Saturday, January 31, 2009

Posted by Picasa

pleasures, little things



When you wake up in the morning, stretch your arms, breathe deeply and welcome the gift of another day…………….

We all have dreams, hopes and private thoughts that are part of life. We all know that they might nor materialize, but we must create days that have special moments and that is, to have pleasure from little things.

Flowers. Have a bunch of fresh flowers some where in your home. If they are out of season or costly, buy one or two and let them spread their beauty all over. Flowers are alive and have a magic called energy. The color, the fragrance and the slight motion as the wind blows reminds you that this is life. I studied IKEBANA and the design of a few blooms, is such fun to create. The centre piece of a table can be a potted plant, three or five blooms or even a rose in a bowl of water. I add crystals to the water and they sparkle with life.

When I buy plants for the garden, I use them indoors for a few days. They look great in a salad bowl or on a small tray.
My herbs on the window are often used for a centre piece and look great with a few fruits around it or some bright peppers and onions. So be adventurous....................

Books. I have a coffee table that always had the latest magazines and a good book or two on it. It was planned to make my kids curious and it worked. Today the are avid readers and love to browse through National Geographic, art books and books of all subjects from Yoga, Business to Travel and animal books, ecology and life.

Music. We all like different music and generally we have music on quietly. I find that turning off the TV can be good. The focus changes from looking there, to looking and listening to each other. There are families that watch TV instead of asking each other about their day, dreams and worries.

Little things, small gifts, signs that you were thought of matter in the home. Fold the newspaper when you have read it. Wipe up the coffee that you spilt on the table. Rinse the odd dish. Share a cookie with the dog. My dogs give unconditional love and trust and we all need to care more about our pets, Offer to fetch the post. Check the petrol in the car, water and oil too. Be fair with the chocolate, do not leave an empty wrapper in the fridge. Share your best snack……………these little things give a feeling of care and respect for others.

Make arrangements and plan outings. .
The people who wait for a phone call or invitation, just wait. When I want to do something, I look at the list of people who might enjoy the outing and I arrange it. A coffee, lunch, visits to a great book store, a museum or pop in to see an old friend…easy to do. JUST do it. We can have an omelets and coffee at home with a friend.Create togetherness, a bridge game, sewing circle, recipe club, rent a DVD or simply have a chat.

Take time to speak and give your undivided attention to people you love. Write love notes and take time to read a good book or a poem with your grand child. These are treasures now that become memories tomorrow.Phone a sick friend and let her speak. Take a moment a day to think and smile at your secret thoughts.

I know this week will be one of joy for you, because you will create it. Have fun and watch the sun beams, the stars and the silvery moon dancing in the clouds.

Love and light, Rona

Monday, January 26, 2009

Posted by Picasa

hot vegetable meals


We often feel the need for hot, nourishing meals in winter and the idea of creating one that does not require hours ,is great.

Buy a selection of vegetables on Wednesdays, You can use the fresh ones for salads that day and steam some for Thursday. Plan the week end cooking. Soup can be made on Wednesday or Thursday and kept in the fridge. The vegetables for stews, quiches can be prepared and kept in the fridge too.

I plan to have a few main meals a week of salads that are fresh and served with baked potatoes, steamed or sautéed vegetables. You can use rice, couscous or pasta.
I like to steam sliced carrots, zucchinis, sweet potatoes cut very small, onions and garlic with a few chopped herbs of parsley and dill. You simply place them in a steamer and it takes less than ten minutes. I serve them with grated parmesan, feta or with a salad dressing poured over. You will find this filling and easy to digest. Any left overs just fall into the soup pot or blend them for the baby. Do not use too much garlic for the baby pureed food. For extra flavor add very little Marmite

The combination of vegetables is great but the idea of potatoes, carrots and pumpkins as a main dish works well. I often use baby squash, pumpkin or butternuts for a meal. I bake them and cut them in half.You can steam them and then fill them with a cup of crushed nuts, salt and pepper, feta cheese, cooked rice or wheat, sprinkle a little olive oil on top and bake them. Serve with pasta or simply whole wheat bread and butter.

For a quick treat sauté three cut up onions, two cups of fresh mushrooms, two cloves of garlic, with vegetable salt and pepper, in a little oil. Then add two cups of yogurt and on a low flame heat this with two tablespoons of grated cheese that you like, Add a cup of cut up chives or green onions, one yellow pepper and diced celery. This is great with baked potatoes or toast.

