Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Monday, 28 March 2011

my brudda and sloppy lentils

Sometimes I really feel like I want to be back in the USA. This is mostly when I've talked to someone there and something was wrong, or there was big news, or if I'm having problems with my husband. It's been a bit hard being away from all of my family and friends, as much as I think I'm a friendly person, I am somewhat shy. It's been a struggle to meet people. Which brings me to one topic right now, my brother and his girlfriend Keri will hopefully be visiting soon :). Soon being in July, but it would be so wonderful to see them! I've spent a chunk of the day looking up things to do and getting some prices for hotels and such in Sydney (where they would likely fly into).  I'm really hoping they make it down here.

On a different note, I made sloppy lentils the other day. They are like sloppy joes, but with lentils instead of meat. They turned out alright, but a bit sweet. Bran and I had the mix on baked potatoes last night and I had some for lunch today. I used the recipe at Passionate Homemaking. I think I would prefer just making chili, but it was fun to do something different :). I've also been eating eggs again. I had an egg just about every day for breakfast for a few months, but then I went really off of them for no particular reason. I couldn't even stand things that were too 'eggy' like cookies or such. But for the past two days I've had a hard boiled egg in the morning o.O. Maybe I haven't been getting enough protein? Ooorrr...iron? Is there a lot of iron in eggs? It must have some as it's an animal product...

Well, with that I'm off to bed. Bye bye :)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Muffin tops

The food, not the tummy overflow over too-small jeans. I made some today. Pics tomorrow maybe. They were alright, but actually I really wanted cookies, not muffin tops :(. It's been a busy (kinda) past two day, but it's nearly 11 pm and I'm kinda tired, so I may have to post about it tomorrow. I have the feeling posting every day for a year may be harder than expected.

I did some sketching too the other day, remind me to put that up....though it isn't very good. But I haven't put any artwork up, and I ought to. I want to do some paintings, but I can't get the sketch right. I need someone to pose I think, or get a little figure...or look up a picture online, but the figure I'm drawing is topless, so I don't really want to look up topless chicks online. -endrant-

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Of houses and stars

It was earth hour today. That's a day where you turn off all your lights/electronics for an hour (8:30 pm- 9:30 pm) to give the power grid a break and be all eco friendly and such. It's a bit thing here in Australia, though I don't think as big in the states? Anyway, we turned off the lights and lit some candles and had a funny chat :). We also went outside and looked up at the stars. I've never really noticed the constellation of the southern cross until Bran pointed it out to me. And did you know down here orion is upside down? Silly eh? It was really nice being able to see the stars a bit clearer since so many lights were off :) and it's always nice to have a quiet hour with my husband without the tv and computer and everything else!

On a different note, Sarah (my MiL) and I went house shopping today. She had decided to move, and invited us to live with them in a separate living area (like a little granny flat sort of thing). This would help us save quite a lot of money, especially as I'm going to (hopefully) be going back to school to get a bachelors degree in Naturopathy. I do feel like we would be giving up a chunk of out independence, and I'm not a fan of being referred to as an 'adult-child' but it would be nice to see Sarah and Zoe more often, and saving money is always good... We saw a few houses, but nothing really stood out I'm afraid. What will be, will be.

I think I'll go to bed. Good night.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sunny friday

So it's friday. That means two days coming up of being with my love, sleeping in, and not doing the dishes (Bran does them on weekends <3). Yesterday was thursday, which meant fruit and veggie delivery.

We have joined up with a program (business?) called Brisbane food connect that gets in contact with local-ish (within a 5 hour driving radius) who are organic or chemical free and sells their produce for a fair price. They then put together set boxes of produce and sell it to local people. It's really neat, the only downfall for us is that you have to go pick it up from someone nearby as they deliver all the boxes to one address within a suburb (ish). But that isn't even a big deal ad Bran zooms over on his bike and brings it all back, plus no extra delivery fee :) other than the muffins I agreed to bake for Bran. Here is the fruit we got this week
Lotsa fruit

Also pictured is a neat fruit bowl which I <3. Not pictured are all the veggies we got. It's really quite a good deal in my opinion.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Of rice and muffins

Bran was home sick today :(. Although thankfully he wasn't so much icky sick as tired sick. We were finally able to get Milo some food that he hopefully won't be allergic to, it is a super-good-quality food made from mostly chicken and rice (along with veggies and oats and such) but it does NOT have wheat or corn or other meats in it. So here is to hoping!

