Here’s something I don’t tell many people but it’s something that doesn’t fail to surprise me.
There are times in our lives where we are just so flummoxed by life that we are unsure what to do. Sometimes for me it has been when I just can’t make sense of a situation, or when after repeatedly kicking a dead horse I am lost at what to do next.
A number of times in the past years, there has been a point where I have taken a deep breath, closed my eyes and given it all up to the universe. Now I am not a religious creature, but I am a firm believer in many things, such as things happening for a reason, that there are no regrets in life and sometimes, the universe will take you on a path that (at the time) you may not understand at the time but is for the greater good of the” journey”.
These times have taken a few forms, but as a general rule, the deep breath, closed eyes and “surrender” to the situation remains the same. Sometimes I have even spoken words such as “okay universe, I have no idea what’s next but bring it on” or requested special things for someone who means something to me who I can see is struggling.
The result is always the same. Whether it be a selfish or selfless request, the universe always seems to deliver. I won’t lie – sometimes the universe does has a black sense of humour with the delivery because at times it’s not in the way that you expect that things will change that the change actually comes.
Again recently I gave it all up again to the universe, and at the time, the response had tendencies towards being a bewildering joke but slowly, the next steps are unfolding.
So, thank you universe, for listening and taking me on your amusing journey.
Posted in Countdown to 40, Random | Tagged Life, surrender, universe, wisdom | 3 Comments »
Still on the subject of overhauling, I am slowly chipping away at my pantry and cleaning out everything that I won’t be using going forward with my overhaul. And I just can’t throw things away or waste food, so it’s a slow process. Today I decided to make some brownies using the Orgran Chocolate Brownie Mix that I have had in there for a while.
This mix is soy free, gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free and vegan – OMG what is actually in it??? AIR??? - and it is possible to make the brownies with or without fresh eggs added to the mix.
I used butter and a splash of milk (as dairy and egg aren’t problems for me) and just to pimp them up a bit, added some roughly chopped almonds. Fifteen minutes in the oven (so they are still fudgy, mmmm) and voila, really tasty brownies.
Currently, there’s a lovely smell through the apartment too, fudgy chocolate. I would definitely recommend these ones as a pantry essential – in particular for those with more than just gluten-free needs.
As nice as they are, I am very much looking forward to finishing the detoxing of my pantry and starting to do more cooking and baking from scratch.
Finally, here’s some of today’s Nic Humour (bizarre at the best of times). In a text to a friend “I have brownies in the oven (and scouts in the microwave mwhahahahaha)” – oh dear, I need to get out of the house I think. Have a great Easter.
Posted in Overhaul, Pantry Essentials, Reviews / Recommendations | Tagged cooking, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, review | Leave a Comment »
Those who have read my recent post about things that have been going on will know that I have been contemplating some changes in my life and approach to my health problems (and life). And I am happy to say that the early stages of what I am hoping is a massive and long-term overhaul have begun.
Firstly, I have resigned from my job. This was a huge decision, largely prompted by recent restructure after restructure in my workplace and a constant feeling of uncertainty but also based on my lack of passion in what I do for a living. A lot of people kept saying I should just ride it out in hope of being lucky enough to get a payout or even went as far as to say that what I was doing was silly, but in reality, the benefit would be small at a great cost in stress and feeling like the control is out of my hands. So I handed in my resignation. I am going to go back to my first love – working with children – and the relief from the decision being made is enormous.
I have been (for a while) looking into different health and nutrition approaches to help my thyroid and fructose malabsorption and have been reading more lately especially in light of my friend Jayne’s passing recently as she was an inspiration in healthy living. I have looked into paleo eating, juicing and going sugar-free and whilst none of these are a perfect fit for me, I am now tackling a combination of them all to kick-start me back on the path to healthy living.
But I needed to start with a clean slate to do this which lead me to another project. To empty my fridge and pantry of all evils and to not buy anything new until I had used everything that could possibly used. Now it was tough, and some of my dinners whilst I was using up all the contents were odd combinations that made me laugh, but I managed it, and this is what was left.
And now the necessary disclaimers – Yes, that is nail polish in the door (not the point guys!!! but I know I will get asked – it stops it separating if you keep it in the fridge) and the tomato sauce was left behind by a friend, I don’t even eat the stuff! And the most important one – MUM, IT HAS FOOD IT IN NOW, I PROMISE !
I am now playing around with coconut oil with cooking (which I have discovered is also AWESOME for smoothing frizzy hair – here is a link with some of the amazing things that coconut oil can do), and nomming on fresh fruit, veggies galore and proteins and keeping the processed foods at a minimum. Stay tuned for progress updates soon!
Posted in Auto Immune disease, Countdown to 40, Fructose Malabsorption, Hashimotos, Overhaul, Pantry Essentials, Starting out - Gluten Free/Fructose Malabsorption | Tagged cooking, FructMal, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, happy, hashimoto's, Life, overhaul | 3 Comments »
I think I have a new favourite cafe. It’s one of those places I drive by all the time and think “I really should try it there”. And today, I got to, with my buddy Katy who is somewhat of a regular there.