I love omelets filled with vegetables, Use two eggs for each person and beat them well. Use a large frying pan and make the omelets as usual. Just dice lots of parsley, a little oregano, diced onions and peeled tomatoes, salt and pepper. Pour over and slowly turn over. Serve with crushed whole wheat crackers and sunflower seeds on top. It looks scrumptious and tastes good. The idea of a great omelets has endless possibilities.
Asparagus, onion and cheese omelets are super.
Sweet corn, yellow cheese and crushed pecan nuts make a good treat.
Yellow and red peppers, peeled tomatoes and chick peas, onions and garlic cloves and cut up black olives are a good mix.
I often slice very thin lettuce into the mix at the end and it tastes good and looks fancy.
Mushrooms are terrific with eggs, Just cut them small and add to the omelets

EGG with Baked Beans.
You serve this dish with a bowl of mashed potatoes and kids love it as a meal.

One large tin of Baked Beans
6-7 eggs. Half a cup of milk or cream .Salt and pepper. One Tablespoon of chopped parsley. Two sliced peeled Tomatoes . Half a cup of grated cheese.

Heat the oven on medium. Take a baking dish and spread the beans in it. Crack the eggs into it and add seasoning and cream or milk. Bake for 15minutes Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake under the grill for a minute. Serve with the potatoes.


Chop washed spinach. You need three cups of spinach.
Half a cup of grated yellow cheddar cheese.
5 eggs.
One medium grated potato.
Salt to taste.
Half a cup of milk.
Two tablespoons olive oil.
Mix all ingredients Prepare a medium oven .Spread the ingredients into the greased dish.
Bake for thirty minutes . Serve hot .

Bake vegetables like pumpkin and potatoes, zucchini and egg plant. Steaming is an easy way to prepare beetroot, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, beans and cauliflower.

Have a warm day and bring the outdoor in. Flowers like bulbs are great indoors. Just throw a few bulbs into the fridge for a day or two, and then leave them in water overnight. Place them in a vase with pebbles or stones in it. .
They will grow and you will love to watch the progress from bulb to bloom.

Thinking of your busy week and just ket it flow. Find time to put your feet up, smile and enjoy a hot drink with a batch of cookies. ]

Do not postpone is too short and full of surprises. Love and light RONA

Saturday, January 24, 2009



When we have the family on Friday night, Sunday Lunch, Saturday brunch and for Birthdays and celebrations, we need to create New Age meals. These are different because people travel and develop fancy ideas of what they think a meal should be. They become vegetarian, vegan or need specially created meals Some . develop allergies to garlic, sesame, peanuts and milk products and need gluten free products. So you are challenged to produce the ideal menu for adults, kids, grannies and fussy aunts…………..and for those who have trends and fads that influence what they swallow.

I like to have a great starter , a salad, good breads, a main dish of protein or vegetarian, three vegetables and a dessert that blows the mind………………or just the best fruit salad you can create from the fruits in season.
A tired, worn out hostess will cause the meal to fail. So plan ahead and make it in your stride. No one wants you to kill yourself to serve a five star meal when you look like a fainted daisy. Make it simple, stylish with lots of imagination and have little surprises for the kids. You can make a buffet and ask the adults to serve their kids, cause they know what their preferences are. Tell the adults to help themselves and it makes for a relaxed atmosphere.

Winter starter. Make a good soup ahead of time and place it in the fridge. You can puree it as kids do not like vegetables in the soup. You can have whole-wheat croutons or grated cheese to add to the soup. I like to cut up parsley and chives at the last minute and stir it in. It makes the soup look fresh. Kids love a cup of soup with grissini sticks to dip in.

I make stir fry vegetables and serve them on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves with grated feta cheese and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and parsley herbs. The stir fry takes two minutes. Just cut up a few carrots, spring onions, an onion and zucchini and thin slices or cubes of an egg plant. Sauté in olive oil with vegetable salt and pepper for a few minutes. Keep warm and just before you serve the salad, spoon it on top. Sprinkle a few pecan nuts on top and serve with the dressing.

Last evening we were a few people for Friday night dinner. I decided to make a quick vegetable soup. I cut up two cups of pumpkin, two potatoes, two onions, six carrots, one cup of broccoli and two sweet potatoes. I added one teaspoon of vegetable salt, a dash of pepper and two teaspoon of sweet paprika. To this I added a tablespoon of parsley and four cups of water. This cooked for forty minutes. I blended it when cool. I added half a cup of sliced beans and warmed it up Warm the soup plates and serve the hot soup with a teaspoon of shredded parmesan. The challah was hot and served with butter and zatar herbs.
Salad was a medley of lettuce, assorted leaves, thinly sliced cucumbers, sunflower seeds and feta cheese crumbled on top. I mixed a dressing of olive oil, honey, crushed dried tomatoes, vegetable salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

The main course was to suit vegetarians . The other guests had salmon. The fish was done in the conventional way. I marinate it in lemon juice overnight. Then I add a dressing of olive oil, salt and pepper and half a cup of boiling water. I crush onions, garlic, spring onions and red peppers and cover the fish with thisand then cover it and bake for forty minutes in a medium oven.

