Caterpillar Contemplations

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu


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Apricot Trail Bars

Apricot Trail Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup pepitas
1 cup chopped turkish apricots
125g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey (or rice malt syrup)

Method:

Grease a baking pan and line with baking paper (optimal size is 3cm deep, 16cm x 28cm).

Toast the rolled oats, wheat germ, chia seeds, sunflower kernels and pepitas in frying pan over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon.  Add the coconut and continue toasting until golden brown (approx. another 4 mins).

Transfer the toasted seeds into a bowl and allow to cool.

Stir in apricots.

In a small saucepan, combine hte butter, honey and sugar over a medium heat, stirring continuously (3-4 minutes) until the sugar is fully dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low heat and simmer (without stirring) for 7 minutes.  The syrup is ready when a small portion forms a soft ball when dropped into ice-cold water.

Add the syrup to the dry ingredients and combine well.

Transfer the mixture into the baking pan, press firmly with a large metal spoon to ensure densely packed, with an even surgace.

Allow to cool on the bench (do not refrigerate) before cutting into bars.


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Cocoa and coconut balls

Cocoa and coconut balls

Great for a study snack and energy boost.

Makes 12

1/2 cup linseed
3 tbsp sunflower kernels
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder)
1 pinch of iodised salt
3 tbsp honey or rice malt syrup
3 tbsp desiccated coconut

 

Grind linseeds, sunflower kernels and sesame seeds in a clean coffee grinder.

In a bowl mix all ingredients together – keep aside 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut.

Combine with wooden spoon or food processor.

Form into balls and then roll them in the remaining coconut to coat.

Refrigerate before serving.

 

Suitable for freezing

 


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Warm Chilli Chicken Salad

Warm Chilli Chicken Salad

Serves 4

Salad Dressing:

2 tbsp Sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 whole lime squeezed
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh corriander
1 small chilli finely chopped – no seeds (unless you like it hot!)

Add all ingredients to a small bowl or jar and stir through until mixed.

 

Salad:

Large bowl of mixed salad leaves
1/2 cup of cashew nuts – lightly crushed
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber quartered and chopped (Lebanese is best for this salad)
1/2 packet of snow pea sprouts
Handful of coriander leaves
500g chicken breast

Add to cashew nuts, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and coriander  to mixed salad leaves and gently stir through 1/2 salad dressing. Set aside.

Cut chicken into slices and brown in frying pan.

Serve salad onto plate, forming a peak.

Place warm chicken strips onto salad mix, forming a teepee.

Dress salad with snow pea sprouts, drizzle with remaining dressing.


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Ethics and Choice

I think we’re often bewildered by choice. We’re overwhelmed with information and often we process so much on a superficial need-to-know basis that we overlook important factors in the decision making process.

Well at least I know I do.

I became aware of ‘choice’ during my period of time working for Gene Ethics and with the wonderful influence of my friend Celia.  When I started to become aware of all the things that were genetically modified and legally allowed to be in our foods … it changed the way I shopped.  And, as way leads on to way, I found a little green book at the sustainability festival in Melbourne.  This little green book was an ethical consumer guide and it radically changed the way I expressed my consumer power.

Why does consumer power work where a petition wouldn’t?  It affects the pockets.  If enough people DON’T buy a product – the unethical corporation producing that product loses money.  Money speaks very loudly.  Why are so many people up in arms about the Carbon Tax?  Well it certainly isn’t because they feel we’re not doing enough to save our environment – it’s because of their pockets.

But it is a minefield, because it would be simple enough to say “avoid X” because they kill dolphins.  However X also owns products Y and Z but they don’t display this fact except for some small writing on the back – and I know that at the end of a long day / week / month – checking every item to see who produces it can be both time consuming and draining.

Hence why – like in any major project – I believe in starting small.  I already have a list of products I DON’T buy.  If I want oats, for example, I’ll choose to purchase them from a company that doesn’t ship baby formula to 3rd world countries without adequate clean drinking water.*

So … please … when  you start making wise choices. When  you start investing your money where your beliefs are, don’t allow yourself to be drowned in the vastness of unknowing – just start at one point, make one change – then move onto the next.  And seriously – if it means NOT having your favourite chocolate bar and that stresses you out – then take a moment to put it in perspective: my son earns pocket money for feeding the cats and other simple household tasks; other children are forced into slave labour to pick cocoa under inhumane conditions where they are not adequately fed, let alone allowed to taste chocolate.

