FIFIFRIZZLE's SparkPeople Blog FIFIFRIZZLE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Harrowing Oh, Sparkies, I feel so petty this evening, after my last grizzly blog. Such a harrowing thing at work. A poor demented man set himself on fire on the lawn outside my office steps. There was a lot of smoke, I fear he will not survive. Thu, 21 Sep 2017 04:21:31 EST The future We have an election this weekend and the next day is the beginning of spring daylight saving. <BR> <BR> I HATE daylight saving as I am a morning person and I want to get up early and spend 'me' time before undertaking anything else. Daylight saving robs me of mornings. I have to go to work and come home exhausted with no energy for playing in my garden. <BR> <BR> It's possible that we will have a change of government but I'm not sure as under our MMP electoral system a major coalition par... Mon, 18 Sep 2017 21:55:54 EST New toy I bought myself a little present, an aromatherapy diffuser <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I bought it online and was surprised that it is a bit bigger than I had anticipated. But it is not too imposing. I set it up in the lobby for a trial run. <BR> <BR> What I like most about it is that it turns itself off after however many hours I set it for. My previous electric diffuser just kept going... <BR> I like the scent ... Fri, 15 Sep 2017 23:37:42 EST Spring birthday There are many birthdays in September in my neck of the woods including DH's birthday today. <BR> I bought him a new toy, a water flosser. Do you have one of these? It is a gadget with a reservoir for water and it delivers pulses of air and water. You run it along the gum line and apparently it works like dental floss. <BR> DH is remiss in the flossing department as am I, so I am curious about whether this is sufficiently intriguing for him to use it. Anyway he was pleased with his new toy, s... Wed, 13 Sep 2017 15:36:23 EST Walking like a little old lady I was in the garden at 7am determined to sort out the terrace I was working on. Forecast was for rain later in the day and I was on a mission. Yay, I got round it! Very pleased with myself and that part of the garden looks so civilized. My daphne and camellias have more clear space than ever before in their time on our property. Possibly too late as they are a bit distorted in their growth, but next year will be better. <BR> Some invasive weeds were dealt to and tomorrow I can plant new plant... Sun, 10 Sep 2017 02:44:02 EST Garden minutiae Sparkies I feel a bit sheepish. I looked back on my blogs and they are all the same, gardening, microgreens, sprouts - this is my life. <BR> And here I am again after seven hours in the garden getting round the main beds on our second to bottom terrace, which we call bokdom because it is where the chickens live. The terrace below is the wild garden and compost area, it's next on my list because I want to sprinkle poppyseeds and other flowers. <BR> If you don't do this stuff in spring, the we... Sat, 9 Sep 2017 02:58:27 EST Indoor garden Here's my kitchen garden. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> It's messing up my kitchen and I need to rehome some of these plants. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Lots of basil seedlings, its much too cold for them outside at the moment. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Pea micro greens <B... Sun, 3 Sep 2017 18:14:08 EST Microgreen salad Today I made a garden salad that I grew myself. It had baby silver beet, beetroot leaves, rocket, calendula, parsley, mint, broad bean tips, and mustard and clover microgreens. Delicious! <BR> <BR> I felt rather proud of myself as it is the second day of spring, and usually I have to wait longer for my salad vegetables to grow. But this year for the first time I have a little plastic cloche to give things a head start, and they certainly have done well. <BR> It's so cold today that I don't r... Fri, 1 Sep 2017 22:31:34 EST Microgreens My first planting of microgreens is coming along. They had a sudden boost when I gave them a drink of compost tea. I shall do this more often and earlier, when the first little leaves pop out. <BR> I went to the dump shop and bought some containers for growing the little critters. You need to plant a set every day in order to eat a daily microgreen salad. In a week I should have the system rotating happily along. <BR> We went to the dump shop because we had a full load of green waste. I weed... Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:44:01 EST Sprouts For the first time in some years I made sprouts and we ate them in our dinner salad. Mung bean sprouts are pretty easy. I've started some microgreens growing on kitchen towels, I haven't done them like this before but thought I would give it a go. <BR> Do any of you have experience with sprouting or growing microgreens? I'd like to do it regularly, a friend I admire grows them in prodigious quantities and they are just delicious. <BR> These are things you can do irrespective of the season, h... Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:24:27 EST Glorious gardening Got in a good day's gardening yesterday. My neighbour in the middle flat helped. He wants to have a flower garden so I gave him the beds his window looks out onto. We worked to clear them out. It's amazing how much you can achieve with two people! Then DH joined in making a new compost bin and putting together a couple of planters. <BR> I bought a plastic cover for downstairs neighbours' veggie patch when we were buying the new bin. So she came up with two freezer bags of felafel mix for us t... Sat, 19 Aug 2017 15:34:50 EST Gales and gardening madness Woken just now by blasts of wind. It is supposed to get to gusts of 130 kph, which is 80 mph. Windy! I hope that it will settle down but think we are in for a storm. That should tidy the place up. <BR> Things are pretty lively in my neck of the woods with two party leaders resigning in the teeth of an election. Our political campaigns are very much shorter than in the US, our parliament will rise today and the election is in September. <BR> On the home front, my excercise mojo has dropped by... Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:53:24 EST Sring fever It's raining off and on and when it is on it is REALLY raining. Truly, this is spring. Next will be the equinox gales. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here is a little wax eye, a terrible photo taken from my window. That little bird eyed me up every time I looked out the window so I had to be quick. In a while they will get used to this new feed regime and they won't be so shy. Then I should be able to grab a b... Mon, 14 Aug 2017 00:17:21 EST Spring weather Warm today but rainy, showers all through the day and if I'd been sufficiently motivated I might have got a little bit more gardening done. Here in New Zealand spring starts in September but really it seems to be all happening now, including the most changeable weather. <BR> <BR> Spent the morning doing housework and working on a project to perfect my waxed cloth food wraps. The idea is to replace plastic wrap by using these cloths. They are impregnated with wax and become malleable when you... Tue, 8 Aug 2017 02:25:08 EST Determinedly digging Another session in the garden, a good four hours. I feel I am in a race with the spring weather to prune what needs to be pruned and get the soil in the kind of shape I want before planting. In reality the soil hasn't warmed up so very much yet... <BR> <BR> After the garden I had a swim, then shopped, really glad to be getting my priorities right, because I regret that the housework hasn't got a look in! Garden first, then exercise is my motto at the moment. I need to change my head to ignor... Mon, 7 Aug 2017 14:52:48 EST Nesting I saw a fantail flying overhead with a long piece of straw in her beak. If that isn't spring I don't know what is! So I prepared a bunch of nesting material for the birdies, including hair but not dryer lint which apparently is toxic to birds. <BR> I might start making fat balls for the birds to help them get through the tail end of the season. Yesterday was a beautiful hot day, spent in the garden. I filled a new raised bed with a soil compost mix and I'll plant it today. <BR> DH. Made a bat... Sat, 5 Aug 2017 08:43:55 EST August Hello Sparkaroos! <BR> Golly it's cold today but that doesn't mean that spring is not in the picture, the birds insist. Also there are buds and they are not delayed by cold weather, they progress and open within weeks. <BR> I walked, I swam, I had a haircut. I worked with my neighbour on her English, and a business plan for her employment. <BR> And now my paid employment week begins. <BR> Last month I did Dry July, a charity challenge to drink no alcohol for the month. This month was harder t... Tue, 1 Aug 2017 04:43:29 EST Multitasking What a satisfying day I had yesterday. Put on the laundry and tidied as I prepped a slow cooker meal. It was lamb shanks cooked with vegetables and a good bundle of herbs from the garden. <BR> I put it on then went with my neighbour to Spotlight, a store for people who like making things - curtains, clothes, jewelry. A veritable Aladdins cave. I needed to buy pinking shears for my new waxed cloths, with which I aim to replace plastic wrap. <BR> We chatted as we drove and as it was a beautifu... Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:22:55 EST Going green and frugal Another fine morning and not really that cold. I think I will go to the beach for a walk today. <BR> <BR> I will take a bag along and be sure to pick up any rubbish I see there.I have been thinking about doing away with single use plastic bags. These are the shopping bags we get at the supermarket. To my shame, I often bring my own bags along but leave them in the car boot. I need to make an all out effort and stop bringing these plastics home. <BR> <BR> Although I doubt I will ever go so f... Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:22:59 EST Critter love The new neighbours are so happy, and Ali, the chef bought a bag of chicken treats for the girls. They have never had such wonderful delicacies. He is so kind. Dora looked him up and down and was eating out of his hand in no time. Ali told me until he came to NZ he had never seen a butterfly! How can that be? Anyway there will be plenty of butterflies in his future if he stays on for a season. <BR> <BR> I did some gardening but judiciously, and arms seem to be fine. <BR> <img src="http://p... Sat, 22 Jul 2017 23:08:58 EST Another windy weekend There has been another storm, I think it is over for us now but still raging in the bottom of the South Island. Towns have been evacuated as more than a month's rain has fallen in one day, roads are cut off, and it is the end of the school holidays so people are trying to return home after skiing holidays. And of course it is the beginning of lambing. <BR> It is windy here but not overly wet. My little plastic house got blown down the steps but luckily is in one piece. I'm just about to go re... Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:03:12 EST Ouch! I was so excited to have the space and the weather to garden I went mad and made both arms really sore. Only temporary, I'm sure. But in the meantime, ouch. <BR> <BR> House is still something of a shambles. I have to focus now on helping my neighbour get a job. She said she wanted one, but I'm not sure how keen she actually is. That's up to her. I'm supposing that shyness and fear of change is holding her back and not surprising, as working in a foreign language would be daunting for anyone... Sun, 16 Jul 2017 22:25:08 EST After the storm Here is a photo taken from my bathroom window of morning fog the day before the weather turned bad last week. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> We have had the most tumultuous storm here in New Zealand, with snow closing many roads in both islands, power cuts, and debris closing roads in my area. <BR> So today I got out to assess the damage. Luckily no trees gone at our place but a few shrubs knocked around by the very high w... Sat, 15 Jul 2017 03:50:51 EST I'm baaack Where have I been? <BR> I dunno. Taking care of business. Not exercising quite as much as I ought. Gardening. Swimming. Working. Really busy at work. Helping my neighbour out with her English. <BR> Cooking vegetarian meals. <BR> Blobbing out to Netflix. <BR> Movies. Art galleries. <BR> Trip down south to a funeral. <BR> Visiting a friend and playing with her puppy. Visiting niece and brand new grandnephew. <BR> <BR> In the thick of winter here, some cold nights and quite a lot of rain. Bu... Thu, 6 Jul 2017 03:40:26 EST Kefir, resistant starch, motor racing I think I have got the hang of kefir now, I make it every day and have some on the go for a second ferment. Every few days I make a smoothie for breakfast, in the weekend it was mango and this morning it was feijoa and apple. Both delicious but mango is the best! <BR> I don't usually have milk so this is quite a change for me. I couldn't get water kefir grains, which I would have preferred. I think my digestion is improved but it does take a bit of getting used to. I don't know how long it t... Sun, 11 Jun 2017 18:36:39 EST Holiday weekend Yet another domestic day, housework, made scrambled eggs for DH, swam, bit of gardening, then had a glass of wine with our new neighbour who was easily distracted from his chain sawing. <BR> It's a long weekend, Queen's birthday is celebrated on Monday, so everyone is either out of town or doing a pre winter catch up. <BR> Lovely calm sunset full of birds returning to their nest. <BR> Have a peaceful weekend, sparkies <BR> Sat, 3 Jun 2017 01:28:04 EST Domestic doings I made my first milk kefir today, a little more trouble than yogurt but apparently a zillion more good strains of probiotic. Haven't tasted it yet... <BR> Today was food prep day. It included making stock, and a jar of tamarillo <img src=""> <BR> and feijoa compote to add to our steel cut oats. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I used my own feij... Mon, 29 May 2017 22:37:05 EST In the swim with new shampoo I haven't been swimming as regularly as usual because I've been busy with other stuff. So it's nice to pick it up again. I overdid it the last couple of days so had yesterday off just to be sure I had DOMS (=delayed onset muscle soreness) and not something else. It was DOMS so I was back in the water again today. <BR> <BR> I feel so much freer about exercise now that I have dropped a lot of the 'shoulds' around it. if I can only do 40 minutes, then 40 minutes it is. If all I can do is a ST ... Mon, 22 May 2017 23:41:59 EST Getting real It's scheduled to snow somewhere in the country but thankfully not here. However the cold weather is with us now. <BR> In a spirit of hope I have hung out the washing but there is very little breeze so I think the dryer will come into play. <BR> I had a warm swim this morning and picked up just a little shopping - the My FoodBag service takes care of all my food needs for 5 main meals, so there is nothing much to think about. I really am enjoying it, so glad I resumed. <BR> It's time to put t... Mon, 15 May 2017 22:37:51 EST Wintry Cool here today, I think there would have been a frost down in the valley. <BR> I am getting rugged up to get into the garden and do a few things while the sun is still out. <BR> Week two of my new food delivery service will arrive tonight. <BR> Ginger baked chicken, spiced lamb, spiced chicken, lemon baked salmon and beef & mushroom bolognaise on the menu this week. All the ingredients and instructions provided, I just need to put it all together. 