Cauliflower Soup

This week, you, my faithful follower, would have noticed I’m a little late in posting.

It’s for a good reason.

Friends have spent the past ten weeks outside of Australia, travelling abroad, and they only returned home over the weekend. So, last night, instead of slaving over the keyboard, developing a post for this week, I was having dinner at their place and being regaled with lots of tales from their adventures.

From buying discounted clothing in Dubai to having a pub lunch in Cornwall, they entertained me.

But not only that, they also made the most scrumptious meal from a cauliflower.

My friend is a brilliant cook, and this is what she whipped up:

Ingredients:

1 brown onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

5 medium potatoes

1 cauliflower

2L vegetable stock

salt and pepper

nutmeg

cream

butter

Method:

  1. fry onion in melted butter until soft

  2. Add garlic. Cook further 1-2 mins.

  3. Chop cauliflower roughly. Chop 5 medium sized white fleshed potatoes roughly.

  4. Add potatoes to pan and boil 15 mins. Add cauliflower and 2 litres of vegetable stock salt pepper and nutmeg.

  5. Bring back to boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for. about 2 hrs. May need to add more water.

  6. Season to taste. Allow to cool. Blend until smooth.

  7. Stir in 1 carton of cream and heat gently.

It’s a lovely way to use cauliflower. Since they’re in season at the moment, they can be picked up in my home town for as little as $1 per head. This makes this particular recipe incredibly cheap to make, and the quantities, last night, fed three people with enough for left overs. Especially with a bread roll, this is hard to beat on a cold Winter’s night.

The lost art of laziness

In much of our culture, laziness is frowned upon. Calling someone lazy is meant to mean they don’t do enough and are flawed in some way. I’d like to change this. For me, I’m putting laziness on my weekly goal list. And I’m even doing this without feeling guilty!

Being truly proactively lazy is a lost art, in an era of rushing around, being busy and working on being productive. But for me, being busy makes me tired and stressed. Don’t get me wrong. I love being on the go. Except to be proactive and healthy, laziness is a must.

In Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the seventh habit says that self care is important to being proactive and is pivotal on whether someone can be effective in keeping to the other habits. Covey calls this seventh habit, “Sharpening the saw.” I’d like to give a shorter title – laziness!

So, my goal list now sports a new task. I’m aiming on keeping one day every weekend free for being seriously lazy. On this day, changing out of pyjamas is optional. I can turn off the phone, listen to my fave radio show, talk with my neighbour (the one who keeps me alive with homemade jam drops and cups of tea), and when ugg boots in Winter are mandatory.

I’ve done this because I am busy. And because I’d like to continue to be busy and be relaxed at the same time. I’m aware that being too busy can disconnect me from my values, and from those who mean the most to me. In order to achieve all that is important and to keep participating in life in a way that is meaningful, one lazy day a week is not wasted time. It’s as equally important to my being busy on all the other days.

So, put on your pyjamas, and if it’s cold weather, your uggies. Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and park yourself in your favourite chair. Read that book you’ve been putting off, turn on the telly, and chill-ax. Start being lazy right now, and get some practice in for your lazy day.

I live in a Democracy and I know how to use it

In Australia, we are lucky enough to live in a Democracy, and we have it good.

Okay, so there are still people who live hand to mouth with affording to pay their bills, but look at it this way. In most other countries, there is no pension, or Social Security at all.

And yet, people still complain about Australia and Australian politics. They say that the Government needs to take more responsibility and make better decisions. But how many of the people complaining actually send a letter to their local Member of Parliament, and voice their opinions to the one person who can possible act on them.

The other week, I took the liberty to write to my own Member of Parliament. I sent off an email, thanking him for his role in making my life in Australia what it is – full of freedom, with the ability to voice my own opinion without fear, for providing Social Security to those who need it, and education to the younger generations.

And you know what?

He sent back a lovely self signed letter thanking me for acknowledging what the Government is doing for the Australian people.

So, next time you’re at the Pub or having dinner out, wishing to complain that life isn’t what you’d like and blaming our Pollies, think about writing a civilised letter to your local MP, and tell them.

How can our MPs make decisions for the people, when ordinary Australians keep them in the dark, while the lobby groups with agendas against our principles spend lots of money and time in bending the ear of these valuable decision makers.

I urge you to take up pen and paper, or email, and let the politicians know what you like and dislike about this great country.

Be polite, and let them see a balanced perspective. Tell them what they’re doing right and wrong.

Use your voice, use your privilege of living in a country that believes in Freedom of Speech, and let them know your thoughts, your dreams, and your fears.

And just maybe, you’ll be taking part in creating a better world for all.

Happiness Ingredients

I have a new philosophy on life. It’s nothing too far fetched or out there, but it is revolutionary, in its own right.

Hearing people complain that their life isn’t what they’d like it to be, got me thinking. Because, in truth, we all become disillusioned at some point, and need some reality coming back at us.

So, here is my new philosophy.

Identify what makes you happy and do more of it!

It’s not ground breaking and makes perfect sense in a way that’s kind of obvious, but we all get off track and lose ourselves along the way.

So, how am I personally going to achieve this?

Well, firstly, it involves being real about who I’d like in my Life. The first person on my list is my Fur Baby, Milo. He’s definitely my fave person. Followed by my Family, especially my Mum, and my closest friends.

For those I’d like to spend quality time with this means that for Milo. I will endeavour to spend quality time with him, by taking him to the park each week, for a run and a sniff. I can even read a book while I watch him make friends. Another resolution is to spend one day a week with Mum and whatever other Family Member wants in. This isn’t easy as everyone is super busy, but it’s a goal close to my heart, so I’ll make the effort to fit them in.

