January Crafting – Week 2

Uhm, last week I made this and learnt how to take care of it:

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Today Rabbit is exactly one week old. We’re thrilled to have her with us at last. It was absolutely love at first sight.

My Beloved there helped make her and was a very good support person while I bought her into the world. They’re so cute together.

 

A Little Bit of Cheer

This photo was taken yesterday at the start of their work Christmas party before the great foodening and drunkening began.

I’d be lying if I said they were anything short of the love of my life. I have never met anyone who could make me happier, even in my absolute worst of depression states, than my mate. 6 years, one mortgage, a wedding and a surprise pregnancy later…

Nothing has changed. The love of my life who makes me happier than anyone has right to be, and I will stand by them and support them through the years. I chose, every single day.

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Why?

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Venus – Kate MacDowell

 

Why?

You have, in your grace, the ability to lay wants bare.
A glance, a smile,
Words that curve coyly there.
Come.
Come.
Come.

And yet, kind hands, hold with care,
Tenderly, gently,
This all too delicate glass heart,
Whispering quietly,
Stay.
Stay
Stay.

– Bones 27/11/17

Newly Wed

I waited for the professional photos so this was weeks ago, but on the 18th of March this year I got married to The Wild One. I have never been happier, nor felt so absolutely loved or cherished as I have in the years I’ve been with my beautiful Wild One.

For all the rough days, there are no regrets and I doubt there ever will be.

 

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A Lucky Little Depressive

 

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Holding on by a Thread – Epiphany

I’m not doing well at the moment, and neither is one of my friends. It got me thinking on things and that lead to the realisation that I am so insanely lucky to have The Wild One. And yes, everyone should say that about their significant other, but hear me out.

I live a lot closer to the skin now than I ever have. I make a point about talking about my struggle with my mental and physical health as I believe that this is important to lowering the stigma surrounding such things, but at the same time…

No one really sees the depths of it. Even my nearest and dearest only really see a very curated version of what’s happening. It’s not a deliberate thing, I don’t believe in hiding away from the world, but I’ve never been truly good at explaining what’s going on in my head and I am cautious about over sharing. Significantly, I actually don’t like to complain too much. I’m usually a very positive person, despite everything, and I just don’t.

At the end of the day the only one who really sees how difficult this has been, and continues to be, is The Wild One. They’re not in my head, the don’t necessarily understand it, but they’ve always seen me as exactly who I was and I’ve never really been able to hide anything from them…

And that makes me insanely lucky. I’m not alone in this. The Wild One is here, holding my hands, and telling me that I am loved and safe when I feel anything but loveable or safe. They make can’t fix it, but they are my touchstone to reality when I don’t have the ability to make the links myself, and they never quit out on me.

That’s a gift.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about this current resurge in my mental illness, but at least I know I’m not going it alone.

 

Happy

I’m happy with life as it stands.

Sure, I’d like employment sometime real soon, and I’d like to be done with this food testing stuff (and the invariable days of feeling like someone has repeatedly kicked me in the guts), but over all things are good.

I have a loving, wonderful, supportive, and charming partner. 2 awesome young ladies I get to refer to as my kids whilst marvelling and how intelligent, driven and skilled they are. And incredible, amazing, talented and inspiring friends (and a super fluffy cat). I have no fear that I won’t be able to pay my bills, or rent… well mortgage as it is now. And when I need things I can afford to go buy them.

It’s weird and new for me. I wish, more than anything, that all my friends and family will find their way to their version of this. They deserve it.

The Resolutions of 2016

I’ve never been huge on these resolution things, but I’m beginning to take a liking to having a plan and acting on it. Then checking back in on it later so I can see how I’m tracking… and that’s what I’m working on.

The Career Stuff. – I have a lot of career based goals for 2016 which I’m not going to go into detail on, but they are centre stage in many ways. It’s the first time I’ve had a job that I really feel fits and there are huge projects ahead so now we have to really push them to work. So a quick overview:

Stress/Time Management.
Solidify scheduling practice.
Delivery (without making doctors cry).

This year there are plans to execute:

Build on my relationships outside of my Wolf and Sprogs. – I got very insular last year, but I do need social activity to be sane. I especially want to gather together with some of the other professional women in my life on a regular/semi-regular basis for foodings and chat.

Monthly get togethers with the amazing women in my life.
Make it to at least one party/social event a month.
Catch up with individual people rather than ‘soon’ notes.
Cook meals for people.

Plan a fucking wedding! – I have no idea how to do this. I figure it’s just a super fancy party so that works for me and that’s what I’m running with. Big party, much fun to be had. The wedding stuff will be tagged and linked on a page once it’s started.

Lose weight and get fit. – Yeah yeah yeah, every year and every human being on the face of the planet, but really… I spent last year getting the damage and pain issues under control so I can do this. I have to have my foot looked at early in 2016, but that going well the plans are:

Regular floor based yoga practice.
Start running as soon as I have doctor’s clearance re foot. (I even have new runners).
Loose 10-15kg and 2 dress sizes (not actually unrealistic)
Break the Coke-a-Cola and Ice Break habits.

Make more art. – To this end I have started up a little group called the Little Sharp Teeth Collective made of close friends to help keep us all accountable to our goals. Complexity of pieces will effect these plans but for now:

1 print per month.
1 crochet piece every other month.

