VEGAN ANZAC BISCUITS + HISTORY LESSON


This year I've been eating mostly animal-product-free; I haven't written about this on the blog yet but will save that for another day. Today we talk ANZAC biscuits. First, a history lesson:


"The army biscuit, also known as an Anzac wafer or Anzac tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat them as porridge. It is said that biscuits with a similar recipe to the one we knew today appeared in magazines under different names, sometimes called "Rolled Oat Biscuits" or "Soldier's Biscuits". The current name only came about after the legendary ANZAC Gallipoli Campaign.Anzac biscuit recipes, in the form we know them today, began appearing in cookbooks in the 1920s. As World War One drew on, groups including the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church groups, schools and other women’s organisations would spend large amounts of time baking and packing Anzac biscuits. To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins, such as Billy Tea tins." 
Source: skynews.com.au

I must admit I was nervous this afternoon when I set out to try a vegan variation of my Grafton Nanna's tried and true recipe - I wasn't confident it would work. To make a fair comparison, I made half of the biscuits using butter, as per the original recipe, and the other half (the ones with the hearts) using mild olive oil. I'm thrilled to say that the vegan versions turned out amazingly, in fact, I like them better than the butter versions!

Here's the recipe:

*1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
*3/4 cup desiccated coconut
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1 cup rolled oats
*125g mild olive oil
*2 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup
*1 teaspoons baking powder or bi-carb soda

Preheat oven to 170C fan forced. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine the oil, honey and water in another small bowl until well incorporate. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Roll spoonfuls of mixture and place on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Flatten with your palm. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.

Note: Make sure that you use a mild olive oil (it will be called 'mild' or 'light' on the bottle) as regular extra virgin olive oil has too strong a taste, and won't be nice at all. You could also try coconut oil if you prefer (I'm not a huge fan as the taste tends to take over).

Showing appreciation through baking.
Lest we forget.

9-5 WINTER WORK WARMERS

What is going on with the weather today, New South Wales?!

This morning I lost a good friend. My favourite umbrella. For years I have been smugly cavorting with my beloved, trustworthy brolly. Come light sprinkles or torrential downpours, she and I would make our way through soggy streets, looking down upon inferior umbrellas that could not withstand windy challenges. They turned themselves in and were discarded on the pavement. All around us it was an umbrella graveyard; we chuckled and pranced merrily along.

Today, my smugness was blown to smithereens in a catastrophic display of brolly comeuppance. My umbrella turned inside out. I blinked, and she was gone with the wind. It was every iota of humiliation that I had always imagined but seldom feared.

R.I.P umbrella. Thank you for your service.

This got me thinking, on a day like to today (when we would rather be at home in our trackies) besides having a reliable umbrella, how can  a 9-5 office woman better prepare for the chilly months ahead?





1. Hunter Gum Boots 2. Madame Flavour Tea 3. Max Brenner Chocolate Powder 4. Heinz Soup 5. Lush Lip Balm 6. Panda Gloves 7. Touch Screen Gloves 8. Amigo Black Blanket 9. Ugg Ear Muffs 10. Senz Umbrella 11. Gel Hand Warmers 12. San Diego Hat Company Fingerless Gloves 13. Dotti Twist Headband

As for the necessities...

PANTS
I actually despise stockings. Besides not offering the slightest bit of warmth (it’s like wearing a serviette as a winter coat?) they are hideously uncomfortable. How can a see through piece of fabric, aka hosiery, keep one comfortable on a frosty day? Anything that will tear unless you put them on with a pair of oven mitts, is not robust enough to provide winter warmth. Unless they are minimum one million denier, I don't want a bar of them. Even then, I have to buy them in Extra Extra Extra Long (even though I am not) because anything smaller and I have to contend with that low-hanging stocking crutch like I'm in kindergarten. You can bet if they're not hanging low, they're hitched up to your pits. Pants. What's wrong with pants? Get some today, at a store near you.

UMBRELLA SANS-DEATH WISH
It goes without saying that you need to spend some dollars on a good, sturdy umbrella. Those five dollar numbers are just going to end with embarrassment.

MITTENS N GLOVES
I'm a lover of gloves and mittens and always have a pair at hand during winter. Fingerless gloves, or touch screen gloves, may not be as fetching as the panda mittens pictured above (which I own, by the way) but they sure are handy for preventing Frostbite by Smartphone.

EARMUFFS
Don't knock em til you've tried em. Equally as handy for blocking out that ol' cranny from Payroll as they are for keeping toasty on your commute.

NON-DEPRESSING SNACKS
Herbal teas, soups and hot chocolate. When you're holed up in an office, particulary one that insists on maintaining sub-zero aircon temps in July, you need to have a little warming stash in your drawer. When it's cold, I find my carrot stick snacks about as appealing as a fish slap, so it's good to make like a Girl Guide and be prepared with a few snacks that will satisfy a craving and (possibly) prevent you from making a daily trip to the nearest food court for all of the deep fried things covered in melted cheese.

