Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ohmygoodness! - Gluten-free Pastry & Sausage Rolls!


A breakthrough.

Gluten-free, dairy-free pastry that works.


That doesn't fall apart when I lift it off the bench.


Despite the softness of Nuttelex margarine.

And then the deliciousness
of sausage rolls.

Something I haven't eaten for about a year now....


No, they're not like bought ones.

Different.

More satisfying.

The pastry has more bite to it

and I know what's in the filling!


which is already looking loved

in my kitchen

after just 24 hours.


See?  They almost look as good as hers.

Kind of.

The secret?

I think it's the quinoa flour.

Expensive, but worth every cent.

Instead of using three types of mince in the filling

 I just used lamb mince.

Next time I might go for a more 

"sausage-y" filling adding breadcrumbs.



But this is working for me right now.

Oh yeah.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Menu indecision


Tomorrow we have a big family party here

to celebrate Mum's birthday.


Not only is it the first time that most of them will see our new upstairs


(so the house needs to look super-clean and great!)


but I also need to feed them all.

I'm not 100% sure of numbers but it looks like there might be 20 or so of us,

coming and going at different times.

And then to complicate things

there is my Failsafe, gluten-free/dairy-free diet

and Dad's new FODMAP diet.

I've been doing my head in trying to find foods 

that Dad and I can both eat,

which are tasty for others to enjoy too,

while considering other factors

like oven space

cooking times

microwave times

etc.

Yikes!!

Anyway ..... thinking I've got it all figured out now,

thanks in part to the new cookbook

I bought yesterday.


A big splurge,

but I wanted a pretty cookbook with food that I can eat!

(With a little dairy-free tweaking and other substitutions.)

A cookbook for ME !!!

('cause it's all about me, you know ....)

I love that this book has lots of different pastries, cakes and breads.

So there have been some last-minute changes to tomorrow's menu.


All inspired, I started baking cupcakes last night, 

using the Fairy Cake recipe.

Bland while warm out of the oven,

but much better later on.

They are in the freezer now and will be iced and decorated 

tomorrow morning.

For the birthday cake we will have

the Lemon and Saffron Teacake,

so I'm off to buy some quinoa flour

and a million other things for today's shop,

with more to buy tomorrow.


Don't get me wrong,

I'm really looking forward to 

having my family here.

But it sure was easier in the old days

when we could all eat everything ....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cast Iron



Everyone's been talking about cast iron in blogland lately.

And since I've long been suspicious of teflon, 

and even heard that it's going to be outlawed in future, 

I've been looking out for cast iron cookware.

A few weeks ago I bought a grill and a deep pan with a lid from Target.

And I've been waiting for Aldi to sell their cast iron range again.

Well, today's the day!

The girls and I headed out early and came home with

a dutch oven, a frypan and a trivet. 

All in red to match the cast iron I bought earlier

and some ceramic casseroles I already own.

Laura and I tried out the frypan with some fried eggs for lunch.

Yum!

The girls are home today due to a teacher's strike.

An unexpected bonus before the real holidays next week.

We just ducked out to the op shop

and found $5.00 jeans for Em,

a fun game

and a gift for a little friend

all for a grand total of $7.50.

Now we are snuggling in front of the heater 

before we head out to a flute lesson soon.


And then tonight,

methinks some steaks

cooked in cast iron

will go down nicely.

Hope you are enjoying the winter weather in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thrifted Pitcher


A lovely blue pitcher

for just $5.00 

is making me happy.

(As is the stack of suitcases in the background!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cold, Cats and Cutting-In


Another very chilly day here.

I am dealing with the cold by turning the heater up,

occasionally turning the airconditioning on, also,

cooking soup for lunch,

and by shutting the hall door

which stops the heat from escaping 

to the front rooms of the house.

I can tell this is working, 

because when I go into the front of the house

I am greeted with an icy blast.

Brrrr!

Later in the day I will turn on the oil heater 

in my piano teaching room

in time to heat that up for my afternoon's teaching.

In the meantime I'm painting the stairs again,

and am finally on the downhill stretch,

with most of the third coat done.

This is the first coat of Antique White USA gloss,

and a second coat will complete it,

maybe this afternoon, but more likely tomorrow.

To help the time pass and distract from

all that pesky cutting-in

I'm listening to excellent talks from

here and here.

Well recommended.

And on another topic,

this morning at 4.00am 

we were woken by the howling and yowling

of cats.

Shrieks, meows and thumps.

This morning around our carport were clumps of fur

and large drops of blood.

But thankfully, no corpses.

Ick.

Any ideas for repelling the neighbourhood cats

from our yard??

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Soaking up the Winter Sunshine


Yesterday was a beautiful winter's day, 
 so we headed out for a picnic.


After a bit of googling I found a new park we hadn't visited ...


Castle Hill Heritage Park.
Just beautiful.


Open space, trees, climbing equipment, walks
and no crowds.  

We loved it.













Today we woke up to a very chilly house, only 9 deg inside and 0 deg outside.

Church was pretty cold ... 

in a school hall with no heaters!

Back home after church

it was so cold that even with the gas heater on "high"

I stood so close that I burnt a hole in my skirt!

Oops!

Once again this afternoon we were outside, finding some sun.

Some badminton on the front lawn 

and some walking warmed us up.

* * *
Loving the sunshine

and loving being together.

A Beanie for a Baby



Finished just now


a flower

to go on top of a beanie


for a friend's baby.


This was so much fun to make

and I'm happy to be actually, 

finally, 

giving handmade gifts for babies lately,

now that my life has reached a stage 

where that doesn't feel impossible, 

i.e. now I don't have little children underfoot.