EDIT: I am also going to read everything on this list: http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-essential-cyberpunk-reading-list-1714180001

And that’s it really. We move into our new house in a few months and there will be a lot of gardening and time with the girls and stuff, but I think this sums up the plan of attack for now.

Last Night I Was a Dance Mom

No, not really. Except kind of?

We got a late night call on Friday informing us that M’s costume hadn’t had the sleeves sewn on. So the girls bought those and their head pieces for another bit round in the morning and I got to sewing. I’m pretty sure that falls under dance mom stuff.

The show was incredible. It was the last one for the school. It was closing it’s doors after 34 years and it was pretty heartfelt and very emotional by the end. I was absolutely blown away by the girls. It was the first time I’d seen them really perform and they’re incredible young dancers with lots of promise. I’m not sure what they plan on doing next year as far as dance and sports goes, but I was so proud of them.

So this is me rambling on like an actual proud parent type. You may all point and laugh now. Don’t care.

Also I made Teriyaki Chicken skewers for the after party and they were insanely good. Recipe to come after I’ve tried it a few more times. Needs tweaking. 

And this morning I also made buckwheat pancakes. Those definitely need some tweaks. Mum’s recipe doesn’t quite translate to GF and they were a touch on the dry side. 

Slow Cooked Steak and Kidney Pie Filling

Ok, ok, so this was actually fucking awesome. My attempt at home made pastry was not so awesome. It came out a bit too dry for anyone’s tastes, but it was soft and crumbly in all the right ways. We have a plan of attack for that. However the second pie, made with shop bought gluten free pastry, was perfect and the filling was amazing.

PIE!!!!!!!

To make it grab (approximately) the following. I say approximately because I wasn’t really measuring shit. It also made two large pies so adjust accordingly:

  • 1kg beef or lamb – Super cheap cuts work fine for this but no bones.
  • 6-7 lamb kidneys
  • GF flour of some description to dredge kidneys in
  • Mushrooms – I put a lot in, but up to you.
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • Asafoetida powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika – I love this stuff. I put it in everything ok?
  • Beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine or port, or a mix of both
  • Cornflour
  1. Throw beef/lamb into the slow cooker on low. No need to dice it at this point.
  2. Slice up mushrooms and chuck them in with the beef/lamb (you can also do this at the end)
  3. Dice up kidneys into bite sized/pie sized pieces and dredge in flour.
  4. Fry up kidneys in a hot pan with olive oil. Allow to stick to the bottom a bit. When they’re mostly done throw them in the slow cooker with beef/lamb and mushrooms.
  5. Toss tomato paste, a good amount of the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, a bit more garlic infused oil, salt an pepper to taste and asafoetida into the pan and let sizzle a bit.
  6. Pour in wine/port and scrub at the bottom of the pan with a spatula to life any crusted flour.
  7. Add in bay leaves and beef stock, and let reduce for a few minutes.
  8. Pour over meat and mushrooms in slow cooker over night (8-10 hours is good)
  9. Pull out cooked beef/lamb and ‘shred’ (By shred what I mean is gently prod while it falls apart around your cooking implements).
  10. For the next bit you need to be able to bring the sauce part of the dish to the boil. If you’re able to just pop your slow cooker insert over a burner then use a slotted spoon to remove most of the solids into a bowl to one side and get it on the boil. If not you’ll need to strain the liquid out into a pot. Do this, get liquid boiling.
  11. Add some salt, pepper, more paprika, etc to the liquid to get it tasting how YOU like it. We like lots of pepper and paprika.
  12. Add a few heaped teaspoons of cornflour to cold water and drizzle it into the boiling liquid while stirring continuously. Let it thicken a bit* and then add it back to the meat.
  13. Do pie related stuff here! You want your over pre-heated to 200 celsius. You’ll be cooking it anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the oven – basically you want the pastry nice and brown.
    • The easiest method is to pour the filling into a dish and then grab some GF pre-made pastry from the freezer section, roll it out and fit it over top, poke a few holes in it.
    • Slightly harder is using said pre-made GF pastry again. Grease your dish, put down a layer of pastry so the bottom and sides are well covered and add filling – leaving a gap at the top. Cover with pastry, rolling or scoring the sides to the pie lid. Then cook.
    • Hardest method is doing either of the above with home made GF pastry. When I get the pastry right I’ll tell you about it.

 

*A note about thickening: We made the mistake of reducing the liquid by half then thickening it. The pastry and shredded meat drank it up so the filling was quite solid (Still moist but not gravy-ish). I’d recommend either following what I said above or reducing the stock only. Feel free to experiment.

 

 

A Day in the Springs

I tell you what is amazing?

A day at Hepburn Spring Baths with your beloved. We drove the 3 hour round trip while the girls were at school today (hooray for after hour activities giving us until 5pm) to spend some hours soaking in the beautiful Sanctuary area.

I think all up I spent a solid hour crashed in the spa chairs, and almost as long in the gorgeous salt pool. We also chilled out in the steam room for a bit too, but I made ungodly and embarrassing noises when I discovered the Monsoon showers. For those unfamiliar Monsoon showers are set up to feel like you’re standing in heavy monsoonal rains. Big fat drops of water etc.

I’ve come away from it feeling more relaxed than I have in months.

The Hepburn Bathhouse is located just outside of Daylesford, Victoria and you can look at their website, which contains prices etc, by clicking on this text. I highly recommend it. 

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