Why Everyone Shouldn’t Eat Dairy with Spinanch or Meat?

Spinach grows all year, in our Australian temperate zoned garden.  Therefore spinach accompanied the sustainable fish we cook last night for dinner.

Here is my easy recipe for spinanch and other seasonal vegetables, that I cook regularly.  It is a surprisingly enjoyable recipe that even our toddler will eat.

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Thinly chop a clove of garlic and lightly fry.  Add the spinanch, some green string beans, cherry tomatoes, saltanas and pine nuts.

To ensure my body is able to absorb as much iron from the spinanch, I use Nuttelex dairy free butter for frying as dairy decreases iron absorbtion.  Being dairy intolerant is an advantage when it comes to iron absorbtion.

Adding cherry tomatoes not only adds a tangy flavour to the vegetables but also adds vitamin C to your meal.  Vitamin C helps with the absorbtion of iron.

I add other vegetables at different times of the year but the spinanch is always a constant. 

Good nutrition simple, easy and tasty.

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What Are You Harvesting Now?

Up early this morning to capture the garden in the gentle morning light.

My lack of edible gardening posts at home, is a direct result of not venturing outside.  As much as I love being outside in the garden, sometimes life gets in the way of doing what you want.

I sense life is changing back to allow more time in the garden.  Bliss can once again return.

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Mandarins

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Snow Peas

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Spinach

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Flowering Rockett

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Broccolini

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Broad Beans

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Chilies

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Garlic

Do You Think Climate Change Influences Property Purchases?

Almost twenty years ago, I inspected a property for sale on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  It was beautifully located right on the water – at sea level.

The real estate agent rang me afterwards to follow up.  “It’s a lovely home but I would be worried about climate change and rising sea levels”, was my response.  Today you may consider that a reasonable concern but twenty years ago, it probably was ‘out there’ and hence the agent unashamedly laughed at my feedback.

Not so long ago I had the opportunity to revisit that same property.  I stood and stared at the back yard which now has approximately five metres less garden than twenty years ago – it has simply eroded away.  I wonder if that real estate agent still laughs at climate change concerns from potential buyers?

This got me thinking to our home purchase almost two years ago.  Eventhough the house was located kilometers from the ocean, we still had a list of ‘must have’ features that were motivated by climate change and our desire to live more sustainably.

* Large north facing roof line for solar PV
* Ample north facing garden space for growing vegetables
* Area for below and above ground, rain water tanks
* A large undercover clothes drying area

Though not on the original list, having mature fruit and nut trees would also be on our list today.

I sense there are many other people today, who’s home must have feature list, has changed over the last twenty years.  Or am I still the strange ‘out there’ minority, that real estate agents laugh at?

I’m really interested to hear from real estate agents on this one – have you noticed any change to buyer’s needs due to climate change or the environment?

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Our large undercover clothes drying area - enough space for four large washing loads.

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A special thankyou, shout out to my Mum, who yesterday extended our undercover clothes drying area. Now the space dries even more clothes! Brilliant with all this rain we have had!

White Vegetable Heartwarming Soup

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White vegetable soup with a slice of polenta bread

I love the simplicity of one pot cooking. As the weather cools, I crave home cooked food – especially soups.  This is a very simple one pot, soup recipe that can be easily changed according to the vegetables you have in your fridge or garden.

* Rice bran oil
* Two garlic cloves chopped
* White vegetables – half cauliflower, half cabbage, one peeled zucchini, a peeled choko, handful of lighter flesh mushrooms
* 1/2 cup of pine nuts
* 4 cups of vegetable stock
* Salt and pepper

* Fry garlic and mushrooms.
* Add chopped vegetables to fry/cook for 5 minutes.
* Add pine nuts and vegetable stock.  Bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasional.
* Using a hand food processor, mix into a smooth, thick soup consistency.
* Add salt and pepper to taste.

To accompany the soup, a slice of polenta bread will do the trick.

Now isn’t that easy!?!

Polenta Bread – Gluten and Dairy Free

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The rain is relentless. It is flooding in numerous locations across New South Wales of Australia.

I am craving warm, home cooked, comfort food.  Time to make some home baked bread.

Gluten & dairy free polenta bread

115 g rice flour
45 g tapioca flour
3 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
3/4 cup rice milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg

* Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
* Prepare 11cm by 22cm loaf tin with olive oil then lightly dust with gluten free flour (this way you don’t need baking paper).
* Sift flours, baking powder and salt. Then add polenta, sugar, rice milk, olive oil and egg.  Mix well with a mixing spoon.
* Pour mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Slice and serve alongside your favourite home cooked soup.  This will warm your soul.

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Paint a Fence

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Finally the sun visited our town and stayed all day – not even the threat of rain.

It was time to finally try ‘sock painting’ our front fence.  Firstly a big shout out and thankyou to ‘Green Eggs and Cans’ for sharing her house sock painting technique with the world.

What is sock painting?

Put on a rubber glove then an old sock over the glove. I used a sock from our ‘lost sock’ draw – where all the socks without pairs go.

The sock on your hand becomes your ‘paint brush’. Place your sock covered hand into the paint then rub your hand over the fence. It’s not rocket science but I will never paint our fence with a brush again.

You may recall that I started painting the fence with a traditional paint brush but was forced to stop due to rain. So I can compare both fence painting techniques – brush against the sock.

My sock painting test?

Faster – a section of the fence, took me two hours to paint with a brush but an equivalent sized section only took 26 minutes to paint!!

Easier – because my fingers and hand are more flexible than a brush it was easier to get into the sides of the fence palings.

Cheaper – Old socks are cheaper than paint brushes and more abundant (well they are in our house). Using old socks is a great way to recycle too!

Simpler – I didn’t clean my sock with water or turps after I stopped painting.  Just made sure I throughly used up the paint on the sock, then left my sock on top of the paint tin.  Hours later I returned to painting by just putting the glove and sock back on.  The sock worked brilliantly again.

Sock painting will save me numerous hours of house painting work.  Hours I would prefer to spend in the garden and with my family.

Happy sock painting!

Simple Ideas to Clean Up the Garage

Now that we have been living in our new home for over a year, there was no excuse for the state of our garage.

First project for 2015, was to clean and organise our ‘little bomb zone’.

It took over three days (started on the 31st of Dec), but I have finished.  Feeling pretty good about it too.

This will actually save us money, as we can find what we have and hence limit the need to buy more. I don’t have to tell you how this benefits our planet.

First we cleared the garage floor of ‘stuff’ – it all went onto the driveway.

Cleaning up the garage

Can you find our Little One amongst the mess?

Now we have space to get creatively tidy:

Using a huge left over lattice sheet, I made a hanging wall for tools.

Using scrap wood lying around, I created a ‘spice rack’.  Then old glass jars were used to sort screws, nuts, bolts, nails, latches etc. Everything now can be easily seen and hence found.

Scrap wood and glass jars used to tidy nuts and bolts.

Using scrap wood planks and saved baby Nan formula tins, I very easily created shelves within the existing bigger shelves.

Saving Nan baby formula tins.

Garage shelf made from Nan baby formula tins and scape wood planks.

Now I am sitting on the front verandah,  enjoying the satisfaction of a finished project.

What summer projects are on your list?