Minimo is located on the edge of Brunswick/Coburg and offers a great range of food (including lots of gluten-free options) – the staff are so friendly and the owner makes sure he has a chat to you and tells you about something he is has on the menu that day. And he has fabulous chef pants, something that is very important, and he’s happy to tell you about them and his gorgeous vespas.
We both had today’s special from the menu - smoked salmon and avocado (on gluten-free bread by request for me) and it was just beautiful.
The coffee is also great and I will be going back to work my way through their menu!
Minimo is located at 822 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Posted in Recipes, Restaurants, Reviews / Recommendations | Tagged Favourites, gluten free, Melbourne, Restaurants, review | 2 Comments »
I have been away from my blog for a while whilst I have been working through some stuff that is going on in my world. From time to time, I have started to write about the things that have been going on, but I have stopped myself from posting for fear of sounding like I was whining or being self-indulgent. And if I am honest, some of the things that have been going on are personal, very personal and I was scared to expose the rawness of my feelings. But in the past two weeks, a couple of events have made me realise that it’s all fear.
The actions of a few have inspired me and have led to this post. Recently, my beautiful sister wrote this post about the horror of not once, but twice being mistaken for her friends mother during her friends visit. That and the so so brave post on Facebook by a dear friend publicly announcing her recently diagnosed battle with mental illness, and in the process, standing up to those who have been less than supportive since her diagnosis, have made me take a deep breath and “pull up my big girl panties” and get over myself.
And then there was today – ohhhhh today. Today I found out that a beautiful person, my friend Jayne, whom I have known since the beginning of high school passed away last week when she lost her battle with breast cancer. This was a woman with a truly amazing spirit who was bravely doing this in the year when we are all planning our 40th birthday parties – just way too soon.
Whilst I had only re-connected with her in the past few years thanks to Facebook, I found that as adults we were similar in the ways we approached things and I admired her attitude towards life. I followed her blog and Facebook page and loved the amazing photos she shared through instagram of her clean, simple, organic food and approach to healing herself.
I am struggling to remember her ever without that beautiful beaming smile on her face. Her “About” page on her blog tells her story and when re-reading it today it made me cry all over again. Here she was battling breast cancer yet she was still trying to help others. This was Jayne to a T. So Jayne, this one is for you, thanks for giving me the bravado on loan and helping me to stop being a la-la and just say it.
The beautiful (inside and out) Jayne Miller
The things I have battled with of late and the wonderful scary and altering realisations that have come from them – that are, in hindsight, not so scary.
- What I do for a living does not make my heart sing. There is very little about it that I am even remotely passionate about anymore and whilst going through not one , but two brutal rounds of redundancies in the workplace, I have finally decided to step off the roundabout rather than waiting to be thrown off at speed by the “machine”. This means for me a complete career change once more, and I will admit, I am pretty much “shitting myself” about it, but am doing it anyway. Because, like so many other things in my life, I can sit and bitch about it, or I can get off my arse and do something about it. And I chose to get off my (now slightly smaller) arse and re-find my passion. And it starts right NOW.
- Less is more, or to be more precise, less is enough. Now that I have finally stopped living out of a suitcase and starting again after a separation last year, I have had to very slowly replace furniture, appliances and other house items. I started with a TV on a stool and a beanbag, my cat, bed and little else but my clothes. Each month, I have slowly added more and more, and through the generosity of some friends and my family, have accumulated some great retro and antique pieces of furniture and finally have all I need. It’s considerably less than I have ever had before – but is MORE than enough. And its lovely having mismatched bits and pieces, items that are pre-loved rather than brand new and shiny and I am proud of my little home I am building.
- The best thing that I have done in a very long time is adopt my cat Marvin. His furry little face and hilarious antics keep me grounded and it’s a joy to have this “monkey in a catsuit” to come home to every day. And if that makes me a crazy cat lady – so be it
- I have learnt more about myself in the past twelve months than I have in the past decade. Some lessons have been extremely hard and at times, I wasn’t sure what to do but to keep going. I look back and can’t quite recognise my life, and sometimes its a sad reflection of what is gone but mostly I am surprised at where I am now.
- I may never have children. This one is still very raw and is following recent developments with my (now stupidly long) list of medical conditions and due to my age. In the words of my gyno – “you are straight off to IVF if you want a baby and even then it would be challenging”. Now you are probably thinking “but I know someone who got pregnant post 40 and they said it wasn’t possible”. And to all my friends etc who have tried to reassure me with such stories, I am grateful. But being a realist, I also know that friend was probably in a long-term relationship (which I am not) , was probably actively trying to have a baby and had been doing so for a while . And whilst nothing is impossible , and I am not actively wanting to have a baby in the immediate future, this news was a massive shock. And let me tell you, the aftermath has been surprisingly harsh to deal with. There’s nothing like being in a public place, seeing a young family playing together and out of the blue bursting into tears thinking “I may never have that” . Since hearing this prognosis, I have been fighting the angry voice in my head demanding to know why this has happened, why is it that I may very well miss out and the screeching voice at the unfairness of it. It has been a struggle to work through and to try to find the positive but I try to.
