice.
http://trinamichellehouse.com/baked-sweet-and-sour-veggies/

There is one thing I struggled with about this recipe: it has sugar in it.  I know sugar is taboo these days and I agree that we should limit it in our diets, so I added just a small amount in this meal. I guess its hard to make the “sweet” in sweet and sour without using anything sweet!

Other vegetables that work really well in this recipe are eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and onion. Let me know if you try other veggies that work well in this. The cornflour and oil that the veggies are tossed in prior to baking really seem to make the texture of the veggies special.

If you need to feed a crowd, you can easily double or triple the sauce recipe and make a tonne of rice to accompany your veggies. People will love it.

Meat?

Yes, you can add cooked chicken or brown some beef or lamb and add them to the bowl with the veggies and sauce. That’s what makes this recipe so great.  Leftover roast chicken would be delicious added to this.

 

My Baked Sweet and Sour Veggies tastes a bit like take-away, and is definitely more cost effective! This is a handy little recipe that you can whip out to make an ordinary meal pretty special. I love having recipes like this one tucked into my book of everyday gems. And now you can tuck it into your book too and use it whenever you like!

Trina xx

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