A Recipe Book For Those With Food Intolerances.

My daughters have eaten all manner of interesting food whilst travelling the world including moose, armadillo, duck tongues and sea urchins. Do you think I’ve ever been able to get either of them to eat cucumber? Not on your life ! It wasn’t until they were both in their early twenties that I could stop hiding Brussel Sprouts in their meals. How I adore the much maligned Brussel Sprout – my favourite all-time veg.

Thankfully my offspring have never suffered from any food allergies. I remember the increasing difficulty of holding celebratory Morning Teas at the Office because of the various food intolerances so many suffered. It became easier to cater for your own needs only and not to share-a-plate.

Blogger, Jillian, from FeedMyFamilyblog.com has a husband and a son who each have 8 food intolerances, 3 of which are shared.

Jillian is one of those “quiet achievers” who knuckled down during the social constraints of the Pandemic to produce a Recipe Book from her years of tweaking meals to better meet the needs of her family. Mothers’ And Others’ Recipes From the Heart has recently been published in both e-book and print format and includes recipes handed down through the generations with variations to cater for different dietary requirements.

Recipes cover Biscuits and Slices, Cakes, Desserts, Dips and Savoury Nibbles, Salads and Main Meals. They are easy to read and to follow. More importantly these are all meals that can be integrated into everyday meal times.

Under the name of each recipe is a colour coded reference to advise which intolerance the recipe caters for : Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Sulphate Free or Nut Free.

At the end of each there are notes should you wish to make further variations such as swapping one ingredient for another.

This book has been produced with much love and with contributions from Jillian’s family and friends.

One disappointment only: not one Brussel Sprout in sight!

Here’s a link for further information:

Mothers’ and Others’: Recipes From the Heart

You’ve got to respect those amongst us who have achieved something other than a batch of sour dough or brownies during ISO, don’t you?

NOTE:

Although Jillian and I both live in Brisbane we have never met, yet we have shared information about local WordPress events and Book Fairs. She asked for an honest review which I like to think I achieved by replicating one of the recipes in her book – the Roast Vegetable Couscous (with tweaks as I’m spring cleaning the pantry and defrosting the fridge in readiness for Christmas).

Delicious – even if I had to hide the pumpkin.

A Vent. Sorry…………

I downsized prior to my retirement from a 1300 sq metre property with a pool to something less than half that size with less maintenance yet enough room to enjoy a garden. It’s a lovely position which affords me my independence and backs onto a nature reserve with far less work and expense. Isn’t that what retirement is all about?

With COVID my neighbours have been working from home even though in Queensland our borders are now slowly reopening and our infection rate is low. ( 6 deaths. Too many but ?) Half their luck.

Earlier this week the neighbour baled me up whilst in the back garden. When I say baled me up, I couldn’t see him behind the fence because we’re both short but I could most certainly hear him screaming at me.

For the second time of late I was reminded that they are “both gainfully employed whilst I am retired” with the inference that I sit around on my backside and watch The Bold And The Beautiful all day long.

I received a five minute scolding about :
⁃ talking to the wildlife
⁃ just talking in general
⁃ making funny noises whilst working ( sorry, carrying 30 kilos isn’t as easy as it used to be and there may be the odd groan)
⁃ and saying good morning to the garden each day really pisses him off apparently.

Meet Skippy and Swampy

The conversation ended with a “you’ve been warned”. In capital letters.

Firstly, I am retired, not dead.

The reason I retired young was because I worked hard for forty years and lived simply. I earned it in sweat, blood and tears.

I am busy most days which requires no further detail. Let’s just say that I believe retired folk are undervalued. Without their contributions many organisations would not exist, so lets start reframing the language and calling it what it is : pro bono work.

I would spend only an hour a day in the garden, perhaps double that when I mow the lawn.

My noise output is minimal. There is no motorbike in my garage nor do I have teenagers coming in and out at all times of the day and night. No pool, dogs, nor kids. I don’t even have a leaf blower. Old school, I use a broom.

I do have a courtyard that I look forward to using for entertainment purposes during Spring and Summer. Does this mean I should not be entertaining friends during the week, but only on weekends when the neighbours aren’t working? I’m not sure how to navigate these new living arrangements……….

