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Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - March 2014

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a couple of years now! And in 2012 she started a monthly round up to record on our blog, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this since she started it at the beginning and really get a lot out of it. 

Here is what I have been up to!

Click on the link to go to the link up and visit other linked up blogs!

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!
NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.  

The joys of seasonal eating! Pears baked in a caramel sauce for dessert. Cost next to nothing and tasted soooooo good!

I have been menu planning for a long time and just recently have started scheduling a meatless meal. So far no one has commented so I don't know if that's because they haven't noticed or because they don't care cause its so yummy! Part of this is about me wanting to increase the quantities of vegetables and slightly decrease the meat portion and really decrease the white carbs (pasta, bread) in our evening meals.
PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. 

I found some freshly picked Olives at the markets for $6 a kilo and decided to have a go at making my own. It doesn't seem to be a complicated process but I wont be eating my olives for at least 6 months!

Scored and the into a water bath. Twice daily changes of water for a week and then into a salt bath for at least three months... If these turn out to be really yummy, I'm really going to regret buying only a single kilo...
REDUCECut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. 

The ultimate in repurposing... Meat tray into a shoe insert/liner thing!
I bought a pair of new to me sneakers at the markets for 50c. I tried them on at the time and they were all good so I bought them home. I wore them to take the dog for a walk the next day and discovered that under the liner, the plastic layer next to the sole was really worn and I could feel the plastic heel of the shoe. So when I came home I looked around to see what I could use to make new liners and then saw the plastic foamy meat tray sitting in the recycle pile. I simply pulled out the inner sole and cut around it and popped them both back in. I ended up cutting extra padding for the heel from the leftovers as it was worn a lot more than one layer could fix.
GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products. 

While increasing the vege consumption, I'm also trying to buy my all these veges as ethically as I can. I am ordering from Food Connect and buying from Farmers Markets when I can.
I got told about an organic farm not far from me a little while ago and today I was practically driving past it so I popped in to see what it was all about. Imagine my surprise to find my Landlord from over fifteen years ago was the Farmer!!! Great to catch up with her, great to bring home local organic veges!

My Food Connect Box
GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?

My new baby chookies are what's growing this month! These are Brahma chickens, about 4-5 month old. They are almost the same size as my fully grown chooks and still have some growing to do! They are a large soft feather breed. I got them from a local breeder who was selling off his colour rejects as pets. I thought they were just beautiful! 

I have called them Solstice (left) and Splash (right)
Solstice is half buff and grey and half white (half summer, half winter) and Splash has flecks of black through the solid white parts of her feathering. I just love their feathered feet and hope that they wont get too tatty with all the rain we have had lately...
CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. 
I have been enjoying playing with my new camera down at the dam... Creating images, just for me!


DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I'm reading lots of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks in order to find interesting recipes so I can increase the amount of vegetable in our diet. Lots of interesting ideas and some fun meals! 
ENHANCE: Community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
This hasn't been a good month for community, I cant think of a single thing for this category...

ENJOYLife! Embrace moments with family and friends!

Its lovely when students that we have hosted come back for a visit. We took the dog for walk down to the dam and watched the wildlife in the late afternoon...

And then came home for Pizza! (It was a Sunday after all!)
IMPROVEChange or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body or soul that needs a wee tweak.

 This one is my addition to the 9. I have been setting myself wee challenges that improve my life over the month. I have gone carless one day a week, stopped buying anything but petrol from a petrol station, paid out my credit card, and tried to exercise more.
Last month I wanted to see if I could have breakfast every day and I managed it...just. If you stretch the rules a bit and say that breakfast can be had at 10am and that a cold slice of last night pizza counts! Generally I was good as I made a whole bunch of smoothies and then froze them so I didn't have to make them everyday. I set an alarm on  my phone reminding me to get the smoothie out of the freezer in the evening so it was defrosted for the morning. The only real problem was when I went to bed before the reminder went off and then in the morning my smoothie was still solid and took a while to defrost!
Like the making of lunches in advance, this works for my lifestyle. Do all the hard work in one hit and then reap the benefits for the rest of the week!
This month is going to be about consciously increasing our fruit vegetable consumption. Not just the meatless meal I have been scheduling into the week, but in each meal, increasing the quantity and the variety of fruits and veges. We have a teenage student who is not going to be very impressed. Apparently green things can kill teenagers if they have too many too often, he tells me....
I find these bitsy blog challenges to be really motivating. Because I know I have to report back here, I tend to stay honest and it stays in my consciousness - or is it because I write it down... Either way its a good way to make some changes for me!

