Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Delish Winter Dish!

Posted by MANDI at 8:00 PM 4 comments
I'm having some trouble acclimatising to the weather here in Perth. I don't like being cold normally and knew that I would be coming home to freeze, at least this first winter back. To illustrate the problems I'm having - Tuesday's maximum temp here (22C) was the same as Monday night's minimum temp in Red Dirt Central! Now do you see what I'm talking about?

But every downside has an upside and the upside of this is that I'm having fun searching for robust winter-type fare. This one hit the spot beautifully, even without the garlic as I'd forgotten it in the shopping-trip-from-hell to restock the fridge with two grumpy, sick children in tow! I didn't use the dried beans stated in the recipe - I found a soup mix which had a variety of dried beans and lentils and it worked a treat. I halved the recipe and still had more than enough, and served it with mashed potato and green beans.

Hearty Winter Lamb Casserole
Meals From The Freezer

1 cup dried haricot beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
2 kgs lamb neck chops
plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium brown onions, chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups beef stock
2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine (didn't have any so just used extra water)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 trimmed celery sticks, chopped coarsely
4 large carrots, chopped coarsely
2 large parsnips, chopped coarsely
1 large swede, chopped coarsely
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place beans, separately, in medium bowls, over with water; soak overnight, drain. Cook beans in large saucepan of boiling water until tender; drain.
2. Meanwhile, toss lamb in flour, shaking off excess. Heat half of the oil in large heavy-base saucepan; cook lamb, in batched, until browned both sides.
3. Heat remaining oil in same pan; coo onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add lamb with stock, water, wine and sauce, bring to a boil; simmer, covered, 1 hour. Add vegetables, simmer, covered 20 minutes. Add beans, simmer, covered about 10 minutes or until vegetables and bans are tender (Can be frozen, as is or in portion, covered, at this stage). Just before serving, stir in parsley.

Serves 8

Monday, April 28, 2008

A 5 Things Meme

Posted by MANDI at 10:01 PM 5 comments
Claire tagged me for a meme a while ago. I told her I'd get to it when we'd finished moving and things were a little more settled, so here it is:
The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.- Each player answers the questions about themselves.- At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people, posts their names, and then leaves a comment on their blogs, letting them know they've been tagged. Here we go....
What was I doing 10 years ago (April 1998)?
Adjusting to married life and getting ready for my 10-year high school reunion. A friend and I went on a stupid 'diet' in order to be gorgeous for the reunion (**I must point out that I have never dieted in my life and this was all done very much tongue in cheek!) where we cut down to one can of soft drink a day and switched from double coat Tim Tams - a fabulous chocolate biscuit that I'm told you can only get here in Australia - to single coat ones. It was very un-scientific and we laughed ourselves silly until we each lost 5kg's and thought there might be something in that! Of course we continued to consume the same (seriously vast) amounts of alcohol and junk food while doing little or no exercise.
5 Things on my "To Do" list today/tomorrow:
Buy a new tablecloth, organise the last bits for #1's booklist at his new school, check if my membership at the local library is still valid (or rejoin if needed), look for Mother's Day presents for the mums/grandmums and grandmums/great-grandmums in the family, find something yummy to cook for dinner.
5 Things I would do if I were a Billionaire:
Pay off the house, pay for the renovations/extensions we want done to the house, set up scholarships for financially disadvantaged kids to go to uni, build a new children's hospital in Perth to replace the aging one we have, travel.
5 Bad Habits:
Sneaking the odd (rather more frequent of late) cigarette, chewing the inside of my cheek, procrastinating, not making appointments that need to be made (like hair appts) then moaning that I'm in dire need of a hair cut, worrying about things that haven't even happened.
5 Places I have lived:
Perth Hills, Red Dirt Tiny Town, Perth Hills, Red Dirt Central, Perth Hills (hmm, can we see a pattern there???)
5 Jobs I have had:
Office Junior, Waitress, Medical Receptionist, High School Teacher, University Lecturer,
Now, I'm supposed to tag people but since I don't really like doing that I'll leave it open. If you want to do the meme cut and paste away. Let me know in the comments if you do so I can come check it out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Post 300!

Posted by MANDI at 8:19 PM 4 comments
I feel like this post should be inspiring and intellectual. But it's not. Sorry.

Here's a pic of the backyard in our temporary house. Offspring #2 is waving from down at the back fence but if you can find him you're doing better than me LOL.

