Thursday, 27 June 2013

Addisons Disease

I was diagnosed with Addisons disease in June 2011, I had never heard of this disease before then, apparently I am one of the one in one hundred thousand people to have this disease, so it is quite rare.    Is there someone else out there who has this disease, I would like to find out how you manage this, what effect it has on your daily life.    I found out the hard way  that I had Addisons disease, I had an Addisons crisis, after three days  in I.C.U in hospital  I was given my diagnoses. This was after three years of consulting doctors to give me a reason as to why I was so unwell,  losing weight, losing muscle, depressed and not connecting with family and friends.     I should add I don't have a functioning thyroid, I take medication for this as well as Hydrocortisone and Florinef.     How has this affected your life, how do you manage daily,  do you have a food plan,  an excercise plan, are you able to work.    Today while out shopping with my son I had to ask him to take me home, I just felt unwell, once at home I doubled up on my medication and slept for a couple of hours and now feel ok.   Hope to hear from someone out there.

Butterfly garden- block two

Block one- Butterfly garden
I'm almost finished block one of   "Butterfly Garden" by Leanne Beasley, just a few butterflies to finish embroidering and it will be completed.   In the meantime I have cut all the pieces, and sewn strips together for block two.     This block also has butterflies and daisies to applique as well as a lot more embroidery to stitch.   I have been enjoying stitching these blocks, while we are having very cold nights I have been snuggled under under a quilt,  and I've been able to do more on this quilt  than I was able to sew on  "Leannes House".   I am hoping to have this quilt finished before the end of the year.   In the meantime I have four quilt tops booked in with the long arm quilter, she has been inundated with quilts so I won't be able to have these quilted until the end of July.   Everyone wants their quilts completed before the quilt exibition at the end of July.    I just want mine completed for my grandsons to be able to cuddle into this winter.
Block two

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Block one Butterfly Garden

Arriving home after Josh's birthday dinner last night,  and finding it to early to go to bed I decided to start sewing block number one of  Leanne Beasley's  Butterfly garden quilt.  This is another one of the many patterns I have had for a number of years.    This being the year I finish everything in the cupboard in my craft room I decided to make a start.    The pattern is full of applique and embroidery, something I love to do when it is as cold as we are  having at the moment.   Being wrapped in a quilt and stitching in front of the television on a winters night is my ideal night now I'm getting older.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The view from my window this morning

I woke up feeling warm and cosy this morning and then realised that sometime during the night I had turned the electric blanket on, the house was actually freezing, yes, only one degree celcius.   I don't like to leave the heating on overnight, usually I don't need to but for the past couple of days we have been having very cold frosty mornings of below zero in some parts of the state.    The days have been just beautiful, sunny and in the mid teens, beautiful if you are out of the shade, or in a chair by a window.    I was watching the frost melt on the grass outside my window  when I thought it was time for another photo, I really do have a lovely space out front of my house.     It is a bit early yet,  usually there are children playing in the park, guys playing rugby or football, or people walking their dogs, always something to look at.   Tonight my daughter is cooking a dinner for her fiance's birthday, my contribution to dinner will be a large bowl of salad, which I will be eating most of, so far I am sticking to my eating plan.   I hope I have lost that three kilos when I step on the scale on Tuesday.   Have a great day, I know I will,  I'm going outside to enjoy the sun before the weather changes.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

No more baking for me

I have gained three kilograms in the past two weeks, I know why, all the baking I have been doing.    Well, it's not just the baking, it's all the sampling of the cookies and cakes that I have been baking. Needless to say that there will be no more baking for me, unless for an occasion.    Maybe I need to stitch my mouth, I definately need to stop and think before I put anything  into my mouth.     I have just written a food plan for this week, you see my biggest problem is leaving everything to the last minute, usually when I'm already hungry and then I eat whatever I can put together quickly.    Living alone has done this, I don't need to plan meals for the week anymore, no family to cook for,  well that has to stop.     I don't like to eat as soon as I wake in the morning, I think this started when I used to get the kids ready for school, instead of gulpy something down while making school lunches I would wait until they had left in the morning.    With this in mind I decided to make my breakfast something substanial and then have a bowl of soup or something small for lunch and then a small portion of fish, chicken or meat and vegetables or salad for dinner.    Breakfast this morning was going to be mushrooms on toast until I was speaking  to my son who said he had eggs, damn,  now I want egg.    My revision became mushroom, chopped spring onion, silverbeet,  I sprayed some oil  in a small pan cooked everything and then broke an egg into the middle, placed the lid over the pan to steam the egg .        I wasn't sure it would taste good, but with some salt and pepper it was yummy.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


