This Hummus recipe calls for a powerful blender or food processor with sharp blades. I use my thermo machine, the Kogan Thermoblend.
1 can of chick peas
1/2 of the liquid in the can
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp of Tahini Paste (seperate recipe)
2 Tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
Put the garlic in food processor, blender or thermoblend, high speed until crushed. Add rest of ingredients, high speed, 30 seconds. Scrape down sides with spatula, repeat until desired consistency is achieved. Usually forms a creamy paste.
Since my Thermoblend arrived three days ago, I have been using it like crazy. As soon as it got here, I raced down to the shops to buy ‘ingredients’ to make stuff with my new machine. My first item was simple bread. It worked! A bit dense, but completely edible by my family. I was chuffed as it has less than half the salt as store bought bread and the whole mixing and kneading part was effortless with the Thermoblend. I decided that each time I make bread, it will only get better.
So far, I have made the following from scratch:
3 x Loaves of bread
A vegemite and cheese pull apart
A bacon, mushroom risotto
3 x Fruit Juices
This is all within 3 days and time taken to get used to the whole process. The more I use it, the more confident I seem to get so fingers crossed, I will be whipping up most delights that my kids are used to on a daily basis. I have been very happy with the way my yogurt turned out and ice cream. The hummus was just delicious as was the tabouli. I adored how a cheese sauce comes together so simply, thick and creamy with no lumps. I can understand why people rave about their thermomix machines, and I feel so fortunate to have such a competent imitator for a 10th (literally) of the price. Recipe sharing coming soon!
I have always wanted to cook from scratch for my family as I dread to think what is in all the cans, jars and packets that we use to flavour our meals. When my first born was a baby, we used the bread machine daily to make our own home made bread. I made all of his baby food fresh using a pot and food processor and only gave him fresh snacks such as apple sticks, hummus on bread and arrowroot biscuits. Soon our life became busier as we had two more children and our small business took off. I found myself buying packets to assist me cook, even though we did still go to the markets for fresh produce, I was relying on bought bread and condiments. I found that this soon developed into habits of buying snacks for the kids such as chips, cakes and biscuits with the occasional banana thrown in. I found that my digestive system started playing havoc on me, especially after a virus and that my son was having bowel obstruction issues.
So how do you start such an overwhelming venture such as cooking staples from scratch? Well, luckily for me, the first bout of inspiration came when I was lucky enough to see an imitation of a thermomix machine by Kogan called the thermoblend for $200.00 delivered. Researching just what you can do with these machines, had me convinced that from now on, I am going to make things with my helper from scratch using ingredients. I only ordered my machine last Thursday, and being New Years Day next week, I still have a bit of a wait on my hands. As soon as I start my adventure, I will report back and let you know my progress. Fingers crossed, I will be cooking supreme and we will all feel a lot better!
With my new found reignited love of writing and technology combined, I could been unstoppable! Well not really, it just seems so exciting to me that technology has evolved so fervently that one can blog on a portable tablet. Ok, so we have had laptops for a long time but this just seems different. I am typing on my screen via a virtual keyboard, the resolution is clear and when I finish writing this, I can open my kindle app and read a few chapters. Brilliant!
I want to add here that my tablet is not an iPad or a Galaxy or even an ASUS, I have one which I purchased direct from China for under $300 delivered. It has all the same features as any other top of the line tablet, runs the latest version of Android and has 32GB of in built memory. The screen resolution is brilliant and it has sensitive touch technology. The best feature of this tablet is that the battery is long lasting, just what you need for a portable device.
The funny thing is that my boys who are only 5 & 6 years old are apt at using tablets. I got one last year just for reading my kindle and the boys used to pinch it off me to play ‘Angry Birds’ they seem to know all aspects of this game in and out. When I was young we had a tape recorder ( I am 31) and that was considered exciting as you could record your own songs. Now the boys record their voices on my mp3 sound recorder app on the tablet. We have since had to restrict tablet access to a maximum of 30 mins a day. We did this as webnoticed the boys were becoming drone like when they played them. They now have their imagination games back and seem more full of life.
Tablets certainly are useful and entertaining. I am very impressed with the way they work and what can been done on them. Technology has evolved in mass proportions since I was a child, I can’t imagine my kids ever saying that to their children.
