Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Devil Soup

I was going to do a  pretty photo montage of some of my cooking from  last week, but , since I'm a technological dunce , and haven't worked out how to make a montage yet (Hey ! I downloaded Picasa and that was as far as I got, and I even played with it a little bit,  but my screen went blank and I couldn't make any pictures appear in the proper box and I don't have a lot of patience this week if you know what I  mean and wow was that the longest run on sentence EVER and imagine if I was saying it without drawing breath-but I bet I could because that's one of my talents  ) I  decided to do a  post about devil soup.

I found the recipe for devil soup  here. (aka Baked Potato Soup)  As you can see it's not made from dried or crushed devils or anything else that is hard to obtain. No probably have everything you need right in your kitchen already.  Easy!

This is the Australian version of Velveeta. It says it's made from real cheese right there on the pack, but I'm pretty sure that's bullshit. No "real" cheese I've ever seen is capable of living in your pantry for months.  I suspended my thoughts about  the idea that this is a block of chemicals in fancy packaging (I mean after all I eat McDonald s and who knows what that really is. And I can't say what I really want to here because Macca's have a nasty habit of suing people that don't say nice things about their food  ) and got to work.

Ta da! This is the end result.

This was freaking delicious. I am in LOVE with Kirsten for posting the recipe.

A few things . You will notice this soup is not really called Devil Soup. That's just what we're calling it here because it's so sinfully delicious. Personally, I think this is fondue masquerading as soup.

This recipe calls for a small pack of Velveeta. I had to google to find out what sizes Velveeta comes in, work out which one was small, and then convert from oz to grams. That's dedication. You guys are aware that your small cheese is the size of a large Australian block aren't you? I watched some video of a woman explaining what velveeta was and she held a block up the size of her kitchen counter. Actually I think she lifted it with the aid of a winch. I guess that's the large size.

Also as I was finishing up this post , our power went out ...I'm scared it's because I wrote devil in this post. You guys know I'm only joking about this being devil soup right?

One day when I have time, I'll teach myself to do photo montages. or maybe one of you will take pity on me and send me instructions. Thankyou. Curtsey . Bow out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hot Pink Toes Month

One of the things I love about the blog world is that we become involved in each other’s lives, to a degree. We might be on opposite sides of the world or just around the corner, but we support one another, we cheer each other’s successes , we laugh at each other’s experiences, we empathise when it’s needed, and we trade and swap opinions and ideas. I love sharing my “stuff “with you and hearing about what is going on in your lives. I love the idea that I’m part of something bigger than myself and my own small patch on this planet.

I’ve read many stories around the blog world, about loss and grief, about the love families have for one another, inspiring tales about family and friends and the ways people honour the memories of their loved ones.

My bloggy friend, vawriter, over at Conversion of a Blogaphobe, wrote a post yesterday that was straight from her heart about her Mom , who passed away 12 years ago this April. I have a secret affinity with Ginger Landreth because I love painted toenails, although my choice of colour is usually bright glitter red.

I want to invite you to go and read that post here. After you’ve stopped feeling all warm inside I’d like to ask you to consider doing the following:

1) Paint your toenails in the brightest hottest pink toenail polish you can find.

2)Take a picture of those gorgeous tootsies of yours and do a post on your own blog about Hot Pink Toes Month or spread the word in any other way you choose.

3) Leave a comment on vawriter’s original post so she can link up to your blog or to contact you about featuring your beautiful feet on her blog in memory of Ginger.

Pictures on blogs people – we need hot pink toenails  on blogs ...let’s see how far we can take this thing to honour the wonderful Ginger Landreth and the hot pink toenail pedicures she has inspired with her “festive” style.  Ginger would be tickled pink  to know this thing has already gone international.  
Now if I can just choose which pink polish I want to use....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Quilting Quandry

It’s been a good day for quilting. It started raining here early this morning , so it was the perfect day for staying inside. Naturally I ran out of Pellon by about 6 inches by 36 inches so I got creative with spray glue instead. Never let it be said I'm not flexible.

I love it when I start a project with a clear idea of how it’s going to turn out and the steps I need to take to get where you need to go. When you can visualise the end product and it’s positively gorgeous. My projects usually dont end up anywhere near what I dreamed, but I'm OK with that.

Then something happens to make you change your plan. With me it was receiving 11 fat quarters less than I had calculated I needed, to complete this quilt. Not my fault. They sent the wrong pack and didn’t have another of the larger one I actually ordered to replace it. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Faster than you could say “Holy Credit Batman” I revised the plan to make the quilt slightly smaller.

My quandary is this . Originally I was going to cut each of these blocks into quarters , then sew them back together with each quarter being different.

Then I thought about not cutting them at all and just sewing them together as full circles ... but that seemed like a slack option.

Now I’m considering cutting each square/circle combo in half and sewing them back together so there are two different halves to each block. The method in my thinking is that this material is REALLY busy and different quarters might be way too visually distracting .