Moving pot plants around is hard yakka

What really irked me was :

  1. You gonna bitch don’t do it hiding behind a fence. Wuss.
  2. Employment status doesn’t make you a better person than the next.
  3. Don’t even start me on Agism
  4. The old bod has worked hard in its day. I can’t physically do what I used to do thirty years ago but I give it a try. This is not Russia. You just can’t shoot me.
  5. My property. My house. Not ladylike but **** Off.

My apologies for the vent.

Tomorrow I will wake up feeling much better and say good morning to the garden as usual. Pity I recently sold the daughter’s drum kit………..

Food and Music Save The Day.

The times they are a changin’. – Sir Bobness

Music from the 70’s has been my companion this week. When I downsized I tossed the Wedgewood and retained my vinyl collection. When I divorced I tossed the bloke and retained the music. Best decisions I made in years.

The music has kept me sane after having had our Prime Minister declare that there would be no overseas travel until 2024 – by which time, I wailed, that I would be dead- and the Northern Territory will keep its borders closed for eighteen months ( to provide biosecurity for the Indigenous population). I have no issues with being realistic but holy guacamole, a little hope goes a long way.

So lots of Donovan, Carpenters, Carly and Sir Bobness. In a different lifetime Sir Bobness ruled my house. I remember seeing him perform at the Sydney Opera House, one of those dreadful concerts for which he is renowned. I was decked out in smart work clobber, he and the rest of the audience wore cheese cloth. Some months later, having learned my lesson, I wore cheesecloth and little else to the Opera House to enjoy an evening with Donovan. He performed in a three piece suit.

So of course I’ve been cooking 70s style to go with the music. No fondues because I use that these days as a peg basket, though meatloaf stuffed with hardboiled eggs and plenty of stuffed cauliflower. My daughters don’t know whether to be appalled, impressed or alarmed.

No recipe books required – it’s all there in the wings which is a bit of a worry.

Next week we’ll move on to the 80’s. You’ll be pleased to learn I skipped the 90’s.




Next Project and Victory Gardens.

I’m very much an accidental gardener with a tendency to kill all indoor plants which explains my preference for native shrubs and trees : you simply ignore them and they attract bees and birds.

My vegetable garden provided much pleasure over recent months providing both occupation and produce. I claim that my unexpected weight loss over Isolation – despite way, way too much comfort food – was because of the produce straight from the “paddock”. It was satisfying to swap produce with friends as well: some tomatoes for Anzac Biscuits, chillies for home made tomato sauce.

So I’ve been encouraged and have recently planted a variety of Brassicas for winter. My thoughts have even turned to reforming my minuscule front yard into a garden plot for citrus trees and a variety of herbs.

Which has led me to reading about Victory Gardens :

From wikipeadia

During 1942 food shortages had an impact on the Australian home front with massive labour shortages, a severe prolonged drought, and major shortfalls in imports of seed stock and fertiliser. 

In January 1942 the Prime Minister, John Curtin, launched “Dig for Victory”, a publicity campaign urging householders to grow their own vegetables as a contribution to the war effort. 

Many Australians were already keen home vegetable gardeners, being self-sufficient, with fruit and vegetables and a “chook shed” down the back. Others took to the idea afresh and turned over their whole front and back gardens to vegetable production, often selling excess produce to raise funds for the front. Some people formed neighbourhood gardening groups as a means of feeding their families. Others formed gardening collectives, specifically to raise funds for the war effort. 

I grew up on a quarter acre block with vege gardens, fruit trees and the chook shed way down the back ( with the cubby house,  cowboy tent and rope swing).

A girl always needs a project so I think this is next on the list – incorporating a sleep box for the ducks, of course.

Picnics and Raby Bay.

I have lived by Brisbane’s Moreton Bay now for twenty five years. Previous to that, we moved around the country every three or four years to chase the big jobs – as in BIG. Putting roots down in Brisbane was never in the cards. 

The suburb we settled in enjoyed cooling breezes off the Bay which is a must to combat the summer humidity, and the local school had a swimming pool. Australia is a big island with most of the population dotted along the coast. Teaching kids to swim at an early age is not negotiable. Mine took to water like ducks.

A canal estate development and harbour were built from the reclaimed mangroves that lined the coast bordering my suburb. Raby Bay was filled with massive homes and shiny 4wheel drives and included tennis courts and private moorings. What was once known for its seagrass meadows, supporting the local dugong population, and roosting sites for migratory wading birds, was virtually demolished. I hated it, and to be honest, was peeved that the boats moored at their back doors were worth more than my house. No kidding : the brick letterboxes were worth more than my house.

