Monday, October 9, 2017

Seven salads to make this season

One of the local pubs has just opened up suggestions from patrons, for the salad bar. They've even asked for recipes and created a little competition around it.

I haven't put forward a recipe, quite frankly, I hardly ever go that pub, but it has made me wonder what salads I have in my arsenal, that I could put forward.

It took me to the recipes section of this blog, which if I have to be honest, I hadn't visited for a long time. I was pleasantly surprised. I am reminded of good food memories and stories, and loads of recipes I'd forgotten about. I seriously have a decent cook book full of recipes there.

One of my goals, which I haven't fulfilled (one of these days), is to make a series of ebooks or a cook book. I just have to work out how to get started, which is the key I guess. JUST GET STARTED!

So to jog my memory, and yours. Here's seven salads to joosh up your mealtimes this spring and summer.

Pea and fennel salad

Watermelon Salad

Broad bean salad

Roast pumpkin and capsicum couscous salad

Green bean salad

Orange salad

Monday, October 2, 2017

October. So surprised to see you so soon - Taking Stock

Wasn't it just Christmas in July? Now the real Christmas is beating down our door. The last term of school is the craziest time, with so much happening. I am not looking forward to how quickly it will flash before my eyes. All I can do is hang on as tight as I can!

I love discovering and learning new things. Like what you can cook with the most unexpected ingredients. 

Making : Travel plans. My son and I are Sydney bound for a few days next week. I am SO looking forward to spending some time with him and his paternal family. It has been too long. 

Cooking : Eggless pavlovas. How? I hear you say. Well, you learn something everyday, and if I hadn't have tried it, I wouldn't have believed for myself. With the juice left over in a can of chick peas!

Drinking: Black label Johnny Walker. Our grand final weekend drink of choice. Some also made it into our chocolate mug cakes last night.

Reading: I've just finished Tara Moss', Speaking out. 

Wanting: For the rest of the year to slow down! Time waits for no one!

Looking: Out for new things coming up in the spring garden. I love the surprises like ranunculus and tulips that show their sunny faces, I had forgotten were there.

Playing: Twister. I am definitely too old for it and not as flexible as I used to be. The kids thought it was hilarious.

Wishing: I could have a relaxed week. I have two holiday homes to clean, a doctors appointment and the car is booked in for a new windscreen(darn truck flicking up a rock). Hopefully the end of the week will be a little less busy.

Enjoying: Using fresh herbs from the garden in the kitchen.

Waiting: For our new tent to arrive. We are spending New Years camping and I insisted we buy a new tent! Apparently it takes two minutes to set up. I will believe that when I see it! I can hear the arguments already...

Liking: That daylight savings has started. Longer daylight hours and with that I associate warmer days too.

Wondering: Why the hell I had to wait until tonight to find out what's been happening on Survivor!

Loving: The new bird cage my hubby built for our canaries. He doesn't like birds in small cages and he's built them the Hilton of bird cages in the back yard. They can fly!

Considering: Roasting some chillies and soaking in oil, to spray the aphids on my roses.

Buying: Loads of new plants. I got Bunnings vouchers for my birthday last month and of course I spent the lot on the garden.

Watching: The Bachelorette! Sophie Monk is all sorts of entertaining. I hope she finds the man of her dreams.

Hoping: I remember to turn my phone alarm off. We are on school holidays now, I don't coach in the holidays and some sleep ins would be awesome. No swimming lessons for the next couple of weeks either.

Marvelling: At how crazy my kids make me one minute, and how in love with them I am the next. 

Cringing: I went out to photograph the garden today, only to realise later that the memory card wasn't in the camera. Doh!

Needing: To print out some photos. Mum works at the old folks home and I was there on Saturday taking photos of the residents at their grand final celebrations. I could do it at home, but I've run out of printer ink. I should just buy more ink, it will save me having to squeeze in a visit to Harvey Norman to have them printed. Why is printer ink so expensive though?! These days is cheaper to buy a new printer with ink included!

Smelling: Coconut and lemongrass. I found a stray scentsy star tucked away in the writing desk(which is like a big junk draw!), it's scent wafted from the oil burner last week.

Wearing: Yesterday was tracky dacks and a hoody. Kinda like a pyjama day, because I had slept in them the night before! I went nowhere. Did some washing, cleaned up a bit, and watched a movie with Summer. In the arvo I checked how the winter neglected garden irrigation was working, got soaking wet, showered and put on different tracky dacks and a hoody!

