Despite the super yummy organic poached eggs for Easter…

… I couldn’t resist these eggs. My only Easter eggs. Thanks Pear!

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Strawberries!

Picked Tuesday, bought Wednesday exactly zero metres from the field at Strawberry Fields Granite Belt, eaten Thursday with ice cream and flourless chocolate cake and shared with family. Even though I was feeling sick on Wednesday, I bought a strawberry smoothie as well. It was the best I’ve ever had. Ever.

You can pick your own for $12/kilo, buy first grade for $12/kilo or buy second grade for $8/kilo. I bought 2 kilos of second grades (a bit over 4 pounds) and froze half for smoothies.

Needless to say: Yum.

Big Yum Strawberries just washed and ready for eating.

Big Yum Strawberries just washed and ready for eating.

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Easter as a bantamweight belly

But this year I got to celebrate the awesomeness of huge and inexplicable stomach pains. Every time I forgot I can’t each rich foods, I paid for it.

I’ve had to go back to basics.

-Warm lemon water upon waking

-Home crushed fresh veggie juices during the day

-Peppermint tea in the evening.

 

I have no idea what I can eat yet, I have a feeling it’s going to include lots of soups and salads.

Going from Madam Iron Stomach to bantamweight belly is really tough- I’m not used to being sick or having pain so it teaches you a lot.

When I was travelling with friends to Stanthorpe and this started, it taught be I had to balance how I feel with the group- should I stay home or soldier on? What will impact their holiday fun the least while looking after myself?

Now that I’m home and have access to my juicer, blender, kitchen and healthier food, being sick has taught be to appreciate and use these things.

It’s reaffirmed that my husband is seriously the nicest guy around. I mean it. I was in the shower last night and he- put the lamp on in the bedroom and turned the ceiling light off, turned the sheets down, got my phone and put it next to the bed, heated up a rice pack and put it in the bed to wait for me. Then went back to drinking beer, listening to Spotify and watching YouTube videos into the night. Clone this man.

It’s taught me appreciation for one of the friends I was travelling. She has constant un-treatable stomach pain for which she has had time off work and lives with every day. I tip my hat to people living in pain every day. I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t.

I’ve received a big lesson in listening to your body. If I stop listening for one second at the moment, my body lets me know it’s not happy.

 

We’ll see if I’m a good student or not.

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Apparently you CAN hear “Let it Go” too many times

…and that was discovered on the 3 hour trip to Stanthorpe for wine touring with friends.

So Stanthorpe is a tiny town about 3 hours from Brisbane. It’s in a particularly rocky section of The Granite Belt region, unlike it’s bigger but blander neighbour Warwick, which is home to lots of south east Queensland’s farming.

BUT

Stanthorpe has wine.

Lots of it. And it’s cold, which means that Briswegians often pop over there in winter for a true cold experience.

Here’s some of our memories:

Notables:

  • Sutton’s apples. Best apple pie ever and apple picking
  • Anna’s. Italian restaurant with 80s decor but the biggest portions of good food I have ever seen. No one finished their dinner.
  • Sommerville Valley Tourist Park and Resort. A little out of town, this place looks like a run of the mill caravan park and camping ground, but has waterfront cabins near the damn that are nicer than our apartment. With fireplaces. We’re already re-booked for one of my travel companion’s birthday.

The sky is so beautiful here.

Oh yeah, and we bought over a dozen bottles of wine and a case of microbrew. And cheese. And tapenade. And apples. And strawberries. Go here if you like food.

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still on haitus

So hello,
I thought I would put a brief explanation of my haitus. To put it simply: my camera phone has been broken & I’m unable to transfer photos. I hope to begin again soon but money has prevented me from getting a cable so far. I hope you, in blog world & the real world, are having as good a year as I am.

Thank you.

Australians just don’t do red velvet

So I was asked to make red velvet macarons for a friend’s hen’s night. So yes, play dough penises and drinking games abounded. The problem was, I loaned my piping bag to someone so they could ice cupcakes. Instead, I make red velvet cookies. I found the link here, but I warn you, it’s very spammy so you’ll need to exit out of a lot of ads.

I really don’t get the appeal of adding FOUR tablespoons of synthetic dyes when without the dyes, you would have had a perfectly fine white chocolate cookie, but that’s just me I guess. I now have a bottle of red food dye. Perhaps a non-edible dying project is in order?

They turned out a little fugly (ok, a lot fugly, but I was taking them out of the oven 5 minutes before I had to be there- I was rushed!) but I was told they taste like Subway cookies.

Complement? I think it was intended as such.

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January = wonder woman me.

So I’m doing The January Cure through Apartment Therapy. You spend the month getting some projects done and identifying housey-home* things that need fixing either this month or over the year.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

So far, I have done things like: create a project list, vacuumed and washed the floors (ok, no I didn’t, Ben did because he said he would and they look awesome!), buy flowers, cleaned up the kitchen (but yet to tackle the pantry of dank, dark doom and forgotten corners. Doesn’t that sound like a Harry Potter book? Harry Potter and the pantry of forgotten corners…) and picked projects to tackle this January (fix the kitchen sink washers and re-hang my inspiration board which fell off the wall, oh I don’t know… 3 months ago?), choose a piece of art to hang (inspiration board). <– This is an appallingly long sentence. Sorry about that.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The 8th project is to plan a party or get together. Not sure on that one, although Ben’s birthday is coming up.

