Tuesday, 15 April 2014
I have been given the perfect partner for the beginning of a 5:2 diet: The Soup Bible. With over three hundred recipes I'm thinking Sunday's can definitely be soup night for dinner for like, the next hundred years. If I plan very well I can have leftovers for a fast-day menu as well. And the bonus? An end chapter on breads: damper, soda bread, yeast breads. This book is just whistling my tune all the way.
We decided we could handle the 'bible' part of the title - it's all in lower case. An authority more than a gospel, if you will.
Now, to choose the first recipe. Choices, choices. No doubt you'll hear all about it over coming weeks.
Monday, 14 April 2014
My book review for The Painted Table has been posted here at Relz Reviewz. Yet another brilliantly authored book with plenty of food thought woven into an eloquently told story. If you like your fiction with weight an substance you'll love this one.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
After our massive 3-week fast in February I began a new relationship with legumes. I discovered my aversion to them is largely about the affects we suffer when using the tinned version of any type of legume. It's just nasty and not terribly comfortable either. I figured if we were going to be fasting animal products we needed to get acquainted with legumes to keep our protein up so I dragged my copy of Nourishing Traditions out from under a layer of dust and found the section of legumes. Did you know when you soak and cook them for long enough none of those nasty side-effects accompany consumption of legumes. Ha.
This week I made a recipe I found in an AWW Vegie Cookbook which uses French-style lentils. What a find! This is meant to go with wholemeal pasta, but I like it perfectly well just as it is, maybe with a piece of buttered toast on the side.
It only took a few moments to put the lentils in a bowl to soak.
French-style lentils soaking
It only takes about 20 minutes to boil these after they've soaked for a day...something that can be done while you're making breakfast or doing some other kitchen task you need to do anyway.
Cooked French-style lentils
I ended up cooking my lentils at breaky time and then stored them in the fridge til I was ready to saute the mushrooms, garlic and spring onions and put it all together at lunch time. With the 1 cup of dried lentils I've managed to have three lunches. Brilliant!
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You might remember at the end of our fast I mentioned hearing about Intermittent Fasting (IF). I finally got around to buying the book The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. Often also called the 5:2 Diet, the authors offer up a very convincing argument to practice calorie restriction on two non-consecutive days a week. They outline more than just weight loss as a good reason to practice IF. Things like lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and delaying the onset of Alzheimer's. It's worth thinking about. I've spent some time thinking about how it would suit me best to distribute my calories over a day - the recommendation is 500 on a fast day for women. I've made some lists and figured out the calories for some family-favourite vegan meals and I gave it a go yesterday. It wasn't that hard. Whenever I thought I wanted to snack on something 'just because' I had a cup of tea or a drink of water instead. Honestly that was the most difficult thing...the non-hungry snacking.
Vegies ready for making pasta sauce
Yesterday I had a poached egg on toast for breakfast, which began a quest for how to make a poached egg look like a restaurant one. More on that another day perhaps! I had some Premium crackers (like salada crackers) for lunch and we had pasta with a vegetable sauce for dinner. It came to just a couple of calories under 500. I think, for me, it will work best if I can have three meals in the day. That means some careful and judicious planning but I think it's do-able. Particularly as winter ushers in comfort in the form of thick, hearty vegetable soups.
If you're an Intermittent Faster I'd love to hear about your experiences.
Saturday, 12 April 2014
Christian women don't have to choose between being sexual and spiritual. They have legitimate longings that the Church has been afraid to talk about, and books like Fifty Shades of Grey exploit. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual AND spiritual. With solid Biblical teaching and transparent stories, trusted authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery, offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask. The book offers practical advice for women to address five core longings:
- to be cherished by a man
- to be protected by a strong man
- to rescue a man
- to be sexually alive
- to escape reality
What I thought:
I begin this review with the preface that I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I prefer my fiction clean; without gutter language and explicit bedroom scenes. Therefore Pulling Back the Shades is a book I never thought I would be reading! The reason I agreed to review a non-fiction book addressing such a controversial issue was my deep respect, both personally and professionally, for Dr Juli Slattery. Despite this it was not without a small amount of unease that I delved in to see how these two well-respected, Godly women would approach the topic of erotica and intimacy from a Biblical perspective. From the very first pages I was put at ease and I knew this book would indeed be the ‘game changer’ both authors desired it to be.
