Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spoon Rest

A few years ago I read about spoon theory.  It was developed by a lady who I believe has lupus.  At any rate, her life is hard and energy is scarce.

The general theme goes like this: at the beginning of any given day you have so many spoons to deal with for the day.  These spoons are your allotment of energy.  Getting dressed could take 1 and a half spoons.  This isn't so bad if you have 75 spoons to deal with, but with degenerative diseases, a day will often offer only, say 22.

A person with normal reserves will have their spoons replenish after a bit of rest.  Not so for those who are suffering with a limited energy output.

Sometimes I feel like I'm operating under spoon theory.  I'm quite enjoying pregnancy, but after a poor sleep, my energy is lower (growing a baby takes a good deal of energy after all!) and I feel every single one of those spoons as I spend them.

Thankfully, a bit of rest and my spoons come back.  How hard is must be for those whose spoons don't!

Today's been a bit of a harder day, but still I have plenty of spoons.  It's my own fault really.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a bit of a sore calf, so I stretched it, got a massive cramp and fell halfway out of bed saying, "ow ow ow ow".

At least I'm very aware that Adrian wakes up to my pain.  My leg feels better, but I'm taking care of my spoons today.  When I spend them willy-nilly I regret it the next day.

Be grateful for your abundant spoons!  You have no idea how much of a blessing they are.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Cause it's a sauce!

I may have Kelis' Bossy in my head as I write this, and probably that means nothing to you, but needless to say (or perhaps needful as you can't see me), having that song bounce through my head as I think about the culinary arts promotes a giant grin on this here face of mine.

Sauces for the meat, m-meat is on the grill.

Yeah, I'm weird.  You knew that when you came here to read my stuff though.  Really, you have no one to blame except yourself.  Except mayhaps for me.

Sauces!  Lately labels bother me at grocery stories.  This isn't a funny bother like street signs that say perplexing or hilarious things inadvertently as the people in charge of producing them seem to hate grammatical form.  This is more of a "ergh, what is that?  I eat that?" kind of bother.  It gets to the chemical compound list, the preservatives and the like and then I get gun-shy of this whole eating thing.

Take potato chips for example.  Original chips say that they are comprised of potatoes, oil and salt.  Add on a flavor and all of the sudden the list is 5 times as long.  All to make it taste like a dill pickle.  If you could get dill pickle chips in Australia.  Which you can't.

At any rate, labels terrify and bewilder me.  We're so focused on making food last that we deneuter it and add things so it won't biodegrade.  That's what food is supposed to do.  Vegetables are supposed to grow, be green, then ripe, then overripe, then spoiled, then go in a heap and eventually turn into really nice dirt so you can produce more food.  Meat is supposed to become rancid if left to long and start to decompose.  Food has this nice way of taking itself out of the picture and, whilst so doing, promoting the growth of more food.

Because we like to eat food when we want to eat it, we add preservatives and all sorts of things.  Like cream for example.  Most cream has a bit of bleach in it so that it can stay on the shelf for a few days.  Appetizing, no?

Instead of buying sauces which have numbers and lists that I don't understand, I'm trying to make some things.  I made tartar sauce from scratch and some tzatziki.  Both are quite easy and made from ingredients that you may already have.

Tartar sauce
Start with a small glug of virgin olive oil, add some mayonnaise (yes, we will learn how to make mayonnaise soon too), a bit of hot mustard (I'm also intrigued to make mustard), some dill weed, pinch of chili powder and a finely chopped dill pickle.  Delicious, easy and made by you.  Fantastic with home fried and breaded fish and oven baked potato wedges.  We prefer the purple potatoes.

Pour the juice and rind from one lemon into a bowl with a clove of very finely chopped garlic.  Sprinkle with pepper and a bit of salt.  Chop up a cucumber into small pieces, add to mixture.  Add natural yogurt to this until you reach the consistency you desire.  Serve with pita chips, grilled chicken, souvlaki, whatever you like.

I just want to know, when things are so easy to throw together, why do we let someone else do it for us?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shaken, not Stirred

For an iconic James Bond phrase, it's not that often used in James Bond film!

