Monday, August 31, 2009

'Nourishing Traditions'

Just recently I received a copy of 'Nourishing Traditions - The Cookbook that Challenges Politically correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats' as a gift. Its a pretty sizable volume so I've been slowly working my way through it. 'Nourishing Traditions' is written by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig. They claim our western diet is bad for our health and the cause of many of the degenerative diseases which plague us. Ms Fallon suggests we should return to the eating habits of our ancestors, nonindustrialized people who were remarkably healthy. It seems pretty obvious that our modern processed food is not as nutritious as simple natural foods.

There is a rather graphic description of how margarine is made. The book contains such facts as margarine is naturally a grey colour and is bleached and coloured to make it appetizing. Not very appealing is it? Butter, on the other hand, is natural and contains beneficial fat soluble vitamins,arachidonic acid, omega 6 and omega 3, trace minerals and other good stuff.

We swapped from using margarine to butter about a year ago. After reading the book we will be sticking to butter. We've also stopped buying low fat milk. I wasn't impressed by how skim milk is made. A friend, who had worked in the dairy industry, told me years ago that if you saw how it was made you wouldn't drink it. Skim milk also costs considerably more than 'normal' milk. 'Nourishing Traditions' suggests we drink raw milk if possible and if raw milk isn't available then non homogenized milk.

Pasturized milk is heated which destroys all the enzymes in the milk, including the beneficial ones. Homogenized milk is strained through tiny pores under great pressure so the fat particles are broken up and are so small they stay in suspension rather than rise to the top. This makes the fat more suseptilble to rancidity and oxidation.

Yoghurt has also made its comeback in our fridge. I'm going to make more of an effort to include yoghurt in our diet. Both conventional wisdom and 'Nourishing Traditons' claim yoghurt is good for us. I've made yoghurt in the past and probably should give it a go again. I need to come up with some creative ways to hide the yoghurt in the food we eat as my husband won't eat it, at least he won't if he knows it is there.

We won't be adopting all the changes from 'Nourishing Traditions' but we will slowly make our diet more traditional and simple. The book itself acknowledges the difficulty of cutting out processed foods in modern society.


Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge Update

Sowing seed or Planting

Not much gardening happening, its been cold, wet and windy. Its too dangerous gardening here in high winds as branches can and do come crashing down. We have a number down which need clearing up.

Planning for The Future

We've been to more university open days and my daughter is seriously considering changing her top preference for next year.

Working for the Future

The paperwork continues for the new home we have purchased. So far everything is looking good but I'll be glad when its all finalized.

The decluttering has started even if in a minor way. We have given away some old computer equipment to someone who wants it. Our old video recorder is starting to fail so we've been sorting through the old video tapes to see what should be kept and what thrown out. Its a slow process but I would rather slowly go through things than have to have a major clean out before we move. Our new home is less than half the size of this one so lots of stuff has to go.

Building Community
  • Voluntary work with a local youth organization
  • Read the local paper
  • Attended a fire awareness evening
Learn a new Skill
  • Tried some new recipes from 'Nourishing Traditions'

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back on line

The promised winds came and out went our power. The power was out for about 20 hours, coming back about 6pm last night. It wasn't too bad. I lit the wood stove yesterday morning which heated the kitchen and allowed us to cook. Food always tastes better cooked on the wood stove. There was a casserole bubbling away on top of it for most of the day.

There was enough sun to heat the solar hot water system so we could still have a hot shower. We installed the solar system about 8 years ago and its been wonderful. It saves power during the warmer months and at least heats the water a bit during the winter months when we get most of our power outages. I really don't like cold showers.

It was nice to get the power back though. There is nothing like electric lighting! I think it does us good to have an electricity free day sometimes, it reminds us how dependent we have become on electricity and that there are other ways to get the job done without electricity. I certainly don't want to go back to washing clothes by hand, I love my washing machine, but sometimes I think we take the easy way out just because we can. Its easy to line dry clothes though it does take a little longer than using the dryer but how many people just routinely throw the clothes in the dryer. There has to be a balance between convenience and saving money and the earth's resources.

