Recipes, Electricity and Dinner.

As an elderly (No – not possible – where has the time gone?  I am still 30 inside my head), single lady living on a pension, I strive to live comfortably on a budget.

To do this, I put necessary bill money away automatically.  These are things such as elecelectricity, phone, my stock feed and Internet bills. A little every fortnight is not missed, but a large bill coming in on the three month cycle can be a huge hit in one go, so this is a preferable scheme.

I try, also, to cook my meals from fresh produce – either out of the garden, or the specials of the fortnight. (I only shop once a fortnight).

I garden, I preserve my produce, I knit to make my own garments for Winter, I teach piano and violin for a little pocket money and I write children’s books and novels, to keep my brain active. It makes for a busy life – but I am never bored. It means I have many interests and projects to do.

In this blog, I like the idea of sharing my knowledge of all the above activities. So I often have gardening tips, recipes for all sorts of goodies and books to sell.

One of my favourite dinner recipes, easy, quick and tasty, is:-best-ever-spaghetti-sauce_large

Spaghetti with yummy sauce.

1 tin diced tomatoes, one onion (chopped), 1 zucchini (with skin, chopped) 1 rasher of bacon (chopped) 3 mushrooms (chopped) and a handful of spaghetti (or so).

Boil the spaghetti in water in a saucepan till soft but not sticky. While spaghetti is cooking, heat a small dribble of oil in a frying pan. Add bacon and onion. Fry gently till just coloured. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Stir through the bacon/onion mixture. Finally add the diced tomatoes. By the time this is all heated through, the spaghetti should be ready. Drain it and place on plate, top with the sauce. If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you are vegetarian, leave out the bacon. You can add other vegetables if you desire, but make sure they are chopped or grated so they mix in and cook at the same rate as the rest. This usually makes enough for two or three meals – so adjust the spaghetti accordingly. The extras can be frozen for later meals.

Keeping good food on the table and looking after the environment around me is a wonderful way to keep young, healthy and active in the community. I have traveled to China and Cambodiapaddy – and the people are lovely. If I can impart some of my knowledge I will be a happy human.

While I think of it – are there any recipes, projects or gardening tips you would like to know?

Do you have any questions?

Please leave a comment and I will try to add in any answers I am able to give.

With kindness




Some of my garden guides – for a temperate area – cost is $10 for each booklet – or $30 for the lot (plus postage). Contact me on if you are interested.


Rest, Effects and Decorating.

Finally we all get a rest from the heat of Summer. This year has been dry and hot, and as I age I’ve felt it more than previous years. With Autumn came the rain, and a better temperature. My garden thanked the Nature Gods and the plants that had almost expired, re- hydrated and lifted their leaves to the heavens.

plantI find the effects of rain amazing. I water diligently in the heat, and the plants wilt – along comes the water from the sky, and they rejoice. The grass becomes green overnight and the flowers perk up and buds and new leaves form.

Now I whinge about the wet! And I worry I haven’t got my seeds in soon enough, and that I’ll need to mow more now the grass is finally growing.

Aren’t humans contrary!

I can’t believe that I went from sitting at the edge of a stream, fanning myself and wondering whether I could breathe, to looking at the possibility of donning a cardigan or hoodie! All in the space of twenty four hours.

While I think of it – I haven’t given out a recipe for a while – here is a delicious cake/bread to be served warm or cold, with butter or not – great picnic fare.


250g mixed dried fruit of choice

125g raw sugarbread

250g SR flour

1 egg

½ tspn mixed spice

1 cup cold tea.

  1. Soak fruit overnight in the tea with the added sugar.
  2. Next morning, preheat oven to 180-200°C.
  3. Add egg, flour and spice to the fruit mixture. Mix well.
  4. Place in 2 greased loaf tins or one large square cake tin.
  5. Bake for approx 45 mins.
  6. Serve cool, sliced with butter. Serves 8-12.

Enjoy! It can be decorated with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or a lemon icing goes well too. I prefer to eat it warm – nothing except a pat of butter – YUM!!

These days, I love to cook – it is better to know what I put in the food I eat. Maybe, the escalating of weight and disease can be attributed to the preservatives and other things that the manufacturers put in our food to give it a long shelf life. Of course, that is only my opinion, and there are many influences in our 21st Century lifestyle that contribute to our health. One day, maybe, the dream of a long and healthy life will be the norm. (As an aside, it probably should be pointed out, that a check on our population would not go astray either!)