Adrian and I have been watching through all the James Bond movies.  We've been doing this incredibly slowly.  Some James Bonds are great and you want to watch the next one right away and others leave a bad taste in your mouth and you just don't care to ever watch one again (for awhile at any rate.  We are trying to have seen ALL of them by the end of this run and stopping would mean we hadn't seen them all.).

I've always enjoyed James Bond films with the spy gadgets and the incredible plots.  It's good to know that the world can be saved by one man, time and time again.  Sure there are facets to the series that I don't agree with or particularly enjoy - including the occasional overwhelming misogynism and promiscuity.  I really didn't enjoy these after I actually read a James Bond book.  If ever there was a series where movie was better than book...  And just think what film - especially thrillers and action - would be without Bond's impact!

In university we had James Bond Day a couple times where you watch one movie from each of the 6 different James Bond portrayers.  It's fun to see the shift in society, fashion, technology and who James Bond is to every generation.

I've always been partial to Timothy Dalton myself.  Wish he did more than two!

So if you do decide to do James Bond Day, here is a handy dandy guide for missing some of the stinkers.  We'll briefly comment on the Bonds that we've watched as of late.  if you ever do watch them all in order, you're probably going to get sick of Roger Moore.  I know I did.

Sean Connery
   Dr No: a delightful Caribbean romp involving Ursula Andress, radiation contaimination which is easily washed off in a shower, and a meeting with Felix Leiter - he's played by more people than James!  (you'll find that James Bond spends a lot of time in the Caribbean
  From Russia With Love:  James Bond isn't even in the film til about minute 12.  Good fight scene on a train.  This is a good one.  Interesting fact: Mr Bond actually managed to keep a girlfriend from Dr No until From Russia with Love.
  Goldfinger:  I'm pretty sure this one had some terrible puns for women's names.  Like worse than normal.
  Thunderball:  Sharks, speedos and mostly underwater sequences.
  You Only Live Twice:  It's the one with the fake volcano.  But I'm pretty sure it still went boom.

George Lazenby
  On Her Majesty's Secret Service:  The only Aussie James Bond who, in one movie alone, has a chase in a bobsleigh and manages to get married (but only after seducing half of a ladies allergy clinic).

Sean Connery comes back
  Diamonds are Forever:  It was funny.  And it wasn't supposed to be.

Roger Moore
  Live and Let Die:  A voodoo theme carried through and Roger Moore restarted the series with some zest.
  The Man with the Golden Gun:  Terrible.  I really didn't like James Bonds for awhile after this one.
  The Spy Who Loved Me:  It's the one with the underwater car!  A fairly good plot made James Bond movies exciting again as the previous few had been not as exciting.
  Moonraker:  If you like sci-fi, watch it.  And giggle.  All the lasers and cool fighting in space.  The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are the ones with the Jaws character.
  For Your Eyes Only:  I'm drawing a blank.
  Octopussy: The circus, bombs, trains, a cult devoted to the blue ringed octopus.
  A View to a Kill:  The bad guy rode in a zeppelin, while James Bond drove a Ford.  Hampered by terrible, terrible acting on the part of both lead women.  Christopher Walken is creepy.  No matter what.

Timothy Dalton
  The Living Daylights:  We watched this one yesterday.  Fresh plot, lots of running around the world, highly enjoyable.  [Interesting fact: Miss Moneypenny was played by the same woman until this movie.  She was the continuity for awhile.  Q stays as the same person until one of the Pierce Brosnan ones, I think.]

Aren't you just jonesing to queue up some movies, pop a view buckets of popcorn and gorge on the original spy films now?  Let me know what you think of them all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I was going to do a proper long post today, but I'm tired.  I can't really sleep well anymore.  Can't get comfortable.  Wake up all the time.  Back aches.  Eyes burn.

Yes, I know it's training for living with baby and it's going to be life for awhile, but I just can't be exciting today as a writer.

I'll try again soon and you can hear my thoughts on making food from scratch, babies, oceans and James Bond.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apart/A part of me

I spend a lot of time thinking what it's like having baby live inside of me, but lately have been wondering what it's like for baby to live inside me.

