Saturday, March 13, 2021

Tending, preparing and a little something you can stitch...

Yesterday was Friday, my preparation day.

Preparing for the slower weekend days, preparing my heart for the Sabbath rest, preparing food and snacks to assist in slowing the rhythms of Saturday and Sunday so that those days are very different to the weekday flow; preparing for extra time to let the nourishment of God's Word sink deeper into my mind and heart.

Yesterday much time was spent in the kitchen.

Blueberry Compote is what I serve alongside muesli and coconut yoghurt for breakfast most days. Fresh blueberries are very expensive here so I buy frozen 500g bags at a fraction of the cost. I empty the bag into a saucepan and let the blueberries thaw, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey (or sugar) before simmering on the stove until the liquid is almost gone and a lovely syrup surrounds the berries. 

This amount will last us through the week and if there's any left next Friday I'll stir them through an oat and apple muffin mix. 

My husband is not a fan of cake but he does love biscuits (cookies to my US friends) so I made up an old favourite recipe which never fails.

I discovered last year than a major migraine trigger for me was mandarins and oranges so I swapped out the orange rind and juice in this recipe with lemons instead - still delicious.

Then it was a Coconut Slice to bake as I have so many eggs which need to be used, and though I'd normally use raspberry jam it was my leftover boysenberry jam that filled the centre of this sweet after-dinner treat.

The slice is cut into 18 pieces and together, the biscuits and the slice, will last us through next week. 

We both love noodle salads and enjoy at least one each week on the menu. A really delicious dressing I make is a raw satay one, which doubles as a tasty dipping sauce for rice paper rolls - and both those meals will be served this coming week so I made a double quantity of the satay sauce. 

Here's the recipe for Raw Satay Sauce -

1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)

2 tablespoons peanut butter (for USA use 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon onion powder (for USA use four teaspoons)

2" piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into small chunks

1 clove peeled garlic

1/4 cup water

4 pitted fresh (medjool) dates

juice of 1 lemon

chilli (optional)

The sauce is so easy to make, you just throw everything in a high speed blender and that's it.

A big pot of Moroccan vegetable and chick pea stew (above) will serve us two meals; firstly served over cous cous, and secondly topped with puff pastry and baked near the end of the week. I love making meals like this which can be served in many ways, and they are so inexpensive as well. I never serve this stew on the day I make it because it's one of those meals which gets better as the days go by. 

I'm already planning next Friday's baking by turning the pages of a few vintage cook books with a cup of tea and some of those biscuits. A prerequisite is that they use a lot of eggs and these tangy lemon Squares (recipe below - if you click on the photo it will expand) might just be top of my dessert plan.

For those in Australia, did you know that many of these vintage inspired Women's Weekly cookbooks can be purchased again? Pop over HERE for a look. I love the three I have and always find something to bake!

Friday is also when I water all the indoor plants. We have 34 of them at the moment but I've just popped some more ivy cuttings from Blossom into a glass and once they sprout roots that will be another two.

The last time she gave me an ivy cutting (sorry, can't remember the actual name of the plant) it took about six weeks to grow roots but once planted in a pot it has thrived and is growing wonderfully.

If the new ones take well I'll plant them with a trellis in the pot so they can climb upwards.

I spent Thursday at Rosie's and she blessed my socks off with the birthday gift she'd made me! Last year she made me a gorgeous macrame hanger for my front entrance...


...and now I have two more! This means a trip to Bunnings next week for more indoor plants. I shall hang one in the living room and one in our bedroom. Rosie is so clever, she puts her hand to many crafts and leaves me in awe. 

On the way home from Rosie's I dropped in on Blossom and as Charlie was a bit under the weather I was able to occupy the girls a bit and make them lunch. He's still not well, yet there's nothing obviously wrong according to the doctor but he's dribbling a lot and munching on his fists so we're a bit concerned he's going to be an early teether. Time will tell. Apart from that he's the most placid and easy baby a mumma could ask for.

After Blossom's I went to Spotlight for a thread, just one DMC thread, which I discovered is discontinued so I had to choose a colour very close to it. Fortunately there was such a colour and off I went to the checkout BUT then I saw on the reduced shelf these beautiful teacup and saucer sets for $5. So I bought two sets and as soon as I left the store wished I'd bought 4 or 6.

Do you do that? Blossom and I often say that if you can't get something out of your mind the next day then it might be an idea to go back and get it because then it's not an impulse buy. In my case I wanted to get more for tea parties and guests...and for Rafaella and Cully May when they visit. But Friday was preparation day and I don't go out on Saturday so I shall have to wait till Monday. 

Still, I did enjoy some Earl Grey with lunch yesterday and christened one of the teacups. The tea tasted much nicer in blue china. LOL!

We're almost through the meat supplies from the freezer and then we can slip back into a full ovo-vegan diet again. It's taken a while to finish off what we had stored and prepared in the freezers because we eat so little meat, but we're also conscious of the outlay of expense and did not want to waste anything.

