Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My planter boxes

I've wanted a garden for ages - when I first bought my house I tried planting stuff but a cat kept digging it all up.  The cat seems to have since moved on, and long story I bought some plants and Andrew said he'd help me build a planter box for it.  I thought I could just knock it together like my coffee table, but now I'm (very, very, very) glad he offered to help as this box is going to be awesome!

What the garden currently looks like.  I want to boxes either side of the path, and then the lemon tree will go in a pot in the middle. 

I sat outside on my picnic blanket and twittered and facebooked and painted my nails while he worked.  I got a bit worried when the first aid kit came out but it was just because he had the router in it.

Starting to come together!

All the edges have been routered (?) so they all fit together nicely...

Like this

they'll be finished tomorrow!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Deep fried everything! and my new bbq

Yesterday we went to Andrew's flat and got his deep fryer because I got him panko and karaage chicken coating stuff for Christmas.  I'm hoping this may be the spur I need to get back into bentoing, although not quite sure how that will work with my plan to get back to my goal weight, so will have to see.

For lunch today he made fried prawns and gyoza.  I'd already made the gyoza ages ago, and for the prawns we did what Susan did in her first book (actually the gyoza are from the book too).

Prawns about to go in

Finished product

Soooo yum!

One of the Christmas presents that Andrew got me were electric salt and pepper grinders - with lights!!! I didn't even know they existed.  Very awesome - I tried to get a pic but it's a bit hard to see - you can kind of see how it looks like a bright shadow - it's much more realistic in real life.

Deep fried squid

Katsu curry!!!!

I bought a new bbq the week before last and we used it for the first time on Christmas Eve.  Very exciting! My last one went all rusty so I'm going to make sure the cover stays on this one any time it isn't being used!

First sausages being cooked!

Me eating the first sausage!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chocolate chip, blueberry and white chocolate muffins

I split the muffin mix tonight and made two types - one lot of dark chocolate and dark orange chocolate, and the other with blueberry and white chocolate.  Word on the street from the "hot out of the oven" test (actually the "they started breaking up as I took them out of the tray" test) is that the blueberry ones are the best. 

They cooked at different times - I guess because the frozen blueberries made those ones more wet or whatever.  Recipe is the same as the apple ones.

I was worried they were burning so put baking paper over the top.

Fresh out of the oven!

Agh! It fell apart so had to be eaten right away!

This one also started falling apart so I had to eat some of it. 

I put them back in the oven for a few minutes in the hope that might firm them up and now have them on the bench.  Am hoping they won't break up as I take them out otherwise I guess they will all need to be eaten with a spoon!

Anyone have any ideas to stop them breaking up?

In other news I bought a whole lot of plants from Kaye at Grow from Here at the top of Cuba Street yesterday - a lemon tree, tomatoes, melons, swan plant and maybe something else.  Next weekend Andrew is going to help me build a planter box thing for it so will blog that because it's probably the closest to a bento I've made in ages!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Toast and muffins

This weekend I went to Toast Martinborough.  We've stayed in the same house for three years now which makes getting there and getting home much easier! Once again this year we saw no pluto pups :(

Vanessa made us vodka jellies for the Saturday but they didn't all survive the trip over the Rimutakas.

But we drank them anyway...

It rained so much that we had to put a tarp over our umbrellas.

At Te Kairanga

DJ outside Alana Estate

Best ever toilets!

The bracelets I got for Sarah and me.

I had today (Monday) off work because of Toast so I made apple and cinnamon muffins this afternoon.  This is the recipe I used, which has been adapted from this.  I only used two apples but I think there's enough (I just had a little bite of one, but it tasted fine).

Using the apple sauce halved the amount of oil I needed which is really good! I worked out that they are 10.4 Weight Watchers ProPoints - I'm guessing this rounds down to 10, but I'd count them as 11 since I sprinkled raw sugar on top.

This shows the apple sauce I used.

In the tin and the finished product!

