Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slow Living 2012 - Month 4 April

My April was 2 weeks short as my son and I flitted over to the UK. But in the time we were home and away these are some of the things we got up to as a family. This summary is part of Christine's Slow Living Month by Month.

{Nourish} As winter starts to nose its way around the April corner my stomach is crying out for the warm rolls with soup, baked pastas, stews and puddings that we are still not eating. But this new low carb eating plan is opening up ways for me to experiment in the kitchen. Our chickens are still giving us their lovely eggs even though the days are cooler and shorter. While in England my sister showed me an easy way to poach eggs and we have eaten them at least once a week since we got back. This mornings breakfast was poached egg on freshly picked bok choi, topped with a slice of smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers. Sooo yummy.

{Prepare} In a different way to most, my preparations are to equip my children for their futures. I do this in many ways but the one thing that has been on my mind is teaching them to really cook. When they were toddlers and through their school years I have always included them in meal preparation. When I got back from the UK my eldest (17) said she felt that she needed something more to be able to serve up food that is exciting, tasty, healthy and all ready at the same time. I turned to my favourite chef - Jamie Oliver. His new book "30 minute meals" is now my older 2 children's cooking course. Once a month they will shop for the ingredients of one meal and prepare it. The goal is not 30 minutes, it can take them as long as they need. The goal is to learn to make a complete meal for 6 over the course of time. This recipe book is prefect for this purpose as he teaches you how to get 4 or 5 dishes on the table at the same time. He uses fresh exciting flavours and ingredients and if they get stuck they can use the Jamie Oliver app on our iPad. This week they made the below menu and it was scrumptious.

{Reduce} We are reducing clutter in our home. I have started in the kitchen, my kids have each spent their free time in the week decluttering the cupboards and other space and have a boot full of stuff for the charity shop. My youngest and Superman are tackling his room and the truckload of Lego he needs to sort. They have done such a wonderful job....it was a mountain of work. This is the space 1/2 way done...I cannot show you a before picture as it was just too scary!

{Green} I am moving back to bicarb and vinegar as my basic cleaning solutions. I have also decided in my mind (now to get the hands to do the work!) that I am also going to go back to homemade laundry liquid. I used to make my own granular one but that got swallowed up in lack of time.

{Grow} We got most of our planting done before I left in March, but this week I sowed leeks, bok choi, turnips and beets.

{Create} I have started, and almost finished my first waffle weave dishclothe. Woohoo!

{Discover} I discovered Scotland with my son!

{Enhance} My ife was enhanced by spending time with my sister. She is an inspiring woman, a devoted mum, fabulous cook and precious friend.

{Enjoy} My sister gave me a new book to devour...Cabbages and Roses "Guide to Natural Housekeeping". I am enjoying dipping into it and it has inspired me again to do more in my home and keep on keeping on in this simple green living journey.


Lois Evensen said...

For being away for awhile, you have still gotten so much accomplished. :)

Natalie said...

That Jamie Oliver cookbook is one of my favourites. If you have a decent sized garden, he also has one (I forget the name right now) where he cooks his meals based on the local in season produce that is available at the time. It is also fantastic.

Wendy said...

love the cooking done by the big kids! such a blessing to have a night off too!

city garden country garden said...

That breakfast looks delicious! It's so common to use spinach for that sort of dish, I'd never thought to expand that and use Asian greens or even chard, but it's a great idea.

Christine said...

Soo...how exactly do you poach your eggs, Wendy?

Teaching your kids life skills is a great use of the prepare heading. I really admire you for going at this the way you have and the reward will be children who will be able to cook nutricious meals for themselves when they leave the nest.

Between your trip and catching up with your family, you have had a stellar month!! :)

Wendy said...

Hi All

Louis, it seems like lots was done even though we were short 14 days.

Natalie, the book you mention is Jamie At Home and I also own it and love it!

City garden gal, I planted so much of the Asian Greens I have to be creative in my usage.

Christine, thank for the vote of confidence. The way my sister taught me is not the Julia Child's way which I was trying where you create a small whirlpool in a deep pot of boiling water. Rather you use a deep wide pan and gently boil about 3 cups of water. When the water boils, slide your cracked egg into it on the side (use a side plate not directly from the shell.) As the egg slides into the water the white is pushed up around the yolk. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes for a soft perfect poached egg. I also gave hollandaise sauce a go for some haddock the other morning afetr watching my sister whip it up so easily.

Kathryn Ray said...

The egg and salmon dish sounds delicious.

And of course, discovering Scotland... how amazing that must have been.

Evi said...

Teaching your kids to cook is one of the best life skills to have, isn't it? After all, we all like to eat and if they know how to cook good food they will eat well.
You've done quite well considering you were away for half the month!

Anonymous said...

the breakfast is making my mouth water :)...thanks for sharing your month