Monday, August 27, 2012

Cow Updates and some yummy cooking

The cows are all doing well on the property. They are in to the habit of coming up to visit each afternoon, where we give them some molasses. We have started adding a fortifier to it to give them extra vitamins and minerals they need to build up their condition and get them nice and healthy. Most of the girls are looking good, there is just one or 2 that still needs to put on a little more weight, so hopefully the fortifier will help them along. We also need to bring them in once we finally get our crush and worm them and brand them and ear tag them. Meg the jersey and the little hereford are the boss of all of the others, but they have definitely quietened down the others at the same time which is good.

We have changed our plans a little with our accomodation at the property. We have decided to build in 1 end of the large shed we are having put up next month and fit it out as our cabin instead. It will save us quite a bit of money doing it that way, money which can be put in to building our house up there instead. So the exciting news with that is that we can start fitting it out at the beginning of October, weather permitting of course.
Have been going full steam ahead with the no sugar lifestyle this last week, couldn't get used to no sugar in my tea yet, but I have graduated down to 1/4 of a stevia tablet, down from a full one only a couple of months ago, and will decrease this gradually down to nothing over the next couple of months. This will save money on not needing to buy the stevia tablets, as they are quite expensive. It seems my appetite control is starting to come back to normal, and I'm not feeling very hungry at all during the day, just breakfast, lunch and dinner, no need for snacking, so hopefully that continues. Cooked up a yummy dinner of chorizo, bacon and mushroom creamy fettucine, very yummy, and sugar free.
Chorizo, Bacon and Mushroom creamy fettucine.

1/2 chorizo sausage chopped in to cubes
3 pieces shortcut bacon, diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
400 mls cream
Some cornflour to thicken if desired
400g fresh pasta
1-2 tablespoons butter
Parmesan cheese grated to serve

Melt butter and fry the onion, garlic, chorizo and bacon until slightly caramelised. Add mushrooms and fry until soft. Add cream and simmer gently. Thicken with cornflour mixed in a little water to thicken. Cook pasta in boiling water until consistency you like. Serve with some parmesan sprinkled over the top with ground black pepper.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Still de-cluttering - Photos, Magazines and Recipes

Been quite busy around here of late. Since giving up 99% of sugar, and all low fat foods, my energy is still high. It's the best I have felt in years. As a result, I have been really busy. Damian brought me home a trailer load full of rocks last weekend, so I have put those around for garden edging, I will still probably need another 2-3 trailer loads to finish off all of the edging, but it is getting there now, then just need to re-mulch everything and do some pruning,  and the gardens will be done for now. I am looking at going up to the property over the weekend, and if I do I will tow the trailer back up with me, and bring back another trailer load with me when I come back so I can keep going on that.  I am still working on the last bit of de-cluttering in the shed, and I did a big clean up in Kasey's room yesterday, and threw out 2 garbage bags full of rubbish - drawings, papers and clutter, and also donated 2 boxes of outgrown clothes and toys to the op shop. When de-cluttering the shed, I came across the start of the boxes of photos we have accumulated over the years. These just sit in boxes, never being looked at, taking up room. We aren't going to have the room in the cabin while building the new house, and I just want to clear everything out and just be able to concentrate on what needs doing each day, instead of storing and looking at stuff we don't need. So I went and purchased a good quality photo scanner, which scans photos and negatives, and I have started to scan the hundreds of photos that we have. So far I am up to 900, and I am afraid that is just the tip of the iceberg! Being just a photo scanner though, it is really quick, and is saving all the photos to an SD card. I am keeping any interesting and outstanding photos for scrap booking, and the rest are being tossed, and will only be kept in digital format. If we need a photo for something, we can get it printed from the memory card, or we can view the photos on the computer or tv. Looking back on the photos is a real memory tripper, and it is amazing looking at the changes that have taken place in our lives over the years, from when the kids were little, to building the house/s and the decor changes inside over the years, and occasions we had forgotten about, but that's what photos are for isn't it. I am going to make a couple of backup copies of the sd cards once fully completed, and will ask a couple of family members to keep a copy for us, just in case ours goes missing or is destroyed. By scanning the photos, I am also able to retouch any that are damaged in photoshop. I have also  been scanning my gardening magazines, as I want to keep them in a digital format only as well. Magazines take up such a lot of room, but I want to keep all of the information, just not the clutter. Scanning the magazines is taking a lot longer though, so it is going to take a loooonnnggg time to do, mainly because I am giving each scan a relevant name so I can archive them easily and be able to cross reference everything. Once that is done, I will publish the entire document as a PDF book on my ipad and computer which I can refer to whenever I like. I also need to do the same thing with all of my recipes that I have printed out on bits and pieces of paper, and toss any recipe books that I never use. Toni has asked me to make her up a recipe book with our family recipes in it for when she is living out of home so she can make her favourites that she has grown up with. I will probably do something up in Scrapbook Max for this, as there are a few great recipe book and card kits available that will do the job well and quickly.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 minute Bread

