Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Buttons and Biscotti

I am most smug today as I am munching on homemade biscotti which is delightfully full to the brim with redeeming features like no added fat, free range eggs and almonds as well as feeling most sophisticated and foodie. To think I nearly made cookie press biscuits instead! the recipe I used is here but I used brown sugar because white sugar is so boring to me nowadays and I used mandarin zest as I didn't have any lemons, only that lemon juice that comes in a bottle (and to think I described myself as a foodie in the last sentence! What a fraud- what foodie doesn't have lemons?). If you haven't made biscotti before and you love baking, I highly recommend it, they are so dunkable and delicious! surprisingly easy too!

I have also made myself some hairclips and earrings by gluing cute buttons to earring backs and bobbypins which have gluing "plates"on them (which I bought online I now have to make 25 pairs of each! They are so cheap to buy in large quantities and expensive in small ones). It's not really highly creative- more like getting two objects from two different places and putting them in the same place with glue- but no-one else I know will have them and I think they are cute. I fear I will now commence a frenzy of gluing and biscotti baking which could last for weeks!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Autumnal Wonderings and Wanderings.

Today the "footy" was on (although how it can be called Football when the ball is ovoid and there is far more jumping than foot contact is still beyond me) which means our street was packed and the honking of the siren at the stadium echoes through our yard so we had to find solace elsewhere. We went for an epic stroll with a shaky stroller (should have taken the pram- it was my fault I thought the stroller was a good idea) through the "Forest" which is a really the old rubbish tip site with trees and playgrounds. the Autumn sunshine is perfect for this and very recharging.
There is a small pond amongst the twisted willows with watercress growing in it and the sounds of frogs and even though it is near the football ovals (real football, where one kicks a round ball) and there are many dog walkers around with ridiculously fluffy canine friends the tranquility is amazing.
 We eventually made our way to the playground and the boys had a lunch of tiny felafel I made from an instant mix and little tomatoes and carrot sticks with tahini watered down for dipping. the lunch went down a treat and was so simple and quick to make and healthy so it gets a thumbs up from everyone.
on the way home the littlest man fell fast asleep. It was a huge walk but it was a good, healthy family day for free in the sunshine so it was worth all the walking.
I have started using Facebook again, mostly for business reasons initially, but have found that there are many options now for blocking ads and applications (like those infernal games so many people seem to like-do you really have to pay for them? You couldn't pay me to play them...well at any rate my price would have to be high!).
I have found that this time round I have been able to make Facebook work for me much better since a few upgrades and changes have been made and consequently it is going towards helping my "social" life such as it is and I feel less isolated now. I do see people getting sucked into abysses of their own making an arguments they shouldn't be having and wasting time they don't have but I suppose to be fair there are many other places on the 'net to do this too. I have had a massive rush on friends from the Selfsufficient'ish forum which is wonderful and I think I have nearly doubled my friends list. It is a shame that most of them are asleep when I am awake and vice versa but at least I can stay in good contact with Facebook and the forum!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Challenges Inspire from the other side of the world!

Yesterday I found myself stuck inside on a rainy day, doing some renovations so we can prepare to rent out the house and my poor husband had no biccies for his tea he had just run out of peanuts (which are where he gets most of his calories!) and the weather was just awful so I whipped up a batch of Anzac biccies (with half honey and half treacle instead of golden syrup as I didn't have any and 2/3 jaggery,1/3 white sugar for slightly more minerals etc) and roasted some almonds. This sent me on an eating out of the pantry frenzy and I made a brown rice pie/casserole thing with leftover tomato sauce from Saturday's pizza and half a can of baked beans from Sunday. When combined with rice and cheese and, onion, frozen corn and peas, grated carrots(home grown) and two eggs from our hens (one was broken in the nest and needed using up) and some Mexican taco flavouring I found in the back of the pantry it was amazingly good and very popular with the kiddies. I also made a wholemeal loaf in the breadmaker.
It is funny, I have a very well stocked pantry at present so it is no challenge (if I am honest) to make delicious and wholesome food with what I have but it is the mindset  I have that makes it so much more satisfying.  So thankyou to Frugal Queen and Mumma Troll for inspiring my cooking again- my wallet and family thank you for it! I shall be following your challenges closely.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Suddenly- immenent moving!

