Thursday, July 31, 2008

Skechers Awesomeness

I have a Skechers fetish. They are my favourite casual sneakers because:
1. They're super comfy and are great for trekking all over the world.
2. They fit my ugly orthotics in them perfectly! My podatrist would be so proud of me for choosing such sensible shoes (Last time I went to see him I wore black flimsy ballet flats - he was not amused).

I found a Skechers store at the DFO factory outlets at Homebush. I bought two pairs for $79 and $69 each. I will keep the tan and blue ones till my current black ones wear out, and wear the pretty taupe and pink lace ones to work. Bliss for my feet when compared to the high-heeled MJs I bought recently. I am excited to wear the taupe and pink ones when I need foot rehab days at work. I also love that I can wear sneakers to work. I think it is the standard by which I judge whether I can work in a company. Can I wear sneakers? Nope - then I'm outta there.


Chunky Vegetable Minestrone

One of my favourite winter dishes is the minestrone my dad makes for me. Now I'm fending for myself, I have decided to try to make it for myself.

I found this recipe in the newspaper, but modified it slightly (OK, I modified it a lot). Anything with a "*" next to it is my modification.

1 onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (I left this out as I hate celery)
2 large carrots, diced
1 red capsicum, diced (I only added half of this)
1 yellow capsicum, diced (I only added half of this)
*4 small white potatoes, diced
*Macaroni pasta
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
400g tin of cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained (I used mixed beans)
80g peas (I used frozen and they were fine)
1 litre low-salt vegetable stock or water
Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley (I left this out)


Saute the onion , leek and garlic in a large saucepan with a little water until soft. Add the celery, carrot, potato and cook for about 5 - 10 min. I added more water to stop it burning on the bottom. Add the tomato, beans, capsicum, peas and stock. Simmer for about 30 mins. Cook the pasta separately or add in when there is about 10 minutes left to go. Soup is ready when veges are soft. Potato takes a while to cook. Season with black pepper and fold through parsley just before serving.

One very tasty vegan recipe!

All in one pot.



Adding in the pasta.



Ready!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Puppy Power!

I just realised that I still call my dogs "puppies", even though they are all grown up! I think it's because they're so small and act like puppies. Particularly Buffy, she's such a midget and makes the cutest baby noises.

I had the girls over on the weekend for some quality puppy time.

On the couch, Buffy likes to wedge herself under the pillows. Yawn!





Kahlua tries to lick Alec.



Buffy tries it on too.



We took the girls to a dog exercise park nearby to enjoy the sunshine.



Snuggled up to Dad.



So TIRING being so cute!



Whatcha looking at, huh?



Oh, me!



I know I'm cute ...


Kahlua explores ...


This pointer wanted us to play with him. He dropped his slobbery ball at my feet until I threw it for him. Which he fetched .... again, and again, and again ...



This other big doggy adopted us. He was huge and friendly, but Buffy didn't like him encroaching on her territory and growled at him. She was lucky she didn't get eaten in return.


It was so great having my girls over - they are such sweet babies, and were amazingly well-behaved. I can't wait to have them with us full-time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nice Little Things

I had a sparkly day on Friday and thought I would document it!

These cute shoes I bought at Nine West a long time ago but I rarely wear them.



The "twinkle" tee I bought on sale from Peter Alexander. It's super soft and comfy. I love it!



Sparkly pin for Daffodil Day - money goes to the Cancer Council.



Cute pink case for my iPhone that Alec bought me - deliberately not leather, what a sweetie.



Chocolates Alec brought me from Haighs - just because. :) He's such a sweetheart, thank you Alec!





New Tokidoki Prints!

OK, so maybe I have a problem. I saw these new Tokidoki bags available for pre-order, and I'm trying to work out if I really need (OK, want!) another one ... or two! I like the black bags cos they're so functional and don't show the dirt, but I love the printed ones just cos they're so damn cute!

The two new prints available soon are Carnival and Mezzanotte. I like the Mezzanotte in the styles below:

From Karmaloop, Graziosa Small Messenger (I have this in another print and I use it all the time).



Creativa Large Messenger




Tobi
has the Carnvial Sorriso bag which is a similar style again to the ones I currently have.



The new Adios keychain that comes with each bag. So cute!



What's tough is they are also releasing two other prints this year that I really love, so I am thinking of getting them as well! I am considering buying Carnival one as an investment piece as all of the others have had high resale value, but I need to look into if they are limited edition first.

I Am Not A Nugget! Chicken Are People Too

I've been thinking a lot about chickens lately. I stopped eating them a long time ago, but recent reports and Jamie Oliver's Fowl Dinners program has made me want to do more to help the poor little things.

I've read that about 50% of eggs labeled as "free range" are actually from caged birds because there is apparently no legal definition of "free range" that the egg farmers have to comply with, so they charge more for the eggs that caring consumers are buying, and still give the chickens a terrible life.

