Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday!

21 years ago at 8.32 am, I gave birth to a little girl - today she turns 21! Wishing Kirby all the love and happiness in the world, today and always.


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Love Mum & Dad


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beach camping in Ruby...

We were empty nesters this weekend so we decided to take Ruby to the beach and camp over night. Over the dunes we go...
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While the weather was overcast when we left town, it was nice and clear when we got to the beach...
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This is one of our favourite spots for a beach barbecue but this time we would stay over night.
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Hmmm, the skies are starting to look threatening...
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The tide was way out and it was fun to explore the rock pools which were covered in a green seaweed that looked like lettuce...
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This little crab was the only bit of wild life I saw...
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More dark clouds and the wind started to pick up... we could be in for a rough night!
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These are sea anemones and as a kid I used to love gently poking a stick into these creatures. They close up and squirt water!
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Seaweed salad...
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and my salad - much more palatable!
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Gus got the fire going but the wind was against us (that and the wood we bought with us was so hard to get going). We cooked an entree of sausages but by the time Gus went to cook the chops it had started to drizzle...
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So we resorted to the little gas cooker and pan fried the chops and potatoes.
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We snugged up inside Ruby's tent and ate dinner and talked the evening away.
We bought new Swag Bags for our bedding. They are so much better than having to make up a bed with sheets and doona up there - I nearly blow a valve trying to get everything tucked in!! Two zip together so you have one big pouch and they have cosy flannelette inside. Needless to say, we slept like logs, even with the tent flapping in the wind!
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Brekky this morning was toast on the grill...
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scrambled eggs and bacon for Gus...
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and eggs and bacon for me (a treat!)...
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More toast and a cup of coffee made from water boiled in the billy...
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We were all packed up by 10.30am and left only our footprints. We will be back again soon!
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Making the Christmas Pudding with Mum...

All the dry ingredients...
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With such a lot of ingredients to mix up, Mum needs a hand to get it all together so I helped out this morning. This is a recipe that is on the back of the Tandaco Suet Mix packet and is the one Mum has made for more than 50 years. Mum usually adds the brandy to the fruit and lets it soak for a few days before making the pud, which is usually about a month before Christmas.
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Traditional Christmas Pudding
1 pkt 250gms Tandaco Suet Mix
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2.5 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
4 cups mixed dried fruit
1/3 cup mixed peel (we omit this as there is peel in the mixed fruit - you could add
some more glace cherries)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1.5 cups brown sugar
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup brandy (we used 1/2 cup!)
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 cup boiling water
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Combine all dry ingredients, except carb soda and including the fruit, in a large bowl. Add eggs and then the carb soda dissolved in the boiling water. Mix thoroughly until combined.
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Spoon into a lightly greased 2 litre pudding steamer. Cover securely with lightly greased, pleated greaseproof paper and a tight fitting lid.
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Immerse in a pan of boiling water. Ensure water comes half way up the sides of the steamer. Steam for 5 hours. Be careful not to let it boil dry.
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Remove from water and refrigerate until needed. Serve with brandy custard and cream.
(If, and it is not likely, there is any left over - it freezed really well (wrap in foil). Microwave to re-heat and enjoy some in the New Year - Yum!
~Mixed fruit, cherries, almonds and peel are soaked for days in brandy and is nice and plumped up ...
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All combined...
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Add in the eggs and boiling water and carb soda...
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Press the mixture into the pudding basin - Mum has used this one for every Christmas pudding I can remember..
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Press down 2 layers of baking paper to keep moisture off the pudding while it is steaming...
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Now cover the basin with a layer of baking paper and tie off with string. We also put a layer of foil over the paper just to make it water proof....
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The the basin gets put into a stock pot of boiling water then is simmered for 5 hours (keeping the water level about half way up the basin)...
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This is how nice and dark the pudding turns out (picture taken of Mum & my niece, Christmas 2009) - serve with brandy custard and cream (and I sprinkle mine with a bit of sugar.. wink, wink!)
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Now I am off for another adventure in Ruby - I think we are going to the beach and will sleep nestled in the dunes somewhere. Piccies later!
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Cheers - Joolz

Friday, November 25, 2011

More school daze....