Secondly, I would choose activities that talk to my heart. Funnily enough, it’s my writing that needs the most love at this point in time. And so it is my writing that I’ll give my attention to. Writing is kind of like owning a pot plant. You have to give it the correct conditions, with the correct amount of love and neglect to keep it flowering and looking its best. Well, my writing has had enough neglect. And so it’s going to be watered!

And, of course, my garden. I’ll endeavour to spend an hour a day in it, watering, weeding and talking to it, so that it too will sustain me spiritually and with enough to eat each week.

Lastly, to do more for my Happy, I’ll get enough sleep, and rest, and eat proper foods so that my whole body rejoices for me and with me.

So, spending time with my loved ones, writing, gardening, and looking after my own general well being, are the ingredients for my Happiness Recipe.

What are yours?

Meatless Mondays

Surfing the internet, the other day, I came across a brilliant idea!

The idea was to start to have Meatless Mondays as part of a strategy to cut down on the cost of groceries.

Well, for me, that makes perfect sense! This is for several reasons, and some of them are rather obvious for those who know me. You see, I’m Vegetarian, and will be celebrating my 20th year as someone who doesn’t eat meat by 2020.

But I’d like to confirm that eating Vegetarian does save heaps of money. My monthly budget for food is around the $50 to $60 mark. This is partly because I know how to cook, and make a point of never throwing out food. My left overs are always cooked into something else the following night.

Now, I get the idea that Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone. But I thought to add my voice to those who already endorse going Vegetarian from time to time, to cut costs. And that’s not even taking into account that it’s actually a very healthy alternative to meat.

So, here are some ideas about eating Vegetarian.

If concerned you’ll be hungry after cutting out the meat, drink water. It’ll fill the crevices nicely, and you’ll be saving money and weight at the same time.

If soaking beans sounds like too much trouble, just think of it like pulling the steak out of the freezer the night before. Except that instead of defrosting meat on the bench/in the fridge, you’re boiling the kettle and pouring hot water over beans in a bowl/container instead, and leaving them to soak. Failing this, there are always the tinned variety.

And thirdly, here’s a recipe I love. I’m including it because it’s the Vegetarian version of bolognese.

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

1 ¼ cup brown lentils, pre-soaked

Salt and black pepper

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

Left over vegies/tin of corn

400g tin tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Basil or any Italian herbs

Method

  1. Simmer lentils until they can be mashed with a fork. Discard water.

  2. Heat oil in frying pan and fry onion and garlic

  3. Add vegies/corn and continue frying

  4. Add lentils, tomatoes and puree

  5. Add the salt, pepper and herbs, to taste.

  6. Simmer until sauce is thick.

This recipe can be turned into spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, served on toast, made into a meatless loaf, or anything else that the meat variety can be used. It’s also significantly cheaper, with lentils costing very little in comparison to mince.

Try it and give me feedback!

ANZAC Day’s Dark Secret

Okay, here it is.

I have a Blog, and therefore, the option of turning it into a soap box when a good reason arises.

And today just so happens to be ANZAC Day.

Since it’s a national event, I’ll bring forward my posting to today, instead of tomorrow.

Growing up in Australia, I was taught that ANZAC Day was a time when we, as a nation, looked back and acknowledged how horrible war is, and how we need to work towards a world where there is no war.

It’s a line I believed and still believe.

War is terrible. It takes lives when people return from war too. A huge amount of men and women who return home from service suicide, as what they have borne witness to is indescribable and in a civilised world, has no place. PTSD, and other trauma related illnesses plague these brave people even when there is safety. Yes, war leaves scars. And the most terrible of these are the scars no one can see.

So, today, I’ll turn my Blog into a soap box, as there is something insidious happening when the nation mourns her dead.

ANZAC Day marks the largest recruitment drive in the Armed Services’ Calendar.

Yep. It’s the day when all those school children feel Patriotic, and when they turn the magical age of 18, they turn this feeling into the action of signing their lives away in order to be called up to serve their country.

The Cynic in me must speak out.

I said in my Welcome (check the other static page of Liz’s Everest), that I have values.

Well, if today is a day of mourning and an occasion to renounce war, seeing it as the crime it truly is, then as active members of our community, we need to speak out.

Today, we leave all things Patriotic on the shelf. Instead we embrace the youth of today and let them know about life, Real Life. And Real Life doesn’t involve wishing to die in a foreign land for a foreign power for a foreign cause.

So, stand firm with Life, and work against this evil. Stand up for what’s right, and email your local Member of Parliament, and ask them to stand with us, as we end this horrible crime.

Let us work towards Peace instead.

Whistling down the wind

There’s a Scandinavian saying “Whistle down the wind.”

It means to use your breath to connect with a stronger force, the wind.

Another way of interpreting this, is to use the love in your heart, to connect with love in a larger form, whether this be love for another, be it your dog, another human, or your spirituality.

I was introduced to this turn of phrase by Ace of Base in their song, “Life is a Flower”. Listening to this song and enjoying the tune, it took me another ten years to actually understand what they meant by Whistling down the wind.

A lovely Scandinavian lady I knew in my home town, was talking about the need to keep positive and she used this saying from her own homeland. It was then that I finally put the pieces together. It took this dearly loved song to another level for me.

Many different religions have ways to whistle down the wind. Some pray, while others do things like burn incense. The main idea is to feel as though one is connecting with a force larger and more powerful than themselves. This force is to give strength in times of need, comfort, and support during every day life.

Sometimes, there are every day practices that can strengthen an individual’s ability to do this. An example is meditating, which is well known in it’s ability to calm a person, and create a heightened awareness of the Divine.

So, whistle down the wind, in whatever form works for you, and see how it changes your life.