Sunday, January 31, 2010

First week home alone in my empty nest

Well, that's the end of the first week on my own at home. My son and his girlfriend have settled in to their new home - everything is unpacked and in its place. The bonus is probably that they are only five minutes up the road maybe things would be different if they were further away? It's real nice that both my boys (and their girlfriends) are within a very easy drive (and it's even walkable).

So how did my first week go? Really well. I am loving the freedom to cook all the foods I love without needing to consider others (does that make me selfish?). I thought I might have felt lonely without them here but it's actually been ok. It's quite nice that I don't have to "check in" with anybody and I am finding I can be more spontaneous. The downside is there is no-one to boss around and no-one to share the chores. hahaha What a bind having to always be the one to empty the dishwasher! Mind you it took about 4 days to have enough dishes to be bothered putting the dishwasher through.

I am on track with my List - I bought a pattern and fabric today - not for the dress I want to sew but a top. I am waiting for winter fabrics to come into the store before sewing the dress but thought I would get creative and start with a top for now. That will be a task for me to do one evening this week. I have found my next new recipe to try - Chicken and Pesto fettuccine which is on the menu plan for this week. And talking of the menu plan - this is the plan for the week :
Monday - kedgeree
Tuesday - steak
Wednesday - chicken and pesto fettuccine
Thursday - fish curry
Friday - grilled chicken
Saturday - crumbed fish
Sunday - birthday dinner for my son so will let him choose

All meals will use vegetables from the garden wherever possible. I have zuchinni starting to flourish, sweetcorn, potatoes and beans to supplement vegetables bought yesterday.

I continue to struggle with broodiness of my chooks - three out of four are currently broody so I am down to 1 egg a day again. How annoying! I am on the lookout for a cage I can segregate the broody ones into. I get the feeling this will continue to happen - maybe I chose dud chooks? hahaha I figure they are following their natural instincts - but it's a bit annoying when I am looking for them to supply me with eggs not produce more offspring.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Developing my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days has provided me with focus. In reviewing the list a number of times I have been spurred into taking action on several items.

Item 11 - blog at least once a week - here is this week's blog. :)

Item 17 - Try 50 new recipes - first new recipe was the kedgeree I made for dinner last night. I bought some smoked blue cod and made my first ever kedgeree last night - it was delicious. Here's the recipe I used. I'm not sure if it is a traditional kedgeree but it's the only recipe I could find in my books.


250g smoked fish
2 tbsp butter
2 finely chopped onions
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup long-grain rice
2 1/4 cups stock (I used stock I had frozen from our Christmas ham)
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh parsley
3 chopped spring onions

Melt butter in a pot and add onion. Cook until soft but not browned. Add curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly over the heat, for 1 minute. Add the uncooked rice and stock. Cover pot and cook gently over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until rice is tender and the liquid absorbed. Gently fold into rice the flaked / sliced smoked fish, chopped hard-boiled eggs, lemon juice and parsley. Remove from heat, sprinkle with spring onions and garnish with wedges of lemon before serving.

Item 26 - Give blood regularly - I am booked in to give blood tomorrow.

Item 30 - Take 3 cooking classes - I have enrolled in 3 classes at the Wellington Community Education Centre. The classes I chose are Thai cooking, Chocolate treats (yum) and Finger Food. The first two classes are scheduled to take place in March and I will post on them then.

Item 55 - Menu plan every week - This week's plan is as follows :
Monday - lasagne and fettuccine - my sons and their girlfriends are coming for dinner
Tuesday - leftover kedgeree from last night
Wednesday - burgers (homemade beef patties)
Thursday - chicken stirfry
Friday - mushroom and spinach omelette
Saturday - spicy fish cakes
Sunday - thai beef salad

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

101 things in 1001 days

I have been catching up on my blog reading recently and several blog authors have mentioned the 101 things in 1001 days challenge. That has piqued my interest and I have decided to partake in this. I will report on progress from time to time so you can see how I am getting on with this.

