Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Decade Are You?

You Are the 1950s

You are a conventional, traditional, and responsible person. You try to live a good life.

You appreciate the simpler days of the 1950s, when hard work and family were valued.

You believe in doing your best, even if you aren't rewarded right away. Being a moral person is its own reward.

You don't like to rock the boat too much. You like your life as it is and aren't looking to change it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Winter slipping away?

The writing assignment at A thousand words...and then some is:

What does Fall hold for you? Or is it called Autumn in your part of the world?
Are you sorry to see summer go, or are you, like me, excited to welcome Fall?

Winter doesn't slip away like summer, I wonder what word you would use instead? Fall is called autumn in Australia, but that is not until March. We are 26 days into spring and winter has a firm grip even though we are into bluebell season. All the trees have leaves, but they are very small at this stage.

Our spring flowers include these wattles, which are very nice at the moment. Because I live in the bush, we have eucalypts and these wattles and a purple ground cover. In autumn nothing really changes in the bush as you can imagine.

The temperatures are still on the verge of freezing point at night.

We had our little American styled fall in the form of a thing my daughter did a couple of weeks ago during her gymnastics concert. She was dressed with yucky teeth, and a brown black costume with bat wings I suppose they were. Another girl was dressed as a pumpkin to go with the theme. I adore the look of the American pumpkin candy, but I don't care for the taste so much. That is a shame as the bags of Halloween candy my husband brought back from the States and Canada? years ago was lovely.

Am I sorry to see winter go? And what does spring hold for me.

All the plum blossoms are gone, those white trees by the roadside where I live. I have been looking at the thickets of them, actually proper plums gone wild, and think of the now leaved trees and the plums that will be there by the roadside to harvest next summer. I have a particular tree in mind.

We have October and November to go. In October my daughter is going to Malaysia where there are no seasons, she hopes to share pictures of our snow covered mountains with them. It will be her birthday the day before she leaves. November is when our son finishes his exams. He then hopes to go and live in the city with his brother. So this is a big event for my spring, and the exam period as well.

We hope to go to the zoo when we pick our daughter up from the airport. So as far as spring goes, I don't feel like it is coming. We have let the wood heater go out twice, but lit it again. When the air inside does warm up we are going to continue painting the ceiling of our bedroom at our new house.

We are taking advantage of the lingering cool to shift some plants that need shifting. I think the answer to my spring is that we hope to paint and spring clean. I don't mind that it isn't going faster towards the warmer weather because of the memory of the horrible bushfires in Kinglake and Flowerdale last year. I hope to see the area when I visit the zoo. It is very cold there in winter, and I'm sure those people will be glad for the warmer weather, yet not so glad as well.

The girls have started talking about togs and swimmers. At the moment we have no water restrictions as the dam here is full. Maybe they will get a go in a pool in the backyard before the water restrictions come back again.

Excited to welcome spring? No too much happening, but in some ways it will be good to finally do the things we plan for and start getting used to the changes. I need the time to prepare as well.

Cheap Mince other than Beef

I had the opportunity to shop at Coles at the regional centre again. I have tried three Coles, this one was very pleasant. They had every mince (or hamburger/sausage) cheap as long as it wasn't beef. They also had a half-price goldfish bowl, my daughter was very happy. Now to catch a fish from our pond.

Thursday ~ Bacon & Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps (uses bacon bones)
Friday ~ Pot Stickers or Pork & Ginger Dumplings
Saturday ~ Broccoli & Bacon Pasta
Sunday ~ Tuna & Mushroom Spaghetti
Monday ~ Tuna Pilau
Tuesday ~ Left-over Rigatoni Bolognaise below
Wednesday ~ Stir-fried Lamb, Vegetables & Noodles
Thursday ~ Szechuan Lamb Rissoles with Asian Greens (when the 3 kids aren't home)
Friday ~ Chorizo & Vegetable Soup
Saturday ~ Pork Mince & Cabbage Stir-fry
Sunday ~ Pork Mince Stroganoff
Monday ~ Italian Sausages & Beans
Tuesday ~ Rigatoni Bolognaise made with pork sausages & veal mince
Wednesday ~ Mustard Sausages, Potatoes & Beans & Tomato Sauce (when the 3 kids aren't not home)

Spaghetti Bolognese

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lying Around The Garden

No, I don't mean junk, hoses, old newspapers, I mean you.  Do you do it?

