Tag Archives: new beginnings

Avocado & 4-Bean Pasta Salad Recipe

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yummehhhhhh

 

So I don’t know how it is for those people living in the northern hemisphere, but down here in Australia, summer finally decided to join us. The last few days have been hot hot hot! Here on the Gold Coast, the temp last night was 28 degrees celsius, and today it was 31. I have had all the fans cranked on high, the blinds drawn, the windows and doors open, and still sweating. I have A/C but don’t want to use it all the time, I hate being in the house with all the doors and windows closed up. I would much rather go for a swim down at the creek or jump in the pool, but the heat has been so intense I didn’t want to take the boys out into the sun. Plus, the creek gets packed out on days like this. Instead, I filled a tub with cold water and K splashed about for a bit outside. I looked away for 1 second and looked back… and the water was all yellow and chunky. all up today we have had 3 ‘splosions’, as M calls them. Charming.

One of my New Years resolutions was to try and cook some new dishes. Sometimes I notice I get stuck cooking the same old things, week in week out. I rack my brains and try to think ‘I’m sure I used to cook other stuff! What else can I cook??’. But it always ends up being the same meals, whether it is out of convenience, allowing for the kids tastes, or just getting stuck in the same old shopping list items. So I decided to try and cook at least 1 new meal a month. I will post the results, good or bad… Here’s hoping to mostly good!

My first new recipe was an easy one. M and I wanted something light and cool, since it has been so hot, but still satisfying and filling. After 2 bites, M turned to me and said ‘Mum, this one’s a keeper.’ Haha. So cute. And K munched his down, too.

 

Ingredients:

1 packet of spiral pasta

1 T olive oil

1 can of 4-bean mix, drained and rinsed

1 medium tomato, sliced into wedges

1 avocado, cubed

1/2 a medium red capsicum, julienned

1/3 cup of cubed cucumber

1 & 1/2 cups of baby spinach

1 cup of slaw mix

Balsamic vinaigrette

 

Method:

Cook the pasta according to directions on the packet, drain, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Place in a serving bowl and mix in the olive oil. If you feel that the pasta is still a bit warm, pop it in the fridge for a half hour. I rinsed mine for several minutes, so it was fine.

Throw in all the other veggies, the balsamic dressing, and toss to combine.

Put back in the fridge for at least an hour, to allow the flavours to do their thing.

Eat, yo!

 

 

 

We had this for dinner tonight on it’s own, but this would also be an awesome dish to take along to a bbq. You could even add pretty much whatever you like to it.

I made about 3L worth of pasta salad.. I filled a 2L and a 1L tub after tossing it together.. And M even had 3rds!

 

Oh and yay, now that Survivor: South Pacific is over (shut up, I will watch whatever reality trash I want to after 9pm), I get to watch American Horror Story! The ads have been killing me (har har), it looks awesome, but I couldn’t bear to not finish watching the Survivor season.

Zooper Doopers and American Horror Story, hells yeah!

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Christmas Snaps

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Christmas Pretties

 

Well Christmas has come and gone again, leaving scraps of wrapping paper, metal twisty ties, and cookie crumbs everywhere. Rather than write a post, I’m just going to dump a whole heap of photos..

 

Oof in the ball-pit he got for his birthday

 

The kitchen during my 4-day baking blitz

Once again, I went mental with the christmas cookies, and left it all up to the last minute.

Christmassy 'Whatever Floats Your Boat' Brownies, with Cherries floating this articular boat

I also made Chocolate Brownies and handed them out with the cookies. I thought the decorations were a cute, random, last minute idea.

Dipping fresh cherries in milk chocolate... yummmmm

I made some Chocolate dipped cherries to decorate the Black Forest Trifle I was making.

 

Making Gingerbread Men

 

 

 

The Kitchen after baking about a billion different things

I think I did about 40 loads of dishes during the baking blitz.

The Gingerbread dough resting in the fridge overnight, it was too sticky to use straight away

 

Cutting out dozens of little men made of ginger

 

White Chocolate & Macadamia Shortbread Trees, dipped in more White Chocolate and decorated with cachous

 

K's X-Mas present from Jo

My friend Jo popped up for a visit on Christmas Eve.

