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Recipe: Nikujaga

Nikujaga literally means meat and potatoes. It is one of the comfort foods for Japanese and is a popular meal to prepare at home. The meal itself is very simple and homely. It is likened to a beef stew though the simmering time is much shorter as compared to the western version because Nikujaga uses thinly sliced meat.
With the aid of a panda bear rice mold and nori sheet panda cutter (priced at A$2.80 each from Daiso), this bowl of goodness was transformed into a kawaii meal for my twins.


Nikujaga
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients 300g thinly sliced beef
1 large brown onion 2 large potatoes, peeled  400ml water 4 tbsp sugar 4 tbsp soy sauce
Steamed vegetables 2 medium carrots 1 medium broccoli
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 4 - 6 pieces, then plane off the corners to prevent crumbling during the cooking process. Soak in water for 5 minutes (to prevent it from changing colour and to remove starch).
2. Slice onion into 12 wedges and separate them into pieces…
Recent posts

A promise made and kept

A few months ago, I made a promise to myself that I needed to take better care of me which meant putting myself first.

As you can imagine, this was rather tricky to navigate and for it to be sustainable, I needed support from the people around me.

I also needed to dig really deep and ask why this would be any different from previous attempts.

It is different this time around because I am truly ready to make the changes required and personal experiences with other pursuits have all indicated that sheer determination and a clear focus (the heart and mind) have always carried me over the line. Time and again.

What has transpired since is a complete shift in mindset, which is honouring myself as a whole.

The promises I make for me should carry the same weight as those I make with others.

This is my life. My whole life and I am solely accountable for how that pans out.
Therefore, this is neither selfish nor self-indulgent. 

The following quote drives my purpose for living well.

Tooth Fairy Came Knocking

This happened. On the final evening of the recent school holidays to be exact. Dramatic much?
She has waited two full months after her twin brother had lost his, to sport a gap between her teeth. Oh to be a child again and be thrilled with this occurrence.

Amusing to watch.
Perhaps I should embrace my inner child a lot more.

I have also learnt from other parents that one needs to be prepared for such milestones an event and I am referring to the token from the Tooth Fairy.

Tell me again, why do we give SO MUCH credit to Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy?

We are suckers. That's what it is.

Once again, I digress. Sorry. I have a secret stash of gold coins for such events because I ain't handing over a $10 note! Yes those of you who do because you were not organised - please stop spoiling the market! LOL.



Stop and Smell the Cherry Blossoms

It has taken me a long time to really understand and accept the practice of Self Care because it is in my nature (as with most women) to prioritise family and friends before self. 
This shift occurred when I returned home from working overseas. Even though I missed my family at random times, being able to think and make decisions solely for me was refreshing and invigorating.

That got me thinking.

Since I practice compassion and generosity regularly for those around me, why then have I not done the same for myself? Am I less important? Does it translate to being selfish? 

If I am not filling up my tank, how am I able to give myself more fully to those who really matter?  If I am running on empty, whose responsibility is it to fill that up?

The answer is pretty straight forward. Me, myself and I.

I have also long held the belief that everything happens for a reason and this couldn't have come at a better time as I turned 40.

For the last two months and a bit, self-care has ranked highly o…

Reunion with My Rugged Beauty

I used to snow ski annually for years and due to circumstances beyond my control, this took a back seat and before I know it, 11 years has eclipsed. In that time, so much has happened. Unbeknownst to me at that time, the photo above was my last trip to the snow atop Whakapapa (live volcano on the North Island of New Zealand).
What do I love about snow skiing?
The thrill, adrenaline and gracefulness. It encapsulates for me what mindfulness represents. Nothing else would enter my thoughts. Only me, the mountain and weather elements. I skied at a pace that took my fancy at that moment in time. More often that not, it's the music pumping through my head phones which dictated my rhythm and speed. When Mother Nature stunned me in my tracks, I would perch by the side of the mountain and take a deliberate pause. Taking it all in and simply breathe deeply. Reached into the pocket of my ski jacket and fished out a dark chocolate bar. 
Pure contentment. Gratefulness. Overwhelming sense of peace…

Charlotte.

When we first laid eyes on each other in the delivery suite, her pair of striking amber coloured eyes bore straight into my soul and in that moment, I wondered if she would give me a run for my money. Well, time has certainly confirmed this for me.
She is fiercely independent - while keeping an eye on everyone around her.
She is intuitive - completes my sentences and senses my emotions.
She is dedicated to her studies - while being able to multi-task successfully.
She is thoughtful - leaving me love notes and drawings when I least expect it.
She is devoted to me - and is unashamed about making that known in every way.
She plans ahead - making her highly organised.

Charlotte is also rather shy and does not draw attention to herself. Therefore, it came as a surprise when she asked if she could try out for the school teams in Sports Aerobics.

Fast forward to her first competition 5 hours (one way) away from home and her team was awarded 3rd place! She was quietly proud of her achievement and I, …

Tooth Fairy Came Knocking

It's been a long time coming as they look on enviously at their friends with gaps in their gums and wonder when their turns will come. Naturally, there has also been animated conversations about the Tooth Fairy and the amount of money she leaves behind. 
The innocence and imagination in childhood is so precious & hilarious and I will be cultivating them for as long as possible. 


Anyway, Daniel is the first cab off the rank. His bottom teeth had been wobbling for a few weeks and the acute angle of his tooth on the morning of Mother's Day indicated it might (finally) happen and ... 

... a quick squeeze of his cheeks and popped! Awww.. that little teeth that I grew in my tummy. It's sooo teeny tiny. Oh my heart. On Mother's Day. 
He is one up on his sister and darn proud of that! All her teeth are still rigidly in place so a little more patience is required.
Yes the Tooth Fairy crept into their bedroom last night and left a $1 gold coin on his side table and removed his te…

Forty

So this happened a few weeks ago and you know what, it wasn't hard at all. In fact, I was looking forward to turning 40. 
I spent my entire teenage years badgering negotiating with my parents to let me 'spread my wings'.  Despite their protests and bribes, I scored an overseas gig as an intern (at 18) working for Channel 9 and TAFE in South Australia for 3 months - that was the turning point. Shortly after, I was accepted by 6 Australian Universities and attained a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television Productions after 12 months. All that fueled my determination to grow up away from everything familiar and everyone close and dear..
You could say I was filled with trepidation, madness and at the same time, consumed by excitement, curiosity and giddy with determination and rebellion.
My twenties were a blur of corporate choices and getting ahead, falling head over heels in love, learning to snow ski, buying the first property, caring for a Siamese Cat, getting married, selli…