26 November 2009

Calling for your favourite vegetarian recipes

So after a few years of saying "I'd like to eat more vegetarian food and cut down on my red meat", but not doing much about it, I have finally bitten the bullet and started to seek out some vegetarian meals that are suitable for our family dinners.

I'm ashamed to say that I've known that beef and lamb are the big resource users, when compared with pork, chicken, and other types of protein, but in the end I got a scare this week when I read that more than 2 meals a week of red meat is a contributing factor to bowel cancer. It sunk in that my mother's father has had bowel cancer (and luckily survived it, but still...) and I should probably start making a bit more of an effort to diversify my diet. And there is a higher level of heritability with bowel cancer than with some other cancers.

Anyway - vegetarian meals in our household come with a few challenges:
- my 3-year-old is allergic to egg, sesame and cashew. NO HOMMOUS OR TAHINI!! boo hoo! no cashew stir fries! no scrambled eggs, frittatas or quiches!
- the jury is out as to whether or not we should be feeding him other nuts such as peanuts. Not clear whether or not this will increase his risk of developing other allergies.
- I need to eat tomato and chilli in moderation - too much and I break out in eczema.

I kicked things off tonight with Lentil Shephard's Pie which was delicious, but will take my son a bit of getting used to (they say you have to offer a toddler something as many as 10 times before they will stop turning their nose up at it). But it wasn't exactly quick and easy - more of a special occasion meal. I used french brown lentils, which don't require soaking prior to cooking.

I was just wondering - what are your favourite quick and easy vegetarian meals?

10 November 2009

Bamboozled, and the OSM

I've thought it odd since moving into our current residence - part of a strata complex - how much good stuff just gets thrown out when people move out or put their houses up for sale and cull stuff for the inspection. So far, we have nabbed a few largish canvases (which we'll paint white and use for something else), a perfectly good plant pot, a watering can, and the odd bit of furniture. But this takes the cake. They were was left in our common courtyard, and after a few months of promising to collect these, the owner finally admitted she didn't want them after all, and anyone was welcome to take them.

See picture. The pots alone probably cost around $100 each. We have been thinking for a while that we'd like to get some larger pot plants as a bit of a privacy screen, as you can see right into our neighbours living room when you stand to the far left of this picture. It was a major effort to move them into our courtyard, but I'm glad we did. The bamboo itself needs work. They are overgrown, and need thinning at the roots, which will be a major effort (anyone want to offer their assistance?!). There is a third pot like this which has cracked right down the length of the pot, obviously because the roots have multiplied too many times. But I like them, I like that we finally have some substantial greenery to soften our courtyard, and that I can use some of our waste water a 2nd time rather than have it go down the drain! Let's see if I can get them growing well without killing them off!

The "Oh S**t!" moment
One of Crikey's blogs had a story about the "OSM", where readers were encouraged to write in about the moment when they realised fully that climate change was due to carbon pollution, and that the effects on the climate were going to be significant. Makes interesting reading, although some respondants do go off the point a bit.


And so I find myself out of work again when on maternity leave. This time, things are a bit sweetened by a fairly good severance pay out. Despite being on contracts, and performing various roles, I have clocked up > 5 years service for my employer. This sweetens the news that there isn't enough certain funding to employ me on next year considerably.

I think now is probably a good time to put an effort into finding a job in an area where I have a passion and/or considerable background - I've experimented in working in different fields for a few years for the sake of working part time, and that has given me some new skills and taught me more things about my strengths and weaknesses. BUT at the end of the day, when you care less about the subject matter of your work than other fields or causes, it can be hard to stay motivated when other parts of your job aren't going well.

So I felt flat for about half a day after receiving this news, but moved on quickly. After all, it means my 2nd and last baby can wait a bit longer before starting child care! :-)

06 November 2009

Where Sydney's water goes...

When I have looked closely on the star rating (energy or water) on washing machines, I've been stunned to see that they are based on daily usage on a certain setting. "Well really!" thought I, "who does 7 loads of washing a week?!". I thought that surely these people were obsessive compulsive clean freaks.

And now I am one of them. Not an obsessive compulsive clean freak, but someone who does at least 5 loads of washing a week. Our whole family re-wears clothes until they are dirty/smelly enough to need a wash, we use towels multiple times before washing, we wash sheets once a forthnight (I really can't be bothered doing them weekly...), I use bibs and cloths on my baby and 3 year old to save outfits. But all this washing adds up now that there are 4 of us, even though our machine is a 7.5kg capacity (rather large). Kids have accidents, babies vomit, wipe their grottly little hands and lips on your clothes

I'm trying my hardest to save water in other ways - watering pot plants for e.g. - but not having a garden to throw extra water into means that a lot of waste water sadly goes down the sink. And past attempts to accumulate water in a bucket has just resulted in attracting mozzies...

04 November 2009

Whoa! has it been 3 months already?!!

Hello there!

With the blink of an eye, our darling little baby girl (let's call her Astro Girl, online) is already 3 months old! No longer a newborn, she is transitioning to size 00 clothing, and very aware of her hands all of a sudden. You can hear her sucking away on them in her cot. And she can giggle! It's a beautiful, hearty chuckle, which is interspersed with cute little goo-ing noises.

Parenthood this time around is different, easier. Is it because we are more relaxed, experienced parents? Is it because she is a girl? or because she is a 2nd child, who has to get lugged around everywhere, and hauled in and out of the car/cot/pram mid-sleep to keep up with her big brother's activities? Who knows! Maybe it's all three. But so far, we've been blessed with a baby with a very easygoing nature.

It's rarely hard to get her to sleep, and she prefers to settle on her own much of the time, after a bit of one-on-one cuddle and giggle time, and maybe some singing. She has mostly one overnight feed, sometimes two, and while I do hear her make noises in her sleep, I seem to be able to sleep through the irrelevant noises more easily these days. So we are keeping her in our room until the summer is over, and will think about shifting her in with her brother next year, perhaps when their eating and sleeping habits are a bit more similar.

Any my other baby? The three-year-old, I mean... He's doing well too. Can't stop him talking. Will enthusiastically soak up any new material to talk about, and talk to anyone he has at hand. This morning, he was watching the TV show of the daughter of a certain deceased Australian "icon" (hint: crikey!), and saw a story about deforestation in Indonesia threatening the habitat of orangutans. This was assimilated in his brain, mixed in with something about dinosaurs, and regurgitated back to us in one hilarious story with accompanying hand gestures! (I'm thinking this will make it easier for me to explain to him why he shouldn't waste tissues - thanks Bindi!).

But he's also a wonderful big brother. He helps with the baby whenever I ask him to (ie by talking to her while I get ready for her feed, fetching me things while I'm feeding etc etc). He seems interested in her, and he asks where she is if she's not in the room. She, in return, is fascinated by him, watches him from her capsule in the car, and throws him beaming smiles! How idyllic! I wonder how long this will last!!

So relative domestic bliss for the time being. Just need to work on E-chan's fussy appetite, his pleases and thankyous, and putting his toys away instead of leaving toy cars in the middle of the floor....