Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fare-thee-well 2011 (or not, I don't care)

Dear 2011,
Bite me.
I'm glad to see the end of you.
I had such high hopes for you.  2010 ended up a shocker of the worst kind and I was really hoping you would deliver.  But you let me down.  Right from the start you were bad news.  I should have paid more attention then and not been blinded by the rose-coloured glasses I didn't think I was wearing.
Sure you had some good points - though right at the moment I am struggling to think what they were - but on the whole you sucked.  I'm glad you're over.  Floods, financial crises, rain, colder than normal winter, bills that kept coming, appliances that kept shitting themselves.  Truly, I am done.
Let your mate 2012 know that I'm watching.  
My expectations for its success are extremely low.  
Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Afterthought:  If you do want to redeem yourself 2011, I have two tickets in tonight's Lotto draw - you know what to do.....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Cakeday!

There are a couple of souls in our family whose birthdays fall days either side of Christmas.  My sister two days before, my nephew two days after.  

Long has it been known that just because Christmas is days away does not mean one much larger gift can be given.  Do that at your own peril.  Nope, there must be two presents, one of which is to be wrapped in birthday wrap and opened on the actual birthday.  Take note.

This year my gift to both was one of sugar, eggs, flour and a whole lot of food colours.  

My sister's.....

(the story behind the cake - a couple of months ago my sister had a new cooktop installed in her kitchen, one that doesn't have a safety light to notify you that the plate is still hot despite being turned off.  She came home from work and dropped all her stuff (handbag included) onto the cooktop and walked away (the bench was full).  It was the smell of burning plastic and the thick black smoke that alerted her.  Hence, the handbag on the hotplate cake)
...and my nephew's.....

(the train is a wind-up one from the cheap shop.  I sized the cake to fit inside the tracks - only just after the addition of the icing - mental note for next time.   The coloured sugar balls were the biggest hit with the under fives)
And in between all that, I squeezed out a couple of christmas cakes, just cos I could.  

Coming up in January is something for the LOML (who is turning the big 4-0 but refuses to admit it!) followed closely by the wedding cake in February at which event I shall also be a matron.....update on the fitting-into-the-dress-by-the-date progress to follow....eeeeek!  There may also be a few more birthday cakes thrown in there for good measure - BIL,'s all under control...really!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And so that was Christmas

Phew.  Another one bites the dust.  Belated Merry Christmas Wishes All!

Christmas for the LOML and I is all about doing as little as possible.  At this time of year we've been working 7 days a week, about 13 hours a day.  So when Christmas Eve comes around,  the alarm clock is turned off, a post-dinner liqueur (or three) is consumed before heading off to bed safe in the knowledge that the phones can't ring in the morning if they're turned off and that Christmas is a lunch do this year so no one will be knocking on the door before 11am at the earliest!

The year we again hosted the Christmas Day festivities - putting on the spread for all and sundry.  I know, I know, why on earth would I offer to host with no time to prepare etc etc.  But I had an ulterior motive (insert evil chuckle here...)  By hosting, I got to crack the champagne in the AM and consume it well into the PM and then the LOML and I got to wave everyone off after the designated drivers shepherded crying, over-tired, sugar-high children into cars and nagged tipsy other-halves keen to continue the merriment to 'just hurry up already'.... and then we walked upstairs and collapsed on the lounge!  Nothing wrong with that at all!  Bwhah-hah-hah-haha!

The weather this year was perfect.  The clouds cleared and the threatened forecast for rain didn't eventuate - truly, it was like summer (hang on, it is summer.  dang it.  everyday should be like this!!!).  We headed outside for the day.  Fold up chairs, gazebo-awning-thing, fold up tables, drinks fridge in the shed, table laden with food.  Perfect.

After lunch and the chaos that was present unwrapping, a tarp was found and set up on the lawn, the hose turned on, bubble bath snaffled from the bathroom and the fun was on.  Memories of childhood summer created right there on a homemade slip-and-dip.

The big boys had their own fun with my nephew's go-cart, built by his father (my brother).  Never mind the fact that Super C has only just turned one and won't be able to experience his cart any time in the near future.....nor that it is more off-road-dirt-buggy than go-cart.....  I don't know if it was coincidence or not but half an hour after the beast was packed up and taken home the police did a drive-by.  Unhappy neighbours maybe?  

