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Monday, November 14, 2011

A New Beginning

Never having much of a head for school, Miss16 is leaving it to embrace a new chapter in her life. And the whole thing has been driving me nuts. We've had all sorts of 'discussions' this last week. Tempers have flared and died down and flared again. But what I love about my oldest two is we can all disagree and say (sometimes even shout) our piece and still end it all with a hug and a kiss. Eventually. After we've settled down.

I read somewhere kids should see their parents disagree, rather than discussing anything controversial behind closed doors. Kids apparently need to see people can disagree and then resolve a problem. It's important for their development. Well, at times Tracey and I have certainly been super helpful in encouraging their social education :)

This was my face
earlier this week.
We set down certain conditions for Miss16 to be able to leave school and today she finally met them all and is taking up a position at a local fast food outlet. While I prefer the coffee at McDonalds, let's face it, the burgers ARE better at Hungry Jacks. They've offered her 30 hours a week, which is nice, and with her proven savings record over the past four months I think she'll make the most of it. 

So my oldest daughter is leaving school to work in fast food. Not exactly the career I would have chosen for her, but then becoming a Bond girl so she could introduce me to Sean Connery was probably a tall order.

I'm trying to be positive and supportive, but jeez it's hard. Being a parent is difficult, isn't it?! No walkthrough book. No two alike.

Ultimately I think she's going to be fine - she's planning to study childcare at TAFE - but I'll probably worry about her until the day I drop off my perch. Not just her though, I've no doubt I'll worry about all of them. Master19 just contacted me on Facebook tonight to ask what he could do with some of the mince we gave him on the weekend. This from a guy studying a double degree who's been living out of home for a year. It's mince. How hard can it be? Do what I do - Google it. 

So a rough week of soul searching has ended happily. Only five more kids to go. Shoot me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken, Pumpkin & Asparagus Risotto

I love a good risotto. I love eating it for sure, but I especially love cooking it. Standing over a stove, slowly stirring and ladling stock into the rice is very satisfying. Plus, as there's wine in the recipe, no-one seems to question the bottle of white standing right beside you, keeping you company.

You will need:

Pumpkin, 500g, diced into cubes
Chicken stock, 4 cups
Butter, 1 tablespoon
Onion, 1, diced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Arborio Rice, 1 cup
White wine, 1/2 cup for recipe (rest of bottle for you)
Chicken, 3 thigh fillets, diced
Asparagus, chopped into 1cm bits
Lemon, 2 tablespoons
Parmesan, 1/2 cup, grated

Bring pumpkin and stock to boil for 5 minutes then turn off and cover. Melt butter and saute onion, adding garlic and continue to chase it around the pan for a couple of minutes. Add rice and coat in butter mix. Now add the wine and when it's mostly absorbed start adding pumpkin mix a couple of ladles at a time, waiting until previous liquid is mostly adsorbed before adding more, until all used. Add chicken near end of process to allow it to cook through. Add asparagus with the final ladles of stock mix. Make sure you continue to stir the whole time you're cooking - use the leftover wine to occupy yourself. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and parmesan.

Finally, make cheese toasties for rest of family then sit down to enjoy this risotto by yourself. Trust me, unless you're trying to impress a new boyfriend or something, you won't want to share this dish.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Heard recently at home

"Port isn't like wine where there's sweet, dry or draft."

I won't say who said it or I may need to enter witness protection :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Donut Cake

Needed a little something extra for lunches tomorrow so I baked this simple cake full of sugary and cinnamony goodness. Kids said it looked like a donut and without knowing this when Tracey came home an hour later she said it tasted like a donut. So I'm calling it a donut cake, even though the recipe clearly said it was a Cinnamon Tea Cake.

You will need:

60g butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
 after it's baked
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat the butter and sugar, then add vanilla. Add the egg to the mix and beat again. In separate bowl sift flour and salt. Slowly add flour mixture and milk to buttery mixture, mixing well. Pour into greased tin and bake at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Turn out and brush top of cake with butter then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thinking Ahead is Key

I've been driving the Red Rocket around town this week and it takes me back to when I got my first car. It smells of twenty years of fries and farts for a start. Plus it bunny hops in first, just like my first car. Today was a real trip down memory lane because I locked my keys inside it, just like I used too. It's like riding a bike, you never forget how.

I went from a flush of anger to flushes of embarrassment as car after car of people I know drove past and beeped at me. It was like I was 18 again. I swear if I run out of petrol this week at the Mary St lights during peak hour traffic I'll break out in zits and start listening to angsty songs on its stereo. This car is the proverbial Fountain of Youth.

Finally managed to break into the passenger side but not, of course, until I'd rung my father-in-law to come save me. If there was any doubt Tracey and I were meant to be together they evaporated in a puff of wonder when I learned Ken was an ex-RACQ breakdown service man.  Seriously, as a P Plater I spent more time chatting to his co-workers by the sides of roads in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise than I did my drinking buddies. He was perfect for me.

Home now, so all good, although I fear when my daughter does the same sort of thing in the next six months or so (as she inevitably will) my well prepared, finger wagging parental speech about thinking ahead and having a second key cut might be met with a 'people in glass houses' one of her own. 

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