Sunday, 20 January 2013

Happy New Year

Oh dear, I just seem to get worse at this blog dont I? What can I say...  First off I did have a go at updating a couple of weeks back but I couldnt upload this picture so I gave up.  Tried again today and same thing, looked up blogger's "Known Issues" and it seems there is a problem with Internet Explorer and the upload button - so lucky for me it being weekend the husband can sort these things out for me, and installed Google Chrome so I could carry on.

One of the reason's I havent been around much is I did loose my dear Tess to kidney failure on the 15th December 2012, this was the last picture taken of her a couple of days earlier.  I did take this quite badly, despite having lost 4 dogs before her this one seemed to be even more painful, if that was possible.  Maybe because this time I had to make the decision not to let her suffer, not the easiest decision for any dog owner.

Anyway - in light of my sheer hopelessness of updating this blog I have begun another one just in the setting up stage now, only managed that and an 'about me' page so far.  Must take some pictures tomorrow....  This one is more about me and the creative life, new beginnings in the art and craft world (or at least thats the idea).

I have started sewing again as I have real live 'ORDERS'  to complete, and some new projects that are more suited to a different blog.

I have a big January Sale on in my Etsy shop ready for new stock - that can be found on my website.  Although my priority will be local retail before on-line selling.

Thats enough for now, not enough hours in the day and still have some sketch practice to do.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I've not gone

Just checking in to say I havent gone completely - still hoping when time allows to continue with this blog, plenty of material and notes to chat about yet... Only today I was reading about the benefits of Himalayan Salt, we use that now in our cooking and on the 'occasional' chip.

However, I doubt it will be this year.  I have a new purpose these days as a carer so my time is limited at the moment.  As if that was not enough one of my dogs has been very poorly too, there was talk of kidney failure at the vets last week and this week that was looking likely, just as I was about to do the kindest thing for my beloved girl my supervet returned from his holidays and gave us one last thing to try, ta daaaaaaaaaaa it worked!  Well, it has for now.. how long we have left with our old girl is anybodies guess, but the main thing now is she is happy and painfree so while this continue's all is well.

The painting has had to take a back seat too, which is  a shame as I was trying for the local exhibition next year, probably wont make that now..never mind always another year all being well.  I do still scribble in my art journal most days, so I keep up the practice work and do plenty of ink doodles as they can be done anywhere.

I still havent got to meet my 'happy pigs' this is something I would like to do next year too.  I see the local supermarket is now selling quite a few different Organic Meats which is good, just a shame they are so pricey, there is no need for this just usual greed from large organisations.  The meats I buy from my local Organic Farm are sometimes a few pence more than the butchers, and I know were they are from and how they lived.  Manic Organic (see link on right of page) are now selling their own Organic Pickle which is highly recommended, we purchased the 'Chilli Jam' at weekend, there are a few different flavours.

Enough from me now, I was meant to be just putting in an update and explanation.  If I dont manage to get here again this year have a fabulous Christmas and do enjoy spending time with your loved ones, we dont know how long we will have them and every day counts.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Congestive Heart Failure

You probably dont know much about this, or maybe have never heard of it? Lets hope not.  Up until 5 days ago neither had I.  Its not me, but a very close family member.
I would like to take the opportunity here to advise anyone who is afraid of their doctor, or unhappy with their doctor, or has no confidence with their doctor.. just how important this is.

If you are not happy with your GP - CHANGE!!! you can do this, I did.. and its very easy to do. Do not suffer from what can become life threatening symptoms from fear or distrust.  Maybe you have little thought of what happens to you? if so please try to think of those around you who love you, and cannot visualise their lives without you.

Symptoms of Congestive heart failure are:
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Swelling, usually of ankles and lower legs (Oedema)
  • Coughing
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Confusion or difficulty in concentration
Once the GP suspects Heart Failure he/she will send you for a chest xray, blood tests, ECG so he can find out the level of damage to the heart.  Like most things the sooner you present with your symptoms the better chance of treatment.
You can expect a visit from the district nurse, and then to be cared for by specialist heart failure team who visit your home - that is unless you prefer to be cared for in hospital (not many of us do).  The heart failure team will help with all your questions, care for your well being and that of your family and carer.