It is interesting to note that in recent months the canal waters have become so clear that you can see all the rubbish sitting on the sand. Our enforced isolation  means that dolphins and turtles have been spotted frolicking in the waterways, and the seagrass is even growing back luring the dugongs.

I’ve enjoyed a few picnics by the water in recent days. On a clear day you can see across to both Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island from Raby Bay. I’ve even thrown a line in. Thank goodness there was cheese and wine in the fridge at home.

Picnics in parkland by the water are one of the good things that I have taken from these weird times. It had been a long time since I last sat on a rug and did nothing but take in Nature.

Sometimes good things do come out of weird times.

Vege Porn and Mr Do-Bee

The 20th of May was World Bee Day. Did you miss it? It was designed to highlight awareness about Bees and celebrate the role they play in our environment.

Here’s some fun facts about Bees:

1.  Honey bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey
2.  The average bee will make only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
3.  A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.            
4.  Honey has antiseptic properties and was historically used as a dressing for wounds and a first aid treatment for burns and cuts.
5.  The bees’ buzz is the sound made by their wings which beat 11,400 times per minute.

And lastly, Bees are sexy critters as they communicate with one another by dancing. It’s called the “waggle dance”. ( How’s that for trivia?)

I like Bees and encourage them to visit my garden with native flowering shrubs and a fertile vegetable patch. Currently, the sound of Bees at work pollinating the pumpkins filters around the neighbourhood, which sure beats the drone of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Some neighbours even have pumpkins growing across footpaths.

Warning : R Rated Adult Content

Last year, presumably because of the lack of rain, Bees were in short supply. We had to pollinate the pumpkins manually. Yep, vege porn. The pumpkin crop proved a huge success, thank goodness. Lots of soup to sustain us throughout winter.

I grew up with the children’s TV program, Romper Room, in the early 1960’s which encouraged my affection for Bees.

Mr. Do-Bee was an oversized bumblebee character who taught children proper manners. His sentences began with, “Do Bee good boys and girls for your parents!” Of course, there was a Mr. Don’t Bee to teach what not to do. How I longed for a Mr Do-Bee puppet…

Do-Bee good this weekend and have fun. Be kind a play safely.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

Families in my neighbourhood are joining the global bear hunt movement, making walks around the streets lots of fun during this wretched disruption to life as we know it.

This has people putting teddy bears and other soft toys in windows, trees and on balconies, encouraging Little People to get outdoors for a walk with their parents while hunting for bears. This is particularly important, both mentally and physically, with our parks and reserves currently deemed out of bounds.

It is lovely to see the joy on the kiddies’ faces as they drive by when they have spied a bear.

The hunt is inspired by the children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, in which the characters sing: 

We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one — what a beautiful day, we’re not scared.’’

The initiative has been widely shared on community Facebook pages. As I understand it, bears are about to be swapped for Bunnies for Easter. I’m going to have to look up Paper Mache instructions on youtube.

I’m having great fun bear spotting on my rare outings to the shops, and moving Suzanne and Jasmine around my house. What about you?


Update:

Emotional health and wellbeing holding steady though I’m getting ready to kill for a decent coffee. And if I hear #BoomerRemover one more time it wont be freakin’ pretty……Funny Not Funny.

Dorothea Mackeller Got It Right.

In good news the Currowan Fire burning in the Shoalhaven for 74 days was set to “out” by the NSW Rural Fire Service on Saturday. In Qld’s South East corner, and much of the eastern coastline, I came out of the theatre to wade through foot high rain water surging across the lawn. Not an elegant exit and I expect that I’ll be up for a new pair of shoes. *

I love a sunburnt country, 

A land of sweeping plains, 

Of ragged mountain ranges, 

Of droughts and flooding rains. 

I love her far horizons, 

I love her jewel-sea, 

Her beauty and her terror 

The wide brown land for me! 

Dot Mackeller certainly nailed it, didn’t she ?

Perfect weather for the flicks so saw the 2019 remake of Midway. Quite enjoyable except that I kept looking for Robert Mitchum as General Halsey confined to his hospital bed with shingles. The visuals literally had me on the edge of my seat though the aerial attacks on the Japanese ships in the last battle were way too Star Warsey.

