Rosemary, Elderberries and Desserts.

Before I start – let me tell you that chapter 5 of my children’s chapter book is on my second page ready to read for FREE. There is also a picture book FREE if you request it through my email address – maureenlarter@gmail.com. The link for my second page is readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book

panda2

There is also a third page. readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs

The art work for sale is original – not prints. The artist is an Australian living in N.S.W. Anyone in Australia will get free postage if you buy.

***

Now that I’ve done my ‘selling’ – I would like to tell you about the beauty of herbs and berries.

I don’t particularly like herbs in cooking – I’m of the old-fashioned school of eating and enjoying vegetables and fruit just as they are – why disguise the taste I wonder?

However, herbs aren’t just to cook with. They are fabulous for making all sorts of things. One of my favourite ‘old-fashioned’ ideas, is drying lavender and making a bag to put it in. That then goes into my wardrobe and drawers to give my clothes a subtle perfume.

Drying basil, rosemary, mint and sage make for great additions to your cooking if you desire, and it also keeps the herbs for later use. Dried mint scattered into cupboards help to minimize pests,too. Of course, fresh herbs are even better.herbs

These days, there seems to be a plethora of ‘diets’ – always stated to be ‘for your own good’. There’s the gluten-free bandwagon, no sugar chariot and low carbs, high fat bus! Everyone thinks they have the answer.

Personally, I think the best way to go is to keep away from processed food – even the so-called ‘healthy’ ones. Eat in moderation and eat fresh produce. A tasty dish with lots of different colours will give your eye pleasure, your taste-buds a party and your body plenty of nutrients.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but fruit should be used sparingly – it has secret sugar! Berries of all kinds are tasty and full of bright colour. Strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, elderberries, blackberries, blueberries, and loganberries are brilliant for mixing with plain yoghurt, flavouring ice-cream (see last week’s recipe for a delicious home-made recipe.) Even a compote of mixed berries served with custard makes for a lovely dessert.

Did I mention smoothies, mixed into home-made muesli, any number of cakes, as a sauce for pancakes, and amazing popsicles for summer?popIn other words, they are AWESOME and so versatile.

Mixed berry frozen compote.

Any and all berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – etc) you can find! (#freezerstash)berries

Wash berries and pat dry. (De-leaf the strawberries) Mix all together and freeze. An hour before you wish to eat, thaw in a small bowl. The freezing will soften the fruit and a small teaspoon of caster sugar sprinkled over (optional) as they thaw, will bring out the juice. Warm if desired.

Growing your own is not difficult either. Be aware, however, that they can take over, so I often recommend planting into large pots. That way you have more control, and can even grow these in a small garden or on a balcony of a flat/apartment. There is always an answer, if you wish to follow the dream.

With Kindness.

Maureen

P.S. The last blog post has a recipe for condensed milk and ice-cream – I updated this after making my own. https://readeatdream.net/2018/05/27/recycling-edam-and-dollars

 

 

Relishes, Extension and Delights.

When I first moved to my home, it was a dinky 2 bedroom house, with not enough room to swing a cat – if I’d wanted to – which I didn’t!cat

But… I have so many interests, so many books, that I had to weave my way though it all like a rabbit in a cornfield. It became fairly obvious very quickly that I needed to do something – and so the L-shaped snug wrap around extension was born.

It was wonderful! I could spread all my detritus around with gay abandon.

Well … you know what that means, don’t you? The old saying ‘you always fill the space you have’ has worked admirably in my case. How did I fit all this ‘stuff’ in such a small house before? My books have bred with alarming fecundity, my material goods have wheelincreased threefold ( a spinning wheel and loom added to the floor space) and my extra cupboards are now full of jars over flowing with delights for the palate.

I have made preserves of all kinds, sauces and marmalade, jams and jarschutneys. I have experimented with cordials and different butters (lemon and peanut), flavoured vinegars and pickles, and even pastes and relishes.

When my garden gives me a glut of anything, zucchinis to apples – I work out a preserve for the lean times.