And since there's no babies here,

Baby Born 


can model the beanie.


Brr!  You need to wear more clothes, Baby Born!

(It was zero degrees outside when I got up this morning)

Pattern from the Winter issue of

Family Circle,

with slight modifications

(where I made mistakes)

* * *

What gifts do you like to give babies?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sycamore Poncho Progress



My poncho is coming along.


I've finished the front and back,
and have started crocheting the sides
in open squares.

The way the stripes turned out so perfectly
never ceases to amaze me.

More photos to come soon ...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grocery Shopping 101 - could do better


Just when I think I have it all together,


I am reminded of my failings.

I pride myself on my shopping abilities,

acquired gradually over twenty years.

I have a menu plan

(well ... a rough menu plan....)

I tick the items I need on my 

word document form, printed in aisle order.

I don't shop when I am hungry.

I shop before the supermarket gets busy.

I take my shopping bags ...

.... but if we are running out of bags for the bin

I purposely take fewer cloth bags

so I can collect a few plastic bags.

I shop carefully for our three diets

(normal, failsafe/GF/DF, and vegetarian)

looking for bargains and comparing prices.

I load the items on the conveyor belt

in the correct order so that everything

has a chance of being packed in the right order.

I visit the butcher on my way out

and pack my car boot carefully

and unpack at home and bring it inside.

Sometimes I even remember to log

the docket amounts on my home budget app.

But ....

it seems I'm lacking on 

the follow-through.

Once I've gotten the cold things in the fridge,

the rest might take hours to make it to the (already full) pantry

or the fruitbowl or the crisper.

Or not.

It depends on the day.

This morning,

I discovered in one of our fancy little drawers

in our new fridge

a bag of meat I bought last Tuesday.

A week ago.

It never made it to the freezer.

And now I have to throw it away.

 $20 or more.

I've been beating myself up about it all morning.

When I got home from shopping just now,

I was determined to get this week's meat 

straight into the freezer this time.

But where is the meat???

Seems I left it on the counter 

at the butchers.

Too busy getting my frequent shoppers card stamped

and organising my change and docket.

I phoned the butcher, 

and he's got the meat in the cool room,

I'll have to go back later today and collect it.

* * *

So ... it seems a few more systems might be in order for Fiona.

That or we all become vegetarians ....

* * *

Any tips for quick and painless packing away of groceries??

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vintage Suitcase Love


On Thursday I picked up two vintage suitcases at my new favourite op shop.


I was looking for a big brown one to go with the two I bought last year.

I'll show you my stack once I've gotten rid of those drawers,
which used to be in our bedroom 
and now need a new home.


And couldn't I resist this little blue suitcase. 


Although I didn't really need it ...




Which now holds all our DVD series.

Perfect.

Turns out I did need it, after all!

Campfire


Campfire at Galston on the weekend.

A few showers couldn't stop us.

Although those logfire apps don't give off much warmth...

A wonderful weekend with church family.

Music, truths to learn, crochet lessons, laughs and chats.

All good.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thoughts on fussy eating ...



They told me it would happen one day.

One day, my child would stop being a "fussy eater".


I waited, and waited, and waited.


In the meantime, Emily became a conscious vegetarian who wouldn't eat most vegetables.

Or eggs or tofu or ...


But in the last few months there has been a change.

After 14 years of throwing out good food after every dinner, 

Emily is eating everything on her plate.

Every time.

Still no meat, but that's ok.

And yesterday and today, for the first time ever, 

she asked for "a healthy lunch".

So I did, bento style.


Felafel, three types of vegetables, crackers

pita bread, apple, some snacks ...

(she has a long day today and won't be home till tonight)

* * *

In my experience, fussy eating is not something

easily "cured".

Yes, we could have been more strict.

Yes, we could have had dinner earlier

before the girls got "tired"

but that would have meant missing having Daddy

with us for dinner.

Perhaps for us our family closeness and unity

was a trade-off for good eating.

I know which one I would choose

if I was to do it all over again:

The togetherness.

* * *

My girls were born fussy eaters,

they would gag on some foods as babies and toddlers.

Their fussiness wasn't my fault,

and try as I might,

they just won't eat those foods until 

they are ready.

It's been a long, long road to this point.

Laura still has trouble finishing her dinner.

But I'm sure that one day, 

she will get there too.



So ....

if you're out there wondering when your child

will start to eat everything ...

.... hang in there.

Don't be discouraged 

when other mums tell you about their 

child who won't stop eating 

anything and everything.

Or when their child snacks on cucumber

for a treat.

Just keep trying, keep dishing out those

"unwanted" foods

and hope that one day, maybe fourteen years later ...

your child will ask for a healthy lunch too.

(And then remember to get up early enough to cut all those veges so they are not late for school)



Monday, June 11, 2012

Cosy Winter Day



While the rain pours down outside



we are enjoying a cosy long weekend indoors.


The more time I have to declutter


the more calm life becomes.


One day I will paint this dresser


so that it blends a little better into the wall
and the china has a chance to shine.


 Some sunshine on the coffee table


waiting for a mother-in-law's birthday afternoon tea.




Candles and lamps make us feel cosy, too.









I finally finished the first undercoat on the stair risers.
Three more coats to go.


Until yesterday these drawers were in our bedroom.
But after a reorganisation
they sit in the living room, temporarily.


The table tennis has moved to the back corner of the room
and has been enjoyed daily.
In the corner are the painting supplies,
which I would love to have out of the house 
by the end of term, in three weeks.
Good to have something to aim for.

How are you spending the public holiday?