I have determined, it probably depends on the privacy aspect.  Last weekend I was lying on the yet still unpainted garden bench.  The only small problem is a neighbours window a block away, but still it is there at the back of his house.  If it wasn't for that it would be perfect.  This is at my new house, the current one is very overlooked, read on the side of a hill.


I think it is important to simple living.  I remember once lying on the back lawn of our rented farmhouse.  It was great.  Our landlord chose that moment to visit his farm.  Isn't it always the way.  It was fine, but not the same as just with family until whenever you feel like getting up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pay Dirt

My supermarket now has a rack of spices from Herbies, and some French style lentils. Both are very exciting.

Thursday ~ Mexican mince
Friday ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise
Saturday ~ chipolatas or sausage casserole
Sunday ~ tuna casserole
Monday ~ Singapore pork sausage styled fried rice
Tuesday ~ pork sausage pasta with rosemary
Wednesday ~ Pork mince with brussels sprouts
Thursday ~ Pork mince & Ginger dumplings
Friday ~ Spicy Pumpkin & Beans
Saturday ~ Lentil & Basil Soup
Sunday ~ Spicy pork mince with asparagus & noodles
Monday ~ pork & veal meatballs

Spare: Broccoli Pasta
Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry
Beef Mince & Pea Curry

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teaching Kids to Take Capsules

My daughter has to take antibiotic capsules. It didn't work. The doctor said to keep the capsules and if she found she could take them she could use them if the other medication didn't work. So backed into a corner I found this advice, and it worked a treat from the Royal Children's Hospital. Within minutes we had the yoghurt, the snake lollies or candy, and the medication was swallowed.

Basically she has been taking the capsule in a spoonful of chocolate yoghurt.

Sultana Surprise (Natural Yoghurt with Honey and Sultanas)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Do you think this is it for the year?

You can see what my husband and son were busy doing last weekend. Hopefully it will be enough, it is still very much like winter here, except it is not very cold like it was. It is still like the weather conditions of our hometown which is still in North East Victoria. I am still wearing the same clothes, but maybe less of my jacket.

Our heater fan broke while my husband was away last week. He was away on Monday and Tuesday and also the previous Friday night to Sunday night. He struggled with the hot heater and got the fan fixed. It was a little chilly while it was switched off, but not overly so, just cold as usual.

As you can see, he also cleaned up the drive, a pile of woodchips there that was annoying.

The stack is bigger than we usually have. It was his first try of his new chainsaw. The old one that we bought from a family member who were selling their hobby farm was stolen. Prior to this my husband used his antique chainsaw. He originally bought that at a clearing sale many years ago, I think in pieces, I think he got another in pieces as well which is probably still like that or maybe he finally got rid of them, not sure.

When we first moved to a rented farmhouse in 2003, he got his antique chainsaw out of the shed and started using it. The first year here in 2004 we bought wood, then have been cutting it every winter since. When the chainsaw went missing, I think we brought back the wood we had cut ready for us at our new house. We were to move in at Easter. We brought it back in the back of the 4x4 each week. When that ran out, he went back to the antique chainsaw and found it hurt his back. It wasn't maintained before he put it in the shed, so he came back with only small pieces of wood. He got it fixed, borrowed a trailer I think after a bit of running around. Ours needs new tyres, $300 worth. We have done our tax, so maybe that will be rectified soon. We are expecting money back from an education thingo that repays half of your internet costs.

So this weekend he borrowed a workmates private trailer which was very generous of him, took the new chainsaw (he was so shocked to get a cheque all except $100 in the mail) and he said he kept cutting, not knowing he had cut too much. Still the trailer was a large one. Even so it requires towing it up a very steep hill. Very steep.

There you go, we are thankful we are still able to keep ourselves in wood. The time freed up when spring comes will be greatly appreciated as well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

My daughter who is seven was hungry after school yesterday. I had a bag of popcorn, because although it looks unapetising in the bag, is very cheap. We found our recipe for microwaving the popcorn, I asked her to use a glass bowl with a plate over it. It was too hot, but a sister or brother helped put it into another bowl so she could eat it, with her favourite thing, icing sugar.

It comes from one of my favourite recipe books Microwave Cooking for Babies & Toddlers, which I think has been rereleased, by Virginia Hill.

1/4 metric cup popcorn
1 metric teaspoon water

Place corn and water into whatever you are using. Cover. Microwave on high for 5-5 1/2 minutes. Remove when popping has finished. Be careful as the bowl/jug will be hot. Variation toss through 100s and 1000s or nonpareils .


