Sunday, December 17, 2006

My 21st Birthday!

It's my 21st Birthday today!

I'll be having friends around, my parents came down last night and are staying with us. It will be great fun. BBQ for dinner and lots of junk food. I haven't opened presents yet because my parents are in the shower and they want me to wait, lol. I've been up since 7:30am!

Yay for birthdays!
Of course, 18 is the big legal-to-drink-alcohol birthday here in Australia, but 21 is even better, so it will be a great day. Plus if I ever go over to America, I can drink. Haha.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

WCB - Finally, something Puddy LIKES!

Puddy is picky. Yes she is. She'd rather sleep on the tiles than the Cat House we got for her. Yes, tiles. My poor cat. So we went shopping to get something for her to play with or sit on. She likes her simple scratching post, but there's nowhere for her to sit or sleep, so we wanted to get something uber-cute and uber-fluffy.

We found something.

Pink and beautiful. It's a scratching post and a sitting/lying stand in one. And some weird tunnel that Puddy doesn't even notice. But she likes it! I caught her having a nice relax on it the other day. Every time she voluntarily jumps up onto it and lies down, my boyfriend and I both give each other a "YES! We are GOOD parents!" look. Hehe.

So here ya go for WCB this week (I missed last week due to moving house and business) here's Puddy having a relax on the first thing we bought her that she actually likes, haha.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New House

Hey just a quickie, we've moved into the new house. We're living on Mac and Cheese and things like that, so I haven't had time to take pictures. Puddy was terrified of the stairs to begin with but she's got the hang of them now, and bolts up and down them three at a time. I can just see her tripping someone up...

My parents come down Saturday (tomorrow night) and then we are all on holidays for about three weeks. My birthday is Sunday, I'm going to have a BBQ with my family and friends. We put up the Christmas tree last night (yay)!

The new house is great, I totally love it (and the air con!). The bedroom is huge, but for some reason really light, so I've been waking up really early. First it was 5:45am and then today it was 6:40am. I don't mind really, but I'm not a morning person, so it's weird. I actually want to start getting up earlier and having breakfast and maybe going for a walk etc. So we'll see what happens. I have to wrap the Christmas presents before my parents get here and I'll put them under the tree tonight. I love Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mutant Food Discoveries!

Whoa. I interrupt my packing and cleaning to bring you ... mutant food!

I was cleaning out the pantry (this is rather difficult as in entails first off throwing out mouldy/not going to be eaten within the next two days food, sorting out what is mine and what is not (ie. belongs to my housemates) and then packing it without squashing the pasta or breaking the chips) and I came across two rather interesting things.

The first was a red onion that was forgotten in the back of the pantry. It grew. It has beautiful green life! I am going to plant it in the new place and see if it continues to grow. Onions grow like that, right? Under the ground? Here's a couple of pictures of the creature:

But even scarier is the mutant potato I found. Funnily enough, it didn't smell. I found it behind a lunch pack bag and I screamed when I saw what I can only describe as roots or tentacles. It looks creepy though and I'm not game to touch it. I know I'll have to go back and touch it at some point though. *shudders*

Friday, December 08, 2006

We're Moving!

That's right kiddos, we've finally been accepted for not one but two houses out of the three we applied for. We still haven't heard back about the third one, but I don't think we will get it anyway. The one we picked is a townhouse and it's wonderful, so close to work and public transport, and a huge shopping centre - it's great. I'm so excited.

The best bit?
I get to quit my job.

The second best bit?
We move in mid-next week, which means we'll be there for my 21st birthday (17th December) and Christmas. Yay, I can put up a Christmas tree! *clap*

I've started packing already because I don't want to leave everything to the last minute. I can just picture myself putting it off and then realising the day before we're supposed to move, that we have heaps and heaps of stuff that needs to move. We have a while before we have to move out or in because the owners of our current house are selling it so there are no new tenants moving in, and our lease is up and we didn't sign a new one, so we don't have to keep paying rent until the house is sold. If we had signed a new lease, we would have been expected to keep paying rent up until new owners moved in! That could take a long time because nobody seems interested in it. (It's a shitty house in a crappy neighbourhood with no air con, no air flow and no fans. Oh and it's overpriced. Majorly overpriced.)

I want to have all our stuff ready to move in one day. I don't want it to drag on. The bf is taking a day off work to help. It shall be great.

Here's Puddy doing her bit, haha. Her and boxes is halarious. I'll go into the garage and pull out a box (we've been stashing them since the lease expired about 4 months ago because we knew we'd have to move) and she'll come running in and jump in the box as I'm trying to put things in it. She jumped in the box that contained clothes and promptly started messing it up to get it nice and comfy. She's a character, my Puddy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Salmon Cutlet and Calamari

Well seafood isn't a huge part of my diet, so I thought I'd give it a go. Basically there was some seafood on special and so for once I could actually afford salmon. It's so expensive here and on a student's budget, it's rather difficult to scrape enough together for 'luxuries' like that. I have never cooked salmon in my life, so I had no idea where to start. My boss said something about cooking it in a fry pan in alfoil so I thought I would give that a go.