So I’m after opinions . What do you think? Now that I have this laid out, it’s way busier than I ever imagined. How much busier will it look if I cut these into quarters? Is this quilt wayyyyyyyyy too busy ?

Opinions Please...Different Quarters for each block , Single Blocks sewn together Or Half Circles ?  Any other ideas?

It feels so awesome to be sewing again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sharing the Love

The Universe is  trying to tell me something. I’m just going with it.

Last week,  Mama Feoneafey gave me a Beautiful Blogger award. I was really flattered by the honour but hesitated to post about it. Despite all appearances, I am uncomfortable about being singled out at work, in life, and in blog land. This week, The Chicken’s Consigliere has graced me with an award as well. The universe clearly wants me to do something. So I’ve decided to roll the announcement into one post and thank both of these lovely ladies for thinking enough of me and my little patch of blogger to nominate me for these awards.

And in the words of Sally Field - “I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” I love Sally. Especially when she flies. Not so much when she has lots of whiny dysfunctional grown up children.

So the rules for the award were:

Thank the giver. or in my case giver(s).  Reveal 7 things about yourself. Pass it on to five bloggers you admire.

I was going to turn it round on all of you and make you ask me 7 questions. But I guess that’s not in the spirit of these awards. Bummer. I’d like to know what you want to know.

OK these are my 7 things :

At the rehearsal prior to our wedding, the celebrant took us through the order of the proceedings so we were clear what would be happening when. I had already practiced being married from 1989-1992, so this was really for Mr. P's benefit.   On the actual day , during the reading the celebrant paused at the end of the question...”What is love ?” for dramatic effect. In my nervousness I panicked thinking “Crap, I’m sure we didn’t rehearse this part!"  So being the cool cucumber that I am I said  “Bugger- I didn’t know there was going to be a test “ . It broke the ice. Everyone relaxed. We got married. The rest is history.

I am allergic to all the good drugs. In fact Mr. P has just come back from the chemist after getting cough medicine for me , that does not contain ephedrine. I also cannot take benzodiazepines.  Bummer. Looks like I’m just  going to have to deal with my life without chemical enhancement.

There are 12 people left on the face of the earth that smoke cigarettes. I am one of them. Don’t lecture me.

I wet the bed until I was almost 12. Professionally, I am now a toilet training expert. Coincidence? I think not....

I once spent 60 hours straight in my pyjamas to win a bet. Not a bet for money . Just for Glory. And in that time I had to leave the house to go to the shops. For Cigarettes. Don’t lecture me.

I am planning to write a series of posts called “Shameful Secret Sunday”. I am afraid I will never run out of things to confess. And that nobody will be surprised by any of my posts.

I cannot be seen outside of my front gate in track/yoga pants. Nor can I wear runners with jeans. I think if I did either of those things my head would explode. It’s fine if you want to do it. I just can’t. I have a number of weird rules I live my life by. That is just one of them.

So the following people can  snaffle this award and put it on your blog or in your sidebar or both because I'm sharing the love.

The 5 bloggers I admire (aside from the two people who gave me these awards ) are :

a clever title goes here- The Lovely Leslie. Leslie makes me laugh . Out loud. Often. And every so often she slips in a post that is so deep and profound it actually makes me think about stuff I don’t usually think about. I love that Leslie can have me laughing with one post and really thinking with the next. You have to read her posts about her restaurant job- funny!

Calicos in Bloom – Lisa was the first person who liked my blog enough to make repeat visits. In addition she is a lovely, thoughtful person to boot. And she is a prolific quilter and she doesn’t use patterns. This is one talented lady folks. Plus she's my oreo dealer.

The Sarcastic Quilter – You know why. I think Beck is one of my long lost relatives. Mrs. Sarcastic  was the first person who ever emailed me directly. Now if I didn't get an email from her every few days I'd probably worry.  Some people you just connect with. Hilarious , Warm and  when I get to the US, I'm inviting myself over. Consider yourself warned. And you better be holding two wine glasses when I get there.

Sunshine?Paradise? -Marg lives in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia. She crochets , she bakes, she has a lovely home, and she quilts. These are just a few of her talents. And yet she remains one of the most down to earth people I have "met" in Blogland. 

That man Quilts? Yes, if you haven’t seen Lane’s blog wander on over. He’s a man and he quilts. I have to say I think it’s way cool that a man can have as much fun with fabric as I can. Genuine, honest , and  he calls it like he see's it. I like those qualities a lot.  

I’m changing the rules about this award because I’m a break the rules kind of chick and because I think we’re all adult enough to decide our own rules. And because that's what dictators do, and I'm the dictator of my own blog.  So.... there are no rules.I’m giving you this award to do with as you will because I like you and because I believe you truly are a beautiful blogger. Enjoy! . If you want to pass this along to others you can decide who , how many, and when.  I’m happy to be able to share some bloggy love without coming off like a weirdo stalker.