Oh, and for those of you up in Red Dirt Central who nodded and smiled but didn't really get it when I said I needed trees around me, this is what I'm talking about!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We're Here

Posted by MANDI at 7:41 PM 6 comments

The trip down didn't quite go as planned - we had car trouble barely an hour out of Red Dirt Central and promptly turned right around. Hubby's work arranged plane tickets for the kids and I and we flew out the next day (I was getting out of that place one way or another!) while Hubby waited for parts to arrive for the car. A lack of mechanics in town was problematic until a friend called in a favour and help arrived. Hubby finally got on the road on Saturday and we moved into our temporary home on Tuesday.
We have unpacked as much as is being unpacked and set up the parts of they house we are using. The kids are sharing a room which is ... um... interesting. There will be stories on that in days to come. They also have a playroom, which they loved for a day and have totally ignored since then. I guess it really is a case of out of sight, out of mind! The house is miles bigger than what we had up in Red Dirt and the kids keep wandering into the wrong room and getting themselves lost which is always good for a giggle. The living area is fabulous and I LOVE it, while the bedrooms are tiny and the bathrooms are comically small. Put it this way - you can't open the door to our bathroom if someone is in there for fear you'll knock them out!
I have lots more to tell but will save it for later. Now I'm off to check blogs, read emails and catch up on all the news.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And Away We Go!

Posted by MANDI at 8:58 PM 3 comments
Well, nearly.
The packers are in tomorrow and then back to do the uplift (ie put all the boxes and furniture on the truck) on Tuesday and, if all goes according to plan, we'll be heading off on Wednesday. I still need to finish packing our stuff for the next week so I'm thinking tonight will be a late one and then the next couple of days will just be long. It's a good thing Hubby likes driving - I think I'll be sleeping all the way to Perth!
The craziness of moving 1600km's has finally hit the kids - Offspring #2 is very grumpy and clingy and we've been constantly tripping over her the last couple of days and Offspring #1 has ended up with the tummy bug that #2 had last week. The poor little tyke has been so sick since Friday night but slept most of today and seems to be on the road to recovery, thank goodness. I was getting really worried about him - he pretty much threw up for 36 hours and I was about to cart him off the hospital (where I knew they wouldn't be able to do much anyway) when he settled down. Both offspring are now in bed fast asleep and I'm really hoping they stay that way until at least 6am!
I'll be offline for the next week or so, so until then... take care! See you in the big smoke.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We Got A House!

Posted by MANDI at 1:16 PM 7 comments
We got a house! We got a house! We got a house! We got a house!


Hmmm... that's all :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Poor, Neglected Blog

Posted by MANDI at 8:01 PM 6 comments
And, it goes without saying, poor, neglected readers. Okay, I know I don't actually have that many people who read my blog but to those who do... sorry. I didn't forget you. As you can imagine I have been extraordinarily busy in the lead up to the move and, as it wont to happen in our lives, things have not exactly been going to plan so some days are rather more hard work than they should be and I can't be bothered trying to put a 'nice spin' on it. Again, sorry.
So without dwelling on the negatives too much
We found out today that the employee from the moving company who booked our move forgot to tell anyone else in the company about it. Luckily Hubby was in need of some boxes to pack up some stuff from work and got in touch with them today and this has now been remedied. We're being packed on Monday, uplifted on Tuesday and plan to drive out of here next Wednesday.
Our tenants have refused to let us break the lease agreement (as is their right, Bugger!) on our house but after much sweating, a bit of crying and many many phone calls we have finally managed to find a short term rental in the same area. We have an application in and have our fingers, toes and everything else anatomically possible, crossed that it will be accepted. We'll find out by the end of the week - otherwise it's spare-room city at the in-laws for the next 3 months. I love my in-laws (aka Grandma and Grandpa) lots but who wants to live in some-one else's spare room with two kids for three months?
The job that had been in the pipeline has been kyboshed (ie, is dead in the water!) as the school has a new principal and he doesn't want to do things that way so the position no longer exists. This one's a big bummer. Okay, it wasn't my dream job but it took a fair bit of pressure off knowing that I probably had a job to go to. Now I have to add job-hunting to the rapidly growing to-do list.
We had a fantastic farewell party on Saturday night. We had 60 or so people in the backyard, loud music, lots of champagne (well for me anyway) and some simple but yummy food. It was great that so many people turned out and it really meant a lot to Hubby and I that they all came. I kept the food very simple - I wanted to enjoy the party not spend the night in the kitchen - big platters of dips, olives, vege sticks, cracker biscuits, etc and stuffed (also known as twice-baked) potatoes along with roast beef and gravy rolls for dinner. I cooked three huge pot roasts in the slow cooker in the couple of days before the party and then just had it all sliced and kept warm in one slow cooker with the gravy in another on the night. It worked out great, was nice and filling and I'd definitely do it again. We'd told people not to bring anything but lots of them bought a plate or two (or in the case of my friend, R, several!) and that was lovely too - we had everything from fairy-bread for the kids to delicious pinwheels and a huge platter of fruit for after.
I also made my last trip to Port Red Dirt last week. After all the rain following Cyclone Pancho there was lots of water on the road and it made the trip a little scary a couple of times, especially when I was driving back in the late afternoon and feeling a little weary, but it was nice to do one last trip.
Well, our time in Red Dirt Central is rapidly drawing to a close and my feelings are quite mixed. I bawled my eyes out writing good-bye cards for a couple of girlfriends today but am also looking forward to going 'home'. I'm pretty sure the mixed-up-ed-ness will only get worse over the next few days.

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