Sunday, 26 February 2012

Favourite Things - Christmas!

I love Christmas.

I love the Christmas carols playing at the shops (when they're played at Christmas time.  Not in October...).  I love going to see the Christmas lights.  I love seeing the excitement in my students' faces and making Christmas crafts in the classroom.  I love seeing the look on my family's faces when they open their presents.  I love buying heaps of cheap Christmas decorations from Dollars and Sense and making my flat look like a Christmas elf exploded.

But most of all I love the food.

Our Christmas spread for last year.

I love sitting down with my dad a couple of months before Christmas and deciding what we are going to cook.  

Every year it is usually the same - ham (sometimes glazed), plain turkey (for mum), pork with pineapple glaze, crackling, potato salad and pasta salad.  We usually always have trifle for dessert and savoury pastries for breakfast.

In 2010 we set ourselves a mission to make a WHOLE turkey.  It was deemed successful.  Yum!

Last year, Dad took on the glazed ham and added a unique touch by also making a mango chutney to complement the ham.  I took on the challenge of making the pork with pineapple glaze.  It was HEAPS easier than I thought it would be and it turned out AMAZING.  

In fact, the whole day was amazing.

Our Christmas day table setting.  I bought cheap melamine plates from Woolies and used scrapbooking paper for placemats.  Cheap and effective.


My cute (and cheap) Christmas tree with our presents.

Bella in her cute Christmas outfit she got from my gorgeous friend Katie.

I can't wait until Christmas!

Corn Fritters and Pork & Spinach Dumplings

Today I made Pork & Spinach Dumplings.

They were super easy to make and only 275 calories for seven.  My plan is to take them into school for lunch tomorrow (and possibly the next day since I made so many!).

The hardest part in making them was folding the wonton wrapper - and after cooking them I have learnt to not leave ANY air in them next time, as you can tell which ones had air pockets in them - they are quite...  soggy or loose.  I test tasted one and I thought they were pretty good.

On Wednesday night I made Corn Fritters from the Women's Weekly Low Fat Cookbook.

They were also very easy to make and were even yummier cold for lunch the next day.  The recipe states that they are 302 calories for three.  And considering that I could barely make it through 2, they were another great lunch option.  I freaked out at first thinking I made them too spicy by adding one and half birdseye chillies (the recipe asked for a long red chilli...).  Thankfully it was just the right amount of spice and the extra heat I tasted when test tasting the batter was most probably from the chilli under my nail...

Friday, 24 February 2012


Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) where you really question not only whether you want to be in your current career but whether you are even compatible with your current career.

I have.

This week was a doozy.

I love my job.  And I'm pretty sure (and have been told) that I am pretty good at it.  But this week was sent to test me.

Oh well.  At least I know that I have evaluated the negatives and can learn from my mistakes and hopefully next week will be a MUCH better (and more positive) week.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Asian Five Spiced Beef

Tonight I made Asian Five Spiced Beef.

It did not turn out the way I expected.  I assumed it was just some kind of stir-fry, but it was heaps more soupy than I expected.  Maybe I added too much water.  Maybe dark soy is supposed to be more syrupy or thicker (I used normal soy which is quite watery).  Who knows.  It was also a VERY small serve.  I halved the ingredients, so I expected it to do dinner for tonight and lunch for tomorrow.  Nope.  It pretty much just did dinner - and it was still a reasonably small serve.  I also added too much sesame seeds (the packet exploded over my food...).

I got the recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly Low Fat cookbook and the recipe stated that it was 153 calories a serve.  Though with the supposedly bigger serve I had for dinner, I would at least estimate that I had 280 calories for dinner.

Unfortunately, this recipe will go on my list of the few recipes I most probably won't make again...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hoisin Turkey Rice Paper Rolls

Today I made Hoisin Turkey Rice Paper Rolls.

I got the recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly Mince It cookbook.

They were pretty yummy, though I think I added too much mint...  The turkey mixture was AWESOME and I'm thinking of ways to use the turkey mixture in other recipes - maybe in a salad or steamed wonton.

The recipe reckons there are only 89 calories per roll, so they are another great lunch choice.  I have saved four for tomorrow's lunch, however I had a hard time getting through two for lunch today, so it is a very filling and low calorie lunch.

Yesterday I went into Price Attack to see if they had the new OPI Holland Collection yet.  Unfortunately they didn't (they are thinking it should arrive early next month), so I bought myself another colour I had been eyeing off.

Swimsuit... Nailed It from the Miss Universe Collection

I had been after a darkish blue for a while and this colour caught my eye.  I put it on yesterday and I'm quite liking it.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Favourite Things - Nail Polish!

For the past 6-7 years, I've had a little obsession with nail polish.  

Pity I'm so bad at growing my nails...

Thankfully, I now have nice neat and short acrylic nails and enjoy painting them regularly - I try to only change colours once every 1-2 weeks (I have been known to change colours 2-3 times in the same week...).

I used to have a pretty large collection of Revlon and Avon nail polishes, but my current fave brand is OPI.  OPI was always alluring because of the 'brand name' factor, the fact that celebrities design some of the collections and the fact that it was near impossible to buy in Darwin.  I used to wait for either Catch of the Day, Brands Exclusive or Ozsale to put them on their website at 'discount' prices and then buy in bulk.  But now, Price Attack sells OPI at a VERY reasonable price - $17 a bottle.  I have about 25 OPI nail polishes at the moment, with ambitions to increase my collection. 