I almost told her not to because I had so much to do, but then decided her daughter could help me decorate the baked goods.

The finished cookie jar gifts

Jo decorated the jars for me while I made dinner – Vege Sausages, Potato Bake, Peas and Corn, with lots of butter, salt, pepper, and bbq sauce!

 

The white-milk choc marble tart I made for Christmas Eve dessert

Since I actually had some ingredients left over, Tyrin (Jo’s daughter) helped me make this tart for dessert.

 

I don't know what I would have done without Jo!

Jo wrapped all my presents for me while I wigged out in the kitchen, trying to finish all my baking, cooking dinner, dessert, feeding the kids, bathing them, putting them to bed and cleaning the house. Without her help I probably would have still been up at 3am trying to wrap presents.

 

Finally, everything finished, and it's only 1am!!

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for…

 

The boys waking up to their stockings

 

M teaching K to drive

 

A small portion of the loot

After we finished opening presents, I had intended to make pancakes for the boys for breakfast, but (wouldn’t you know it), my stove top blew up or shorted or something… I had just finished making the batter, too! I tried ‘bush mechanic’ some pancakes by using the electric wok, but it sooooo did not work out. It was a good thing that Jo had given K a banana for his gift, because he ended up having that for breakfast, while M had cookies!

Dhara

By the time we got to Ferny, the pizza production was well underway, the house was covered in rubbish, and everyone was in a good mood.

 

Waiting for yummy pizza

 

Paul the Pizza Man (close relly of Con the Fruiterer)

Paul cooked some fabulous pizza’s, with lovely, fluffy bases. Special shout out to Mark for rolling the bases out using a jar of Capers, since no-one seemed to realise that the rolling pin was missing, until the critical moment.

P & Boy

P just made good friends with the silver chicken.

And to finish it all off, Black Forest Trifle for dessert..

 

I was a little nervous about making the trifle, since I have never made black forest trifle, and I was not really following a recipe, but made it up. It turned out really nicely though, and made a huge bowl. We finished off on Boxing Day. And don’t worry, recipes will come, I promise!

 

So how was your Christmas? What did you eat?

 

 

Birthdays, Beaches and B*tches

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Last week marked the celebration of Octoberfest in my family. For some silly reason, everyone got randy in the same week or so of February, and therefore one week in October is chock a block with birthdays. 2 of my older sisters start it off, on the 22nd and 23rd. My nephew is on the 24th. Another sister has a fake birthday on the 25th (scorpio wannabe much?). My Gramma is the 27th, and I’m the 28th. There are more birthdays – cousins, etc, but thats just the immediate fams. So we do Octoberfest and hit them all at once. One stone. Of course, since we are scattered globally, its not easy to do. Sad face.

For my birthday I had lunch with friends, then went to the local pub for a few drinks. My first proper night out! It turned into madness and left a really sour taste, but thats another story. The next day, a good friend of mine, Jo, came to visit me for only the second time in 2 years. It was only for about 2 hours, but totally awesome. Then, the next day she called and said she was going to the beach, and did I want to come? Yes! I even managed to talk her into going to Currumbin Beach. After the beach, we came back to my place with her daughter, brother, and bro’s friend to chill for a few hours before they left.

The next day (monday) was Halloween, and my friend Jade came over with her 2 year old son Tayne, and we took the boys trick-or-treating in the complex where I live. It was so cute, Tayne was dressed up as batman, and was totally uninterested in the whole event until he realised people were giving him candy. Then he was waaayyyyy into it! M was dressed as Dracula, and I put K in a little Superman suit. The boys scored, I was surprised at how much candy they got, considering Australia technically does not celebrate Halloween. There were heaps of other kids out doing it too.

