#1602 Day 104 of getting there: the Saturday night concession

Tonight, amidst corona cases rising rapidly to 108 in Victoria, we went out to dinner.

In our town. Some blocks away. Dining at a table where no one was near.

Sanitiser within reach. Waiters prepared to leave your food at the empty designated table next to you, so that they weren’t getting too close.

It was our concession.

We all have them. We will cry “stay home!” to all that we know ’til we’re blue in the face, and yet we have these things that are helping us stay sane in the face of possible further, and tougher, and meaner restrictions.

You’ve got them. I have them. We do the right thing, we stay home, we wash our hands, we don’t see family…

But then, we might go out to get a coffee. Support local.

See that friend that you’ve been dying to catch up with, and hey, you’re both staying 1.5 metres away and not touching so technically that’s a pass.

You might still see relatives, so your kids can play together.

You might still be getting your hair done, because you have to physically be at work, and CAN’T work from home.

You might just want to go out and have a God-damn nice dinner at your fave restaurant like we did, because the last time we were there it was March, the sunshine was pouring through the window in the evening, and although corona was on the near-distant radar, there were no lockdowns.

We were by a window again tonight. But the umbrellas dotted amongst the outdoor seating outside were bound tightly, spotted with rain that had not stopped all day. The night was black. The restaurant wasn’t packed.

Corona, corona… the bloody virus was a reminder, everywhere.

Tonight. Our concession. Whatever it is that you do sometimes, to keep yourself happy, to keep your family happy… it’s okay.

Do it. Despite all the fear mongering, if you avoid the hotspots, if you avoid almost all of your unnecessary ‘wants,’ if you’re doing your damn-dest not to go out and mingle and be social…

I think you are allowed a concession.

I had a great dinner tonight, and a great wine. This might keep me going for another 3 months, because let’s face it –

Who knows anymore???

#1600 Day 102 of getting there: the healthy potato bake

Our dinner, night by night, is fairly predictable.

Fairly standard.

Fairly simple.

Meat. Salad. A carb. And loads of steamed vegies.

The meat changes, sure… Hubbie IS a butcher after all.

The vegies kind of stay the same.

So does the salad.

I try to be creative with the carb though.

Spicy rice. Yellow rice. Plain rice! (Hubbie loves rice!)

Potato chips (home-baked potato chips are so yum). Pasta!

And let’s not forget our good friend pasta.

I do soups too, especially in Winter. Chicken and sweet corn soup, basic traditional soup, cauliflower soup, pumpkin soup, and my latest LOVE, chicken and egg drop soup.

Drooool.

ALL the carbs are so moorish, and I would actually overdose if it weren’t for my sensitive-stomached Hubbie.

He eats well, and he eats healthy. But unlike me, the slightest overdose of fats/cheese/cream/oil…

And he is physically and emotionally paying for it the next day.

I’m all like “How? Why?”

I’ve come to realise though that our bodies are very different, and even though my body doesn’t really tell me, his body throws out obvious hints left, right and centre.

It’s the whole reason I stopped making one of our carb staples, the potato bake.

This potato bake was DELISH. Thinly-sliced potatoes, onions, cheese, LOADS of cheese, with a sprinkle of pepper and paprika, and then the whole lot was covered in half a tub of cream and lots of milk.

Can you just hear the cows singing out to you? 🙂 😉

Well, like I said, I stopped it. Both because Hubbie didn’t like to eat much of it at all, and then… I got MORE food conscious.

I say more, because I’ve grown up with my own share of food awareness. I know a lot.

But recently I’ve come to learn more.

I’ve been on a bit of a journey myself. I’m not off dairy, but I have reduced it greatly. I have things like almond milk and coconut yoghurt as part of my intake, alongside regular milk. I have my daily coffee and tea, but I try to have treats that I’ve baked myself. Things from programs by Sam Wood and Rachael Finch. The sugar I was so reliant on to accompany my caffeine kick, I’ve realised I don’t need.

Instead I have things that contain maple syrup for sweetener, dried fruit, nuts and healthy fats, and these are the things I am increasingly calling my ‘treats.’

You know, I’m actually enjoying them too.

But there’s been something I’ve been pondering for a while. I’ve been sitting on this idea, thinking thinking thinking, and today I finally went ahead and looked up…

“Potato bake with chicken stock.”

Simple right? I could remove the cream, the milk, even 3/4s of the cheese, and replace it with…

Stock. Spices. Herbs. Which is exactly what I did.

I sliced the potatoes up as normal and sprinkled some salt, pepper and herbs in between layers, including some crushed garlic, poured the stock over the whole lot, and voila!