I also had rice for dinner. You know sometimes you just want something basic and yummy? Well I really just wanted white rice with a bit of butter. So that is what I had :). Reminds me of living back with my parents. Whenever we had rice, if it wasn't a packet mix, it was rice with butter. Not to knock packet mixes, they are delicious if not full of weird stuff. Usually we have brown rice, but I can't find organic brown rice in the store, so we got organic white rice. It isn't as healthy, but sometimes you have what you have. I ate my buttered white rice out of my special rice bowl and with chopsticks. Despite it not being the correct type of rice and all >.> and it being buttered and salted and peppered... I just wanted to feel special.

I did end up making that apple pie, though it was less a pie and more of a galette? A very rustic one! I used the recipe from The Angry Chicken Cheat Sheet which I love. I did add some ground ginger and nutmeg, and left the apple skins on. But other than that I followed the recipe. I really liked the crust especially, though I think next time I'll let the apple mixture sit for a bit so it ends up being a bit more juicy. Does this actually happen or did I make it up? Anyway, it was super yummy and we ate it up before I took a picture.

I also made some chocolate chip muffins today. I used the Betty Crocker sweet muffin recipe (I can't remember where I got it from, but if you google it you can find it). They were alright. I'm not very good at muffins, so the outside always turn out a bit crisp and tough, even if I barely mix it :(. But Bran likes them and that's all that matters.

Well, I'm off to surf the internet until I get sleepy. Bye bye.

p.s. I did get that pickle jar open. It just decided it would yield to me for some reason...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Of carnations and pickles

I've recently had a birthday. So now I'm the boring age of 22. Do you remember when birthdays were exciting? Birthdays and Christmas were always a big thing in my family, those were the two times in a year when we could ask for anything we wanted and typically we would get our wish. Unless it were like a pony or something of course! Anyway, so I have very fond memories of my birthdays up to my teenage years, now that I'm past all of the fun birthdays (7,13, 16, 18, 21) I feel like I'm just getting older.  Maybe because I don't go out and party like a typical 22 year old? Eh, I don't mind :). But I digress, for my most recent birthday I received some wonderful and thoughtful gifts. One of which was this crazy cat from my MiL and SiL:

After much debate with my husband, her name is Penny

Along with the cat, I also was given a lovely bouquet of flowers, of which included carnations. Now, I love carnations for two reasons. One, they seem to last a good long while (which I will get to in a moment) and two, they remind me of high school valentines day when you could buy a carnation for your sweetheart or friends. 

But for reason number one, all the other flowers have died. So in trying to be the thrifty person, I've snipped the ends and pulled all of the carnations together :). It's a bit too messy to post on here (I say after posting my icky looking corn chowder) but they make me happy to look at. 

On a completely different note, I can't get this pickle jar open! Bran and I both tried, using a towel, running it under hot water, tapping the bottom...it wont budge! So frustrating. I may have to go next door and see if my former-Navy-Uncle-in-Law can open it. 

The offending pickle jar

Cucumber pickles don't seem to be very popular here. There are about three kinds in the grocery store, one of which is pickled in dyed green vinegar o.O. Not even touching that. Then the other kinds are the dill (pictured) and baby bread and butter. I'm super picky about my pickles as you can tell. Oh America, where there is a quarter of an aisle dedicated to cucumber pickles, how I miss you! 

If I end up making that pie I'll post it later, until then, bye bye :).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Of pasta and pies

So one of the most exciting things to happen in the kitchen is when I make pasta bake. But it isn't any old pasta bake! We use mixed pastas! So They are different shapes :) of course you can't really tell with the end result, but I always find it fun mixing up the different remnants of the pasta bags to have this mixed up bit. 
Some mixed up pasta

So I did not do very much today. It got up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and we don't have air conditioning.  Also our poor little dog had to have a vegetarian dinner of lentils and rice pasta :( we ran out of his special hypoallergenic vet prescribed dog food o.O;. But he seems fine so I'm not too worried. Here is my soup btw. It's based off of a Jamie Oliver recipe for corn chowder. 
Corn chowder and home made bread

I know it looks gross, but it was actually very tasty... I swear!

