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up to all sorts

It’s been so great discovering this little world of healthy food enthusiasts… it’s really inspired my kitchen creations.  I used to get in a lot of ‘food ruts’ – eating the same sort of things day in, day out.

BORING.

Nowadays, I get so excited to create new recipes, or try other blogger’s recipes.

Actually, reading blogs of any description has really got my creativity cranking.  I’m having so much fun just making STUFF.  For some reason, I have a lot more focus these days.  Maybe it’s because the time I have to get a little project completed is usually pretty short.  Either when Misty’s sleeping or after dinner is about it… not like ‘back in the day’ before child where I just had too much time on my hands to know what to do with.

I made this washable snack bag as I am so sick of using plastic snap lock bags for Misty’s snacks when we are out and about.  So much plastic.  This is great as it is a light vinyl-you can wipe it out, or chuck it through the washing machine.

I can’t help defacing things, even with a sewing machine.  Angry apple.

I’m always wanting new and different non dairy milk ideas… I’ve made home made almond, coconut and brown rice milks.  They were all good, but not great if you know what I mean.  Store bought almond milk is not that flash here down under, and it’s super expensive so not really worth it.  Home made coconut milk is good for cooking, but not so tasty in coffee or tea (which I drink a LOT of).  I actually mix my home made coconut milk with Dr Bronner’s amazing soap and use it as shampoo.  It really is wicked knickers stuff.

I stumbled across the idea of tahini milk while reading Gena’s blog.  Awesome.  Tahini is one of my favourite things, and I love mixing it into soy milk with a touch of agave and cinnamon already.  I whipped up the recipe and it was love at first sip.  Great on it’s own, or over cereal.

I had about a half cup of this recipe left over (the barley)  I chucked it in the freezer, not wanting to waste it.  After returning from Sydney to an empty fridge, I pulled it out to feed my hungry beast.  I was being a lazy Mama and didn’t want to spoon feed it to Misty, and was bored so I decided to bake it into something.

Baked Barley Fridge Scrape:

  • 1/2C this recipe
  • 1T ground flax seed mixed with 3T water to make a flax egg
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1/16t baking powder
  • 5t coconut flour (I reckon chickpea flour would work well too, the texture might be a little different, but would be good)
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Spoon into a lined baking tray (a mini muffin pan would be great but I don’t have one, so I used a tiny loaf pan – 10cm in length)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees C.
  4. Turn off oven, take the bake out of the pan and flip onto a cooling rack upside down.
  5. Put back into oven (which is turned off) and let the bottom dry out a bit until the oven had cooled down completely.

Seemed to go down a treat.  Fruit, flaxy and easy to hang on to – no Mama spoony needed.

Anything new/creative/fun you’ve made or discovered recently?