GUM BOOTS
There's nothing worse than arriving at work with soggy ankles! A pair of wellingtons will keep you warm and dry, and will enable you to splash in puddles, so. If you must, pack a pair of flats to change at work and/or start your winter with some good boots to keep the tootsies cozy all day long. There really is something to be said for Happy Feet.

LIP BALM
Lest you get caught in a face-whipping, lip-drying gust, unless you want to get around town looking like Ronald McDonald, carry a lip balm in your bag at all times.

LAP BLANKET
Listen, I used to work in a place that was so cold in winter that my bones seized up and I died. In these situations, make like a granny, I say, and stash a lap blanket at work. Who the hell cares - haters gonna hate and they just be jelly.


That concludes my handy guide on how to survive winter in a 9-5 way! Please feel free to drop your own hints below. x

INDECISION



Lately I have been thinking about and dealing with indecision. No, scrap that, I have been indecisive my whole life! It's a pest of a thing, to be indecisive. This morning I had an epiphany. I was taking my dog, Lily, for a bushwalk along the firetrail that runs off the back of my parents' place. This track is where some of my best thinking has occurred. Oh yes, many juicy topics have been nutted out on that trail over the past decade. Call me crazy, but I am a big fan of talking to myself out loud. Hahaha, yes, so you think I'm crazy? That's okay! I swear by it. Sometimes when I'm trying to figure out an issue, I find that it helps to either talk it out loud, or tap it out in my PC journal. I've had a security-password protected journal (so don't even bother) on my desktop since 2008. I actually started reading back through it the other day... WELL, that made for some interested reading. o_0. More often than not, if I'm trying to work through an issue, I find that either typing it out or talking aloud, helps me come to a conclusion, or at the very least helps me to come closer to sorting things out. Don't get me wrong, talking to other people is great, but this way you get to come to your own conclusions, and that's really satisfying. Talking out loud is what lead to my "ah-huh!" moment this morning. Personally, I feel that a really good "ah-huh!" moment is up there with some of the most enjoyable things in life.

So: I was pondering decisions, and how I sometimes make ones that turn out to be incorrect, as we all do in life. Then I thought, you know what?

Sometimes you have to make the decision, before you can know what is the right or wrong choice. 

What do I mean by that? You can get stuck in a rut, going round and round in circles, trying to make a decision. You can weigh up the pros and cons, you can imagine how the situation will play out from all angles, you can try to approach the situation in the most thorough way possible, but sometimes, until you actually make a decision (as in, properly commit and start heading down a path) you might not know what the best path is.

Have you ever spent ages weighing something up, trying to make the right decision  whether it be something as basic as what takeaway to order for dinner or whether to attend an event, or something life-altering such as moving cities, studying or changing jobs  then you made what you thought was the best decision, only to then experience emotions about that decision which then led you to question the decision? Let's use the important analogy of takeaway food. You're trying to decide between Pizza & Thai for dinner; you spend two hours weighing up the decision, before finally declaring that you want Thai, only to be suddenly flooded with horrendous feelings of sadness and remorse. Ergo, you really wanted pizza, you just didn't realise it til you committed to a choice.

Change your mind and have the pizza.

So what I'm thinking is: alleviate your guilt, and give yourself a break if you make a decision and start heading down a path only to start having regrets. There's no shame in backtracking, in fact, I think it shows gumption. What's more stupid: changing your mind, or sticking with the wrong decision just to preserve your ego? Regrets do suck, but they can be very useful if they alert you that you're doing something/heading somewhere you're not too fussed about. Think of regrets like helpful signals, telling you to think and possibly reassess. The same can be said for many uncomfortable emotions. Feeling shit? Good. Why are you feeling shit? Fix it.

So, basically, if I'm really struggling with indecision in spite of trying my level best to make the "right" choice, I'm going to make an effort to just DECIDE, even though it can be scary (nothing scarier than ordering Thai when you actually wanted pizza) and start heading down that path, and see how it feels. And if it feels wrong, I'll to not beat myself up, but to focus instead on taking actions to correct things, even if it means changing my decision completely. You have to stop caring so much what other people think about you and your life decisions, because your happiness is the only thing that matters. We're no use to anyone, if we put up with situations that make us unhappy, just to appease others, or because we're scared. When all is said and done, sad sacks aren't particularly useful.

If you think about it this way: if you decide to start heading down a path, and it turns out to be a not-so-great one, you can (often*) take steps to correct that, and this process will (often) be easier in the long run, than just staying stuck in the whirlpool of indecision, and possibly always wondering "what if?".

Sometimes when I need to nut things out, I also put them on this blog :)

*Disclaimer: Does not include the decision to explore parenthood.