Getting: Motivated to do some spring cleaning. The longer days and warmer weather does it to me every time. On my list is to clean and repaint our interior doors, also pressure clean the back deck. The walls could do with a clean too.

Bookmarking: Clothing websites(I can dream) and recipes. Always lots of recipes.

Disliking: The conflict that has arisen because of the same sex marriage vote. So much for free choice and freedom of speech. 

Giggling: At Puns on Facebook. Most of them are like really bad Dad jokes, but funny.

Snacking: Trying not to. For some reason cheese single slices are my go to snack. Like four in a row. Could be worse. Oh and yesterday it was choc chips from the pantry. 

Hearing: I love hearing birds in the morning. Wont be long and the cockies will be making their racket too. Some people hate it. I don't at all.

What new and exciting things have you learnt in the last month?

What has made you happy this week? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bush mouse vs Beach mouse

I grew up in the bush. A small town in rural South Australia. There was a mill, a train station, a deli, a pub, several stores, a cop shop, a school and a bank. There's not much there anymore, you'd be lucky to trip over a tumbleweed. A couple of humble shops and the school remain.

It's landscape is warm and familiar, it welcomes me with open arms. Mighty gum trees, green fields and grassy roadsides.

Childhood memories flow like lava, I long for those days again. Playing in the front yard with log truck rumbling past, my brothers and sisters pumping our arms for a horn blow. Dad playing Boche down the road with the other Europeans immigrants, underneath grapevine covered greens. The smell of freshly cut pine filling the air from the timber mill.

I am torn between the bush and the coastline I now live near, although I didn't go that far. I am still only thirty kays from where I grew up. The beach is closer.

I spent a lot of my school holidays by our local beaches. Gran and Grandpa lived in Southend, their house was only a sandhill's walk away from dipping my toes in the water, or filling a bucket with shells.

The air is crisp, the waves calming. I remember many nights laying in bed listening to the waves ebb and flow on the beach. I could not tell you how many times I was nipped on the foot by a skittish crab while paddling in the surf.

I learnt how to fish on it's jetty. Cray boats scattered the bay, bringing in their catch and rolling it in on steel carts along rail lines. 

Not too much has changed here since I was a kid, mainly the people. The beach has been eroded away by huge winter seas, but I still enjoy spending the day along it's sandy shores. These days I'm a lot more sun wise, no more blistered red shoulders, that would stick to the sheets at night, skin peeling off the following week.

I am calmed by the whispering waves, as they take my cares out to sea. I take in the fresh air, deep into my lungs and expel the negative. 

Both the bush and the beach hold a special place in my heart, though I don't think I could ever life too far from the beach now. I would miss feeling the sand between my toes. 

Are you a bush mouse or a beach mouse?

Joining Denyse for #lifethisweek

Monday, September 18, 2017

Veggie growing, and eating!

Over the last week I've been getting out and cleaning up the garden after neglecting it most of the winter.

While weeding the veggie patch, I pulled up a rogue beetroot. I love growing beets. I love to roast them or make beetroot relish! That lonely old beetroot looked good for lunch anyhow.

I roasted it with eggplant, capsicum, garlic and onion, with some spices. When the veggies were      ready, I mixed in canned brown lentils and warmed them through in the oven. I served it with feta cheese broken up over the top and fresh parsley.

Growing my own veggies is something I love to do. I haven't always had too much success, which is why cooking with the veggies I do get, gives me so much pleasure. 

Summer helped me plant more beetroot seeds, and Isabel climbing beans and carrots over the weekend. Neither of them enjoy cooked veggies, but they will eat them raw!

Mum recalls me sitting in the pea patch as a kid and eating peas straight from the garden. My girls love to do that too, so I would recommend if you have kids to let them grow peas, snow peas in particular.

After getting rid of most of the ivy from around the garden there is a lot more space. I've planted some butternut pumpkin seeds, and as I commented to my uncle yesterday, I probably don't need to as Mum grows enough pumpkins for everybody! I still have some saved seed from the jack be little pumpkins(minis) that I grew last year. They are a little closer to a squash type of pumpkin. I grew them on a trellis last year, with cucumbers successfully growing below.

I planted broad beans back around Easter. They are flowering now and wont be too long until we are eating yummy broad beans. I love them with bacon, cream and pasta. My son loves this too. The last time I made it he came around the next day to see if there was left overs! Summer likes to eat broad beans raw, and well Isabel, it's hard to know what she will eat half the time.