This morning I made my first batch of 5 minute bread from the bulk mix I made up on Tuesday.
I took a piece about the size of a grapefruit off, and quickly shaped it in to a ball by pulling the 4 corners to underneath, and place it on a floured tray for 40 minutes
I pre-heated the oven to 230deg, and slashed the top of the loaf with a serrated knife, and placed it in the oven with a cup of hot water in a pan in the bottom, and waited.
Half an hour later, my first loaf was ready.
All I can say is.....YUM!

The crust in beautiful and crispy, and the bread inside is soft and delicious. Just perfect. Slashing the top of the loaf allowed the loaf to rise nicely, and create lots of lightness to the loaf. And it was very, very easy. Took me about 10 minutes on the first day to mix it together. It then sat on the bench for the afternoon, then I put it in the fridge where it stayed until this morning. Today, if there was 5 minutes in it, it would have been just 5 minutes, and no more. I had some for lunch with just butter, started off with 2 pieces, then...ahem...had another...then a teensy weensy small bit of the crust, as it was so nice. Talk about full now though...I also picked a hand of lady finger bananas from the tree this morning, they are now in the fruit bowl on the bench waiting to ripen.
There is still plenty more on the tree to be picked, so I hope they ripen up ok. Getting a bit tired now, didn't sleep very well last night, the dogs woke me up (again) so was awake for a few hours reading until I was tired enough to go back to sleep. Must order my spring seeds and get those sown though, might relax on the laptop this afternoon and order those online I think. Must not get carried away though, I'm not sure whether we will be up at the farm by the end of the year or not, so don't want to go to overboard on the vegie garden here until then.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Potato Planting day

Today was time to plant the potatoes. I ordered mine in from Green Harvest, and I got 6 different varieties to try, and I have decided this year to try the potato tower method. The varieties I am trying are Sebago, Nicola, Dutch Cream, Desiree, Toolangi Delight and Ruby Lou. I have purchased 12 kilograms all up, so I would like to get a 5:1 yield back at least to make it worthwhile. I used chicken wire as the frames, and put sugar can mulch in around the base and sides and filled the towers up with home made compost, alternating layers of potatoes all the way up the towers, then watered them in...crossing my fingers for a good harvest in a few months time.
The sewing retreat on the weekend was very productive. I made quite a few items, and I also repaired a skirt that I needed to replace the zipper on. This is a bag I made for Kasey for school, but I think it is probably a little small for a school bag, but she loves it anyway. I just need to finish it off with a couple of clip studs to join the top on to the bag properly.
I also made her a new lunch bag, as her other one was getting a bit past it. 

 A new sun hat for me...might make a couple more of these I has a nice wide brim, so is really great for the garden.
 There is always a project that the retreat ladies give us to do, and this time it was this table runner using a special flip ruler to do the shapes, I loved the colours of this one, and it is on the table taking pride of place.
 The last couple of days have been pretty busy, I had a bit of time spare before picking Kasey up from school on Monday, so I called in to the op shop and picked up this lovely picnic basket. I've always wanted one like this, but wasn't prepared to pay the high price of a brand new one. I picked this one up for $15, so was happy with that.

 Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen, I made these lemon honey yoghurt muffins from Linda's blog for lunches, they are very yummy, for the extra sweet tooth's around here,  I made up some lemon butter in the Thermomix (very, very quick and easy, 10 mins from start to finish) to spread in the middle to keep them happy until they get a bit more used to less sugar, which is a big focus around here right now, and Linda has heaps of healthy recipes on her blog, so I will be trying quite a few for lunch box treats. I added some Chia seeds to them as well, they look just like poppy seeds, and no-one has even asked what they are, so a bonus.

I also made up a batch of mayonnaise in the Thermomix last night as Toni wanted some to put on her chicken sandwiches for lunches, very quick and easy to make, and yummy. I was looking at the prices of whole egg mayo in the supermarkets and they charge nearly $6 a jar, so it got left on the shelf! To make this batch would have cost me about $1.00 I would think, and I know exactly what is in it, no numbers in this jar.

I also made up a batch of yoghurt, and a big batch of dough from the Artisan 5 minutes a day for fresh bread book, so it has been resting in the fridge, and I will probably bake my first loaf from that tomorrow. I used a mix of organic white flour, as well as a soy and linseed mix, and I also added chia seeds, so it should be a nice filling, healthy loaf. I also baked up a batch of pikelets for the lunch boxes as well. I have flowers coming in tomorrow to be made up for the weekend, and an embroidery workshop in the morning, and scrapbooking Friday, so still a busy week ahead.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Missy Moo found...

Our neighbour on the next property has let us know that he has magically acquired a heifer in with his mob of steers, so it appears our missing cow has been located. He is bringing them all in to the yards in a couple of weeks for dipping, so we will round her up then and bring her back in with ours.  Things have been pretty busy, I took the hereford and Jersey up to the property, we kept them in the smaller paddock for a few days and Damian has let them out on to the rest of the property. They are sticking fairly close to us at the moment, and not heading off with the others at this stage, and we are bringing them up each afternoon for some lucerne. Once I have organised myself a little for being up at the property full time, we will get Nutmeg (the jersey) put in calf, and start to keep her confined a bit closer to us if she is starting to wander the whole property by then, but in the meantime, we will spend as much time as possible being around them to keep them used to us as much as possible. They are pretty used to humans, so hopefully they will stay that way if we keep them close by.
Toni and her boyfriend came up to the property on the same weekend and had a great time riding around and exploring and relaxing.
 They rode around the boundary while Damian followed on the tractor, so they could detect any logs and things in the grass before he ran over them with the slasher. He now has 2 full widths slashed on the entire boundary, meaning that we can get around the boundary almost all the way now, except for the deep gully, which is really only accessible on horse back, even the 4wd quad has issues with that gully. I look forward to the day that I can ride a horse around the boundaries, as I feel much safer on horse back than on quad bike, Damian is the opposite, he is not a horse person at all, because they have a brain and can make their own decisions :) not like a motorbike or quad bike.  Everything has their merits, I just don't like quad bikes with gullies and hills, but I do have fun riding around on flat safe areas. Kasey had great fun riding around with Damian on the tractor while he slashed the boundary line, it was slow going and took them about an hour and a half to go once around the full way,  but will be much quicker now that the pathway has been cleared.
 I am heading off to a sewing retreat tomorrow for the weekend with Mum, so Damian has headed back down to the house here for the weekend to take care of Kasey while I have a break. I have lots of projects all cut out ready to sew, so I am looking forward to it.  I collected some rocks to bring back home while at the property, and have been busy doing some garden edging and gardening down here. I am enjoying being outside at the moment, it's very energising. I have also mainly given up sugar, and I have found my energy levels have increased a lot, and I have also changed from low fat foods to full fat foods as I am always hungry on low fat food, and have been battling lethargy for years now. I have found that I am happy now just having my 3 meals a day, and not looking for snacks in between. So with a combination of cutting out sugar and changing my diet, my energy has been given a real boost, and I am much keener to get outside and do things. The vegie garden and the chooks are very therapeutic, and I could spend hours out there, the chooks are so funny to watch, when one gets something yummy, watching her run at full speed trying to get away from the others is a crack up..I think my family thinks I'm a bit nuts getting so much enjoyment out of the chickens, but I know other chicken fans know what I mean. Anyway...this has ended up being a longer story than I intended, so off to catch up on what everyone else has been up to and then bed.