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sorta socca, and less sleep

My favourite thing in the world used to be sleeping.  I would literally go to bed at about 7pm every night, and snooze my way through to at least 7 in the morning.  I would get up, eat my breakfast, and if it was the weekend, I would sometimes go back to bed for a mid morning nap (because I must have been exhausted).
Maybe this should be the subject for a DMC? (no, not Devastating Mic Control, gotta love Run DMC) but a Deep and Meaningful Chat.  With Misty’s first birthday only a few days away, I have been doing a bit (ok, a lot) of reflection on the past 12 months, and how much I have grown and changed.
These days, I don’t need as much sleep (I’m getting to bed by 10pm, and getting up at 4am!) maybe I’ve just adjusted to the broken sleep –  getting up and down, and up and down throughout the night – either to sooth Misty or just to check (can’t resist, sleeping babes are just too cute).  Or maybe I don’t want to sleep as much any more – I’ve got a reason to be awake.  I actually got to bed excited about waking up.  I haven’t felt like this since I was probably 7 years old.  I’ll tell you something, Misty is the best anti-depressant I’ve ever come across – sleeping just isn’t as tempting any more, I’d rather be hanging with Misty than sleeping my life away.
Wish I could snooze somewhere this groovy.
Anyway, enough emotional stuff – this was one of those ‘panic’ meals.  Driving home after an afternoon out and about, knowing that Misty would be wanting feeding and watering pretty close to quick smart as soon as we got in the door.  Nothing prepared.  Bad, bad Mama.
The usual equation went through my head – what do I have in the fridge/pantry that I can combine that involves fat, protein and carbs easily and quickly?
What will Misty actually eat?
This sorta-socca turned out really well for a 2 second-throw-together-on-a-whim meal.  Misty ate two and a half by himself, and I sampled the remaining half for quality purposes.  You could easily sneak in vegetables to the mix; the cheese helps everything stick together, and it gets all delicious and crispy like.  They actually reminded me of a parmesan wafer in a way, albeit much thicker and heartier.  Awesome for using up those last little dregs of cooked grains you have hanging around – rice, millet, quinoa, whatever you have.  Go on, scrape that fridge.   What I would give to scrape a fridge like this: (Is it weird I have fridge fantasies?)
Sorta-Socca:
(Gluten, soy, egg, nut free.  Could be made vegan by subbing in vegan cheese and using oil)
  • 1/4C cooked grain (I used barley)
  • 1/4C chickpea flour
  • 1/4C grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
  • 3T water
  • 1t olive oil/melted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2t mixed dried herbs
  • Butter/oil for pan
Mix all ingredients together.  Set aside for 15 minutes.
Heat some butter or oil in a pan.  I got 3 medium sized socca from the mix – I cooked each one individually, making sure as I spooned the batter into the pan, I spread it out thinly.
Cook for a few minutes each side, squishing down with the back of the spatula to help flatten and crisp up…. it’s also fun to watch the cheese bubble up and ooze.
Cool before serving for the little ones that could burn themselves.  I burnt myself. I highly recommend serving with a touch of Vegemite (or Marmite for Lindsay and Heather of course)
X marks the spot.  A spot of deliciousness.

skin series #2. body love.

I think it’s time we had a talk.  A little chat about our bodies.  No, no that talk, but this one for me, has been pretty significant.

Would you believe until a few months ago, I would never bare my legs?  I was the ‘girl who always wore black leggings,’ (title for my new novel?)  In Melbourne, this what not an issue, as the weather there is so sporadic you will get rain, wind, hot and freezing all in the space of a few hours.  You have to be clothing-ly prepared.  Also, people wear a lot of black in Melbourne; I think it’s to do with being trendy and mysterious or something.  In New Zealand, the black leggings were fine, as come on- it’s generally freezing there, even in the middle of Summer.  I fitted in well, wearing my leggings by day – spending my nights next to a cozy fire, braiding my leg hair.  It was all good.

Then I moved to Queensland.  A place that could be considered on the border of being sub-tropical.  A place where the catch phrase is ‘Queensland.  Beautiful one day, perfect the next.’  It’s actually called the ‘Sunshine State.’  So yes, it is warm and sunny.  All the time.  Black leggings?  Hmmm not really appropriate attire.  Especially at the beach.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the heat.  I love the sunshine, the outdoors, the beach, the water – it all makes me so happy.  What was making me unhappy was the state of my skin.  In particular, my legs.

The leggings were because my legs were pretty much constantly covered in a gross itchy rash.  If I shaved or waxed my legs, it would make it worse.  So I had hairy, rash covered pins.  Sexy.  I tried everything – super fancy supposedly sensitive razors, different creams/gels, different waxing techniques, you name it, I tried it.  Those depilatory creams are just so toxic it’s unbelievable (the smell along should be warning, I think I got a buzz off one) not to mention what they did to my skin.  Burning off your hair?  Oh yes, please, burn me!  I’ll pay money for you to burn me.  Amazing.

See the gap between where pants stop, and feet start?  That’s all that was ever bared.

So I kind of just gave up.  Resigned myself to constantly having tanned feet and ankles, with the rest of my legs being hairy, blue and rashy.  It was really depressing actually.

mmm, looks delicious, can I have a slice?

You actually could if you wanted to, but I’m not sure how you’d do swallowing this bad boy.  This (well, actually coconut oil) has given me the gift of bare legs… this Summer I’m wearing shorts.  Yeah.

