Saturday, January 12, 2013

In Memory

today would have been your birthday, I still miss you

Art for this week

 Leading up to Christmas I worked my butt off making Christmas presents, as you know orginasation is not my strong point.  But I always push myself until I get them all done and I seem to work better under presure.
 This journal was a massive project but I was so pleased of it when I finished, it is inspired by a journal Mandy Herring shared with me of one she got that was handmade by DJ Pettit, which I fell in love with.  This was Joannes present and I have started it for her by putting black and white photo's of her maternal line trying to keep them to wedding photo's where I could.  Some, her great great grandmother  I was unable to get.  Above is the cover, it has a fabric wrap signature the back of you can see below.

 Angel wings for kirsty, to hang on the back of her beautiful old mannequin.
    For Raymon, I had done this earlier in the year and only had a few little bits and pieces to complete it.
For Jessica and her little family.

Curry rice and lentils

Recipe I tried from this blog with a few changes, you can see them on the comments on this blog I loved it will be making it again.  The chorizo sausage was $4 so at reasonable price for a meal for two taking the other ingrediants into account I would say less than $10.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Red Lentil Dahl for my sister

This is a lovely Dahl recipe I got when on one of my dumb diets (giving that lot up) (all of them), it is very versatile and as a vegetarian dish it goes a long way.
1 med onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp ghee (found in supermarket, butter bi product, great for these recipes)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt (all dried)
1 fresh chilli chopped fine
2 cups of vege stock (I use 1 tbsp dried stock and add 2 cups hot water to dissolve)
1 can coconut milk (approx 375 gram)
1 can crushed tomatoes (I use a couple of fresh tomatoes chopped up)
1 plus half cups dried red lentils well rinsed under cold water (they will all stick together)
1 to 2 cups diced fresh vegetables
1 cup loose pack fresh coriander (to serve)
fresh lemon or lime juice (to serve)
Cook onions in ghee until soft add ginger and garlic, cook 2 mins
add dried spices and chilli, stir well for 1 min (fragrance is released, smells delicious)
Stir in stock, tomatoes and coconut milk.
Add lentils, stir, cover pot and simmer 5 mins
Stir in veges and simmer until veges and lentils are soft (about 15 mins) I tend to overcook but still tastes good
check for flavour and add more salt if needed
Serve with fresh coriander and squeeze of lemon juice

If you have a Indian friend, they may advise you on how authentic this recipe is and how to improve on it.  I find the flavours mild and fresh which suits my palate.  
I divide it into 6 separate meals and freeze 5 for later use, just heating through to cook.  I like to add fresh chopped or sliced vegetables like cabbage, celery, capsicum etc
Enjoy and let me know what you think. Anyone else with a favourite Dahl recipe please share.
Slow down and smell the roses
Jacky xo