While packing my old Elna sewing machine away this morning I discovered my walking foot, I had looked everywhere for this, except in the tool caddy with this machine.     I use my old machine for repairs, like hemming my dads jeans, pyjamas etc.,  the last time the Elna and the walking foot were used, it was to sew a binding onto a quilt.  That would be several years ago, and that would be why it was in this caddy and not with my new sewing machine.   The son who does everything and I drove to my dads to deliver the jeans I had hemmed,  when we arrived  my dad had lunch almost ready, soup and homemade sausage rolls, he has become a very good cook since mum passed away and he has to look after him self.   After lunch I made a double batch of scones and rang my sister and her husband to come over to dads for afternoon tea.    My brother-in-law had asked me to make devonshire tea for him, scones, jam and cream.     It was nice to see them again,  I have seen more of my sister in the last few weeks since she has been off work than I had in the past year. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

High Tea with the girls

I am so proud of my daughters, yesterday afternoon we had such a lovely time.    The table looked beautiful, the food was amazing, it was great to be able to sit and talk with two of my sisters, my niece, my daughter-inlaw, her sister and of course my beautiful daughters.  It had been wet and cold during the morning and then the sun poked through the clouds, just perfect.     They assure me this is the first,  there will be more,  we will be including the girls that could not make it yesterday.    I love that we will be making this a regular event.  The fact that I left my camera at home and had to use my phone did not stop me taking photos, not as clear as they could be, but lovely anyway.  This photo was taken by my daughter.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Gluten free Cupcake mix tested

From the gluten free packets I purchased on Friday I decided to bake the  "Macro" Gluten free Cupcake mix and I have to tell you they are good.    After these were baked and cooled I iced them  in pink and left them overnight to set.    This morning  I sliced the tops off and added whipped cream.     Looking good and tasting very yummy.     I have just packed these into containers along with the little crostini and a dozen macarons to take to my daughters for our girls afternoon tea.  The gluten free food is my contribution to the afternoon for my sister and niece.  Looking forward to an afternoon of  food, drink and lots of chatter.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Testing Gluten Free

My two daughters are hosting afternoon tea for all the female members of the family on Sunday.      One of my sisters and her daughter are Coeliacs,  to be sure they are able to eat the same as the rest of us I have volunteered to bake some things that are gluten free.       Not having much experience with this I asked the son who does everything to come shopping with me this morning.        He has tried a few of the gluten free products before and I was hoping he would be able to lead me in the right direction.        This is what I have found at the supermarket, I have to say I am dissapointed that there is not more to choose from, it must be so difficult to find something  you can eat if you are Gluten intolerant.       Orgran Pastry mix,  Macro cupcake mix and some little Crostini, which will be perfect with some gourmet toppings.    These along with some tiny egg quiches should be enough.           In the meantime I am hemming a pair of jeans for my dad, yes, my dad who is eighty six and only started to wear jeans about ten years ago.

Wet and miserable today

Winter has finally arrived, today has been wet, cold and miserable.  We do need the rain, last month was one of  the driest that we have had for a long time.  With the days drawing in and now the rain it sure is making it hard to smile.    I was planning on a visit see my dad in the next couple of days, but after listening to the traffic report on this mornings news, and hearing of the number accidents on the wet roads I think I will leave it untill next week when we are predicted to have a dry day.  I have a big pot of soup on the stove cooking, some for dinner and the rest for containers to store in the freezer.    Definately  a good night to be at home wrapped in a quilt, either watching the television or sewing. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Falafels for dinner

Years ago when my daughters were teenagers I decided to make falafels, we enjoyed the falafels from the takeaway so they asked me to make them.   I was not sure how to make these so I purchased a packet mix, something I would just have to add a couple of ingredients to and cook.    This was an enormous failure, they were dry and the smell was awful,  the smell seemed to permiate through the whole house, needless to say these were binned and my daughters said never again, in fact it turned them off  eating falafels altogether.   This became one of the family jokes, the time mum tried to make falafels, you know the one where everyone laughs at you.       While I was out shopping I occasionally bought them for lunch, and so,  I decided to try again, this time from scratch.    With the chickpeas soaking overnight I sourced a recipe, good,  I had everything I needed,  I have to say that they are amazing.   These are moist, this is one word my daughter will not be impressed I have used, but they are and full of flavour,  the biggest difference I noticed, no smell through the house.    I made a couple of pita breads, some garlic yoghurt and a side salad and it was so good.

