Thai Red Lentil & Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:A Life in Words

1 tblspn coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 heaped tblspns red curry paste

4 cups chicken or veggie stock

½ cup red lentils

1 potato, chopped

700 grams pumpkin, chopped

300gm coconut cream

Method:

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, adding the onion, celery & carrot cooking until softened. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant then add the stock, potato, lentils and pumpkin. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut cream then blend thoroughly and serve.

 

Stressing, Riding & the Potty-Mouthed Doctor (28 October-3 November)

Monday 28/10/85

A Life in Words
I’m wondering if this was the kind of thing expected of me in the job mum ‘encouraged’ me to apply for?

Mum made me apply for a job this morning. I rang up & the woman said I had to paint scenes & things on to coral, wood etc to be sold at Rusty’s Bazaar. Have to go round at 7:15pm tomorrow night for an ‘interview’ Don’t want to – probably are hoons. [Ha! I’ve no idea why I made this assumption about my potential employers, but the fact that mum “made me” apply for the job in the first place is very enlightening. It has made me realise just how much faith she had in my artistic abilities. She would never have forced me to get a job just to earn money – after all, I had work with my dad for that. No, she wanted me to advance my talent. Every so often, even in these later years (I haven’t done any art for decades now) mum would suggest or ask why I don’t do some drawing/painting/art again. She really believed in me. Perhaps I should try again, if only for her.] Anyhow, my interview at CHS went alright. Astia & Ingrid are accepted. Fran came late. Isn’t going to attend even if she is accepted cos’ she’s going to Sydney. I’m having doubts. At school everyone wanted to know how I went. Mrs Marslen was s’posed to ring me & tell me tonite but hasn’t rung yet. Elisia’s also in it & Neville too. & Michelle W. Fairly boring day. Didn’t see Tim at all but was sure he was here. Had a camp meeting. Retrieved my drink bottle!! Heapsa HW didn’t get started till late therefore [I often used 3 dots in the shape of a triangle instead of the word ‘therefore’ because someone had once told me it was shorthand for it] finished late. Is 9:30.

Tuesday 29/10/85

Didn’t go to that interview – rang up & informed that lady that I wasn’t a ‘painter’ & that I was coming into exams & would be too busy to work anyway. She said “that’s alright. Thanks for calling.” [Hmmm, excuses, excuses?] Watched last part of flying doctors mini-series. Was sad & happy but great news is it’s coming on  as a programme next year!!! UNREAL!! Fiona is ‘happy’ (pretending she is) that I’m going to CHS (& I have not made up my mind yet.) But I know she doesn’t want me to. I’m losing sleep over this thing!! Just don’t know what to do. Mrs Marslen hasn’t even rung me yet to tell me if I am accepted or not. God it’s a worry

Wednesday 30/10/85

Mrs Marslen still hasn’t rung but I got a subject selection booklet for CHS from Sharon D. who got it from her. [There’s a hint, Liss] Just watched the movie. Am bugared now. Went out riding with Lucy this arvy. Wanted to get back at 5:00. Was an hr late, cos at shop, met up with Anna, Polly, Adam, Liam & other boys. They were all so funny – I just had to stay around. Rushed HW, at home still haven’t done any assignments. Better hurry, huh? It’s imperitive now. 2 weeks to exams. I must hurry along. Tim & still very friendly with Joanne B. Tina called her his girlfriend. NOT FAIR. Too tired now is 10:30.

Thursday 31/10/85

I am so mixed up about this art course  – its not funny. I am confused & worried. I just don’t know what to do & that teacher still hasn’t rung me. Jeezus! Rode with Lucy this arvy again – but Polly & Anna weren’t with Liam & Adam etc so we didn’t hang around. I got back just after 5:00. HW I did a fair bit + I ACTUALLY STARTED 1 ASSIGNMENT!!! (History.) I wanna finish it & BP tomorrow & on weekend so I can show Mr Van it. He’ll probably say it’s all wrong. Meat head. Got maths chapters to study from. Will do that on weekend as well. Early night (believe it or not!) Am tired. Getting shitty lately. Appetite is also increasing again

Friday 1/11/85

Am tired. Was only one who stayed up tonight. (Movie was slack – I was reading the new Women’s Weekly.) Riding with Lucy this arvy was good. Rode to the shop (bought nothing) then to Freshy Creek Petrol Station & pumped up our tyres – then to Redlynch & around the back streets to Lower Freshy Road stopped at Lower Freshy bridge. Saw Jill & Barry & Dean & Carol B, running then went back to Lucy’s (stopped & saw & talked to Roger M) then after Lucy’s went to shop – ate 5 lollies each then rode home. Enough exercise, huh?!! Have heapsa HW for the weekend mainly ART, BP, HISTORY & ENGLISH (orr & maths/science I s’pose too.) [In other words, for nearly every subject…] See ya round!!!

