Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Dollhouse Imitating Life?

My daughter has a lovely eclectic collection of ‘friends’ in her borrowed dollhouse and I couldn’t resist the temptation to photograph them how she had (quite neatly) arranged them one morning.

As I was looking at them I got thinking about how I hope that her real friends in life will be just as diverse and interesting. Two in particular took my attention – Buddha and Dinosaur…

What fascinating friends these must be! Two of my main interests in life – spirituality & evolution and I got to thinking that her other friends could represent other aspects of life.

Here is Friendship. These two (Maggie calls them both ‘girl’) are inseparable and often found sitting on the couch watching Maisy!

Here is Food. Frog is sitting in the kitchen and having already had a big struggle with food in her life I’m hoping the whole food journey we’re just embarking on will heal, nourish and delight Maggie and give her a healthy relationship with food.

Here is Family. I hope that not only ‘Mumma & Dadda’ are a constant support in her life but all her family are there for her when she needs them and that they need her too.

Here is Craziness. We all need a bit of crazy in our lives – impulse, abandon and letting it all go. And if putting a t-shirt over your head in the bath works for you then go for it! Crazy helps you keep sane.

Here is Rest. Ahh, one of my favourites. My highschool friends knew never call me before midday on the weekend, but sadly those days are long gone. This is a wonderful thought from Mr Curly to Vasco Pyjama…

Dear Vasco,

In response to your question, “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest, Vasco — otherwise you will become RESTLESS! I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness.

(Curly Pyjama Letters. Leunig)

So true Mr Curly – Nanna naps are incorrectly named – everyone has the right to nap!

Here is Adventure. What is life without adventures? If she has Goodrich genes in her then I’m sure she’ll have plenty. But you don’t have to go far for an adventure. I like to go places by myself and see what happens. A night at a new pub many years ago turned into an amazing adventure of new friends and new music – listening to Fats Waller records in the dark.

Here is Love. Wherever she may find it, may she have it in bucketloads.

And I hope that all of you out there in the big wide world have all of these things in bucketloads too…


Homemade Chicken Stock and Soup

I was very fortunate on the weekend to meet Jude Blereau and hear her talk about her passion – Whole Food Cooking.

Wholefood n. food that is eaten as close as possible to it’s natural state, without unnecessary processing and refining…

She is such a passionate intelligent woman and it really inspired me to make some changes to the way I think about and prepare food. Much of it I have practised in the past but it’s so easy to let it slide and become so busy in life that food is no longer high on your list of priorities.

And hopefully it will lead me on the path to restoring our families digestive systems which are all in a poor state at the moment.

So to get started today I made chicken stock and then chicken soup. I would like to say it was all organic ingredients but I was just using up what was in our fridge (the chicken was free range though!).

I based my recipe on this blog and just used what I had at home.

Chicken Stock


  • 1 Whole chicken
  • 2 celery sticks roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 brown onion (I only had a red one so used that)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Put all the ingredients into a large pot. Add enough water so that the chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for about 45-60 minutes, or until the meat is cooked. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the bird. I also turn the chicken about half way through as it floats and I worry the top won’t cook as well as the bottom.

2. Keep the stove on low heat, and carefully remove the poached chicken and place it into a large bowl or dish. Remove the breasts, legs and wings (leave the skin on so the meat stays moist) and place the carcass back into the pot. Make sure that the meat is covered with enough juices so that it remains moist. You could always add some from the pot, if there’s not enough. Then cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow the meat to cool.

3. Meanwhile, simmer the stock for another 1–2 hours, and then strain into a large bowl to cool. Keep the vegetables and discard the carcass. Once the stock has cooled, store in containers and freeze.

This made 7 cups of stock for me.


Chicken Soup


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger grated
  • Vegetables from the stock (finely chopped)
  • Approx 1.5 cups of poached chicken from the stock (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups of stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Anything else you want to add – I had some left over gluten free pasta that I popped in too.

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add the spring onion, garlic and ginger. Stir until onion softens.

2. Add water and stock and bring to the boil. Then add the chicken and vegetables from the stock.

3. Since everything is already cooked you’re basically just heating it up. Add any other herbs you’d like.

Serves 3-4 people.

By the way I met Jude through Mindful Empowerment – a womens group run by my friend Bianca on the last Sunday of every month. She has organised amazing guest speakers, yummy afternoon tea and meditation. It’s just great to have some time to relax and concentrate on yourself and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

Homegrown & Homemade Zucchini Pickle

If you have a vegie patch (and live in southern Australia!) you’re probably just harvesting the last of your zucchinis. Here’s a great way to use them up and enjoy them for the rest of the year.

1kg zucchini finely chopped
2 large onions finely chopped
1 red capsicum finely chopped
2 tbs salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups white or cider vinegar
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbs white or cidar vinegar (extra)

Place zucchini, onions and capsicum in a bowl, add salt and mix well. Leave to stand for at least 3 hrs. Drain well

Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard powder and tumeric in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add vegetables and boil for 25 min. Mix cornflour to a paste with extra vinegar and stir through. Cook for 2-3 mins more or until thickened.

Spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal. Eat immediately or store in a cold, dark and dry place for up to 1 yr.

Makes approx 1.5litres.

I love it on sandwiches and with cheese & crackers – enjoy 🙂

The Sound of Music Revisited

I’m on a roll…two upcycled items in one week! My latest piece is a summer top made from a curtain, it is floral but I think it’s a bit more stylish than the Von Trapp kids – although Maria did a great job getting all those outfits from one set of curtains!

I used the Newlook 6895 pattern, quite simple and easy to make. I made it a size bigger than I normally wear as the measurements for the waist seemed tiny. But I ended up having to take in the side seams so next time I’ll make my usual size.

The back is easy too as there’s no zip just a simple opening and button.

Can’t wait to make some more!

Upcycled T-Shirt Undies

I have a few t-shirts in my wardrobe that for some reason or other I don’t wear anymore. This one was a present from my brother and I love it but this colour looks so wrong on me. So now I’m transforming it into underwear, it feels great to be finally putting it to use.

There’s a few tutorials out there for upcycled t-shirt underwear and this is my version. I wanted to see how it would work using only the t-shirt and no other elastic or ribbing etc,  so it would be 100% upcycled. I think the result has worked quite well. I used an overlocker but you could get the same result with a zig-zag and straight stitch.

1. Firstly I got a pair of undies I really like and unpicked all the seams. I then used the pieces to make a pattern which I pinned onto my t-shirt, making sure I lined up the writing where I wanted it.

2. I used the back of the shirt to cut bands for the legs and waist. The leg bands were 7cm width (cut 2) the waist bands were 9cm width (cut 2).

Bands for legs and waist

3. I began by sewing the back, middle and front pieces together. I had marked which edges to sew together with an ‘A’. Put the front and back pieces together, right sides facing and the middle piece on top of the back piece. Overlock/finish the narrow edge of the middle piece. (Sounds confusing but see photo below – I always pin first to check I’ve got the pieces the right way round).

4. Pin together the side seams of the front and back pieces (right sides facing) and stitch.

5. Now for the leg bands. To make sure the are the right size stretch them around your leg until they feel firm. Mark the place where the ends meet and sew together the short ends.

6. And fold in half to form circular bands.

7. Take the undies (inside out) and pin the leg band to the inside of the leg hole with the raw edges lined up. Now because the leg bands are shorter in length than the leg holes you will need to stretch them as you sew. To make sure they are stretched evenly I mark the halfway points of the leg bands and leg holes and match them up.

Don't forget to stretch as you sew.

8. You also need to make sure you catch the edges of the middle piece as you go round (pictured above). The undies should now look like this…

9. Now for the waist band. Firstly sew the two pieces together then follow the same procedure for measuring the right length, sewing ends together, folding in half and attaching to the waist. And you’re done!!!!

They did turn out a little smaller than I wanted, so I’ll probably end up adding a couple of cms to the waist next time. The real test will be when I wear them tomorrow…

Goody goody yum-yum!

Besan Bombs

Should I have put ‘bomb’ in the title I wonder?

This recipe is taken from my failsafe bible The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate but I’ve modified it a bit. It’s one of the (very) few ways I’ve been able to get my daughter to eat vegetables and if she’s not quick my husband and I eat them all – they’re so yummy!

They’re basically little parcels of vegetables covered in batter, very similar to Indian pakora. Gluten free, dairy free and failsafe!


  • 2/3 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 3/4 cup water (approx)
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup vegetables chopped into bite sized pieces. For failsafe use old white potatoes and other permitted vegetables. Mushrooms are my favourite if you can eat them!
  • Rice bran oil

1. Combine flours, add water and mix until the batter resembles a thick pancake mixture. Getting the right consistency is key, if it’s too runny the batter won’t stick to the vegetables.

2. Add in the chopped shallot, crushed garlic and salt. Mix well.

2. Chop up the vegetables and parboil any hard ones such as potato. Ideally you want to catch them before they get mushy. Add them in with the batter, stiring to make sure they’re all coated.

3. Heat enough oil in your saucepan for shallow frying, make sure it’s quite hot (medium to high heat). Once the oil is hot use a teaspoon to scoop out a piece of vegetable making sure it’s reasonably covered in batter and drop it into the pan. Let it cook until it’s a golden brown colour and then turn once or twice as needed for all sides to be browned.

4. Cook in batches letting the finished ones drain on some paper towel. I’m not sure if it’s the rice bran oil or the batter I use but they’re never greasy like bad fish and chips.

Besan bombs are yummy on their own but I make up a sauce for the adults which is 50/50 lite sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. So my daughter doesn’t feel left out I give her some soy yogurt to dip hers into.

Happy eating!

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