Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

using vegetales from our garden for chicken and veg pasta recipe-5

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Pieday Friday ~ Chicken & garden vegetable pasta

Earlier this month I mentioned how quickly the courgettes in our new veggie patch were growing and that we’ve been eating them continually for a couple of weeks now. Last week’s recipe was for roasted courgettes and this week I’ve decided to include them in a chicken pasta dish. So put your favourite pasta on to boil and follow this recipe for a lovely sauce packed with veggie goodness!

Fry diced chicken in Fry Light until golden then add in an onion and ribbons of courgette (created using a potato peeler down the length of the courgette). Fry for a couple more minutes with a minced clove of garlic and a sprinkling of mixed herbs before adding half a pint of chicken stock and throwing in the extra veg – I’ve used the purple mangetout that we’d ‘accidentally’ been growing in the garden (see my blog post here!) and broad beans from our neighbours. To thicken the sauce mix up a teaspoon of cornflour in a tiny amount of water until it has dissolved then pour into the pan. Stir the sauce, which will thicken as it bubbles away, then add a handful of frozen peas a couple of minutes before serving with your favourite pasta.using vegetales from our garden for chicken and veg pasta recipe-5

This recipe can easily be converted into a vegetarian option – just remove the chicken and change the chicken stock for a vegetable stock cube.

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Rediscovering the Outside of Your Home: Tips for Getting Rid of Moss and Algae

It’s half term and seeing as the school holidays are the only occasion that I get to have a little time off, I’ve asked one of my fabulous writer pals to write a guest post for me so that I can take a day off! Taylor Andrews is a homeowner with a passion for DIY tasks around home. He loves putting his skills and ideas to the test and sharing his experience with other homeowners via the blogosphere. So today’s blog post is all about breathing a new lease of life into your garden simply by cleaning up the mess – or should I say moss?!

DIY herb garden planter and patio

If you’re someone who likes to take care of their property, the first sight of moss and algae around the garden and outside of the house is often the catalyst for a call to action.

There are several good reasons why you will want to get rid of this unsightly invasion of your garden. When the sun’s shining you want to take advantage of the glorious weather by getting out in the garden. However gardening, barbecuing and entertaining becomes that little bit more difficult when your outside space is dominated by algae. For one thing it makes the place look a mess.

When your property is feeling off-colour

Weather conditions can sometimes conspire against us and create the opportunity for moss and algae to turn a nice clean area into a rather less attractive, off-colour one.

Rediscover the outside of your home by getting rid of these unsightly problems. Cleaning your decking or patio, garden furniture and brickwork will breathe new life into the area, making the place more attractive for your family and friends.

If you get a good pressure washer from a trusted brand such as, you should be able to tackle any moss or algae with ease. These tools are versatile, allowing you to clean everything from your patio to your garden furniture much more quickly and efficiently than scrubbing on your hands and knees.

cassiefairy's spring cleaning door dunelm mill click n clean

Preventing accidents

It is worth remembering that allowing your garden to become riddled with moss and algae can cause more problems than simply the way it looks. Moss can cause patios and decking to become slippery, creating a potential slip hazard. Blasting this issue away with a high pressure washer can help to ensure any accidents are kept to a minimum.

Aim to clean the affected surfaces as soon as possible, particularly if you have young kids running around or use the area for your barbecue.

Using your pressure washer

Tackling your dirty patio with a pressure washer can save you a lot of time compared with using a hosepipe and a wire brush. These tools are also extremely efficient, helping you conserve water.

Approach the affected area with your pressure washer primed and ready to go, working out what the optimum space between you and the surface is to remove the dirt and debris on outside walls.

Start from the top and rinse going downward, making sure you rinse each area thoroughly before moving on to another section.

To get the best results, take advantage of the variety of accessories and attachments available for your specific pressure washer model. For example, by using a patio cleaner attachment you will be able to clean your patio up to 5 times faster than using a conventional lance spray.

Your pressure washer is a good choice for washing away moss and algae, and gives you license to take back control of the outside of your home.