A healthy potato bake!

I even tossed some parmesan on top (just a little!) in the last 10 minutes of baking.

It was really yum! I didn’t miss anything AT ALL. I perhaps overdosed a little on the garlic, but all in all, I think I’ve just reintroduced the potato bake bake into the ‘rotation,’ as Hubbie would say.

Still delish, but only healthier. 🙂

I love a good cheat.

#1582 Day 84 of getting there: Soon we’ll be found

It was Sunday night dinner-time, we were doing our usual youtube merry-go-round, and it was my time to pick a song.

I was over the same old, same old. We played the same songs repeatedly.

Hubbie would play The Weeknd, or the freaking Roses song. Oh if you haven’t heard it, look up Roses by SAINt JHN remix.

I ain’t putting it on here. I hear it too much already. It’s a great song, but you know when someone repeats something so much, they absolutely kill it for you?

That’s what Hubbie does.

The other song he had only rediscovered this morning was Don’t Let Me Down by Chainsmokers and Daya. It’s only a few years old, but he had forgotten about it, only to remember it all over again and play it again, repeatedly throughout the day. And again, check out the song on youtube… but this song gets bloody stuck in your head to the point that you’re like ARGH! Get it out!

Baby girl sways strongly between the two of us. She will put on a song Hubbie loves, or I love… or she’ll go and put on Dance Monkey which she was obsessed with ’til recently, or some Frozen music medley, which can sometimes go on for 20 minutes, so we force a cap of 4-5 minutes.

Me on the other hand, well you all know I am massively into music royalty at the moment, i.e. Queen. And I punctuate that currently with Madonna and Prince. But like I said, we’ve been listening to the same old, for too long, and I wanted my turn to be something different, something we hadn’t heard in a while.

Something slow. I was in a heartfelt song mood.

It then hit me.

“What’s that SIA song?” I asked Hubbie, the biggest SIA fan I know. “Where she sings “I’m tired, can we just sleep tonight…?”

He continued the song, catching the words before he said confidently “Soon we’ll be found” and started clicking away on youtube.

He brought up a 2008 performance on Letterman. Yes, David Letterman. I was stunned that a year before we had gotten married, this Aussie chick was heading over to the U.S and making her big American debut.

You go girl.

“Let’s not fight, I’m tired can’t we just sleep, tonight…”

It’s a great performance. She sings it better than she does the recorded version, and watching her hands perform is as mesmerising as listening to her voice.

She is uncovered, so this is truly back in the day. No hair to hide behind, no short blonde do that covers her eyes and nose just so. She is characteristic SIA, which is one of the reasons why we love her, and she is giddy with happiness when she finishes her performance, jumping up and down in joy which can only be interpreted as “I did it! I performed on Letterman!”

It is so wonderful to watch.

The performance begins after 1:10. The song is moving and takes you on a journey, and it fit my mood perfectly tonight.

My favourite line? “Let’s not fight, I’m tired can’t we just sleep, tonight?”

So beautiful. Enjoy, as we all did.

#1574 Day 76 of getting there: a simple Saturday night

Tonight, no photos.

No emojis.

No GIFs.

No frills.

Just a low-key, fun night.

It’s the simple things. Like…

Pizza for dinner.

Netflix on the couch.

And a board game to follow.

Mister F stretched out on the rug near us, sleeping so peacefully…

The heater blasting.

And a roof over our head.

What more could we want?

The details?

Mexicana with pineapple, capriciossa without anchovies.

Riverdale.

Trouble!

Who won? Of course Hubbie. He’s on a freaking winning streak.

But all in all, it’s the perfect recipe for a Saturday night.

#1545 Day 47 of getting there: music for every mood

I’ve said that walking and getting out and about will save us during this time of isolation.

But what is also good for our souls, is music.

It literally, LIFTS the spirit.

No matter what mood you’re in. There will be a song to either,

soothe your mind

get you energised

or have you all nostalgic and looking back in time with fondness.

Tonight I had a whole array of music to suit my various moods.

First I was listening to Bedtime Stories, one of my all time fave albums by Madonna. Bestie mentioned it to me recently, and I had certain songs on repeat, like “Love Tried to Welcome Me”:

“And I must confess, that I, am usually drawn to sadness,

And loneliness has never been a stranger, to me…”

I love the melancholy and violins in this song. It was feeding my contemplative mood as I prepared dinner.

Then something else happened. Like so many DJs at the moment, a family friend of ours was showcasing his turntable work, and so as we had dinner, we were watching and listening to old school RnB tunes during a facebook LIVE, and totally grooving along at the dinner table! Like with Boyz II Men…

“Baby I wanna do, whatever’s on your mind,

We’ll make it all come true, if you roll with me tonight…”

Yep, let’s ROLL!