On the subject of ProPoints, anyone else doing them? Apart from losing count on Saturday night (after the jelly shots...) and yesterday, it's been pretty successful.  I'm loving fruit being points free - if anything it's great to have one less thing to count! One thing I used to do on the other points system was get to a certain number of points and think I should still be hungry.  Now that so many things are different I haven't had that at all!

I'm away next weekend so hoping I can get through with the extra 49 weekly points and not go over!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hot stuff!

There was enough left overs from dinner tonight for another meal so I decided to use up the chicken and vegetables I had in the fridge and mini quiches and a hot bento for Andrew's lunch for him to heat up at work. 

On the left are mini quiches with chicken, capsicum, tomato, mushroom and cranberry sauce in the bottom one.  I'm not sure how successful adding the cranberry was because the ones I added it to seem to not be as set, but I've got them in the still warm oven right now to firm up.   In the middle is are two kumara (sweet potato) croquettes and next to that two vegetable and potato croquettes.  On the right is left overs from dinner - satay noodles and vegetables and chicken.  In the sauce bottle is bbq sauce for the mini quiches and croquettes. 

Fingers crossed this all survives being heated up ok!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Amazing yum muffins and kind of bento

I wasn't going to blog this because I didn't think these would be that great, but they were so yum that I've decided cupcakes are so 2009 and muffins are the new cupcakes (plus they take so much less time).

Tonight I made orange chocolate chip muffins.  I used this recipe but changed it slightly.  I didn't add the poppy seeds and I used plain flour with two and a half teaspoons of baking powder instead of the self raising flour.  The recipe is for two and a half cups of flour so I used 1 3/4 of white and 3/4 of wholemeal flour.  I used probably just over half a big packet of Whittaker's orange chocolate and chopped it up and added it in too.  I didn't dust with icing sugar.

Just out of the oven finished product!

This is how many the recipe made.


Not quite a bento, but this is as close as I have gotten lately - Andrew's lunch - left overs from dinner and gyoza with gyoza no tare in the little bottle (yay Y100 shop!).  I put an elephant pick in his yoghurt and strawberries but then thought better and took it out...

Monday, November 8, 2010


The weekend before last Sarah, Lucinda, David and I went to Auckland for the marathon.  Sarah did the half, I did the quarter, David did the half and Lucinda did the full marathon!

Obviously I was quite excited to go on a mini break (much debate about what constitutes a mini break though) and as normal I took pictures of pretty much just planes and food.

Arriving at Auckland - cloudy but warm!

Lunch at Portofino's at the Viaduct. Not dodgy like the Queen's Wharf one though. 

Sarah's dinner after the marathon

My dinner after the run

Lucinda's dinner after her huge marathon effort!

View from the restaurant at dinner

Sky tower

Mt Egmont

Mum and Dad's house (very bottom right)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Twitter food party - pasta or noodles

Yay!  My first twitter food party!  I just went to load on my photos and couldn't get the memory card out of the camera! BECAUSE THERE WAS NO MEMORY CARD!!!!  Agh!  This whole extra day off (Labour Day here today) had thrown me - I even forgot to watch Shortland Street!!!! 

After sitting stressing for about five seconds I remembered I had some kind of USB thing in my cutlery drawer so I tried plugging it in and it transferred over my photos!  Yay!

This is my first twitter food party.  The idea is that everyone blogs about their food for the twitter food party.  I will update this when everyone else blogs, but so far Deborah has made this fantastic bento. 

The theme for this twitter food party was pasta or noodles so I decided to make a creamy tomato pasta.  This is similar to a recipe I have made before but I've used Philadelphia cream cheese this time because the light one was heaps lower ww points than the light Tararaua one.  This recipe is one I got an idea from Marisa's pasta dish.

I just sort of made this up as I went.  I actually made this yesterday and used half the pot of the cream cheese but it was a little too creamy so today I used just a quarter of it but it wasn't quite creamy enough.  Next time I will use a third of the pot and it should be spot on!