Kirby - Kindergarten ~ 1995
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Reception ~ 1996
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Year 1 ~ 1997
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Year 2 ~ 1998
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Year 3 ~ 1999
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Year 4 ~ 2000
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Year 5 ~ 2001
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Year 6 ~ 2002
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Year 7 ~ 2003
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Year 8 ~ 2004
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Year 9 ~ 2005
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Year 10 ~ 2006
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Year 11 ~ 2007
.Year 12 - 2008
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Now she is a city girl who has completed a 3 year Bachelor of Marketing (Management) and landed herself a full time job with a media agency which she started at this week. She is really enjoying it so far - meeting with lots of interesting people and doing lots of different things.
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Bri has also landed some temporary work, relieving at an office while a lady is away on bereavement leave. It is general office work, phone answering, collecting mail, banking and other assorted jobs - she is loving it too! One client who rang was very impressed with her phone skills and told the boss that he would love to have her work for him in his city business next year (Saturday/weekend work) as he liked country kids and their work ethics/values. So she may have a temp job for a bit of pocket money lined up already!
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Needless to say, we are so proud!
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Cheers - Joolz

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A good day....

I started yesterday off with a 30 minute walk. I did some tidying around the house and ended up getting to work rather late. Oops! Home for lunch, I had left over Cottage Pie - even better than the night before! I cut up watermelon and pineapple and dolloped on some yoghurt - banana & creamy honey Forme (no fat, low sugar). So good!
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I went out to a pub for dinner last night with my WW committee friends. We all chose sensible meals - no Schnitzel Parmy & Chips for us! Instead we chose rump steak or grilled chicken breast with either vegetables or salad. I had tossed salad, rice salad and beetroot. No creamy noodles or potato salad.
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As a treat and to save us making poor choices for dessert, I made Annette Sym's Wicked Chocolate Cake. I made it in a paper lined 'sponge roll tin' so it was less than 2cm high. I cooked it in the oven at about 170C, not the microwave. I was in a rush to make it because I didn't get home from work until 5pm and I had to be at the pub at 6pm! I whipped it up and had it in the oven at 5.15pm - it was cooked by 5.30pm! I slipped it out of the tray and onto a chopping board - into the fridge for 10 minutes to cool (which it did because it was so thin). Out of the fridge - whacked the icing over it, sprinkled hundreds & thousands over it, back into the fridge for 10 minutes then out again to cut it into squares, onto the plate and out the door! Phew!
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It was so gooood! Just a small piece is packed with lots of chocolatey goodness to satisfy any dieter craving chocolate. The trick is just to have ONE piece as a treat! Moderation, girls!
We each enjoyed a piece and I bought leftovers home so that is going to work today for 'smoko' for the menfolk! It is a lovely moist cake.
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I'm off to work today then tonight is weigh in night at WW so fingers crossed for another loss. I had someone tell me I had lost weight yesterday so that has boosted my spirits a bit! I can see a bit of difference in the mirror - my aim is to be able to see my 'caesarean' scar when I look down - Lol!
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Looks like it's going to be a cracker of a day here ~ I enjoyed my 30 minute walk this morning ~ enjoy your day where ever you may be~
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Cheers ... Joolz

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cottage Pie and a Lazy Lady...

I made this yummy Cottage Pie from the Australian Institute of Sport Survival for the Active Family book. It's a quick and easy, cook in one pot, bake in another dish which will fill up any hungry family.
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Firstly, cook 4-6 medium potatoes ready to be mashed. I steam mine in a double boiler saucepan - I think it retains more nutrients than boiling.
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In a large saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown off
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1 onion
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
150gms button mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, grated
(here you could also use sweet corn, peas and green beans)
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Now add in 500gms of lean beef or lamb mince and brown that off too.
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Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
1.5 cups good beef stock
1 good tablespoon plain flour to thicken the sauces
~Add in 1 can of brown lentils...
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Stir to combine and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until your potatoes are cooked - mash together with 1/4 cup skim milk and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine (I use Flora Pro-active)
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Pour the mince mixture into a large lasagne dish, top with mashed potato and sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated reduced fat cheddar cheese and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
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I served ours with a puff pastry wedge to give it a pie feel or you could serve more peas and carrots with it. Totally delicious!
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On the weekend, I made this very easy slice (from Fiona at Inner Pickle) for Kirby to take on her first day of work...
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LAZY LADY
125g butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup desiccated coconut
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Method
Make this in one saucepan, save the dishes. Melt the butter, stir through the sugar and then then egg. Stir through the cocoa and then the flour and the coconut.
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Spread in a slice tin and cook 15-20 mins at 180°C.
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Ice while still hot.
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Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp softened butter
1½ tbsp milk
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Mix all together in a bowl and spread on top of warm slice. Sprinkle with coconut.
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Have a super day - I went for a quick walk this morning, a bit later than usual but I still got there!
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Cheers - Joolz
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