Tuesday (yesterday), a friend of mine from my old old work, came down from Brisbane to stay the night with her boyfriend Clint. I am directly responsible for them being together, and they are such a cute couple. Think hipster, hippy, scientist, biochemical engineering, rock-climbing doofers. Thats Tara and Clint. Tara made a spinach and fetta lasagna and carrot cake, and brought it down with her for dinner. I  put on salad and fresh crusty bread, which we dipped in oil and vinegar. Our other friend from ye olde work, Nat, came with her husband and son, with garlic bread, guacamole, and cornchips. Not ‘The Best Guacamole’, but still okish… I’m a little spoiled now, I guess. We sat around on anything that was the right height, eating with whatever utensils we could find, drinking wine out of plastic cups, and laughed til our cheeks hurt. We laughed so loud that my drunken neighbour walked in my side gate, OPENED MY SIDE DOOR, and tried to join us. I was shocked, my friends thought I knew him, and it was a little confusing and scary until the guys almost forcibly got rid of him. Freaky. I think that since it was Melbourne Cup, he was getting on it all day, then probably came home and heard us laughing so loud and hard that he thought there was a party or something. Anyway.

After Nat and her family left, and I got the kids off to bed, Tara Clint and I sat up and chatted for a few more hours then hit the sack. This morning dawned so bright and warm that once I got M off to school, I convinced them to forget about driving home to study for exams, and come to the creek with K and I. It was so beautiful; not too windy, high tide, water was the perfect temp, and crystal clear. We splashed about for about 2 hours, then stopped to get some chips and head home.

After we polished them off, the crazy kooky scientists packed up and headed back to the big smoke, and I trundled off to get M  from school.

 

The most social I have been in months, maybe even years! All packed into 1 week. I had such a good time. I have some really, really awesome friends. I have some shitty ones too, but some make me smile so hard my skull falls out.

 

Photo’s to come 🙂

 

Oh! Here is a present from Tara and Clint. It’s great.

 

ok so I don’t know if that video will work, I don’t think it’s showing up, in which case go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIYvD9DI1ZA bloody stupid kiwi stuff.

The Big 3-0

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This is my 30th post!

To celebrate, I’m putting up a picture of my new car. Cos I can.

I picked it up today. Yay! It’s actually the same color as the one in the pic. And when the girl at QLD Transport was showing me the difference between the license plates, she let me pick the one that said MEH!!!! So now I’m going to be driving the MEH-Mobile.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-change (turn and face the strain)!

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In keeping with the theme of the month, I have made some more changes. What do you think of the new look? It feels much lighter, more fun. I love the riot of colors. Reminds me that spring is coming.

Tonight I made a chocolate self saucing pudding. M didn’t quite gobble it down as I expected him to, but then again he didn’t finish his favourite dinner (pasta) either, said he had a tummy ache. I have never quiter found a chocolate pudding recipe that encompasses both the taste I want and the ease I need. I won’t bother making something if the ingredient list gets too long, I just don’t have the time, and usually only have basic baking ingredients in my cupboard. But this recipe was not too bad. It certainly wasn’t a rich, chocolately lava type flavour, but it was not bland either. I actually think it was probably just right. Any richer and it would have been sickening, especially if eaten with ice cream or cream.

So. My Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding.

  • Serves:6 if you wanna be generous, or you could just eat it to yourself over the course of 3 meals…
  • Degree of difficulty:Medium
  • Preparation time:10 minutes (it actually took me more like a half hour but whatever)

Ingredients

Pudding

1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
Half cup raw caster sugar
80g butter, melted and cooled (can do this in microwave)
half a cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small pieces (I used some dark chocolate chips I had in the cupboard; while I was at it I decided to throw in some white chocolate chips too, just for good measure. So I actually used a lot more like 100g of chocolate)

Sauce

3/4 cup raw caster sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa, sifted
1 & 1/4 cups boiling water

Method

Preheat oven to 180C conventional / 160C fan forced.
Grease five cup capacity overproof dish.
Sift flour, cocoa into a bowl. Stir in raw caster sugar and dark chocolate.
Whisk the melted and cooled butter, milk and egg together.
Add to flour mixture and mix until combined. Put into ovenproof dish.
For the sauce, combine the raw caster sugar and cocoa together and sift over pudding mixture.
Pour boiling water into large spoon over the pudding to avoid making indentations into the pudding mixture.
Place dish onto a baking tray and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until pudding bounces back when gently pressed in the middle with your finger.
Rest for 10 to 15 minutes and serve with whipped cream and strawberries. Or just eat it straight up.