I decided a few months ago I was over the leggings.  Over wearing any sort of long pants or skirts in Summer.  It’s ridiculous, and I want brown legs for once.  My cure?  Going back to basics.  No fancy pharmacy products with all their claims… just keeping things simple.

I figured if I can eat it, I can use it on my body… I came up with this idea, the concept of using coconut oil in the shower as a protective layer over my skin before shaving.  I already use it as a moisturiser, so I know my skin likes it.  Yes, it clogs up my razor, but now I can even use the crappiest of crappy cheap-o razor and my legs stay rash free.  Seriously, I love coconut oil.

I decided to take things a step further (read: had too much time on my hands, and a bag of beeswax I’ve been meaning to do something with for ages) and created a type of exfoiliating/moisturising shaving bar.  This is really simple.  Stupidly simple.  If you don’t have the shaving problems I did, this is just a lovely treat for your skin.  One side has oats and herbs to scrub away dead skin, and the other is a beautiful moisturiser.

Lou’s  Lotion Bar For Lovely Legs (and other bits)

  • Equal parts grated beeswax and coconut oil (pack beeswax down tightly) I used 3T of each.
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1t honey
  • 1/8C oats, roughly chopped
  • 1t rosemary (dry)
  • 2t lavender flowers (dry)
  1. Use a double boiler or a stainless saucepan that you don’t care about (I have a designated, non food creating one).  Gently melt down beeswax and add coconut oil.  Do not let it boil, you just want it melted.
  2. Add in everything else.  (This is super easy and quick as the heavy stuff sinks and the layers sort themselves out).
  3. Pour into desired moulds, or clean plastic container which has been lightly greased with olive oil. (I just use whatever is in my recycling bin).
  4. Place in fridge.
  5. Using a blunt butter knife, ease out of mould(s).  Chop up into pieces/slices if you made one large bar.
I store mine in the fridge due to the humidity here, and it prolongs it’s life.  Use within 2 weeks.
So that’s about it.  I have been wearing shorts constantly for the last 6 weeks – I actually have brown legs for the first time in years.  All thanks to coconut oil.   I got a wolf whistle yesterday… gotta love tradies (sorry, it is totally demeaning as a woman to be heckled at like an object by men on a building site.  Come, on you know you love it).

dessert and dessert

There’s been a bit of talk around about dessert for breakfast.  I’m very guilty of swapping around meal ‘times.’  Breakfast for dinner, breakfast for lunch, dessert for breakfast – can ya tell I like breakfast?  I’m even getting Misty into my habit, I’m sure it won’t do any harm – definitely won’t stunt his growth anyhow.  I’ll get back to you on the psychological scarring later.
I think breakfast is almost the best time of day to consume chocolate.  Almost.  I can never go past the night time chocolate munching, especially after a particular long and trying day – it just hits the spot.  I think night time is perfect for a chocolate bar, but morning is the best for chocolate flavoured things.  Chocolate oatmeal, chocolate tahini butter (recipe coming) on toast with banana, or this (especially for those feeling the pain on the sugar free kick) :
Cho-fu Pudding
(Vegan, gluten and nut/seed free)
Makes 3 adult servings (or 2 large servings and 2 bubba meals)
  • 5 Medjool dates softened in a few tablespoons of hot water
  • 500g silken tofu (I like the Japanese kind, less of a ‘soy’ flavour if you get me)
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2t lemon juice
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia liquid (or an additional 4 dates with 1/2t vanilla extract instead… it’s what I use for Misty)
  • 5-6t cacao powder (however strong you like it)

Blend everything together.

Recipes to follow for the toppings that are pictured.  Sorry to be a tease.   You’ll forgive me.

I have used this ‘pudding’ in heaps of different ways – But wait! There’s more!  It’s awesome as the soaking ‘agent,’ for overnight oats (in place of yoghurt, milk etc) or for a chia seed pudding.  I’ve also made a peanut butter and banana version, and an almond butter and jam.  All definitely worthy of a YUMMO.  I’m thinking it would be wicked knickers on top of pancakes too.  Just saying.