I try to eat a wide variety of veggies, scouring the shelves at the supermarket for something new to throw in the trolley, or something I haven't had for a while. Like bok choy, which I cooked up this week in a chicken stir fry, also cooked under some fish wrapped in foil in the oven.

Do you grow your own veggies? Are you adventurous when buying veggies at the supermarket? Why don't you try something new when you are shopping next.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

In the picture

I have always been one for taking photos. Always the one with the chuck away camera, clicking away, and having to wait for them to be developed. The photo processing shop was one of my regular haunts.

I remember my sister commenting twenty five years ago, that I had way too many photos, especially of my new son. I should have realised back then that photography may have been the obvious path to take but there was some time in between then and now that I hardly took a photo. 

I have realised that I don't get myself in the photos too much anymore, I am always the one behind the camera.

I do remember a horrid sod, who once bluntly told me I am not photogenic, and it was hard to capture a good photo of me. I let it get to me at the time, but now when I think back about it, I realise that he should have taken a long walk off a big cliff!

We are all, well most of us, gorgeous souls and worthy off being in the picture. There are many who will appreciate those pictures in years to come and look fondly back at the moments in time captured.

Here are some of the pics I managed to get my ugly mug into over the last few weeks, thanks to Brett who awesomely took the reigns of the camera, or his phone, to capture most of these.

My friend of over thirty years! We met in high school and got to hang out for a couple of days while in QLD. You can't see the bottle of vino in my hand :)

You should recognise this bird. We've been online friends for almost five years and I finally got to have a face to face chat with the lovely Emily from Have a laugh on me. 

In line for the Batman ride at Movieworld. Bloody kids. She had a ball, and I am glad I did it with her. 

The girls first plane ride. Adelaide to Coolangatta. 

Along the Gallery Walk in Mount Tamborine Summer cracked up at this 'treeman', we stopped for a photo. Why not?!

Pick the tourists!

 I am trying hard to crack a smile, not easy with a drying face mask on.

Joining Leanne at Deep Fried Fruit

Monday, September 11, 2017

September. How I love thee.

September brings so much sparkly newness. Spring. Warmth. New growth(including weeds!) and it's my birthday month!I am in disbelief that I am turning 45. I don't feel one bit of 45. I feel 30 in the body of a 45 year old!Hubby has just turned 50, and our 10th wedding anniversary has just passed. I can't say we celebrated our anniversary, as it wasn't until I had put the rubbish out that evening, that I realised it was the 8th of September and indeed our tenth anniversary.

I walked in the back door with my hands on my hips, and announced, "By the way! Happy 10th anniversary Boggy!". His immediate reaction was "Oh fuck", and proceeded to give me a hug and a kiss. He suggested we find someone to look after the kids and go out for dinner. With snags already cooking and a case of the CBF's, I suggested we stay home...I spent yesterday clearing weeds in the garden in preparation for the summer veggie patch, and for the hi-dolly dahlias to emerge from the ground. Izzy helped me in the garden, and we planted basil seeds.It is an exciting time. We also discussed the produce we could enter into the annual show in November. She must defend her sash titles for the best junior produce, cut flowers and cooking sash. Even if her cooking sash was for chocolate crackles. I think presenting them in Christmas patty pans was the trick!Making : Loads of salad mixes to have with my dinners. On a health kick in an attempt to eat more fresh food and less processed food, and loosen my pants.Cooking : While de-weeding my veggie patch yesterday, I found a rogue beetroot. Looking forward to roasting it with some fennel and mixing with some lentils for lunch tomorrow. Maybe with some feta mixed through at the end! Mouth is watering already. Drinking : Pu-erh tea. On our recent holiday, we drove up to Mount Tamborine, where I bought some loose leaf tea at one of the shops on Gallery Walk. I only drink herbal teas, mostly bagged teas, so this is a little special than the norm. I've bought this tea before in the Central markets in Adelaide.Reading: This always stumps me, because really, I don't do a lot of reading. I'd love to have more time for novels and magazines. I bought the latest Better Homes and Gardens a couple of weeks ago, mainly to take away on holiday with me. Of course I left it home and haven't looked at it since. it did come with a free taco stand...Wanting: For my new phone to come in the mail! We ordered it at the end of July, and it hadn't come as of Friday and asked for a refund. A refund we got and ordered another phone from someone else. It's my birthday at the end of the week and I hope it arrives before that!Looking: At my floors. The house is a shambles. SO looking forward to some alone time at home, with Brett back at work at the girls at school to clean the house. Not that it will stay clean for long! I did spring clean the fridge over the weekend. There was mould growing on some of the gunk in the veggie crisper. Ew!Deciding: Where to put the seeds in my newly dug up veggie patch. I have seeds saved from last year and am keen to get them in the ground. Isabel did a fabulous job of helping me in the garden, and I've agreed to let her help me plant the seeds. Going to have a good look at my companion gardening book to decide where to put stuff. We have climbing beans, chilli, pumpkin, tomato, beetroot, carrot and radishLiking: The goodies in my first ever Bellabox. I took the opportunity to order my first box for ten dollars and am enjoying having some new skincare and a few things to feel like I am pampering myself. I would probably have never gone out and bought them myself otherwise.Wondering: What will come up to disturb my zen today. It's always something!Loving: That spring has sprung. The days will only get longer and warmer.Listening: I've bought a couple of kids CDs lately and had them playing in the car. It keeps the kids amused for a while, and I have quite enjoyed singing along with them. It is quite uplifting listening to them singing Der Glumph! went the little green frog at full voice. Makes a change to them WWE fighting in the back seat.Considering: Reading the 5 languages of love. I was talking to the mum of one of my Tiny Tots gymnasts, and commented on how well he responds to encouragement and praise. She told me that was his love language. Intriguing, as after that class he initiated and gave me the loveliest hug. I felt as though I had made a breakthrough with him, and as a coach it was an encouraging feeling.Buying: I've run out of Vitamin B pills and St Johns wort. St Johns wort is for nervousness, anxiety and mood. Not sure if my terrible moods have been because I haven't been taking it or the fact that I have been premenstrual the last few days.Watching: Still hooked on Survivor Australia, I missed watching it when I was away and caught up with over the weekend with encores. I watched Gardening Australia on the ABC yesterday too, it gave me the motivation to dig over the veggie patch and get ready for summer veggies.Learning: How to use a dishwasher! I don't have one at home, except little ol me. Or room on holidays did have one. My best friend from high school came to visit with us a couple of days and she could not believe I had never used one. She showed me how and I used it for the rest of the holidays with gay abandon.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Adventuring in the Gold Coast