I hope everyone else survived the windy weather without any damage to people or property.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wild and Windy

Its windy out there. Weather warnings have been issued for later today. We have been getting ready for the wild weather coming our way. We have already had a number of branches fall from the trees on the property. We've cleared them up a bit, they have all been removed from trees if they were caught up and are safely on the ground. There is still the job of cutting them up and removing them. I expect more will come down tonight.

The wood box has been filled so we don't have to go out into the weather to get fire wood. I've caught up with the washing and baked some bread. I've done what I can to get ready if the power goes out. There is a good chance it will.

The worse power outage we have had while living here is 3 days. If it goes out due to storm damage tonight it could easily be out for a day or two. Its part of living here.


Thursday, August 20, 2009


Our offer was successful, we will shortly own a new house. Yeah!!!!

This is to be an investment property for now with a view to moving in the next 2 years. It feels good to have a plan, to know what we are working towards.

There is heaps of work to do before we can make the move but there is no rush. At the moment the priority is on getting all the paperwork sorted out and finances settled. Then we need to get our existing home ready for sale.

The house we have purchased is much smaller than our existing home so there is lots of clearing out to do. Lots of clearing out.

Its pretty exciting but a bit scary as well. It will be a different lifestyle but I'm looking forward to it.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Today we have officially put in an offer on a new house. Cross your fingers and wish us luck. Three parties are putting in offers so there is a bit of competition. We should hear in the next couple of days if we are successful.

Initially the property will be rented out and when the kids are settled at uni and I have completed my uni course we will move. Thats the plan anyway. Its a pretty flexible plan but it feels good to have a plan and something to work towards.

Well I guess I had better go and do some work to pay for this new house.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge Update

Sowing seed or Planting

Still tackling the blackberry, it is the major weed in the front garden. I'm almost there. Once a patch has been cleared its getting a good carpet of mulch to help keep the weeds at bay. There is one patch of ivy out the front. Its the last patch of ivy on the property. I've been slowly clearing them. I'm trying to decide if I have the energy to clear this patch now or if it can wait. I suspect it will have to wait as there are more important things to do in preparation of the oncoming bush fire season.

Planning for The Future

We are still looking into tertiary education for next year but things are progressing. My daughter now has a place to stay if she gets accepted into the course she has as number one on her list. Nothing can be finalized until January when the uni offers come out.

Working for the Future

Submitted my application for university next year. Now I have to organize my supporting documentation and then wait unit January to see if I get a place.

Building Community
  • Voluntary work with a local youth organization
Learn a new Skill
  • Tried a new knitting pattern which I had been unsuccessful at before, this time it worked, it helps if you read the directions properly.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday already

Friday already. I doubt I got half the things done this week I wanted to. Life is like that. We've had some rain which is great and our water tanks are full. I haven't done much in the garden this week as it has been a bit wet.

Yesterday we visited my parents and my brother. We saw the new home he is building. Its at frame stage at the moment. New homes always seem to offer so much potential. He and his family are quite excited that they are finally getting their new home after renting for a number of years.

There was a trip to the accountant yesterday as well. I've got a couple of jobs to do for him today. Then it was home and out to another meeting. A pretty busy day all in all.

Today I need to get some work done for the accountant and finish off a few other tasks which have been sitting on my desk for a while. There is also a rather large pile of dishes waiting to be done. Boring stuff but necessary and I always feel better when I finally get up to date on the boring stuff.

My daughter is off to another university open day on the weekend. My husband will take her as I'm out with the youth group I volunteer for. We are slowly getting through all the university open days. Choosing a university is a big decision. She knows which one she would really like to go to but is worried she won't get the marks so needs a back up plan.

I guess I had better get my act together and do some of that work.

I hope you have a great weekend,

Monday, August 10, 2009

A cold Monday

More rain today, its cold, really cold. I don't know why but it feels colder than the thermometer says it is. The fire is alight and I'm all rugged up to keep the cold at bay. Apparently we are in for a wet week. I would like to get out into the garden but won't be complaining about the rain, we really need it.