But what is my little chocolate bar going to do?  It’s only $2.00.  Yes.  But your $2.00 and your neighbours $2.00 because you talked about it over the fence while hanging out the washing and their child’s $2.00 because they talked about it at the dinner table and the child’s friend’s $2.00 … you see what I’m getting at.  Besides, when you do the research and make the switch to a better, more ethical company – not only are you stopping the baddies but you’re helping the goodies.

Please – put your ethics into action.  Help me spread the word.  Help me to choose better. Share with me stories about companies who do the wrong thing so I can voice my choice and not support their practices (please email them to me, don’t add them to the comments).  Because I know I have a LONG way to go.  I buy organic milk because of the extra hormones and antibiotics in standard milk** but I also shop at Coles and Woolworths which have countless strikes against their name.

A good place to start is to get informed and a good place to start that is at the Ethical Consumer Guide.

* Obviously there is a whole lot more to that little story.
** Due to mistreatment of cows (yeah they may not be a cute and cuddly puppy but they still deserve good treatment).  Over production of milk leads to ulcers and sores on the udders.  These ulcers and sores spill puss and blood into the milk which then gets zapped to kill off everything so it’s safe to drink.  Farmers treat these cows with antibiotics which also goes into the milk.


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GPS to the Great Cookie Caper

Actors movements for 1/3 of a scene in The Great Cookie Caper

Week 1 of rehearsals and all is well.

I didn’t follow my own advice and the second piece, The Great Cookie Caper, wasn’t finished until … 1pm yesterday – leaving me with enough time to: print, drive to work, photocopy (very excited to find out photocopier could punch holes) and prong (my technical term for binding the scripts together with fancy steel prong things) the scripts before the students arrived.

However I didn’t bother with a read-through for the Juniors and Intermediates as it would, quite frankly, be a nightmare.  Instead I got them on their feet and, with a little bit of shouting and clanging (literally) of cymbals, marched them through the first scene.*

The picture shows the movement plan for some of the actors for 1/3 of a scene.  Complex?  A little.  Hence why I did the pretty picture.  I was actually using that pretty picture as a procrastination tool to not write the script, thinking it would make the writing of the script easier – which it would have, had I had more time to write.

The second half of last night went exceptionally well.  Three scenes blocked out.  If only I had more time.  I feel light years ahead of where I was this time last year (for last year’s “end of year production”) but I’m still regretting not starting sooner. Oh well – I’ll do better next year!!  Hmmm. What to write for next years shows.

As I fell into bed last night I gave myself a little pat on the back.  I’ve written 5 plays now (of varying lengths) – being a playwright was one of the (many) things I wanted to be when I grew up.  Looks like I’m making steps in that direction …

* BTW, the clanging of cymbals is not part of the scene, just an ingenious way to get them to *&%^ up.


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Productive Procrastination

Play related writing snacks

I’m a pro at procrastination.  I make my procrastination so productive that I am often misguided into believing I’m accomplishing truly important things – I don’t even realise I’m procrastinating until an impending deadline slaps me in the face.

Lets call the deadline – tomorrow.

Lets call the project The Great Cookie Caper.

And then let us reflect on all the productive tasks I completed in lieu of writing.  I swam (great for my health) and took my son swimming (good Mum), threw the ball with the dog (responsible pet owner), I replied to emails (responsible employee), I wrote show related emails (once again responsible employee), I communicated with a student (developing self esteem and rapport), wrote more work related emails (proactive AND responsible employee), changed the sheets on the bed (hygienic), photographed my play related snack break (fuelling the brain cells with sugar) and spent a small amount of time developing my in game civilization (Civ V) which has absolutely no effect on the actual world (de-stress).

To be fair, I did actually write today.  I’ve produced 13 pages of a … hmmm … 22 page script ( I want the show to be approx. 45mins) – but I marvel at the fact that I am now a wee bit stressed about the pressing deadline and am still finding time to procrastinate by writing this blog. Which IS productive as I committed to 35 days of blogging.

And now … as this blog draws to a close … I find myself looking around for other productive non essential tasks. Surely there is more?  Please.