My new life.

P1010002
Look! Pomegranates!!!!!! I only thought the tree hung onto one, but there was another sneaky little one hiding around the back. I wasn’t sure when to pick them so yesterday I asked Tom22 to go and have a look and see if they were ripe. Ten minutes later I walked into the kitchen to see them sitting in the fruit bowl, so I guess I had my answer. I have to taste one today, because soon I won’t have the chance for weeks. It’s all about my new life.

Well, so to speak.

Remember how I was saying that I wasn’t happy with my enormous girth in the lion park photos? Although I’m not in the realm of filling in my application to go on the Biggest Loser or anything, I’m still the heaviest I’ve ever been and it’s not a place I want to stay in. So instead and whingeing and sighing every time I go past a mirror, I’ve done something about it.

I’m doing the hcg diet, under a doctor’s supervision and going the whole hog. (Except that hog isn’t on the menu.) Today was the first day I gave myself the hormone injection. Have a look at the FAQ page and see what you think. The thing that initially sold it to me? They tell you not to exercise while you’re doing it. Now that’s the diet for me!!

When I was in South Africa I heard about it and spoke to a few people who’ve done it. They all raved about it. There’s a homeopathic one, but anyone who knows me IRL knows how very unlikely it is that I would ever invest my hard-earned in anything homeopathic, so I decided to go with the doctor supervised one where you actually get the REAL hormones. You can administer with drops under the tongue but the doctor said it was about 10% less effective that way, so I figured if I was going to do it I was going to get the most bang per buck that I could.

I’ve currently signed up for the three week course, but I may decide to extend it to the full 6 week one. I’m keeping my options open at this point and seeing what happens over the next couple of weeks. I’m pretty excited about it, as I haven’t been happy with how I’ve been looking for quite a while now and I think that this will kick-start the whole ‘look after Frogdancer’ phase of my life. I’m not quite ready to look matronly and comfy just yet.

One good thing that’s already happened is that before I began I had to have blood tests…. lots of blood tests. Turns out my thyroid and liver are fine, (bit of a relief with regards to the liver… I like a nice red at dinner), but I was incredible low in Vits B and D and testosterone. No wonder I was hanging onto the weight! So along with the normal vitamins and minerals everyone has to take when they’re doing this, I’m also taking extra, with vitamin B shots to get me back up to speed. I’ve been feeling incredibly tired and jaded lately, so I’m looking forward to when I get my energy back. There’s so much I need to get done!

Pretty darned happy I have the thermomix, as I can weigh my proteins and veggies straight onto it and steam them, so there’s no risk of using any fats or oils to cook with. The boys all know how to cook with it, so they can make their meals together and I can go along my merry way with my set meals. I hope that in a few weeks I can post some pleasing results.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how I go. Wish me luck. :)

Thermomix recipe: Red Thai soup with lentils (vegan)

Posted in Quality of life | 3 Comments

Lemon and lime.

P1010002

One of my holiday jobs done. Lemon verbena and lime verbena tea. The lemon verbena is from a couple of plants that foodnstuff gave me a couple of years ago that I put in a couple of wicking boxes. I’m also drying a huge heap of rosemary that Blogless Sandy gave me, and now that the cake racks are free of verbena, the next job is to harvest the mint. Nothing like going to bed with a steaming hot cup of herbal tea that you’ve grown yourself. (I know how to live, baby.)

Thermomix recipe: Creamy chicken pasta with paprika This looks like a more adult version of macaroni cheese.

Posted in dehydrating food, gardening, holidays, solar cooking, wicking beds | Leave a comment

Jeff and other stuff

Jeff is feeling this at the moment. He’s decided that the spot on the floor beside the open back door is where he wants to pee. You can imagine how well that is going down with his beloved Mummy. Argh!!!!!

Saw this on Pinterest. Using eggshells as a pest killer in the garden. Why throw them out?

These reasons are why I decided to grow comfrey. I first saw comfrey being grown under fruit trees in Angelo’s garden and I loved the idea. The comfrey drills down deep to bring nutrients up to its leaves, then when they die down in winter the fruit tree it’s planted under gets the benefit.  Currently I have a patch of comfrey under (and around) my lime tree and one in the ‘orchard’ that was accidentally brought over when we moved our ballerina apples. It’s pretty happy accident, because I’ve heavily mulched around the fruit vvtrees with cardboard, fertiliser and sugar cane mulch to kill the grass, so if the areas between slowly get covered by comfrey, (maybe some borage?) and nasturtiums then that’ll bring the bees and I’ll be a happy gardener.

