#498 Food: Winter Warmers

I’m actually in the midst of writing a blog post about all the wonderful things YOU, and I, should LOVE about Winter.

Todays gratitude post is a sneak peak, and it divulges one of my ideas.

Winter Food.

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Curry just isn’t the same unless it’s eaten on a cold Winter’s night, now is it? It’s been way too long since I made my vegetable curry, in fact we think at least 2 years… and why the wait? Well this thing called having a baby happened. And when something so monumental happens, everything changes… life, when you sleep, how you go out, how you react to things, how many people you see, and oh, what you eat.

And what you cook.

Once baby girl was of a certain age to start experimenting with food, well of course I was going to be making fairly safe, baby-friendly inoffensive tasting food. Which meant the curry we used to eat so much and so often of in Winter, was gone.

Yeah, I could have made two meals. But you could get two jobs too, couldn’t you?

😉

Yep. So it’s been a while. And as we ate it tonight, Hubbie swore it was like we were in our old house in the Northern suburbs. I think that means it was good 🙂

And as for baby girl? Well she gorged on the rice that was underneath the curry, in fact she completely overdosed on it. Did I mention my girl loves carbs? She does. I’d rather she overdose on rice than chocolate, so massive parental win there.

Winter Foods… get yourself into some warming curry and feel the heat 🙂

#482 My sister’s birthday

There are some days, lo and behold, that I get as excited by as I do my own birthday – and apart from Christmas and Easter, these other days are the birthdays of my immediate family.

I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate one of the most important people in their life, to commemorate the day they were brought onto this earth, and immediately made all things better with their presence?

The day I was so excited to commemorate today was that of my sister’s birthday.

The day was cold and crisp, but the sun was glorious in its strict denial of taking on any Winter gloom. Perfect for her. The rays shone bright on her special day, just as her vibrant and uplifting presence fills those around her with constant joy and happiness.

There were select family and friends. A medium group, but one that knew each other well. Casual combo, sometimes serious, sometimes light, sometimes banter, most times shit-stirring. Food, plenty of cake, drinks and then the few ‘shots,’ a throwback to all the parties we used to down years before we had kids, when we’d go one, after one, after one, after one…

We’ll get to that stage again, I’m sure. This is my family after all.

And then the night ended happily, as is the norm, with baby girl and sister sharing a ride on the egg chair…

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Weee! they went! Round and round, ’til the movements grew slow, the hand went past midnight, and baby girl’s head leant against her aunty’s, eyes drooping as she still tried to watch her fave Explorer on Netflix.

And it was another great night, to celebrate an amazing woman in my life.

Happy Birthday big sis :*

#468 Churchies give me coffee and a muffin

Ahhh. Hot, sweet, hot, sweet (did I say hot?) coffee, accompanied by a perfectly executed warm egg and bacon muffin.

I almost didn’t have this. If I didn’t act precautionary and stuff extra coins into my coffee purse (yes I have a coffee purse), I totally wouldn’t have had it AT ALL.

At the usual time this morning, I grabbed my work pass, my phone, and my coffee purse to head off on my coffee walk to get my Saturday morning coffee while at work. Having the scratchy and dry throat that has decided to reappear in my life for a few days now, and feeling also slightly sickly, I looked at the fruit waiting for me on my desk, and decided ‘this will not do.’

Sure, I would eat them today, at some point, eventually. But I needed something solid, something hearty, something to go fantastically with my morning coffee and help me get through the day and way into the night, as we were expecting visitors at our place later on. I threw in a couple more coins from my ‘regular’ purse, into my ‘coffee purse’ (I know, right?!) and with my bomber jacket headed on down the road through the chilly air.

The Asian lady greeted me warmly as I walked up to the counter, smiling happily. I like her. I like my Saturday morning coffee place. I hoped I would like her more in a few moments time.

“Hi,” I started. “I wanted something like a coffee – “

“Yes we have coffee!”

“- yes but, with something like toast? Like a coffee and toast deal?”

Not more than $6.50, not more than $6.50, I repeated in my head. In my quick skim through the contents of my coffee purse earlier, I thought I had that amount for sure, but any more, and I would have to check.

“We have a coffee and egg and bacon muffin for $7.50.”

Hmmm.

“Regular coffee?” I enquired.

“This one,” she pointed to the smallest size, not the medium size as I had anticipated. She repeated regular, and I got confused with the sizes as I started to count out my change.

“Let me check…”

It is usually the case that with coins, there is a tad more than what you initially see with your eyes.

4.50, 5, 6, 7… 7.50!

“7.50!” I said happily. “And for a medium?”

“This one” she again pointed to the small size, and my heart deflated a bit. “It’s a bit extra for medium…”

I started doubting whether I even wanted this egg and bacon muffin. I mean I did, but not enough to sacrifice the size of my coffee. I stared into my much lighter coffee purse, and observed 45 cents worth of coins.

Don’t say more than 45 cents, don’t say more than 45 cents…

“An extra 40 cents.”

!

With 5 cents in my purse to spare!

I emptied all the coins onto the counter like a girl who had just raided the church donation baskets, and minutes later, I was walking back to work very happy. And then at my desk, enjoying my hot coffee, and my warm muffin, I was immediately grateful for all my coins.