Monday, September 7, 2009

Get Comfortable with Being Alone

This is the same title as a post I read at My Simpler Life. I typed in something like Simple Living in my Google reader in Browse for Stuff and found it there. The post talks about solitude, and a book the author read that suggests an a-z of being alone. Here is my A-Z. Years ago before we moved house the first time, I regularly had a bath while my husband did his correction for his job, an activity he did after the kids went to bed. I also loved just thinking, and looking out the window in my bedroom in the next house. The thinking was great, I always thought up things to help the kids that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't sitting still. My Grandfather spent lovely time sitting on a fold up chair in his shed looking out into the garden. I have felt the loss of my old deckchair, have you seen the price of new ones? You can also do this in one way with little kids while supervising if they are playing in the garden under a tree, I suppose it qualifies if they are fully engaged with playing with each other.

A - Alone
B - Bath
C - Chair
D - Dog
E - Enjoying
F - Feeling the breeze or the sun
G - Garden
H - Hearing
I - Independence
J - Joy
K - Knitting
L - Listening
M - Meandering around the garden
N - Nature
O - Observing
P - Paging through magazines
Q - Quiet
R - Revive
S - Sleep
T - Thinking
U - Unstructured
V - View
W - Water
X -hale
Y - Yoghurt
Z - Zinnias

In the Garden

Friday, September 4, 2009

Baking with Lemons


Please visit Spades and Spoons. Paola has been baking with lemons, so I decided to post my Mum's recipe that has lemon icing.

Chinese Chew

1 large cup self-rising flour

1 pinch salt

2 eggs

1/2 large cup chopped walnuts

1 large cup chopped dates

1/2 cup sugar

1/4lb butter

Combine all ingredients, beat eggs and add to melted butter. Mix all together. Bake in flat tin 20 mins. Ice with lemon icing.

I found a recipe in an old scrapbook of mine.

Lemon Icing

1 cup icing sugar/powdered sugar
1 tab lemon juice
2 teas water
2 teas butter

Sift icing sugar into bowl. Add melted butter, water, lemon juice, mix until smooth.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pea & Ham Soup with Kranskys & Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is originally from p150 of some unknown Australian Home Beautiful magazine. Anyone who has read by menus for awhile knows it is a staple at this house.

It is adaptable but we haven't adapted it. Something to think about in the future. We are a family of six, we use the cans that you add water too, and add one kransky per person, though that is probably slightly too much. We use about 200g brussels sprouts, and call it green soup, and don't add garnishes.

Split Pea, Sausage and Brussels Sprout Soup

Serves 4

150-200g cooked sausage such as globassi, continental frankfurts or kransky
30g butter
Few fresh basil leaves or pinch dried basil
2 x 510g cans ready to serve homestyle pea and ham soup
8 small brussels sprouts, shredded
Sour cream and chives, to garnish.

Cut sausage diagonally into thick slices. Heat butter with basil in a saucepan over moderate heat and cook sausage until golden.

Add the soup and stir until smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup water, if needed, for consistency.

Add brussels sprouts and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are tender.

Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish without sour cream and chives and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Variations: Soup can be replaced with leek and potato soup, tomato or pumpkin soup. Instead of sausage use leftover cooked chicken, canned salmon or boneless fish fillets - even canned chickpeas for a vegetarian version. Instead of sprouts, try diced tomatoes, shredded cabbage or canned kernel corn.

For a homemade version I came across this recipe for Pea, Ham & Sausage Soup.

I found a recipe on the Simply Great Meals site that is no longer there, tucked behind my usual recipe (below). It is not unlike this recipe that includes kale or Italian cabbage. Other recipes of interest are Brussels Sprouts & Potato Soup and Brussels Sprout & Sausage Soup where you can get an idea what our soup looks like with the sausages in it.

Sausage, Bean and Brussels Sprout Soup

Serves 4

1 tab oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
4 kransky sausages, sliced diagonally
6 cups liquid vegetable stock
140g tub Leggos tomato paste
500g packet frozen Brids Eye Brussels Sprouts
300g can Edgell Butter Beans, undrained

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion, celery, carrot and sausages and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.

Stir in stock, tomato paste, frozen brussels sprouts and butter beans. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve soup with warmed crusty bread.

Add 1 teaspoon finely chopped chilli or a little Tabasco sauce in step 2 for a spicy kick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My favourite You Are What You Eat episode

I like it because I had so much compassion for this lady who didn't know the names of the vegetables, which apparently is common.

part 2 & 3 are on youtube. The lady's friend writes the names on the vegetables for her.