ProBlogger 2016: 1 Thing that inspired me most

1 Thing that inspired me most at ProBlogger

Recently I wrote about my experience as a new-bee at ProBlogger 2016. On that first networking night, I found my tribe in the area allocated for ‘Lifestyle’ bloggers to gather. A group of us whose blogs incorporate simple living ideas went on to have dinner together afterwards. In the 2 days that followed there were more opportunities for us to connect around our common interests. As simple as it may sound, this is the thing that inspired me the most at ProBlogger 2016.

I find it so heartening to see the number of people blogging in the simple living niche. Some of the bloggers I met capture ideas of a slower lifestyle and living life more mindfully and thoughtfully. Other blogs discuss the concept of minimalism as opposed to the tendency toward excess consumerism and waste. Yet others support the reader who is interested in achieving some degree of self-sufficiency Continue reading    

ProBlogger 2016: The new-bee perspective

EXPERIENCES OF A NEW-BEE

Last weekend I headed off to the ProBlogger training event for the first time. What an experience it was! About 500 people attended 2 days of presentations and workshops that taught, inspired and influenced. Who would have thought that there are so many bloggers out there?

The conference started with a networking event on Thursday night. Walking in to a room with hundreds of people, none of whom you know, is akin to the first day in a new school! Now I won’t say that I didn’t go to the bar first. Continue reading    

Knitting 101 – Dishcloths!

Can’t say I had ever given much thought to what my great-grandmother used to wash her dishes, but we can be sure it wasn’t a dishwasher, and it probably wasn’t a sponge either. Enter the knitted dishcloth. The idea of knitting a IMG_1243dishcloth from cotton yarn initially seemed quite odd to me, but I can understand the rationale. Unlike sponges they can be washed, will last a really long time, will save money, and are a great way to get some basic knitting skills before moving on to more ambitious projects. I could remember the basic knit and purl stitches, but needed a reminder about casting on and off, joining a new ball of wool, and weaving in the ends. I also found a great tutorial on how to knit neat edges, so tried this as I got further along. All of these links are listed further on in this post.

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Supporting rural Australia

Greetings from Goondiwindi in western Queensland! We are visiting this picturesque town for a few days, and I’ve been saving up both my dollars and also items for my shopping list. I once heard someone say that one of the best things you can do after an area has been hit by a natural disaster, like a fire or flood, is to go and spend money in the area. I think the same principle could be applied to rural Australia, much of which is often experiencing a disaster of a different sort, that of drought. So I have made the oddest assortment of purchases today.  Mostly they are things I could have very easily bought at home, but if I’m going to buy them anyway, why not wait? Buying them from a small town will help support itsIMG_1177 local economy. Here’s a list of my purchases:

1.Goondiwindi has its own brand of clothing Goondiwindi Cotton from which the mauve jumper was purchased. Whilst in the store I also bought their Cottonseed Oil hand and body lotion. The clothes are now made off-shore, but the lotion is made in Australia.

2.I bought a few pairs of Humphrey Law socks – Humphrey Law is an Australian owned company and their socks are still made in Australia.

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My ‘food rescue’ mission

Food waste is one of the scandals of the modern age. Tristram Stuart highlighted this problem in extraordinary detail in his book entitled ‘Waste: Uncovering the global food scandal’. He practiced freeganism for many years, to prove a point that it was possible to eat extremely well by rescuing discarded food from the bins behind the supermarkets and gourmet food stores. I truly wish I had the guts to go through the bins behind the supermarkets in my area, but I just don’t. So I do the next best thing and trawl the cold food section of my supermarket every week looking for items that have almost reached their ‘use by’ or ‘best by’ date, are heavily discounted, and will be thrown out if not purchased. Here’s the food I rescued from the last 2 weeks’ grocery shop:

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Winter in the Garden

Winter was a long time coming this year in the sub-tropics. This meant having to wait longer to plant cool weather crops like broccoli and bok choy. It was late April before it had cooled off enough to sow the seeds, and even through May we had many hot days. The bok choy came up fairly quickly and the leaves make a lovely addition to curries and stir-fried veges. The broccoli is all leaves at present, and I hope the heads start to show soon. As usual I’ve planted them too close. The spacing always looks ok at first! The bed looks particularly crowded partly because of this and also due to all the lettuce which self-seeded after I let last summer’s crop go to seed. What we don’t eat the chickens do!

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In praise of the to-do list

In praise of the to-do list

I think that it has become automatic for most people to say ‘oh I’m just so busy’ when they are asked how they are. Busyness evokes images of frantically rushing from activity to activity, being constantly stressed and running late, and having a lengthy, endless, and unwanted to-do list. Because of this I prefer to describe myself as ‘occupied’. Most times I feel a sense of flow in life, with my various interests and activities integrating to make up the wholeness that is ‘life’. A friend recently described me as ‘productive’ and I think she is pretty much on the mark.

I admit to finding it hard to do nothing, and regard myself as a ‘human doing’ rather than a ‘human being’. There are always gardening, cooking, and craft activities on my project list. And I love to keep a to-do list of everyday things Continue reading    

Best Winter Soup Recipes

There’s nothing like a cold snap to start me thinking about making and freezing soup for the winter IMG_0861months ahead. I don’t know about you, but I can make a meal out of a hearty soup. I harvested a handful of pumpkins this autumn, and wanted a thicker and more spicy alternative to this roasted pumpkin and apple soup. With lots of ginger and turmeric also growing in the garden, I created a spicy pumpkin soup recipe. Curried potato, tomato and garlic soup is another favourite; as well as a simple minestrone. And if you still have some sweet potatoes left from your last harvest, you could try this curried sweet potato soup. All served with home baked bread of course!

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup

IMG_0868 This is a thick and hearty soup, and is spicy in more of a fragrant rather than a really hot way. If you prefer a thinner soup, do try the roasted pumpkin and apple soup.

Ingredients:

1 kg pumpkin, cut into pieces

1/2 knob garlic

1 onionIMG_0869

1 Tbs finely grated ginger

1 Tbs finely grated tumeric

1 can coconut milk

Method: Roast pumpkin and garlic in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, at 180C for about 40 mins or until cooked through. Meanwhile, finely dice onion, and saute gently in a little oil with the ginger and tumeric, until the onion is softened. Add pumpkin, garlic, and onion mix to food processor and blend. Return to saucepan, add coconut milk, and gently heat without boiling. Serve with home baked bread.

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Curried Potato, Tomato, and Garlic Soup

Curried potato, tomato and garlic soup is probably my all time favourite soup recipe. It is vegan, gluten free, and freezes very well.

Ingredients:IMG_0880

1 kg potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 kg tomatoes, quartered

1 small knob garlic

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs curry powder, or to taste

3 cups water (adjust for desired consistency)

Method: Place potatoes and garlic in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 190C for about 20 mins. Add tomatoes, stir through curry powder, and roast for a further 20 mins, ensuring that the potatoes are tender. Puree in a food processor and scoop out into a large saucepan. Add water, stirring thoroughly, and heat through. Serve with home baked bread.

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