Saturday 2/11/85

Busy day today!! Went to Dr’s. Rode with Lucy. Completed 1 assignment. And Mrs G. & Lauren & Tiggy came over. At the doctor’s, (Dr McD.) had great big long talks about shaving legs, facial make-up, boy & girl attractions, my bruises, doctor’s exploits & my nose bleed. He swore, too. I was in shock. ‘Cunts’. Mum supposed he thought I’d heard it all before. I couldn’t stop smiling!! [As in, I found it funny?] About my nose, if it doesn’t heal, I’ll have to have the ruptured vein quarterized (burnt) & he said my bruises are just carelessness. Riding with Luc, went on Lower Freshy Circuit, to the church (where Martin P. showed off in riding his dad’s motorbike) to Savina Estate Park, to Beka’s & then home in 1½hrs. Felt good…exercising!! Late nite: is 10:32. Gonna WORK tomorrow!

Sunday 3/11/85

Got BP finished today. Also got cranky about a design for my T-shirt. Just don’t know what to do. Is such a hard choice. Have to wake up at 6:30 tomorrow to finish BP properly, ie write it out correctly and do the illustrations. then I’ll have only 3 (perhaps 4) assignments left!!! Finished working on BP around 3:00 today. Just sat and vegetated, until 6:00 when I watched countdown. Really got upset about the TShirt logo. I just have no idea what to do. None at all. Is 10:30. Just watched a funny movie with Chevy Chase & Goldie Hawn!

Indian Spiced Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup green/brown lentils

Spices: 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tspn grated ginger, 1 tspn grated turmeric, 1 heaped tspn curry powder

1 tblspn coconut oil or butter

6 asparagus spears, cut into approx 2cm lengths1383015_10152057730506833_351550818_n

½ capsicum, chopped

6 mushrooms, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

3-4 kale leaves, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lemon or lime

handful of rocket, roughly chopped

handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 shallot, sliced

olive oil

Method:

Place lentils in a saucepan with 2-3 cups water, bring to the boil then simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes (or until soft, but not mushy). Drain, rinse & allow to cool.

Meanwhile, sauté garlic, ginger, turmeric & curry powder in coconut oil/butter for 1 minute over a medium heat then add the mushroom, capsicum, zucchini and asparagus. Cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the kale and a splash of the lime/lemon juice, until the kale has wilted

In a large salad bowl, place chopped rocket, spinach and shallots then add the cooled lentils. Add the spiced veggie mix, toss with a generous splash of olive oil and remaining juice and serve, seasoning with salt (Himalayan or Celtic Sea) & pepper if desired.

Notes:

Canned lentils may be used instead of fresh if you wish to save time. The lime juice is stronger and more tart than lemon so I’d recommend trying lemon if you have the choice.

 

Happy Birthday Mum

mummy koalaIt’s painful looking at this picture. It physically hurts. To think this beautiful little girl should have been turnings 69 years of age today, but she never made it. The big C, the very same disease that is taking so many other lives, ended hers just months after her 68th birthday. I’d never imagined, never dreamed that she would’ve left this world that early. She wasn’t a party girl, at all. She lived as cleanly as any other, with whatever health information is available out there to the Average Joe.
So what hurts is knowing that that little body ended up so inflamed that its immune system couldn’t win the fight. Granted, it wouldn’t’ve helped having an autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis). I suppose she was already “on the back foot”, so to speak.
It hurts but it’s also frightening. Just how toxic is this modern world? Mum was born in 1944. Where in the years between then and now did this happen? Cancer has always existed but it seems to me that its prevalence may have been kept in check because our environment (both internal and external) was never as toxic as it has become in the past century.

Mum had been a smoker. She hadn’t touched a cigarette for over ten years before she passed away, but the damage was well and truly done in the twenty-five years prior to that. Well before her death, she knew – we all knew – that “Smoking Kills” but I believe it is by far the most toxic, most inflammatory choice you can make. I recently heard a cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker, state that one cigarette triggers 3 trillion free radicals in your bloodstream. There’s no way I could begin to calculate the total of free radicals mum would have ‘triggered’ in her bloodstream – from smoking alone – during my life, let alone prior.

