Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Gall Of It All!

Having gall problems is not fun!

It's particularly not fun when you love yummy, interesting food.

It's really particularly not fun when your side hurts and everything that you eat which has a fat content of more than zero means that your side hurts even more!

So these days I'm limping my way through the kitchen, digging in cupboards and the refrigerator trying to find something, anything that is fat free and nicer than boiled rice.

OK, boiled rice is part of my stable diet at the moment but how to make that rice tasty is the challenge. Chicken, vegetables, fish and fruit are on the 'to eat' list. But so many of my favourite foods are off the list....yoghurt (which I love!!!), avocado, bananas, light sour cream, cheese and even too many cups of tea.....all a big no, no!

I'm sure that part of the issue I'm having at the moment is caused from the fact that my body is still adjusting to the recent attack. I'm also trying to be really, really good so that everything is ready to go for the operation.

If you are reading this and dealing with your first adjustment to a gall bladder attack, take heart...there are some tasty things that don't set you off! My absolute favourite, however is a simple jar of mild tomato salsa. Not too spicy and it has virtually no fat! Last night I fried up some large mushrooms and mixed them with salsa. Then I put it on rice. It was totally delish! I've also used salsa as a topping for meat instead of sauce. And it makes a great dip and spread as well.

So these days it's a forced diet. My friends tell me that I have never really eaten badly anyway, although do admit to having a weakness for take away food when I'm too tired to cook and for cooking cakes and biscuits (hey, I blame my Irish Catholic stock here...we like to cook and feed people!). These days though, I'm open to any suggestions for completely fat free eating! Anything to avoid the pain!

Picture courtesy of:

Monday, March 22, 2010

What A Gall!

When planning a big holiday, the one thing that sits in the back of your mind is the worry of the possibility of the unknown. Naturally, I worry mostly about sickness with the kids, accidents etc etc. But it is not the kids that have me stressing over thwarted holiday's me!

Last night, just prior to bed, I started feeling pain in my abdomen. Just a bit of indigestion, I thought....until I was buckled over in pain hours later. I tried everything....nanna remedies, codeine and hot water bottles. After a night of no sleep, I relented and rang an ambulance who diagnosed......gall bladder!!!!!

Omg! I thought that gall problems were an old person's illness!!! Apparently not! In fact, I've found out today that if there is a family history (tick!!) then you can be more prone to them.

The paramedics offered to drive me to the hospital or suggested that I wait for an hour or so for my own doctor to open. I decided on the latter. So after a day of doctors, blood tests, scans etc, I can now tell you that I have gall stones - one in particular blocking the duct in the gall bladder!

This nasty little invader has caused issues around that area...inflammation and a flow-on effect to the liver.

So what does all this mean? Operation!!! I'm not sure when but it will be soon so I will keep you informed! In the meantime, I'm on the world's most boring diet of bland, bland foods! Yuck!

But the best news....if it all goes well, I'll still be ok to travel!!! Counting down till June!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Igor Eat Your Heart Out!

Miss Ten has discovered the love of cartooning. This is her effort after watching the kids' movie, Igor. You might have to click on the image to read her writing!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Little Green.....Happy St Patrick's Day

I posted on another well-known site.....

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all my Irish family and friends, to those of us who have Irish blood running through our veins thanks to our amazing, brave ancestors and to those who just feel a little bit Irish today!

Today I'm thinking about why a celebration from the other side of the world is acknowledged by so many of us here. When I was growing up, my nanna (maternal) would always talk about us being Irish. It was her father actually, who came to Australia from County Armagh and her mother's parents who fled the same area. It was my nanna's father-in-law who emigrated here from County Cork, with his parents soon to follow. And it was her mother-in-law's ancestor who came here as an Irish female convict many, many years before. It was also the reason that my all of my aunts and uncles and my mother continue to carry Irish names.

So does this give us a right to feel such Irish affinity? On studying my family history, I am constantly awed by the bravery of the people who came here. To leave your home country for a journey that took months and could even kill you certainly meant that our ancestors faced an uphill battle from the beginning. Often they came here in complete poverty and ignorance to the conditions that lay ahead. I've no doubt that my great grandfather made the agonising journey with the belief that his adventure would strike riches through gold, only to find that life on the goldfields meant back-breaking work and disease that put him in a relatively early grave.

But it was these same ancestors who proved that they were survivors. They instilled in their children, not only a life ethic of strength and industry but total belief that Irish blood helped it happen. It is also important to note that most of these Irish men and women seemed to practise a belief that many of us could learn from today....that regardless of prejudices back in the homeland, you unite regardless of religion! Researching their stories has helped me to admire their tenacity that withstood the test of many trials. A walk through Gympie Cemetery reveals the strength of their commitment to this. Epitaphs which read 'A true Irishman' and 'Originally from Ireland' are spread throughout.

