#761 The nectarine crumble

I’ve found myself doing a bit of baking lately. Maybe it’s the slightly cooler weather, maybe I’ve found some more down time, or maybe I just found myself with a lot of nectarines these past few days.

Maybe I ‘accidentally on purpose’ found myself with a lot of nectarines. Anything to make…

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This nectarine crumble. The recipe is originally a peach one, but really, anything goes. And when you eat it, the sugary sweetness of the nectarines complimenting so well against the soft baked pastry crumble, oh. Oh man…

Nom nom nom. Better than any bought sugary treat, because let’s face it, I know what went in there, as opposed to all those other things on the shelves.

Winning 🙂

#702 Planned and Impromptu family day

Today was a BIG day. But it was all about LOVE.

Half of it was planned you see, when my beautiful cousin popped over with the recent princess of the family – her daughter – and we bonded all together with baby girl (despite some Diva-esque moments from my little one, still tired from that Wave Pool yesterday!) talking life, family, kids, parenting, and everything else in between.

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And then later on, an unplanned, impromptu visit, by my sister and her family. We threw things together – I made my spicy rice which I have been planning on showing them the recipe for for AGES… the barbeque was turned on, radio up just as high, and there was plenty of laughter and lightness, with a gentle dose of D&M too.

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Like I said, it was a BIG day. I had moments of tiredness, but the great company I was in, the love in the house, and the laughter abounding, inspired me and kept me going.

And one of the best things I heard today? Advice from my 15 year-old nephew. After telling him about my writing and blogs and stuff (I am still letting people know, s-l-o-w-l-y) and expressing some of my deep-seeded fears related to it, he sat next to me and said

“you can’t let your fear of what other people will think or say of your writing, stop you from putting yourself out there.”

And to get such instant emotional support from my family network, filled my heart with such courage, love, and joy.

Don’t you just LOVE family?! I do. 🙂 ♥♥♥

#633 Spinach and fetta pastries

I am grateful because today, despite being tired, uninspired, flat, and with a MASSIVE cbf attitude when I got home from work, I still somehow summoned up the energy to make these:

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Spinach and fetta pastries. Can I just say, soooo lucky I didn’t read the recipe properly, or else I never would have made it – had I known I actually had to roll the pastry out.

Like, sigh. Who has time to ‘roll’ these days?

So I did, barely. And though they were kinda falling apart when I put them together, the save function occurred when I turned them upside down to keep the fold on the bottom – and they turned out great.

It all came about when I came across a recipe for using up spinach, and I had a fair bit of spinach that needed using up in the fridge. I’ve been really trying to cook according to what I have, and waste not, want not as I go along. It is better for the environment, and better for your wallet too.

I always hold back when I need to use pastry, whether store-bought, frozen, whatever… let alone the insane terrifying thought of making pastry myself.

But I am aware of my pastry fear, and I am going to try and make more things that use this my most scary ingredient, and shock horror – I might even make a pie, from scratch.

Dum da dum dum.

I know, right? Un-bloody-believable. Watch this space.

But for now, this pastry rocks. It turned out so great, despite literally smacking it together… life is so much better when things work with you.

 

#593 Stupid time-wasters…

I feel soooo guilty.

I actually don’t have all that much time to spend doing what I wanna do. I am constantly in a state of ‘must-write,’ and yet having a little girl and a part-time job, a fussy (yet so lovable) Hubbie, and constant 24 hour responsibilities OF LIFE, mean I don’t get to write as much as, or when, I’d like to.

I don’t even get to watch the TV shows I love. My Foxtel planner is currently full of 50+ unwatched Bold and the Beautiful eps, and the only reason I get to watch the current season of The Bachelorette is because I practically demand it.

I haven’t even watched any NEW movies, for about 5 years now, let alone an old fave, in soooo long. I am hanging.

Which is why, to do a totally useless thing, a completely time-wasting activity, feels so horrible, and yet at the same time, so so good…

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Hangs head in shame.

I know. I am sooo late to the party. I think this was huge 5 years ago, and yet for some reason still unknown to me, when I saw the link on my computer as I was adding up sums on my laptop calculator for ‘boring as bat-shit’ bills, I thought “is this a freebie?”

I didn’t expect it to be a full-blown game. I thought it would be ‘meh,’ and not only ‘meh,’ but it would immediately lead me to a section where I would have to go online to pay before I could gain full access to the game.

But it didn’t.

And so for nights now, after doing my obligatory writing projects (gratitude post, personal journal) I have been moving up stages in Candy Crush Soda Saga.

God Help Me. I am up to Stage 17. And even earlier today, as I had 20 minutes or so to wait until my cauliflower soup had simmered to a ready stage, instead of doing something useful online, say, like ANY writing…

I moved up 3 stages. Damn.

I am getting really addicted. I feel bad to be doing something so trivial, so useless, and so inconsequential to the progression of LIFE, but I think at the same time that is what is so appealing about it all …

Because as Women, Wives and Mothers, our lives are full to the brim with responsibility and jobs and routine and drop-offs and lunches and cooking and cleaning and bills and paperwork and work work work work work of ALL KINDS.

So although there are so many things that need constant doing…

Sometimes, not doing anything important at all, feels like the most freeing, and therefore important thing to do.

Yes, this post is about my gratitude to Candy Crush. Yes, I know. I never ever ever EVER thought…

soda pop 2

 

#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?!

 

 

#519 Chicken and sweet corn soup

I just love this soup.

It’s easy to make, uses fairly ordinary staples (carrot, celery, onion, garlic) for the stock base, and then you add back the chicken that cooked in the broth, albeit shredded, some more spices, creamed corn, and heap on plenty of fresh spring onion and chilli… and serve!

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What I love even more? I am able to make a kid-friendly version too. I just make sure the bowl I pour for baby girl does not contain any spring onions and chilli, and she happily laps it up!

Making a meal on a cold Winter’s night, that warms your insides, provides you with great cold/flu protection, and is a winner for everyone in the household…

Why, I am so grateful for that!

#499 Baking: cappuccino cupcakes

Still on the theme of baking for Winter warmth: baking, more so, baking sweets.

There’s nothing like the scent of freshly baked sugary foods wafting out of your oven, filling the house with comforting joy. Today was such the case, as I baked one of my ol’ faithfuls, my cappuccino cupcakes.

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It certainly was a while since my last endeavour, and in a new kitchen with last-century appliances, it took some oven tweeking until they were ready… but when they were pulled out, were just as deliciously sweet as always.

And there’s nothing quite like the warmth of a freshly baked cupcake, to remove any previous winter chill that was lingering in your home 🙂