Being stuck indoors made for crafty activities. Easter treats prepared for the kiddies who use the Little Community Library- forward planning is a positive, right? – and pots painted and planted as fund raisers.

Regardless of weather the house requires a major tidy. Child home midweek and she is a neat freak. Hope she remembers how to cope when I hand her a golf club and send her out into the garden to do battle with the cane toads that abound in this big wet………..

* Thoughts with the daughter and a girlfriend on cyclone watch.

The Year Of Promoting Local…for a good cause.

It has been said that “we develop our desires and drives during our childhood then our whole adulthood becomes affected by these childhood experiences”.

There have been a couple of experiences as a child that I have carried through to my adult life and all pertain to my home life.

  1. I never touch walls and never have I been in a state requiring a wall to hold me up.
  2. I don’t breath on windows
  3. I never put holes in walls.

These behaviours exist because my father was not good with his hands, detested working around the house ( including cleaning windows and painting the family home) and because most houses of that era came with picture rails. Truely, he couldn’t change a lightbulb ……which seems to be hereditary.

I share this because I’m in a bit of a quandary. Yep, the knickers are well and truely in a knot.

The Old SchoolHouse Gallery is a community art gallery run by the artists which promotes the visual arts by instruction, information and inspiration. It aims to celebrate artistic expression by providing opportunities to exhibit projects for sale.

On the first Wednesday of every month the theme changes which provides an opportunity for different creatives to have their work featured. The February exhibition opens on Thursday, 6th of February, showcasing works by Nicole Darlington and Natasha Gibson-Scott. The theme “Our Country” features Australian native wildlife, flora and landscapes in a wide variety of media including ink, oil pastels, ceramics, jewellery, and acrylics.

Courtesy of event flyer

The artists are donating 25 per cent of all their sales to wildlife organisations to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of fauna devastated by the summer bushfires.

I make an effort to visit the Old SchoolHouse Gallery once a month to view the ever changing exhibitions and occasionally purchase hand made jewellery items as gifts for family and friends.

Courtesy of event flyer

I’de really like a painting, and I’de really like to help this worthy cause. But I have no more spare hooks on walls and already have artworks and photos on tables being propped up by empty wine bottles.

A lack of wall space is not the issue – it’s the putting of holes and marks on walls which gives me anxiety.

The Old SchoolHouse Gallery is located at 124-126 Shore Street North, Cleveland Point and is open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Entry is FREE and there is onsite parking and wheelchair access.

  • Fire Update : Much needed rain has fallen along the East Coast of Australia over the past few days putting out many of the fires. One Rural Fire Service closed shop yesterday leaving a sign “ Gone To Jump In Puddles”. Wags, love ‘em. There are still fires blazing in the Alpine regions with hamlets being evacuated. Keep on doing those rain dances please.
  • Stringybark Publishing Update : Here are the books I received as Bookpack 1 of short story anthologies with all profits going to organisations assisting our native animals.

Downsizing For The New Year

Change is in the air, as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging. Consciously release what needs to be released, and welcome with a full embrace the newness you’ve prayed for and so richly deserve.” – Marianne Williamson

Each new year brings the ability to implement fresh, new changes.

I’m downsizing. That will be my my big change for the new decade. I’m going to reduce the size of my handbag.

Research indicates that women generally carry twenty one basic items in their handbag on a daily basis. Other than keys, wallet and sunglasses these can include safety pins, mints, toothbrush and floss, medication, pens, diary, book, comb, hair pins, hand cream, tissues, band aids, lipstick ……….and the list goes on and on and on.

When it comes to handbags I’ve always been a minimalist. Basics only.  Money, keys, spectacles, and in recent years, the Ipad.

I’ve always maintained good relationships with my handbags. Whilst some women collect shoes my preference is for going barefoot. Carryalls have always been more my thing and I’ve relished them being colourful, large and on the empty side. I don’t do clutter well.

I tend to work a handbag to death. They are not constantly rotated according to my wardrobe. Their day starts early and can finish late, and there’s a hint of co-dependency.

The new year has me reviewing my relationship with handbags and so I will begin the new decade with a smaller, more compact version. I will continue to opt for colour and consider this my effort to reduce my carbon footprint.

Of course, this move will necessitate the downsizing of my wallet. Advice from friends indicates that I will require a change purse and a card carrier, both requiring a huge shift in mindset.

We can do this.

Change.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. -Benjamin Franklin