Roll, Easy and Daisies.

 This year, summer has been really hot. (I live in Australia) We had 42°C last week – three days in a row. I feel for the other side of the world where the snow was thick and the temperatures extremely cold. Is it global warming, or a wobble in our Earth’s axis that might be to blame? Whatever the reason – everyone – please keep safe.hot

The promise of more hot weather to come, has meant that cooking is off the menu – if you know what I mean! Salads are the way to go. Cold drinks are important to keep you hydrated. Water is the best option – so make it easy on yourself and have some water always at hand.

Flavouring the water with fresh fruit is always a treat and gives variety and a sweet burst of energy – you don’t need added sugar to achieve it.

Try crushed, fresh strawberries, or slices of lemon, lime or orange – or a combination of all three – with a little passion-fruit added for zing! and of course, add a little ice if you wish.water

When it comes time to eat, add a small dash of protein, a nice refreshing salad, and a fresh roll.

To make a salad, good quality ingredients are always the best. They can be anything you like to put together, from potatoes, eggs,capsicum and mayonnaise, to cold pasta or rice with a sprinkle of corn, peas, cooked bread, prawns and cold, crispy bacon with a herb, garlic and olive oil dressing. A green salad can include lettuce, beetroot leaves, baby spinach, diced cucumber, sliced carrots, halved or sliced tomatoes, or any raw vegetable you desire, with a lemon juice, olive oil  red wine vinegar and salt dressing. Play with the combinations!

You can even make home-made rolls that are fresher than bought ones – and much tastier. Knowing the ingredients also means you are not ingesting anything chemical that may or may not be in commercial mixes.

Bread Rolls:-

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If you must go out – remember to cover up, use sun screen and wear a hat. Australia has a summer-running promotion with advertisements on the television – Slip, slap, slop (Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen).sunscreen

After all – the Australian sun (gosh – that’s the same sun you get, too!) can burn and there is a high incidence of sun cancers in this country. Skin cancer and melanomas are deadly! We don’t want you pushing up daisies anytime in the near future if you can help it!daisies

Remember to be careful in the snow, too. There are people who are suffering there, just as much as in our heat. Be kind, don’t be judgmental – and care for your selves and your fellow man. Go out of your way to help another person. If we all did that, the world would be a better place.

With Kindness

Maureen

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Maureen Larter

P.S. – a lovely story about Australia, health and the weather is ‘Cassie Crocodile catches a cold’Cassiefront – ( getBook.at/CCCCe ) written by me and illustrated by Annie Gabriel. www.facebook.com/AnnieGabrielArt

Annie Gabriel is an illustrator, textile artist and book artist, who comes from a background of art and primary education. From ab early age, she was constantly drawing and painting. One of her first inspirations was a book called ‘The Little Brown Mouse”. The little girl in the story painted her friend, the mouse, and so Annie began painting mice, too. As they say – the rest is history!

Annie

Annie Gabriel

These days, Annie makes ‘one-off’ books for her grandchildren, and teaches them about art when they visit. Inspiration can strike at any time, and any place, and the stories from Maureen Larter are always a pleasure to create.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Remarks, Essay and Dogs

Unless you haven’t noticed yet, every blog post has a title with R, E and D initials – the same as Read, Eat and Dream. Trying to make a cohesive, interesting and educational article with the three words is never easy – but it makes my writing brain really work hard.

So … if you are a writer, that would be called ‘a prompt’ and it is a good way to get your ideas beginning to flow. Whether you just make remarks about your every day life, or sit at the keyboard and compose a serious essay, it makes no difference – once you start it is always easier to keep going.

In my experience, any writing you do should come from a place of passion, and mine is that  every child should have the opportunity to learn. I try to achieve that in all my children’s books, even if they are clothed in a fantasy story. For example, my picture book ‘Dorothy Dog and the Dangerous Dragonfly’ (in the Alphabet Animals of Australia series) is about a dog that gets lost. I have projects in the back of the book (and every picture book I write in this series) that helps young children to understand the dangers of leaving the safety of home, as well as giving them ideas to follow up on insects, dog breeds, traffic rules and more.                                                         ( getBook.at/DDDDE )Dotdogfront

However, that isn’t all my blog is about – that’s the ‘READ’ part – but what about the ‘EAT’?

One of my joys, is growing food and then harvesting, cooking and preserving that harvest.

Here is a favourite use of potatoes when you have a glut of them. And that happens often when you grow food. Next time remind me to tell you what you do with zucchinis (courgettes)

Boston Bun:

1 ½ cup mashed potatoes

1 cup SR flour

1 cup wholemeal flour

bun

¾ cup sugar

1 tspn salt

1 ½ cup mixed dried fruit/sultanas

1 cup milk.