Sunday we were meant to be going to yet another open day at a university but our son decided he would rather stay home and get some work done so the trip was canceled. What to do with an unexpected free day? My husband and I dusted off our bikes and went for a bike ride on a nearby rail trail. It was a beautiful day and great to get out and pedal away. We are paying the price today though, sore legs and sore backsides. Those bicycle seats are not the most comfortable of things.

Tonight my daughter and I waded through the university handbooks looking for suitable courses for next year. She has to put her course choices in in the next few weeks. We've searched for courses, had a look at different universities and had an information overload. Its a big task trying to determine the best course to get the education to work in a job you will love. We've still got a few uni open days to go to in the coming weeks.

Hopefully by this time next year we will have both kids at university doing courses they love. The other big challenge is finding somewhere for them to live close to the university. I'm sure it will all work out. Our son is settled and happy at a regional university and I'm confident it will work out for our daughter as well.

Having kids leave secondary school and go on to tertiary studies is a time of uncertainty but its pretty exciting too. They grow up over night, we sent a teenager to uni and a young man came home. Its going to be quiet here next year with just my husband and I at home. I guess we will get used to it and there will food in the pantry with out the human vacuum cleaner living at home.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Wet and windy

Another wet and windy night last night. The weather bureau forecast high winds and we got them. I haven't seen any storm damage on the property as of yet but I haven't been down the back where its most likely branches would have come down. Each year we do a clean up down the back and remove fallen and dangerous branches. I suspect there will be a few this year.

I've got lots of work to do today, mostly office work, as the weather is still very overcast its a good day to be inside. I'm trying to clean up my messy desk and get up to date with work commitments.

Then I've just got to get around to cleaning the house, the garden, some of my neglected craft projects ...... you get the idea.

I hope you have a productive Friday and a good weekend,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Carrots, carrots everywhere

Yesterday was a day dominated by carrots. Carrots! yes, carrots.

We eat quite a few carrots so to cut costs a little and because I was tired of running out of carrots, I now buy the 20kg bag of juicing carrots about every 4 weeks. That's a lot of carrots.

What do I do with all these carrots? The lady at the fruit shop always inquires as I often buy a box of apples and 10kg of onions at the same time. She must think I feed a heap of kids. Maybe she just thinks I'm nuts.

About 3kg goes to a friend. The bottom drawer of the fridge is filled with carrots as they will last for a few weeks in the fridge. 2kg gets grated, packed into containers and frozen. I'll use this to make dog food. 10 cups gets grated and made into carrot cake, a few of the apples also go into the cakes.

Three cakes cooked, ready for the freezer.

That's what I did yesterday morning, grating carrots and making carrot cake. The last batch are in the oven. I now have six beautiful yummy carrot cakes. Four of the cakes are in the freezer. They freeze well and make a great afternoon tea when visitors come over or when we feel like something yummy.

One is in the cake tin for this week's snacks and the other was half demolished by my husband when he came home from work. He loves carrot cake.

One carrot loving rabbit, the other was a bit shy and didn't want his photo taken.

A rabbit's delight.

The pet rabbits are happy as they are munching on carrots peel and carrot ends. The chooks got some of the peel as well.

Not bad for a couple of hours work and $12. Buying carrots in bulk is much cheaper. Buying loose carrots at the moment costs about $2 a kilo, the bulk carrots are $0.60 a kilo. Even if some have to be thrown out I'm still ahead.

The quality of bulk carrots does vary a lot. Some seem to go moldy the day after you buy them, others last weeks. Shop around and find a good supplier. It took a while before I found my favourite fruit shop. The carrots are sweet, not woody and last well.

Now I just need more carrot recipes.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge Update

Sowing seed or Planting

Not much action in the garden, its been wet and cold and I've been busy fighting the blackberry in the rest of the garden.

Planning for The Future

Trying to work out how we can accommodate everyone with their tertiary education next year - there will probably be three of us going to three different universities. Its getting tricky.

Working for the Future

Attended an open day at Monash University to get more information about courses next year.

Building Community
  • Voluntary work with a local youth organization
Learn a new Skill
  • Had a go at baking bread and savoury scrolls and was surprised how good the result was.