The biggest plus is that Misty loves the stuff;  I can make a big batch, and we can both happily munch our way through.  It would be awesome for all those little gummy monsters out there that don’t yet have the equipment for chowing down on the hard stuff.

So that’s about it.  What do you think?  Dessert for breakfast?  Breakfast for dinner?  Or simply dessert for dessert?  Whatever floats your boat, that’s what I say.

vegan eggplant pesto (presto, chango)

If you think I’m bad with going off on tangents when I write – you should see me in the kitchen.  I begin with a recipe to try, or an idea of a certain dish that I would like to prepare.  I always end up getting distracted by some new ingredient or stroke of genius (yeah, right)  half way through.  The resulting dish is about as far away from the original idea as you can get without being arrested (that makes no sense whatsoever, similar to my style of cooking).

It all started with a few skinny eggplants I bought for some reason.  I don’t know what I was thinking of doing with them, but they were pretty and purple so I bought them.  Fast forward to lunch today, and I knew I had to use these beautiful, albeit annoying fridge dwellers.  I chucked them in a hot oven, not really thinking it through, and this happened:

It seriously exploded in there.  It looks kind of like a squid trying to escape.  I find the insides of eggplants quite unnerving.

Due to the slightly creepy appearance of the insides, I decided to blend them up, thus banishing all thoughts of giant squid tendrils flapping around in my belly. Doing what I do best, I proceeded to scrape out the fridge and dump it into my blender along with the eggplant.  I found some abandoned roast pepper strips (thanks Viper) a little plastic bag of herbs my girlfriend stole for me from another friends garden, some garlic and sad looking lemon wedges.  A few dashes of seasoning, and a new delight was born.  It’s kind of in between hummus, baba ganoush  and pesto – really it just reminded me of a pesto because of the basil.

Vegan Eggplant Pesto

(Vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free)

  • 1C roasted eggplant
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t balsamic vinegar
  • Big handful of fresh basil leaves
  • A few sprigs of fresh sage
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Speaking of tangents…
I think this egg either has some type of vegan message, or is telling you guys to go check out some awesome food funnies at Fork and Beans – Cara’s  healthy food creativity is just hilariously good.  I was peeling Misty’s egg for lunch, and it came out looking like this – sans eyes of course – and just thought of her.
Poor eggy.

a Misty makeover meal

I never liked rice pudding.  I think mainly because it’s such a heavy dessert to eat after a whole dinner.  Sits like a brick in your stomach.  The nutmeg always grossed me out as a kid, and I have never liked heavy dairy milk or cream.  Some people are crazy for it though, which I never understood – I guess it’s like my love of Vegemite on raisin toast, most people just don’t seem to get it.
What’s your take on the humble rice pudding?  Love it or leave it?
I had things to use up in my kitchen… annoying little amounts… half a jar of rice, a few spoonfuls of apple puree – they were really bugging me.  Taking up valuable real estate in my pantry and fridge.
Rice pudding for breakfast?  Totally – energy to start the day for both me and Misty (not that he needs any more energy).  I’m on the sugar-free wagon too, thanks to the encouragement from Alex.  This pudding totally makes for a good morning.
Good Morning Rice Pudding:
Makes enough for Mum, Dad and a couple of baby sized meals – or however you want to portion it out.
  • 3T apple puree (or pumpkin, mashed banana etc)
  • 1/2C rice (white or brown)
  • 1 3/4C milk (I used full fat coconut milk, but cow, soy, almond etc are all good substitutes)
  • 1/4C chopped dried fruit (or date puree gives it a lovely caramel flavour)
  • 3/4t ground cinnamon or mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie spice)
  • 2t tahini
  • 1/2t pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
Feel free to add a touch of sweetness if you like – I would recommend 2T (or more) of honey/agave/raw sugar – I’m refraining as I’m doing the Sugar-Free Challanege, and Misty doesn’t need any more sweetness than what the fruit provides.  Mean Mama.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  3. Keep and eye on it, and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
  4. Wait until most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn of heat and place a lid on the saucepan.  Let the rice soak up the rest of the liquid.  (Puree in the food processor for under 8 month olds).
  5. Eat warm, or pop in fridge to firm up to serve with Chia Seed Jam. Far too hot here for a warm breakfast… the pudding goes all solid-like so you can carrrrrve off chunks (spoken with a Scottish accent, naturally) yummo.
Blueberry Chia Jam, thank you once again, Lisa.  Genius.
This is Misty’s serving.  Obviously.  I mean what 11 month old doesn’t appreciate a fresh mint garnish or a moulded rice mound?  Yeah, Misty had a long morning nap… too much time on my hands.
Misty actually got spoon feed his, warm out of the pot. ‘Twas good.  A good morning for all – happy day to you.