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it's far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn't like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it’s far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn’t like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

My Facebook status this morning was:

So I’m feeling quite superwoman today: I’ve jogged, I’ve eaten my raw chia cacao pudding with strawberries and homemade almond milk, I’ve yoga-cised, done at assortment on housey-home things and plan to go to Bunnings to get new light bulbs and washers for the kitchen. All I need to do is prison time for tax-fraud and I’d be a regular (granola version) Martha Stewart.

If I can get a handle on the desk and the pantry before I go back to work (whilst remembering to finish writing and editing an article and planning two more… sleep? what?) I will be a happy person.

Oh, and do my tax returns for the last 2 years. No really. I should probably do that.

 

*Housey-home came from this one time where Ben and I watched 100 episodes of Tobuscus playing Minecraft on Youtube. The term has stuck. No I don’t do drugs. Yes, I clearly needed a better hobby at that point in my life.

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Christmas doesn’t have to end yet- Chocolate bark

So I couldn’t fit this post in before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy chocolate any time of year (amiright?). Obviously. I made these for colleagues for Christmas- my boss can only enjoy Gluten Free goodies and it’s easier to make something that’s gluten free for everybody. Last year I made fudge.

This was surprisingly easy to make. I got a bit nervous about working with chocolate, but it was not difficult at all. I found that a glass bowl helped (I bought one for the occasion but have been meaning to for years). If you want this to be GOOD, use the best possible chocolate you can afford. I used some cheaper white and dark chocolate, and thought it shows. The milk chocolate was divine and make the almond bark great.

It really is simple: Melt chocolate, spread into a pan lined with baking/grease proof paper (no oil or spraying needed). Press goodies on of your choice into the chocolate (I had one with almonds and the other with candy canes) and let set in the fridge. When firm (doesn’t take long at all) melt a second (different) chocolate and spread this over the top. Put back in the fridge. When set, break into large chunks.

Naturally, if you use vegan chocolate, it will be vegan and if you check your candy canes or other mix-ins are gluten free, then your bark will be gluten free.

I made a dark chocolate, almond and milk chocolate bark (definitely the best- the quality of the milk chocolate shone through) and a dark chocolate, candy cane and blogs of white chocolate “snow” one. I also made one serious “block” of chocolate, broke it in half and gave it to good friends at work. I gave these in little noodle boxes wrapped with curling ribbon. I would also try some different mix-ins. You could add mini marshmallows, coconut and glace cherries/turkish delight and make rocky road style bark, or lolly bananas and peanuts (yum!), or dried fruit if you want to be Christmas festive. Don’t you just think you could throw a chunk or two of this into hot milk?! Maybe when it’s colder!

I was hoping to make this for family as well as colleagues, but here’s the thing: it’s too bloody hot to make chocolate gifts in Australia if you’re not sure about refrigeration! Baking something is much easier.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, luckily it’s still nice and cold and this will keep out of the fridge if you wish.

Enjoy!

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I love Paddington

So I’ve posted about Paddington before, but I never get over how lovely it is.

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LADY MARMALADE

So in order to catch up with a friend before Christmas, I just HAD to go to Lady Marmalade at Stones Corner for lunch AND they just won map magazine’s best lunch 2013 award. Life is tough.

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The hardest part was deciding what to eat, as there were lots of vego options and even a vegan option with greens, sweet potato, black beans, tofu and dukkah. I ummed and ahhhed and went for the mushrooms with mojo verde (a tangy non-basil pesto?) on brioche with goats’ cheese. I ordered a potato and feta hash on the side. My friend was going to go for the haloumi (because obvious) but ended up having the herbed avo toast with tomato and a SIDE of haloumi. Genius. This is why I have such great friends. Because they piece together brilliant meals.

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The café was busy but not full and we got quick service and meals. My mushrooms were well cooked and came with spinach but didn’t appear to come with the goats’ cheese. Instead, there was a yoghurt looking but cheesy tasting sauce under my mushrooms. It was still delicious and as long as no one mayo-bombed me (I don’t like mayo [but like aioli]) I didn’t mind. The potato feta hash was really good- I find that sometimes the cheese taste gets lost but you could actually pick it as an ingredient and I didn’t want to add salt to it. My friend was really happy to discover her tomatoes were in a really nice dressing and although she couldn’t pick the herbs in her avo, I think there was mint, coriander and possibly basil.

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We paid less than $30 total for our brekkies including sides and my soy iced latte. I really liked the attention to the flavours in each item- whether it was a main or a side it worked well and didn’t need heaps of salt and pepper. We even got to see a guy ride past in a plastic canoe/bicycle thing. Value.

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Lady Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon

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