Icing:

1 cup icing sugar

1 tspn vanilla essence

1-2 tblspns lemon juice and water

2-3 drops food colouring (optional)

  1. Pre heat oven to 180-200°C.
  2. Place mashed potatoes in a bowl and add sugar. Mix well.
  3. Add fruit.
  4. Sift flours and salt together.
  5. Add to potato mixture alternately with milk.
  6. Place in two greased loaf tins or one large cake tin.
  7. Bake for approx 45mins.
  8. Remove from pan/s and allow to cool slightly. Ice while still just warm.
  9. Icing: mix all ingredients until it is a stiff consistency.
  10. Cut into slices to serve. Maybe buttered if you desire. Serves 6-8.

And of course, then we have the DREAM part!

The most important thing about dreams – and I’m not talking about the sleep variety – is to follow them. Make your life a better place, and it will follow through to the world in general. My dreams are huge, but I try to spread knowledge, learning and peace throughout the world. Definitely big dreams – but you’ve got to start somewhere!

With Kindness

Maureen

 

 

Re-think, Earn and Digest

pen2018!

My goodness, how time flies! A year since I last wrote here, so Happy New Year!

The last year has flown by and I’ve had a break from blogging. Time to re-think and begin my writing life again.

I’ve been lazy!

Well, perhaps that’s an over simplification. 2017 has been a year of obstacles. Not only have I had to re-adjust to a new environment, with my family splitting and re-forming in a new way, but I’ve had to contend with hospital stays and operations. My mind just wasn’t in the right place to write. But I can now digest all my new experiences and begin to return to normal – whatever normal is!

Now, in the years of retirement, what do I really want to do?

I’ve got two chapter books ready to be edited and launched. One is for children (at present the title is ‘Petey” – maybe you can think of a better title – let’s look at that at a  later date) and the other is for adults ( viewAuthor.at/MargueriteWellbourne )(written under my pen-name Marguerite Wellbourne, this is a novel about domestic violence – ‘Ordeal by Innocence). They’ve been sitting languishing in my laptop, waiting for me to polish and buff them into new books.

In 2016 I had written several more picture books in my ‘Alphabet Animals of Australia’ series for youngsters (  https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia) and they’ve been in the hands of my illustrators. Now I can actively put them out into the world. This is the latest – ‘Kathy Koala’s Kerfuffle’ (soon to be available) and there are heaps more!Kathykoalafrontcover

I’ve also decided to write a series of books for my Chinese and Cambodian students after getting the experience of living and teaching in both countries.

‘Learning Basic English’ is going to be a series of 5 books – maybe I will be able to earn some pocket money to shore up my retirement pension. In all my books I am very conscious that the children should learn something.img214a

One of the things YOU can all help me with, is finding out what my readers actually want.

  • Would you like some short stories?
  • Would you like recipes for one? Gardening tips?
  • Would you like to have some coloring-in pages for your little ones?
  • Would you be prepared to pay a small fee for any or all of the above? How much?
  • What would you be prepared to give me your email address for if something was free?
  • If you could answer these questions, I will see that I can do this for you. I also want to commit to giving you an article here once a week. What information would you like from me?

Answer these questions, and I will be for ever grateful.

See you. Let’s start 2018 as friends, and spread knowledge, learning and peace throughout the world. Big dreams – but you’ve got to start somewhere!

With kindness

Maureen

Want to know more? send me an email at maureenlarter@gmail.com and let me know what you want. I will send you a little something free on your (and my) interest.

 

 

 

Return, Emergency and Diet

I’m home!

Back from Cambodia.

My return hasn’t been quite what I expected. Not that I anticipated a ticker-tape parade, or an award for services to humanity. I just wanted to come home, full of exciting tales, my loved ones around me, and settle back into normality.

What I got was a stumble from one emergency to another.

The day after I surfaced from sleep, my son’s knee suddenly went red – painful enough for him not to be able to walk – and so off to hospital he went.

Christmas day was a blur. My son had been allowed out of hospital for the day, but was still incapacitated and lay on the sofa with his leg up, antibiotics at his side. We were all tense and uncomfortable. I had only had a couple of days to ground myself back in Australia and I was still suffering from classic jet lag, and although my body was home, I’m not sure that my brain or spirit had caught up.

I discovered that my car had been involved in an accident (no-one was injured  – thank goodness) while I had been away. The insurance company, in its wisdom had written off the vehicle.

I was without a car!

Boxing day hit – and so did my stomach!

“What!!” It screamed at me. “You decided a diet of rich food as soon as you arrived home was a good idea???”

I went down with a bad case of Bali Belly (even though I wasn’t in Bali!)

Had I only been home a week?

Everyone was aghast that so much had gone wrong in 2016, and then 2017 began. Let’s hope that this year we can re-set the dials of life and the balance of calm will prevail.

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Running, Expenses and Dangers

OMG! 14 days till I leave the shores of Australia.I am running out of time.

