#526 Blessing in disguise

As it has been for the last little while, we have been thinking and planning for our upcoming kitchen reno. And as I look forward with eagerness to the new, clean, fresh-looking cupboards and benchtops and appliances and work spaces, one little nagging thought has continually entered my mind…

Will I have any more storage space?

Storage for me, is a big thing. I am not just a hoarder. But in the kitchen, I do like to experiment. Cook like this, cook like that. I won’t ever say no to a different recipe, and if I fear a certain way of cooking/preparing/baking a dish, my curiosity and fascination always wins out and I do it anyway.

Curiosity is a powerful force. I find I rarely fail in these endeavours. I’m not saying I’m a Masterchef… but I do well.

So I have bagged up a few or so items/appliances/crockery/servingware in my culinary adventures. And I don’t intend on parting with them anytime soon… in fact, I plan on ADDING to the family.

Sheesh. Don’t tell Hubbie.

Which is why I look with concern as I scan my kitchen, my old, out-dated kitchen, NOW. I stare at it, squint my eyes, and think of the new kitchen… and I honestly don’t think there will be much additional storage.

This is a concern, because as mentioned in a post late last year, I still have about 7-8 boxes crammed-full of kitchen stuff, that currently does not fit in my kitchen. They have been piled into corners elsewhere, but currently are out of action…

Brow-furrowing issue. Hrmmmm….

Cue the inconvenient “gas heater break-down problem,” A.K.A. Blessing in Disguise.

So today, I found out, it probably wasn’t worth fixing our old heater that broke down on us last Friday morning. Sure, it could be repaired…. but after forking out even more $$$, there was no guarantee that another major issue wouldn’t occur for this almost 40 year old (not even exaggerating) heater that was seriously getting on.

Needing a new gas heater throws a spanner in the works, in that it obviously requires $$$, bills are coming in, we are focusing on the kitchen primarily, and also, it will need to be rejigged and refit outside.

Our current gas heater sits inside our house you see, right around the corner from the kitchen. It’s in the hallway, so almost in the kitchen. Ripping the old one out of the cupboard from there, will…

Leave the cupboard bare.

!!!

Despite the $$$ gas heater re-fit bill looming in my head, the storage lover in me could not help but see the beautiful potential.

The potential in turning the old gas heater cupboard, into another pantry/useful cupboard for my kitchen items.

Ta ding!

And just like that, a little bit like when I started this blog and was grateful that when that car hit me that fatefully annoying day in Feb of ’16, I slowly grew to be grateful for the fact that when he hit me, he hit my side, and so the car was less affected, and more easily repaired with just the removal of the back door.

This new gas heater will be a costly and time-consuming exercise, but when it is done, my kitchen will definitely have ample storage… and that, is nothing to squint at.

Grateful for our dying gas heater. Who would have thought?!

 

 

#343 Hubbie cooking

You just need a break every once in a while.

It is a requirement. You don’t need a reason. But if you prefer, you can say you need a change. A breather. Someone else to do ‘things’ for a change while you put your feet up and relax. Or catch up on other jobs, let’s be honest here.

Being a woman, is damn hard. Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Cousin, Colleague… So many people depend of you for a variety of things.

So when Hubbie does the cooking, I don’t even say a word.

No pleases, no thank yous, no “I appreciate that bubs” – NOTHING. I deserve that much. No explanation.

Well,┬áI said a few words, the night before, when I indicated to him that I wanted him to help out this evening: “You should have plenty of time to cook then!”

He pulled one of his classic ‘oops!’ caught out expressions.

What did I do instead? I showered and then set up a new train set with baby girl.

Sometimes, you don’t have to do other things. Sometimes, you don’t even want to do ANYTHING. Sometimes you need to just be. And I’m grateful Hubbie made his longed-for pasta sauce, so I could do just that.

For that, I’m appreciative.

He knows. ­čśë

#327 Back to routine

I think we were ready for it. Even Hubbie said today, following his first day back at work at a new workplace nonetheless “I was happy to go to work.”

Holidays are amazing. They are freeing. They are a luxury, but also, they are very, very, very much-needed.

But, what tends to happen to us on holidays, is, like in the words of Elsa, we Let it Go.

Wake up early? Let it go.

Cook? Let it go.

Washing? Let it go.

Hobbies? Let it go.

It might seem a normal thing to sleep in during your holidays, but when you are going to bed late and then waking up late, every day, your body comes to expect so much more, until that first back at work morning when your 5am alarm gives you a very unexpected and rude awakening. Not to mention your body suffers.

Eating out everywhere might seem like the most first-world thing to do, the most luxurious of fanciful endeavours. But when you’re over-indulging night after night after night, and taking that extra bit of cake, just because holidays, well by night 12 you might be wondering why it’s so hard to zip up your jeans. Not to mention your body suffers.

Caring about the washing might seem like a fairly tedious and insignificant thing to pay much attention to… but when several week’s worth of everything gather up to the point of having piles on your laundry room floor, well, it’s hard NOT TO notice. Not to mention your body suffers… from lack of clothes.

And when you start to push away your usual everyday hobbies, passions and pursuits, whether they may be playing an instrument, writing a novel, learning a language, or practicing some form of dance… well you start to miss it, while your artform at the creative endeavour also slips. And your body, mind and soul, suffers.