Excuse my dodgy food styling.. or lack of.

Adapted from the original recipe, which can be found at http://www.abc.net.au/local/recipes/2010/07/30/2969131.htm

Here’s Johnny!

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I’m Ba-aack!!

And I know you all missed me so so much didn’t even notice…

Finally got my new modem and connection sorted out.. Still have 101 other bills to pay, but I was going a little crazy trying to use my phone for everything.. It just aint the same!

So. Stand by for more brilliant posts, courtesy of yours truly!

And in the meantime, here are a bunch of links that y’all should just love.

This guy (or girl?) has such a cute way of presenting recipes, I don’t necessarily cook any of it but I love reading them. Maybe one day I will. This lady cooks some of the best looking cupcakes I have ever seen, and I drool just about every time I see them. This is a funny post that I think reminds us all of someone we know. And a definition of Karma that I can dig. This is one of my favourite sites of all time. And I gotta admit, this made me do a double take.

Anyway, hope you find something interesting in there.

Until we meet again….

Kyuss Lives! Except for you.

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Yesterday I was offered a ticket to see a band. The show was already sold out, and although I had never heard any of the band’s music before, I thought it would be great to get out of the house and ‘amongst it’. It had been almost a year since I had been out, last time being my friend’s wedding last year. But I was 6 months pregnant at the wedding, and didn’t even enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate, given my ‘delicate state’ haha.

The friend who offered me the ticket is a huge fan of the band – she even named her son after them. And we always have great fun when we hang out together. So needless to say, I was pretty excited to head out. But, deep inside, there was the worry. I hadn’t been away from K at night before. Sure, I have been to get a haircut, pick up some milk or bread, or the occasional school run. But this would be for almost 4 hours. At night. Usually K sleeps solidly from around 8pm – 12am. There is the occasional deviation, but generally that’s how he rolls.

So last night I beautified myself (as much as I could, considering my wardrobe consists of pre-preggy clothes that no longer fit, preggy clothes that look like the wardrobe from the movie ‘Big Momma’s House’, or mumsy basics). I straightened my hair, put on some makeup (really going all out here), and my heels. Have not had a need to wear them since… the aforementioned wedding. Love wearing heels.

So I get to the venue, a popular local pub, frequented by the party pack. My friend isn’t there yet, so I ordered my first drink out in over a year – Corona with lime. And settle in to wait for her. While I wait for her, a random punter walks by and starts chatting. I respond in a friendly but not encouraging manner. My friend arrives, and I blow the random off. We head upstairs to the live music room, where I am greeted with heavy guitar riffs, the beating of the drum kit, and around 150 ‘stoner rock’ fans. There was loads of black, dreaddies, piercings, funny hats, and that ‘rock on’ hand gesture. You know the one.

Around a song and a half deep into the set, and I can feel the buzz-buzz buzz-buzz on my hip. It was the dreaded Phone Call.

I ran outside to the DOSA so I could hear better.

‘You’ve gotta come home.’ It was C.

‘Why?’ Even as I said it I realised I could hear K through the earpiece. Screaming. Like, big time.

‘He’s been like this since you left.’

‘OK, I’m leaving now.’

And I left.  A 4 second explanation to my friend, then I flew out the door. I got home in record time – no speeding, I swear… And back to my poor little baby. When I burst in the door, I could hear his hoarse little wail, see his red swollen eyes, his little body curled into C’s. I grabbed him from C and cuddled him close, laid down with him and fed  him.

Eventually, like, 40 mins later, he finally settled. And I sank onto the couch. I admit, I was eager to jump in the car and catch the end of the concert. But I knew I wouldn’t. I knew I was where I should be.

I was disappointed, for sure. But I guess it’s just another sacrifice in parenthood. Last night, it felt like a big one. But you know what? This morning, in the bright morning sunshine, snuggled up with K while he is all sweet and sleepy, it’s not a big deal.

Not at all.

It’s fine.

I (don’t) Like To Move It Move It!