And so another year has been and gone and the new year is looming on the horizon.  The fridge is groaning with leftovers, the bin is stinky with prawn shells (ewwwwww!!!) and the countdown is now on for next weekend's celebrations to farewell 2011.  

I think I'm getting old.  I don't know if I have it in me.... :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

In My Kitchen: December 2011

Joining Celia and her 'In My Kitchen' posts - head on over to Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and join the fun....

In My Kitchen this month.....

......are some newly acquired big glass jars for my pantry.  Found on a bottom shelf at the cheap shop they are surprisingly good quality.  Only four (one yet to be filled) but they are all mine and will go a long way to keeping my flour fresh.  I'm keeping my eye out for more - they are a great size.

In My Kitchen....

.....the cake decorating tools are out in preparation for the creation of my sister's birthday cake for her birthday on Thursday.  Photos to follow....I can't reveal too many details in case she peeks!  I've a busy time ahead of me with another 3 cakes to bake and decorate in the next 6 weeks - two birthday cakes and a two tiered wedding cake - whilst also working full-time.  Hmmmm....time to work on my time management skills!

In My Kitchen..... the lovely letter I received from my 8 year old niece the other day.  She is such a loving and thoughtful little girl and she makes me smile every time I see her.  She also did one for the LOML though his was addressed to Crazy Uncle Phil!  Love her!

In My Kitchen..... the only Christmas decoration I could be bothered putting up at home this year.  No tinsel around the house, no wreaths on the front door, no fairy lights.  I feel like the Grinch.  One little Christmas tree on the end of the dining table is enough.  Truly, we are now nine days out and I am already looking forward to the end of it.  I don't know how many more times I can hear Santa Baby or Jingle Bell Rock at the shop without doing my head in.

In My Kitchen....

.....are the small saucepan (I'm sure it has a more fancy name than that!) and small demitasse (??) cups for the LOML's latest obsession - Greek coffee with his breakfast.  I was given detailed instructions from our friend Toula on how to make it and I'm pleased to say that I think I've mastered it, though a not-as-strong version as instructed!!  The little cups are from our shop - made for Thai tea but they are similar to the ones the LOML drank out of in Lebanon so they'll do nicely!

That's it for this month in my kitchen.  December is a horribly busy/ long houred one for the LOML and I (we have a gift shop), and I always get halfway through (about now) and start counting down the days till it's over.  Not the best attitude to have I know but with these long days I am starting to feel run down and tired.  I've started upping my dose of vitamin C each morning as a preventative and am making sure I get to bed early (as opposed to sitting on the computer reading blogs!).  I am looking forward to Christmas Day if only for the sleep in.  Pity the person who calls early and wakes me up!  That being said, my internal alarm clock will no doubt have me up and about not long after dawn anyway but it's the knowledge that I don't have to get up that will leave me refreshed and alert  :)

Merry Christmas In-My-Kitchen-ers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When good ideas go bad

It was a good idea.  In theory.  

It was the putting it into practice part that let us down.  That and the massive downpour of rain that had not long stopped when we got there that left the ground squishy and squashy and the water still running down the hill towards the lake forming at the bottom.

But, as the LOML says, once you commit to a solution, you can't pull out halfway into it.  And the commitment had been made.  Hence the outcome.

Luckily, my mum eventually answered her phone and was able to drive down (45mins one way no less) to pick us up.

That was on Sunday.  Today, three days later and no rain in between, we went down to pick the van up thinking the mud would have dried and it would be a simple case of driving on out.

Quite obviously the van and the mud had other ideas.  

Hopefully our neighbour and his 4WD will be free over the weekend to drive down and tow us out.

Some days all you can do is laugh.  Otherwise you'd cry.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stuff it

Remember my Monster Zucchini Club entrant?  Well that sucker, as suggested by Linda, was stuffed and served for dinner the next night.

I've never stuffed a zucchini before.  Sure, I've left a few on the plant a few days too many so they were effectively stuffed (as in, not good for anything other than the chooks) but I've never actively gone out of my way to literally stuff one for dinner.

Not to let that put me off, I gave it a good hard go.

And surprisingly, it turned out quite tasty!