The girls had their first flight in an airplane last Wednesday. We flew from Adelaide to Queensland's Gold Coast. It took two hours, and an hour into it the asking of "When are we there?" started. A few toilet trips later, and we were descending. Thanks goodness. How vicious are those airplane toilet flushes? Geez you wouldn't want to drop anything mid flush because it would be GONE!

We went to Sea World on our first day, and drove to Mount Tamborine on the second.

After finding out Friday was a public holiday in the Gold Coast for the show, we decided we'd avoid the theme parks for a few days and we're doing Wet n Wild and Movieworld over the next couple of days.

It worked out quite well as a friend from high school, who lives near Brissie, joined us at the resort for the weekend. It has been awesome catching up, and the kids have been perfect company for each other.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The perfect recipe for slime

A few weeks ago I gave into the nagging from my Izzy about when I was going to buy the stuff to make slime.

Honestly, every time she mentioned it, I had thoughts of slime being spread from one end of the house to the other. The mess did not appeal to me one bit. I wonder now why I had been so worried. It really wasn't so bad. It was fun, they had fun with it.

You will find Borax in the laundry/cleaning aisle in the supermarket, and I bought the glue at the cheap shop.

I was a little impressed with how the chemical reaction between the borax and the glue, turned into gooey slime.

The first few attempts were a bit of a flop, and I quickly worked out to keep the borax and glue away from each other until I was ready to finally mix everything together. 

We had no colouring that first time and I have to tell you, it reminded me of a male body secretion. The girls added some glitter which fixed it. 

Summer and I made some more slime over the weekend and I used a little pink colouring.

The slime will thicken after a day or two. I kept it in a sealed container. Don't use a plastic bag. Be aware if you leave it in a lump, it will return to a liquid form and kind of 'melt'. The kids left it on the table and next thing it had flattened out and was dripping off the edge.

If you want a thicker type of flubber, add less water.

You will need:   2 small/medium sized bowls or containers
                          a quarter cup measure
                          a tablespoon measure
                          spoon for stirring

                          1 tablespoon white craft glue
                          1/4 cup water
                          food colouring
                          1/4 cup Borax

Mix the water, glue and colouring in one bowl.

Add the borax to another bowl. When you measure out the borax, make sure you don't use anything that has had the glue in it. Keep the two mixtures apart until you are ready to mix them.

Add the water mixture into the borax bowl and start stirring straight away. The slime will start to form immediately. Mix well for at least a minute.

You have made slime!!

This kid was in her pajamas all day!