450 calories a meal, I just need to take ca... Sat, 13 May 2017 19:16:55 EST The mystery of the disappearing meringues I know, meringues shouldn't be a part of Fifi's food vocabulary, but making aquafaba meringues really appealed to the thrifty side of Fifi. <BR> Aquafaba is the brine from a can of chickpeas, and it acts like egg whites if you beat it. So I made a trayful of beautiful looking raspberry flavoured meringues, and popped them in the oven. More than an hour later they were nothing but smudges on the baking paper. <BR> <em>39</em> <em>46</em> <em>24</em> <BR> Fri, 12 May 2017 21:43:23 EST Kitchen improvements I'm presently recovering from our endeavours upgrading the kitchen in our flat. Here it is, just one unit but quite a bit of work <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Our tenants are now ensconced, all is well, and we are all a little tired. <BR> I've done a little gardening, and am about to do my weekly food prep. <BR> <BR> This is made easy because my food delivery arrived last night. Five recipes, you can see them onli... Sun, 7 May 2017 18:56:42 EST Tuckered out Thank goodness I am going to work today! I have spent my four day weekend deep cleaning the bottom flat in preparation for our new tenants & I am tuckered out. Old tenant moved out after three years, and we have a week between to do some stuff. <BR> There have been sone horrors, as the last tenant pressed me to move in one day after the previous tenant so there was a limit to what I could do. But I have a list & I am working through it... <BR> Helped DH assemble the kitchen units, there is s... Tue, 2 May 2017 10:54:31 EST Time out It's been balmy lately and we have spent quite a few evenings and afternoons sitting out enjoying our garden. <BR> Easter was followed by ANZAC day on Tuesday as a public holiday, and I've enjoyed the company of a decompressing DH. As usual I have been loathe to put my garden to bed so we are blessed with late blooms and continued colour in the flower beds, though I recognize this must come to an end soon. <BR> We attended a memorial service for DH's aunt in Nelson on Monday, flying in a litt... Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:23:59 EST Easter holiday I only work 3 days a week and not on Monday's so having Easter Friday is my only public holiday. I get 5 days off in a row. Five days of gardening , I think. Though we were supposed to have a tropical cyclone. It swung past a little to the east so we are all good here. <BR> <BR> It didn't disturb my garden activities, we cleared our pathways so we can be dry walking down to work, and I refreshed the chicken zone partly in preparation for an Easter egg hunt. It seems a waste to have chickens ... Fri, 14 Apr 2017 07:28:59 EST Shower dome image and other domestic stuff OK, for those of you that wanted to see my new gadget, here is a picture <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Not my shower, though very similar, but the dome is hard to photograph, you can;'t really see it when you are in the room. It works by providing a sealed environment so that there is no contact with the cold air, therefore no steam in the bathroom. I can tell you, it's hot in that shower and I have had to turn down the w... Mon, 10 Apr 2017 05:02:49 EST Domestic busyness and food talk Getting our new tenants has generated a burst of domesticity. I spent yesterday prepping vegetables. I made a vegetable curry and some rice and quinoa, a coconut rice pudding, vegetable soup, spiralized carrots. Today I cooked a haloumi and added it to two salads, one for lunch today & one tomorrow. <BR> Sitting here drinking homemade lemon verbena tea, which is absolutely delicious. <BR> But have to rush out in a minute and do a bit of urgent planting because bad weather is on the way and th... Mon, 3 Apr 2017 20:14:55 EST New tenants Our Irish tenant is returning to Ireland so we need to replace her. <BR> What a palaver! But actually it has been relatively simple and Oh, so quick. <BR> She had friends who wanted the flat, but in the event they changed their minds. So I advertised the flat on TradeMe, which is the equivalent of Ebay, I think. <BR> <BR> I listed the flat at 10 am, had 285 views by 4pm, showed 5 potential tenants through by 3pm, signed up the second viewers and received confirmation of their payment at 3:30... Sat, 1 Apr 2017 02:14:00 EST Yet another day in the garden. What a glorious day, so hot I was tempted to go to the beach but gardening is my spare time agenda. <BR> Planted alyssum, weeded and swept, made space for other ground cover. As I was planting lettuces my chicken buddy watched and rushed to try to dig them up. Grrr, she got a push! <BR> So many birds and butterflies about, and 20 degrees all day. <BR> I put in a good 7 hours and then cleaned the shower while I was washing, rest of the house has been neglected for the last few days... <BR> Ha... Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:23:26 EST Autumn flush The last few days I have made serious inroads into my garden. The unusual season means it has been friable from spring right through. And now we have an autumn flush I want to take full advantage of the opportunity to move and establish plants and make the garden easier to cultivate by hoe. <BR> Usually I garden with a wire hook, I find it easy to get around the garden but not so easy to stand up and get into the house after a long session. Stiffness and ouches! But this year it has been dif... Sat, 18 Mar 2017 23:12:16 EST MIA for a few days Don't know what happened, I've been MIA lately. But getting on with things, swimming in the colder Wellington sea, gardening, and picking up Yoga with Adriene again. I made a good start on the 31 day Revolution when on holiday but on my return didn't embed it in my routine. I figured you don't have to do it every single day, even twice a week is enough. <BR> <BR> But actually I love it and miss it if I don't do more than that. And I can easily fit in four sessions a week. <BR> <BR> So I di... Mon, 13 Mar 2017 21:22:38 EST Holding on to the holiday I've been back nearly a week, including my four day work week. I got a bit lost in the mundane, but am clawing back that holiday feeling. <BR> My break was truly like a spa, with rest, swims, yoga, walks, and a strong connection with nature. My work days haven't allowed that but in my long weekend I have visited the beach for wading/swimming sessions at our cooler, grey beaches, picked up the yoga again, and been outside in the garden. <BR> <BR> I saw a baby barracuda on my Saturday swim. At... Sun, 5 Mar 2017 15:17:15 EST Home What a pleasant drive home it was. The weather was a little hot, but apart from that, the roads were not too busy and late summer is a beautiful time in New Zealand. <BR> <BR> It was a very peacable crossing in the ferry, and when we turned into the harbor mouth I stood outside at the prow, wearing just a light summer dress, not jacket, and watched us come in to berth. <BR> <BR> DH was pleased to see me, and made me a delicious fish meal, and we drank champagne outside in the warm evening.... Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:01:03 EST Fishies? To answer your question, OJ, yes. In the river there are little baby fish, I saw them in the shallows. Under the rocks at the far bank there are many eels. But luckily I didn't see any. I'm sure they knew about me, though. <BR> One of my friends was standing in the shallows and an eel came up and bit her on the bum! She posted a photo to prove it. Of her bum, not the eel, because it swam away. Eel is a delicacy in New Zealand and the Maori had significant eel wiers in some rivers. <BR> <BR> ... Sun, 26 Feb 2017 12:33:34 EST The river pix The rapids <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The big pool <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's quite long <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> PS it's in NZ Sat, 25 Feb 2017 09:07:30 EST The river I am holidaying in the valley of the Anatoki River. We hear the sound of the river day and night.. When it rains the water rises and the force of its heightened flow rolls the boulders over. We hear them as they grind against each other. <BR> <BR> This is a snow fed river and the water is deep and cold. Sometimes I am afraid that if I get into the water my feet will be numbed and will become so cold that I won't be able to negotiate its boulders to get out. We talk about being so cold that... Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:35:45 EST Flippers Yesterday I was busy all day but headed off for a swim in the evening. I found a beach that had surf, quite unusual for Golden Bay which is shallow and warm. Played in the warm surf and got home after dark. <BR> Today was a friend's birthday so I made a chocolate bean cake for him, and some peanut cookies for the people working on the bathroom. I'm not going to see it finished until next time. <BR> As for me, I spent the afternoon at the beach with friends. One of them lent me a set of flippe... Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:10:37 EST Things that go bump in the night I was so chillaxed yesterday, pretty much all I did was reading and yoga. It was very hot but I didn't even go for a swim. <BR> <BR> I made banana fritters, though. The first banana I have had for a while. They are easy, mash a banana, mix with an egg, cook on a griddle. Yum! <BR> <BR> So here I am in bed, well slept, but I've just been woken by the death shrieks of a creature, not quite sure what. We have some introduced predators here in NZ. Rats, stoats, possums in particular have laid ... Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:03:02 EST Big swim at the beach I had to go to Takaka township. There were serious roadworks on our gravel road. I'll try to post a picture. I'm driving my townie car, it is low to the ground so I found navigating this something of a challenge. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> But I got there, did my errands. <BR> Had a chai at Dangerous Kitchen, sitting under their grape arbor. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 20 Feb 2017 05:37:34 EST Stepping it out First it rained, <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> then the sun came out and it was fiercely hot. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Hot enough to dry three loads of washing. <BR> <BR> Despite three separate visitors turning up as I was on the mat, I did my Yoga with Adriene. Loving it, but it's hard! Modifying to suit my present ability. The s... Sun, 19 Feb 2017 04:43:58 EST