The photo really doesn't do it any really was very yummy!
I chose to stuff my marrow with some roasted sweet potato and a little pumpkin (courtesy of my mum's winning fruit tray in a raffle she entered - she was on a winning streak because we also scored two meat trays in the same week as well.  But that's another story) plus some fetta and sundried tomato flavoured couscous to accompany the scooped out zucchini shell.  Topped with cheese, baked till golden and delicious, and then drizzled with some Asian flavoured chilli sauce, this little sucker will be seen again this summer for sure!

A good thing too, because the rain of this last week has seen another monster appear on the zucchini plant.  This one even bigger if you would believe it!  I think it will be salted (to draw out the moisture), sliced and dried into zucchini chips.  Apparently delicious with hummus....!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is summer? Really?

Today is the 6th (official) day of summer and this is what is the go in my lounge room.

A fire.  Complete with surrounding fire hazards but that's not the point (the fireplace becomes a handy storage area outside of winter).

The point is that last night saw two doonas added to the bed and then today I had to dig out the tights and jacket from the depths of the cupboard to wear to work.

What's going on?  This is summer for crying out loud!

Add to that the 5.4 earthquake over in Western Australia and the 'newly found' fault line up in north Queensland and I'm seriously considering stocking up on canned goods, building a bunker and retreating to higher ground.  

I think the doomsdayers may be right.  The world is coming to an end.

Either that or Australia is heading for the ice age and endless winters.

Where is my warm weather and sunny days?  

I have veggies to grow and fruit to pick.  Not to mention my new sandals and summer frocks just waiting to be worn.

Don't make me move closer to the equator.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Operation Matron Dress: Week 1

Phew, what a week.  One down, eleven to go.  This week could have been a whole lot better - I certainly had higher expectations for myself but rather than let that get me down I'm resolving to get it better next week.  One step at a time and all.  

This week was all about the sugar detox.  Despite my idealised notions that I don't consume all that much sugar in my day, clearly I was kidding myself in the biggest possible way!  I spent the first four days with a killer headache pounding its little heart out behind my left eye before I cottoned onto the fact that I had also given up the caffiene cold-turkey and perhaps that was the cause.....half a can of DC later and headache was gone.  Terrible.  Next week - cut out the DC.

Saved by the carrot.  (Photo credit)

I also ate the world this week.  Well, I could have.  I was soooo hungry.  Hungry for all the sweet, not-on-the-approved-no-sugar-list - chocolate cake, macadamia biscuits, ice cream.  Of course.  Instead I stuffed myself full of cheese and crackers and carrots.  Lots and lots of carrots.  My go-to food when all I want is what I can't have and my brain fog won't let me come up with a suitable alternative in a hurry.  If in doubt, make it orange.  Next week should be better after I've gone shopping.  Mental note for future lifestyle/diet overhauls: fill the fridge with good stuff before you start.
I started the week off well with taking my own lunch to work.  I even had a whole little stash of non-sugar snicky-snacks to get me through the afternoon.  Worked well until about Wednesday when the cupboard was bare and the fridge was empty and the inspiration was flagging.  Must go shopping asap and restock.

I haven't done so well with the exercise this week.  None actually.   I have plenty of reasons but no excuses really.  The headaches for the first few days saw me locking myself in the dark bedroom for an hour or so as soon as I got home from work.  The LOML and I have also been putting in some stupid hours at the shop - it's not called the silly season for nothing - so that is impacting on my opportunities to get on the treadmill.  I have to make this a real priority for these next three weeks especially - if I don't exercise now when I'm flat out working there will be no chance I exercise in the new year when things slow down a little....

On the good news front, my water consumption this week reached all time high levels.  Impressive for me because working all day every day in air-conditioning that is set to freezing doesn't inspire me to maintain my hydration levels.  But I persevered and and came out trumps.  Combined with the lack of sugar, my skin is now clearer than it has been in a very long time (major outbreak earlier in the week - getting the bad stuff out maybe?), I'm sleeping the whole night through (BIG thing for me - I usually wake up 2-3 times a night) and I'm not getting the three-thirty-itis sweet cravings.  I'm also finding that my appetite is reduced - I'm not as hungry as I was earlier in the week and I seem to fill up much quicker.  Nice.

So here's to next week and keeping on top of the sugar, making more lunches and getting some form of exercise routine happening!

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