And then, as I cleaned up afterwards, I was suddenly in the mood for something else ENTIRELY. Insert another one of the best artist’s of all time, with one of the best album’s of all time…

The artist formerly known as…

Prince.

“And if the elevator tries to break down, GO CRAZY!”

And what an amazing sentiment that is. He is totally telling us to just lose it next time something doesn’t go to plan, as opposed to trying to keep calm and hold it together.

Just let loose.

From the 90s, to the 2000s, and then back to the 80s, the music genres in our household moved with my moods, but every time I found something amazing that complimented how I was feeling…

That’s my idea of bliss. ♥

 

#1534 Day 36 of getting there: dancing in the kitchen with my loves part 10

At some point, you just know dancing in the kitchen was gonna make this corona countdown.

This countdown, in trying to get to the ‘other’ side.

The music of choice tonight? Well baby girl is obsessed with our music. Whatever we play passionately and religiously, she devours it, and then proceeds to play it with even more gusto.

Just recently she has been putting my Dirty Dancing soundtrack on repeat.

I could laugh out loud. I don’t, I quietly giggle. She does ballet moves to the instrumental and jazzy pieces, floating from one end of the room to the other, pirouetting and doing flying leaps in the air…

dirtydancing

While I cut cucumbers and sing in heartfelt tone to “do you love me?”

This routine has been repeating lately, and again it happened today. Both of us bopping along, she doing her own freestyle dance routine, me stirring pots and cutting vegies and acting like there is a mic in front of me.

“Will you still love me, tomorrow?”

Soon, Hubbie is home from work.

“Best movie soundtrack, EVER,” I proclaim.

“Mama,” baby girl begins, “maybe one day we can go to the movies and watch this movie?”

“Uh,” I start. “This movie is an old one, it isn’t in the cinemas anymore honey… but maybe one day we can find it somewhere, and watch it.”

(Uh, in my DVD collection? Shh).

“She can watch it one day,” I whisper to Hubbie, “when she’s 25.”

😉

#1532 Day 34 of getting there: eating on the rocks

I was sooo happy to hear earlier this week that the seafood prestigious The Rocks restaurant was doing takeaway during this highly uncertain time.

Yes! Saturday night dinner was confirmed!

We haven’t dined there loads of times, but we went there for an anniversary a couple years back, and one chilly and windy winter’s day sis and I went there for an unforgettable lunch.

Yet the quality of their food stood out firm in my mind, and so hearing they were providing that in takeaway form, well…

We were excited. It was ON.

Tonight…

We feasted.

You can just tell, immediately upon opening a package, how good the food is going to taste.

Just as I knew I was gonna be a gluttonous pig and eat nearly everything even though my seafood pasta fed two (not in European terms it wouldn’t!)

So bloody delicious. These guys will help us get through this iso… perhaps a couple kg heavier, but we’ll get through nonetheless… 😉

#1531 Day 33 of getting there: homemade sweet potato gnocchi

I haven’t been writing as much as I like, and that’s got a bit to do with this cv business and balancing working from home with schooling baby girl from home, but it’s more to do with the OTHER.

The other is me fuelling all my creative energy into cooking new recipes.

It isn’t hard to find them after all. So many more people are putting together live recordings and sharing extra recipes to help us deal with this isolation, and just as well because we need something to do with all the extra time we aren’t going out.

And just the other day, I fell in love with a recipe idea I have been toying with for years now.

It was gnocchi. Rather, it has always been gnocchi. But this version was a sweet potato gnocchi.

Nom nom nom.

You know, some time ago I bought a packet of gnocchi from the shops, at the height of the shopping-covid frenzy when pasta was getting low to nothing on shelves… and I thought, being from a nice grocer and all, that this gnocchi would also be, nice.

I have only ever had, smooth, delicious, pillowy puffs of homemade or restaurant high-grade quality gnocchi.

So imagine my disappointment when this gnocchi tasted like plastic.

It was NOT nice. It honestly had a fake, manufactured taste, and I was spurred by the idea of homemade gnocchi even more.

So earlier this week when I saw Leah Itsines, self-taught cook, post on facebook that she was doing a live and making sweet potato gnocchi, I knew that soon, I would be too.

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How great is technology? I knew I couldn’t follow her to make it at the exact time she did, but she was posting the video on YouTube later, so all I had to do was go to her channel today and voila!

The instructions were all there.

