Monday, October 17, 2011

My veggie garden is going ballistic!

All that hard work I did months ago setting up the raised beds is now paying off. Everything has gone ballistic with the warmer weather we've been having recently. The dark grey container has 3 diff types of tomatoes growing in it. I had them wrapped in clear plastic tents until about 10 days ago and they are growing very strongly now ~ way ahead of the old advice of never planting your tomatoes until after the Melbourne Cup! The big silver container has butter beans, button squash (those little yellow ones) and 2 diff types of zucchini. The Kipfler potatoes are going great guns in their funky special growing bags. The cut-off 44's have silver beet, Gold Nugget Bush pumpkins, herbs, cucumbers and strawberries in them. The strawberries have loads of fruit & the bird netting is there so I get to eat them - not the birds (or the chooks!) The green plastic chair is where I often sit on gorgeous days to relax, read, have a cuppa and soak up some extra Vit D in the hope of getting my level closer to normal - which reminds me, it's almost time to have the next blood test to check and see how I'm doing with the Ostelin D3 supplement. That green chair is where I was sitting when the brown snake slithered beneath me 3 weeks ago yesterday. That snake had been terrorising me for 4 summers and I am pleased to say its days of terrorism are over!! *wink* There are also peas, Queensland Blue pumpkins, Butternuts, Purple King beans and lots of Marigolds growing in various other containers. We have already been eating silver beet & bok choy; some of the peas are almost ready to harvest. I am feeling a lot of satisfaction that it's worked out so well after the weeks of getting it all together from scratch. I even managed to grow it all from seed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rabbit Stew with Dumplings

Sorry about the cute little baby to the left ~ considering what I am about to post. I've been hankering for rabbit stew for ages, but couldn't find rabbit meat anywhere. Then, saw some in a local supermarket - at $17.80 for one bunny! ZOMG!! Oh well, grabbed one anyway. I cut it into pieces and put it into the slow cooker with 500mls of chicken stock, some chunks of carrot and a few frozen peas; with some chives and a few leaves of curry plant (not curry leaves! Curry plant is a herb with small, soft leaves). It cooked for 6 hours on Low. Then I transferred it all into a large saucepan, made a basic dumpling dough and cooked it (with the lid on) on medium heat for a further 15 minutes, until the dumplings were done. That bunny stew with dumplings sure tasted gooooooood! I'll def make it again.

Meatball & Noodle Soup

I've been making this recipe quite a lot recently, using different variations on a theme. It's pretty safe for most people with FM and/or food chemical issues; and is very tasty. As ever, please be aware of your tolerance/s.

500g minced lean meat
[I've used beef, pork, veal, turkey, chicken; or a combo of them]
3/4 cup bread crumbs or corn crumbs
1 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 large egg
1/3 cup Sunflower oil
Chopped chives or the green part of a spring onion, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a fork or spoon. Wet your hands and mix really thoroughly, then shape into bite size balls. Brown in batches and set aside.
Place 500mls Campbell's Chicken Stock in a large saucepan. Add the meatballs and 150g noodles of choice.
(Vermicelli, Singapore, Hokkein, etc)
Add some grated carrot and allow to simmer gently for approx. 30 minutes, stirring gently occasionally.
Turn heat off & add some Bok Choy, just allowing it to steam/wilt before serving.