no meat for Misty

Misty has gone off meat.  Every time I create him some delicious little meaty treat like these these or these, he boos them.   He does enjoy dropping them from his tray down to Boosty though.  Doesn’t seem to give two hoots about feeding premium organic, free range beef to a dog for Pete’s sake.  All he wants are peas.  He will pick up each pea individually, oh so carefully examine,  then place it  in his mouth.  Suppose I should be glad he is so taken by the humble pea.
I’m not concerned, it’s not like Misty is fading away or anything.  Quite the opposite – Viper describes him as ‘nuggety.’  He’s becoming aware of different tastes, textures and combinations – and works out what he wants and what he doesn’t.  I suppose it’s just like any of us going through a food ‘stage’ – getting obsessed with a certain ingredient or flavour, and wanting to eat that all of the time.  Like my sweet potato fixation.
Any current favourite eats at the moment? Dishes? Ingredients? Combinations?
Anything with cheese or peas will be gobbled down by MIsty – this next recipe is an attempt to broaden his horizons.
Cashew Carrot Curry Cakes:
  • 1/4C breadcrumbs (I used millet bread but any bread is fine)
  • 1/2C vegetable puree (something starchy works best, I used carrot and sweet potato)
  • 1/4C pureed corn kernels
  • 3T brown rice flour
  • 1/4t curry powder
  • 1/8t aluminium free baking powder
  • 1/8C sesame seeds
  • 1/8C raw cashews
  • 1 egg (or 1 flax “egg”)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2t fresh or dried herbs (I used fresh chives and mint)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Heat a fry pan with a little oil or butter.
  3. Drop teaspoons full of batter in, and cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  4. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, sour cream or mashed avacado.
Viper said that all they needed was a pinch of salt and they were adult-worthy.  High praise, high praise indeed.
Misty would like to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a certain HEABlet who is turning 1 year old today… he happens to have a little bit of an internet crush on her, and heard she was having a special Eric Carle birthday party.  He has cracked out his caterpillar in her honour.
He seems to find it quite appetizing.  Suppose caterpillar could be considered meat?
Congrats to the HEABies for getting through that first year.

no sugar no bake buckwheat na na bites

Another day, another sugar free recipe.
Cutting out sugar is no big deal for me; I don’t eat a lot of the refined stuff anyway – my sweetness tends to appear in the form of honey, agave, molasses or rice syrup.  For the next 10 days however, I will be relying on simply fruit for a bit of the sweet stuff.  My taste buds have been reprogrammed over a period of time to appreciate the sweetness that comes naturally from fruit, vegetables and whole grains (I sound like such a geek).  I do understand why people struggle so much with cutting back on sugar though – it is snuck into EVERYTHING these days, no wonder as a population we are addicted to the stuff.
Just don’t even think about asking me to give up salt.  That is one white powder that I AM addicted to.  Hey, a girl has gotta have a vice right?  Right?  I’m doing well on the sugar, let’s just focus on that.
Bananas are awesome.  Such a great baking “tool” – they add sweetness, moisture and nutrition to any creation.  I use them a lot to cut down on added sugar, butter or oil in recipes.  This recipe is ridiculously easy – it requires just mixing and freezing so I don’t want to hear any excuses.
Buckwheat na na Bites
(Wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, egg free.  Vegan.  They could be raw if you used sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats, raw almond meal or oats.  Just sayin’).
  • 1/2C almond meal
  • 1/4C roasted buckwheat groats, ground into flour (or sub in 1/4C oatmeal)
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1T ground flax
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 1/2t ground cinnamon
  • 1/3C pureed banana (basically 1 medium banana, mashed up)
  • 2t nut butter
  • 1t coconut oil

Combine first 7 ingredients and set aside for 10 minutes or so.