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lettuce in a jar

 I read on Pinterest about putting chopped up lettuce in a jar and vacuum sealing.  I was definitely interested as it keeps up to a week or more.  As this was an American pin, I had to hunt around for the actual manual vacuum food pump.  Neither coles or woolworths stock them.  Not in Kitchen shop, eventually by chance I checked King of Knives in Galleria, lucky me, they did and whats more reduced from $19.95 to $3.95.  Now I know you can get the electrical one, but as I  don't have room for any more electrical gadgets I decided against them, also they are $129 and you need to get another gadget that fits over the lid and could only find that online so even though it was only $10 postage would have had to be included.  This is where the internet is so cool, from the Pinterest pin I went to her blog, and on her blog she had lots of comments.  One of them was on using the manual pump.
 Screw jars with the metal lid that has the rubber seal was the one in the demo, but I only had the twist all in one lid, a used clean jam jar.  So heres how I did it following blog instructions.  Pierce a hole in the middle of the lid with a pin you use on pin up boards, this was easier than I thought it would be.  Put a small piece of tape over the hole, it has to be smaller than the end of the pump so I made mine about half centimetre, only needs to cover the hole.  You leave the tape on after sealing.
chop your lettuce, I used a baby cos and chopped it into bite size pieces
 Stuff into your jar, mine was only a meal size, you can use larger jars and pack in quite firmly.
Place your vacuum pump over the taped hole and pump it up and down about 4 or 5 times.  It will be quite stiff to start with, you will see the lid pull down.  And that is it, to check if you have done it correctly, unscrew the jar, it should be firm and you will hear the seal pop.  You then reseal it when you are convinced just by re pumping.  Keep jar of lettuce in the fridge.  If you use a large jar you can just take enough lettuce out for a meal and reseal the jar.  When you have used all your lettuce up, wash and dry your jar and lid ready for the next lot.  How cool is this.  You can find it on my Pinterest by going to pinterest.comjackymcfarlane, it is on the gardening board, I have heaps of good pins on there.  I will share them with you after I have tried them myself to make sure they work and where to get the tools etc.  Give it a go.  You could make up a small jar and take it to work for your lunch with some loose small tomatoes and other salad ingredients, and a small container of your favourite dressing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you a fun filled happy New Year.
This year I am going to change the format of my blog, more ways to become self sufficient and at least one art journalling page a week.
The reason for the self sufficiency is that John retires at the end of the year and we will be living on a pension.  I am really looking forward to this.  My thoughts are that when you work you have a reasonable income but are time poor.  We are not good at spending wisely, as we are time poor and just buy whatever we think we need, we also waste a lot.  When you retire and go on the pension your income is less but the upside is you have a lot of time to become better at spending your smaller income and living within your means. I find this exciting and a challenge.  I started working towards this several years ago and planning on ways to ease into this.  We have  spent up on making sure we have good reliable electrical goods, linen and clothing.  In my mind I knew that there where things we where going to have repaired and we made sure that we had savings to cover them.  In the last month the air conditioner broke down, we had been warned, it happened just before the heat wave, damn it all and we never got it fixed for a week, but now it will be good for at least another 10 years.  Next to go was the vacuum cleaner, we have always tried to get the best quality we could afford and this was a Dyson, worth every cent.  Will get another one of that brand.  And as it always goes in threes, the reticulation system is playing up, hoping it will last out summer then get it renewed.  Got new sheets at David Jones 50% off in the sale, so got good quality  they should also last 10 years, then we will be just getting what we can afford.  So, after all explanations aside, the plan for this year is to learn self sufficiency and planning on how I spend my $ as I also think that the most important thing when you get older is your health.  So my aim is to get good quality food and get it in season.  I will share with you my journey, hope I don't bore you with this, and I am hoping you will share with me your money saving ideas.  I joined Pinterest through Facebook about 4 months ago, what a wealth of ideas I am getting from there.  I am going to try their tips and will also share them with you.  

This morning I headed off to the Kalamunda Fresh Food Markets which is on every Sunday.  I allowed myself $50 and this is the basket I bought home.  I was very proud of myself as I found heaps of exciting new things I hadn't seen there before.  This market is only small but it has very good quality produce.
For my $50 I got a head of celery $2, rangefree eggs $5 (not a big saving but I know they are fresh and this person farms the chooks) banana's, 3 white flesh nectarines and 3 white flesh peaches for $2, whole grain bread $7 loaf ( sounds expensive but it will last me about 10 days)  1 kilo of natural honey ( cutting out all sugar and using honey instead including baking) $14 could of had it for $12 in a plastic container but I can re use the jar with a seal cap lid (more on that in later blog) beautiful fresh baby Cos lettuce $1.50 mix of 6 different young green sprouts (learnt how he grows these will share when I have tried to grow them myself), watermelon and rock melon plants $2 each, oh, in the brown bag 2 vanilla custard horns from the bread lady(not in the budget).
a slice of the yummy bread, see all those poppy and sesame seeds on top.  Maybe, a bit liberal, spread of butter and some of the honey, delicious.  I know you are probably thinking that I shouldn't be eating butter but I refuse to eat margarine and after reading on Pinterest an article from a heart specialist about cholesterol not being the cause for heart disease after all, I am giving up on following advise on so called knowledgeable people, being very cynical here, who may, or may not, have a hidden agenda and are just as likely down the track to change their opinion, like this doctor.  I intend to follow my own instincts and what I grew up with.  Getting off all processed foods, finding whats in season and last but not least growing or making my own.
I hope you will stay with me on this journey
stay healthy and happy