Sunday, September 27, 2009

Theme cake virgin

So I decided to try a theme cake for Caleb's birthday. I'm still getting used to my new 'old' oven, and burnt the first one! Thankfully I have a husband who knew how important it was to me to get this right, so off he went to Coles to fetch another cake mix. No, I wasn't going to make one from scratch this time. It was stressful enough trying to put it together! Here are some pictures of the Treasure Chest. What do you think?

I'm pretty proud of myself.

From this -

To this -

Hope it tastes as good as it looks!!

Our sweet boy...

Five years ago today, our sweet baby boy joined us earthside. Those deep, dark eyes told so many tales, and they hypnotise us to this day. Full of love, innocence and unbounded curiosity, our little prince has brought us so much joy. His big brother is his favourite teacher, and his baby sister, his own student. Another chapter will soon unfurl in his still small world, and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Life has big plans for this little man, and we know he has the strength of character and the determination to take those plans and run with them!

Happy 5th birthday darling!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's warming up...

... and the flies are starting to appear! Before you pull out the Mortein though, try this old fashioned deterrent that I just discovered in a magazine. It's cheap and good for the environment too.

Mix one cup of boiling water with half a cup of sugar and a half a cup of vinegar, pour into bottles and hang up in doorways to deter flies.

The same article also has this great tip which I am certainly going to try.

Make your own fabric spray - put water in which rice has boiled into a spray bottle and use when you iron. Adding a drop or two of your favourite essential oil will make you clothes smell sweet.

Cheap and green!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kahlil Gibran on friendship...

"And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship.
And he answered, saying:
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay".
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know the flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

Friday, September 18, 2009

To buy or not to buy?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago. It is still true today, if not more true, than it was then. Those of you who watched Today Tonight's story last night on where our food comes from, will see the importance in these words. As the old saying goes, 'from little things, big things grow' - start small and enjoy the adventure!

The Importance of Eating Locally

Do you know where your food comes from and how far it has travelled to reach your plate? Why is this important? These two questions should be in the forefront of our minds at all times, particularly for those of us that believe our planet’s survival is of the utmost importance.

The further your food has travelled, the greater your carbon footprint. This means that if your food has had to travel by plane or a long distance by train or truck, the more greenhouse gas emissions will have been created to get it to you. This is particularly the case for imported foods and drinks. For those of us that want to reduce our impact on our wonderful planet, eating locally is something we should strive to do. Not only is it better for the environment, it is also better for our health as it means eating much fresher, tastier, often organic and in-season foods.

Often it’s not easy to find locally sourced foods, particularly if you are a city dweller. This may mean that if you really want to challenge yourself to eating locally that you may need to reduce or stop your intake of things that are not produced nearby. Did you know that most of the food that the average American eats has travelled almost 2500kms to reach their dinner table? It is probably the same here in Australia given our distance from the rest of the world, and each other in some cases! This is quite a horrific statistic, particularly in this time of global warming awareness.

There are many websites and organisations dedicated to the process of eating locally and they are a fantastic resource for finding out where to start. The 100 Mile Diet ( is a movement in the USA and Canada who are devoted to only eating food sourced within a 100 mile radius of their homes. It’s certainly not an easy task, and one that requires great dedication. For those of us not quite so dutiful, why not at least make the first step and try to only consume food made and grown in Australia? Just check your labels at the supermarket and use farmers markets where possible. Pretty soon, you’ll be addicted...

Thanks to the folks at the 100 Mile Diet website, here are 13 great reasons to eat locally. The list was put together by an American couple who followed the 100 Mile Diet for 12 months. Be aware though, that many of the foods mentioned below are from North America, but you’ll get the picture – let them inspire you...

1. Taste the difference. At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting. Many of the foods we ate on the 100-Mile Diet were the best we’d ever had.

2. Know what you’re eating. Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.

3. Meet your neighbours. Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street. Sign up with the 100-Mile Diet Society; we’ll be working to connect people in your area who care about the same things you do.

4. Get in touch with the seasons. When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense–a lot more sense than flavourless cherries from the other side of the world.

5. Discover new flavours. Ever tried sun chokes? How about purslane, quail eggs, yerba mora, or tayberries? These are just a few of the new (to us) flavours we sampled over a year of local eating. Our local spot prawns, we learned, are tastier than popular tiger prawns. Even familiar foods were more interesting. Count the types of pear on offer at your supermarket. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties–while more than 2,000 more have been lost in our rush to sameness .

6. Explore your home. Visiting local farms is a way to be a tourist on your own home turf, with plenty of stops for snacks.

7. Save the world. A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. The ingredients for a typical British meal, sourced locally, travelled 66 times fewer “food miles.” Or we can just keep burning those fossil fuels and learn to live with global climate change, the fiercest hurricane seasons in history, wars over resources…

8. Support small farms. We discovered that many people from all walks of life dream of working the land–maybe you do too. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm is reviving. That’s a whole lot better than the jobs at Wal-Mart and fast-food outlets that the globalized economy offers in North American towns.

9. Give back to the local economy. A British study tracked how much of the money spent at a local food business stayed in the local economy, and how many times it was reinvested. The total value was almost twice the contribution of a dollar spent at a supermarket chain.

10. Be healthy. Everyone wants to know whether the 100-Mile Diet worked as a weight-loss program. Well, yes, we lost a few pounds apiece. More importantly, though, we felt better than ever. We ate more vegetables and fewer processed products, sampled a wider variety of foods, and ate more fresh food at its nutritional peak. Eating from farmers’ markets and cooking from scratch, we never felt a need to count calories.

11. Create memories. A friend of ours has a theory that a night spent making jam–or in his case, perogies–with friends will always be better a time than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We’re convinced. Cooking with children is also a fantastic - educational, fun and great family time.

12. Have more fun while travelling. Once you’re addicted to local eating, you’ll want to explore it wherever you go. On a recent trip to Mexico, earth-baked corn and hot-spiced sour oranges led us away from the resorts and into the small towns. Somewhere along the line, a mute magician gave us a free show over bowls of lime soup in a little cantina.

13. And always remember: Everything about food and cooking is a metaphor for sex!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


My mind is on renovation and creation. I've been reading magazines, watching home improvement shows and scanning some really cool blogs. One of my favourite interior designers is Shannon Fricke. I love the way she manages to put things together that you normally wouldn't think of, and I love her eclecticism. Here are some pictures I have borrowed from her blog (not sure of their original homes though - sorry to whoever created them!). These are the pictures that are inspiring me to create a beautiful home from my humble little abode.

Due to popular demand... Zucchini Slice

A nutritious, simple and delicious recipe. Perfect for dinner with crusty bread and salad, or packed into a lunch box.

Zucchini Slice

5 eggs
2 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
125g can creamed corn
1 onion, finely chopped
3 rashers rindless bacon, finely chopped
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup oil

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Lightly grease a 23cm square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.
2. Fry onion and bacon until cooked. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Season to taste.
4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve warm or cold, cut into squares.