It must be quite cramped in there as the general consensus of strangers is "wow, you must be having a giant baby!".  The next person to say this to me may hear the unfriendly suggestions that I have so far managed to bite my tongue on.  And if they are right and we do indeed have a 9006 lb baby, well, at least we'll be in the newspaper.

Perhaps it is frustrating being so cramped.  Maybe baby kicks so hard to see if he/she can be jarred loose from his or her confinement.  (Sidenote: why is it that women used to enter their confinement at the time when their children were being loosed from their confinement?)

Maybe it's comforting being so closely held all the time.  Floating around, practicing leg kicks and frog jumps (which kind of hurt when they move my entire torso an inch or so), no cares or worries.  Spending all of life with a constant beat of life around, warmth and all needs met with no effort.

Can babies feel excitement?  Does our little one know what will happen shortly?  Is it afraid of getting stuck or of feeling cold for the first time?  Probably not.  Baby is content knowing needs are met.  Someone else gets to worry about the other things.

Very wise, Baby.  You don't need to worry.  Mommy's got you.  And the best part is, she's not doing this alone.  Daddy's got Mommy.  God has them both in his hands, just as you are.

Actually, it's a bit odd this thought of what living inside me is like.  I only know of two who have done so. Baby won't remember so when I ask, he or she will just look at me funny.  I expect to be looked at a lot like that.  I look forward to it.  The other one is the Holy Spirit.  And while it must be uncomfortable for Him, living in a sinful vessel, I know He's at home and working on me even/especially while I'm not.

Both have changed me, that's for sure.

Oh Baby, I want to see you.  I want to cuddle you on the outside and see what you look like, count your toes and show you the love that our little family has for you.  I know you still need some growing time and that we'll never truly be ready for you to come, but we're looking forward to the adventure that you continue to bring to our life.  It will hurt that day when you become separate from me, but you'll always live in my heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe Recitations

I have a collection of recipes that I keep in an old shortbread tin.  And by recipes I mean fragments of paper with ingredients scrawled across them.  Most of these recipes have no title on them and it's only by reading through the ingredients and amount thereof that I can discern what I once created.

Some of these recipes were written down while on the phone with my Mom or other culinary genii, so haste can account for the brevity of words contained on a page.  Some were snagged from the internet as I gleaned info and partial recipes.  Generally I change things as I go and if I don't have an ingredient that day or don't feel like it, it doesn't get written down.  None of these papers has instructions.  Often they have symbols that group ingredients to inform me that these go together before being mixed with everything else.  And if I can't find a temperature scribbled anywhere I assume we're going with 375F/180C.

My favorites are the ones that have other information on them, like this one for plum cake that also has the hymns for the week on it and on the back is a recipe for tartar sauce.

There are also a few recipes in here that people have written out for me.  It's fantastic to find those.

I should really type these up or at least print them out properly in a pretty little book.  Perhaps I will.

At any rate, I'm currently delving through this tin to find a recipe that was requested.  If you are allergic to nuts, kindly stop reading and please don't lick the screen.  I don't want you to get hurt.

Without further ado, I present to you a highly requested recipe which is incredibly easy and therefore quite dangerous to one's pant size.

Peanut Butter Balls
Mix:  1 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)
         1 cup icing sugar (aka confectioners or powdered), and
         1 tbsp butter
Add: 1 cup of crushed wafers* (chocolate or vanilla)
Roll into small balls.
Dip in melted chocolate.
Leave on wax paper to solidify.  Probably not a bad plan to refrigerate.

*You can substitute rice krispies/rice bubbles or other hard crushed cookies/biscuits.

And while we're on the topic of easy and peanut butter, I ate a delightful little cookie once at a coffee shop and upon inspection, realized it was super easy.  It went something like this:

Take two round crackers (ritz or similar), smear a delightful amount of peanut butter on the one and place the other on top of said peanut butter.  Dip halfway into melted white chocolate.  This should cover the top and bottom of the cookie.  Allow to set.  Dip other side into melted milk chocolate.  Enjoy and gain weight by just reading the recipe.  I know I have, but that might have more to do with the fact that I was eating as I typed it.  And no, it wasn't cookies but a healthy granola bar.

But it might be cookies soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling Feline?