ALL THE COINS.

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Don’t throw away your churchies people. You never know when they will make your day.

#447 Dancing in the kitchen with my loves part 3

(Apologies for the post delay, it WAS written, just the net was down and I couldn’t post)

It was a big day of preparation, cleaning, then cooking, hosting and entertaining as our close family group came together.

After everyone went home, and we were left cleaning up, a song came on the iPod shuffle – one from my native land that I love, and haven’t heard for a while.

“No, put it back!” I insisted to Hubbie, who had just skipped forward. He pressed a button and it went back to those soft, dreamy guitar notes I haven’t heard for so long. Baby girl came into the room as I swayed from side to side, rinsing dishes, and she held her arms out to me. I knew she was tired, but my mother instinct was turned right up – she wasn’t 100%.

I hoisted her up and danced with her around the kitchen, breaking into song, her exhausted face looking at me with a tired smile.

“Od plavog neba, ljepsi su oci tvoje,

Od svega vise volim te srce moje.”

We waltzed around the kitchen with her high up in my arms, and with Hubbie watching on in adoration, he soon got up from his spot to join us, wrapping us in a hug.

“Zlatne strune, sviraj tebi, ovu pjesmu jace!”

I belted out the song as much as I could, we swayed for a few more moments, and then baby girl’s weight (and wiggling) got too much to bare and I had to put her down.

But, no matter what occasion it is, dancing in the kitchen is most definitely the highlight of the night for me:)

(And, if you don’t understand the above lyrics, as I expect you can’t, go and learn yourself some Croatian… if only to understand the song, it is truly beautiful).

#419 Spaghetti bolognaise

Phil Collins again. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life…”

No, not really. About a week. But I could look forward to it EVERY DAY.

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I love pasta. I was craving a simple spaghetti bolognaise since last week, and I knew this would go down well with baby girl, as she too, LOVES pasta.

She insisted on it plain, which doesn’t faze me much I have to say. I like her preference for simple things, the fact that she doesn’t need much hoo ha, much salt, much sugar… yeah, she’ll still eat it. But her first preference is plain.

Plain and simple.

Yet even she too, upon later tasting the ‘saucy’ pasta, rubbed her tummy and did “mmm” sounds to confirm that it was, yes, YUM.

Beautiful spaghetti on a weeknight, a glass of red, Prince’s Purple Rain in the background with next-generation-fan baby girl swaying to and fro, surrounded by my family… that’s a pretty perfect night for me 🙂

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#385 Sharing the (food) love

I’m a huge, huge, HUGE lover of carbs. Bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, pastries…

Nom nom nom.

But while I love the food group, it is also in return loving me… in particularly my tummy.

:/

It’s because of this reason, and also the fact that I am aware and listening to my body as it tells me it needs a break, that I’m trying to take special precaution to just, scale it back a bit.

Today I made my Nigella cinnamon plums with French toast. Delicious, but following that brekkie we were all feeling really full. After a coffee out at the Main street, and then trying to squeeze in a quick lunch before my late work shift, I was faced with a conundrum.

When I have bread for breakfast, I avoid it for lunch. When I have cereal for breakfast, I usually then have bread for lunch. One or the other.

Today in haste, I threw together what I could, what I had that wasn’t bread. Whip up some couscous, throw in a can of tuna and voila – lunch done.

However, what I have just learnt via some google discovering, and also what I should have realised via my body screaming ‘no!’ at the couscous thought, is that couscous isn’t actually all that nutritious, and there are far better low-carb options out there.

I mean, my body was telling me so, anyway. Sitting in front of this bowl of couscous and tuna, I felt sooo uninspired. As I began to eat, forcing myself to eat something, anything, yet feeling like this was not making me feel any better, convincing myself that I had to eat something before work began or else I would really feel flat, Hubbie brought his lunch over to the table and sat opposite me. In his bowl, was also tuna… but mixed up in that was a selection of freshly cut lettuce, capsicum, carrots, tomatoes and onion.

What a sight for sore eyes. Those colours lifted me up, and I HAD to have a bite.

But when I did, I was so, so sad.

I wanted his meal. So, so bad.

I told him so. And he laughed. He thought it was hilarious. “Why didn’t you offer to make me that?” I whined. “I can’t eat this, I feel so blah. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

I picked at my couscous and tuna, feeling deflated. I did the only thing I thought to do. The thing I never do – put myself first.

“Can I have yours, please?” I actually pleaded with him. He thought I was joking, but after a few more whines, he put his bowl in front of me, took mine, and then went to the kitchen to spice up my meal, for him.

My mouth came alive with his salad and tuna bowl! It was simple, and yet the refreshing change from the couscous made me feel so much lighter. Hubbie came back with my reinvented bowl now, laughing, and I finished his meal, happily.

It was only while driving to work that I really thought about what had transpired. And I was immediately grateful.

Because true love, has many definitions. Devotion. Honesty. Affection. Happiness. Laughter.

And I added one to the list, which I’m sure has been the realisation of many out there, of true love…

If your partner is willing to share, or even better, GIVE you their meal, well…

No one can deny the presence of the deepest, most affectionate, caring and honest, passionate love there is.

This man must fucking love me. He gave me his tuna salad after all.

😉