One last thing .  Brenda's blog,  Meandering Quilt Thoughts  has been featured in the latest issue of "Quilter's Home" magazine as one of the " 55 Rad blogs" mentioned on their cover. So hop on over there so you can  brag to your friends you know someone famous. And while you're there have a look at her quilting, which is as beautiful as the lady herself.

P.S. I'm worried about the use of the word "see's". I dont think thats an actual word.

Grocery Challenge -Week 4 (and Nanaimo Bars !)

I did my grocery shop Wednesday night , and have managed to hit the shops three times since then to spend more money. So , not such a good week. Maybe since I know it’s almost the end of the month , I’m cutting loose. I’m still on target , providing I don’t race out to buy wagyu beef or a crayfish.

So, total spent for this week $172.05

Total remaining until the end of the month $143.93

In my own defence I cooked coconut rice this week and had to buy  10 kilo bags of three different kinds of dal when I only needed 4 tablespoons of each kind. And pure coconut oil is expensive you know. (And looks and tastes like suntan lotion)  I’m going blind from googling recipes that require channa dal. I’ll be making it into porridge if all else fails.

Now, down to business. I implore you to stop talking about food in your comments. I have no willpower and I’m going to end up with a backside the size of the outback if you don't.

Last week it was Nanci and her Butter Tarts . Mmmmmmm Butter tarts. This week, the gorgeous Marg planted the seeds of Moose Milk and Nanaimo Bars. I’m giving the Moose Milk a miss , because I’m not a lush …(sorry Marg –I couldn’t resist) but I decided to make the damn Nanaimo bars since I couldn’t get them out of my head.

These need custard powder. I’ve never bought custard powder before. I know you’re thinking “Does this woman live under a rock ?“. It was thrilling to buy such an exotic ingredient.

The recipe I used is here . We don’t have Graham Crackers here so I used chocolate ripple biscuits instead.

These are easy enough to do. I just like to mess up my kitchen when I cook. See?

This is what rose like a phoenix from the ashes.

Yes, that is seized milk chocolate on top …How observant of you to notice! And mine seem pretty big compared to the recipe picture. Hmnnnnn...I wonder if that's because Australia is a lot like Texas. Everything is big here. Maybe our 8 inch pans are smaller than yours. Maybe my mix fluffed up due to the sunshine, and the fact we're south of the equator.  Whatever.

But they still taste great, even if they don't look pretty. Next time, I'll halve the base or double the size of the pan! This time, I'll just shut my eyes when I'm taking one from the fridge. (and when I'm next weighing myself)
Next time any of you want to talk food …since I’m easily led , mention salad or vegetables will you?  If I don't eat something green soon,  I fear for my health.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tutorial: Changing a Toilet Paper Roll

I've been dying to do a tutorial.  Unfortunately there are so many talented people out there that all the good tutorials appear to have been taken. I finally had this idea. And I'm freaking awesome at doing this because I've had so much practice. I estimate I've done this about 9568 times since I moved out of home in 1989. Someone else changed the toilet roll here once in 2003  and I nearly fainted from shock. I think they did it by accident. Whoever it was never confessed. Some crimes just never get solved.

I strongly urge you to print  this tutorial off and blue tack it to the toilet wall above the toilet roll holder. That's what I just did.  I have my fingers crossed that my family can learn a new skill with visual step by step instructions.


And if this doesnt work I'm hiding all the TP....
At 3.50 pm angels started singing. A rainbow erupted over my head. I heard music, sweet music. And all became right in my world.

This ....

Plus this


Means I will be absent for the forseeable future.

See you  when I get sick of sewing.

I am one happy camper!

Monday, March 22, 2010


If you’re bald ...stop reading right now because this post won’t interest you.

I feel compelled to pour out my gut wrenching sorrow. In Writing. To The World. I’m sure someone somewhere will identify with my pain.

This week, I’m back in the saddle. Raring to go. I’m whipping through my “To Do” lists like you wouldn’t believe. Monday I dealt with the insurance company, made a specialist appointment, went to the library, and worked a full day. And that was before 10 am. Next thing on my list was to arrange a wax and haircut.

I should have had a haircut two weeks ago because I look like a woolly mammoth and can barely see through my fringe. In fact my fringe is currently merging with my upper lip hair. That would be attractive perhaps if my name was Boris-ina or I was the bearded lady at the circus.  

Everyone who works at my hair salon is perky , pretty and coincidentally has perfect hair. My hairdresser Megan is the goddess of hair. For a princely sum she can make you look like you just spent three hours and a princely sum getting your hair done. I walk out of there feeling gorgeous. It’s a fair trade, although Mr. P goes pale and breaks out in a sweat every time I announce I have an appointment. Nobody touches me except for Megan. This is the rule. Everybody knows this. Yes I’m the crazy cat lady of the hair world.

