Sunday, 22 July 2012

Spades and Spools

It's been so cold all I've wanted to do is curl up in my current pride and joy- an old green velvet armchair- with a book and a cup of tea, but alas, mostly I've been too busy anyway, and when the opportunity has presented itself, like this afternoon, it has been occupied by other fans (this time Yoshi). As anyone who is a staff member for cats knows, moving is not an option.

I managed to get into the garden and do some much needed work last week. I can't remember when I last did weeding, but am quite thankful it is winter and nothing is growing very much because otherwise     I don't know if I would have had the ability to get to the other side of the garden without a chainsaw. I coaxed Mr Sprout to join me for a little while, and I built up quite a sweat digging, mucking out the Henton Hotel and tidying up in general. Since I'd already had a workout at the gym, I gave myself an extra point for getting outside and melting some more fat. 

My poor kale plants looked like they had been attacked by raptors (when I found them), but since I found a chookie sized hole in the vegie patch fence with a calling card and some feathers, I put off calling Sam Neill and asking him to locate and return the offenders to Jurassic Park. Instead, Mr Sprout put a temporary fix on the fence, and I've made a note to myself to do something about it before Spring planting is done. I'm not quite sure what to do as yet, but obviously chicken wire isn't chicken proof! I was thinking perhaps some old pallets would make a good fence, it would certainly be a good way to recycle, not to mention being cheap! You'd think with four cats we could put them on a rotating roster of guard duty to chase any invaders out of the patch - but they would probably fall asleep.

This year I did not sow onions, after so much rain last summer, I think this year will be the same. Instead, I've planted shallots and lots of garlic, so onions won't necessarily be missed. I have been late getting in the broad beans, but luckily I can sow them up until the end of Spring being in the mountains, so it shouldn't make too much difference. I've also been thinking about growing some quinoa, it is apparently easily grown in cooler climates and very productive. I didn't know the leaves could be eaten as well, so maybe it's worth a try?

July is not a very good time for planting, but I'm thinking about getting some spuds going under cover. I'm also going to have a look at the seed catalogue and plan out the summer garden, as I haven't done it yet! The problem is keeping restrained from buying too much. I get sucked in by the gorgeous pictures and before I know it somehow I need three acres to grow everything I've bought. Since I have 12 medium beds and 2 enormous ones (plus all the space along the back fence) you'd think I wouldn't run out of room... On the other hand in July the wattle comes out and clumps of it here and there brighten the misty mountains promising  Spring isn't far away. Of course according to the council Cootamundra wattle is a noxious weed, but  most things are when you live in a national park!

I have also been industrious with the sewing machine making new curtains for our bedroom. I'm rather proud of these because I stitched on the curtain tape myself, which I was a little nervous about. The old ones weren't thick enough and we were losing heat through the glass. I had tried the thermal lined fabric but it isn't really very good and it it tends to start disintegrating after a couple of years. This time, we got some really thick heavy fabric, and I lined it with two layers of calico (gosh they were HEAVY when made!). The fabric is from Ikea, and it seems to be doing the job nicely. Having calico on the back also means sun bleaching won't be an issue.

Also on the spool, I've been working on some bunting on and off for Sprout & Bean's collection. I lost count of how many I've cut out, but I'm not even a quarter way through the pile to sew together! Making them this way will make sure they are more durable for multiple uses (we hope this bunting will come out often). So that's about it for now!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sprout and Bean High Tea

Mrs Bean and myself (with the help of a zippy little sidekick) put on a high tea for an old and dear friend - just to show a bit of love. With the help of her husband, we managed to keep it a surprise until she turned up on the day! and here's what it looked like...all the crockery, linens, cutlery, stands and other paraphernalia we own ourselves, and use for high teas. We've built up quite a collection, and it showed off everything perfectly. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rawmazing Race: Seaweed Salad in Tokyo

Tonight was actually Mr Sprout's turn to make dinner...but he was running late. So, I decided to get out the sundried wakame I bought on a whim last week, and make a seaweed salad. It's been a sea veg day, as I had nori wraps for lunch as well. Now, nori I understand and love, but I was a bit dubious about the dried dog poo looking things in the packet. I was also a little apprehensive about the texture and taste, but what the hey, I'll give anything vego a try! It is a superfood, containing numerous vitamins and minerals, including A, K, some B's, folate, calcium,and iron. It's also one of the highest vego sources of omega 3, so it was about time I tried it! It was super easy to soak the wakame in cold water while I chatted to Mrs Bean on the phone, it only took about 10 minutes (she busted me taking the photos, but I swear I was an active participant in the conversation!) and I chopped up some capsicum, celery, zucchini, spring onion, carrot, and avocado. I threw on some rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and seeds...I didn't have any wasabi, but once it was thrown altogether it was pretty substantial, and surprisingly, tasted really good.Now that I've discovered the deliciousness of sea vegies, I'll probably eat more of them!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Rawmazing Race: Raw Pasta in Rome

Tonight's dinner is pasta - zucchini noodles that is, with a "cheezy" sauce made from sunflower seeds and cashews, with some garlic, nutritional yeast, and a bunch of pinches of this and that which I can't really remember! I topped the pasta with some chopped capsicum, mushrooms, and spinach, and a few  olives. I don't know if I can get through the entire plate, as I am pretty full still from lunch, which was kale wraps. AND I'm managing to stick to this even though it was -1 when I got up this morning and it's about 2 degrees now (Celsius that is). I have been having hot herbal teas, and a glass of warm water with lemon juice when I get up, which has probably helped. I don't feel overly hungry or desperate, although when it is heading towards meal times I am getting a few random cravings (like mac and cheese which I don't really like that much?) Sales meeting at work involved chicken Caesar wraps...luckily just the thought of eating chicken makes me want to barf anyway, so I had no temptations today! 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Rawmazing Race: Raw Carrot & Ginger Soup in Amsterdam

Ok, so I know this looks like a regular soup, but believe me, it is raw. Since Holland is responsible for much of the carrots we eat today, I thought Amsterdam would be a good stop for tonight's plate hopping adventure. I juiced some carrots,then added half an avocado and some ginger and whizzed it up with my barmix. I added the black sesame seeds for a bit of contrast, but some fresh parsley or dill would probably have gone with it really well too. It was so creamy! I'll probably add this to the rotation, since Mr Bean thought it was pretty good too from the taste he had. Since carrots are a super food and their health benefits would probably fill a book, I'll keep it short. Carrots are loaded with vitamins A,C,D,E,K, B1, and B6, besides a heap of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium (to name a few). They are also alkaline, and  high in phytonutrients, which have amazing healing properties in the body. Add to the soup the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from the avocado that carry fat soluble vitamins such as E and K, and I feel pretty darn good about tonight's dinner! But even if you aren't into all the nutrition of it, just try it cos it's yummy!