Super busy day today. Widget and I went to Costco and she signed up. As she said, her Costco cherry has now been popped. Back tomorrow.

Thermomix recipe: Prosciutto-wrapped chicken with creamy basil and cashew pesto sauce

Posted in pets, shopping, vegetables | 1 Comment

12 months Interest-free – get onto it!!!

Just letting Aussie readers know that this is now back for a limited time. People get very excited over this offer, as it makes it incredibly easy to get a thermomix into your kitchen. If you’d like further info, feel free to shoot me an email (on the ‘contact’ page) or contact the company directly.

Back tomorrow with a proper blog post, along with my news about how soon I’ll be a shadow of my former self. I’m very excited about this, especially after seeing those photos  of an enormous Frogdancer cavorting with the lion cubs.

By the way….. Ryan19 put me onto House of Cards. I’ve been galloping through it, watching 4 episodes a night. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go. Kevin Spacey. Need I say more?

Last book in the ‘Dust’ trilogy. BORED… I want to end their tiny little worlds myself just to put an end to it. Disappointing, as the first book was so original. Still, according to my ipad I only have 38% to go, so I may as well push through.

I did a Facebook quiz on which Sound of Music character I’d be and it turned out to be the oldest daughter. Leisel, I think her name is. Typical! I know my luck with men hasn’t been the best, but I didn’t think I was the sort of person to throw themselves at Nazis (or postmen.) Talk about a warning to stay happy and single!

My holiday in the UK and Europe is entering the serious planning stage. Getting excited about it now. Do I spend a week in Paris or just a few days? Do I spend 2 or 3 weeks racing round the continent ticking off the tourist sights? How do you handle laundry when you’re only in hotels one or two nights at a time? Do I go to north Wales to see where Llewellyn and his grandson lived or do I do something else? Decisions, decisions. It’s so exciting.

Off I go to make dinner and then settle down in front of the computer with Ryan19 for some more House of Cards. He’s desperate for me to finish season 1; apparently season 2 starts with a shocker and he wants to see my reaction. We’ll finish season 1 tonight and then it’ll be on like Donkey Kong!

Thermomix Recipe: Vegan Coleslaw.  Including this because of the dressing, which looks delicious. The recipe states to chop the cabbage etc… why would you do that when it takes 4 seconds in the thermomix? That’s crazy talk right there.

Posted in books, family., memories, Quality of life, reading, thermomix | 1 Comment

A little plan.

P1010004

I bought these at Bunnings. I think I’ll wait until they finish flowering and then I’ll plant the bulbs in the herb wicking bed. I like the idea of them popping up year after year.

Thermomix recipe: Mexican Beans with cheesy taco topping Vegetarian meal.

Posted in Flowers | Leave a comment

The new annual veggie garden beds.

P1010013

Poppy. Isn’t she just impossibly beautiful?
We raced outside in between showers to take these shots.

P1010007

On the weekend I planted out some seedlings. This is the garlic and brassica bed. I have mini cabbages and caulies, red cabbage and Nonna’s garlic. This is the garlic that my ex Mother-in-law gacve me 3 years ago. I really want to keep it going forever, like a family heirloom.
I planted the garlic along the left hand side where it’ll get the most sun, then dotted some cloves in among the seedlings. Already some of them have started to come up.
This was the bed where the chooks started off life here in the chook tractor. You can see it in its new position – in the middle bed.

P1010008

This is the bed where the chooks spent the summer. It gets less sun than the other beds as it’s shaded by the fig tree, so I’ve planted lettuce toward the beack and I’m experimenting with red onions along the front, where the bed gets the most sun. There’s also some brocollini here as well. You can see the chook tractor on the left.

P1010009

Here’s the gerlies. See the broody chook on the nesting box? She is one determined young lady. I had to lift her off three times this morning before she’d let me get the eggs. She kept clucking and jumping straight back in. She’d make a good Mum.
Because I’m using the chooks here to weed and fertilise the soil I can’t plant any perennials here as they’ll be scratched up and eaten, so this is where most of our annual veggies’ll be going.