Something else that came home with me on Thursday (I did my weekly grocery shop after Spotlight instead of my usual Friday morning trip) were two Kalanchoe plants which were on the reduced rack where I normally buy my flowers. Bargain! They are perfect and as I love Kalanchoe I didn't think twice about putting them in my trolley. 

Aren't they pretty?

I've really enjoyed the days since deciding to semi-retire from Elefantz. A weight has lifted from my shoulders and with the added decision to leave Facebook, which I did yesterday, and Instagram after the weekend, I realised a big part of making these social media exits was to no longer need to answer all the messages every day. 

There's such a lot of facets to running your own business, being the sole employee/worker, and one of them is having people message you every day through email, Facebook, Instagram and Etsy. Of course some of these are important but only a very small percentage, and the rest are questions which I've already answered on the blog. Sadly, there are those who do not bother to read a full blog post but message me to ask something they'd know if they read all the way through. 

Then there are all the questions about fabrics, threads, techniques etc. Just in case you're new here and wonder about these things go HERE and HERE because I have a list of links to tutorials and post which explain so much. 

I think the hardest part about answering messages was jumping from one social platform to another each day, but now I'm just here on the blog and over at Etsy. Lovely. 

It's so very important to recognise what weighs you down and then consider exactly why. Perhaps your shoulders are burdened in some way? For me it wasn't so much that it was bad, not at all, but it was too much for one person to balance in a single life. And this life is precious. Too precious to be unbalanced by unnecessary extras. Too precious that I should feel weak from the overload of online time managing more than I should. 

If this resonates with you, dear heart, pray about what needs to go, what should be pulled back, what can be held onto and what you need help with. Take back your it in peace and with satisfaction at the end of the day. 

This little message sits near our entrance way, which leads to the bedroom. I bought it for a few dollars at the op shop months ago because if you've read my blog long enough you'll remember this is what my beloved whispers to me often, "Breathe, Jennifer, breathe."

Since a heart problem was diagnosed last year I have indeed treasured every breath. When I wake in the morning my thoughts go directly to the Lord and thanking Him for a new day, another breath, a fresh chance to honour and praise Him with my life. 

Dear heart, breathe.

Dear heart, treasure every breath.

May our days be filled with peace and hope; our thoughts overflowing with praise for the Almighty; our actions expressed with love and kindness; our words sprinkled with truth and encouragement.

Blessings and hugs

Need something to stitch this weekend? 

Download my free gift pattern, "So We Do Not Lose Heart" HERE.



Lin said...

Another lovely post Jenny. Such pretty cups and saucers and your new plants too. Enjoy your relaxing weekend. xx

Águeda said...

Dear Jenny: I don't have social networks. I only use blogs. I think a blog is like the email of a lifetime: You receive it, you read it, you treasure it. You answer it if you can, and if you can't answer, nothing happens. In social networks a response is expected, immediate as well. I can't handle that, it overwhelms me, it bothers me. I prefer a simple life, a slow pace, friends who know how to respect my time and appreciate my silences. That is why I agree with you. I don't need you to always answer me. I am infinitely grateful to you for everything you give away on your blog: your time, your advice, sharing your joys and hopes, your patterns, your recipes. Few people in the world give so much in exchange for so little. Even if you left everything today, I would miss you so much. But I would continue to thank you every day because what you have already given us is much more than perhaps I can give you in my entire life. Many thanks for everything.
And, changing the subject, here in my land, we know that plant by the name of "Poto". Here it is easy to care for and grows very easily. And the blueberries here are insanely expensive too. I guess each place has its prices.
May God bless you and your precious family. Hugs.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
34 ! That's quite a green indoor environmet :)
Love satay sauce !
Have to smile about the reduced/clearance shelves :) I know that feeling :) Esecially fabic!
Wonderful to hear your changes to Elefantz has given you positive energy!
enjoy the weekend !
hugs and take care,

Barbara-Kay said...

Your plant is a Pothos
In our family, it's called a "Gertrude" because our (now grown) daughter was allowed to take a plant to her pre-school for the year. She chose a Pothos, which she promptly named Gertrude.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post as always Jenny! I’m happy you will blog more as I love reading all that you write. My heart yearns fir the simple life and I have been working towards that fir a few years now. Because I teach homeschool children to sew, it’s difficult to let go of Facebook as that’s the only contact I have to advertise my sewing studio. I could easily live without it, and will do so once I stop teaching. Thank you for the cooking inspiration! My fridge was cleaned out today and stocked with fresh food to make meals with tomorrow. I have gone back to cooking once a week and freezing my own prepared meals for the week. Take care dear Jenny. I think your darling Charlie is teething 😊

Jenny said...

Thank you so much for the blueberry sauce idea. The fresh are very expensive here right now but in a few months we'll be picking them ourselves. I have high blood pressure & am trying hard to do better with my diet as well. My husband has juvenile diabetes so we don't have all of the sweet treats you enjoy...oh my they look so scrumptious!