Add in nut butter and coconut oil (melted).  Mix well.

Roll teaspoons of dough into balls and then flatten with a fork.  Place on a lined baking tray.

Freeze.

The banana flavour comes through nice and strong which I love… having been without bananas for months due to Cyclone Yasi which devastated the banana crops of Queensland, I welcome back affordable bananas with open arms.  It got to the point that a single banana was costing around $3 earlier in the year, yeesh.

I’ve been here.  It wasn’t as big as I was expecting.  Disappointing.

Misty is also digging the addition of banana in his diet – he enjoys them cut into rounds with a dollop of almond butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  These cookies are baby friendly, but they do contain nuts, so be aware of any sensitivities to these.  Tahini would work in the place of nut butter.  The raisins could also be a choking hazard for younger babies.  You can omit, or simply chop finely before adding to mix.

I think frozen raisins are my new favourite thing.  Little chewy nuggets of sweetie yum yum.  I won’t tell you what Viper said they looked like.  Stupid Viper.

small, but hot like chilli*

* Viper tells me this is how one of his workmates describes (ahem) himself if you get my drift.  Wouldn’t think a male would willingly admit this, anyhow…  One time, we had a Mexican party.

I had a mono-brow.

We drank sangria.  Lots of sangria.  I made cactus sculptures out of pickles.  There was a pinata.  A lot of cheese and corn chips were consumed.   I drank lots of sangria.  I didn’t make this particular dip, but something kind of close to it.  Basically, I wanted something yummy and spicy for lunch today, utilising what limited resources I had on hand.  I am also participating in Alex’s Sugar Free Challenge  so needed something that would not cause a sugar induced coma.

Luckily I’m not a big sugar fan at the best of times, so it’s not too difficult for me. This is what I came up with:

Red Bean Small Chilli Dip:

(If you want to make this into a salad dressing, simply thin with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar until you reach the desired consistency).

  • 1C cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/3C jarred salsa (one with no added sugar, of course)
  • 1/2C cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin)
  • 3T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
  • 1/4t ground cumin
  • 1/4t ground coriander
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/4 small birds eye chilli (or to taste, the ones I have at the moment are blow your face off HOT).
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.  Serve with assorted ‘dippers’ (not the birds eye chilli as pictured if you would like to keep your eyebrows… HOT).
A baby friendly version would go something like this:
  • 1C cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/2C cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin)
  • 1/3C canned tomatoes
  • 3T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t garlic powder
  • 1/8t ground coriander
  • 1/4t ground cumin
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2t lime juice
  1. Blend.  Spread on rice cakes, toast, or just let your little one smear it all over themselves.

a special kinda something

I love my house.  I’m a bit of a homebody.  I love the freedom of being able to do what I like, when I like and not feel uncomfortable.  I like my stuff where I want to put it.  I like to be able to relax in my surroundings with Viper, Misty and Boosty.  After almost a decade of house sharing, I relish in the luxury that is living on our own as a family.

I have lived in a few different cities, many different houses, with a variety of colourful characters.  I’ve been pretty lucky, I suppose, I haven’t had to endure any really horrible or hideous people – most of those I have lived with I consider good friends today – there have been just a few who have been what I call special.

Special Housemate #1:

He was hairy.  I mean really hairy.  He once asked me to help him dye his hair (!)  I remember not being able to distinguish where his head hair-line stopped and his neck hair began.  Shudder.  We named him the Reclining Beast, as he liked to sprawl himself in his favourite armchair, wearing an old tatty terry towelling robe with nothing underneath.  It would always “accidentally” fall open.  I think he was a bit of an exhibitionist.  Yeah, he was really hairy.

This is not him, but the likeness is eerily similar.

