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Category Archives: Cooking

  1. Theme Night Inspiration

    Ooo, just came across this wonderful site, Hostess with the Mostess. So much inspiration for dinner parties. I get really nervous about entertaining for outsiders, but I love putting together a theme night when it’s just family. Below are a few of my favourites that I’ve gotten around to uploading:

    Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010

    Beijing Summer Olympics 2008

    Il Gato’s Italian Night

    Posted in Cooking, Creative, Inspired, Photographing.

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  2. Kitchy

    Ahh, remember when I thought I was recommitting to blogging more regularly? Well, my life has changed dramatically since then, and I can no longer commit to that:


    ** Drool over Kitchenaid Mixers & Accessories at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  3. Breakfast Sausage Cravings

    I think I’ve mentioned our lovely butcher staffed by a dozen Eastern European women with varying degrees of patience. The other day I bought some sausages without casings that looked just like sausages you’d get in a pair along with two scrambled eggs, two strips of bacon, and two triangles of toast off any breakfast menu back home.

    Australians don’t seem to do breakfast sausage though, so I went on a hunt for a recipe of spices to add to my meat. This one posted by a couple of Americans in Germany was the one I went with, and it turned out great. The red pepper gives that perfect lingering heat. I fully endorse it.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  4. Links for Later

    I’ve been saving the tabs on this browser for the better part of December, so in an effort to clear the slate before the new year, I thought I’d do a quick link post.

    Fresh Corn & Avocado Salad: I made this one for our Boxing Day get-together, and it was really nice and super easy. I used verjuice for the Champagne vinegar and squeezed a bit of lime over the avos to keep them from turning brown before we ate.

    Beef & Cabbage Stir-Fry: for future reference (via Kris)

    Black Eyed Peas & Greens: Probably isn’t going to happen as a New Year’s tradition this year, but I’m curious to try the recipe.

    Homemade Peppermint Patties: Seems do-able and sounds good.

    Quick Bread in a Bottle: I made these jars for my in-laws for Christmas this year. I admit I haven’t actually tried the recipe yet, so I hope it’s good. Just ran out of time. I found milk bottles at Spotlight. Hansldesigned the fold-out directions with detachable recipe card. (Email me if you want to use it.)

    Bread Jar Gifts Bread Jar Recipe
    Real Whipped Cream on the Go at Freeze Happy: Put whipped cream dollops on wax paper and freeze to use later on desserts or in coffee. But the real reason I’ve saved this link is the hilarious aside at the bottom about make-shift piping bags and the kitty-poo-like results they produce.

    Alinea Mosaic: I first heard about the restaurant Alinea when the owner was interviewed on one of my NPR podcasts about this time last year. Since then, I’ve been intrigued by molecular gastronomy. This has also been fueled by the chemists on Top Chef. From what I can tell the Mosaic sight has a forum about a book they must have released, but the topics are fascinating. They are surprisingly transparent with their techniques and recipes. See also: All Things Alinea Flickr Pool for some mouth-watering photos

    Posted in Cooking.

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  5. Tales of Christmas

    It was hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit again this year. It’s just too hot to feel like going through all the trappings of the season.

    Instead of hauling out the tree, I ended up buying a couple bunches of arborvitae branches, and put them in a vase with some red pom-pon looking dries flowers. Decorations = complete! All the gift bags from America fit underneath.

    Christmas Loot Christmas Table
    A couple days before Christmas I raided the 50%-off holiday bins at Spotlight, Australia’s equivalent for Michael’s. I came home with some placemats and “peace” candles.

    Table Candles
    I didn’t feel like doing our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, because it was too hot to have the oven on all day. So we opted for a fresh broccoli salad and risotto with mushrooms and peas.

    Christmas Dinner
    It was lovely. Gift highlights include a sparkley ring and earrings, lots of goodies from Anthropologie from the US givers, and the parasol of my dreams. ♥

    Posted in Cooking.

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  6. What’s Cooking?

    Seeing as I’m not exactly a cake fan, I didn’t really think about making a cake forlthe Husband”s birthday last week until I came across this recipe for Gary Rhodes’s Guinness chocolate cake. A cake with beer in it? Sounds manly, right? I had a piece and didn’t actually mind it. It’s really rich. (I chopped up a 100g bar of 70% dark chocolate and stirred it in just before pouring into the pan.)