Congestive heart failure is not as horrific as it sounds, it IS treatable.  In some cases you will have a comfortable few years ahead.  But PLEASE get those symptoms checked out sooner rather than later.

Aside from the above, the other reason you have not seen much of me around is we made the mistake of changing our ISP back to BT, we thought we would try the fibre optic thingy... that was a week last Friday, we are STILL awaiting a new router as this one conks out every ten minutes and is rather frustrating to say the least.  We have now been told there have been no less than 3 sent out that have not arrived yet?? funny that.
So far I am clearly NOT impressed with BT service at all.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Organic Meat

I have always found it true we are never too old to learn, and learning something new each day is usually a great achievement and a good thing.  Sometimes though this is not to be the case.  Today I learnt what happens to pigs, and its not very nice reading.. suffice to say I will never eat shop bought pork again, only a reliable organic source.

During my usual rantings about natural and organic foods and the horror's of additives etc I was asked this morning what makes organic meat? and how can it be organic when it is still injected by law..  I did not know the answers to this, so spent the day researching.

Majority of my research was done on the Soil Association website, were it does go into detail about cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and fish.  The gist of it is though, pretty much like the poultry which is common knowledge to most of us, we all know (dont we?) the happy chickens are the free range ones that are NOT in tiny batteries, happy still are the ones who forage in an organic environment only fed organic feed.  Hence the 'free range eggs' being preferable, as these are the ones who come from healthy chickens who are not kept in a horrific and stressful environment.  This is the same for the other animals kept for our food.  The Organic Meat is from the animals who are allowed more outdoor time, to forage, graze and enjoy.. they are allocated plenty of space per animal (there are regulations about this) feed on what is natural to them with addition of organically produced feed.

No growth injections are given, or any other unnecessary treatments, the care given to these livestock means they are rarely ill as they are not stressed and are happy.  Of course there might be a time when illness does strike and the vet might have to administer antibiotics, if this is the case the animal is to wait a designated length of time to be sure non of these additives can be passed onto humans.  Unlike the 'other' side of things.

I have today been totally horrified by what I have read, and give you the option whether or not you would like to find out for yourself or continue in blissful ignorance.  However, the Pork in particular did interest me as for sometime I have not been able to eat this without being quite poorly, I never buy it myself only had it when at family gatherings.  My local organic farm shop (Manic Organic, link on right of page) do have some meats, I have already sampled the beef and the lamb mince which are excellent and again no more expensive than the butcher, but quite probably more expensive than 'some' supermarkets (there is a reason for that!).  I am going to enquire about the Pork tomorrow, I have seen Organic Pork burgers which I will be trying soon, so hopefully there will be other cuts to try.

If you would like to read more on this and support the fabulous work they do, you can find the Soil Association here   This can tell you all about organic foods, meats, cotton etc and what happens to those poor pigs.

Ending on a lighter note, I made another cake this week - fairly healthy, its an Apple Sauce cake, made from Apples from my Aunts garden, so no pesticides there.  My cake had cranberries and nuts in too, and was delicious.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Eating colour

I have read, and been told of late.. its not just eating your greens that is good for you.  The more variety of colour on the plate the better. (natural colour of course).  My organic stews are always very colourful as contain everything I purchased from the farm shop carrots (that are purple), parsnip, Kale, Chard, sweet potato, butternut squash, bell peppers, mushroom, potato... the more colour the better.  Then of course you can start on the fruits.

This weeks fruit bowl from the supermarket is nearly all Organic as it was on offer, so I have Orange, Bananas, Kiwi, grapes and pomegranate (the pom isnt organic, not seen any of those yet), also purchased was lemons for cleaning.. yes, I have recently learnt that the chemicals in cleaners are not so good for you either, as well as how pricey they are!  Did some research on natural cleaners, seems all you need is lemon, white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, soda crystals and borax substitute and you are covered.

I did actually clean my oven yesterday with bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, and it worked.. and lets just say it wasnt exactly last week when it was last cleaned.