Anyway...I called the hair salon. (All names have been changed to protect the innocent) B answers. And when I tell her I look like a woolly mammoth and am desperately in need of  a haircut and I beg her to book me in with Megan for TOMORROW (with the emphasis on TOMORROW so she can tell how desperate I really am ) and I pause for dramatic effect , she pauses too. Or she might have been waiting to get a word in. Whatever.

And B informs me Megan has left.

Now, I don’t know. Maybe Megan has been sniffing the hair toner or they found her shooting up peroxide and they had to let her go. I couldn't care less. So what if she’s a jumped up addict? She is the GODDESS of my hair for crying out loud. She can’t be gone!

In that moment, I felt a loss so profound, so deep, that I almost started to cry. Never again will my locks look gorgeous. Never again will I find someone who can transform a woolly mammoth into a beautiful swan. Never again will Megan think the fact I want pink and purple hair as a protest about becoming a grandmother, cute and completely righteous. And not juvenile in the slightest.

And in this moment of pain and suffering and loss and grief, the best I could say to B was “Well, that sucks”.

Years of university education and a prolific command of the English language was reduced to those three words. WELL THAT SUCKS.

Man, I hope someone uses that as my Eulogy someday.

P.S. I lost 3 kilos by shaving my legs yesterday. Better than going to Weight Watchers. I cannot wait to get my eyebrows and upper lip waxed and lose another kilo or so.

I wanna know any bald people read my blog and did you read this post?

And Nerida, I know if you’re reading,  you’ll understand if I’m in a bad mood on Wednesday. Someone called Jody is cutting my hair tomorrow.

Grocery Challenge-Week 3

Week 3 of the Great Grocery Challenge has arrived. Head on over to One Crazy Journey  for an update on Flamingo Mama's progress.

Since I was under the weather  last  week and couldn’t get out to shop so much, I was forced to use what we had in the house. I’ve noticed that you can get really creative when you have to. I must confess there was a high degree of menu shuffling  this week because people didn’t want me breathing on their food. (Mental Note To Self: Learn to perfect a cough for other occasions I don’t feel like cooking) I highly recommend contracting a virus if you're wanting to save money on groceries as well.

I spent a massive amount this week. All of $17.00. My shopping list included ice cream (we had a guest for dessert because any other time I would be too mean to buy ice cream ) , cream, raisins, and milk.
This makes my total grocery spend for March so far : $348.02
Leaving me : $ 315.98 Pretty darn impressive huh?
I’ve been trolling round looking for new recipes this week and have found blogs an amazing source of inspiration. I particularly liked this recipe from Kirsten's Cooking  for Baked Potato Soup  I think Velveeta must be like our Kraft Blue Cheese, so that’s what I’ll be using.

My mission this week is to use all the little leftover bits and pieces from our inside freezer. Everytime I open the door something jumps out and tries to attack me. So if this week’s menu looks a bit cobbled together it’s because it is. Plus, I’ll be using some of last week’s meals because we didn’t eat them. Has anyone else noticed if the main cook is sick, everyone else decides that eating proper meals is low on the priority list? I personally dont think lollies and Dorito's are a meal.  Apparently some people in this house think that covers mains and dessert.

My Menu for this Week:


Chicken and avocado sandwiches
Bacon , Eggs and Toast
Pancakes with Maple Orange Butter 
Cheesey Tuna Potatoes
Chicken Wings and Salad
Mediterranean Vegetable Frittata

Lamb Salad with Mint

Rendang Curry , baked potato skins with bacon cheese and sour cream, Jasmine Rice and Butter Tarts
Smashed Roast Chicken with Cajun seasoning, gravy potatoes, corn and beans.

Pasta and Spaghetti Sauce with two cheeses
Cooking with SAJ –Finally going to do those lamb Shanks with Carribean Coconut Rice
Kirsten’s Baked Potato Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rolls and lemon cheese cake
Steak with Garlic Cream sauce , BBQ potatoes and a green salad
Takeaway for dinner one night

I make all my own rubs and marinades. The cost is significantly less than the store bought kind and it's really easy to do.  This is the Cajun Seasoning Recipe  I use.  And here is an old post of mine that  lists  links to a couple more rub recipes. So,  Happy Shopping, Meal Planning and Cooking. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else is doing.

P.S. I bought a cake  from the store on March 12th and it has a use by date of April 3rd. Apparently this cake will keep for at least  three weeks cake I  make ever lasts that long. Exactly what is in there to keep it fresh for that length of time ? Ugh- I don’t want to know. I just fed it to the dogs. Now I feel bad because I wouldn't eat it but I expected them to, and because they can't read they weren't making an informed choice.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday In Pictures

Today was a busy day. Join me on my day...via pictures.

I  was told that doing the laundry is not the same as renovating the laundry so I  left it in Mr. P's capable hands.