    I topped it with a yummy Irish Cream Cheese frosting:
    4 oz softened cream cheese
    1/2 cup softened butter
    1 cup sifted powdered sugar
    2 Tbsp Irish cream
    Blend cream cheese & butter together with a mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar and finally Irish cream. Lick beaters.

    More Recipe Goodness
    Gourmet‘s Favorite Cookies: 1948-2008: via Kris. I don’t love making cookies given that I only have one cookiesheet that fits in my abnormally narrow oven, but a few of these have almost tempted me. Speculaas, Dutch Caramel Cashews, and Lemon Thins remind me of Grandma.

    Greek Almond Tea Cakes I think we’re going to make these for my birthday treat this week.

    Buy The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009 at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  7. Making Coffee

    Two weeks ago, I noticed that the coffee tree out back was filled with bright red cherries. After a little bit of online research, I thought it might be fun to give homemade coffee processing a try. (In hindsight, “fun” is not the word I would actually use anymore.)

    You can see each stage of the process in my Flickr set. My thumbs are raw from taking off the parchment this afternoon. I hope to roast next weekend.

    Coffee Cherries


    ** Find Home Coffee Roasting gear at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  8. Oh Honey Mustard

    I’ve been a member of Vibe Village for almost a year now. In that time I’ve tried some fun products, but last weekend I got to host a party that featured some Masterfoods Family Favourites sauces with a bonus Glade Scented Oil Candle.

    We had Tuscan Meatballs, Honey Mustard Chicken, Beef Stroganoff & Cheesy Potato Bake, and they were all pretty darn good. I’ve never met a potato bake I didn’t like, so that was a given. But my favourite was definitely the Honey Mustard Chicken. The recipe on the packet was SO EASY and would be something I could throw together after work. It only requires chicken cutlets, sliced mushrooms, 100 ml pouring cream, and the sauce base. Yum.

    Anyway, I took some photos of the night and thought I’d upload them as I’m clearing off my memory sticks.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  9. The Bitchin’ Kitchen

    This weekend I dove into my latest Donna Hay Magazine, and we have been eating like royalty. Friday night we had the slow-roasted chicken pictured below. I put my version of the recipe up at TastyPlanner. Seriously, this one was SO easy and SO delicious. The aroma will start to kill you with hunger about 35 minutes into baking. I wanted to go sit in the kitchen for the next hour just to SMELL it!

    Tuscan Chicken

    We had the Puffed Cheese Omlette (below) yesterday along with toast and yummy maple baked beans. This morning we had Creamy Scrambled Eggs with leftover beans. Yum! And tonight we’re having the Sage & Cauliflower Risotto.

    Puffed Omlette & Maple Baked Beans
    I don’t mind being domestic when it involves food.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  10. Try This Recipe!

    A while back Kris in Sydney posted a recipe for Spicy Shredded Pork. I was quite interested, because pork has become like a new friend to me ever since we started going to our little butcher. (Seriously, I love the women there as much as the meat. They’re all of Eastern European descent and are boisterous and such a hoot!)

    So yesterday we planned to have dinner with the brother- & sister-in-law (who just broke her foot), and I said I would go to their place to cook and keep her company. That was just my sneaky way to try this recipe in a fully air-conditioned home, instead of baking myself out of our house. Teehee.

    I must say, that I am now in love with Spicy Shredded Pork. It’s dreamy. It’s so delish. We had it on tortillas with homemade pico de gallo and guacamole. I also had lettuce, tons of cilantro/coriander, lime wedges and sour cream on hand. A-MAY-ZING!

    Also, for those who cower at the word “spicy”, I’ll just add that it is spicy in that it has spices in it, but those couple dashes of chili powder won’t give it much more than a completely mild rating. I’d serve it to children, no problem. I’d also look into adding some chili peppers if you want any sort of heat.

    ** Check out these Mexican Cooking Utensils by La Cocinera on Amazon. (Or get them for me!)

    Posted in Cooking.

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  11. Open That Bottle Night

    I was just reading about OTBN on Serious Eats. The idea started 10 years ago to make February 28 that “special occasion” for which you’ve been saving that one particular bottle of wine. Not all wines can be saved forever, so tonight’s the night to open that bottle. There’s even going to be a live Twitter tasting.

    I think we have a bottle off sparkling wine that we got for our wedding. Neither of us are super sparkling fans though, so it went into the cupboard. Maybe I should get that one in the fridge!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  12. My Mexican Valentine

    I’m not really one to need a big Valentine’s to-do. But we’ve been throwing around the idea of hitting our favourite (and, in my book, the ONLY proper…) Mexican Restaurant in Brisbane for Valentine’s Day.

