Warts and All

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I am sure we have all been guilty of only showing the good/perfect/happy stuff online.  In fact, I do not believe we should feel guilty because none of us share everything about ourselves  – either online or in real life.

However, I do try to keep things as real as possible in what I discuss here on the blog and today is no exception.

I have microwave oven which sits in a purpose-built cavity below the bench in my kitchen.

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For a number of years I have had a piece of non-slip mat under the microwave which which works reasonably well.  I remove and clean this mat but over time it has become stained with mould and even soaking it in bleach and scrubbing does not restore it.  This is not a long-term solution as I try not to use bleach.

After some particularly wet weather a couple of weeks ago it was looking awful and I decided that I had to change my strategy.  I decided to make a towelling mat from an old bathmat.

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I cut the bathmat in half.  The next step was to find some fabric suitable to bind the edges.

Bias strips cut and ready to join.

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A roll of home-made bias binding – just like a bought one!  All you need is a ruler and iron.

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The finished product.  No cost and not a lot of time.

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Back to the microwave and the cavity.  Once I removed the microwave it really does look disgusting.  Time to get rid of the mat.

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I cleaned the space and once it was properly dry I added the new towelling mat.

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After cleaning the microwave inside and out, I replaced it in the alcove.

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I have enough bias binding to bind the other half of the bathmat so I will be able to alternate them and wash each week.

Awesome Araldite

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I think many people are probably like me and imagine that the wonder adhesive, Araldite, has been around forever.  In fact, this is not the case.  It was introduced to the mass market in the late 1940s and can be used to fix almost anything.

With an introduction like that, I expect that you can guess what these 2 items have in common.

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Yes, they have both been mended using Araldite.

The first photo is my clothes airer which I have had for about 7 years but it is somewhat older than that as it had previously belonged to my mother.  It is a deceptively simple design but I constantly needed to be careful as the poly pipe could easily come apart at the 4 corners near the top if you pulled the airer to move it.  The design is such that it can be disassembled if required but we decided that since that had not been necessary in the past 7 years that we would permanently secure the joints with Araldite. It seems to have worked perfectly and now I can move the airer easily without worrying that it will all collapse.

The second photo is my jewellery box which was a wedding gift from GMan so it has significant sentimental value.  The lid is hinged and some years ago the glue on one side of the hinge came loose so it always just sat in place.  A bit like the airer, it was not a major problem – just a niggling annoyance.  GMan had to clean and remove the old glue before fixing the hinge back on using the Araldite.  He was not convinced but it appears to be successful and I can now open the lid of the box as it was originally designed.

These are simple repair jobs that can be undertaken by anyone.

What have you repaired lately?

 

Nothing Special

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Sometimes I don’t write any blog posts, simply because there does not seem to be anything extraordinary to write.  It is easy to forget that the little things I do day in, day out which may be just the tip that will help someone out.

Here is one of those.

We often make sweet potato chips, usually when having salmon for dinner.  I bake the chips in the oven and like to add a little bit of seasoning.  Since I eat a gluten-free diet it cannot include regular flour.

Spicy Seasoning Mix

1 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder

This is reasonably spicy but you can adjust to suit your own tastes.

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

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These are the chips – I usually pre-cook for a few minutes in the microwave first then drain add place in a preheated tray with a little coconut oil.

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Lightly sprinkle with spice mixture.

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When I toss them after about 10 minutes I usually sprinkle them with a bit more.

As well as for the chips I also use this mixture to coat potatoes when I am baking them.  I rub the potato with a tiny bit of oil then roll them in the spice mixture before baking them in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high.

French Shepherd’s Pie

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Some years ago I first heard this mentioned in an online forum.  Carol, who is sadly no longer with us, described a meal served by their French hosts which was essentially an upside-down shepherd’s pie but with much less meat than we traditionally use and with the addition of ratatouille.  I did not really take a lot of notice at the time but the general principle stuck with me and I recently created this version of my own.