A few months ago, I wrote that our family was ‘up in the air’ regarding what our future holds and where we want to live. Since that time, some interesting developments have occured. The first and major of these is that we have decided to move to Bairnsdale in East Gippsland Victoria. This decision has been almost a year in the making based onmany discussions about what we really want for our family’s future. Initially, we had looked at the LaTrobe valley being that house prices were much more affordable, but after visiting the area and doing some avid research, we decided that it was not for us. We decided to do a heartfelt soul search as husband and wife, and went through all the areas in Victoria that would apply to the things that really matter to us as a collective. Over the past 10 months we have looked into the following places:
Wonthaggi (only 40 mins drive from Phillip Island, has a secondary school, a hospital, Big W and many more shops. Population of approx 7000 people. Property prices have gone up dramatically and many new shops and facilities are being built. Porjections from local Governments and developers are estimating that Wontaggi will grow to approx 40,000 people in a 10 year period. For these reasons, we decided that Wonthaggi was not for us)
Leongatha (A major commercial hub for South Gippsland in the heart of the Strzlecki Ranges, Leongatha boasts the same population as Wonthaggi. After many soul searching discussions, we decided for the kids sake and our lifestyle that it was too small and remote. We also have an affinity with the sea and having lived in the Dandenongs before, we feel this would not be for us)
Korrumburra (We like Korrumburra more than Leongatha but it is still in the hills and for many of the same reasons, we decided a no for this one too)
Moe (We visited Moe a few times to get a feel for the place. It has a generous population of approx 13k people and facilities to match. After extensive research, we discovered Moe is right near the coal mines and power plants of victoria and it is in a valley, far from the ocean. We were practically sold on this in the beginning, but our hearts were not so keen. We decided a No in the end based on following our hearts.)
Traralgon (The largest town of the LaTrobe valley is Traralgon. We love the look of the bustling town, but it is still part of the coal mining region and for many of the same reasons we decided against Moe, Traralgon is not the place for us.)
Sale (Further north is the town of Sale. It boasts a large population of approx 12,000 people and is a well kept, nice looking place. While we like Sale, we prefer closer to the water and East Gippsland)
Bairnsdale (Ahhh the commercial heart of East Gippsland. We had driven through Bairnsdale many times on our travels between NSW and VIC. Every time we stop at Lakes Entrance, we just loved it. Beautiful estuaries, lakes and ocean. We decided to go up and stay and look around Bairnsdale and we were sold. Property prices are affordable, population is large (same as Sale) and there is everything you could ever need in this town, including a train line to Melbourne. For our future it is close the beaches, estuaries and rivers. It is a well kept and beautiful regional town and it just feels right. We move on 8th November to a rental we have secured right in town.)
So, we are venturing out. We have enjoyed our time here on Phillip Island, but it will be nice to go somewhere that feels more permanent. I really hope that Bairnsdale is a place where we hang our hats and stay. Venturing around like Gypsies can be fun and provides many opportunities, but now it is stability I crave. Our kids need a place to call home and so do we.
Recently, I have been ailed with some minor complaints healthwise which have led me to believe that the role between sickness both mental and physical can stem from toxic energy. My definition of toxic energy is any feeling or emotion that is felt when thinking of a person or situation that is uncomfortable or negative. Some of those ailments consisted of a feeling of indigestion and bloatedness, anxiety, chest discomfort and muscle cramps. This even led me to a doctor who said my blood pressure was slightly elevated and ordered a blood test and abdominal scan. The scan showed an enlarged spleen which provided an insight into my tummy issues. I then researched this and became concerned about blood disorders such as lymphoma and leukemia, especially considering I had just had a mild bout of shingles. Keep in mind that I do tend to be a hypochondriac. The research actually helped because it made me feel more confident that I do not have a serious illness and that I am just feeling a bit under the weather from the shingles, which can cause a swollen spleen. I then visited the medical centre where the tests were ordered and asked for my results and whether or not I would need an appointment. I was relieved when I was told that if there were any problems with these that the nurse would have called or I would have received a letter from my doctor. Now that was a relief, as we are moving soon my conclusions were that I will seek a full check up after we get established and put it to rest. I also forgot to mention that since all this I have come down with a cold, probably aided by the stress from the past couple of weeks.
So what has this experience taught me? The main thing it did bring to the fore is that negative energy and emotions can cause one to feel physical unwell and therefore immunity will be compromised. I resolved to make the following changes and hope that these can release me from any toxic energy that is compromising my wellbeing;
Cut down on alcohol- I do love a couple of wines (or sometimes even more than a few) I found that recently I have been drinking a fair bit and that cannot be a good contributor to my immune system. So at the moment I am not indulging and will wait until I feel better before I have a glass again.
Exercise more- I have been back on my exercise machine for around 20 minutes a day. I am really enjoying it and I know I need to keep this up to feel better. Although since I got this cold I have been abstaining as I feel unwell.
Eating less rich and indulgent food- I love good, rich and indulgent food. I love to cook and often make rich curries, stews, pastas etc. While these are nutritionally not so bad, I do tend to overdo it, so not abstaining completely, but balancing portions and types of food I eat will definitely help.
Taking berocca everyday- A berocca daily does help me with my b, b bounce and B vitamins and c vitamins are definitely important. Along with my multi, I can already feel an improvement.
Meditating positively on challenging relationships in my life- I feel great angst with the negative relationships in my life, but in order for me to feel healthy I need to try and think positively about how I can respond to these situations. Putting positive energy out there can do no harm, in fact I am sure it will assist in making my approach to the situation less toxic.
Not letting other people get to me- The hardest one of all, I tend to take on all emotions of others and feel very drained when people react in a hostile or negative way toward me. I now am trying not to absorb this as best I can. The best way to handle this I think is to think positively about how I can best respond or not respond at all. A working progress.
Continuing to value all that I have- I generally consider myself a positive person. Everyday I think about how blessed I am to be a mum to three perfect kids, to live in such an amazing country and to be happily married and in love with my husband. If I keep reflecting on this, I know it makes me feel great.