With Kindness


Here is a little children’s picture book celebrating the changes in life, and the beauty around us. ($20 Australian plus postage)Candy Cow Front

If you would like a copy to read to the children in your life, be they sons, daughters, grandchildren or nephews and nieces, please feel free to contact me on


Raw, Earth and Dips.

One of my passions in life is trying to leave my little patch of paradise in a better condition than when I moved to it. I have nearly 15 acres in the mid north coast of New South Wales in Australia.

My home

What a view as I sit at my computer!

The soil in most of Australia is of a poorish quality – so the first thing is to try and improve it. I have decided NOT to add anything man-made as far as fertilizers go. Sure – everything in Nature can be tracked back to chemicals, but I prefer to use the natural manures to help the soil.

Did you know, that fertilizers were more or less ‘invented’ after the World Wars. bombCommercial manufacturers of bombs noticed that the grass and plant life around bomb-craters were green and healthily growing. When the wars ended, they didn’t know what to do with all the left over chemicals in their factories, so they turned to making fertilizer with them. The use of these fertilizers have become so widespread that it has now become known as ‘conventional’ farming  and ‘organic’ farming that had been used for millennia suddenly became ‘alternative’ and  strange.

Now there is a swing back to the sustainable way of farming. Raw cow manure


and poultry manure

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREare easily obtained – and should be composted down to create a wonderful bio-media to add to the soil. If you put the raw manure on your plants, it will burn – always compost down first.

I suggest that you make three compost bins – one just started, one working and the other ready to dip into to add to the garden.  There are various ways to easily construct a compost heap, and if you google it you will find an amazing amount of information.bin

I like the idea of buying rubbish bins – digging a hole in your garden, taking the bottom out of the bin, and burying it in the hole up to the brim. The scraps and manure etc go in the bin, the lid goes on to protect  the contents, the worms are able to get in from the bottom, and when it has all worked its magic, pull out the bin, and the compost is exactly where you want it!

Now on a small vegetable house garden that is not so difficult – but what about on a broader scale – paddock size?? It is easy to spread man-made fertilizer there, so how do you use ‘organic’ methods on a large scale? That has been the biggest problem for our modern day farmers with huge tracts of land to improve, machinery to use that makes it quicker and conversely, not enough time to create the amount of food that our growing population needs.

That last paragraph needs an article all to itself – in fact all environmental improvements for our Earth need lots of people to talk about them. We are lucky that the human race is inventive and resilient. Hope and dreams are necessary for us all.

With Kindness


Soil cover front cI have written a little booklet about improving the soil. If you are interested, they are AU$8 plus postage. Contact me at and let me know where to send it.


Raspberries, Equipment and Diets.

To follow on from my post last week, let’s talk more about diets.

We are bombarded by advice all the time. Diets have become a multi million dollar business.

But just what do you follow? Are you hoping to have a body of an eighteen year old, even though you may have had 3 children and have reached the ‘over the hill’ age?

I think it is about time to be realistic – blow raspberries (yes – I know – the real things are good for you) at all those yoyo dieters and gym junkies.raspberry

Now – I have nothing against exercise and good, healthy eating. But there is no need to go overboard.

Yes – the gym has a certain appeal, with it’s equipment and weights and bars – and healthy eating has it’s place, too. But …

It’s your friends birthday, and there is a birthday cake covered in luscious chocolate icing and accompanied by whipped cream as well as a very insistent friend smiling at you and begging you to have some. Now that’s exactly my point – have some! You don’t have to demolish the cake all by yourself in one sitting!

The secret, as far as I can see is my mother’s generation’s old adage – everything in moderation.

My mother even went so far as recommending that a dinner plate should have a little bit of as many colours as you can find. White from potatoes or turnip or rice, green from lettuce or broccoli or beans or peas, red from beetroot or tomatoes or capsicum, yellow from pumpkin or corn. You get the idea.

We always had a small dessert after dinner as well. Sugar was never overused in our house, and was not considered a health hazard.

The things we DID NOT have was soft drinks and junk food. Everything was cooked fresh.junkb

Weight was never a problem – and as you grew older, it was understood that your body changed and exercise was not so robust. I have been doing some research into the phenomenon of the ‘middle age and older’ body. It used to be called ‘middle-age spread‘. Women, in particular seem to take on a bigger boob, rotund tummy and larger backside shape.