How does your garden grow? Cooking courgettes

I have been amazed by just how fast courgettes grow. One day there’s just an inkling of a flower and the next day there’s a full-grown courgette! Within a week, it’ll be a marrow – yikes! So we’ve been cooking with the courgettes that we’ve grown ourselves in our new veggie patch and I wanted to share my new favourite recipe for baked courgettes with you. But first here are some photos of my very first courgette harvest – a proud moment for me haha!DIY plant markers for growing courgettesharvesting our first courgettes from our DIY veggie patchharvesting our first courgettes from our DIY veggie patch-2Recipe: Wash courgettes and slice in half or quarters, depending on size. Spray a baking tray with Fry-Light and add courgettes before giving another spray of Fry Light, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and paprika then bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Grate some parmesan over the top of the roasted courgettes and pop them back into the over until the cheese had melted a little. I enjoyed eating my roasted courgettes with tomato and broad bean pasta or they are perfect as a side dish with barbequed chicken and salad – you could easily roast the courgettes on the BBQ too!

Have you been growing any veg in your garden this year? What are you harvesting at the moment? We have a greenhouse full of tomatoes (I’ll post some photos soon), in fact there are SO many that I don’t really know what we’re going to do with them! Any suggestions for storing or preserving tomatoes would be greatly appreciated! At least I’m feeling much more healthy with all the vegetable-based meals we’ve been enjoying recently and I’ve really enjoyed the freshness of picking something from the garden and it being part of the meal just 30 minutes later. I’ve found it quite amazing because I’ve never really grown anything before, and even as a child I only remember seeing a handful of tomatoes being grown in grow-bags, and I didn’t think it was even possible to grow as much as we have with only a couple of veggie beds and a 6×4 greenhouse! The courgettes and squash are still going strong and after taking the peas/mangetout out, we’ve planted some potatoes and beetroot. I tried sowing carrots from seed but it looks like I’ve missed the sowing season so I don’t know if these will even work – still I’d rather give it a try than wait until year! Let me know if you’ve been growing anything in your garden this summer and please leave me a comment below :)

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A quick garden update ~ Homemade salad dressing

Although I usually like to eat my salads plain or with a tiny side splodge of mayo, I’ve been converted to salad dressings since making my own. It was my husband who first suggested making a dressing, mainly because he really likes balsamic vinegar and olive oil and to be honest he was probably getting fed up of all the dull, bare salads I was making! I caved in when I realised that I would be able to make use of some of the rapidly-growing herbs from my new raised bed ‘herb garden’ and I was eager to give it a try.

Here are a few snaps of my herb garden which is quickly becoming even more unruly since I took these photos so I think it’s time for a trim!

DIY plant markers for garden using pebblesDIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing-2 DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing

The recipe is simple enough: it just involved picking your favourite herbs – we’ve used two varieties of sage, thyme and lemon thyme, rosemary and oregano – and popping them into an empty bottle with a little salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Fill with 2 thirds olive oil and 1 third balsamic vinegar and give it a shake – et voila! Your dressing is ready! The longer the herbs are floating in the oil, the more their flavours will infuse into the dressing, so it will only improve with time.

DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden-2 DIY homemade herb and balsamic oil dressing using herbs from the garden-3


How does your garden grow? Doorway to a secret garden

We’ve been working on our garden all summer: we’ve put up a fence and painted it, moved my caravan workshop, laid a patio, built raised beds for a veggie patch, installed a greenhouse and planted a herb garden. And now, I want to enclose the garden and make it into the extra ‘outdoor room’ I’d always imagined it would be. So we have put up a fence and gate at the front of the garden for added privacy and so that we can easily come and go from the garden without having to go through the house to get in.

A quick sketch of what the gate ‘might’ look like was drawn on our shopping notepad before hubby set to work measuring and sawing. Again, my jobs were painting the wood compressor so it was an easy job once the frame had been built and the whole thing probably took half a day to make. We’ve just attached an old fence panel at the side at the moment, until we can get hold of some more fencing. A latch was important so that we could come and go from the front to back garden easily, and we’ve added a bolt at the back so that we can lock it up if we’re out or away.

In other garden news, we’ve had an attack of potato blight which has withered one of our tomato plants. Next year we’re planning to grow our tomatoes in grow-bags rather than straight into the ground as this should minimise the chance of being infected with potato blight. Also, I forgot to mention that we’ve got a compost bin. It was being sold second-hand on Gumtree, in a village nearby and it was perfectly clean so we snapped it up and popped it into the corner of the garden.

DIY allotment - shiraz mangetout purple pea pods-2 DIY allotment - shiraz mangetout purple pea pods

Finally, the pea plants that we thought were turning into sweetpeas when they started growing coloured flowers actually turned out to be Shiraz Mangetout purple podded peas so we’ve harvested a handful and have tried them in a crunchy salad, which was delicious. Some other ‘normal’ pea pods are growing now so we can breathe a sigh of relief that we didn’t buy flowers instead of vegetable plants, phew!