Saturday, October 29, 2011

Low Fat Delish Eggplant Wraps


I was gifted some exotic looking organic eggplant this week. I have only ever used the dark purple variety in my cooking before. Anyone know what variety these are? Eggplant is not something we eat an awful lot of in this home. If they find their way into my shopping basket it would usually be for one of three recipes I make - moussaka, veggie stack or roasted eggplant dip. With this new variety I wanted to try something new and let me tell you these eggplant wraps are lick ya lips delish!

Can be served as a light lunch, entree, part of a picnic or for nibbles with pre dinner drinks.

You will need...

1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
200 grams low fat feta
300 grams lettuce leaves
24 pieces well drained semi sun dried tomatoes (100 grams approx)
24 large fresh basil leaves

You then need to...

Cut eggplant length wise into thin 3.5 mm slices - 12 large long slices. Left over small pieces may be grilled and added to the wraps.

Prepare marinade by mixing oil, vinegar and lemon juice together. Brush marinade over both sides of the eggplant. Grill until lightly brown, turn and grill for a couple of minutes more. Arrange all eggplant on a clean counter or large board. Cut feta into 12 long thin strips. Top each grilled eggplant slice with lettuce leaves, then 2 basil leaves, a strip of feta and finally 2 pieces of semi sun-dried tomato.
Roll, tucking end under and refrigerate or serve. They are quite pliable and shouldn't require a toothpick to hold them. Will keep fresh for 2 to 3 hours in refrigerator.






Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Jacaranda Tree






We have two huge Jacaranda tree's at our place - one out front and one out back. Such messy buggers - shedding first their tiny leaves followed closely by their lavender blue coloured petals. I seem to be forever sweeping up the mess these two trees make. It is a humid, blustery day here in Brisbane today. Our Jacaranda trees (both in full bloom) petals are wafting gently in the breeze forming the most magnificent lavender blue carpet below. So, so pretty! Ain't nature grand?!


A Jacaranda Tree

A Jacaranda tree stands tall, and sways as if to say,
Look! At this magnificence, I’m wearing lavender blue today.
forgive the way I shout aloud, my lack of modesty,
but nowhere in this troubled world is finery like me.

Light rays slide between each leaf, to settle on the tips
to lightly kiss your face with a hundred million tiny lips.
You only have to lift your eyes to greet the filtered sun
a sight I guarantee will warm the heart of everyone.

Though very tall, my leaf is small, its form is one of fern,
large panicles of bluebells swell to trumpet unconcern.
A Bee collecting nectar from an ample deep white throat,
takes flight to join its family, and of its feast to gloat.

Look up to see each fern like leaf, floating up on high,
like footprints of a centipede that stroll across the sky
See how far my branches reach, admire their greenery,
I am beautiful and strong, I am the Jacaranda tree.

~*Ann Beard*~





The ripple effect


I believe that our lives are created from the effects of all the decisions and actions we have taken over time. Every action has an effect which eventually comes back to us. If we adopt the philosophy and accept the fact that ultimately we are responsible for everything we experience in life we will be centered in our power and be better able to create positive and lasting change in our lives. All of our actions have consequences. This relationship is as dependable as the ripples created by throwing a pebble into a lake. Negative experiences are actually our own actions coming full circle. When you are not aware of the consequences of your behavior you run the risk of repeating the same mistake. It’s important to understand the consequences of your actions. Many of the consequences we experience are predictable. However, there may be some we didn’t quite anticipate. They are part of our unending education. Unexpected consequences provide us with new insights. Invaluable knowledge can be gained by analyzing exactly what happened and why. Ignoring or denying the link between your action and the corresponding consequences will often make things so much worse. We will never be able to take control of our lives unless we see ourselves as being responsible for the outcomes we are experiencing. What do you think?


"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." ~*John Locke*~ quote






Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The "Emotional Heart"


What does it mean if someone is heartbroken?

What people refer to as heartbroken is actually a word to describe unresolved emotional pain. The solar plexus is the center for emotional pain and trauma and can be mistaken for our heart because it produces strong emotional sensations and is located just below the heart. Some people even refer to it as the 'emotional heart'.

Whereas our heart is the center of feeling peace, calm, love, gratitude and joy and only produces gentle positive feelings. If the emotions are left unresolved or not let go of then this negatively effects us and diminishes our heart.






Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letting go


Letting go doesn't mean we don't care. Letting go doesn't mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

~*Melody Beattie*~





Monday, October 24, 2011

The Butterfly Effect


It would appear that my favorite TV series "The Big Bang Theory" is starting to rub of on me! LOL


For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
For want of a horse the rider was lost;
For want of a rider the battle was lost;
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.