1 brown onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
2 x 400 gm cans chickpeas or dried chickpeas soaked overnight
1 cup flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup flour or enough just to bind them together
1 tbls olive oil
pinch salt and pepper
Place onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, chickpeas, parsley, flour, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until almost smooth.  Using floured hands shape into patties.  Place on a plate, cover and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat and cook until golden brown.
Serve with yoghurt, pita, tabouli or side salad.  Enjoy

This weeks cookies - Apricot and pecan

This week I have chosen Apricot and Pecan cookies from my new book "1 Dough 100 cookies"  by  Linda
Doeser.   This book would be a great little book to buy anyone for a gift.   I have baked several cookies from this book and they have all been yummy.  The recipes are easy to read and follow,  the price of just $10 is also great.
 These cookies are delicious, and while you can taste the apricot you also get a tang from the  grated orange peel.  

Apricot and pecan cookies:

225gm / 8oz butter, softened
140g / 50z caster sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp, vanilla extract
280g / 10oz plain flour
grated rind of 1 orange
55g / 2oz ready to eat dried apricot, chopped
100g / 3 1/2oz pecan nuts, finely chopped
pinch salt

Put butter and caster sugar into a bowl and mix well with wooden spoon, (or electric beaters), then beat in the egg yolk
and vanilla extract.  Sift together the flour and salt into the  mixture, add the orange rind and apricots and stir thoroughly until combined.   Shape into a log.  Spread the pecans in a shallow dish and roll the log in the nuts until well coated, then wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and cut into 5mm / 1/4inch slices with a sharp serrated knife.  Put the slices on the trays spaced well apart.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.  Leave to cool on the trays for 5-10 minutes, then using a palette knife transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Enjoy

Baking with my daughter

My youngest daughter rang this morning and asked if I would like to join her in her kitchen to do some baking.     Of course I said yes, it is not often I spend time with her but this week she is on night shift so she will be home during the day.     Both daughters are hosting an afternoon tea for the females of our family next Sunday and she wanted to test some ideas she has planned.     I decided to bake some more cookies from my new book and she made some mini zuchini quiches and some small blueberry custard tarts.

 I think her little quiches won our cook off  today, these are so good I'm sure everyone will love them.  After we had finished she showed me her new purchases, a new cup and saucer and a little sugar basin.  With the kettle boiled, tea pot filled we then sat down to test what we had baked.  A lovely afternoon with my daughter and yummy treats to eat.

A busy long weekend

Donuts for morning tea
The past weekend we had a three day break, the  Queens birthday holiday.    I wasn't planning on doing much but  I did have a busy weekend.   Deacon stayed overnight on Friday, I took him to the shops with me on Saturday morning to buy a few things, and yes,  I was talked into buying something for him.    Grandmas are allowed to give into a little boys demands, now and then.    We bought another DVD for the collection I have here, his choice, Fireman Sam, once this was purchased we had morning tea and of course  he was then in a hurray to come home and watch the new movie.     On Sunday one of my sisters and her husband drove over to visit and took me out for lunch, we had a lovely day.    This sister has recently had hip surgery and is still on crutches, she sent me a message the week before telling me she was bored, a few minutes later I received another message "I'm really bored".     I might have mentioned my sisters are not crafters, not one of them sew or knit or so I thought, then I had a memory of us as teenagers knitting our own jumpers.     So it isn't a matter of not knowing how to, just not wanting to.     I purchased some wool, found a set of my needles and a pattern and gave them to her, telling her I wanted to see a scarf.  I was under the impression she was having problems so sent her a text saying I would finish it for her.  Surprise, surprise she was wearing the finished scarf when I saw her on Sunday, I'm proud to say my sister crafts.  Sunday night was dinner with the son who does everything and his family, they had the wood burner going and it was warm and cosy, a wonderful meal  to finish the weekend.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Juice for breakfast

This morning I woke up feeling bloated, my fault of course, I ate two pieces of cake yesterday.  I knew this would happen, I think I may be a little gluten intolerant, my sister and my niece are coeliacs, and I have noticed as I become older I just don't tolerate flour the same way I used to.  Not wanting toast or cereal for breakfast I decided to make a fresh juice instead,  I haven't been having juice as regularly over the past few weeks as I was.  What did I have in the fridge, carrots, celery, ginger, oranges and kiwi fruit, so this is what my morning juice consisted off.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Connors stars and planets