I am wondering, at this point, if this will be the last post for the year. The Education Centre I am going to may not have Internet service. Gosh! It might not have reliable electricity as far as I know. Mind you, the poor people in South Australia and Victoria

electric

The reason South Australia lost power across the state!

(Australia) have had it far worse in the last few weeks. I hope everyone is safe and can re-start their lives with a sense of thankfulness.

So far my expenses have run to the cost of my ticket and my travel insurance. I have never had insurance before, but if there are any dangers that come along at least I am covered.

So far the only thing that is NOT going to plan is my visa – so far I have had no luck getting one. The Cambodian Embassy in Canberra doesn’t seem to want to answer my emails or phone calls. I will try again this week – after all – as I mentioned before – time is running out. Let’s hope that will all work out well.icambodia

 

When I visited China I made the mistake of not getting recipes for some of the great meals I had. Hopefully, this time, I will be able to come home with some recipes to share – some of the food was delicious.

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Ice-cream to die for!

I will definitely have plenty of stories to tell. Travel is such a mind-expanding experience and I would recommend it to everyone.

It certainly makes you realize the value of your own home and country.

Looking forward, albeit nervously, to my adventure.

Speak soon.

Rice, Edges and Dumplings

I am beginning to get excited. Why, you ask?rice

Well, I’ve committed myself to eating rice. 

That statement isn’t altogether true! What I really mean is that I will probably be eating more rice in October, November and December than I normally would. And I’m getting excited because, while I’m eating it I will be in Cambodia, not in my safe little haven of home.paddy

I awoke at the beginning of the year and realized it was ten years ago that I had lived in China. It shocked me a little. Where had that ten years gone? Life was rushing headlong towards the inevitable end and if I didn’t do something soon, I knew I would use every excuse in the book to not do anything at all – you know the situation :-

1 – I’m too old to do that. (You’re never too old)

2 – I’ve got too much to do at home. (Home will still be there when you come back)

3 – I’m too scared to go out of my comfort zone. (You’re brave – go for it!)

4 – I can’t speak the language. (You’ll get by – someone will speak English)

5 – I can’t read the language. (Isn’t it weird being illiterate – but you can learn.)khmer alphabet

6 – There’s too much violence in the world these days. (The media exaggerates.)

7 – What if I get sick? (You’re healthy – don’t jinx yourself)

8 – What if … what if …

And so it goes – and always that little voice of reason cuts through the hard edges of your emotions, excuses and fears, and makes you feel foolish.

So I made a decision! I’m going to go overseas and teach, just like I did in China back in 2006.plane

Once that decision was made, everything fell into place.

So now I’m excited – I told you that at the beginning, didn’t I? – even if I am a little afraid.

Cambodia – here I come – swapping rice for the dumplings I loved while I lived in China, and the meat pies and sauce from good old Aussieland. Wish me luck – but remember – I really don’t need it – I’m going to enjoy every moment anyway!

Rubbish, Everything and Doors

 

 

It’s that time of the month again! BLOG TIME!

I’ve been away looking after my daughter’s dog and house while the family went away and enjoyed a cruise.

I focused in on my writing and managed to get the first draft of my next novel  ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ completed. I had no distractions – so was able to concentrate. It was not an easy book to write, as it deals with domestic violence. I write under the name of Marguerite Wellbourne when I write for adults – wouldn’t want the children to get hold of these books!

The last book was called ‘Tarnished Gems’ and involves four women and their checkered pasts and how they change after an accident.front

The only thing I didn’t manage to do for her was put out the rubbish bins on the day. I can remember the noise of a truck in the street, wondering why it was stopping all the time. You’d think I’d have figured it out before it had gone past, wouldn’t you. But my head was on my writing – everything else was not important!

I left the door open for the dog, and just worked!

When I got home, the hens had missed me so much that they were no longer laying eggs – the vegetable garden was smothered in weeds, but the cabbage, cauliflower and silver beat were ready to pick!

One has to have a win occasionally!                                                    

Now that I’m home, the next thing on my agenda is a workshop I will be giving on bread-making. I will be taking 3 classes this coming week.

Here is one of the recipes I will be giving the students:-

 

Chapatis:

2 cups plain flour.

1 tspn salt

2 cups SR/Wholemeal flour

3 tblspns melted butter

1 – 13/4 cups warm water.

 

Mix together the flours and salt. Add the melted butter, then add enough of the warm water to make a soft, but not wet dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Dust with flour and wrap in a damp towel and chill for about an hour or so.

Cut the  dough in 12 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball, flatten slightly then roll until as thin as possible.

Pre heat a frying pan, grease very lightly, then place each circle in the pan. Cook until slightly brown, then turn and do the other side. Repeat with the other 11 pieces. Brush with butter, and serve warm. Serves 6 (two each)

 

Well, there you go – wonder what next month will bring?