Recycling, Edam and Dollars

Woohoo!

Back to some more of my loves. Last week I spoke about my love for ‘Classical’ music – from Beethoven to the Beatles, and Bach to Bacharach! Now let’s look at some other wonderful interests.

I love making things from scratch.

I think it is a lost art – or almost. I hate the way we have become used to buying our food in supermarkets. We race in, grab some processed food and don’t think of the way it is made. We also don’t think of the poor farmers at the bottom of the ladder, who do all the work and get the least praise and appreciation for it.

Gradually people are becoming conscious of the additives in food, from preservatives to chemicals, not only in every day food stuffs, but in cleaning products, personal products and snacks. The manufacturers have to make sure that products – even the humble apple – must stay fresh and appealing for a long time in transit to outlets, then onto shelves for display.

I love to make everything I can.

I garden organically to grow my own fruit and vegetables. I have chickens for eggs, cows for milk and bees for honey.

meandbees

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I know not everyone can do these things, due to lack of space (I have 12 acres – you may live in an apartment!!), lack of time ( I’m now retired, but belonging to the workforce takes up a great chunk of time.

In my last 18 years on my property, I have grown everything from peanuts to plums, elderberries to eggplant and much else besides.

I have made soft cheeses (haven’t yet made hard cheeses like Edam, and Cheddar – isn’t it wonderful that there is so much more to learn), yoghurt, butter, cakes, ice-cream, ghee, and more.

I recycle everything I can – I have shelves of empty glass bottles that I fill with jams, relishes, sauces and pickles. I pick up old unsold papers from the local newsagent and shred them for compost and litter in my chook ( an Australian slang word for chickens) pen. I ask anyone who has old fridges and freezers that no longer work to bring them to me and I make gardens in them. And, with all this activity, I manage to stay healthy and busy – not bored and lazy!

To top it all off – it helps me to save dollars in my budget, so I can occasionally treat myself to some useful farm clothes from the op shops as well as brand new underwear from a couple of local businesses.

Perhaps this recipe might be something you are looking for:-

Home made ice-cream.ice4

Ingredients – milk, sugar and cream.

(Flavours can be added – only limited by your imagination – try crushed honeycomb, or blueberries, or chocolate chips or simple vanilla essence or crushed up after dinner mints or ….. you get the picture!).

First – make your condensed milk.

(1 litre of full cream milk – 2 cup of white sugar – 1/2 tspn baking soda) – I don’t use the baking soda – my son is allergic to all preservatives and extras – I have to be careful to use ‘pure’ ingredients!!

Heat the milk to boiling point, then add the sugar. Stir continuously (BE PATIENT) until the mixture starts to thicken. This can take some time – 15mins or more. Watch it all the time – it can boil over very easily. Add the baking soda if desired. Continue cooking and stirring until the desired thickness. Take off the heat and allow to cool. (this can be kept in the ‘fridge for about 3 weeks.) From this recipe I made approximately 600ml – the equivalent of one tin’s worth.

Now whip the cream until light, thick and fluffy. Fold in the condensed milk (if you haven’t time to make the condensed milk – one 600ml tin will be the option) and any flavouring you desire. Freeze. Serve.

Simple, isn’t it?

Enjoy.

With Kindness

Maureen

panda2P.S. The next chapter (4) of ‘The search for the Elusive Panda’ is up on my second page (readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) If you missed the previous chapters and would like to read them, email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com and I will send them to you. Let me know which chapters you need.

On the third page (readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs ) are the stunning original art works by Mykel. Unfortunately simple pictures don’t do the works justice. They are vibrant and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Barabrith:-

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

Maureen

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 maureenlarter@gmail.com

 

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