Throughout Pulling Back the Shades, the authors share with authenticity and sincerity their burden for women, particularly Christian women, pulled into the lure of erotica and the deception that it is harmless. Infused with stories from real women Gresh and Slattery reveal the very real damage to women’s lives and marriages caused by dabbling in erotica. They describe the inbuilt longings of women and how erotica feeds into them so completely. They openly discuss the deception and spiritual battle involved and the way Satan uses erotica to “kill and destroy” people of faith.
The book begins by acknowledging and describing the emotional and sexual needs of women and how the Fifty Shades style of erotica appears to fulfil those needs. What I found refreshing in the early chapters of this book is that these authors do not shy away from God’s Truth and dare to risk ‘political incorrectness’ to name that which God defines as sin. Gresh and Slattery do not leave the reader in that confronting, perhaps condemning place, but move forward to share a Godly, Biblically-centred view on women’s sexuality and practical suggestions for being both spiritually and sexually satisfied.
What comes through the pages of this book very clearly is the burden and deep concern these two authors carry for the hearts of women who are being deceived and destroyed by the world of erotica deemed harmless, perhaps even helpful, by health care professionals across our nations. These two women, who dare to speak God’s truth in love, bring words that not only identify damaging sin, but words of healing and restoration.
If you are someone who wonders why the Fifty Shades books should be left in the bookstore, or if you experience difficulty with intimacy as a result of erotica I would urge you to entrust yourself into the loving, wise care of these two authors. Their advice will give you hope that restoration is possible and remind you of the God whose knows you intimately and who wants you to appreciate the woman He created you to be. Even if these are things you're not questioning or struggling with, even if you enjoy a positive, intimate marriage Pulling Back the Shades will offer you insight and wisdom into the beauty of married intimacy.
With thanks to Moody Publishers for my review copy.
'Pulling back the Shades' is available from Amazon and The Book Depository.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
This is a statement that has been cast in my direction many a time. The first time came when things were particularly difficult. I won't go into the details. Suffice to say co-owning a business is not good for a friendship. Starting a new business at the same time was was not good financially nor emotionally. I was brought to the bottom of the well and it was a dark place for me. And I had people saying to me "I don't know how you do it". The truth was, I wasn't doing it terribly well at all. I was a mess.
When "I don't know how you do it" was again laid before me on Friday my flippant response was "nor do I". After the morning I had yesterday I don't think I'm doing 'it' terribly well. And truth be told I don't do 'it' terribly well pretty much most of the time. Don't get me wrong, if I commit to doing something I get it done even if it kills me because I am a 100% kind of person. Because of that I keep up with my study load, hand in assignments well and truly on time, I'm able to do my job at work with some kind of authenticity and competence and my family gets fed every day...more than once a day. It looks like I'm doing OK to everyone else.
But don't let that fool you into thinking that I'm doing "it" well. I've been home on school holidays for four days and my children have barely seen me. I've got one final mid-semester assignment to complete this week and that has consumed my time. Miss Sunshine is trying to organise her 18th birthday party and I keep saying "yes I want to see...no, I didn't mean right now". When I was vacuuming on Saturday (read first time this year - just kill me now) I had a little 'moment' with some tears because I'm not doing this bit of my life well either. House cleaning? You've got to be kidding me. When competing against being at work on time, submitting assignments on time, getting dinner on the table somewhere close to on time and getting kids to be where they need to be on time housework doesn't even rate a mention on the 'urgent' scale I run by. It simply doesn't exist until some 'urgent' reason presents itself....like people coming for dinner. Which hasn't been in our experience for quite some time thanks to aforementioned assignments. My extroverts are dying the slow withering death of starvation from people time. I have three of them shrivelling up alongside the dust bunnies keeping them company. Since having someone for dinner (which I'm going to cook anyway) means cleaning as well we're just skipping the whole people-over-for-dinner scenario.