And she bore me and my sister from that inflamed internal environment? What does that mean for us, our individual immune systems? Billions of humans brought into this world since the middle of the last century have potentially begun “on the back foot” as well, whether their parents smoked or not. Passive smoking aside, environmental toxins have increased dramatically – or so the pro-climate change scientists would purport and the internal environment has never before been so heavily bombarded by the chemicals in our heavily processed food, pharmaceuticals, miscellaneous drugs and alcohol; the contraindications of significantly less movement, more sitting and Stress.

If there’s one thing mum’s death has brought me, it’s an added depth of intensity to my passion for health. If there’s a present I could give to her today, it’s to promise to continue encouraging individuals to change their lives, potentially better their chances for longer lives, through better lifestyle choices.

 

Mediterranean Roast Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:A Life in Words

Roasting Veg (in amounts preferred by you!):

beetroot / pumpkin / zucchini / red onion / tomato / capsicum / eggplant

Olive oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Baby Spinach or Rocket

Feta, crumbled or diced

Pine Nuts, toasted or not

Method:

Pre heat oven to 200ºC and chop veggies to preferred size. Coat lightly in olive oil* then bake for 30-40 minutes (depending upon how well you like your veg cooked) gently turning or ‘agitating’ them once or twice. In a screw top jar, make the dressing by adding vinegar & oil in a ratio of approximately 1:2.

To serve, toss veggies on a bed of spinach or rocket, add the feta and sprinkle over pine nuts. Add dressing and voila!

Notes:

Yes, this recipe’s directions are a LOT more blasé than others, because I constantly alter it. Even cooking temps and times differ substantially between recipes I have followed in the past: oven temperatures range from 190-220ºC and cooking times from a mere 20 minutes, to 45 minutes! It pays to check your veggies progress (but not so often that you are losing heat from the oven!) Experiment not just with the vegetable choices, but also the cheese & nuts. I’ve used Parmesan before, and chopped walnuts. You could also add minced garlic or honey to the dressing for tasty variations. Anyway you do it, make sure you choose a variety of coloured veggies and add some protein: cheese, nuts, ….imagine some tender lamb! Scrumptious.

* While I don’t like to cook with olive oil as a general rule (the heat destroys the goodness in it by altering its molecular structure) my usual choice – coconut oil – is a little at odds with these flavours. A better choice in this instance would be rice bran oil, since it better withstands heat, like coconut oil. Olive oil is of course AOK (& most suitable!) for the dressing.

GF Spinach & Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients:A Life in Words

100ml milk (I used rice milk)

100gm baby spinach leaves

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tspn bicarb soda

1 tspn mustard powder

dash Himalayan salt

2/3 cup grated pumpkin

2 eggs beaten

25ml (liquified) coconut oil

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method:

Place the milk and spinach leaves in a saucepan, cover and place over a medium heat. You are aiming to wilt the spinach in the warm (but not boiled) milk, and the time this can take will vary from stovetop to stovetop, so keep checking (and stirring). Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, bicarb & mustard powders in a large bowl before adding the grated pumpkin and beaten eggs. Once the spinach has wilted sufficiently in the milk, add to the mixing bowl along with the coconut oil. Mix well before folding in the parmesan cheese. Pour into a greased lined loaf tin, sprinkling extra cheese over the top if you wish and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190ºC.

Notes:

Originally a muffin recipe, I had the idea of a quiche or frittata recipe in mind as well so this loaf ended up super-moist. I cut mine before it had cooled (I always do that – “instant gratification”) grabbed a knife and enjoyed the melting butter on it! Since it solidifies a little more as it cools, it’s not only less crumbly and easier to handle when slicing but may cope well with toppings such as (mashed) avocado…

GREEN Thai Chicken Curry

Ingredients:A Life in Words

1-2 tblspn coconut oil

400gm diced chicken breast

2 heaped tblspn green Thai curry paste

1 270ml tin coconut cream + 150ml water (or 400ml coconut milk)

1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded

1 tblspn lime juice

1 tblspn fish sauce

1 tblspn sweet chilli sauce

The Veggies: 5-6 cauliflower florets, 5-6 broccoli florets, 1 diced zucchini, 6-8 snow peas, 1 spring onion (bulb roughly chopped, stalks sliced & set aside) and 1 large or 2 small roughly chopped bok choy,

handful of freshly chopped coriander

Method:

Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan then brown the diced chicken. Remove it from the pan (setting aside) and add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant. Add the coconut cream+water or milk and kaffir lime leaf and bring to the boil. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sweet chilli, cauliflower & spring onion bulb, reducing heat and simmering (covered) for about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, zucchini and snow peas, cover again and simmer for up to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add the bok choy, spring onion stalks and coriander, gently stirring through for another couple of minutes.