So today, I am honouring the families for Atkinson, McNally, Tennyson, Quain, McCabe, O'Connell, Tully and McCallum who were my first Irish-Australian ancestors.

Top of the mornin' to them, I say!!!

(Image courtesy of

Monday, March 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

It's been a while since I posted a good slow cooker recipe. The reason? Dear Husband decided sometime before Christmas that he wanted to cook the meals for a while. He held out for about 2 or 3 months but needless to say, I am back doing the meals now. And a good thing too, because my slow cooker was feeling neglected.

Did you know that you can convert simple, standard cooked meals to the slow cooker? Apricot chicken is a classic example of a great dish that so easily works in the crock pot!

I use this very simple basic recipe. It is fantastic for those mornings when you haven't got anything prepared for tea and decide that you would like to come home from work to the smell of the night's dinner cooking. And the good bit? Everyone in my house (fusspots included!) like it!


1-1.5 kgs chicken pieces (I used chicken drumsticks only for this one!)
1 extra large tin apricots done in natural juice (ie not syrup)

1 packet French Onion soup

1 onion, chopped

1 chicken stock cube

1 cup water

Light sour cream

Parsley (if desired)


1. Place apricot and juice (entire tin), French Onion soup packet and chopped onion in the slow cooker. Stir.

2. Mix the stock cube in the water and pour into slow cooker.
3. Place chicken pieces in the slow cooker and stir gently so that all the chicken has been covered/glazed by the juice mixture.
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
5. Serve on a bed of rice. Top with dollop of sour cream and sprinkled parsley.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Favourites at the Moment

Favourite Books: I have been reading like there's no tomorrow! For the mystery/sci fi lovers out there, there is a new JD Robb book - Fantasy in Death. Follow another adventure with Eve and Roarke. I love them still. This one started off slow but in the end, it pulled me in! For the romance lovers, I have discovered the Janet Chapman Highlander series. Ok, seriously light escapism but is still a fun read! And for the travellers like me, I totally enjoyed Almost French by Australian, Sarah Turnbull. Great true life read. Sarah's adventures as an Australian in Paris had me quaking in my boots in anticipation of our upcoming trip...and not in a good way! Parlez vous Anglais anyone??

Favourite TV shows:
I am loooooving Cougar Town. Omg, the mid-life crisis of a mid-life woman has hit a few rare nerves in my little psyche, I can tell you! And the on-going laughs aren't bad either!

Favourite Music: I love, love, love Mumford and Sons cd, Sigh No More. It's so different and an eclectic mix of pop, folk and possibly a bit of light country. Ie, it is impossible to pigeon hole into one category. I have played the cd many many times since I bought it and cannot recommend it enough. And if you don't believe me, then believe all of the Australians who voted Little Lion Man as the number one song on the Triple J top 100 this year!

Favourite Movie
I admit that I have nothing for this the moment. My head is still reeling after seeing Avatar in 3D. Anything since then has paled in comparison. Maybe I need to get out more! Lol!

Favourite ......

To finish favourite drink....soda, lime and bitters! A small amount of lime cordial with 3 drops of bitters and topped with soda water! Yummmmm!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Life Is Not Fair

We have a friend. I have known her for about 18 years and DH, even longer. She is a good person...a mother, a wife, a medical worker etc etc. She lives about a two hour drive from us, so we manage to see her a couple of times a year, however, we are in contact by phone far more regularly. It's more than fair to say that her husband and my DH are very close.

A couple of years ago, our dear friend was diagnosed with a debilitating illness. We were shocked but she was handling it. Medication became a part of her daily life. There was a hope that she would last out for years before this illness tried to beat her.

Last week we got news. Not good. She is in hospital. The possibility of full time care is very, very real. Her story is not really mine to tell, so I guess I've been vague. But it is an understatement to say that we have gone through many emotions over the last few days......shock, sadness, disbelief, anger, etc etc.

To see a good person who lives their life helping others become stricken by illness (be it terminal or chronic) is devastating. For that person to be someone that you feel close to is even worse. And for that person to be young, the mother of school-aged children and someone who already has faced many of life's battles, it's even worse.

My thoughts about our friend eventually lead me to contemplate all the strong women who have influenced my own life. Immediately, I think of my nanna who was a breast cancer survivor, who lived for many years close to poverty and who did not have the 'mod cons' that we have to help her get by. Despite all this, however, she still found time to enjoy the simple pleasures around her.....the beauty of a native flower, the surprise of a bird landing in the yard, unwavering love for her family. Despite the hardships that life threw at her, she managed to rise above it and left us with unending admiration for her strength.

Today, I am praying that my friend can find the type of strength that my nanna has. And that she can somehow live peacefully with the fact that her body is letting her down. And through it all, may she find that same strength of love through her young children and her extended family.

Sometimes, life just doesn't seem fair!