    Then today, I came across this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème, and I think we have ourselves a Valentine’s dessert. MMMM!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  13. 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. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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: 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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  17. Mmm… Creamy

    I made these creamy carrots for dinner tonight. I’m officially making every vegetable creamy from now on. YUM!

    Belated Thanksgiving greets to all ya’ll. I’m homesick or something and not coping super great at the moment. The hot weather and the onslaught of Christmas “cheer” isn’t helping.

    Bah humbug.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  18. Linky Links

    The Paupered Chef – I may have put this one before.

    Oh, Sunday School – cute

    Red Bubble – for all you artsy folk, they’ll make cards and t-shirts and prints of your work for your customers.

    Quick Indian Cooking – because someday I’ll make it from scratch.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  19. Food Meme

    Since I don’t really feel like doing anything anymore, I’m using this as a distraction:

    Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that [very good taste] think[s] every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

    Here’s what I want you to do:
    1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
    2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
    3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
    4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

    The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
    1. Venison – I don’t think so
    2. Nettle tea
    3. Huevos rancheros
    4. Steak tartare
    5. Crocodile
    6. Black pudding
    7. Cheese fondue
    8. Carp – ahh Minnesota summers
    9. Borscht
    10. Baba ghanoush
    11. Calamari
    12. Pho
    13. PB&J; sandwich – I’ve had bites but never an entire one; gross.
    14. Aloo gobi – this is one of the dishes we get at our new favourite Indian place
    15. Hot dog from a street cart
    16. Epoisses
    17. Black truffle
    18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – plum wine, mmmm
    19. Steamed pork buns – perfect sweet and savory combo
    20. Pistachio ice cream
    21. Heirloom tomatoes
    22. Fresh wild berries – my aunt the mountaineer pointed some edibles one out on a hike
    23. Foie gras
    24. Rice and beans – one of our specialties
    25. Brawn, or head cheese – I’ve been in close proximity, but don’t think I tried it
    26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
    27. Dulce de leche
    28. Oysters
    29. Baklava
    30. Bagna cauda
    31. Wasabi peas
    32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – I don’t dig the clams
    33. Salted lassi
    34. Sauerkraut – we had it for our Oktoberfest last year
    35. Root beer float – oh how I miss A&W;!
    36. Cognac with a fat cigar – separately but not together
    37. Clotted cream tea – most recently at Newstead House a couple weeks ago
    38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
    39. Gumbo
    40. Oxtail
    41. Curried goat
    42. Whole insects
    43. Phaal
    44. Goat’s milk
    45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more – $40 short
    46. Fugu
    47. Chicken tikka masala
    48. Eel
    49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – meh
    50. Sea urchin
    51. Prickly pear
    52. Umeboshi
    53. Abalone
    54. Paneer
    55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
    56. Spaetzle
    57. Dirty gin martini
    58. Beer above 8% ABV
    59. Poutine
    60. Carob chips
    61. S’mores
    62. Sweetbreads – nearly striken, but I could probably try if I didn’t know ahead of time
    63. Kaolin
    64. Currywurst
    65. Durian
    66. Frogs’ legs
    67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – I’ve had them all but would argue that they should be separate
    68. Haggis
    69. Fried plantain
    70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
    71. Gazpacho
    72. Caviar and blini
    73. Louche absinthe
    74. Gjetost, or brunost
    75. Roadkill
    76. Baijiu
    77. Hostess Fruit Pie
    78. Snail
    79. Lapsang souchong
    80. Bellini
    81. Tom yum
    82. Eggs Benedict
    83. Pocky – I love the strawberry ones
    84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. – not looking good with none in AU
    85. Kobe beef
    86. Hare
    87. Goulash
    88. Flowers – violets in my salad a couple weeks ago
    89. Horse
    90. Criollo chocolate
    91. Spam
    92. Soft shell crab
    93. Rose harissa
    94. Catfish
    95. Mole poblano
    96. Bagel and lox – waste of a good bagel
    97. Lobster Thermidor
    98. Polenta
    99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
    100. Snake

    Posted in Cooking.

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  20. In Other News…

    * It’s fricking FREEZING.

    * Hans’s tante and oom from Holland are in town this weekend. I can pick up only the slightest bit of their Dutch, but they are such a hoot. We’re arranging a visit with them in 2010 when we go for Sail Amsterdam.