Tomorrow the plan is to finally make that apple pie I keep meaning to do. I like to use the recipe from the book The New Vegetarian Epicure as a base and add spices and whatnot depending on how I feel. It seems to work out well and Bran likes it so that's what really matters :). I wish the visa people would hurry up and call me :( that's my only real stress at the moment. 

I'll try and write tomorrow morning so I won't be quite as sleepy. Bye bye <3

Monday, 21 March 2011


So I was much more productive today :) which is goos as I was starting to feel like a bad housewife.

3 loads of laundry, two loves of fresh baked bread, cleaned the kitchen twice (once pre-bread making, once post), went to the store, gave Milo (our pup) a bath, made soup, did dishes, and made a pasta bake along with garlic bread from the fresh baked bread :) Now Bran and I are both set for lunch tomorrow, which for some reason always makes me happy.

Some yummy home made bread

So have I mentioned i'm trying to keep this updated daily? It's a goal of mine to update it for a year. So i'm sorry if it's a bit on the boring side. I'll try and get a nice picture of the soup tomorrow. Here is the recipe I used for the bread, it's a great base recipe. It's the My Daily Bread  recipe from The Fresh Loaf. I <3 that website, I also get my banana bread recipes from there. Such beautiful pictures too! Maybe someday I will be able to take pretty food pictures as well :).

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday morning rain is falling...

So literally I have done nothing today. Bran and I have watched some anime (japanese animation) and we have played some video games (I swear I do actually do things!) But it got me to thinking...

Is it ever awkward living with your spouse?

Bran and I have been living together for pretty much three years now. It's one of those things that I think you just get used to, you take for granted having someone around all the time to laugh with, talk with, and on rare occasions (lol) be grumpy at. But sometimes I catch myself wondering what he is really thinking about. And then i'm reminded that he is a completely separate person to myself and I feel shy and awkward. I'm not sure if i'm the only person who feels this way?

Also, we went and saw The Adjustment Bureau last night, as well as having dinner at one of the cafes in the eatery. I liked the movie, it was typical enough to be understandable but intriguing enough to keep you interested. I though Matt Damon was good, Emily Blunt was very good, but i'm a sucker for any kind of dancing in a movie :). Dinner was alright. Bran ordred calamari and ended up with three little tentacles, I ordered a veggie wrap and got exactly that. Veggies on a wrap. Nothing interesting but not the worst veggie wrap I have ever had.

Thats about all for me. Hopefully tomorrow I will have more to report on.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Of rain and movies

Oh Saturday. How grey you are. It is raining here today, so i've been feeling lazy. I've been playing pokemon white. It's similar and yet so different from the pokemon red and blue of my childhood.

I made the pumpkin soup yesterday as well, but added a bit too much stock powder :( it's still good, but not as pumpkin/ginger-y as I would have liked. I did like that I got to cook it in my new big red enamel-covered-cast-iron casserole dish that Bran got me for my birthday :).

Also today Bran, Sarah (MiL), and I are going to see the movie The Adjustment Bureau and having dinner at Fasta Pasta. I'm not sure what to make of Fasta Pasta, it's kind of a semi-fast food place. Below Applebees but above Mcdonalds. It's all from frozen stuff, but i've heard that so is the Olive Garden (I am comparing to American restaurants because i'm a slacker). I've only been there once, but we shall see how it goes this time around...

Friday, 18 March 2011

Of soups and brownies and cities

So today I must venture into the big city to turn in my visa papers. While I am excited to be on the path to residency (which means being able to go to school, get medical attention, and not have to worry about being kicked out) I am really nervous about going there by myself. It isn't that I can't or that I'm overly anxious, I just hate going places where the people don't actually look at you. It is lonely and distressing to me. Plus if they do the interview now for some reason I may mix up the dates! I'm so bad with dates *cry*. I'll manage.