The vegetarians had a medley of onion pie, roasted beetroot and rosemary potatoes. These can be done the day before and reheated. You will find the onion pie easy to create. Just use a pastry crust and fill with the following Sauté five onions cut up small in one teaspoon olive oil on a low flame. Add one cup cottage cheese, two eggs, celery salt, pepper, the onions, cut up parsley and two tablespoons of grated yellow cheese. Bake in medium oven for thirty minutes. This can be reheated and even used as a meal with a salad.

The beetroot were washed, cooked, then peeled and cut into cubes. Then sprinkle olive oil on them and add three tablespoons of dill ,cut up , herb salt and black pepper. Bake for twenty minutes.

Potatoes were baked and sprinkled with rosemary and olive oil.
Seeing we had a milk meal, dessert could be fun. We had pecan pie and ice cream , covered with chocolate.
Nothing is as wonderful as casual people who are good company, a warm room and a relaxed meal

Make arrangements to enjoy meal times, eat slowly, savor the food and make the moment a pleasure.

I wish you a good week of work, play and family time. Love and light Rona

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



I am happy to be online again after a visit to family in South Africa. The world is composed of so many different people and being able to understand each other is so special. Many people are going through tough times, financial and work problems, kids of ten who are behaving like nineteen year olds, adults of fifty who think they are twenty one, personal battles with health, unbalanced lives and everyone fighting their own little war….simply to cope and be at peace with each day.

A new page always gives the feeling of hope and we all have dreams and aspirations. Take the example of the new President of America, Barack Obama. The people are filled with excitement and pray for improvements that will give everyone a better quality of life, health care and adequate insurance for old age, that can be lived with dignity. We all want democratic ways and a caring world.

The first step is to begin with yourself. Create ten minutes a day to think. Give time to your wife, parents, children, the family pets and the people who touch your lives. They all matter. The world is "FLAT" and what you do here and now, can have an effect on then and there. It is easier to smile than frown, simpler to be kind than mean and far less complex to be truthful that deal with inexactitudes. Make yourself a better person and you will be amazed how this will touch everyone around you, each day.

Exercise helps to keep the body in balance. Good and careful eating is energy for the body without the stress that overeating and junk food causes to the physical well being of your body. Soul food is vital and it begins with empathy, kindness and consideration each day. Meditate, pray, read, write and share quality moments with those you love.

Let your plans for 2009 include work, play and charity to less fortunate people. You will always have time if you give time to others. I love the days when I am energized and can use a few extra hours for joy and laughter.

Plan meals ahead of time. That means thinking and making a practical list for the week. Buy foods in season and fresh fruits and vegetables. Organize treats that are filled with natural sugars and healthy ingredients.

Skip caffeine drinks, soda and sugary drinks, highly spiced foods and reheated meals. When you occasionally eat "wrong" let it be just that once. Opt for sensible and sane eating, drinking and selection of foods free of additives and from strange places or places that do not have recognition from the Food and Drug Division.
Do not swallow medicines and vitamins, without logical advice from your Doctor or Pharmacist. Check eyes, hearing, feet and general health. Make a note when you do it all annually.

Choose a new hobby every few months, find new and interesting books to read. Visit a museum and go to listen to live music once in a while. Meet friends and take time to visit the needy and aged people, who cannot get around anymore. Give them a few moments and listen to them………………It will help you grow and develop empathy and understanding of the troubles that they deal with daily.

I wish you all a good 2009 and thank you for reading my weekly news …..Love and light Rona

Sunday, January 4, 2009

rice easy ways


Rice is a classic food. It is versatile and easy to use. You can freeze it, use it in soups, casseroles and make endless salads with it. Puddings with rice are fabulous and you can create a base for vegetarian loaves and "hamburgers".
The secret of good rice is to cook it with the right amount of water….read the instructions before you cook………….
There are many varieties of rice today. I use natural brown rice, some white rice and wild rice.
For 250 grams of rice you generally need 500ml of boiling water and a teaspoon of salt. Please read the instructions, because some rice is par boiled and there are different ways to cook exotic rice.


Heat a little salad oil in a pan. Add one diced onion and clove of garlic and sauté for a
Few minutes. You can add spices like curry, coriander, some salt and pepper, chopped parsley and green onions. Add the cooked rice and stir through. Fry this and serve with chutney and raisins.