I seasoned the salmon with a really cool lemon and herb seasoning called Peri-Peri Grind I got from Nando's (for free!). Then I wrapped it in alfoil and put it in my trusty non-stick frying pan on a low-ish heat with the lid on. I had no idea how long to cook it for, so I thought 20 minutes would be okay if it was on a low heat. Someone once told me that salmon continues to cook when out of the pan, so I figured if the worst comes to the worst, I can just wait for it to cook a bit longer on my plate before eating. I'd also heard that it can be eaten raw, so I wasn't in too much of a panic (my mother would shriek if she read this, haha).

While that was cooking, I put some frozen veggies in the microwave and set about making the calamari. Yes, making. I decided to buy some squid tubes from the store. They felt gross and looked gross but oddly intriguing. They cost $2 for two tubes, and it made a lot of calamari. I cut the tubes thinly. It was hard, and a lot of the bits came out as one big long squid bit, instead of joined in a circular thing. Oh well. It still tasted the same. Then I cracked open an egg and whisked it a bit. Now, I'd never made calamari before and I didn't look up on recipes or anything, but next time I won't bother using the egg wash. The calamari was "sticky" enough to hold the breadcrumbs without the use of egg. In fact, after the first few, I gave the egg wash to Puddy, who happily licked it up. I coated the calamari in a breadcrumb and garlic mix (pre-packaged) that I am absolutely in love with, then shallow fried them in a pan. They took probably a couple of minutes to cook, and so they were done pretty quickly. My boyfriend loved them but said they probably needed a little longer in the pan. But doesn't it go rubbery if it's left in too long? I don't know. It tasted good and we didn't have food poisoning afterwards, so yay!

I checked on the salmon about 20 minutes later, and it seemed to fall apart quite well. It still looked a bit pink (what did I expect, for it to be totally white like basa or something?) but it looked (and smelt) great, so I thought, what the hey. The salmon was delicious. The lemon and herb grind on the top was really strong, but gave it a beautiful flavour. That is definitely a keeper. I really thought it tasted great. And I loved the calamari. Mmmm, so tempted to just go back to the store today and buy 10 squid tubes and eat calamari for lunch. Mmmm..... I used another sauce we got from Nando's called Perinaise (my favourite) which is sort of like a spicy mayonnaise. It's delicious. It was really good as a dipping sauce. I also like it on sandwiches (chicken sandwiches is the best). Mmmmm.....

Here's the finished product! My first time cooking salmon and my first time cooking calamari! And nobody died or spent the night throwing up! Yay!

Shameless plug (no really, they are both the yummiest things alive!) below of the Lemon & Herb Peri-Peri grind (the bottle is an actual grinder, which is rather cool) and a big bottle of Perinaise. I know the Perinaise bottle was $4.95, not sure how much the Peri-Peri grind costs. Oh and I guess there's a plug in there for Canon too, haha, that one was unintentional. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm allergic to Puddy

Yes, sadly, I have started having allergic reactions to Puddy.

The allergist told me ages ago that I am allergic to cat and dog saliva in one of those scratch tests (amongst a lot of other allergies) but when I said I don't have any allergy symptoms when I'm around cats, he said if I am exposed to it more, the symptoms might appear and they might get worse. Well, less than a year after we took in Puddy, I am getting symptoms.


Itchy, horrible hives. The biggest one I have at the moment is about 16cms across. That's huge. They are on my legs, I think because Puddy licks her fur, then rubs up against me a lot. I'm sad because it's itchy and annoying, but there is no way I am getting rid of Puddy! So I'm vacuuming and cleaning and brushing Puddy heaps to try to minimise the fur/saliva around my house. Yum, sounds so hygienic huh. Here's a pic of it - I have others but not nearly as impressive as this one. If you look closely (or far away, it's hard to judge because my phone camera stinks), you can see the red centre, then a swollen white ring all the way up to near the mole near my knee!)

That's the bad news, but the good news is I got some half-decent pics of Puddy! She's so adorable. I love it when I take photos of her at night and she looks almost blue. Adorable. Enjoy!

She does the best "Oh I'm so bored" look, haha. She had just woken up and loves to come onto my bed for a pat and a lot of purring. She's adorable. Hmm, maybe that's also where the hives come from ... I'd better go and wash my sheets.

Does anyone else have cat allergies and are in love with their cat? How do you deal with it?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Pet Post

Wow I am a busy girl today with my pets and duties!

First off, my boyfriend and I went to the opening of a new pet shop near where he works - it's pretty awesome - instead of plastic bags, they gave out material bags with their details on, free of charge! Saves me having to buy a new university bag, haha! Since we bought heaps of stuff, we got two. We got some mouse bedding, two bags of mouse food - one pellets, the other mostly grass stuff and kitty litter - the crystal type. Long story with the litter - basically Puddy would only use the homebrand stuff - the dusty, pebble-type stuff that costs next to nothing, comes in bulk, and leaves a mess everywhere. I'm sick of it and so I got her the expensive type to try.