  I cleaned the dog kennel  out......

And  rescued  a crocodile, a whale, a bear,  a dog and one lamb being held in captivity. I'm sad to report the yellow bee didn't make it.

I discovered one of our dogs has a drinking problem.

My favourite tree...

But like the people that live in this house it doesn't pick up after itself, so I had to do it.

I took down all the lanterns from the back patio  because summer is done, and because when they swing in the wind Indy tries to catch them.  

I made brunch, and considered photoshopping out some of that butter before I showed you this picture. But I don't know how to use photoshop. Meh.

I harrassed Mordecai by taking his picture. He is telling me to bugger off in cat-ese, which I speak fluently.  

Lola took refuge in the computer room. But I stalked her down and took her picture any way.

Miss Pyjamas pretended to clean her room. Last time we saw the carpet in there was in the year 2000. Nothing changed today.

I held Little Pyjamas dummy hostage until Miss Pyjamas coughed up some payola.

I cut  fabric for my mystery quilt and ended up with this  pile. If my sewing machine doesn't come back soon, I swear I'm going to glue this freaking quilt together.

I started to sand back the old oak desk we bought a few weeks ago on eBay.

Apparently you can only use a mouse sander on flat surfaces. Who knew? I'm going to pretend that ding is adding character.

And, I shaved my legs. 

I hope you enjoyed your Sunday.

P.S. Now other leaves are stalking me ....

Who Turned All the Lights Off ?

This is not a grizzling post , This is not a grizzling post, this is not a ....

I can hear crickets chirping in Blog Land today. Normally I get up on a Sunday and spend hours reading posts about what all my favourite quilty and crafty people got up to on Saturday. The time difference thingy is pretty cool in that respect. Often you’re all sitting down to dinner on Saturday as I’m getting up on Sunday morning. Call me Future Girl.

But today, not much ... almost Two of you posted overnight- usually I get up to a plethora of posts which  means I can sit in peace for an hour or two looking at all your awesome crafty-ness and avoiding my own crafty-mess. (That was not a typo)

And then I realise it is International Quilting Day , and I’m missing out on all the fun and that’s probably where everyone is . Quilting. Having Fun. Making cool and beautiful quilts. And that yesterday, which was IQD here , I celebrated by holding International Sit at the Computer Surfing Blog Land All Day.

I know it’s officially Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. If you people think you’re going to spend the next 6 months out in the garden and enjoying sun and getting active and enjoying the outdoors and picnicking and leaving me high and dry you can think again. I depend on you to keep me amused. If I have to start amusing myself , I’m in deep trouble since I don’t interest myself that much.

That’s all. Now go make a quilt and then come back here and post about it so I can continue to avoid my housework. Thank You. Have a nice day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Butter Tarts

I bet you all wish I had my sewing machine back, then I'd stop posting about food.  Nanci at Quilting at The Cottage left me a comment this week mentioning butter tarts, and how they were quintessentially Canadian  so of course I had to make them. I've been thinking about them all week.  Dreaming of butter tarts. Which is way better than dreaming that clowns are trying to eat me.   

I wish I'd had this butter tart recipe at Christmas when we had a Canadian for lunch, ( he  was eating here , we weren't eating him, which is what that last sentence sounded like ) The best I could come up with then was a yule log. Store bought log cake, store bought frosting (Yes, Brenda) slapped it together and threw a Holly leaf on top. Pretty classy huh? I bet he would have been mega impressed if I had cooked these instead.

Apparently, everyone on the internet thinks they have the best butter tart  recipe, so I  had to guess who was telling the truth. Right after I got the lie detector test results back (can you believe some people refused to submit to a polygraph?) I decided to use this recipe.   Plus I'm allergic to nuts  so I had to choose one that said nuts were optional. Thirty years ago, I was a circus freak with my nut allergy, now it seems there are lots of us. And by the way , I am often asked if I miss eating peanut butter and Ferrero Rochers. Let me ask you this : Would you miss eating something that had the capacity to kill you?

The prep stuff with these is pretty easy. I'm going to confess , I cheated  was creative with the pastry. I had shortcrust sheets  in my freezer so I used them. I don't think it made any difference to the final product, which was Delicious. This is what they look like filled but not cooked.

20 minutes later ..........

Ta da!

Thank you Canada for butter tarts from the bottom of my heart. Thank you again Canada for giving me a recipe that means I can brag about my international cooking skills, that doesn't send me half insane and make me feel inadequate like some other recipes I have tried. I know that Americans make fun of Canadians, but frankly I think you  guys rock! Plus you have awesome bacon, a really nice flag  and maple syrup. I'm sold!

Thanks Nanci for alerting me to this culinary wonder. It's going in my cook book and I'll be making these again.

