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Decision

After another half a week of tossing ideas around, I think I have decided to stop blogging for now. It doesn’t seem worth the stress and concerns and the things I like about itΒ  (paying attention to the presentation of food would be one πŸ™‚ nothing like photographing things to make you attend to aesthetics!) I’m sure I’ll keep in a non-official sense.

xx Kari

Uncertainties

Post-wise, June clearly didn’t get off to a very good start! Not a single line from me this week. This wasn’t due to a lack of time particularly, although it was a busy week too, but some uncertainty on my part as to whether I should keep this blog going or not.

I can’t really outline all the reasons why I’m deliberating about it on here as some of the reasons are privacy related and that would kind of shoot myself in the foot. I guess I have a bit of conflict between my professional role and my private life and I worry that this could end up bringing the two together in a way that might be less than ideal. I’m not sure what I’ll end up deciding in the long term, but I think for the time being I will keep posting. And irrespective I’ll keep following the blogs I follow. So we’ll leave it at that for now πŸ™‚

On other topics, this week signalled the official start of winter here, and the mornings and evenings have been cold! I should say that I just checked out Ange’s latest Oh She Glows entries and saw the snow that they’ve had the last week…it hasn’t been that cold here, but it’s felt cold all the same πŸ˜› I’ve definitely pulled out my winter coats and scarves. I really love winter clothes so that’s been quite fun, but I think it’s almost time for gloves too…lol.

I’ve had a good week exercise-wise. After getting back from my holiday I think I put pressure on myself to up my running, due to having a low mileage week when I was away. I’ve since realised how unhelpful that is – not just as a way of thinking, but because it makes me less likely to run – and have decided to go with what I feel like doing. Yesterday I ran for 50 minutes instead of the hour I had hoped, but I enjoyed it and I didn’t worry about my pace too much. That’s what exercise should be about, in my view, so I’m going to keep with that mindset as much as possible.

Food-wise things have been a bit erratic; a few nights I got home semi-late and just wanted to curl up with a book, not worry about cooking. Thus, there were a few light-on-veggies, heavy-on-carbohydrate meals (i.e., toast or similar), but I think that’s ok sometimes too.

Some pictures to finish things off πŸ™‚

I've had soup on a few occasions...perfect cold weather food

I've had soup on a few occasions - perfect cold weather food

This was a lunch-time version

This was a lunch-time version...

...with a piece of pita bread and some strawberries

...with a piece of pita bread and some strawberries

Mini pikelets with low-sugar jam and banana

Mini pikelets with low-sugar jam and banana as an after work snack one day

My new favourite snack bars

And my new favourite snack bars

I like the low sugar content, but should perhaps be worried by "oligerosaccharides"?!

I like the low sugar content, but wonder if I should be worried by "oligosaccharides"?!

xx Kari

Dinner photos

Last night ended up being really fun πŸ™‚ I think I have definitely grown up a lot in the last few years – I don’t get as anxious about things like having people over, and am much better at relaxing and enjoying myself. Both are good shifts I think! They certainly make life easier, even if I still have a less good day sometimes.

I snapped photos of the various dishes pre-people arriving, but this is what we ended up with…

Kebabs (still marinating, no post-grilling pictures I’m afraid):

Sweet chilli and soy chicken and vegetable kebabs

Sweet chilli and soy chicken and vegetable kebabs

Tandoori chicken and vegetable kebabs

Tandoori chicken and vegetable kebabs

The kebabs had sweet pepper, zucchini, mushroom and onion, in different combinations and amounts. I put more vegetables with the sweet chilli and soy ones as I knew that would be the flavour I’d want to eat myself πŸ˜›

The vegetable and noodle stirfry had carrot, bok choi, baby corn, green beans, water chestnuts, rice noodles, and a mix of garlic, hoi sin sauce, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. I can’t say it photographs all that well, but nonetheless:

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Vegetable and noodle stir fry

Mediterranean cous-cous also looks pretty boring in a photo…I should have snapped everything together instead of separately πŸ˜›

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Mediterranean cous-cous

Of course, the most exciting part of any cooking effort is the dessert…

Strawberry tarts

Strawberry jam tarts

Strawberry and blueberry tarts

Strawberry and blueberry chocolate tarts

All together...

All together

I should perhaps note that I did cheat on the pastry cases…I bought empty ones to fill. I don’t think homemade ones by me would ever look so even!