Banana and Yoghurt Muffins

While bananas are no longer as horrendously expensive as they were in Oz, I still couldn't bring myself to throw three VERY over-ripe ones in the bin ... despite the fact that they were now loaded with amines! I went searching for a recipe I could adapt and found this one. It's a ripper! Having yoghurt as an ingredient only increased its appeal for me because I make my own. I have no reaction to one or two of these muffins ~ spaced well apart throughout the day ~ but please make sure you are aware of YOUR tolerance to them.
1 and 3/4 cups unbleached organic self raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar (or substitute with stevia, etc)
1 cup plain yoghurt (I use my own lactose free low-fat homemade yoghurt)
1 large egg (mine are homegrown free-range ... lucky me!)
2/3 cup oil (I use Crisco 100% Sunflower oil. No additives at all)
2 large bananas, mashed with chunks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Sift flour, sugar and mixed spice into a bowl. Combine yoghurt, egg, oil and banana in a second, larger bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring until JUST combined. [If you overmix, the muffins will be tough and won't rise]. Spoon mixture into muffin holes. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Stand muffins in pan for 5 minutes, turn out onto wire rack to cool. They are very moist and stay that way for 2-3 days. If any are left on day #4, nuke them for 15 seconds & spread with butter.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Wednesday, 5th October, was a hard hard day. My magnificent Rottweiler, Jethro, was 12 years and 4 months old. He had osteosarcoma which presented on his left hind leg just above his foot. When I first noticed it about 7 weeks ago it was the size of a small hen's egg. By the time I got him to the vet two days later, it was as big as a large hen's egg. This is a very aggressive disease. The only treatment is amputation, followed by chemo & radiotherapy; and there was no way I would put him through such suffering. So, I brought him home and hoped we'd have some more time together. He mooched along OK, spending most of his time inside with me. He'd go out for a pee around 11pm, then settle down for the night. I'd get up and let him out at daylight and then he'd get into his Hilton Hotel kennel for a few hours and wait for me to get up. He always got out of his kennel to greet me and help feed the chooks and horse. He still liked to get around the property a bit, bark at anyone who dared to get to close to our boundary fences and just let the world in general know he was still on active duty. Whenever I reached my left hand down, there was his head pressed hard against my left knee. On Wednesday morning, he didn't get out of his kennel - even when I called him. He didn't come with me to feed the chooks. I knew he was feeling miserable. The tumour on his leg was now grotesque and, for the first time, he couldn't take any weight on that leg. I rang the vet, organised to pick up some sedation and we took him for his last ride in the car.

Not long after I first got Jethro, I started working with Juvenile Offenders. One of them thought I'd written a negative report about him to the sentencing Magistrate and he threatened to blow up our house [they all knew where I lived, of course!]. We took this threat seriously as that young man had burned down two schools in the area; and he was violent. So, I trained Jethro to the max of his awesome guarding ability. Most people who met him, hated him ... because they were afraid of him. There were only four people on this earth whom he would allow to touch him. Everyone else was seen as a threat and Jethro really was a force to be reckoned with. I always felt safe. Our property and belongings were safe.

Jethro was the seventh Rottweiler I have had in my life and he will be the last. He & I were fiercely devoted to each other. He was gentle with us; loving, funny and playful. He was 100% obedient for me. He did not disobey me ~ not even once.

My heart is aching. I keep thinking I hear him in the house. Why isn't his head there, pressed against my leg? His soft, velvety ears? I miss him dreadfully. My protector, my companion, my loving friend ...

Digest Spectrum ~ The Wonder Pill!!

I've known about this product for many months and even bought a bottle of 30 caps about 4 months ago, but was too much of a scaredy cat to try them. After reading about all the success others with the same issues as me were having with them, about 4 weeks ago, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and try the ones I had. I started off by taking one with lunch each day for 4 days, just to see what would happen. Then one with breakfast (as well as lunch) for another 3 days. By the end of the first week I was taking one with each meal. Do they help? Oh, yes, indeed they do! The biggest improvement I've noticed is that I don't get the severe nightime reflux which could mean I'd be woken with a mouthful of stomach acid at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Yuck! It hasn't gone completely, but it doesn't happen every night & it's nowhere near as severe. I take Nexium (a PPI) but it didn't help with the reflux during the night. This might be TMI, but I am also having normal BMs - something which hasn't happened for a long time! If you decide to give these a try, you might notice that you will fart a bit more than usual and your BMs could be really, really rank. LOL To me this means that the digestive enzymes are doing their thing. They don't necessarily mean that you can eat whatever you want in large quantities. You still need to be careful with your diet. Some people have reported that they can eat whatever they like, but I'm not one of them. However, I haven't had any 'episodes' and I feel well. The best way to use DS is to have a few bites of your meal, then take the capsule. People who eat more than one course should take another DS prior to the last course [apparently]. There are absolutely no fillers or other nasties in this formula, but check it out for yourself.
You can read about Digest Spectrum and buy it from here:
and here:
Amazon sells DS but they won't ship to Australia, unfortunately. There are also sellers on American eBay who seem reliable. It's not available in Australia and there is nothing exactly the same here. I now have my own drug store supply!! Here's hoping it continues to work as well.