- Some friends – as hard as it is – are worth losing/moving away from. This one was a tough one. One person once very dear to me has gradually drifted away in the past few years and of late has been downright insensitive whilst still demanding that I provide my full support and that I listen to their dramas constantly. They have become progressively less and less interested in anything other than their own angst . Now I admit that I am guilty of deflecting the conversation away from my problems and what I am feeling, but this person has become blatantly uncaring and time and time again I have patiently tried to steer the constant negative dialogue to a positive supportive place only to have them turn on me. No more – I have walked away from that. They can find a new person to drain of all positivity. And the “friend” that has been sharing every private detail of my life (and bizarrely about my cervix!) with anyone who will listen (including people I don’t know !) may never understand that what they have done is a betrayal (because, amazingly, they think it proves how popular they are and how much of a good friend they are that they know everything about someone and that people will be impressed by their inner knowledge of lives). As a result of their constant gossiping, this person will from now on, never be privy to anything about my life and if they are hurt or confused by that, tough.
- And some friends you can re-find after many years – and you never have them back long enough or email them often enough. You can make each other smile and support each other’s ventures and when they are suddenly no longer there, it profoundly shifts something in you. Jayne, I am so glad I got to have you as a friend, I will always remember you, I wish I could have had you in my life longer. And I know that beautiful smile of yours will live on in Sophie, your beautiful daughter. RIP my old friend x.
Posted in Auto Immune disease, Overhaul, Random, Thyroid | Tagged big girl panties, bliss, fear and doing it anyway, happy, random, thyroid, wisdom | 6 Comments »
We don’t always have time to make a cake from scratch and if you are like me, you like to have a cake mix in the pantry you can throw together at the last minute.
Mostly, gluten-free cake mixes are pretty good but not the same as normal cake mixes and tend to be expensive. Luckily there are exceptions and the Macro Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake mix is now a pantry essential for me.
This mix is not only easy to make (you only have to add water and eggs to the main mix, but you will need milk and butter for the icing) but the results are fabulous. Whilst this mix is exclusive to Woolworths (Macro being their brand), it’s worth going out of your way to buy if you aren’t a Woolworths (Safeway) shopper as it retails for only $3.82. And, believe me when I say that you will struggle to believe this cake is gluten-free.
And a tip, warm the cake up in the microwave for ten seconds and make a runnier version of the icing (like I did not paying attention to the measurements teehee) to pour over as sauce for a great dessert!
Posted in Pantry Essentials, Reviews / Recommendations | Leave a Comment »
You may have seen my “Cooking with Denny” posts where I share the cooking that I do with my Mum. Well now it’s Dad’s turn to take the cooking spotlight!
I still get more hits to my blog by people searching for info on how to make a choofer following some posts I did on my clever Dad’s choofer – a home-made barbeque made out of an empty gas bottle. This style of barbeque is extremely popular with “grey nomads” (retirees who take to the road in their caravans/camper trailers/Winnebago’s) and the range of styles of these home-made barbeques is endless.
If you have stumbled to this post looking for more info on making your own choofer, have a look at my past posts here as I have given lots of links to (hopefully) useful info.
This recipe was thrown together by Dad yesterday to test out his new camp oven which he researched for ages to ensure it would fit perfectly in the choofer (for those who want to know, a 4 and one half quart camp oven fits perfectly in a 9kg gas bottle converted choofer). This camp oven was bought from Rays Outdoors (on special for $23!) and Dad also got his accessories at Rays Outdoors such as the griddle plate and hook for lifting the camp oven off the fire (both shown below). Dad’s hot tip is to become a Rays Outdoors VIP member as they give a discount and that way you hear about the upcoming sales!
Dad’s camp oven fits perfectly in the top of the choofer resting on cross bars that he added.
Now onto the recipe!!!! Dad threw four lamb shanks into the camp oven (with the choofer holding about ten heat beads/hot rocks nicely fired up inside underneath) and added red wine, a stock cube, water, garlic and salt and pepper. On top of the camp oven he put some hot beads to heat from above.
After letting this cook for a while, he chucked in some tinned tomatoes and at this point you could also add some mushrooms or any other veg you wanted.
Let this bubble away for as long as you like, the longer the better as the meat will fall off the bone – the smell and taste of these was just sensational!!!!!!!!
And whilst on the subject of camp ovens, if there are any “grey nomads” looking for an interesting spot/event to visit – Millmerran (which coincidentally is the town where I spent my early school years!) hosts the Australian Camp Oven Festival every two years on the first weekend October – an event that attracts 7000 visitors to this small town on the Darling Downs where participants can compete in camp oven cooking comps. All I can say is that it is lucky for my Dad it’s not on again until 2014 as he would be in BIG trouble if he chose this event over my big “FOUR OH” party in 2013
If you have any questions about building your own or cooking on your choofer, please leave me a comment and I will see if I can get the Choofer King (ie Dad) to give me the info you need or try to find it for you.
Posted in All Things Choofer / Choofa | Tagged camp oven cooking, choofer, cooking, cooking on choofer, gas bottle bbq, recipes | 1 Comment »