Last but not least, the icecream with mix-ins…

Icecream

Icecream

I had 2 of the sweet chilli and soy kebabs, some of the vegetable/noodle stir fry and a big serve of the green salad someone brought for my main meal. I had mostly fruit salad (also brought by someone else) for dessert, plus a chocolate truffle out of a selection someone brought as a gift. I am going to try one of the tarts at some point though – half of the 12 are left so I’m going to keep one of each flavour to try and take the rest over to my parents/siblings later today. I’m sure my brother and sister will be happy!

It’s a public holiday here today so I’m also going to enjoy an extra non-work day πŸ™‚

xx Kari

Menu planning

I’m having some people to dinner tonight so today is going to be a busy day! On the main menu are:

  • Sweet chilli & coriander chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Tandoori chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Vegetable cous-cous
  • Vegetable stir fry (lots of Asian style vegetables, thin rice noodles, and a mix of chilli, soy and hoisin sauce)

Some of the guests (there are 5 people coming, 3 are bringing food and 2 wine) are bringing a green salad, bread and dips for beforehand, and a fruit salad to go with dessert.

The dessert menu is:

  • Mini chocolate tarts, with strawberries and blueberries
  • Plain (low fat, although it will end up very high fat!) vanilla icecream with mini marshmallows, crushed up choc-honeycomb and choc-wafer pieces, and chocolate sauce mixed through

Hopefully it will all go according to plan and I’ll have some nice photos to upload later πŸ™‚

My Saturday yesterday was pretty low-key; I had thought to get a start on the cooking but somehow didn’t quite get to it. I did do all the necessary grocery shopping, plus picked up some photo frames and other household things I’d been meaning to get, and went for a long run. I missed this last weekend with being away, and it was great πŸ™‚ I did 60 minutes and about 10km…not the best pace, but it felt good nonetheless.

I’m off for a quick gym workout now and will then rev myself up for cooking and cleaning (I’ve learnt from experience that it’s best to wash my kitchen floor after I do lots of cooking…otherwise I just have to do it twice. lol.)

xx Kari

Break part 2

After our dreamworld day, we decided to focus on shopping for day 2. My sister bought heaps (she’s been working full time for the last 6 months after finishing school, so has pretty much been saving for this purpose) but I limited myself to a few things…I did get a new bag and wallet though, which was nice πŸ™‚ We also spent some time checking out the super rough beaches next to where we were staying:

I've never seen a closed beach before

I've never seen a closed beach before

Lots of froth

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I don’t think my pictures do the waves justice – they were big!

On the evening of our second full day we found a great sushi bar about 15 minutes from where we were staying. I had actually never been to a sushi bar before! I’d always ordered from take away places or occasionally at a sit-down Japanese restaurant, but not from a revolving belt. It was great! We could watch them preparing it right in front of us and it was definitely the freshest sushi I’d ever had. Plus, it was fun checking out all the things that revolved around in front of us…there are definitely some exotic sushi options out there. I was boring and stuck with tuna. We actually went back again on our next night and I had tuna and veggie then too…why change something that works, right?!

We also checked out a mix-your-own icecream place on one of the evenings…you choose your icecream flavour, pick a mix-in (or a few!), pick a topping if you want one, and they smoosh the icecream together in front of you. It’s a fun concept. My sister picked chocolate-honeycomb icecream with maltesers and mini m&ms as add ins, and I picked sugar-free almond icecream with an oreo add in. I don’t really eat that sort of food much at home so this was definitely a holiday treat, but I am proud to say I truly enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Day 3 we caught up with some family on my Dad’s side – my cousin and her husband and little boy and my uncle (my cousin’s Dad/ my Dad’s brother) and his wife. We went to a rainforest area between the Gold Coast and Brisbane:

Mt Tambourine rainforest

Mt Tambourine rainforest

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Waterfall

Stream (sorry about the lighting)

Stream (sorry about the lighting)

I love this sort of scenery. Queensland gets a lot more rain than the other Australian states, which is why they get these sorts of forests and we don’t.

Our final day we spent in Brisbane (the capital), mostly wandering around and checking out the main city centre. And then we flew back! Quite a quick trip all up but I am so glad we took it.

This week it’s been back to work, but it’s my last week in my current jobs before starting a new position next week. Lots of farewells! Today is my final day of saying goodbye to people and places…it’s been a bit bitter-sweet finishing up.