First layer – mashed sweet potato – simply cooked and mashed with nothing added.

Second layer:

1 onion, finely chopped
250g mince
1 cup red lentils, soaked in 3 cups boiling water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
Tomato paste, tomato sauce or 1/2 cup canned or fresh tomatoes

Saute the onion, add mince and brown, add lentils and any excess water. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until moisture is reduced and lentils are soft.  Add seasoning/flavouring as desired.

Spread the mince/lentil mixture over the sweet potato.

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Third layer:

6 mushrooms, sliced finely
1/4 large red capsicum, sliced finely
1/2 large eggplant, sliced finely
1 can crushed tomatoes
Heaped teaspoon mixed herbs

Add a small amount of oil to a pan and add the eggplant and capsicum.  After a couple of minutes add the mushroom then the tomatoes and herbs.  Simmer gently until liquid is reduced.

Add the vegetable mixture to the dish.

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Topping:

1 tablespoon each of flaxseed meal, almond meal, grated parmesan and cheddar cheeses.

Combine in a small bowl.

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You can bake this in the oven but since the components are all cooked and it really only needs heating, I heat it thoroughly in the microwave.

Finally, add the topping and place under the grill to finish off the topping.

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This is virtually a meal by itself so I simply serve it with some stir-fried cabbage.

Finely shredded cabbage tossed in a little coconut oil and seasoned with black pepper and a sprinkle of smoky paprika.

NOTE:  This is my own creation and it is based on the ingredients I had available as well as personal preference with respect to the flavours.  Change and substitute to suit your own tastes and circumstances.

A Perfect Loaf

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I thought the sourdough loaf that GMan managed to produce 3 months ago was good and you can see it here.  He has continued to work on fine-tuning the method and I think his most recent effort is pretty well perfect.

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It must be about time he tried making that gluten-free starter for me.  🙂

Unexpected

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Two weeks ago I published my last blog post.  The content emphasised the ordinariness of my day.  I had made breakfast and a new batch of gluten-free muesli.  My day continued in a similar vein as I did some housework and then spent time in the garden.

I came in to the kitchen just before 5pm so that I could begin preparing dinner and the phone rang.  My younger daughter had just found out that her partner had died suddenly and unexpectedly.  To say that her world had been turned upside-down would be an understatement.

At times like this everything else becomes totally irrelevant.  30 minutes later I had showered and packed a bag.  GMan had booked a flight for me and we headed to the airport.  I flew interstate to be with my girl at what was undoubtedly the most difficult time of her life.

She has received an enormous amount of love, support and strength from family, friends and work colleagues.

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On Monday we farewelled ‘the tall guy’ who was on the threshhold of the rest of his life and my daughter has lost her life-partner.  He was much loved and an inspiration to many.

Rest in peace.

I cannot end this post without a reference to the health condition which contributed to his death.  This link explains a little about Marfan Syndrome.  The incidence is apparently about 1 in 5,000 which is more common than I realised.

Thought for the Day

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This post really has nothing to do with the essence of the blog but is a trend I have noticed more and more.  Any of you who are reading this are clearly comfortable navigating your way around the internet and probably interact with a variety other people online so I am seeking your thoughts.

I am a member of several online forums and at least a couple of them have members who number well in excess of 20,000.  As you can imagine they are quite a diverse bunch in terms of location, education, income and interests.  However, since we are all members of a particular group and have at least one common interest or goal, you would expect that people would be supportive and kind.

It appears that nothing could be further from the truth.  Moderators are constantly reminding people of the rules and the expectation that people who post are treated with respect and kindness.  The other thing that I find sad is the bitterness and anger in so many posts.  It seems that all the joy has been sucked from them.

Whether it is online or in real-life, perhaps we could all try a little harder to be a little kinder and supportive in our interactions.  A more positive outlook will also go a long way to improving your own mental well-being.

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