There is a concept called "Sensitive Dependence on Initial Condition," otherwise know as the "Butterfly Effect."



What is the Butterfly Effect?

The butterfly effect as it is known is the idea that the disturbance of the air by a single butterfly is enough to change the weather patterns all over the world. In the early 1960's a meteorologist, was running computerized equations to theoretically model and predict weather conditions. Having run a particular sequence, he decided to replicate it. Lorenz reentered the number from his printout, taken half-way through the sequence, and left it to run. What he found upon his return was, contrary to his expectations, these results were radically different from his first outcomes.

Lorenz didn't re-enter the numbers exactly. He entered it slightly differently thinking that a very small difference wouldn't mean anything in the long run. And when he did his second run - everything started out the same. But in time those slight variations began to multiply and within a short time the new weather pattern was totally different from the first. What Lorenz discovered - now known as the butterfly effect was that weather cannot be predicted because any variation at all would eventually lead to a radically different result given enough time.

What Lorenz discovered was that the weather can not be predicted long term because even the disturbance of the air by the wings of a butterfly (the butterfly effect) was enough to change the weather patterns all over that world. And it became the birthplace for a new form of science - Chaos Theory - which deal with issues like sensitive dependence on initial condition.

The air disturbance by the wings of a single butterfly is enough to change the weather patterns throughout the world.

Of course - it's not just about butterflies. This applies to anything and everything that disturbs the air no matter how big or how small. The smaller events take longer than the bigger events to have an effect - but it is just a matter of time and the effect is just as dramatic - it just takes a little longer.

The butterfly's wings create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events (domino effect). Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not "cause" the tornado in the sense of providing the energy for the tornado, it does "cause" it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado, and without that flap that particular tornado would not have existed. Pretty amazing huh!?





Saturday, October 22, 2011

Heaven's Day


My first date with Heartpoet was in Dec 2000. Brenton and I resided in Melbourne and were up in Brisbane visiting/staying with my sister. We arrived in the weeks leading up to Christmas and went home mid January. When I stepped off the plane holding Brenton's small hand that balmy Summer evening and straight into the loving embraces of my sister and her lovely family I was yet to know that The Universe was about to shake up my world as I knew it. In the days that followed I met up with and instantaneously fell in love with a very special one of a kind guy who would go on to become the great love of my life!

I have a pretty vintage box that contains poetry, cards and special notes that I have received from Heartpoet over the years. One gorgeous card has a photo of a forest trail - a cleared meandering pathway bordered by tall leafy green trees and underneath the trees on both sides of the pathway is lush green grass and a masses of divine purple wildflowers. I received this card when I had returned to Melbourne and preparations were under way for me to relocate to Brisbane to be with Heartpoet. Inside the card is the most beautiful handwritten poem from Heartpoet called "Heaven's Day." Rhiannon surrounded Heartpoet's poem and note in glittery red and glittery silver nail polish painted hearts. I had posted a week prior a lil parcel to Rhiannon (who I had yet to meet). Inside was a letter from me, photo's of myself and Brenton, a OOAK handmade exquisitely dressed teddy bear who was named Rhiannon (I just had to purchase her!!) and for fun a set of glittery nail polishes. Heartpoet said Rhi would lay on her bed for hours with her new bear under her arm closely studying the photo's and reading my letter over and over in the days leading up to my arrival.

So back to the card...it reads as follows...


Sweetheart

It's Monday afternoon and I love you! Our life together is already incredibly fulfilling and wonderful. Sigh.

Stuart

Hugs, kisses and sensual cuddles
xxxxx
xxxx
xxx



Heaven's Day

On a pathway on a hill in a land of shade and light
Where the speckled rays of sunshine dart and dance
The purples and the greens and the colours of true life
Paint a picture framed with love and true romance
And at the edge of such a scene we stand waiting for the sign
When all our dreams and wishes will come true
On a dawn in such a place on a clear - skinned day as this
I will whisper on the wisps that I love you
For beyond the winding path that snakes among the trees
And well past the grasses that carpet and address
There's another scene that lingers just beyond the furthest bloom
And it's guarded by all lovers sweet caress
And it's there that we shall drift on a cloud of morning mists
As the sighs of true love echo through the trees
I shall lay you down so gently on a bed of scented flowers
And tell you of my love from bended knees
For this heart has come full circle from the pathway on the hill
From our purples and the colours and the green
And to you my love comes swirling through the clear morns breath
So sweet, on a turquoise treasured heavens day, serene.

Stuart

xxxxxxx






Friday, October 21, 2011

I wonder who will be my 200th Google Friend Connect follower?