As soon as I filled it, she's right onto it to have a pee, and I tell you, it's like she was holding the darn thing in all day! The crystals fizzed when she was peeing, 'twas very cute to hear. Yes, I get amused easily. Anyway, in celebration of finding kitty litter that isn't the disgusting cheapy stuff that my cat will actually use, here is a pic of it all (just because you really want to see!) Of course I didn't take a picture of the "used" litter, that would just be gross.

So I left her happily frolicking in her new litter and went to tidy out the mouse's cage. I replaced the bedding with sawdust (or whatever it's called) and put a smorgasboard of yummy treats in there for them. I hear them now going crazy on their wheel, enjoying the cleanliness and yumminess. Oh I am a wonderful mother! haha!

Here are some pics of Nimbus (black) and Indy (white and cream).

And this is what it takes to get a half-decent picture of Puddy. Man it's so hard! I'll go to take a picture and she'll walk over and rub up against my leg. So I'll walk over to the other side and go to take a picture and she'll come back over and rub up against my leg again! This goes on until she gets bored and flops down somewhere.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Last night I was bored (yes, at like 10pm) so I made cookies. As you do.

They were good - but very sugary and very chocolatey. They reminded me of the cookies you get from Subway, which was really impressive, I was pretty pleased with them. Here's what I did (if I can remember!) I got a large bowl and put 1/2 cup soft butter, 3/4 cup white sugar (next time I'll only use 1/2 cup!), 2 eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat that all together until fluffy. Oh and preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius fan forced. I didn't want to make too much noise because it was late, so I hand-beat it - it took forever but felt like a good stress relief, haha.

In a separate bowl mix together 1 cup plain flour, 1/3 cup cocoa (this made them really nice and rich - you can probably add less cocoa), 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and about 1/8 teaspoon salt. Then stir that into the butter mix. I added a little bit of milk because I found it was too dry to mix it all in, just a tablespoon or so. Once it was all mixed in, I added about 1 cup of chocolate chips and mixed that in too (stealing one or two for the cook).

Drop them onto non-greasy cooking paper and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes. In case you are wondering about the above picture looking really greasy, I got annoyed at the cooking paper not staying down so I got some spray oil and sprayed the pan, then pushed the cooking paper against it so it would stick.

Yum yum! They were good but a tad sugary for my liking. It makes about 24, depending on whether or not you can find teaspoons (I couldn't so I used my fingers and spoons). The batter is a bit sticky if you put too much milk in but it turned out really nice - crunchy on the outside and nice and gooey on the inside, not hard at all (I can't stand hard cookies!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Chicken Drumsticks and Capsicum Tomato

Sorry about the lack of updates, I've been trying to find a house as soon as possible because I want to move before Christmas! It's already December 1st, and I'm running out of time. Last night I decided I wanted a nice homecooked meal so I thought I would try something new. Chicken Drumsticks and Capsicum Tomato. Now if you don't like capsicums, I would strongly suggest avoiding this dish because that's all it is. Capsicums. With other things too, haha. Capsicums are also known as peppers, if you are wondering.

Ok I started off with four chicken drumsticks. I decided to leave the skin on because I wanted to walk on the wild side for one night. Turn the pan up relatively high because you want them to brown before you take them out, add the sauce, then put them back in. Otherwise they fall apart. You want them to have a bit of a crunch to them. So while those are cooking (don't forget about them, I did a few times and had to peel them off the bottom of the pan!) cut up one large red capsicum and one large green capsicum. I wanted to use one yellow one instead of red, but they were all soft and yucky at the store, so I got red instead. Slice them thinly - core them and remove the seeds and white bits, though. Also chop one large red onion (I am in love with red onions! They are so nice! But they still make my eyes water) into wedges. It doesn't have to be too neat because they just end up collapsing anyway.

Now chop up ten shortcut bacon rashers. I was supposed to use pancetta for this but my local shopping centre didn't have any, so I thought shortcut bacon would do. It was nice, so you might want to try it instead of the pancetta anyway. Dice them, don't have to be too small, just bite-sized. Remove the chicken from the pan (I know they're not cooked yet!) and put them on a clean plate. Add the bacon, capsicum and onion to the pan and give it a good stir. Once it's settled down a bit, add two cans of diced tomatoes and one cup of chicken stock. Add seasoning to taste - I added basil and oregano and pepper because I love it all and I am so addicted to basil! Stir it all in, then turn the pan down to simmer and put the drumsticks back in. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked, turning them about three or four times. Yummy!

Here's the finished product. It was really nice but I put it in a bowl and found it hard to eat it, next time I'll use a plate, haha. You have to like capsicum to like the dish, but it wasn't too overpowering, it was lovely! And the chicken drumsticks were well cooked! My mum always worried she didn't cook them for long enough so I never grew up eating them, so I never cooked them from fear of killing everyone in my household!