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Archive for May, 2009

I Like Vegetables

Thursday Thirteen

When I was a kid there were quite a few vegetables I didn’t like. My parents, however, had rules. If my brother, sister and I didn’t eat our vegetables, we didn’t get dessert. It was as simple as that. I learned to slog through cauliflower and parsnips, very grateful for cheese sauce, which helped make the vegetables go down easier.

These days I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. My tastes have changed and some of my childhood hates have faded.

Thirteen Vegetables I Like to Eat

1. Potatoes. (follow the link to visit an earlier TT on potatoes)

2. Carrots – both raw and cooked. They contain vitamin A, iron, calcium. Great in stews, soups and salads.

3. Spinach – in lasagne or risotto. Contains vitamin A, calcium and iron.

4. Cauliflower – nice with a tomato based sauce or cheese sauce.

5. Mushrooms – we eat mushrooms with almost everything. Not strictly a vegetable. Vitamins B2 and B3.

6. Peas – frozen peas are an excellent standby when the vege crisper is almost empty.

7. Sweetcorn – microwaved with butter.

8. Pumpkin – great in soups, cold in salads and roasted.

9. Kumara (sweet potato) – roasted. – contain iron and vitamin C.

10. Broccoli – with cheese sauce. – contain vitamins A, B, and C.

11. Beetroot – yummy served hot with horseradish sauce.

12. Green Beans – in a salad or boiled as a side dish. A rough chopped tomato type sauce goes well with beans.

13. Brussel Sprouts – they go with chestnuts very well and a little butter. Contain Vitamin A, B and C.

Which vegetables do you enjoy most? Which vegetables did you hate as a child? Do you still hate them? How did your parents get you to eat your vegetables?

We All Scream Ice Cream

Mr. Munro and I watched a food documentary about the history of ice cream during the weekend. It was fascinating, charting the history of ice cream in Britain and giving us a glimpse of Walls, the ice cream people.

It’s said that ice cream was first invented by Roman Nero when he combined ice and fruit toppings. In China they combined milk and ice, and it’s thought that this method eventually made its way to Europe, the harbinger of our modern ice cream.

A lady called Mrs. Marshall invented an ice cream freezer. She was a famous cook, along the lines of Mrs. Beeton, and wrote four cookbooks. She also invented the edible ice cream cone, the recipe published in an 1888 recipe book. A very clever lady.

Check out this link for making Asparagus Ices. They look amazing and the recipe is from one of Mrs. Marshall’s books.

During the documentary they said that worldwide the favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla. Personally, I only eat vanilla if it has chocolate sauce with it. I much prefer a flavor such as hokey pokey or something with chocolate or fruit in it.

Do you like ice cream and what is your favorite flavor? What did you think of the Asparagus Ices? Would you try them?

Women on the Move!

Our local council runs a program called Women on the Move. Each month they organize a day trip to help women get out in the great outdoors, exercise and have some fun. I took a day off writing today and joined their day trip to Tiritiri Matangi.

Tiritiri Matangi means “looking to the wind”. It’s an island sanctuary in the Hauraki Gulf, not far from Auckland. Not that long ago Tiritiri was farmed and the original forest cut down to make way for grassland. The Department of Conservation took over the island and hundreds of volunteers replanted native trees to reforest the island. All pests such as rats, cats, mice and stoats were eradicated. Once this was done some of New Zealand’s rarer birds were introduced to the pest-free sanctuary.

Before we arrived at the island by ferry we were asked to check our shoes and remove mud etc. We also had to check our bags and remove any rats or mice or other pests we found. Luckily I was all safe on that score!


The weather has been horrid for the last couple of weeks but today it was a gorgeous morning. We walked through the bush, stopping regularly to check out the birds we saw.


Today we saw:
Kakariki (a green parakeet)
North Island robin
Kokako (very rare)
Wood pigeon
Takahe (thought extinct and rediscovered in 1948)

They have kiwis on the island, although they’re nocturnal so we didn’t see any. They also have tuatara but the winter sun wasn’t enough to entice them out of their burrows.