Anyway, on to more fun things. Last night I made eggless brownies! Now, don't go thinking I made brownies that were lacking something because they didn't have four eggs in them. They weren't brownies with egg substitutes, they were delicious, tender, flavourful brownies that happened not to use eggs in them. Here is the link to the recipe:

Mmm, they were so yummy <3. I did double the recipe, but did not have enough cocoa powder, so I mixed in most of a bar of cooking chocolate in with the melting butter. I also used about half a cup of vanilla yogurt in place of the buttermilk. It had a slightly yogurt-y taste, which both Bran and I liked, and was so lovely and tender. I do wish I had not cooked it quite as long, as it was more of a cake texture, but I will definitely use this recipe again.
Eggless Brownies

Today, I plan to make a pumpkin and ginger soup. I had never had a pumpkin soup (or any kind of savoury pumpkin) before coming to Australia, but my Mother in Law introduced me to pumpkin and ginger soup. And Oh. My. Gods. It was heaven! So flavourful and creamy without having very much (if any) cream in it! I make mine a little bit differently, as I like to roast my pumpkin first and put in a tiny amount of curry powder but I can't thank Sarah (MIL) enough for showing me this lovely soup. 

And for anyone in America reading this, yes, I type using British/Australian spelling because the computer yells at me otherwise T.T. 

Well, I must be off the the city. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Of visas and cleaning

Good morning non-existant readers!

So let me start off by saying that it has taken a ridiculously long time to gather everything I have needed to apply for my temporary residency visa. Like, ten months. And I still have however long the processing will take once I hand in everything :/ not to mention the interview I have to do (and Bran? i'm not sure if he is interviewed too but I think so). *sigh* But it's all good. Soon I can go to school and work and go see a doctor about my crazy knee! I feel a little bit like my life has been on hold for about a year, even though in that year I have gotten married, moved, changed my cleaning habits, and improved my homemaking skills exponentially.

Speaking of cleaning, i'll tell you about how I clean. I've been cleaning with vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle for quite a while, around a year now. At least with the vinegar anyway. We just recently gave up all bleach products (we used them in the bathroom to make sure all the nasties were gone) in favor of a hydrogen peroxide solution. I know some people would say just use vinegar, as it is antiseptic, but I feel better knowing that the hydrogen peroxide will get rid of everything in say, the toilet. I'm not a crazy germ-a-phobe but I just feel safer. Plus the hydrogen peroxide is actually getting rid of the icky mould/grout stuff in the shower! Despite how much I tried the vinegar just wouldn't cut it :(. So just today I made a paste of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a bit of water and scrubbed that in. I let it sit for...at least an hour, I wasn't really paying attention,  then scrubbed off and it looks sooooo much better. Not quite pristine white, but not like it looked like we hadn't cleaned the shower in years.

So here is a before and after shot. I'm not sure how well it will actually show.


And this is my cleaning arsenal.

So thats that for today. Tomorrow I am off to the immigration department to hand in my papers and hopefully have my interview. I think I need Bran there for that though. Bye bye.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

First Post

Hello non-existant readers!

It is my goal to post once a day for a year, so here is my blog. This will be more of less a brain-dump-rant-a-thon so enjoy :). My name is Emma Winch and I am currently a housewife (awaiting visa stuff) in Brisbane, Queensland Australia, though I am American by birth.  I like to pretend i'm arty/crafty and a somewhat decent cook. Most of the pictures on here will be of some kind of cooked good. I'll try to remember to type up recipes on here, but they can be fiddly so I may not XD. I have a wonderful husband and a happy, if not completely healthy, little dog. It was my 22nd birthday yesterday, which is why I have started this today.

My other great interest is trying to be as "green" as possible. We clean with vinegar, essential oils, and hydrogen peroxide, we try to use ego friendly soaps and shampoos (I use baking soda and vinegar, huzzah!) and we are working on eating and cooking with organic and eco friendly foods/wears. I am a vegetarian, and my husband eats a mostly vegetarian diet (mostly because i'm the cook in the house :)). We love sweets and potatoes a bit too much though! I'm off for the time then, bye bye.