On Thursday we spotted it- two real estate signs down the road on the former plumbers house and office and the little house next door. We had often wondered about the large sheds at the back and experience shed envy as we really needed some good big shed for our business. Friday we went through and found not only a neat little office set up (four cubicles and a reception desk no less, but a fastidiously renovated interior, rather tizzy early nineties but ever so immaculately done with a walk in pantry in the sky-lighted kitchen, a separate utility/laundry room and in the master bedroom a walk in robe and an en-suite. These features combined with the neat courtyard and definitely adequate triangle of garden which will house chickens and vegetables have taken hold of us an we made an offer which has been accepted so all things going to plan in six weeks we move three doors down the road which should be an easy move for us!

Unfortunately this is going to make establishing the winter veg. hard but on the bright side the chickens escaped yesterday and ate all the seedlings for the third or fourth time anyway destroying last weekends hard work (ah, bless them!)
We will rent these two cottages out and there is another house included with the new one- it is divided into two and has two tenants who have been putting up with mould from sweating tin ceilings for many many years so we hope an exhaust fan or two will help them and of course there rent payments will help pay our mortgage.
The move will really help our business along too- having proper offices and facilities. Behind the brown facade it was, once upon a time, a basic two bed cottage but it has been gutted and modernised. I think life will be easier than in our current basic cottages with slopey floors and sash windows.
Last night I was so excited about setting up the much more compact garden that I couldn't sleep, it was like being 5 again on Christmas eve- how will I last six whole weeks?
Life is never dull with us!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Return to Weirdo, Lefty, Pinko life...

We have had two little ones and their dad staying for 9 days at our hastily renovated cottage (they are co-joined and we have our office in the "spare one"which has been largely un-renovated for over a year now!).
It was even louder and more chaotic than usual but it served to highlight the difference between the way we live and "the usual" way to live.
I noticed the girls ate much more processed food than we do, (well we do eat it and of course the stuff I make is processed, but largely by myself) and also watch a lot more TV than us, (we can't stand to have the TV on during the day, it is a night time thing only and certainly not hours and hours of it for littlies no matter how "educational" the show is) lights were left on all night as the girls are scared of the dark and showers were had by all at least once a day but sometimes more- hair washed every time and the girls used deoderant each time( they are five- is this normal? It would never occur to me to deoderise a child who hasn't yet developed sweat glands like an adult). The funny thing is I didn't realise how "weird" we were until the visit. I suppose I read forums and and blogs on subjects that interest me such as cooking, natural health, frugality, simplicity and surround myself with information which gives me a bit of a skewed perspective on life- it lets me forget that most "normal"folk are very wasteful and not mindful. So I give us a smug little pat on the back for that. We also deserve one for being over 100kw down on our electricity consumption compared to the same quarter last year. Hurrah for us!
Since the visitors left I have been growing sprouts, planting vegies, making bread and fermenting kefir like a hippy possessed, I guess I had withdrawals.
I have rejuvenated some kefir grains and they are growing very very well, they seem to like ground ginger and jaggery best. They are water grains which somehow ended up with my milk ones. I don't like milk kefir so they languished in the back of my fridge for ages and I tried to convert them all the water grains but the milk ones promptly died, hence my interest in reproducing the small amount of water ones I had.
I do sleep better when I have had a cup of kefir but sometimes it is just because I think I am a bit tipsy because I brewed it for too long. I am not sure of the benefits for me really but maybe it is doing me good...
I seem to have an answer for my anxiety/depressive attacks- I take 1000mg of agnes castus vitex (the herb chaste tree) every morning with a 1500mg fish oil and every month or so I take magnesium for a week.
So far so good! I am a pretty happy camper so I am keeping up the herbs with the fish oil, exercise and sun exposure which I blogged about previously.
Another weirdo lefty pinko treatment I am doing is taking coconut oil, if you Google you will be swamped with info about how it cures everything and makes you lose weight and makes you cleverer with clearer skin etc. I don't know about that but I have been taking about two tablespoons a day in food (mixed in with muesli or in a  cup of warm soy milk) and although I am no lighter after a week I am full of energy! Seriously I haven't felt this good in years! So, although I am not fussed on the taste so much, the new lease on life it has given me is too good to pass up... we will see if it helps with weight loss later on! I have just cut myself a fringe as I was feeling decidedly unstylish but I will have to set up a photo as I am far too vain to simply post one of me with greasy hair, blotchy skin and asymmetrical face as I am now (probably stuck with the face though I guess)!