So awhile ago I attempted to posit that the movement of an internal baby is kind of like having a hamster crawl up your pants, but inside your skin.

The kicks are bigger now.  My poor little body isn't big enough for child to stretch out, and I feel it when he or she tries!  I've come up with a handy dandy new way of describing this.  And at the same time, you can make a delightful fruit salad!

Buy a watermelon.  Measure it against your torso before you bring it home.  It should extend from your ribcage to below your hip bone.  Pick up a couple fruit as well.  Grapefruits perhaps.  Rock melon/Cantaloupe if you desire.  Oh, and some strawberries and kiwi and some grapes.

Also, stop by the pet store or shelter and see if you can borrow a cat.  Declawed preferably.

Once home, cut a hole in one side of the melon.  Clean it out.  Arrange the inside of melon in a bowl.  If you are a woman, cut the grapefruits in half.  Put half of the grapefruit in the bowl with the melon.  If male, cut a hole in the grapefruit and carve out the fruit.  Add to salad.  Tape a grape to the side of the watermelon that has no hole, about 1/4-1/3 from one end.

This is where it could get tricky.

Add grapefruit to the, shall we say, upper chest.  Affix with tape or a stout rope.  Put the cat in the watermelon.  Quickly attach the watermelon to your midriff using tape or a stout rope.  The grape should be 1/4-1/3 from the bottom (your belly button!).

Go to your closet and try to find a shirt to fit over you.  Then drink 3 litres of water and don't go pee, so that you constantly feel like you need to.

Ain't it grand?

[Note, this is merely to describe a feeling.  I would not actually suggest that you be cruel to a cat, or honestly try what I have just offered.]

What about the strawberries and kiwi, you say?  They were just there to help out the salad.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Sometimes the north/south thing gets me.  I'm used to how things operate in Canada and am getting used to how they go in Australia.  Somethings work out better than others, but you should know there is one place where I consistently fail:


How can you fail potluck, you ask?  Oh, it's easier than you might think.  I've been to plenty of potlucks in my day and you get used to what you can bring, what people like and go for and of what you always need more.  Greek salads seem to work.  Hot potato dishes.  There's always bread and some sort of meat in a sauce.  And meat in sauce is always the crowd favorite.  I felt well versed in this art form.  After all, I'm a rostered Lutheran church worker.  Potluck is practically a parish service course.  PS103, if I remember correctly.

At the first potluck here, I brought pasta salad.  People saw it.  Studied it.  Moved on.
Grade: FAIL.

At another I had a brilliant thought.  Everyone loves curry.  And I just happened to have an amazing Indonesian rendang recipe.  I filled my house with spicy smells early in the morning and made up a big bowl of rice.  As I ladled the food in the serving bowl I noticed a problem.  Not nearly enough food.  It was enough for two hungry people.  While it was enjoyed, it lasted about 3 minutes.  Employing the standard potluck algorithm of deliciousness/amount, I'd come in lacking.
Also, I made squares and it was one of the first times I baked in this oven.  They were too soft so I left them in for a bit as the oven cooled.  Then they were rocks. They didn't make the trip to the potluck, but a handy packet of Tim Tams did.
Grade: FAIL

I learned from my failures though and noticed trends.  I tried a pasta casserole for the next one.  So did almost everyone else.  Mine was relegated to the back of the line and never used.  People asked where the curry was.
Grade: super sad and depressing FAIL.

I should posit there there were occasional passing grades in between these hassles.  I brought green salad a lot.  Everyone eats salad.  But it was very bad on my ego as I'm generally very happy with the standard of what comes out of my kitchen.  It always seems to be on the day that I bring fruit salad everyone else brings sausage rolls, or if I bring cookies, they bring cakes.  I'm just not making the grade.

Last week, I brought a pasta casserole with homemade sauce to potluck.  I was proud of it.  It turned out to not even really be a potluck, but just nibbles and desserts.  It was giant and barely touched.  It got left out during the meeting and then had to be thrown out.
Grade: A large continuous FAIL.

There are days when not even a Kathleen Edwards song can get you out of a potluck slump.  But I have hope that I'll get there one day.

What do you bring to a potluck?