P.S. I still have a pretzel recipe I'm wanting to try but nobody else in my house eats pretzels so I feel it would be a waste to make them just for me plus my arse doesn't need that level of carbs solo. Does anyone wanna come over and help me eat them if I make them?

Friday, March 19, 2010


This is Indiana Bones (Indy for short) and this is the scene that greeted me 10 minutes ago.

This is our king size bed.

Standing there taking this photo I realised we were duped. We didn't buy a dog , we bought a horse.

Sunshine in a Cloudy Week

For context for this story you’re going to have to read this post  so you can truly understand the obsession love I have for Oreo’s. (Isnt that strikethrough thing nifty? - I've been itching to use it )

Sometimes people do the most lovely unexpected things that make you all warm and gooey inside. And when you’re having a less than stellar week these things are even more special. I had two such occurrences this week. Surely that’s more than my fair share, but I’ll take it because some weeks the universe gives me nada.

A while back I did a giveaway on my blog and I duly sent off a parcel to the other side of the world, which also contained Australian junk food because I like to hype kids up as long as they aren’t mine and the lovely Lisa at Calicos in Bloom  has three of them.  I used to play a similar game with my sister annually called  "Who can give each other's child the messiest,  most parent aggravating birthday present" but thats another blog post- I won by the way with the barking seals game which was declared after 60 minutes because nobody could stand the yapping seal noises anymore.

This week, on arrival at the post office, my PO Guy handed me a parcel from Lisa and her very talented daughter Miss Calicos. I’m pretty sure my PO guy has hours of fun trying to work out what's in my parcels because he always comments like he’s asking a question "? Fabric? Food? ?Soap  ?Crack Cocaine. It‘s a game we play. It's keeping him amused and gets me preferential treatment from Australia Post . Win, Win.

Since I was on my lunch break I took the package back to work and opened it just as we were starting a team meeting. I was toast for the rest of the meeting because inside was this lovely lot. So rather than talking about SERIOUS work related topics, I just looked at these babies and sighed a lot. It was a fun way to spend team meeting because usually I talk the hind leg off a chair. I know you're all probably shocked that I talk a lot in real life. Try to suspend your disbelief for a minute or two.

Miss Calicos made me this beautiful hot pad for my kitchen. Miss Calicos  is 5 years old! Pretty clever huh? This was my favourite thing in the whole parcel.

I got socks with Moose on them. (Is there such a word as Mooses?)  I can wear these in winter with my Yeti slippers. Do Yeti's and Moose get along?

Oh My goodness. Oreo Fudge Rings . Yum! You can't get these in Australia.  I promise I'll share. Miss P is already nagging me to open them. I'll be doing that at 3 am and then hiding what 's left.

Lucky Charms. And they came on St.Patrick's Day . It probably doesn't get any luckier than that. I have wanted to try these for YEARS. We see them on American TV shows all the time.

I would like to point out , I had to fight off my co-workers several times  to keep the Oreos and Lucky Charms. And I told Lisa I’m thinking about varnishing one of those Oreos for posterity.  So a HUGE thankyou to Lisa, Miss Calicos  and the rest of the Calicos Family for thinking of me, and doing such a sweet thing.

I've posted recently about making friends in Blogland. I haven't been around for long, but there are a couple of people I feel I've really connected with and could actually be friends with in RL if that was possible.  You never quite know if those people  feel the same way and you dont want to come across like some creepy  stalker by saying how much you like them and the way they think, so I was completely tickled pink to be part of a post over at Sarcastic Quilter this week, which  is titled "Ask Yourself,  Who am I in Blogland?" which echoed and expanded on  some things that I had also been thinking and posting about.

I want you to walk no over to Beck’s post at Sarcastic Quilter to have a read because she and I have a mutual admiration thingy going that we want you to be a part of. Plus her post was honest, heartfelt, and really thought  provoking. Plus for all you quilty types- she's one of us and does lovely stuff.

I'm off to vote tomorrow morning for State Elections, which is  like  voting in a  Governor but we call him or her the Premier. It's my civic responsibility. It's also illegal not to vote in this country and you can get fined if you don't vote.   I guess they figure Australians are so apathetic they wouldn't bother turning up unless they were required to do so by law. And they could be right. We tend to take democracy for granted which is pretty ironic for a country that was founded on convicts. If they gave out a free beer, people would be there at 8am.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seinfeld Posting and Succumbing to Peer Pressure

Ha! I told you all I could be less wordy! No words since Monday! I am da Bomb!

I have been noticeably absent this week from blogland. The cold morphed into something else and I’ve been a total coughaluffagus. Just standing upright for longer than 10 minutes  and remaining conscious has been a challenge and if I hear one more time how tired and pale I look, I’m going to scream. Just like Veruca Salt did in the Original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

So tonight I’m playing catch up. Checking out what everyone has been up to , ( I cannot believe the world doesn’t stop when I’m not here ) reading and responding to emails,   reading and responding to comments, making comments, thanking people and wondering what the dickens to write about.  So I'm  just going to  do a Seinfeld Post . A post about nothing in particular.

