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  1. Link Dump

    There are some tabs I have been saving and reopening obviously since November, and it’s getting a bit ridiculous when I have to scroll for miles to get to my most recently opened ones. So here you go, my links to you:

    Wild Rice Stuffing: This was the recipe I used for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was really yummy, even without the acorn squashes.

    Chow Thanksgiving Ideas: Those creamy carrots… DELISH!

    Chow Entertaining Ideas: Theme Nights!

    ♥ Cool It Down: Chow’s Cooling Off: Icy desserts and good things like Chocolate Icebox Cake with Mascarpone and Blackberries (which we had over Christmas break). Then there’s Lemon & Mascarpone Sorbetto, which I have yet to try. And also sweet cherry sorbetto.

    DIY Macro Photo Studio: I always see these around the place, and I’m sure I’ve probably linked before… but here you go.

    fragrancesandcosmetics.com.au: just a random beauty site in Australia that carries Phyto.

    French Fried Onions Recipe: You have to give up your firstborn to get your hands on a can of french fried onions around here, so I broke down and made my own last weekend using this recipe. (I practically didn’t have any left for the green bean casserole, because they were SO yummy to snack on!) I used self-rising flour and have the theory that it helped puff up the crust a bit. Who knows.

    HTML colour chart and Color Shader. Guess who was working on websites last weekend. (If you know where to find the hubby’s homepage, have a look. WordPress kicked my ‘a’, but it’s semi-mostly done except if you’re using IE6. But then I’d like to introduce you to 2009 and tell you to update.)

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  2. That’s New

    I was just watching what I believe to be Korean news with another Asian language overdub. It was like watching a bad kung-fu movie and still not understanding what they are saying.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  3. Why Someday I Will End Up with Claw Marks Across My Face

    Last nightlHubby was doing some recording. At one point I went in to talk to him, and Chucky followed me in. I had this moment of genius and asked if he wanted to sample the cat. Brilliant, right?

    Yeah, Chucky doesn’t like to be held except on his own terms. So dangling him in front of the microphone wasn’t really the brightest of ideas. I would, however, like to point out that the rumbling you hear is purring, so he still loves me. I think the reverb adds a particularly nice touch.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    (Yes, when we address the cat, we use this high, squeaky voice that comes from an old ventriloquist show by Ronn Lucas called “Who’s in Charge Here”. If you know it, you are awesome and probably had The Disney Channel in 1983.)

    Posted in Creative.

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  4. Breadbaking Addendum

    If you all are like Aimee and are raring to go at the whole bread recipe I posted the other day, definitely have a look at this 9-page article. It includes more tips and more recipes to make with the basic mix. I made naan yesterday to go with our Indian leftovers. While it wasn’t exactly the way I wanted, it was super easy and should be great once I work out how to make it thinner.

    I took the last of my first batch out this morning for some bread to go with our breakfast. So I’ve got my second batch of dough rising on the counter. Yay! I feel so accomplished!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  5. Other Yummy Goodness

    While I’m talking food, I came across this recipe for this crockpot recipe for Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup by another American blogger in Australia Elsja. It sounds SO GOOD. Too bad it’s too hot to try it now!

    Other Expats
    And while I’m talking about American expats, Aussie Erin is a New Yorker in Sydney.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  6. I’m a Breadmaking Machine

    On one of my new podcasts of The Splendid Table, Lynn spoke to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois about their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking. It was a short segment, but I was instantly intrigued.

    I love the idea of fresh bread — bread which contains only what I decide goes in. My grandma makes wonderfully delicious bread herself. And I have made attempts in the past, but who has time (or counter space) for all the kneading and rising and everything?

    So Jeff & Zoe’s book has a “master recipe” which can be found on the Splendid Table site. And then apparently the book has all kinds of variations for those more adventurous. I admit, I did read the preview of the first part of the book to get additional tips, but I do intend to buy the book to support them.

    I bought the flour and gigantic container of yeast granules with a confidence that surprised even me. I had a big container that fits in the door of my fridge, and so I mixed up the dough as directed, let it rise, and then refrigerated it overnight.

    The next day, I lopped off a hunk of dough, formed it into a bit of a log, and after resting, baked it. It was beautiful. I should have taken photos. The next day I tried again with the oven temp down slightly and left it in a bit longer. I was approaching perfection. I MAKE BREAD, people!

    The dough can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks, and as it ages, it develops more sourdough flavour. It’s so simple to mix up. There’s no kneading involved. In fact, you’re meant to handle it as little as possible.

    The other night, Hans took some out and after resting, he pressed out a couple little pizza crusts. The dough is pretty sticky, so we used a lot of flour on the hands and cutting board. We also sprinkled polenta on the pizza stone to help remove after baking. The pizza turned out amazing, and I’m sure this will become a regular treat.