So here goes :
1. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
2. Go vegetarian for one month
3. Walk the Milford Track
4. Spend a holiday exploring the top of the North Island (everywhere north of Auckland)
5. Visit the Coromandel
6. Visit Tauranga
7. Make a quilt
8. Go to 3 music concerts
9. Invest in a decent sound system
10. Downsize my house and my mortgage
11. Blog at least once a week
12. Have a massage once a month
13. Declutter my house
14. Clean out garage
15. Stick to my budget
16. Track all expenses
17. Try 50 new recipes
18. Listen to one new musician / band every month
19. Buy a piece of art
20. Find a great cupcake recipe
21. Replace my lounge suite
22. Make new cushions for the lounge
23. Increase mortgage payments
24. Go skiing
25. Compile my favourite recipes
26. Give blood regularly
27. Become a volunteer for the Samaritans
28. Go sky-diving
29. Only buys clothes / shoes for replacing existing items
30. Take 3 cooking classes
31. Complete Christmas shopping by October
32. Attend a yoga retreat
33. Eat less red meat
34. Eat more fish
35. Donate $10 to charity for each task I don't complete
36. Go camping
37. Go on an unplanned road trip for a weekend
38. Put together an emergency kit
39. Take a dance class
40. Do yoga three times a week for a month
41. Go to a live comedy show
42. Buy fresh flowers once a month
43. Make 25 different cocktails
44. Try out a new restaurant once every two months
45. Make a winter dress
46. Spend a rainy day with someone in bed
47. Sleep under the stars
48. Read a science fiction book
49. Prepare and have a romantic candlelit dinner at home
50. Read at least one non-fiction book a month
51. Complete a sudoku every day
52. Go to a wine and food festival
53. Go to 10 plays
54. Go white-water rafting
55. Menu plan every week
56. Reduce grocery spend to $70 / week
57. Review goals once a week
58. Make soap
59. Take a bubble bath every month
60. Build something out of wood
61. Buy a "round town" bike for running errands
62. Set up spare room as a real guest bedroom
63. Go on holiday to Japan
64. Donate 100,000 grains of rice on
65. Create a cleaning schedule
66. Take a class and learn something new
67. Donate food to the local food bank once a month
68. Do a random act of kindness once a month
69. Knit something
70. Make a loan through Kiva
71. Go see a 3D movie
72. Keep in regular contact with my brother
73. Sew Christmas stockings
74. Go to an art gallery every month
75. Get involved with local Transition Towns group
76. Take a pole-dancing class
77. Assemble a first aid kit for the car
78. Have a productive vegetable garden year-round
79. Complete a scuba diving course
80. Learn to garden organically
81. Reduce food wastage
82. Visit my parents twice a year
83. Write an “if anything ever happens to me” letter
84. Clean out and organise my filing system
85. Check my car's oil and water every month
86. Change the oil and oil filter at least annually
87. Once a month meet a different friend for lunch
88. Clean out the dreaded box of cables
89. Swim in a lake, a river, the sea and a pool
90. Wear matching underwear at least once a week
91. Put $1o in a jar for each completed task
92. Try geocaching
93. Donate to one new charity each year (ongoing)
94. Take more photos
95. Take an art class
96. Visit a waterfall I haven't been to before
97. Write a positive thought down every day for a month
98. Kiss in the rain
99. Mid-winter swim
100. Write my name in the sand and take a photo of it
101. Bake bread once a month - new recipe each month

Phew, that was much more of a mission than I thought it was going to be. And now I have to start working on achieving tasks from the list. Gosh! I will print this off and make sure I review it often and start checking things off.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gulp! What a bad blogger I am!

It has been a long time since I last posted on this blog - and I have no good reason for that, apart from my normal routines being disrupted by Christmas. But I am now back - better than ever after having spent a relaxing time at home over Christmas and New Year.

With such a long break from writing I am a bit lost as to what to blog about first. I know I still haven't blogged with the result of my No spend month (and that was in November). I don't have all the figures with me right now so that will need to wait for another time.

A few people have asked after my chooks - my de-brooding exercise was relatively successful. After two days of being blocked out of their nesting boxes three out of four chooks started laying again - yay! Sadly last week one chook decided that being broody was a good thing so now I have two chooks laying and two chooks being broody. I will let it slide for now as I am still getting two eggs a day but as soon as that changes I will be back to de-brooding mode again. The positive thing is that the eggs we are getting are bigger than they used to be.

The countdown is seriously on for my son and his girlfriend moving out of my home and into their house. We are all very excited about that. Once they have moved out I will be continuing with my decluttering exercise. I thought I would be able to do this over the Christmas break but decided it would be easier once I have the house to myself and less furniture, etc to work around.

I did spend some time over Christmas getting some chores done that I wouldn't normally have time for. I have a large garden window in my kitchen (with a very deep sill) which needed to be sanded back and repainted. I have put that off for ages as I couldn't be bothered dealing with the mess that would create. But I bit the bullet and got stuck into that on a rainy Wellington day (ah, Wellington in the summer!). I think it stills needs one more coat of paint to be honest so plan to do that this weekend. Even as it is, it looks much better than before. The old paint had started to degrade and was flaking off in places - plus it was more yellow than white!

I also spent some time working in my garden. My pea crop this year has been a bit of a disaster. I'm not entirely sure why but some of it can be put down to the cats digging up the peas!!! Sometimes I think I need to devote one of my raised beds to be the cat toilet but knowing my little monsters they would ignore it and continue to dig up my seeds and seedlings! Other things have been more successful. My corn is coming along really well and my zucchinis and scallopinis are flowering madly so they will be producing pretty soon. I have chillis and capsicums growing in my greenhouse - they are growing well but something is munching on their leaves. I'm not too sure what is doing that right now but have sprayed them with a garlic / soapy mixture so hopefully that will get rid of whatever is eating them. I also have lettuce in the greenhouse so that is coming in handy for dinners. My "orchard" is still in its infancy - I got one cherry off my cherry tree and one raspberry off the raspberry bush. To be fair the cherry tree was planted a year ago so is still very young and the raspberry bush is probably about six months old.

I'll be posting some ideas for frugal, yummy meals for one soon so keep an eye out for that. Hope you are all having a great start to 2010 - I know I am.