Full time work = Better planning needed!

I’ve temporarily returned to full time work, and immediatedly noticed the need for better planning. As much as I love to cook, I don’t like the thought of having to face it every night. And apart from dinner don’t we all need something prepared ahead of time to take for lunch? So on the weekends I try to get ahead of myself a bit. On one such weekend recently I roasted the last of my home-grown pumpkin, along with some bought eggplant. Whilst the oven was hot I baked a loaf of bread. From the garden I picked a big bunch of coriander, some cherry tomatoes, snow peas, bok choy, and zucchini. I found some forgotten-about yellow split peas in the pantry and looked up a recipe to make them into soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pumpkin went into Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese and Spicy Pumpkin Soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eggplant became baba ganoush. I made a pesto with the coriander which we stirred through pasta later in the week for a quick and effortless meal. Continue reading    

Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese

The last pumpkin that my vine produced this winter decided to grow over the top of the netting on one of our raised garden beds. It weighed 6 kgs. That’s a lot of pumpkin and a lot of pumpkin dishes to have to create!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do with that last piece when you are a bit tired of Spicy Pumpkin Soup , Pumpkin & Prune Cake, and vegetable curries? You make Pumpkin Continue reading    

The Country Show – adventures in show cooking

Last week I shared my reflections on the country show, and my personal history of show-going from infancy. Country shows are just so important in keeping traditional skills alive. I love watching the woodchop, and the Mudgeeraba show also has displays of blacksmithing, beekeeping, and the young farmers’ challenge.

 

 

 

 

The skills of cooking, patchwork, sewing, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, and craft are also kept alive through the challenge of the exhibitors pavilion.

 

 

 

 

I’ve needed little encouragement to enter exhibits in the Mudgeeraba Show for each of the last 6 years. Every year I eagerly await the release of the pavilion Continue reading    

The Country Show

I was raised in a rural area, and the local agricultural show was a highlight of the year’s social calendar. My love of a country show started in infancy. Here I am, aged about 18 months, all dressed up at the Innisfail Show.

The show is an event that brings the community together. It’s a chance to showcase skills, talent, and creativity. We see it in the woodchop and equestrian events, livestock showing, dance and band performances, cooking, spinning and weaving, photography, quilt making and more.

My family moved to Brisbane when I was 14. The tradition of going to the show was replaced with an annual trek to the Ekka. The focus shifted to rides and sideshow alley, though I remember still loving to visit the pavilions.

I moved away from Brisbane when I started work, and my show-going tradition ceased. That was until we moved to the fringe of town. Then I discovered the Mudgeeraba Show. The charm of the country show from my childhood was Continue reading    

Why I talk to my chickens

It’s a good thing that our neighbours aren’t too close. If they heard me constantly talking to my chickens they might think I’m a bit nuts. The chickens have a large run called the Hen Mahal, but they are also allowed to free range. So from the moment they arrive as new chicks I chat away to them, ask them if they’ve been good, tell them how clever they are when they lay, thank them for the lovely eggs, and generally go on with a lot of nonsense. Like in this video.

Why do I talk to my chickens all the time? When they become familiar enough with their surroundings to be let out, they will wander back themselves when it becomes dusk. But sometimes I need to get them in earlier. Because they know my voice, I call them and they come! Here’s the proof!

Who would have thought that you can train a chicken. If you have chickens, do you chat away to them?

Challenging our takeaway culture

Saving $ and the Environment

I was once waiting for a colleague to pick me up at a location opposite a well known drive through coffee business. During the 15 minute wait I was astonished to see the volume of traffic that snaked through the carpark into the drive-through lane and back out onto the street. The cars numbered in the dozens in this short timeframe. The sight actually left me feeling a sense of despair. It made me wonder about the lives of people who don’t have time for a cuppa before leaving the house. And if there wasn’t time to make a coffee it’s unlikely they Continue reading    

I’m on the list of 20 mature Aussie bloggers worth following!

I was so suprised and delighted to recently receive an email from Janet from Middle-Aged Mama. Janet named me amongst the 20 best Aussie bloggers for mature women! This was so unexpected! You can read Janet’s full list on YS People here.

There are certainly lots of ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. So it was good to read Janet’s article and see her highlight some bloggers who are at a different stage in their life.

Mature though I may be (and some may dispute this!), I hope to also have appeal to people of all ages who are wanting to live a little more simply and thoughtfully. So please do share my blog with your friends – young, ‘mature’ and everything in between!

5 Tips to reduce your grocery bill

Last week on the blog I challenged you to think about the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle that characterises the lives of so many of us these days. Whilst I would not describe myself as particularly frugal, I try to make thoughtful purchases and not waste money. Spending less money means I don’t have to work as much in order to support a consumer lifestyle. It also means I don’t accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’. The weekly shop is a good place to begin decreasing overall expenditure. Here are 5 tips you can try in order to reduce your grocery bill. Continue reading    

Make your own cleaning products

There is money to be saved at the checkout if you make your own cleaning products. Here are some recipes to try.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1.5 litres water

1 bar of laundry soap, grated

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax

Put water and grated soap in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until dissolved completely. Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Pour mixture into a bucket and fill with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into plastic containers. This recipe makes 9 – 10 litres. Use 1/2 – 1 cup per load.

 

 

 

 

Cleaning Paste

Mix together 1/2 cup of home made liquid laundry detergent and 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda.

Shower Cleaner

I find the vinegar in this cleaner quite pungent. Be sure to keep the bathroom well ventilated when you are using it.

1 cup white vinegar

1 Tbs cornflour

2 Tbs dishwashing liquid

Combine vinegar and cornflour and gently heat, whisking. Allow to cool a bit, add dishwash liquid and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray over tiles and wipe off with a soft cloth and water.

 

Breaking the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle

In my quest to live a slower and more thoughtful lifestyle, I find myself thinking and talking a lot about the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle. It’s all too easy to get caught in this cycle. Ok, I’ll come right out and say it. I think that many of us are way too focused on earning money. Some of us aspire to live the sort of consumption-focused lifestyle that we believe will bring happiness. Others are already living it, and need to work to maintain it. This comes at a considerable cost to the individual’s wellbeing. But the other impact is an environmental one. This impact can be seen everywhere. Discarded coffee cups from the morning’s Continue reading    

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