Half an onion
One capsicum
About one large, or, one and a half normal size courgettes
Couple of hand fulls of green beans
A sachet of tomato paste (50grams)
Cream cheese - I used about 50grams (half a tub) but next time I'll use a third - about 75grams
125 grams of pasta
Two chicken breasts (mine were about 260 grams together)

I sauteed the onions in a little water and then added the chicken and cooked that.  Just before I put in the chicken I put the pasta on (I think, can't really remember).

Once the chicken was cooked I added in the other vegetables

then once they were cooked I added the tomato paste and mixed that all in, and then the cream cheese.  I added in a little of the water from the pasta to help it mix in. 

Once the cream cheese was mixed in I turned the heat off and mixed in the cooked pasta and then it was all ready to plate up and eat!

Updated - new twitter food party posts:
Mils made a halloween bento
Shirley made this pasta dish
Rachael made tori tantanmen
Maki made tororo soba
Kathleen made pasta
Heather made pasta patties!
Debra made cake noodles
Karaimame made ramen
SonomaBento made a scary pasta bento
Kat made baked pasta
Sheri made won ton soup and bentoed the leftovers

Let me know if you have blogged for twitter food party and I haven't mentioned it yet, so I can link to it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kilbirnie morning out

It's been ages since I've blogged so when I went shopping in Kilbirnie this morning I thought it'd be a good opportunity to get back to blogging!

So far the weekend's been great and it's only lunch time, so hopefully that bodes well for the rest of the weekend!

This morning I had a massage with Gillian of Le'Esscience, then on the way home I thought I'd stop off in Kilbirnie and try to find the Japanese shop I'd heard about.  

I parked near the Silky Oak Chocolate Company shop.  The only other time I've been was to the Napier one because it was a stop for Harvest Hawkes Bay so I thought I'd check it out (plus I figured I've done enough running lately to justify having some!). 

So glad I did because it turned out to be baking and bento heaven!  They had heaps of cookie cutters but I managed to resist buying anymore.  They had some great little tiny ones that would be great for details, so might have to go back.  They also had heaps of cup cake stuff and the little sugar decoration things for on top of cup cakes.  When I checked the website it said they actually have a shop in Lower Hutt, so I guess I know where I might be heading at lunchtimes!

This is the chocolate I got - it's a cappuccino cup I think. V yum and it made me wish I had chocolate covered coffee beans! 

Then I walked up and down the main street for ages trying to find the Japanese shop.  I googled it on my phone but that wasn't much help and eventually found it after asking in a shop.

This is the alleyway you go down to get there.

This is the shop. 

I first heard about it in one of my Mum's Home and Garden type magazines and I sort of expected it to be like that shop on Thorndon Quay that had heaps of old Asian furniture.  It was more like a second hand shop (which it is, so I guess that makes sense for it to look like one).  There was heaps of kimono, and kimono stuff and lots of plates.  There was one chest of drawers that was 1920s from Gifu which was pretty cool but nothing I really felt the need to buy which was a little disappointing since I was in the mood to buy something. 

Two short weeks in a row now because it's a holiday here on Monday and then next week I'm off to Auckland and don't get back until the Monday.  So far the rest of the day is looking good - I'm having a facial this afternoon and then dvds with Sarah and Jo tonight.  Not sure about Sunday or Monday apart from a run on Monday so far.  I'll be sure to take lots of photos from Auckland to blog about next week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 30- Your favourite song

I don't have one favourite song.  My favourite songs are:

Livin on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
I Was Born to Love You - Queen
Sekai ni hitosu dake no hana 世界に一つだけの花 - SMAP

These ones were my favourite songs at these times:

No Tomorrow - Orson - favourite song in 2005/6
Fraction too Much Friction - Tim Finn pretty much from kindy through to varsity
Forever Young - Youth Group - first equal favourite 2005/6 with No Tomorrow
Electric Blue - Icehouse - favourite song about 1988

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned

I covered this off the other day without realising I needed to wait for today!  What I have learnt is I need more photos with my friends!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

More photos? There's already a heap of photos of me on here so I'm not adding more!