On that note though, I had actually better get to work…

xx Kari

What a break :)

I had a great time on holiday! I often find holidays quite stressful by day 2 – I am definitely a person of routine and sometimes I struggle to adjust to different things when away. I would usually still enjoy myself overall but it would make things hard nonetheless. This time, there were still moments when I was out of my comfort zone, but overall it was a really fun trip.

It was also a bit of a bonus as the weather in Queensland, where we went, was shocking in the lead up to us going! Flooding, serious rain and wind, areas being declared a ‘natural disaster zone’… The beaches were really rough when we were there and there was definitely rain about, but as we weren’t planning a beach holiday it didn’t really affect us too much. We had enough sunshine to do the outdoor things we wanted, which was the main thing, and were happy to focus on shopping when it was raining πŸ™‚

Our hotel was also amazing – we stayed at the Sheraton Mirage as part of a package deal and I have no idea how we got the rates we got! It was super impressive:

View from the lobby across the outdoor water area/pool to the beach

View from the lobby across the outdoor water area/pool to the beach

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Our room

View from our room

View from our room

On day 1 I checked out the hotel gym first thing and did a speedy holiday workout (30mins cardio) before we headed to the buffet breakfast included with our room. This was also amazing! Luckily I wasn’t by myself or I’d have dealt with the “how much should I have?… Should I get my money’s worth?… But I really don’t need it” thoughts – which usually end with me being so overwhelmed I eat hardly anything, or going all out and feeling super guilty for the rest of the day. I find being with another person (whoever it is) can be helpful for reminding me of sensible and ‘normal’ eating. The choices at the buffet were:

  • Amazing fruit. Lots of fresh fruit (watermelon, honey dew melon, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, orange, berries, pineapple, paw-paw), plus stewed fruit (pear, apricots, peach, mandarin) and some dried fruit toppings.
  • A cereal bar. Little boxes of all the main cereals, plus muesli and a make-your-own kind of thing with various toppings (nuts, dried fruit again, some different grains/flakes)
  • Different sorts of toast and English muffins
  • Eggs and other cooked things (I didn’t really pay much attention to that side)
  • Danish pastries, muffins, etc
  • Icecream (??!!)
  • Assorted savoury Japanese-style food (??!!)

I could live off the first three dot points above and kind of wished we could have the breakfast buffet for dinner too! The first day I just had lots of fruit, the second I had cereal and fruit, the third I had toast (I think it was pumpkin bread; nice) and fruit, the fourth I had a super fruit plate again. The fruit really was brilliant! We’re kind of out of summer fruit season here but somehow they had it all anyway.

I didn’t get a picture of the buffet (my sister was horrified at the idea), but took an angled shot from the stairwell leading down:

Queensland 010

Given that the first day was sunny, we also decided to do dreamworld that day (one of 5 theme parks in the stretch of Queensland between Brisbane and the Gold Coast). This was my sister’s activity choice but it turned out to be a really fun day! I had warned her ahead of time that I wouldn’t go on the super scary rides – like this one, where you drop from over 100m high in about 2 seconds flat:

Queensland 029

'Tower of terror' - so called for a reason

She did get me on a rollercoast that loops-the-loop twice though, and I have to say that I actually found it quite fun (once the initial panic stage had passed) πŸ™‚ And we went on most of the rides rated as ‘moderate thrill’, which were all good.

'Moderate thrill' rollercoaster :)

'Moderate thrill' rollercoaster πŸ™‚

We also checked out some of the animal exhibits:

Tiger show

Tiger show

Seriously fat wombat!

Seriously fat wombat!

Sleeping wallaby

Sleeping wallaby

We also got lots of incidental exercise in…we walked pretty much all day between rides. I find that is often the case on holiday actually, unless it’s a travelling day, where there’s usually no exercise.

After we’d finished at dreamworld we went back to the hotel for a bit, went out to a nearby Italian restaurant for dinner (I had a chicken salad) and then picked up some dessert snacks to watch a movie with back at the hotel (I got a small packet of chocolate coated fruit and nut mix)…we watched He’s Just Not That Into You which worked well as a end-of-the-day sister chick flick πŸ™‚

Updates on days 2 through 4 to come later!

xx Kari

Holiday

As of a few hours πŸ™‚

Not sure when I’ll next post but I’m sure I’ll have lots to update next week!

xx Kari