Serve with your choice of rice.

Notes:

Be careful not to overcook the veggies, especially towards the end. The broccoli, zucchini and snow peas will cook pretty quickly, so keep your eye on them towards the end of the 8 minute simmer. If they begin to lose their vivid ‘green-ness’, add the remaining veg & coriander immediately and remove from the heat within the remaining 2 minute cooking period.

 

 

Relationship Tests & the Hunger/Thirst Concept (5-11 Aug)

Monday 5/8/85

[Insert hand-drawn musical notes] Torn between two Lovers [insert more musical notes]…. Nah!! I dunno (still) who I like better!! My necklace (crystals – fake) from Jenny broke today. I took it to show my friends. Have lost about eight – ten beads. OH well… Dunno which camp to go on – the one to Little Mulgrave or Tinaroo.(Am really wanting to know which one (or if) Tim’s going on.) It’s a camp just 4 us YR 10’s!! Have begun cutting down on food intake from today. Read an article in “New Idea” about when you feel hungry (whether it be from seeing someone else eating, depression/boredom etc.) to massage certain parts of your body & the hunger pangs die. When I was hungry for dinner, I tried it & sure enough I had ¾ of the amount I would normally have had. Also am gonna try to drink lots water before a meal. Is supposed to fill you up!! Hope it all works!!! [Hmmm, and also dilutes your stomach acids so it kind of hinders the digestive process. You should only drink before a meal if you’re trying to determine whether you are actually hungry, since thirst is often confused as hunger. Either way, you need to wait 10 minutes or so to find out: if truly hungry, the stomach acids will re-concentrate, bringing back your ‘hunger pangs’.] 

Tuesday 6/8/85 A Life in Words

Today was boring. Ate less, but after dinner, demolished almost ¾ tin of peaches. Big brawl with Julia climaxed today – mum tried to make us explain Julia denied everything. She just gets shitty whenever I get a seat nearest to the back [of the bus] than her (or if I get a seat at all) at skool & home she’s fine – but on the bus she talks about me to her friends & gives me dirty looks. Late night tonight. Am going on Little Mulgrave Camp after all, even if Tim doesn’t. (Tina, Fran etc are)

Wednesday 7/8/85

Early night, mum’s at a National Trust meeting. Julia and I are at home on our own!! (Believe it or not!!) We’ll be asleep before she gets home (about 10) Is 8:30 now. Fiona isn’t talking to me. I think it’s because I don’t talk as much to her cos’ I feel that anything I say is stupid, unimportant etc. She, Anna & Megan went to typing room at lunch today. So I went to oval with Justine & Sara. She said to Anna on the bus (when I wasn’t paying attention) “Let’s go to typing again tomorrow.” I think it was a retaliation remark, to hurt me. /// Tim isn’t going on the camp. shucks!!

Thursday 8/8/85

Fiona is still “shitty” with me. She did go to typing today, too. (When I walked Megan to her bus to say goodbye as per usual I asked her how it was – typing – and she went …. i.e. she found it BORING!!) OHH… Also: dunno if I’ll get to go to Mulgrave. Only 40 people can go, and as I only got my form & money in today, I think I’ve pretty well missed out. (See today was a bad day. First I forget my lunch and camp & excursion forms – so ring mum to bring them. then I miss mum so Mr Roff, personally, walks thru’ YR 10 parade to give my lunch etc to me. [ANY connection to the Principal was socially debilitating.] SHAME! then in English I fall (backwards) off my chair!!! BAD LUCK, HUH?!!) Anyhow, as I wrote “Mulgrave Camp only” on my form, it means if I do miss out, I won’t go at all. S’pose that won’t matter cos then I can stay (at skool) & drool over Tim as per usual!!