It can’t be that we are all bad eaters and not exercisers. Well – I’ve found out that as we age our metabolism slows down – but we can do something about it! Matt Stone has done a lot of research into this particular problem – see his website – – very interesting reading. Diet suddenly becomes a dirty word!

Let’s get back to a sensible outlook on our food and daily lives. Stressing constantly about what you eat and what you weigh is counterproductive. Consider that you can eat less, if you are overweight, but don’t starve yourself – it only makes the body confused and can be dangerous in the long run. And remember – getting tangled up in the diet mentality means you are only making someone else rich on your weaknesses and addictions.

That’s all from me about that now – I’ll get off my soapbox. Enjoy your life – let minor irritations go and learn from your mistakes but don’t let them rule your life. After all, to be blunt and scary – in a hundred years time no-one will even remember that you were worried and stressed.

In my next post, I’ll talk about gardens – our Earth seems to have been put on a diet too, and the soil is impoverished and needs food. What are your thoughts?

Till next week.

With Kindness


Even dogs can experience stress – and it is no good for them, as well as for you and/or your Dotdogfrontchildren. Here is a story about Dorothy Dog who gets lost. The paperback to read to your children is available from me for AU$20 plus postage. Take a look at my facebook page and message me if you are interested.

Regret, Experience and Donuts.

Now that’s what I call an easy title! I can do all those words in one sentence.

Here it is:-donut

“I ate the donut, enjoyed the experience, but regretted it immediately!

The old saying came to mind as soon as the sweet cake was eaten. “Once on the lips, forever on the hips”.

But it isn’t as easy as that.

We have been brainwashed into believing the body should be slim, taut and terrific. Just eat only healthy, organic produce, keep your calorie intake low and exercise in the gym until you faint! Well, maybe not quite as extreme as that, but we are shown examples of models and gym junkies as the ‘perfect’ body, whether you are 12 or 85! modl

This line of thinking has caused more trouble than it’s worth. Of course you should eat sensibly, and not be taken in by fast food advertising. But on the other hand, a donut or some chocolate or a hamburger occasionally doesn’t really count.

If those were the only food you ate, day in day out – well that’s another story!

But to be honest, the picture of the perfect model body and the extremes that those people go to, just isn’t realistic!

Just exactly what is ‘healthy’ food? What a difficult question.

Give me your thoughts on the matter, please.

If you live in Alaska, or India, or Turkey, or France – in fact in any place on Earth, your answer would, no doubt, be different to my ideas.

Each country has its own cuisine – and some of those foods are fantastic. I adore chicken stir-fry with fried or steamed rice (Chinese)chick, I love spaghetti a la marinara with parmesan (Italy)spag

and I would go out of my way to find a beautiful lamb and apricot tagine (Turkey).


The common thread in all those dishes is there is a little protein (meat or fish), lovely fresh vegetables and great cooking.

and I guess one of the important matters is life is to ENJOY what you have, not always striving towards the impossible. I know it is important to dream of bigger and better things, but take one step, one day at a time. don’t reach for the unattainable – take little chunks towards your ideal and – and be gentle on yourself.

With Kindness


P.S. – don’t forget the children in your life – whether they be yours, your grandchildren, nephews or nieces, or just friends. How about you donate books to your local primary school, kindergarten or library. Here’s one you might like (available through Amazon or me – at

Candy Cow Front

Candy Cow nearly eats a caterpillar, but the caterpillar teaches the cow instead. What is his message?


Raving, Electricity and Dehydration

I’ve done it! I’ve found a way to get rid of all those humungous zucchinis you miss on the vine! I cut them up in thin slices and dehydrate them!

So? What’s so good about that, you ask?

Well, they can then be preserved – and I can add them to stews, casseroles and other slow-cooked meals in Winter. But, best of all – if I dehydrate them until they are crisp then they can be thrown into a blender with other dehydrated vegetables and blended into a powder! My very own vegetable stock powder to add to just about anything.

I love the dehydration process. I have dried all sorts of things, from making my own jerky that comes from marinated beef strips to Apples dowsed in lemon juice for a healthy snack.dehy

I was given a dehydrator as well as buying my own, so I when I use them, it is a use of electricity that I don’t mind. I will have to make my own dehydrator as well, so that I can make use of our powerful sun here in Australia.  A win/win situation – free power from the sun, and an easier way to preserve the harvest. Can any body tell me an easy way to make one?  I do have to tell you – I am hopeless with tools! Now – which way do you hold a hammer???

