#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.

#888 Fussy butcher strikes again

I find it interesting that today I should post about my fussy Hubbie butcher getting ‘at it,’ in my latest Food Reviews post over on SmikG, and then later in the day…

He gets fussy. AGAIN. Like somehow I attracted the fussiness.

If the law of attraction IS at work, please I can also do with holidays and lotsa spending money, thanks 😉

But anyway. My gratitude for today comes not from his fussiness, but rather what came out of it. Because we went out to dinner in Mornington tonight, just doing what we’ve been doing the last month or so of Saturdays… enjoying our family time together and keeping it low-key.

All was good, up until our meals arrived at the table.

His steak.

It wasn’t cooked medium… it was well done.

Ohhh, the HORROR!

Now, let me give you some backstory. The last time we were at this restaurant the same thing happened, and the steak he had ordered then was well overdone too. Even his Mum who had been with us, had agreed – and when a European lady tells you your steak is overdone, you are going to believe her. They eat their meat practically charred.

Back then, they fixed it. Hubbie gave them the benefit of the doubt, and hoped that it was a once-off. Surely it wouldn’t happen again…

So when it did happen again, he was fuming. He didn’t want to tell them though – embarrassing enough as it was that it had happened again… he didn’t want to look like that annoying customer that always finds something wrong with his meal… (hmmm?)

He sat, stewing, silent, vowing to never go there ever again. I sat across from him, the familiar scene playing out in front of me, as I ate my fish.

“You’ll be back here in 2 months.”

He didn’t find it humorous.

A waitress happened past our table, and asked how our meals were. I paused.

“Well, MINE is good…”

I looked at Hubbie. Deep breath. Here we go.

Hubbie was actually the perfect mix of both furious and polite. He told her he was very disappointed, while assuring her that he wasn’t having a go at her – it had just happened before and he felt let down.

I mean, this was serious stuff. He was a butcher! Do you know how seriously butcher’s take their meat…

VERY.

He told her that he had not wanted to say anything, but while she was there, and asking him, well…

She said she would get it fixed, but he was just over it. He just wanted to eat what he could, scrap off the char from the top, and go home. He didn’t want to make a fuss.

Soon, the boss man came.

(I noted it was the same guy from last time, but Hubbie had since shaved off his beard and so luckily he may not have noticed us!)

He was absolutely brilliant. He assured Hubbie that he shouldn’t feel bad about complaining – the reason they asked their diners how their meals were going, was to see if everything was up to scratch. Boss man said he would get him another medium-cooked steak. In fact, they had one ready to go any minute.

True to his word, boss man brought over a brand spanking new pink-in-the-middle steak within minutes. And about 10 or so later –

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Yep. ALL GONE. 

I was actually thoroughly impressed. They totally, had not given up on Hubbie. They were determined to make him happy, and went above and beyond in service and food to make sure he left a content man.

Instead of leaving the restaurant unfulfilled, they made sure he couldn’t say a peep as we exited the doors.

And he didn’t. They had done their job superbly. And I’m so grateful that they restored his faith in restaurant steaks, but also that we aren’t adding yet another establishment to the BANNED list.

Yep. Life of a Food Blogger and Fussy Butcher.

#733 Holiday BBQ

It’s not common of us to stay home when we have days off together, let alone when we go away. But today Hubbie had a great thought while we were out grabbing some food for lunch.

“Why don’t we do a bbq back at home?”

Home, for these two nights anyway, has been the place in Barwon Heads we’ve been staying at. Our balcony looks out onto the street, and there is a small yet very practical outdoor electric barbeque for use.

Sure, it meant we would have to do some extra prep here and there. But for some reason it appealed to me. Dinner by us, at home. I think it appealed in some level to all of us. We could relax. Go at our own pace. Baby girl could float in and out of the rooms as she pleased. We didn’t have to stress about noise levels. The toilet was right there. It was cheaper. And I could wear trakkies on the balcony if I wanted to.

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It was great. The sun was shining; fellow apartment dwellers were on the same thread and bbq-ing out in the sun like we were; we waved from up high to passers-by; and then sat down to eat our simple spread.

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Sure, we grabbed some takeaway chips too, just to add to that can’t-be-f$%ed holiday vibe. But it was different, it was relaxing, and though we were only at home, we still felt like, we were away.

 

 

#635 KK 2017 edition

Why is it that we wait for an occasion to catch up with those we love?

…with those we can’t get a word in with because the conversation is flowing?

…with those that when ones laughs, so do the rest?

…and when one tears, the others follow suit?

…with those who have been there for far too long?

…with those who know us, inside and out?

Tonight, a tad early in November, me and my high school friends caught up for our annual KK catch up. I wish I remembered the year we started doing this, and who suggested it, and what I got that year and what I bought for someone else… but it has been happening for a WHILE.

Life is busy. We have partners. Kids. Jobs. Responsibilities. Being able to match our schedules with each others is a feat in itself, but with old friends, it shouldn’t be a job… it should be a necessity.

Because it is calming. It releases happy chemicals. You purge. You let out your frustrations. You share funny anecdotes. Like tonight, the top stories were:

Silly husbands

Gorged breasts of breastmilk

“Kids say the darndest things!”

12 year old huskies

Roses

Insane concert tickets prices, and finally –

Meat on steroids

All perfectly NORMAL things to discuss with your besties.

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It was a terrific night, and I love my PA pjs, because you can never have too much Peter Alexander.

“I have too much Peter Alexander!”

SAID NO GIRL EVER.

And a pat on the back for me, as I totally rocked the KK I got for my friend.

Score!

It made me realise a lot of life truths, and the biggest one being, the longer you are friends with someone, the harder it is to separate yourself from them.

And I don’t want to separate myself from these girls, EVER.

And we sure as hell don’t need a reason, like Christmas (though it is a bloody good one!) to make an effort to catch up.

Catching up to see each other is an event in itself.

Happy early Christmas, peeps :):):)

 

 

(#38) The A-Z April Challenge: B – Barbeque

Saturday is always the hardest day for me to blog. I’ll get home at whatever hour, look at the time and realise “crap! Post not done!” But as of my writing this it is still 11:39pm on the 2nd of April, Melbourne Eastern Standard Time. So yeah, take that challenge.

And being in Melbourne, in the land down under, one of the greatest things this great wide and partly-dry country of ours has to offer, which starts with the letter B, and is a revered tradition as much as any holy day, even though it is performed much more than one, is the great Australian Barbie. Mate.

No, not barbie, as in the Mattel doll. I’m talking barbie, as in “throw a shrimp on one” kind, even though we don’t do shrimp, we do prawns. For any non-Australians taking notes. True story.

Today we actually went to my cousin’s place, as a belated birthday visit, and were very fortunate to be received with this custom. There is nothing more social, more satisfying, more serene, than to be standing around a barbeque on a late, slightly warm Saturday afternoon, watching the smoke rising from the slabs of gargantuan meat sizzling on the grill, filling the air with delicious aroma, and then having the luxury of ‘pecking’ at this meat as it comes off the grill, like as we would say in our native tongue “mezze,” or as the Spaniards would say “tapas.”

Aussie custom, common as the cold, never grows old.

11:46pm.