Friday 9/8/85

[UH-OH…] Distressing news: Tim is crazy over Adrienne P. I knew it. Tina, Erica & Fran talked about it in art. They said if it wasn’t for John, Adrienne would go around with Tim. OH SHIT! Wish I was more outgoing. Fiona still shitty but not as much as before, cos in History, tried to tell her how I’ve changed (she didn’t really like that.) They’re going to CHSS Fete tomorrow. I’m not. Going to work & stay at Dad’s the night. (Jaqui & Anthony won’t be there.) Thinking this arvy how (god I’m ashamed to say this) it would be good to have Shane S. as a “best” friend. Could go to park on Fri’s & talk or something. Stupid, huh?!! But it’d surely be different from a girl friend. (Couldn’t tell as much) Tonite played Trivial Pursuit. Back is sore. Am bugared!! Late nite 12:15

Saturday 10/8/85

Woke early today, shit!! But “slept” in and dad came early. Rushed (& forgot diary & undies & bras!) Anyhow, at work, did a poster for Dad’s “mystery cruise”, next Saturday night (A.O.) [meaning Adults Only] on the “Cougar out to Michalmus Cay (or is it?) HA HA!! Anyhow did more work. Got $24, but dad’ll bank half for me. Went home but mum wasn’t there, so couldn’t get underwear. A Life in WordsWent to Penwardens. Was abit boring. Got hay fever from cat. Practically no diet today – hot dog banana fritter, chinese dinner, caramel tart, pavlova, lemon mousse. Talkabout breaking a diet!! Jaqui & Anthony didn’t go camping. She is still out now (it’s 1:30.) We’re going to bed. Gonna watch “The Day After” about the day after a nuclear bomb. or will I?? See how I feelA Life in Words

Sunday 11/8/85

Jacqui didn’t come home (when we woke at 9:30) the outside light was still on. We went home at lunchtime. I wasted the afternoon I should have been doing my poetry assignment. God I’m a shit of a dickhead. Ate again today had fruit loops 4 brekky at dad’s (& ate crumbs from caramel tart) & had a “frenzy” icecream (Like Sly cones) Did a bitta HW, before. Wrote a list of things I’ll want for my camp & 4 summer. $300 approx total. God!! huh?!! Am gonna watch the DAY AFTER. Well I might to go to bed ½ way thru. Am tired!!

Warm Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

½ cup quinoa994807_10151781489626833_261074475_n

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tblspns pine nuts

coconut oil

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

½ capsicum (chopped)

½ bunch kale (or 6-8 large leaves) finely chopped

400gm cooked lentils

2-3 tblspns lemon or lime juice

Method:

Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, add the quinoa reducing the heat, cover & leave to simmer for 12-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss the pine nuts in a dry deep frypan or large saucepan over medium heat until lightly toasted, then set aside. Add some coconut oil to the pan and cook the garlic & capsicum for a couple of minutes before adding the kale. Keep agitating & stirring until the kale is just wilted. Remove from heat. Your quinoa should be done, so add it, the lentils, pine nuts and the juice/s to the kale mix and combine well. Dish up straight from the pot/pan! Garnish? Hmm, if you can be bothered, basil leaves would be nice or…mmmm….crumbled feta/goat’s cheese.

Notes:

I didn’t use anywhere near enough capsicum in my dish (see photo) so I upped the amount in the recipe above, but as usual, play around with it! Also, very slack; I used tinned lentils. I normally try to avoid canned food but then growing up in Far North Queensland, we were trained to stock up on that kind of stuff in the event of catastrophic cyclones so I still have ’emergency guidelines’ at the back of my mind & tend to grab some cans when they’re on sale! Eat fresh whenever you can though – it’s obviously going to be much better for you.

 

Carrot Zucchini & Broccoli Slice

Ingredients:

2 carrots (grated)A Life in Words

1 zucchini (grated)

3 large florets broccoli (roughly chopped)

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

1 cup self-raising flour or Gluten Free SR flour

1 cup grated cheese

¼ cup chopped parsley

4 eggs (lightly beaten)

¼ cup milk (I used rice milk)

¼ cup coconut oil

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. In a very large bowl, mix the carrot, zucchini, broccoli, garlic, flour, cheese & parsley. Add the eggs, milk & oil and combine well, seasoning with salt & pepper if you wish. Pour mixture into a greased & lined slice pan, spreading and smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes:

I’ve made this a few times, and usually play around with the ingredients a little. This time I added a little cayenne pepper alongside of the Himalayan salt when seasoning the mixture. That gave it a hint of a bite. I have in the past changed the ratio of oil and milk by reducing the oil added and making up for it in the milk quantity. It still works but will just be a teensy bit drier. And that’s not an issue because it’s a VERY moist slice, with all the veggie fluid in it. Simply delish!

Sheepishly I must admit to some laziness in this last batch: I used dried parsley instead of my own fresh herb, and worse, I used olive oil instead of coconut because I didn’t want to have to melt it down. (Coconut oil solidifies at about 18ºC) Olive oil should not be heated above 120ºC as the heat energy destroys its health benefits (the phenols).