Sticky Lemon Chicken with Roasted Spiced Vegetable Cous Cous


Lemon and chicken go so well together - and the sherry vinegar is really essential here, but if you must, substitute a good balsamic. Serve alongside your favorite side dish/dishes. We like serving it alongside a warm cous cous salad.

Sticky Lemon Chicken


2 kg chicken thighs
2 lemons
1 whole head of garlic
Thyme
Sherry vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
Flat leaf parsley or coriander
Himalayan ground rock salt, ground black pepper and olive oil

Divide the garlic into cloves and peel. Cut the lemon into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken pieces all over (you probably will have to do this in batches, unless you have a *really* big pot). Add thyme and garlic, next add a good splash of sherry vinegar, the soy and the honey and then let it reduce slightly.

Add water - I added enough to almost cover the chicken, but you don't want it too soupy so use as much as you think you might need for the chicken to cook through. Start with a cup, and go up from there - it really will depend on the size of your pot.

Cover with a lid. Let the chicken bake for 10 minutes or a bit more - check to see if it's cooked through and not pink inside. Season with more soy sauce or vinegar.

When the chicken is done transfer it along with the lemon and garlic to a serving platter. Reduce pan juices til syrup like then pour over chicken. Sprinkle with roughly chopped flat leaf parsley or coriander to serve.

Tis lick ya lips delish!






Monday, October 17, 2011

Gone with the wind photo shoot

With my 45th Birthday looming (Nov the 20th) Brenton approached me recently about what I would like for a pressie. I usually tell him to surprise me however this year I had something definite in mind. I told him that I really wanted some professional photo's taken of both him and Rhiannon. There is always much eye rolling and sighing followed by silly faces when I bring out my camera. Brenton has just turned 18 and Rhi is about to so I thought it would be lovely to have some photo's of them both to mark this next stage of their lives. Surprisingly Brenton was most agreeable to the idea and Rhi was most keen when approached also. Heartpoet LOVED the idea and helped them out a little by contributing half the cost of the shoot.

I wasn't after super posed mega glam shots as we already have lots of those with their Year 12 Formal photo's. I was after a more casual relaxed look. So we booked a photographer and were quietly confident that the "beautiful one day, perfect the next" weather in Brissy would not disappoint. But it would seem Mother Nature the b**** has it in for us ha! Last weekend she rained out Heartpoet's business and fried his iPad (one case where an extended warranty did somewhat save the day). Yesterday was deceptively delicious...clear blue sky, lots of sunshine with just a hint of a breeze. I went to bed somewhat smug last night with the belief that the tide was indeed turning for us and that today weather wise would be divine. I awoke this morning to the sound of rain and gale force winds. The first words out of my mouth were "far out brussel sprout" quickly followed by "no way Jose." Actually those were not the words I used. The words I muttered were rude but we won't go there will we ;]

As the day progressed the sky just grew all the more ominous looking, it rained on and off and it continued to blow a gale. As we did not hear from the photographer we soldiered on and set off in the car to our chosen SEA SIDE (BEACH) location lol! Half way there I felt the tears spring up behind my sunglasses. Boy was I starting to get mad at The Universe and Murphy's Law and anyone else I could hold responsible for the crap that was coming our way of late. We pulled up alongside the photographers car and after introductions the first thing she said was "do you want to cancel today?" I considered her offer for all of two seconds and said "you know what stuff Mother Nature if the kids are ok to continue lets forge ahead." So we did just that! By this stage we were all seeing the funny side of it! It was the most hilarious photo shoot. Wild and windswept truly being an understatement! I spent the whole time trying to keep my dress down and not up around my ears. Heartpoet (having drunk an extra large bottle of water on the trip to the coast and then buffeted by the wind spent the entire time looking for a loo lol! Brenton's hair that had been cut and styled only a few hours prior took on a whole new not so stylish look with a permanent part and Rhi's freshly coloured and straightened hair took on a Cousin Itt (from The Adam's Family) look lol. The kids valiantly braved the elements and attempted changes of clothing in between shots. The photographer was fantastic with them and was a real trouper to work under such trying conditions. The weather conditions were so extreme it was laughable! The picture perfect photo shoot I had envisaged was shot to pieces. However all was not lost. I doubt all four of us will forget today in a hurry. The only sunshine to be found was in our smiles however there was lots of laughter to be found and a stop off for the best ever fish and chips before winding our way home. My kids may have the windswept look rather than the every hair in place look in many of the photo's taken today. They may also be squinting because of the force of the wind but meh I don't care. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful!

*I just received an email from the photographer saying she has downloaded the images and that they are all really quite lovely considering. She attached two saying here is a sneak peek.