I'm ready to plant up my spring containers here in the northern hemisphere. I hope to take my grandson plant shopping with me this week & let him pick out some things too.

I love your posts so much but I rarely have time to make it all the way through one. This is the first one I've finished in awhile. You have so much to share! Still, if you are sharing something I want to copy...I read through to understand before asking. Maybe with a little of the free time you've found from leaving social media you could post more often, shorter posts? Either way, I will keep reading & loving what you write whether I have time to comment or not. Like you said, we each have to decide how to best use our's one of the things I love most about how.

Terri in BC said...

I'm so glad you chose to keep up with your blog, as I don't use Facebook (other than for IRL friends) or Instagram. I think blogs are so much more personal and provide more information (I'm also wanting to learn more). I live in an area known as the blueberry capital of Canada, and can get buckets full for a very reasonable price, so we stock our freezer every year. Wish I could share with you!

1PrairieGirl said...

I am new to your blog. I have been a full-time homemaker for 36 years. Throughout these years it has been hard to find encouragement.
This blog has been such a blessing, not only a blog with homemaking ideas, sewing ideas, but also Christ centered. Thank you for this!

Dorothy Matheson said...

I live in Texas where we had the massive ice storm a few weeks ago. We are in an all electric house and we lost power for 5 days. We made it through OK but my plants did not. I have two greenhouses and much is lost. The ivy is a pathos ivy and I have hope for some of mine to recover. My birthday was yesterday and I often get plants for my birthday. This year it is more of a blessing than usual.
Have a peaceful weekend and think of me as I enjoy my new plants and make plans of where I will place them.

Winifred said...

Lovely post as usual Jenny. I know what you mean about being grateful for every day and every breath since I was diagnosed with a heart condition too. It's scary.
Your sewing pattern is lovely thank you. I love coconut & jam, reminds me of my Mam & Nanna, they used to make coconut tart and coconut haystacks. I use the recipe from the Bero book.
I well remember Woman's Realm, the sewing and knitting patterns were great and I still have a lot of the recipes from them.
I don't use Intagram or Facebook, just like using Blogger. Shame so many crafters have abandoned their blogs for Facebook & Instagram. I noticed that Allie Oop has stooped blogging which is a shame.

I'm trying to cut down on my crockery following your culling activities. So far my Chinese porcelain soup bowls and spoons have been donated to my daughter for my granddaughter who loves chicken & sweetcorn soup! I've never liked that kind of soup so they've gone. I love your blue tea cups just wish I liked tea!

Take care Jenny, have lots more lovely days!

Unknown said...

Hi Jenny, I do enjoy your blog very much. I really liked the idea of having Friday as a preparation day - I am trying to make the weekends a bit more special, My husband passed away 2 years ago and I am find the weekends a little lonely, so I am endeavouring to make them more interesting. I make Coconut Jam Slice as well, and my family really enjoys it. Take care of yourself. Best wishes Lyn

Unknown said...

Thank you so much this was what I needed. It spoke to me so much. Have my blueberries out and thawing. Sao much to think and pray on.

gracie said...

Always enjoyable visiting with you.

Ondrea said...

So much yummy food at your place. I am quite boring here lol. I hope Charlie is ok but I suspect he is teething too. Lots of dribble equals teeth! He has certainly grown and is quite a cutie.

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

Beautiful Jenny.

Tammy said...

Jenny, what a lovely blog post. Thank you for sharing the lovely design.... And for always sharing your faith and , wisdom and insights with us... Your posts always inspire me to be a better person, cook , stitcher, homemaker and to brig me closer to God. I love the blogs that you follow. Some of them in addition to yours are my favorites to read... Sounds like Charlie is a early teether...The fun of that ..My oldest was born with teeth and my daughter was teething at 3 months and had a mouth full of teeth in no time .....She had permanent teeth before all o f her classmates. And teething babes are a lot of work....SO my heart goes out to Blossom . Your garden is beautiful....

BJ said...

Enjoyed your post and the comments so much! I feel like you about all the places we can go online to lose ourselves. At one time it was Pinterest for me, and then Facebook. I always stayed away from other places since I knew nothing would ever get done. I seldom go to Facebook now. I limit myself to once every week or so instead of every day. I have been thinking about those raspberry coconut slices so I'm off to make some. It will be a real treat for my husband who is off plowing a field for a friend. They train dogs and need to plant clover to make it good for them to run in. Oh, BTW, I've got the same problem with too many eggs from all the girls right now. We give them away but with 8 hens and 3 duck hens there's usually 7-8 eggs a day. I often make anglefood cake, meringue cookies, and pound cakes to use them up. Which reminds me I also have to make a quiche. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

Lori said...

Howdy, Dorothy! We are in TX as well! We brought as many plants as we could into the house. Plants everywhere! Nothing was lost, even our lemon tree! We did lose 1 of our 2 water heaters because of the rolling blackouts. I think I would have preferred losing plants, lol. Happy Birthday!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

That's a lot of eggs to use! You must have some wonderful eggy recipes. :-)