How I have changed from last year to now is my hair - I started last year with long dark hair, then went short light brown, then got longer and blonder as the year went on until I was totally blonde.  Then I went really really dark and short and ended the year with my hair the same length as now but darker.

This year I've pretty much had the same cut and colour except for a bit of a mullet last month for three weeks.  I got some foils three weeks ago with a colour over the top so it's fading lighter again as the colour washes out.  I'm hoping it isn't going to lighten up too much though! I want to grow it a bit longer so I can go swimming over summer and not worry about the bottom curling out and looking weird. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge

No major reason - just a couple of other girls on twitter started their own 30 days of me so I thought I might as well since I don't consistently blog.   There was probably about five seconds of thought that went into it!

It hasn't been life changing or anything but it's been fun to read other people's 30 days blogging as we have been going through.

It has made me realise that I don't have enough photos of my friends and me so that's something to work on!

Totally off topic, but I'm v happy about this . 

I got new shoes two weeks ago from Shoe Clinic and the guy asked if I was training for anything.  I said I was going to do the 10k at the Auckland Marathon at the end of this month but was only running 15 minutes at a time at the moment (I sprained my ankle).  The guy at Shoe Clinic said I wouldn't be ready for the 10k .  I said I was sure I would be because I ran 9k in Osaka two months earlier.  He was pretty doubtful and said not to push myself.  Then I started getting a bit worried because surely he knows about running. 

Monday I was up to 30 minutes running, Tuesday was RPM, but after Tuesday I didn't do any exercise because I've had a cold.  Until today. When I ran for an hour!

I map my runned it (am guessing you can turn a website into a verb...) and I did 9.25ks.  Yay!  I knew he was wrong!!! and, I still have a cold so provided I don't get another cold at the end of the month I think it's pretty safe to say the 10k isn't going to be a problem!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 26- What you think about your friends

Two posts today because I was out last night.

My friends are great.  They are all different but I really value the friendship that I have with each of them.  They've been there for me through tough times, fun times, and calls at 2am to the other side of the world. 

To all my friends - THANKS!!!!

Day 25- What I would find in your bag

Very Heat magazine-esque post today!

I used two bags yesterday so I'm including both of them.

The first one is my bag I take to work.  It doesn't actually have a weird thing on the handle - the bit in the middle at the top usually sits down the bottom but it must have moved when I took the photo!

I really like this bag - I bought it at the Marui in Shinjuku the day before I came home from my July trip.  It can fit A4 documents and has a zip, so is great for work. 

Inside the bag is: (sort of from the top down) notebook for work, umbrella, my Le'Esscience relaxation spritz, visitor's pass for when I went to our Christchurch factory, two boarding passes, recipe for the chicken saag we made at cooking class the week before last, ear plugs for work, tiny piece of paper with the log on for internet at the Koru Lounge, voucher for Shoe Clinic, hand cream, not actual Berocca but like Berocca vitamin things, post it notes, lip gloss, disprin, drink bottle lid, paper wrap thing from around a McDonalds ice cream, keys for work, lots of pens, more lip gloss (I hardly ever even wear lip gloss!), Purell.  I would usually also have make up (but it was in the other bag below) and my cell phones.

My other bag I took out last night.  Just realised it's a bit of an international bag because the only thing in it from NZ is the chocolate wrapper! 

The bag is from Osaka.  I got it from a sort of bag wholesaler place in Honmachi, from the street one over to east from Shinsaibashi suji (the big long covered shopping arcade). 

Inside the bag is my make up bag my Mum got me from the States, my wallet (from Benetton in Japan so maybe I can count it as two countries?), my hair brush from London, a couple of mints from Japan that fell out (I can't remember the brand but they are the ones in the little white sliding case thing, probably not the best for a handbag - now I've found them they are going in the bin!).  Wrapper for Whittaker's chocolate that I got Friday night last week while in town.  Here is a photo of it before it was eaten (I have a tendency to tweet random photos after a couple of drinks).  When I went out I also had my cell phones and my house key, but otherwise a LOT less stuff than in the other bag!!