Writing- As a child, I would write as a means of expression. I get a great deal of satisfaction seeing my thoughts unfold in black and white. Writing is a release and healing art for me, so many more blogs to come.
So this approach I hope will lead to better health, less anxiety and a happier outlook for the future. I am feeling very positive and grateful for this and fortunate to be in such a privileged situation.
2 Cubes stock (preference depends on sausage type)
1 Large Brown Onion
4 Medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup water
oil to coat pan
Tin of peeled tomatoes
2 Tbsp of Curry Powder (Keens)
1 cup of mixed frozen veges (peas, carrots and corn)
In a large saucepan, put sausages and potatoes in and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt to season. Put on high heat until water boils, then reduce heat and cook for around 20 minutes or until sausages are cooked through and potatoes are soft. Strain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, add onions and garlic, cook on medium heat until onions are clear. Add curry powder, 1/2 cup of water and stir through. Once combined, add stock cubes and tomatoes. Leave simmering on low heat. Taste and add curry powder to taste.
Sausages should be cool enough to work with now. Remove skin from sausages (it should come away easily) and chop into bite sized pieces. Add with potatoes to the stewing curry, tomato mixture. Leave simmering on low heat. Add the cup of veges and leave to simmer until well combined. Serve over rice or with crusty warm bread.
About ½ kilo of short cut bacon, smoked and trimmed of fat
1 Packet of green dried split peas (Can’t remember weight, 250 or 500gm get the larger one)
1 large onion
3 stalks of celery
4 medium potatoes, peeled
3-4 cloves of garlic
A tbsp of cloves
Pepper and Salt to taste
Dried Vegetable Stock (around 4 tbsps)
Simply combine all ingredients into a slow cooker or large pot and cover with water, stirring until all have combined well. Leave to simmer for around 4-5 hours on low heat in a pot or 6-7 hours on high in slow cooker. When soft and mushy, combine ingredients in batches in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Up in the air…is where we feel as a collective at the moment. The general discussions Matt and I have been having for the past few months, is where do we want to settle down to raise the kids. For most of our early family life, we have been transient from place to place, which does have an air of freedom as we run our own businesses. This has allowed us to live in some pretty extraordinary, beautiful places. We also rent so we are not held by mortgages or general property prices as we simply refuse to pay what we consider too much for a home.
When Matt and I met, we both set up house in Tuross Head on the South Coast of NSW and really enjoyed all the amazing offerings such as beaches, country air, fishing and awesome coastal weather. We decided in 2007 after being there for four years that we would move to Victoria with Matt’s mum, Gail, his brother and partner, Sean and Cate and his sister and partner, John and Jo. The catalyst was that John and Jo were down here already, so we could all be in closer proximity. We made an arrangement to rent from Gail in a house which was literally split in two. The place we moved to was in the Dandenong Ranges, beautiful rainforests with a cool climate in winter with a lovely country feel, yet only 40 mins to Melbourne. It was a nice place, very different to Tuross Head, but it just wasn’t right for us. So we decided to move three years later to Phillip Island, absolutely stunning beauty. Beaches and bays with crystal blue water and wildlife abundance and still only two hours from Melbourne.
So why don’t you just stay on Phillip Island and enjoy it’s natural beauty? This is a question that is obvious, but the main reasons are this:
We have started saving for a deposit on our first home and Phillip Island is just to expensive. Matt and I have a lifestyle and we work to live not live to work, so getting a mortgage that makes us a slave to the banks, just does not make sense to us personally so we need to find somewhere that is more affordable with houses that are liveable for less that $180K
There is no high school or hospital on the island which means our kids would have to travel more than 45mins each way to get to school when the time comes and it is just too unfair on them. The hospital thing isn’t the biggest deal, but it does bear some concerns.
Fuel costs are going up and we use a lot of it living here. Our closest Aldi is over 40kms away and it seems unrealistic to shop there when you are using so much fuel. Also driving on and off the island to go anywhere does get tedious and living in a larger regional town would be much more convenient.
There is not much opportunity for the kids when they grow up on the island or it’s surrounds. We want a place that has a bit more opportunity in terms of education and employment for our kids. The island is bustling in summer but lacks a lot of those essential establishments.
There is hardly any public transport on the island and again for our children’s future we would like them to have other options rather than being car dependent.
So within our discussions and research we have decided upon the La Trobe valley which is around 2 hours from the Island, so we will be close to Matt’s mum who lives on Phillip Island and it solves all the above issues. There is a train line that has regular services to the city, a freeway right through the middle and larger populations and facilities. It is very affordable and hopefully while we are saving, stays that way.
We just want to find a place, get the kids settled in school and establish a life so that we can have friends, be part of a community and make a place our home. Of all the towns we have looked at, our favourite is Moe. Unfortunately this week we have been reading about the Governments plans to make the La Trobe valley a mini Pilbara with more mines to open up to export brown coal. Not only will a mining boom in the area price us out, but also digging up millions of tonnes of coal is not the best for health or environment. So now it feels up in the air for us.