Here are some of my favourite colours:

Thanks a Windmillion - from the brand spanking new Holland Collection.  This is on my current wishlist.

A Roll in the Hague - another newie from the Holland Collection.  Again, also on my wishlist.

Teenage Dream - from Katy Perry's Collection.  I actually own this one and love how it super sparkles in the sun.

Not So Bora-Bora-ing Pink - I'm not sure which collection this is from (maybe Classics), but it's my current go-to colour.  It's gorgeous.

Planks a Lot - from the Pirates of the Caribbean Collection.  This is what I'm wearing right now.

These are just a snippet of my faves, this post could go on forever if I put every single one of my favourites in, lol.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Asian-spiced Pork Rissoles

Tonight I made Asian-spiced Pork Rissoles.

They were...  okay...  They had a milder flavour than I imagined, however I did not enjoy picking out bits of lemon grass and chunks of ginger from my teeth. Maybe if I had a better food processor (instead of the bamix attachment...) they would have been more finely chopped.

They are around 400 calories a serve - so at the peak of my preferred dinner calorie allowance (it's not surprising though, pork is quite fatty).

I'm taking a smaller serve to work for lunch tomorrow - after umming and ahhing for a while trying to decide whether I liked them or not, lol.  I probably won't be making them again for a while though.

In other news, I came to the sad realisation that the pants I wore to work today must now be retired to 'weekend pants'.  They just kept falling down!  Unfortunately they don't have belt loops, so unless I invest in a pair of suspenders, they can no longer be worn out of the house, lol.  I would normally jump at the opportunity to buy some new clothes, but with money being exceptionally tight right now and  few big bills on the horizon, clothes shopping will have to wait for a few more pays.  At least it's nice to know that the numbers that keep on decreasing on my scales are not all in my head!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mini chicken meatloaves with plum sauce

Is the weekend over already?!  It's hard to believe I've only been back at work for only two weeks.  It feels like the six week break was AGES ago.  Oh well, only 8 weeks until the April holidays and 38 school weeks until the Christmas holidays, lol.

Today I made Mini Chicken Meatloaves with Plum Sauce.

I plan to take one into work, slice it up and have it in mountain bread.  According to the recipe they are 165 calories each.  I had one today after I cooked them and they were pretty good.  I'm looking forward to trying it with mountain bread for lunch tomorrow.

Another thing I loved about this recipe is that it made eight mini meatloaves, so I froze them and they will be a nice easy lunch choice.

Oh, I just realised that I haven't updated my weight loss progress.  My app tells me that I've lost 4kg, but with scale changes, I would estimate it closer to about 5kg.  So I am right on track.  Yay.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

Tonight I made Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup.  It was pretty awesome.

There are heaps of Chicken and Sweetcorn soup recipes out there, but what drew me to this one was the addition of sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and egg whites.  Plus, at only 240 calories a serve it is a perfect dinner (and lunch!).  I found it quite filling - I wasn't exploding full, I was satisfied.  I also added the suggested rice vermicelli, but I don't think it really needed it.

In other news, I was browsing in QBD and came across an awesome deal on Woman's Weekly cookbooks - 3 for $12.99.  Score!  I have already earmarked some yummy recipes for the future.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Today I made sushi.  I made it for lunch for work for the next couple of days.

One of my biggest issues with my new 'healthy eating lifestyle choice' was finding suitable lunch options (you'd be surprised how many calories are in sandwiches!).

I first made this sushi a few weeks ago and deemed it a success.  I tried to make it again during the week after work, but instead of cooking the rice in a saucepan, I tried to cook it in my Tupperware microwave rice cooker.  It didn't work.  The rice was crunchy and too wet, so my rolls went soggy and fell apart.  So today, I went back to cooking the rice in the saucepan and they turned out great!

This recipe has 199 calories plus the soy sauce, so they are a great lunch choice.

I don't put fish in my 'sushi', instead opting for the basic capsicum, carrot and cucumber.  The first time I made them, I also put in some tinned chicken, but decided not to this time as I am still a bit turned off by the idea of tinned chicken...  I think next time I might be brave and try some wasabi.

Looking forward to lunchtime tomorrow (and Tuesday)  :)

Favourite Things - PYJAMAS!

I love pyjamas.  I must have at least 30 pairs.

I don't know where my obsession for pj's came from (especially considering very few people actually get to see me in my pj's...), but I can remember loving them since I was about 16 years old.

I'm not fussy, my favourite places to buy pyjamas are Target and Sussane.  I've got a couple of Pyjama King, Peter Alexander's pyjamas, and to tell you the truth, I don't really like them as much as their cheaper counterparts.


Yay for cute jammies!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Barley and honey roast pumpkin salad

Last night I made Barley and honey roast pumpkin salad.  It was...  interesting...

After much contemplation (and attempting seconds for lunch), I have decided that I don't like it and probably won't make it again.  The pearl barley added a different texture to what I'm used to in salads, but what I think really put me off was the dressing.  It just added a sour flavour.  I think it needed to be a bit mellower, or sweeter.  It was 278 calories, which I think might be a bit too hefty for a 'salad'.  At least it was filling.