It started raining just as we headed to the lighthouse for lunch. There’s a takahe called Greg. He’s 16 years old and is very bossy and cheeky. He hovered under our tables and tried to grab our sandwiches if we held them within his reach. He wandered inside the coffee shop, much to the amusement of the group of school kids and tried his luck in there before one of the ladies shooed him outside.


After lunch we explored a little more, checking out the birds at the feeders before we headed down to the wharf to catch the ferry back to inner Auckland. I really enjoyed my day on Tiritiri.



This is what a normal takahe looks like. They normally graze on grass not sandwiches stolen from lunch boxes.

Amorous Antics

Thursday Thirteen

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m doing some research into Regency England. What started me on this path? I picked up a copy of The Amorous Antics of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne when I last visited the library. Reading it sparked a story idea.

I give you thirteen tidbits from The Amorous Antics of Old England.

1. Dating agencies are not a new thing. Matrimonial clubs were set up as early as 1700 where members aided each other to make a good match.

2. Bundling was practiced widely until the 19th century. During the colder months when a household retired early, a young lover would go to bed with his intended. The young couple were expected to keep on their clothes. Sometimes the girl was sewn into a bundling sack so that things wouldn’t progress too far. Of course this bundling procedure didn’t always go according to plan!

3. In old Scotland a couple could get engaged by going to a nearby stream at night, washing their hands in its waters and then joining hands across it. Poet Robert Burns was betrothed to Mary Campbell this way.

4. Originally an engagement ring was three rings held together by a small rivet. Together they were called a gimmal. At the engagement, one part was given to the man, one to the woman and the third to a close friend who witnessed the betrothal. They would wear the three parts until the wedding, where the gimmal was recombined to make the bride’s wedding ring.

5. During Anglo-Saxon times, if a man had many daughters he was deemed rich because there were many women in his household to do the cooking and cleaning, raise crops and tend livestock. When he lost a daughter to marriage, he needed compensation in the form of a mund or purchase price.

6. In the north of England, young men who attended a wedding vied to pluck the garter from the leg of the bride as soon as the ceremony was over. The bride wore special ribbon garters, which were easily detached. She also wore them low on her leg to discourage over familiar hands. As part of the deal the bride was meant to scream and run away. Sometimes the young men knocked the bride over in the melee.

7. In old England, women wore charms around their necks to preserve their virtue. This meant both charm and virtue could be dispensed with easily!

8. If an Englishman was cuckolded, he advertised the fact. A ship’s captain found his wife in a compromising situation with one of his sailors. He had her stripped naked and put astride a mast with her lover on the other side. They were them bedecked with streamers and carried around East London. A band and a crowd of onlookers followed.

9. Wife selling was another way to deal with an adulterous or unsatisfactory wife. They were sold through small ads in newspapers. Sometimes a husband was disposed of in the same manner, although this was rarer.

10. Prostitution was big in London. It wasn’t necessary to pick up a girl on the street. A book called Harris’ List of Convent Garden Ladies was published with around 80 women appearing in each edition. The listings included their name, physical attributes, specialties and charges. Around 8000 copies of the book were sold of each edition.

11. In the 18th Century there were brothels catering to women as well. The owners would often cater to women of a better class who wished to amuse themselves with young male clients.

12. In the late 18th century, it was widely believed that the cure for venereal disease was to have sex with someone unaffected. This led to the rape of a large number of underage girls.

13. When James I came to the throne, he introduced sumptuous new fashions. He also passed an act requiring young women to be seen in public with their breasts exposed to the nipple. This was seen as a sign of their virginity. In the court of Charles II, women who weren’t virgins exposed their necks, shoulders, arms and breasts. This was condemned.

So, who wants to time travel?

The Vulcan Salute

There are some things my husband can do that I can’t, and it just drives me crazy.

One, there’s the Vulcan Salute. That’s the gesture Mr. Spock and his fellow Vulcan do as part of their greeting. There’s a photo and a description here. No matter how I hold my mouth and pucker my brow, I can’t do it! And speaking of open mouths, yes, I do that when I’m applying mascara as per yesterday’s Ever Wonder.

Two, I can’t touch the tip of my tongue to the tip of my nose. Now, there probably isn’t a good reason to actually do this. I mean it looks stupid. Hubby can do it and I can’t. Annoying because he gets this smug grin that drives me crazy.