On Saturday it all got to me. My grief over the loss of close community has been accentuated by the stuff I'm not doing well, and the fact that there is just nowhere to go with it. I have a friend who had a conversation about house paint colours with her Dad and two days later the man was in her house painting her walls! That's what I'm talking about - love with feet on. And I ached a little more because you just can't develop that kind of community in the space of a couple of years. That's lifetime stuff.
So here's a suggestion for those of you who know someone that you "just don't know how they do it". Because she's not doing it. I'm here to tell you there's a whole bunch of stuff in her life that just isn't happening. There's stuff you can see that looks pretty good but that's not the whole story. So....ask what you can do so she can get on with "it". Better yet, don't ask, just do something to bless her. Get that woman's house key off her husband and go clean her house. Make her and her family a delicious, healthy meal. Paint her walls. Clean her windows. Weed her garden. These are the things that will bless the woman that "you don't know how she does it".
These are the things that will help her feel like she might just make it.
Love with feet on.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Well...Sunday night happens to be soup night quite often so armed with a recipe from Julie Goodwin's Our Family Table I decided to deal with these less-than-impressive vegies. As it turns out Julie's recipe was not what ended up in our bowls, apart from the fact that my tomatoes were indeed roasted!
Roasted Tomato and Red Capsicum Soup
1kg tomatoes, quartered
4 red capsicums, seed and stem discarded
1 red onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
a slurp of red wine
800g tin diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock (water and stock powder is fine)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a lined baking tray. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the griller and lay the capsicums skin side up on the tray. Grill until the skins are completely blackened. Remove from griller and cover so the skins sweat and are easier to remove. When cool, remove skins.
- Saute the onion and garlic in a large soup pot until softened; add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two while stirring.
- Add the wine (maybe about 1/4 cup?) and stir to release the tomato paste from the bottom of the pan.
- Place the roasted tomatoes, capsicums, tinned tomatoes and chicken stock in the pot.
- Using a stab blender, blend the soup until it is completely smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a nice crusty bread.
This was the perfect lunch to counter my most-incredibly-frustrating-morning-ever, which included tears, tantrums and a great deal of growling. Loudly. The kids wisely avoided me and stayed at the other end of the house. Those people are smart when they need to be. However, as a kindred spirit with Jen I overcame the technology and I won "like a boss". Yeah, maybe not so much bossing, but more whimpering and relief as I fell across the line when the goal was reached. Don't ever tell me I have to set up an online learning module using my University's platform to do so. I don't even know how those people live a sane life.
But the soup - not so hard. You can do that "like a boss" without even blinking an eye.
Thursday, 27 March 2014
The picture above represents exactly how I'm feeling - like I'm in my own little world but things still seem to get through all those holes!
I'm in the middle of the mid-semester assignments. I seem to no sooner get one out of the way before the next is right upon me. When you miscalculate the timing things get a bit panicked! I like a good 2-3 weeks to really invest in the work I need to do. My current assignment? Ten days. With things like, oh you know, a parenting crisis, a whole-day intensive on the weekend, work commitments, a student free day so all the kids will be home tomorrow, celebrating a wedding this coming weekend. Really people, if this could all just be spread out a bit that would be awesome. Like, one thing at a time. Whoever said women are good at multi-tasking has a lot to answer for!
First term school holidays are just around the corner, at the end of next week. Already!! It feels like the year just started, but the timing couldn't be more perfect. For the first time in four years I won't have to work on assignments over Easter. Praise the Lord!