"Outer space" by Camelot fabrics
 This is the year I am determined to finish all the UFI's in my cupboard,  having found a finished quilt top that I had sewn for my grandson Connor,  I picked him up after school, and we drove to the fabric shop for him to choose which fabric he wanted for the back of his quilt.     He was like a kid in a lollie shop, he sure took his time, looking at almost every bolt of fabric,  all the while I was trying to direct him to the fabrics I thought would look good but he was not interested.       The women behind the counter then suggested a fabric she thought would be just right, and the bonus,  this fabric is glow in the dark, you should have seen his face.    Of course, we all know how this ended, with me buying this fabric for his quilt and one very happy little boy.     I've just washed the fabric and am waiting for it to dry, before l cut and re sew to fit the front and then it will be sent off  to be quilted.  I've mentioned before I don't hand quilt the kids quilts, I think they wear better when they have been machined all over.  Something I don't do.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Sausage rolls for lunch

My youngest daughter had an MRI scan this morning, she has been having a few problems with her hand and as she is a high rise window cleaner, needed to find what the cause of the pain could be.      I know, I don't know how she does this job either,  hanging off the side of a building cleaning windows is not something I could do, but she loves her job.       After this was over she called in to see me,  I was just making us a cup of tea when  the son who does everything  arrived.       It was almost lunch time so I took some soup from the freezer, the rest of the sausage meat I had left over from the meatloaf I made on Sunday, along with some pastry,   I made some sausage rolls to go with the soup and the pumpkin scones my son brought with him.  We had a delicious lunch while the three of us had a good chat.
Home made sausage rolls

Easy sausage rolls:
250g sausage meat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 slice of day old bread
1/4 cup of milk
puff pastry sheets
salt and pepper

Preheat oven 200c
Soak the bread in the milk, then squeeze most of the milk from the bread and add the bread to the meat along with the other ingredients. Combine all the ingredients well.  Cut the pastry sheets in half and add a line of the meat mixture along the long side of the pastry sheet and roll, use a little milk or a beaten egg to seal the end.  Slice the lenghs into four or if you want them smaller six pieces. Brush with milk or egg.    Place onto baking trays and cook for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180c and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Enjoy

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Block three "Ophelia"

After completing the second block called  "Beatrice" from the Endearments Collection  I was not looking forward to needle turning another berrie, I found these to be one of my not favourite things to stitch.  Trying to obtain perfect little round circles was really trying my patience, in the end I think I have done a reasonable job, not perfect but I am hoping to become more proficient.   When I looked at the third block I was happy,  yah,  no berries but,  I have just started to sew "Ophelia" the third block in this series by Robyn Falloon of Bon Bon Designs,  and if I thought circles difficult  I hadn't yet come across sharp points, the ends of the ribbons that tie this beautifull bouquet of flowers has driven me almost insane.  I will have to unpick what I have just stitched, cut a new piece and try this again, I haven't enjoyed this at all.    I'm sure I will like needle turning  once I get over this hurdle. Otherwise I go back to machine applique or blanket stitch.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

This week, peanut butter cookies

With most of the family coming over for dinner tonight I thought I would bake another batch of cookies from my new book "1 Dough, 100 cookies" by Linda Doesser.  Here in Australia cookies have always been known as biscuits, our British heritage is responsible for this,  that is until recently.     This latest generation call these sweet treats cookies, probably because of the American influence in our country now.    Whatever name we call them,  they are just the same, a wonderful little mouthful of sweet, either crunchy or gooey delights.   Looking through the book I decided on peanut butter cookies, I know the kids will love these, I have never baked a peanut butter cookie before, in fact I have never tasted a peanut butter cookie before.   These are another one of the influences America has had in this country recently,  don't get me wrong,  we have always had peanut butter but we haven't used it to the extent that Americans have.    I'm am delighted to say they are wonderful and I will be baking these again.
Sultana and peanut cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies:
Makes about 25
225g/80z butter, softened
140g/50z caster sugar
1 egg yolk lightly beaten
2tsp vanilla extract
100g / 3 1/2oz crunchy peanut butter
180/10oz plain flour
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 190c /375f.  Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon, (or electric beaters), then add beaten egg yolk, vanilla extract and peanut butter, mix till combined. Sift together the flour and pinch of salt into the mix and stir till combined.
Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture and shape into balls with your hands, then put them onto the prepared trays, flattern each one a little.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on the trays for 5-10 minutes, then using a palette knife carefully transfer to wire racks to finish cooling. These are easy to make and yummy to eat, the only problem I have is when to stop eating them.   If you want to bake the sultana cookies, use the same recipe omitting the peanut butter and replacing it with  50g sultanas.