I can, however, tongue curl. Not everyone can do that so there! Evidently, it’s a genetic thing.

Can you do the Vulcan Salute, touch the tip of your tongue to your nose or do the tongue curl?

Holidays and Ever Wondered?

I’m so excited – no, I haven’t sold another book. In fact I’ve been receiving a lot of rejections, but I’m not talking about those today. No, I’m not. Hubby came home last night and said, “How would you like to go on holiday in September?”

“September?” I said. “I thought we weren’t going on holiday again until next September.”

He grinned at me and said, “How would you feel about Phuket in Thailand?”

My answer was yes. (of course!) and so long story short, we’ll be jetting off to Singapore and Thailand in September for 11 nights. I’m really excited since we haven’t been to Phuket. We’ve visited Bangkok and also Singapore, but Phuket is new territory.

A few days ago Sandra Cox posted the following called Ever Wonder? It made both hubby and I chuckle, so I thought I’d repost for your enjoyment.


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?
Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?
Why is it that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes? –
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

I wondered recently what Samoan men wear under their lava-lavas. In fact, I’m still wondering because I didn’t like to ask…

What have you wondered recently?

New Photos: Samoa

I’ve updated my photo album with fifteen photos from my recent trip to Samoa. Just click on the photos tab above and start exploring my album.

Comfort Foods

I’ve been thinking about food a lot this week, mainly because I’m having a bit of cut back and watching what I eat. I like food. One of my favorite meals is pasta. I love pasta and can eat it for several meals in a row. It’s a real comfort food for me. I’m also a big soup fan. There’s nothing better than a big bowl of soup with a couple of pieces of Vogel’s toast when the weather gets cooler. When it comes to dessert, I’d have to say ice cream, although I’m savvy enough not to buy ice cream these days. It doesn’t stay in my freezer for long!

What are your favorite comfort foods? Does your preference change with the seasons?

Big Feet and Socks

My name is Shelley Munro and I have big feet. Over the years I’ve become used to my big feet–after all, I’m atached to them. I’ve found a great shoe shop that caters for women with big feet. It’s all good, or so you’d think. My problem comes with socks.

My husband keeps stealing my socks. Last year I had lots of socks, but suddenly I have none. My husband has stolen them to wear to work. Once he gets his hands on them, I don’t want them back. If you saw the state of his socks and overalls you’d agree with me!

If I had smaller feet, I could buy pretty pink or lemon socks, ones in lovely pastel colors. I bet hubby wouldn’t steal those. Instead I have to buy socks from the men’s department where I end up with navy blue, white or black socks. These my husband steals. Today I purchased three pairs of socks in shades of green and brown. At least those will stand out in the wash, and I have a hope of getting them back. At the moment hubby grabs every blue and black sock he sees, they land up in his sock drawer and that’s it! I never see them again.

If this new strategy doesn’t work, I’m going to break out my embroidery cottons and sew decorative bands on the top of my socks. We’ll see how hubby likes black socks with hot pink embroidery!

What color socks do you have? Does anyone else have a sock-stealing husband? Does anyone know what happens to the lone socks that go off adventuring in the washing machine or drier, never to be seen again?

Clever Fingers

A complimentary fifteen-minute massage came as part of the package on our recent holiday in Samoa. Massage isn’t something I’ve had a lot of experience with in the past. I get a head massage whenever I have my hair done, and when I injured my shoulder in a fall, the physio treatment included massage.

On the first day of our holiday, one of our friends and I went off to check out the spa while the others attacked the golf course. (I say attacked because it was a brutal course and the sand bunkers were so deep, the players had to use the ladders provided to climb down inside to play their golf balls out of the bunker.)

My first real massage was great. I stripped off and wrapped in a towel before being escorted to the open-sided huts where they did the massages. They used coconut scented oil and below the table they had sweetly scented flowers and oils. The entire experience was wonderful. I thought about having another massage, but I have to admit the cost put me off a little. Feeling good is not a cheap business. Maybe when I win lotto I can have a massage every week.

Have you had a massage before? Did you like it?