Special Housemate #2:

He was a perfectly nice kind of guy, but there was just something a bit off about him.  You know what I mean?  We named him Creepy.  It didn’t matter what you said, he had already done it, but 10 times better.  He was stronger, faster, smarter and richer than you could ever dream.  He literally told us he was a lead guitarist in a band, an on line entrepeneur, a barista, and a talented chef.  Yet he worked in a coffee shop, lived in a dingy house with us, and would always pay his rent late.  Hmmm.

The creepiness was what went on in the bathroom.  This guy had some weird habits.  Picture this:  you get up in the dark at 3am to use the bathroom, but it’s occupied.  By Creepy. You wait out in the hall, thinking that he won’t be long in there, it’s 3am for Pete’s sake.

He would spend hours in there.  In the middle of the night.  Doing what you may ask?  Who knows?  He would violently turn the taps on, off, on, off, on, off, on.  His hair dryer (yes, hair dryer.  He had really short hair, and would always wear a hat. Hmmm) would be blasted in a similar ferocious fashion to the taps.  There was much speculation over what went on during those midnight bathroom sessions.  Actually I don’t think any of us really wanted to know the truth.  Creepy.

Why? Why would he need one?

Special Housemate #3

Pigman.  I secretly called him Pigman.  Slightly mean, yes, as he did have a little bit of an upturned nose.  It wasn’t the nose however, that inspired the name.  It was the snorting.  Every morning I would be woken from my slumber not by the sweet melodies of songbirds, but by the snorting of phlem I could hear through the walls.  The whole household would be woken by this snorting,  It was disgusting.  The snorting wasn’t the only annoying part.  There were the stories too.  So many stories.

I have always worked in quite ‘socia’l work settings – either retail or hospitality which both involve a lot of “people-time.”  By that I mean constant interaction with not just work mates, but the general public.  This can be pretty draining;  usually when I got home of an evening, I was done with talking for the day.  I wanted peace, quiet, and chill out time.  Pigman would barrel into the house, literally shouting his stories of the day at my head.  At first I tried to be polite and humour him, but after a while I just couldn’t handle it.  The stories would not stop, and when one ended, another one would start-up straight away.  He was the Never Ending Story (teller).  I would actually physically walk away from him, and he would follow, shouting his stories at the back of my head.

Viper called him “Smokey the Bear” as when he had finally run out of stories (by this time, I would have barricaded myself in my room just to get away from the stories) he would retire to his room and proceed to watch surfing DVDs all night while a particular pungent smokey aroma would fill the house.  So the snorting, story telling swine was also a stoner.  Amusing now that I look back on it, but he drove me crazy.  Thinking about the snorting still makes me shudder.  It was disgusting.

Now when I need to relax, and escape to my own special place, I drink this:

Chai Spice Tea

This is my ‘loose’ recipe – my mix changes on a weekly basis.  Add or subtract whatever you like.  I’m a fan of spice, so sometimes I even add chilli and fenugreek depending on my mood.

  • 2t black pepper corns
  • 3T dry ginger root (ginger powder will work)
  • 3t nutmeg (use whole nutmeg and grate it)
  • 3T whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 2T rooibos tea
  • 4T powdered mixed spice
  • 2T green tea
  • 1 1/2T green cardamom pods
  • 1/2C strong black tea of choice ( I used this mix which included other random bits and pieces) Plain black tea is fine.

Put your cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a mortar and pestle.

Smash it up.

Mix with other ingredients.

Easy.

Brew however you like – I’m crazy for really strong tea, so I put it in a very fine mesh tea infuser lined with cheesecloth (so all the powdered bits don’t escape and make sludge at the bottom, ick).  I let it steep for about 10 minutes in boiling water, then add honey and a tiny splash of milk.  This is my usual cuppa, but in the evenings when I want something a little more hearty and comforting, I steep the tea in vanilla soy milk and add a bit of maple syrup.  Warm, sweet, milky, spicy – makes for one sleepy and satisfied Lou.   Especially when I can drink it in my own house with no special house mates or snorting.

Have you had any special house mates?