Today was Hubbie’s first day back at work. And though I don’t go back for another 2 days, I like him, was also happy for the routine to recommence. To some degree, you need a routine. You rely on it. It keeps you on track. With┬ájust enough of it

*going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour keeps you more alert

*cooking keeps you healthier, and mindful of what goes into your body

*washing keeps you with a smaller laundry hamper!

*and hobbies keep you happy, and with a sense of purpose.

Hubbie and I have realised that we need some sort of order in our lives. We always need something to do, something to work towards, and something to look forward to. Today I was quite happy getting back into the habit of washing (several loads), cooking (and really being mindful of what I was eating), and getting back into some sort of more regular writing habits.

As for the sleep? Step by step peeps.

I think we went a bit crazy over these last few weeks, because, well that’s what you do on holidays. We knew we would go back to some kind of routine eventually, and wanted to just Let It Go, for as long as we could.

And I mean, if we happened to ever be the recipients of a massive cash windfall, and never had to work again, hey, I WOULDN’T COMPLAIN. Not at all. It just means we would have to set up a regular routine, of looking after ourselves and our life, in amongst the fun of never working again.

Sigh. Dreams.

Random is good. Random is great. But I wanna enjoy my life in amongst the crazy times, you know? So I CAN enjoy those crazy times.

So today, I’m actually happy for the return of routine into my life. Hell, I’m even grateful for it.

 

 

#123 Leftovers

I talk about food a fair bit here, which┬ámakes sense since I eat out kinda frequently, yet still enjoy expressing myself creatively in the kitchen. Also, my food reviews over on my parent site are another indicator of this foodie’s slight obsession.

Having said all that, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as having leftovers and not needing to cook at all.

Following my mammoth feast yesterday, the knowledge that I will not have to do much else for the next couple of nights, either than cut up some salad ingredients and put the steamer on, is awesome. You need nights off. And on those nights off you feel that much better when you remember how you nicely killed yourself to pieces to put on a table spectacle on the weekend.

I’m appreciating the cooking break indeed.

#122 Food like this on the table

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It’s always a great night when you have a variety of food on the table. You know it’s a better night, when you have this much on it though.

You also know, it’s most likely a Saturday night.

I love to entertain. But most importantly, when it’s for my nearest and dearest, I take great pleasure in bringing to the table all of my love, and all of me with that love. That was what tonight was about.

I am grateful we can do things like this. I love it.

(Clockwise from top: frenched lamb chops; garden salad with creamy dressing; vegetable and lentil soup; Sarma (Croatian dish courtesy of Mum); steamed corn; bread rolls from Baker’s (all gone now); sausages from Hubbie’s work; Jamie’s cucumber and olive salad; roasted semolina potatoes in duck fat; Kentucky style chicken tenderloins; and in the middle my saucy rice… we are all full, my job here is done ­čÖé ).

(#50) The A-Z April Challenge: L – Lebanese Tahini Salad

Firstly, can I say, 50?! WOW. I am rapt to have come this far. Now to make it all the other days of my life… ­čśë

Back to my gratitude blog, and the A-Z challenge. Salads are so bloody boring, well the ones I tend to make anyway. I spend more time on meats and carbs and other fine things, so when I whip up a salad I do mostly 3 ingredients, 3 dressing items, and voila. Everyday boring salad.

Hubbie bought radishes a week ago when he did the┬ágrocery shopping, and said “I want you to put some radishes in the salad for me.” I must remember to drop a catalogue of diamond rings in front of him before my birthday and say “I bought these advertisements, I want you to put one in my bedroom for me.”

Anyway, challenge accepted. I was looking up recipes containing radishes, and happened across one called ‘Tahini salad.’ Now, silly me, I actually have a whole recipe book dedicated to Lebanese food that┬áI bought post our incredible Bayte experience a few Valentine’s Days ago. It probably has at least a dozen ways to use Tahini. Not sure about the radishes, but next time I’ll use a recipe from that book.

So I used this online┬árecipe to make this incredible salad, and it only re-instated to me how much I fell in love with Lebanese food a couple of years ago. The Tahini salad listed below sings with the vibrant and flavourful combinations of garlic, lemon, tahini, combined with freshly cut mint and parsley that is┬ámixed through with vegetables. This salad, in vocal terms, is an opera singer. I’ve shot myself in the foot here, because now I can’t go back to boring old salads.

So naturally, I’m pretty grateful for this salad. Salad can be an interesting side dish too – can you believe it?!

Lebanese Tahini Salad

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Ingredients: (Serves about 2-3 as a side dish)

2 cucumbers diced

1 large tomato diced

3 small radishes diced

Half a spring onion (the recipe called for ‘green onion,’ spring onion is what I had in the fridge), sliced

A bunch of parsley, to your liking, chopped

10 mint leaves, chopped

Dressing:

olive oil, a few teaspoons

salt

one garlic clove, minced

Half a lemon, squeezed

1 tablespoon of Tahini

Method:

Combine all the salad and herb ingredients in a bowl. In another small bowl, mix up your dressing together. Modify the quantity, consistency and taste to your liking. Once happy, add it to your salad mixture: mix through. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for half an hour before serving. Then enjoy the flavours as they dance on your tastebuds┬á­čÖé