Recently, a friend gave me some mangoes. Now, I know you will all be horrified ( and mangorightly so) – but I don’t like mangoes!

Mango relish is a different story tho’. Here is the recipe I used.

MANGO RELISH: –

900g/2lb mangoes (peeled, de-stoned and sliced)

!/2 tspn salt

225g/8oz peeled,cored and sliced apples

200g/3/4cup raw sugar

1 onion – chopped finelyrelish

1 tspn crushed garlic.

Place the mangoes in a bowl (non-metallic) and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for a while.

Put the vinegar and sugar into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Add the mangoes, apples, onion and garlic, and bring to the boil (stir occasionally).

Rn hour, until the mixture is thick.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. Allow two weeks to mature before eating.

******

So …

Now my house is full again, my pantry is bulging and my bookcases are groaning. What else is left to do?

My dreams are reality – and at 70 years of age, that is a wonderful thing to admit. Now the only thing that I would like is a man to love. But – be careful what you wish for – not only do I NOT want a married man, or a young stud, or a drunken old man, or a widow who is still grieving his past wife, or a gambler, or a smoker, or an angry personality, or a violent man, or a sick personage that I have to care for, or a sports fanatic, or a  ……………. you get the idea? I’m very hard to please!!!! An impossible dream and fantasy at my age.

With kindness

Maureen

BookCoverImageSLF

 

P.S. I love fantasy and gentleness. Here is the second book in my chapter books about  fairies and elves that I wrote for middle school age children. Interested? email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com

Book 1 is called ‘Broken Wing’ and Book 3 is titled ‘Cave of the Golden Bowerbird’. I wonder if I’ll write a book 4?

 

 

 

Radishes, Eastern and Dahlias.

Did you know that after the atomic bomb hit Japan and there was so much destruction, the first things that were grown – on a hospital window sill – were radishes?

This gave hope to the devastated people.

War is so terrible – innocent people get hurt with horrific wounds, let alone be killed. I saw the effects in Cambodia, and yet – still – somewhere on the planet, there is war. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, peace is hard to maintain. It makes me sad.

I live on the Eastern side of Australia, and even here, there are crimes, anger and violence within homes and communities. Seems to be that humans can’t learn – and the urge to violence is in all of us. If we can’t get along with our family or friends or near community, how an earth can there ever be peace on Earth?

What with guns used indiscriminately and cruelties against women, the world, for all its beauty, is an uncomfortable place to be at times. I have just about finished a novel about domestic violence – so much in the news at present – and it wasn’t an easy book to write. It is called ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ and should be available soon. Book cover by Francessca Wingfield. OrdealbyIa

OK – enough! Lets\’s talk about other things.

Here is a lovely salad recipe, using radishes, from Coles free magazine – February 2017 Page 4 – feel free to go and look at all the free magazines at you leisure. img257

( http://www.coles.com.au/magazine#view=catalogue2&saleId=15442&page=4 )

The other thing that happened this week was our local country town show. Country shows in Australia are the event to show off our produce, stock and horses. imagesaSo there are judging for cows and calves/ sheep and goats. Even poultry. In the pavilion, we have knitting, crotchet, quilling, quilting and dressmaking. We also have flowers such as Dahlias,downloaddroses, lilies and plants of all kinds. Everything is judged and gets a ribbon.

The schools also enter displays.

clownSide-show alley is alive and well, and stalls sell all sorts of things.

 

Tractors, mowers and machinery are all on show. We have a rodeo one nightdownloadf, and a demolition derby on the next.downloadb

 

 

 

 

Great fun for all ages and on top of that gives the next year’s entries something to dream about.

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. – Here is a lovely picture book for children about a concert or show. “Ben Brolga’s BenfrontBand’ is about Australian birds that dance, and they form a band, giving a concert to all there friends in the bush. It is FREE if you email me for it. My email is maureenlarter@gmail.com

This is also shown on my next page.

 

 

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.

Why?

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 –  http://180degreehealth.com – 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

Maureen

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. www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia

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).

apricot

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

Maureen

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 maureenlarter@gmail.com).

Candy Cow Front

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