I cook rice and make a vegetable fry of chopped onions, garlic cloves, a grated carrot chopped red pepper and green onions, grated kohlrabi,a handful of chopped walnuts, and a tablespoon of tomato paste, salt and black pepper.and grated apple.
Mix this with the rice and fill zucchinis or red.peppers to the top with this mix, The peppers and zucchinis can be placed in boiling water for a while and they will be easy to handle and bake faster. You can add soup powder or soya sauce to the pan of water when baking these vegetables. They can be made ahead of time and reheated from the freezer. Remember to freeze food when cooled down to room temperature.


Cook rice. Use three cups of rice, two tablespoons of Honey, A teaspoon of grated orange rind, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, two Tablespoons of butter and half a cup of cream cheese. Mix all and add an egg. and a teaspoon of berry jam. Bake in a buttered pan for twenty minutes in a medium oven. Serve with ice cream or a fruit salad. Sprinkle pomegranate pips over it to make it look festive.
This is an easy dessert and great ending to a meal.

Make a mixture of two tablespoons of chopped dates, two tablespoons raisins, one tablespoons pine nuts and two tablespoon of coconut. Fry these in a little oil. Add two teaspoons soya sauce and grated orange rind. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and grated ginger. Mix well in the pan. Cook three cups of rice and mix it all well. Serve hot. You can serve it cold with a little mayonnaise mixed into the rice.

Use these for people who cannot tolerate wheat products and for people who need weight maintenance eating. I use the crackers with a little olive oil on them, grated cheese, or cream cheese and herbs and bake in the oven like a pizza or open hot snack.
You can bake any vegetables and pile them up on an oiled cracker and serve as a snack. The crackers can be mixed in a blender, mixed with butter and used as a base for a pie or cake.

Rice is "nice" Have fun using it.
Be blessed and may 2009 bring you joy and happy days.

Love and light From the faraway, nearby RONA

sane cleaning solutions


We all have to clean our homes daily
Floors, toilets, baths, mirrors, windows, carpets and beds……endless cleaning. Today we are swamped with instant easy wipe off solutions. The concoctions are impossible to analyze and we just use most of the miracle cleaners without really understanding the ingredients, the side effects they have or the strength they are made of. As a little girl , I remember the fertilizers that were used on the crops and the noxious odors that blew in the wind. The chemicals were effective against locusts, crop infections and used to get rid of weeds but I always wondered where all of this would lead to. Today we know that certain toxic materials cause asthma, sinus problems, eye irritations and skin eczemas.
Take time to go SIMPLE and SANE. Use water to clean, vinegar and lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and good cotton cloths to do the job.

Use a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Dust the area you want to clean and then wipe with the mixture. Clean newspaper crushed into a ball, dries it effectively. You can use a hair dryer to dry cut glass or ornaments. Mirrors can be cleaned this way too. Hydrogen Peroxide is effective to clean mirrors, as it leaves no streaks.

Use bicarbonate of soda and warm water to wipe the fridge inside. Dry with a good cloth. You can leave a small container with ground coffee in the fridge, which will absorb odors.

We all vacuum carpets but cleaning is a problem, especially when they are wall to wall. You can sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the rugs and roll them up. Then vacuum and use a soap solution that is mild to clean Use a carpet shampoo that is eco friendly and apply with a sponge. Leave to dry and brush it off with a hard brush.

BLEACH for WHITES in the wash.
Add Hydrogen Peroxide to a load of washing instead of a bleach. Use 3% strength.

I use 3% peroxide to do these jobs and keep areas germ free.

Use lemon juice in hot water to deodorize these before a wash.

The commercial sprays are very effective, but I do the job without all the chemicals. Firstly use proper dishes for the oven, Pyrex and dishes that you can soak after using them. I wipe the oven with warm water and bicarbonate of soda. Have a soft cloth or paper wipes to dry the oven. You will find it easier to wipe it clean while it is a little
warm. Always dry the area well..
For these items use fresh air and open the laces and let the shoes breathe. The kids should air them, all once a week. For quick cleaning place 3% hydrogen peroxide in a bottle and spray the insides. Use a little to clean the soles and plastic areas of bags and shoes. You will find that if a shoe cleaning time is created once a week, everyone will learn to keep shoes and laces clean. Learning to polish shoes and caring for what we have happens only by example. People still judge you by the shine of your shoes………….

Use vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean leaves, plants and garden tools. They will be deodorized and get rid of insects and aphids. Use to spray roses too. Take time to clean the house plants by wiping the top of the leaves with a little milk. Silk flowers can be cleaned with a hair dryer and then spray a little perfume on them. You can clean your vases with a solution of vinegar left in them overnight.

Have a good start to the year 2009 and I wish you happy house cleaning.]

Love and light Rona