P1010011

Through the fence you can see the work that I had done earlier this year. This is the asparagus bed. It became abundantly clear over the last couple of years that I can’t keep on top of the weeds in these two spaces so the whole area has been weed-matted, then the paving and the garden beds were laid. This area is slightly smaller than the right-hand veggie garden, so there’s only two chook tractor-sized garden beds and a smaller one.
This smaller one is too tiny for the chook tractor, so this is where my asparagus is going. These plants will be producing for the next 20 years +, so these are the only perennials in this area. I had to cover over my last asparagus bed just as it was starting to produce well, so now I’ll wait another couple of years and then enjoy it forever. I’m not doing this job again!

P1010012

You can see that the raspberry has come through the fence, so I’ll be doing something about that next week. I’ve prepared the asparagus bed and I’ll be buying crowns in the next month or two.
The other two beds were overrun with weeds and berry canes, so I’m leaving the weedmat down and I’ll be piling cardboard and newspapers on top to cut out the light. I’ll start building up these beds in six months or so when the raspberries have had a chance to die. The last thing I want is to rush into buiding up these beds and end up with them choked with raspberries and so not be able to use the chicken tractor in here. Patience is a virtue. I’m not going anywhere.

P1010006

Next job is to clear some wicking bed space and pop these guys in.

P1010005

Jeff. He has no idea about posing…

Thermomix Recipe: Chicken and Bacon meatballs

Posted in chickens, gardening, pets, vegetables | 1 Comment

Sometimes cars are NOT co-operative.

P1010024

I posted this photo a while ago but the warrigal greens still look like this so I feel it’s ok to post it again. It’s raining and the dogs are sleeping inside, the cats are on the couch asleep and one son is at the gym, one son is at uni and the other two are still aslep so I’m happy to stay inside and tap away on the keyboard.

Thank goodness for holidays! I’ve got my list of Jobs To Be Done in the break and one of them was to get the car serviced. Booked it in for Wednesday, which gave me time to teach a prac class for new consultants on Tuesday and get things done on Monday. Would’ve been fine, except that on the way home on Tuesday, the car cut out on Tooronga rd during a downpour as peak hour was building. I got it started again, kept going until I glanced at the dashboard and saw that the heat meter was on ‘H’ in the red zone.
I’ve heard that’s not good.

The long and the short of it was that it had to be towed to the very mechanic that it was booked into the next day and I’ve been stuck at home for 2 days. There’s a fair bit that needs to be fixed so hopefully it’ll be back today. I want that car to keep going for at least a couple more years…. after all I have Europe to save for!

Thanks to all those who chipped in about Paris. Scott and I had a Skype session on Tuesday night and things have been set in motion. Europe and the UK is On like Donkey Kong!

Thermomix Recipe: Chicken and spinach pasta This is really nice. I made it last night as one of my last hurrahs before I start my weight loss thing on Saturday and we all practically licked our plates clean. I only used 2 cloves of garlic though.

Posted in holidays | Leave a comment

Paris – is there anything to do there?

Quick question – and I really DO need the help.

Next year I’m doing the trip I’ve waited over 30 years to do and I’m going over to Europe. I planned this trip when I was 16 but then started doing stupid things like getting married, having an over abundance of kids and getting divorced and having to raise and educate the kids on one wage, so I’ve never been able to go. But this year is Evan17′s last year of school - in theory anyway they’ll all be off my hands!!!!! I can go!!!!!

I’ll be spending the bulk of my time in the UK… (bit of a history buff)… but I’ll be ducking over to those other countries across the channel for a bit of a look as well.

I have some points banked in Interval Travel, so it occurred to me that I could book a week in London and a week in Paris and really ‘do’ them. (So to speak.) London will be no problem, (anything old will do!), but Paris I don’t know so much about. I’ve put the question up on FB and Simple Savings as well, but I knew my knowledgeable blog peeps are the ones to go to.

If I’m devoting a week in the one place, what can I do in Paris? I don’t mind some down time but I don’t want to fly all the way over to the other side of the world and then be bored. Have you been? Where should I go? Is it worth spending a whole week there?

Thermomix Recipe: Parsley Pesto

Posted in holidays, memories, Quality of life, shopping | 10 Comments

Skinflint Sunday: South Africa 8.