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Blech. I’m moving house. And if there is one thing that I hate, it’s moving house. Actually, I don’t mind moving, I hate packing. And then unpacking. And the inevitable vacating clean. I’m not moving very far – only about 25 meters away. I live in an estate, and I’m moving to a different unit within the estate. I’m happy about the new digs, it feels brighter, cleaner, bigger. Better. I’m currently in a townhouse, and the new place has no stairs, which will be great when K starts crawling. It also has a (teeny tiny) back and front yard.

YAY!

The house I am in now is the first place I have ever lived that doesn’t have a yard. And baby, I’m feelin it. Like, it might sound weird, but I feel totally hemmed in, having no grass around me.

Anyway. So it got me thinking. I realised I have moved SO. MANY. TIMES. Like, possibly on average around once every year and a half.

McPhail Ave. Can’t remember the next street name. Hall Drive. Brisbane Street. Barnaby Street. Ferny Road. Tyalg Road. Gibson Street. Beaver Ave. Ferny Road again. Brisbane Street again. And then where I am now.

So. 12 times in the… 11 years I have been out of home. Thats a shitload, and you would think I would be an awesome packer by now. And in some ways I am. Like, a few moves ago I got fed up with scrounging out the back of the supermercado for old frozen potato chip boxes, went to the local storage joint, and bought 10 massive moving boxes. And after I used them for that move, I kept them, cos they were awesome. So at least I have the boxes sorted. But this time around, I am wrangling a baby. C works night-shift, so he is asleep all day, then off to work just as I am getting M home from school and starting the ’emptyyourlunchboxandgetyourhomeworkstarted’ battle. So not much help. I have approx 4 days left til I get the keys to the new house, and I have packed 3 boxes.

Time to get my thumb out, hey?! After I finish watching Winners and Losers…

Procrastination. The moving girl’s enemy.

And so it begins…

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Ok, so I have been thinking of blogging for a few years. I have always hesitated, because I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say. But then I look back over my life in the last few years, and realise I have had so many exciting things happen to me.

I have left my country (Australia), and road tripped the West Coast of the USA with my son when he was just 4. I was based in Las Vegas, and hit up Mexico and Hawaii. I got home in time to be the Hag of Honor at my little sisters wedding. I met and fell in love with a wonderful man, who it turns out, I have known since I was 6. I got engaged. I started Uni. I moved interstate. I got pregnant and had a baby. I took a break from Uni to be a mumma again.

All the while, I partied. Hard. Well, ok, not while I was pregnant. But the rest of the time was filled with boozy club crawls, tequila shots & dirty martinis, dancing in the middle of the bush to hypnotic trance tunes, random and hilarious encounters, loads of vom, and some seriously embarrassing Kodak moments.

See, I became a mumma when I was just 18, which is the legal age here in Australia. So while my friends were out getting their drink on, and, well, being young adults, I was at home changing nappies, paying bills, and worrying about what to cook my family for dinner. Then all of a sudden I found myself as a single parent. It took me almost a year, but by the time my son was 3 I was making up for all the time I had lost. While being a single working parent. When I found myself burning out, I packed it all in, bundled my son and I up, and hit the skies. We spent around 6 months travelling, visiting family, and having new experiences. And since I was based in Vegas, suffice to say there was still a lot of partying. It wasn’t easy. But it was all part of my journey.

Now the partying has died down, and I have 2 beautiful boys.

I’m currently taking a break from my degree, and decided that maybe writing this blog would be the best way to keep my mind sharp. Blowing raspberries and singing nursery rhymes is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But some days I feel a little stagnant. I see a bookstore and it’s like the call of the wild. I talk to friends who are deep into their degree’s, and start to feel out of my depth.

Like, I’m really good when it comes to building a tower with blocks, but I can’t remember how to build a cumulative sentence.

So. this blog is born. I named it domestic dreamer, because I’m always dreaming about how wonderful my future will be ‘if I can just have HER hairstyle’, ‘if I can just get that floor lamp’, ‘if I can bake those triple chocolate chip cookies’, ‘if I can just get the latest John Grisham’, or most importantly, ‘if I can just finish my freaking degree, get an awesome job, and make loads of money!’

So bear with me while I try to get there…