I want to welcome some new readers to my blog. Thanks for visiting and deciding you liked what you saw. There really is no accounting for taste.  Someone turned my own 4 post rule around on me (Touche! )  and someone else commented at least my blog didn't sound like it was being written by a Stepford Wife. These are my kind of Peeps.    I woke up one morning this week to find my followers had increased by almost 40%. It all felt a bit Jack and the Beanstalk.  What a head rush! I don’t know where you all came from (it’s probably my Mum using several specially created blogger accounts to boost my self esteem ) but I hope you find things here to amuse, bemuse, and tickle your funny bone often enough to keep you coming back. My biggest fear at this point is that people will decide I’m not witty , talented, charming or riotously hilarious and followers will start to leave which I will also have to blog about  because I’m too darn honest for my own good. (I actually saw someone once do an abusive post because she had lost three followers overnight- seriously) I promise I won’t do that . I’ll just drag myself off somewhere and have a quiet sniffle. If it ever happens. Which I’m sure it won’t.

I’m succumbing to peer pressure. In the last fortnight 4 people have emailed to let me know they would love to follow my blog but since I don’t have a followers gadget thingy they can’t. Well yes you can ! You can go to your dashboard , scroll down to the Blogs I’m Following section, click “add” and chuck my URL in there. I’m making it easy for you because this is my url  -
Then the blogger fairy will ask you whether you want to follow publicly or privately – and that’s totally up to you.

But since I’m an equal opportunity kinda gal, ( and the way I’ve explained the process above makes it seem really hard  ) I’ve added the followers widget thingy over there on the side so you can just click to add my blog to your blogroll. Then you can get all the goss straight to your dashboard.  You know peer pressure was what started me smoking in high school don’t you? I’m highly suggestible. Please don’t peer pressure me into anything else. Like eating a pack of Monte Carlo’s or daring me to run naked through the quad with your underpants on my head.

Two things totally made my week this week,  and I’m going to tell you what they were tomorrow.

Oh and new followers, I'm heading over to your blogs in the next few days - be afraid - be very afraid. I don't get out of my cage all that often.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm holding the sun hostage- you can have it back Friday

Autumn has gone into hibernation. Even she thought it was too rude to go from summer to autumn in the space of 24 hours.  The last three days have been around 90F and we're expecting temps of that or over for the next few days.  That must mean our northern hemipshere friends are in for more snow storms.  Don't blame me if you  have to shovel your driveways-  I don't make the weather- I just report it.

No further along on the laundry.  I keep making Mr. P.  drag the washing machine in from the verandah and reconnect it every time I need to wash. He has a very scientific system going whereby he duct tapes the hose into a big pipe that rises up from the floor because we dont have a sink in there anymore. If it blows the whole house is going  to flood.  I like to call this "Washing Day Roulette". It's certainly adding some spice and daring  to washing Mr. P's undies. I will not be sad when this laundry reno is finished.  

I wouldn't usually use a new post to comment on an old post - but since I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl I'm going to run with it-because this just has to be said - I was completely blown away by the response I received to my Blog Surfing and Desperate Insecurity post. I was truly touched by your comments and support. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know what you thought. I love you guys! 

From the really random department- I found a chin hair at least an inch long today while at a conference. Of course I didn't have tweezers on me and it would have been entirely inappropriate to pull it out since I was sitting at the front  because my boss was presenting. Do you think I can find it now I am at home in the sancitity of my own bathroom? Getting weird random hairs in middle age  is one of the things they dont tell you about in sex education  class in high school. Sure, blather on about menopause  and pregnancy and STD's.  "Horrible things your body is going to do when you're 40-ish"  should be a compulsory subject.

I'm on day 7 of my sewing exile. I finally capitulated yesterday and got Nanna's sewing machine out. After fluffing around with the front loading bobbin setup, and threading the machine (OMG this thing has no automatic thread cutter and I dont have a manual - how do you cut threads without a thread cutter???) it grudgingly sewed three stitches and rewarded me with whining, wheezing and a birds nest of thread at the back of my fabric. So much for that brilliant plan.  Meantime I'm suffering serious withdrawal and have to have the back of a quilt done by Friday. Eeeekkkkkkk!

To counter this feeling of being completely cut off from the quilting community I decided to start cutting fabric for my next project. Can anyone see where I'm heading with this? I'm really excited about this quilt top. Mr. P. is already  talking about moving out until it's finished.




This is some of what I did yesterday in between perfecting my dying swan impersonation . Yes I am still full of a cold and have now started delightfully hacking and coughing every three minutes. Mr. P is starting to get peeved about my seemingly torrid affair with my Ventolin inhaler.  

I vowed to try something new this week...not being so wordy with my posts.....