    I recommend everyone give it a try! Have a look at the author’s website: www.artisanbreadinfive.com. You can also do a Google search, and you’ll find tons of people talking about their experiences too.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  7. iLove

    I cannot believe I am about to admit my new-found love (and complete dependence) on an Apple product. I’ve been so anti-Apple for my own self-righteous reasons, and I haven’t hated them very quietly either.

    So imagine my surprise when I opened one of my Christmas presents fromlHubby and found a nano. I hate to admit that my first thought was “what the heck am I going to do with THIS?”. The fact that it is purple DID endear it to me slightly, but honestly, we don’t take the train anymore… did he think I was going to wear it around the house?

    My next present was an FM transmitter, and he told me that he remembered me saying that I missed my radio stations back in the States and thought I might be able to find some podcasts to listen to in the car. This is why I love him to bits. Oh my goodness.

    I immediately went to iTunes and subscribed to the podcasts of This American Life, All Songs Considered, Studio 360, Fresh Air (I ♥ Terry!), The Splendid Table and Car Talk.

    This has CHANGED MY LIFE! I cannot even put it fully into words.

    No more asinine drive-time radio djs. No more crap music. No more breaking news updates with the latest comings and goings of the Britneys and Parises of the world. I’m back to the glory days of PRI and NPR. My IQ is thanking me.

    The only thing I DO miss is the traffic reports. I take that back. I don’t even care. In fact, I almost WISH there would be a traffic jam, because then I’d get to stay in the car listening to Lynn Rosetto Kasper just that little bit longer.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  8. I <3 Kikki K

    It seems like hardly any Australian vendors have websites which show the majority of their stock. Most post a PDF of their latest flyer and call it good.

    So I was thrilled to discover that my favourite office supply place kikki.K has a simple site with products to behold. I am allowed to buy one product every time we are at the mall, which is rare for us. So now that I can see what they have that is new, I can make plans to visit the mall more often. 🙂

    My Christmas list read “anything from kikki.K”, and he delivered. In fact, tonight I am going to start going through my Donna Hays from last year and use my gifts. He got me the recipe sticky notes, this recipe box, recipe card refills, and finally the magnetic shopping list in case I decide I need some more ingredients in the house after looking at all that food!

    Posted in Inspired.

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  9. Anthropologie Does Gardens?

    In recent years, I have grown very attracted to the idea of tending the earth and nurturing plants and generally being more of a green thumb instead of a brown thumb(?). I have two plants thriving indoors even though I just discovered that the root system of my third was eaten by worms. I also have several on the veranda that haven’t died yet. I can’t wait to start my herb garden. Et cetera, et cetera.

    Today I was getting some of my Daily Danny, and he posted about terrariums at a store called Terrain:

    Terrain is a new concept store by the people behind Anthropologie, with a focus more on gardening, household plants and all the lovely accessories that go along with raising and growing plants at home.

    If ever I need another reason to move back, I think this might just be it. I love (and I mean loooooove) Anthropologie, so I can only imagine what Terrain is like. Danny’s posting photos soon. Eee!

    Posted in Inspired.

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  10. It’s New

    And here we have 2009. We welcomed it in a very low-key manor at the sibling-in-laws. After several energetic rounds of Wii tennis, we settled in to play Little Big Planet until someone mentioned that we should check the time. We watched the last 15 minutes of the various (lame) shows until fireworks time.

    I have lived in four states, and I don’t remember fireworks being part of the NYE tradition in the US. Not even city organized ones, much less half the neighbourhood setting off their own stash of contraband. Maybe it’s because of the snow.

    So we watched the fireworks on tv, and then went outside to try see what the neighbors were doing. We heard more than we saw. And then we promptly went to bed. The end.

    ** Get LittleBigPlanet 2 at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  11. Refreshed

    If anyone missed my tweets, since I didn’t really update here, we went on a bit of a retreat last weekend. We spent three nights up at this really great spot a couple hours from here. No internet. No television. Just us in a little chalet with the rain and an air conditioner. Oh, and they had a cute little pond with a rowboat.

    row boat on the lake

    Posted in Creative, Exploring, Photographing.

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  12. I Resolve…

    I don’t really do resolutions, because, let’s be honest here, how many are ever actually kept by anyone?

    I think I’m setting more goals for myself that might not be some year-long process, but more on a weekly basis for some things and even a daily basis for others. I feel like I’ve slipped down a slope of apathy and laziness in certain areas of my life, and I think it’s time to brush off and start over again… with baby steps.

    It’s kind of why I’m writing now, after spending this sickeningly hot day on the bed, the closest spot to the air conditioner. It would be easy to put off posting until tomorrow, but I could probably find an excuse not to do it then too.

    It comes down to discipline, I suppose. So crack that whip, and whip it good.

    ** Check out the Devo store at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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