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
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 life...live 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?