Looks like that didn't exactly  pan out. Maybe next post.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beef Rendang Recipe

 Posting for Kirsten, but feel free to give this a bash if you like slightly spicy curry type foods.  It would work equally well with lamb.  I wish I could remember where I got this recipe, but I've had it for 4 or more years , lifted from somewhere off the internet- an Australian chef - so all credit to the unknown chef. (I think that now covers all the legal aspects of plagarism, since I can't afford to get tied up in litigation this week )

I usually double or triple this recipe because it freezes really well which saves you having to cook dinner another night (or two) You can microwave or oven re-heat this and it still tastes delicious.

You need:
1 kg of gravy beef or casserole beef (cheap cuts of beef are good – I use blade bolar roast when I can get it on special)
1 x 400ml can of coconut milk (slightly more or less won't make a massive difference)
1 onion (Medium to Large )
3 cloves of garlic
2 or 3 teaspoons of fresh ginger (stuff from a jar is fine if you can’t find fresh)
1 stalk of lemon grass ( I omit this because it does weird things to my lips - yeah I know I'm a circus freak  )
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of salt
1 or 2 teaspoons of chilli powder or sambal olek ( I personally use chilli powder or crushed dried chilli's)

Cut your meat into one inch cubes . Brown your meat and toss it in the slow cooker. Toss everything else , except  the lemon grass into a blender and blatt for 30 seconds or so. Or you can just mix it all together in a jug if you want. I throw mine in the frypan I just used for the browning of the meat and mix it all that way. Pour blender/frypan/jug contents into your slow cooker and give the lemon grass a few whacks with a heavy object and toss into the slow cooker as well.

Stir, making sure all meat is well coated in sauce. Cook on high in the slow cooker for about 4 hours. The sauce will become darker as it cooks. After four hours give it a stir, and turn down to low and cook for another 2 hours.

Serve with Jasmine rice. Yum!

Confession:  I can't cook rice to save myself. Mr. P does this for me. He uses a weird method involving washing the rice in cold water  first, chanting at the full moon, praying to the rice gods and  giving the rice a bath in boiling water in the microwave for 4 minutes before stirring it viciously with a fork and putting it back in the microwave  to torture it some more. It's all greek to me. I just know the rice turns out perfectly every time.

Disclaimer- Everyone’s slow cooker is different , so you may need to adjust your cooking times. If you double this recipe add at least another two hours to the cooking time at the end. True rendang is apparently supposed to be dry, in the slow cooker it will have a gravy which is the way I like it.

More Disclaimers: Don't set your kitchen on fire while cooking like SAJ did recently.

And  as I finished this post, I  thought "I should have done a tutorial with pretty pictures" Bummer. Too late now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Sniper Stole My Buffet ( I hate it when that happens)

As I have previously posted , I have a cold , and so therefore have no sense of taste or smell, which is an incredible bummer because I cooked kassler and eggs for breakfast this morning , and it was apparently divine. Mr. P bought me some Black jelly beans this afternoon . They tasted like a big fat nothing. I ate them anyway –out of spite. Ditto my T-Bone steak for dinner. I made Mr. P suffer along with me by refusing to make garlic cream sauce with parmesan because I can’t taste it anyway. Sigh. I want to go make myself an anchovy sandwich but really what would be the point?

The highlight of my day was the thought that tomorrow this gorgeous dining setting and buffet would be all mine and in residence in my kitchen. Cute huh?

I had my Sunday all planned. Pleasing visions ensued of taking all my glassware and dishes out of my old meat safe and kitchen dresser, washing it so it sparkled and lovingly putting it back in my new buffet.  Deciding which accessories would look best on top of the buffet and the table. My fishbowl full of rattan balls? My black and white porcelain filigree balls in the glass deco jar? Oh and I really must spray paint my doovalacky black and put it somewhere as well. I’ve had two doovalacky’s 18 months and never used them. And how chic will those chairs look when I've recovered them in black and white french inspired fabric.  My kitchen is  going to be the envy of all my friends. Courtesy of Ebay. I looooove Ebay. Ebay and I are like this. (please insert a mental visual image of crossed fingers denoting extreme closeness here- I was going to take one but my camera batteries are flat )

With two minutes to go the current bid is $355.00 less than my maximum. Suddenly, like great white sharks circling a school of fish, the frenzy begins. I’m not worried. I’m planning to auto snipe 5 seconds before the end of the auction. That's the smart thing to do. 11 seconds to go. High bid is still $115.00 below my maximum and looks like it’s stalled. 5 seconds to go and my bid kicks in. Whoooooooo Hoooooooooo! That dining set is MINE!

And immediately someone snipes me at the same moment my bid kicks in by a measley 10 bucks and the auction is over. A sniper sniped me and stole my buffet. And all my dining room dreams. That’s just rude.

I’m stomping off to eat some oreos to console myself. Not that I’ll be able to taste their creamy chocolatey goodness....