Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Saving my hands...

Some of you may know that I have arthritis and RSI in my hands.  This can make many things I do incredibly painful and just plain difficult.

I don't do much gardening these days.  I hire some wonderful menfolk who maintain my yard and do a great job.  Phil just cannot do it with the hours he works, so I swallowed my pride and called 'Strong Steve' (my kids nicknamed him that).  They have been doing my lawn for over a year now and I think it's one of the best decisions I've made.  Something I don't have to worry about.

I can't give up teaching music - that's my 'pocket money' but it also keeps my musical talent up and running.  I love being able to share my knowledge with others, and that's the main reason I do that.

Cooking...hmmm now there was a problem.  I love cooking, but with the arthritis spreading to my shoulders and back, I couldn't stand and stir things anymore.  Phil decided that I needed something to 'help' me with my work.  Perhaps a really good food processor?

We searched around for a bit but weren't happy with the cheaper ones we saw.  Phil wanted something that would crush ice easily - apparently the sign of a really good processor!  That, and he really likes Slushies.

Then I got wind of Thermomixes.  I did a bit of research and found I really liked them but didn't know where to get hold of one, how much they were or how they actually worked.  A year later when a friend had a demonstration and unfortunately I was unable to attend, I booked in my own demonstration

The funny thing was that Phil was already sold on them.  He had watched videos and read the information I showed to him and he was completely hooked.  It was me the demonstrator needed to impress.  Needless to say we have been the proud owners of a Thermomix for about a year now and I don't regret purchasing it at all.

It's about the price of a laptop.  Not cheap at all, but as Phil said "If I can have a laptop (or two), you can have a cool kitchen appliance.  Nice thinking Phil!

Yes, it really does take a lot of the work out of mixing, and my hands and shoulders are thankful for it. 

I made beef chow mein in it tonight, and all I had to do was peel some carrots and an onion (it acts as a slow cooker too, and a steamer).

Thank you Phil, for agreeing to purchase my kitchen 'toy'.  I LOVE it!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July Challenge

Either purchase or make or learn how to make soap/dishwashing liquid.  Store 4 bars of soap and 2 big bottles of dishwashing liquid.

The bonus of the Internet is that you can research how to make soap and liquid soap with the click of a button (or you can visit your local library and borrow some books on the subject).

Rhonda at her Down-to-Earth blog has some great step-by-step instructions on soap making here: soap-new-recipe. She also has some other links at the bottom of that post to guide you to more of her soap making posts.

If you have young children or pets around you and you're not keen to use caustic soda, I have posted a re-batched recipe here: Re-batched soap.  Just be careful not to add too much fragrant oil.  The one batch I went overboard with the apple-scented oil ended up going mouldy, but I haven't had any problems with my other batches.

I purchase all my liquid soap.  At this point I don't have the hours during the day to try making my own.  That may be a Christmas Holiday activity.

Week 27 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Plan
Store 1 large can tuna and 1 large can fruit

$20 Plan
Store 2 large cans tuna and 2 large cans fruit


Almost done with the tuna.

Remember that this is a suggestion.  If you want to store something else that your family would eat, go right ahead.  Here are some suggestions:-
  • Ravioli Bolognaise
  • Tinned spaghetti
  • Baked beans
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned prawns/crab meat (expensive but still a protein)
  • Irish Stew
  • Sausages and Vegetables
The idea is that you're storing something you can create a meal out of, or that will be a quick and easy meal.  You want variety as well.

If you want to store tuna and need a few recipe ideas, here are some of mine:-

Tuna pasta bake

Mix together cooked pasta, drained tuna in brine (or springwater if you don't want the salt) and a jar of pasta sauce (I use one that already has veggies in it but you can add any cooked veggies of your own as well).  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake.

Tuna Irish Potatoes

I've always known this method as 'Irish potatoes'.  I'm not sure why though or where I first learned to do this.  I guess they're also called 'baked, filled potatoes'.  You need 4 large potatoes.  Bake or microwave them until they are soft.  Cut a hole in the top and scoop out some of the flesh (hollow them out but be careful not to break through the delicate skin).  Put the scooped out potato flesh in a bowl.

To the potato flesh in the bowl, you need to add:-
- Cheese
- herbs
- tuna

Mix together then scoop back into the hollowed out potatoes.  Sprinkle extra cheese on top and bake.

My husband tells me this is a side dish (!) and should not be served as a main (I tried that once and he like it but wasn't entirely happy that he didn't have anything else). They are rather yummy though.

Picture and further baked stuffed potato recipes found here:


I delved into the varieties of canned fruit available in Week 18, found here:

I believe canned fruit is better than no fruit at all!