#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.

😉

#375 Chaddy shopping day no.1

Because us Aussies have to over-familiarise and give a not-really-syllable-shortened nickname to EVERYTHING.

We haven’t been to Chadstone in a little while. But now that we are living 20 minutes or so closer than when we were on the other side of town, it somehow feels more accessible.

Even though we are still in the car for a good 40 minutes.

But when there, we make the most of it.

Today’s buys:

For Hubbie – gold jeans and grey jeans for work, courtesy of Jay Jays

For baby girl – a Frozen Elsa doll, a Frozen Elsa aqua princess dress, and a variety of clothes, courtesy of Targe-t, daaarrrrlliiiinnngggsss.

And for moi? Why shoes of course. Lovely Summer sandals from Wittner.

And then in the car, I enjoyed one of these:

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It’s a baked cheese tart, and I believe it’s becoming quite a thing. Hokkaido is the name, their story originates in Japan using dairy from the island of Hokkaido, and as well as the Chadstone location, there is also a couple in the CBD, and in Box Hill. The short-crust pastry is crisp and warm yet soft, and the cheesy filling has a definite hint of sweetness, which upon completion you go “woah. Hand me the water.” Subtle, creamy, and smooth, I enjoyed it, and it is definitely worth trying to understand the unique combination of sweet and savoury.

So there has it folks. Chadstone shopping day, no. 1.

 

#357 Docklands

I don’t say this much, and I definitely don’t say this at all often in Winter, but I actually like where I work.

I like Docklands.

Sure, stuff is hard to come by on weekends. Like good coffee. Convenient food. People. Life forms of any kind. Just kidding (kind of).

Sure, the weather is a shit-hole come Winter. The wind blows me to smithereens as I try my damn hardest to force my body through the rotating doors in the mornings, the insanity turning my body at 90 degrees it is that intense.

The wet and shiny concrete is a real hazard too, and don’t make me tell you about that, and any kind of heel.

But, the positives. Like the fact that we are so close to the city, the grind of it, and yet far enough to escape the crazy and have a little peace, while being a stone’s throw away from it all.

What about traffic being somewhat not really acceptable, while in the city DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

What about Summer evenings?

What about the water?

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I took this photo this evening while walking back from getting some noodles for dinner. I had to walk a bit, and other places were far-closed by 6:30pm…

But when I saw those rolling and broken clouds atop the glistening water… oh man.

I actually, kind of LOVE IT.

(Just don’t ask me to repeat this in 6 months time…)

#354 Cinnamon Plums with French Toast

There’s nothing like a warm, fulfilling and sweet breakfast to start your Sunday morning. And when I prepared the cinnamon plums days ago, little did I know that on the day I would be eating them, the weather, cold and grey and windy, would be especially inviting for the meal.

All the better.

I love this Nigella Lawson recipe that I first had the pleasure of experimenting with last year, when I was trying to work out what to do with all these plums my parents and MIL were giving to me. Because they were from their yards, or the yards of someone they knew, I really wanted to put them to good and proper use, and salvage the natural and chemical-free aspects of the fruit, making them shine in a truly special way.

I loved the Nigella recipe, because the use of plums was

  1. simple
  2. was in conjunction with another fave meal of mine (French toast), and
  3. was able to be frozen

That was a BIG positive. With a fair bit of plum compote made from the one batch, I was happy that not even that would go to waste, as I could freeze any remains and easily defrost for use on a future Sunday.

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It really is a good Sunday morning breakfast meal.

I made the compote on Thursday, before freezing it and defrosting it overnight. It worked a treat, and anything that is delicious and the prep is fast and simple, well I’M ALL FOR.

And if you want the recipe… well, you know the drill.