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My gnocchi was deliciously homemade. It was so refreshing, to have it not taste like plastic! What do you know??? In fact, it tasted anything but. I think I made a pretty great first time gnocchi, and I even have extra that I have frozen for another time so that is SUPER EXCITING.

But that’s not even it. No folks. Topping that homemade sweet potato gnocchi was Jamie Oliver’s 3 minute tomato pasta sauce… another food guru I have started following lately!

And just as well that I had a 3 minute sauce recipe, since it took me hours and 26 dishes to make the gnocchi.

(All hail the dishwasher).

It’s so satisfying to make your own food. It’s amazing to experiment with different dishes, flavours and ingredients, and even to go out on a whim and try something you’ve been scared to for so long.

I can’t believe I made gnocchi, I am still so excited about it!

Next on my experimentation list? Well Leah has also made dumplings, and I LOVE DUMPLINGS… Marion Grasby has an egg drop soup that looks incredible… and Jamie Oliver and Oprah Winfrey recently made his Singapore-style fried rice together, over video call of course… ahh.

Ain’t technology just the best. 🙂

 

#1512 Day 14 of getting there: Like a Virgin in 1985

It was Sunday night dinner, so that also meant it was everyone-picks-a-song-they-want-from-youtube night.

When it was my time I threw a super curveball at Hubbie, as it was nothing I had requested before… “Can you see if you can find Madonna, Dress You Up, live?”

He found the original clip for the song, which was from her Like A Virgin tour as I’d wanted… but it was the official video, and so the studio recording was used as the audio, NOT the live concert version.

And I KNEW the difference.

I knew, because back when I was 12 years old, there was a 3 month period where my parents succumbed to cable TV. It was meant to stay at $30 a month, so when it went up by a few bucks after that initial period, they ordered me to call up and cancel… typical parents. 😉

But in those 3 months, I purged on as much extra channels as I could. I watched heaps of Freddy Krueger sequels… tonnes of C-grade teen movies… and the best find of all, was Madonna’s 1985 Like A Virgin concert tour filmed in Detroit.

I inhaled this doco. I savoured it. I taped it, and watched it again and again and again. I knew most of the songs already, but then I learnt some of her lesser known hits like the rock-grungy Gambler, and super-catchy Over and Over. 

I learnt the dance moves. I picked up the bits where her concert version deviated from the album recordings. I knew every single phrase and word uttered in song and to the audience, every –

“That goes for you too Grandma!” at the start of Holiday.

Her emotional – “I gotta talk fast ’cause I might start crying,” when she addressed the audience.

“Do you wanna hear some more? I said, ‘do you wanna hear some more?'”

To her “I don’t need money I need love!” declaration during Material Girl.

Tonight, as I eventually found the original LIVE version on youtube, I realised I had found so much more.

Because I had found the complete concert.

!!!!

It was all there, the entire hour set.

I was rapt. :):):)

I sang and I danced. I gasped that I was still able to remember lines and conversations. I sang along as we finished dinner, I washed the dishes, and then I worked some more on our 1000 piece puzzle (yeah we were wrong when we thought it was only 500 or so… double that!)

It made me soooo happy. It took me back to my childhood. It took me back to a simpler time.

And oh, the 80s! What brilliant fun that was! Seeing the fashion, the hair, feeling the iconic music…

HOLIDAY!

I can’t believe it, I remembered it ALL.

“I went to New York, I had a dream.

I wanted to be a big star.

I didn’t know anybody.

I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing,

I wanted to do all those things,

I wanted to make people happy,

I wanted to be famous 

I wanted everybody to love me,

I wanted to be a star

I worked really hard

And my dream came true.”

BANG! That is her Like a Virgin concert opening monologue and that all came from my head! BOOM! Word for word it is imprinted in there.

And just because, 80s music can save us all, here is the opener…

 

#1418 Holidaying at home

We have wanted to do it for so long.

But finally, we really feel like we are holidaying where we live.

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It’s the best. Circumstances beyond our control (me no job?!?!) have meant that we were definitely NOT going anywhere far this summer… but to be honest, last time we went away for a few nights, all we wanted to do was go home to our neck of the woods, and explore.

With Hubbie on holiday lately we’ve been able to do that. Look around our side of the world. Admire beaches and take long walks, eat yummy food and drink even more coffee, head off to other towns and kinda be a tourist, but then…

Drive home and feed the cat and sleep in our beds.

And there is NOTHING like sleeping in your own bed.

And it truly did feel like we were away… after some time at home in the late afternoon, we then went out locally for dinner… something we always do when we go away.

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They say taking a holiday makes you appreciate your home more.

I think we’ve been there, done that.

Now we are just holidaying here and appreciating here MORE. ♥♥♥♥