what’s the opposite of the midas touch..?

You have to roll with the punches, you have to take what life throws at you on the chin, but when life throws you curveball after curveball, you live your life waiting for the next crappy thing to happen and find it so hard to see the good stuff when it happens.

In the past 18 months, I’ve made some major life changing moves that not everyone would have the stomach for. When Handsome and I chose to move nearer to the girls, we knew it would be life changing again for both of us. We knew things would get harder, we knew our commute would be nasty, we knew it would test our relationship. But we also thought that we would finally be able to get some routine in our lives. We believed that it would bring an easier routine to Handsome’s kids’ lives.

We had no idea how quickly things could change again. This summer has been an absolute disaster. Epic! Calamitous! Stupendous Fail! Continue reading what’s the opposite of the midas touch..?

hop growing…

I bought two hop rhizomes on a whim. A buddy at work told me about planting a couple of hop plants and I was jealous, wanted a go, and knew Handsome would love it, so I bought them. When they arrived in a bubble wrap envelope, they were two ugly hairy stumps, one a Chinook, one a Centennial.

We planted them, we were excited, but I have to say, it was difficult to see how they could possibly emerge into something that would eventually create beer for us. But within 5 days, little green fingers were pushing through the soil and not long afterwards, they were joined by others as these magical little plants tried to show us they could grow quicker than we would ever have expected, like something out of The Little Shop of Horrors. Continue reading hop growing…

Whole chicken in pink marinade…

This chicken looks so strange when you marinade it. The marinade is a washed out pink that really gives the chicken a gross appearance before it’s cooked. But the end result is so delicious, it’s worth the grossness to start with, and lets be fair, what raw chicken looks good anyway? I like to cook this in the oven and give it a blast on the BBQ just before serving. This makes for a really juicy chicken, with a little bit of the grill smokiness we all love… Just try it, you won’t regret it… Winner winner chicken dinner… we ate this outside and just picked it off the bones with spicy oregano potatoes and grilled corn…

Pink Chicken2

Recipe

super spicy turkey zucchini burgers…

Super spicy turkey zucchini burgers
Super spicy turkey zucchini burgers

I look around the internet a LOT for recipes, and I often find inspiration from a photo or random recommendation from a foodie friend. But sometimes, I know what I want but I don’t know how to make it, so I look for help from the blogging community. This was a perfect match. I knew I wanted something to jazz up turkey burgers (which I find a bit bland, but Handsome loves them), so I just typed in turkey burger to my search engine and this recipe was on the first page. I knew immediately that it would be a winner, but I had no idea how much we would like them, how often we would eat them and how great they would be reheated for lunch the next day. This is from Elise of www.simplyrecipes.com. I can’t thank her enough! Her recipe calls for a lemony sour cream dressing sauce with the burgers. I made it and although we both loved it, we agreed it doesn’t need it, so visit her website if you want to try the sauce too.

I like to make these burgers super spicy, with lots of green onions. I then make the dinner milder by using lots of fresh salad items to take the heat off. Our favorite way to eat this is with a big green salad and my luscious lemony lentil salad. Absolutely delicious! This makes six reasonably sized burgers. Because you won’t be eating it with bread (although you could) you can have two each for dinner and the other for your lunch the next day…

Recipe…

Cult mushrooms

mush1

There’s a bit of a joke I have with my friend Sooz… that she grew up in a cult… Now that’s not actually true, but the joke has stuck and she once told me a great story about a recipe book her community used to have, and her favorite recipe, once named Happy Hour Mushrooms by Sunset Magazine, that for us became cult mushrooms. These are an incredible treat that Sooz would bring to parties or serve at her own and they’re good enough to feature here, although I will have to wait for a party to make (and then photograph) them, as they’re far too decadent to eat unless for a special treat… Happily, the full written recipe was supplied by her lovely mother Hallie, and I will leave it up to the Sullivan women, and a certain Mrs Parker to decide if they wish to share the scurrilous story behind the recipe…

And I apologize ladies, but I believe these are best baked, not broiled as your recipe calls for, but I am so honored that you would let me share…

Recipe

Garlicky green beans…

Handsome introduced me to these delicious garlicky greens when we were in Gabon and we cook them up  about once a week. They go with anything, they jazz up plain rice, are fantastic with a beef stew, I love them with chicken and they are unbelievable with mashed potatoes. You can have a healthy version by leaving out the butter and just using olive oil, but to be honest, butter salt and garlic are an unbelievable combination, so maybe just have them as a treat! They are almost as good just with olive oil and you can add as much or as little as you like. I prefer frozen fine green beans for this, they cook quickly and they are better than fresh. They are also great hot or cold the next day…

Green beans with garlic

Recipe

Cheesiest mustardy mash

I don’t know where I got my obsession with potatoes from, but I can’t stop craving them! Mashed, fried, chipped, roasted, baked… it doesn’t matter, I love them every way. Although I don’t adore them dauphinoised, I’ll still eat ‘em that way! This mash recipe is excellent, and perfect with steak, or pork, or chicken. It’s a winner with everything actually. I love it with garlicky green beans too. Try grilling/broiling it with some cheese on top to add an extra depth of flavor. You have to try it…

cheesy mustard mash

Recipe

worth the ride…

It’s a long time since I owned a home. It’s a long time since I felt any vested possession of anything at all. I haven’t had a will for a long time, mainly because I haven’t had any property that I valued enough to want to pass it to anyone. My life was essentially out of a suitcase, although my friends will scream that I shipped a load of property between countries, most of that was things like glasses, plates and crockery, which is the last thing anyone wants dumped in their lap as a hand-me-down… Aaaaaaanywaaaay, as usual, I digress…

Because I have just now dropped my biggest amount of money ever on a home, and I am now in more debt than I have ever been in before. A fairly unpleasant sensation, I must say. But I have handed over all this money and gotten into all this debt for… the house of my dreams… Continue reading worth the ride…

a superstitious frame of mind…

I guess it’s not obvious, but Handsome and I are most decidedly NOT of a superstitious frame of mind. There is a twinge of the “everything happens for a reason” and a dash of the belief in fate bringing us together, but in the most part, we believe people make their own luck and the furthest we would probably go is to be sure that we try to treat people kindly, in the hope that karma will bring kindness back to us.

So then, it is with eerie wonder that I contemplate the African warrior mask that now adorns the outside of our house to ward off “evil spirits”… This is a silly tale and I will come back to it, but I will start with the other-worldly charm that sits proudly beside it, the upturned horseshoe.

the mask and the horseshoe...
the mask and the horseshoe…

Continue reading a superstitious frame of mind…