Coming back to the zucchini problem (and if you grow your own you know just how many zucchinis you will have!) – I add dried pumpkin, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and a little salt to my vegetable powder, and it can be added as a seasoning as well.zuccs

Years ago, I could buy mushroom stock and bacon stock – both of which are no longer available in my country town. Those are the next powders I am going to try. Onion salt, garlic salt and celery salt are other combinations I can try

Sorry to rave on about dehydrating this time, but I got all excited when I thought about the beauty of being able to bring down a huge vegetable into a small jar! I know … I’m strange! The old saying – small things please … well you can finish that saying for yourself!

Last week, I was given a large box of very soft tomatoes – too far gone to eat fresh. I cooked them down to make a passata/paste from them and ended up with 3 small jars of intense flavour. So much you can do without having to spend loads of money. I know my electricity bill will be higher, but with a solar dehydrator, that also will be solved.

All for now. Keep dreaming and acting on your dreams.

With Kindness.


Another book that you might like to read to your children ( email me on if you want a ‘real’ book rather than an ebook.)

Arabella Front Page

Written by me and illustrated by Annie Gabriel, this book tells the story of the seasons and the changes in the forest.Anniemeprofile

Reminders, Emails and Doilies.

I really must go through my emails and clean out all the junk mail.garbage

Do you do that? How often have you thought that a particular site looked interesting, only to end up getting content that no longer interests you?

I have loved some blogs, but they are all in the northern hemisphere, and the reminders to plant seedlings, cook lovely warming stews and patterns for thick sweaters that come in your winter while I am sweltering in our summer here in Australia, can be somewhat of a  nuisance. When I want those articles, then winter is with us here, and you are all enjoying the lazy days of summer. Grrrr!!!!

In fact, how often do you read all your emails? Do you get annoyed as well?

What about the people who sell products – from expensive courses on how to make money (that’s a clever little idea if ever there was one!) to people selling every thing imaginable – from doilies to dogs, flowers to fairy gardens, toys to  tanning lotion and more. ‘I find ‘how to do’ articles often helpful. What about you?

But there remains a conundrum. How do you let people know what you have to sell? Can you let me know the secret? In order to let people know what I do, I’m advised to get an extensive email list! I can’t figure out how to win.

So this is my product -: the books I have written. And this is only a sample!


Exif_JPEG_PICTUREHaha – did you know I was leading to this?

I love writing! I continue to churn out books, whether they be picture books for children, chapter books for middle school kids, garden guides for my semi-tropical area or adult novels (under a pen-name so the children don’t decide to read it!).

I write because I want to keep my brain active.

I write because I love to educate.

I write because I just love it, and I love the challenge of publishing my own work. If it sells – Yay! But if it doesn’t, that’s not a problem either.

Giving away books is a trap I don’t want to fall into – that only demeans me and all the work I do writing, designing and publishing my books. If you want to read a great article on that very topic, I suggest going to Paul Whites blog :-

As a reader, though, I love the idea of getting free books – but surely that is what libraries are for? In my opinion, anlibrary-book-shelfy-one offering free books should first buy the book. But, it doesn’t seem to work that way. We, as authors, always dream of making a living from our writing, but it doesn’t happen often. Giving away books will not help in that regard. Even though others don’t realize it, authors  (as well as artists, and any creative person) put in a lot of work, sweat and their heart to create a book. To pay yourself for the time and effort is just not possible.I guess we have to be in the right place at the right time – more luck than management!

Anyway, while you are sitting at your computer, conjuring up the next ‘Harry Potter’ type franchise, divert yourself with a nice healthy snack. No – I’m not talking lettuce sandwiches on cucumber slices but these delicious little bites of bliss!

(with thanks to Coles Free magazine, January 2018) – these are mouth-watering!)img225a

And while you sit and dream of greatness, remember – the joy of writing has its own rewards – and tomorrow maybe the day you are ‘discovered’!

With kindness.

P.S. Even frogs dream!

‘Frank Frog Feels Foolish’ is one of the picture books for children in my ‘Alphabet Animals of Australia’ series. Feel free to email me ( ) for your copy.