As always I enjoy popping over to see what other slow livers are up to. Sometimes I can't get past the security things (You know, put in the letters or numbers thingos)  but even if you cant see my comment, know I have been and enjoyed!

Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! Have a great month everyone! - Kxx


africanaussie said…
Oh you have been busy, I love reading everyones slow living posts, but rarely manage to organize to do one myself. I have also been cooking more vegetarian meals and even with regular meals, I add three or four different types of vegetables. Often they can be made once and served for the next couple of days.
Kim said…
What an amazing blog! I too am aiming for vegetarian meals more often and am in raptures over the pear dessert ( is there a recipe?)Gorgeous photos , loved photo of your dog.
EMMA said…
Great month you've had - those pears look delicious. We had a lot of dinner guests a few weeks ago so I made baked apples stuffed with dried fruit and spices - very economical too!
Like the smoothie idea - I tend to have a smoothie few days then get fed up of all the mess to clean up, then stop having them all together. Making a big batch and freezing them would be a great solution.
Great pictures.
Enjoy your April.
Those pears look super yummy!
Practical Frog said…
Hi guys, The pears were very yummy!
Peeled (but left the stalk on) and cored (by digging it out with a butter knife from the bottom) stuffed with brown sugar popped in the dish and then covered in melted butter (maybe 2-3 tablespoons..?) I poured a bit of cream around them in the baking dish with a little more brown sugar sprinkled over the top and baked until golden and bubbling. Served with vanilla ice cream - Yumm!!!

Yes, making a big batch of smoothies and then freezing the works wonders! And makes sure I can have fuss free breakfast!

I haven't had much of a reaction from the family about the amount of veges yet - I truly don't think they either notice or care!

Great to see you all here! - K x
Linda said…
A meat tray! Love it. I'm not great at thinking outside the square. The photos at the dam are lovely!
Your new chickies look like a very elegant addition to your garden. I haven't seen that breed before.
The photos of the dam are lovely, it's fun having a new camera to experiment with, isn't it?!
Practical Frog said…
I'm enjoying playing with the camera, that's for sure!

The new chookies are just beautiful to look at! Squawky and untouchable (which is a shame)and probably wont be the greatest layers (which is also a shame) but incredibly hard to resist!
We are all enjoying them! - K xx
sustainablemum said…
I love your new soles and you gorgeous chickens.

Your photos taken at your dam are just wonderful.

Good luck convincing your family and anyone else your cooking for that veges are good to eat!
Evi said…
Hey Kara!! Stopping by to see what you've been up to last month! Very busy and industrious as usual. You always amaze me with your great frugal ideas….. meat trays into shoe inner soles, wow!
But your photos really inspired me this time, so beautiful. I'm doing an online photography course atm but am struggling with all the blasted terminology - taking photos is not just point and click according to the little man on my screen!!! Arggh!
Cath said…
Your water photographs are really beautiful, and as for the pears, I can almost taste them.
Practical Frog said…
Hi guys!
The pears were really good!
The photos are fun to take. Lots of shots that get dumped (love digital photography) and only a few are making it to the blog! I used to do a lot of photography, mainly people, but that was back in the days of film. Now I can do similar things with a small digital camera but no one wants to sit still for me! Its been fun tho! Evi, stick with the course. Once you know your way around an SLR ( Im assuming you have one...) You'll be able to do all kinds of things that make people go oohhh! Its a new world and its fun! - K xx
Kathy said…
What fun! Love the water photos and am dying to try the pear recipe, my hubby hasn't noticed that I've been giving him a little smaller serving of meat, so maybe they really don't pay attention (which I always suspected anyway) ;)
Practical Frog said…
I'm with you - I think they just eat what you put in front of them without too much inspection... Works for me! - Kxx
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