Tonights dinner was spicy stuffed peppers, with organic beef - very nice, doesnt look much but is a very filling and healthy meal. Though it was finished off with some homemade cake, called 'Boozy Cake' which was a rather nice fruit cake I made in the bread maker yesterday, and again forgot to take its photo, sorry.... and there is not much left now... so much for the diet.
And I was very pleased with this today.  A malt brown loaf, I did the next size up and it seems to be much better.. I do make 'most' of my own bread now, occasionally I get tempted with the soda breads at Manic Organic though, they are sometimes too good to resist.

I will add the Stuffed Pepper recipe in the next few days to the 'health meals' page - that one is from a book on simple Indian cooking a friend gave me, so should be ok to share.. it was a great book for a novice, I still use it for a few things.

Happy Eating, and dont forget those colours on your plate - just the NATURAL ones mind.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Thats Better!

That's Better!!! After yesterdays disaster, here is what the Granary Loaf 'should' look like, and it tasted great, we just had it for lunch with some organic butter and organic cherry spread.  Delicious!  I think I need some new scales to be sure my last disaster does not repeat itself. This week I am planning my first fruit cake too, so need the measurements to be correct for that one.

Sunday is our day to do our shopping at Manic Organic (see link to the right of page).  Always a delight, not just the fabulous veggies, meats, breads and pies but the general experience of the shopping with such lovely people. We also met some other customers there who supplied some of the local honey I have been eating which was a real treat.

Today was also the day for my starting my own Kefir water.. now there is a revellation, I like to think of it as making my own 'Yakult' as its a similar idea as it is to give the body the good bacteria needed, you can read more about it here I might do a proper feature on it in the next week or so, I have taken a photo of my jar already so see how it looks in a day or so.  I am far too excited about this, really should get a life LOL.  One of the other things I like is that the Kefir grains multiply so you can then give them away to somebody else to start them off, so I am hoping a couple of my friends will be in line to try this too.

Last nights Tuna Bake wasn't really one of our favourites, but that's just our personal taste, I will add it to the healthy meal page later as the recipe was from the Healthy Food Guide I will be able to share that one.  Tonight is "Orange Glaze Salmon with white beans" think we will enjoy that one more, and I have organic oranges for it, yum.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

It doesn't always go well

This was to be my very first GRANARY LOAF oh dear!!!! as you can see all did not go according to plan.  Infact, to make things worse everything I did went badly yesterday... I made the hubby one some chocolate fudge, or at least I tried too... it refused to set, its still in the freezer while I try force it too.. but looking bad.  I also made some 'sunshine bars' which are a bit like flapjack, only with tropical mix, coconut, chopped nuts, sultanas etc, they went badly too and refused to mould together, so we are enjoying the odd handful of crumbs to get those down.

I had thought I was just having a bad day.. lets face it, it happens not all the days can be good - right? so after spending our lunch time doing an awful lot of chewing on above bread, not only does it look bad if we had continued trying we would still be sat there trying to get it down.  We decided I should get brave and try again....

When I started my baking journey this year I purchased some scales, they are scales for the blind (and dim I hoped) as they speak to you.. great eh?  well apparently NOT.
As I measured out my flour and butter I realised that there was infact half the amount I used yesterday, so I measured the whole bad of flour to compare.. it seems they were having an off day too yesterday, so off they had ALL my amounts totally incorrect!!! hence the reason the bread was a disaster, and my other attempts.

Granary Loaf II is currently baking, and hopefully I can show you what it 'SHOULD' look like tomorrow.

Why do I bake my own bread?  maybe you would like to take a look at your ingrediants from your shop bought loaf.. or maybe you would rather NOT.  The (so called) nice and healthy soya and rye loaf you can buy in most supermarkets has 2 of the dreaded 'E' additives in it, which contain pig fat?? mmmh.... most loaves contain soya to bulk them up too, alongside the 'E' additives to preserve them.

Dont forget I am slowly adding some of my healthy meals to that section of the blog, it is a slow thing as I keep forgetting to photograph them.  For tonight it is creamy tuna and pasta bake.. recipe taken from this months Healthy Food Guide.

Stay safe tonight for the weekend of fireworks, we will be spending our evening trying to console the dogs as usual, and staying up late till its quiet enough to let them out.  I can only hope that one day fireworks will be public display only, and ONE NIGHT A YEAR!!!!!!