This weekend I have been trying to contact people whose job it is to handle these issues - the government. I have emailed the Hon Ian Macdonald MLC - Minister for Primary Industries NSW (macdonald.office@macdonald.minister.nsw.gov.au) and the Hon Tony Burke MP, Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au). I have also contacted the Department of Fair Trading in the hopes that they will care that consumers are being sold eggs that are labeled in a misleading way.

The next step is trying to find out which eggs are actually free range. I can't find a list anywhere, except the recommendation to buy from grower's or organic markets as they are more likely to be eggs from small local farmers.

I have also bought Alec, his mum (who is a chicken lover) and myself tees from PETA that have a chicken friendly message on them - "happy families, not happy meals". I thought it was about time that I started to wear my heart on my sleeve about the animal issues I'm really passionate about. I also bought the PETA black singlet top, shown below - if the tees are nice and fit well, I am considering buying more.

In the past I haven't spoken up much about the animals causes I'm interested in out of a concern that I would make other people around me uncomfortable and have them then either avoid me or make fun of me because I haven't been a vegetarian for a very long time. I realised this week hat what matters is that that I speak up for those who can't, so expect to see more post like this on my blog in the future.

You can read more about the short lives of chickens at the Animals Australia site Free Betty, or on the RSPCA website.


Friday, July 25, 2008

DinTaiFung

Several work colleagues have been raving about the DinTaiFung dumpling house for weeks and I finally organised to go with a few friends.

Lisa got there first and was lovely enough to line up while the rest of got ourselves there. It's super popular and Lisa had to line up for about 30 mins. By the time we got there Lisa was at the front of the queue and we didn't have long to wait - thanks so much Lise!

While we were waiting to get out table, the staff gave us the entire menu on a tiny form so we could order in advance. We also were given a huge menus with pictures on them - very helpful for first timers like me to know what to order!

The queue out the front.


Happy diners inside.


Poring over the menus. Too many choices!


Boys socialise. And Alec pulls a face.


We'll take one of everything!


Lego-tastic!


So much fun it's all a blur!


Pretty pictures in the menu.


Awww.


Nice condiments. Umm ... what are they?


Some vege combination of mushrooms, seaweed and beansprouts.


Directions for newbs on how to eat dumplings without making a fool of yourself. Very helpful!


Packed!


Silken tofu topped with Pork Floss and Century Egg.


Spinach in garlic. Very tasty!


Lesson on how to eat dumplings.


Pork with fried rice.


Pork and prawn dumplings I think.


Pork and shrimp dumplings.


Food shoveling begins! The food comes out ultra fast and we literally shoveled to get it all in while it was hot. It was also very tasty so it was hard to not keep shoving it in! I keep saying shoveling ... hmmm.


Lone vege dumpling for me - filled with mushrooms and green veges. It was a thick, breaded dumpling. I just couldn't eat it all, it was so big!


My vege fried rice. It was my fave dish and was so light and fluffy I could have kept eating it all night.


The inside of the huge vege dumpling.


I have no idea what's in this. Pork perhaps?


My vege version - also filled with more mushroom and green things. Very light and tasty. Even the non-veges liked them.


Extreme close-up!


Roar!


Sweet!


Halo!


Smile!


Being a weirdo. I think I started doing this in Japan. I am so easily influenced by those around me!


More posing.


No idea what Alec is doing here.


Group shot taken by the waiters. Happy diners! The service was amazing btw. Very smily faces and fast service.


Dessert - cookies and cream ice-cream, Asian-style. Interesting! The others laughed at me for being such a "whitey" and ordering this, and it was pretty average to be honest!


Golden taro bread. The bread bit was tasty but the rest was pretty average.


Poor Alec, I couldn't stop taking photos!


Red bean dumplings. The inside was nice but would have been nicer in the bread that the Golden Taros was in.


Black sesame. Not to my taste at all, but very entertaining to watch Lisa try to cut with her chop sticks!




Bev tries to fit Chris' entire hand in her mouth. Good party trick!


Modelling my new coat from the Alannah Hill 50% off sale.


Ohhh watch the little men make dumplings! I felt sorry for these guys being on display for everyone to watch them work.


Busy workers.



Chris loves pink.


I don't know what's going on here.


Or here ...


Yes, posing again.


And again! This time in height order so I don't look like such a giant.


Good men-folk.


Alec touches the scale on the symbolic dragon. Aparently it's sharp!


This is the rest of the "dragon".


Walking down to George St.


On the train coming home - Chris and Bev open their present, and play with the ribbon as they do so. Uber-cute couple.


"Oh hai!"


Bev is detained.


Excited faces opening their gift.


"Pointy!"



Lisa and I and our Tokidoki bags... Do we have a problem?


Home time!



DinTaiFung
Shop 11.04, World Square Shopping Centre,
644 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
TEL: +61 2 9264 6010