Untitled

Guess what this is?

Untitled

Yes, there were a couple of hyenas there. Not as exciting as the other animals but they were still ok.

Untitled

Then there was Emma the cheetah. She was dropped at the door of the lion park in a box when she was about 6 months old. Her hips are a bit malformed, but that doesn’t bother her now.

Untitled

Just beautiful.

The next day my sister and I tried to go on a hot air balloon ride but it was cancelled while we were driving to it through the game reserve. Ironically, as soon as it was cancelled the clouds stopped raining, they pulled back and it was a clear, fine morning. We also saw some amazing sights in the park.

Untitled

This is the least exciting of what I took. This was the morning that someone showed me how to actually take video on my ipad, instead of just the stills I’d been taking before. *sigh*
Better late than never.

I have video of hippos in the water, then coming out onto dry land. I have elephants up next to the road, then crossing the road behind the truck, a baby one following.

Untitled

Here’s a still of the hippos.

Untitled

Here’s one of the adult elephants. Well, half of one, anyway.

Untitled

Looking over my sister’s shoulder, watching the elephant family go up the hill into the trees. just before they reached the treeline, the baby turned to its mother for a drink.
And with that, we left the park and that was the last safari.

The rest of the trip was the gala night and a day at the flea market (such BARGAINS!!) and the last lazy day by the pool. I’d forgotten how refreshing a good strong mojito is.
Then it was the long flight home and the rapturous reunion with the boys. Such as it was. They criticised my purchase of the metal rat sculpture at the flea market… (so ugly! How could I not get him?) but they approved of my other finds. My tree, my lady and my giraffe were hits.

Back to regular programming after this. We have TWO pomegranates growing on my weird little pomegranate shrub, not just one. Yesterday I moved the chook tractor over another bed and now I’m contemplating how to get the asparagus bed ready to start off (again) having my garden fresh asparagus for the next couple of decades. Poppy went up a grade in obedience school and has just come out of her first season. So glad the boys both had the snip when they did.

Onwards and upwards! Only a week to go till the Easter holidays!

Thermomix Recipe: White Bean Dip

Posted in holidays | 2 Comments

Skinflint Sunday: South Africa 7

Untitled

Although lions are very nice and all, (kings of the jungle and all that), I remain forever in love with tigers. I was a bit surprised to see a couple of huge cages of tigers as we were walking around.

The lion park we went to is actually a research and breeding facility as well as a tourist thing, so animals get donated to them from time to time. This tiger was one of two who came right up to the fence.The guy taking us around said, “When they’re making the noise they’re making now, it’s ok to pat them through the fence. If they stop making it, don’t put your fingers through.”
So I patted the tigers. I was really surprised that not many other people did… why wouldn’t you take the opportunity when it’s there? Incidentally, I was also surprised at the amount of talk from some of the ladies about handbags, shoes, hair styles etc. Really??? We’re walking with lions, for pete’s sake!! Anyway, back to the tigers.

Untitled

They were gorgeous! I kept my fingers away from the bitey end and enjoyed the moment. After a couple of minutes they got sick of us and went off and did tigery things by themselves.

Untitled

This adult tiger had a bit of a back story.Apparently South Africa has a slight animal smuggling problem. People like adopting wild animals for pets, which is understandable as the cubs are so cute. But with a bit of forward thinking it doesn’t take terribly long to see where the problems might lie.
This tiger was smuggled into the country as a baby and lived in a household with a lion cub and a dog. Things were fine until the tiger killed the dog one day. This upset the family, so they moved him into a small cage in the back yard and fed him cat food to keep him alive, but didn’t let him out to exercise. His hips didn’t form properly as he was growing and he now walks with a limp. After a couple of years, he and his lion friend were donated to the park. As tigers are solitary animals in the wild, it was decided to move his lion friend away. He sunk into depression and didn’t eat for 3 weeks.
So the search was on to find him a mate.
As luck would have it, a female tiger cub was found by customs, so the lion park jumped through a lot of red tape to secure her for their boy. They have now been sharing a very large cage for ages. They can be alone when they want to, but look at what we saw on our way back to the lodge:

Untitled

If you look closely you can see he has his arm over her.
I love a happy ending.

Thermomix recipe: Chickpea salad

Posted in holidays | 4 Comments