    * As a thank-you for watching my in-laws’ pets last week, I was given some Soul Food Kitchen Cajun Spices. So last night we made red beans and rice. With the Cajun blends that I’ve found here, I usually put in two Tablespoons to get it to my heat level. So I did the same with my new stuff. OMG. We nearly died. I thought my lips were going to swell shut. I think Hans was hallucinating. I’m scared to try it again. It definitely is NOT the Australian version of spicy; it’s legit.

    ** For some authentic cajun recipes, check out Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  21. I ♥ Askinosie Chocolate

    Askinosie Chocolate
    On Friday we came across a new indulgence, Askinosie Chocolate. The beautiful organic packaging is what drew us in, and we couldn’t resist purchasing one of the 70% dark and one 75% dark chocolate nibble bars with actual roasted cocoa nibs. Their beans are single-source, and the package even has a photo of the farmer on it.

    The packaging led me to their website, where I could enter a number on the package and see the history from beans to bar. I also had a look at their FAQ, and the ethics behind this company make me a real cheerleader. I want them to do well, and I want everyone to support them. They go beyond “fair trade”. They do right by the farmers and share any extra profits. It’s so beautiful. Be sure to go read their story.

    On top of all that, it is REALLY good. Almost badgood. I predict a serious breakout in my future. We stopped eating the one bar long enough for me to take that photo, but I’m sure the other bar won’t last long either.

    Brisbanites can get it at Biome in Paddington for sure, though I haven’t been to the city location and don’t see in on their website.

    Linky Links
    The Askinosie packaging was featured on, which collects all the best in pretty packaging. I’m such a sucker for lovely design, so I plan on visiting this site more often!

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  22. When the Cat’s Away

    Box came for the boss today from one of our suppliers. Boss isn’t here. Box was opened to make sure that it wasn’t some sort of explosive devise. Box turns out to contain a fruit bouquet. Fruit bouquets do not survive the weekends well. So we ate it.

    But we took a picture so he could see what he missed. Now it’s 4:00, and I’m bored. BORED!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  23. Linky Links

    More expats to peruse:
    * Suzer’s Expat Adventures
    * A Girl Named Supermindy
    * Florida Girl in Sydney

    I’m pretty sure that I got this link from one of the above. A Year of Crockpotting – someone who is using their crockpot to cook every day this year. (Allison & Steve, I think we all need to try some of these recipes and share the good ones!)

    ** Check out the slow cooker options at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  24. A Late Celebration

    Our second anniversary was on Tuesday. Hubby was sick. I was a little bit too. We even debated not going in to work but did anyway. We did go to the French restaurant near our work, but honestly, the best part was the dessert. I wouldn’t go back for any of the mains.

    So we had intended to truly celebrate on the weekend. We have a little wine box where we kept the wine that we got from the hotel on our wedding night. We saved it for our first anniversary since we didn’t have the traditional top tier of freezer-burned wedding cake to eat. Then we replaced it with a new bottle to have on our second anniversary, and so, I’m sure, the tradition will continue.

    I thought we needed a bit of a fancy meal to go with it, and I saw this recipe for Truffle and Cognac Macaroni and Cheese on Serious Eats this week. I knew we would have to try it.

    First off, I may be Dutch by decent and therefore cheap in general, but I am not one to skimp on my ingredients. (I keep hearing about the joys of bargain shopping at Aldi’s, but I really just want the food I’m familiar with and like.) But anyway, this was probably the most expensive meal I’ve ever made based on the price of the ingredients from the truffles to the cheeses to the cognac.  It ended up tasting incredible… but it was soooo rich. Definitely not your every-day mac’n’cheese!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  25. Mmm, Tasty

    I’ve been a bit unwell this past week. In fact it was exactly a week ago I was sitting slouched in my chair at work saying that I felt yucky. I then proceeded to spend the next five days on the couch. Changing from one pair of pajamas to another.

    I also became enthralled with Tasty Planner. It’s a really cute little place to post recipes, but then you can also drag your recipes into the weekly planner. This is important for us, because we do our veggie shopping fortnightly, and I need an idea of what we’re going to have otherwise a lot seems to end up in the compost.

    I only have three recipes up on my profile so far, because I think it looks nicer when they have photos. But you know how hard it is to photograph food in bad lighting, so only foods I’ve made in the daylight have made it up so far.

    Posted in Cooking.

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