I laugh when I think about how much these Australia posts will contrast with my snow post
, but that's usually what happens when you travel to opposite ends of the earth when temperatures are at their most extreme. It's snowing here, and I just battled weather in Adelaide and Victoria
that got up to nearly 41 degrees (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Let's go back there, shall we?
One of my favorite parts about going back to Australia after not being there for a while is that I forget how funny Australians can be. For instance, where in the United States can you find a lingerie shop called The Booby Trap Warehouse
? Across the Pacific and down south a bit, you can find one in Adelaide, Australia. I bought several bras from there. True story.
When we were driving back and forth between Melbourne and Adelaide (and to our New Years Eve destination), I found another reason why Australians are funny. I saw their country road signs.
Do you get it? Don't drive like a W-anchor
Isn't that a great way to grab your attention when you're thinking about speeding down the road and tailgating and weaving around the cars like a complete wanker? I sure think so.
If you're a super-American like my mom and really don't understand the billboard at all because you've never heard the word "wanker" before (or don't watch enough Hugh Grant movies), then I can tell you that the word basically means "jerk". There are other meanings, so look here
if you're in the mood for educating yourself in the art of British slang.
As I mentioned before, we had some very hot days in Adelaide. We spent a lot of time relaxing since that weather can make you pretty lethargic, but we got out of the house too. There were Christmas gifts to exchange, a few friends who were actually in town to meet, bras to buy at the Booby Trap, and beaches far as the eye could see.
I'm not sure if you know this about Adelaide, but they have outstanding beaches. During one of our afternoons, we drove over to Henley Beach. Glenelg is the most popular city beach, but we avoided it since we knew it would be impossible to find parking and space to even walk around on a day like this.
We walked over to Henley Square for lunch, and I got a real Greek salad. "Real" Greek salads have all of the essentials of any other Greek salad, but it's not mixed in with lettuce. There are also huge chunks of cheese, which made this girl very happy.
Later on, I met my friend Megan (read her blog Story Book Love Affair
- it's all about books, and she's a fantastic writer!) at Lemongrass Bistro
on Rundle Street (the most fun street in Adelaide). I've always wanted to eat here while I was living in Adelaide, but I never got the chance. The one time that we made reservations, I got sick a few hours before dinner.
Lemongrass has outstanding Thai food. You can order all different sorts of noodle dishes, but I was intrigued with the menu option that allows you to pick your combination of sauce, vegetable, and protein. I chose the Lemongrass (bottom left), which included mushrooms, capsicum (red pepper) and other spicy veggies. I chose the tofu as my protein, and I was not disappointed.
Megan ordered the Char-Grilled Chicken (bottom right), which was garlic, herbs, sweet chili sauce, chicken, and vegetables. We both loved what we ordered.
We packed up our bags the next day and drove to Port Vincent for New Years Eve. Instead of trying to explain where it is, I drew you a map (below). Port Vincent is the pink bubble, and Adelaide is on the other side of the water. The only way that you can get there is to drive around, so it took us about 2.5 hours to get there.
The land that juts out there and slightly resembles a boot is called the Yorke Peninsula. A lot of people who live in Adelaide also own homes there. It's an ideal place for fishing, snorkeling, diving or surfing.
Just for fun, I also "drew" you a map of Australia. The red bubble shows Adelaide, and you can just make out the Yorke Peninsula next to it.
Before I recap Port Vincent, I really want to stress the fact that you can't live in Adelaide without knowing several people with a "holiday shack". So many people own homes in the city, but they will also own a house somewhere else, such as Kangaroo Island, the Yorke Peninsula, Hindmarsh Island, the Limestone Coast, the Fleurieu Peninsula, or the Riverlands.
People often call them "shacks", because they are never as nice as their homes in the city. They may be in their Adelaide homes for 11 months and one week out of the year, but as soon as Christmas rolls around, the city empties out with everybody going to their holiday homes. These homes also have the capacity to sleep armies of people, because they often have bunk rooms. Those who don't get a bed can still sleep there; they just sleep outside in a tent or a swag
Days are spent on the beach, curled up with a book, or watching ten hours of cricket. Nights are spent with delicious dinners made on the barbie and a few bottles of wine. This is the time to relax and enjoy time with your family and your friends. You may have to share one bathroom with 17 other people and wake up to mosquitoes biting your face, but it doesn't matter. All in all, I really admire this post-Christmas tradition that can never happen in the United States of America.
This was exactly like our time in Port Vincent, except the house our friends rented was a NICE shack.
We spent a lot of time at the beach. Our friend Bonnie rented the house, but she and her sister Cat also have a family home there with a boat. I went on the boat, although I never ended up going water skiing. I definitely should have!
After beach time was beer time and nail-painting time. By the way, you can't see in this picture, but our tent was set up on the deck around the corner. Yes, we slept in a tent for two nights.
Boys got their nails painted, too.
We had steak on the barbie.
Duncan's homemade potato salad.
It doesn't get more Australian than this!
The next day included more beach, lots of time reading, and watching people jump off the dock (I stole this picture from Lara- thank you!).
Then the girls went home to pretty themselves (this house had TWO bathrooms, fortunately), and New Years Eve officially started. Bonnie and Cat's family came by to see the house, and they brought a few appetizers in addition to our own. There was a ton of food.
There was plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails.
My favorite appetizer was smoked salmon on a baguette with capers. YUM!
Oh yes, I also enjoyed the brie very much.
I didn't have one of these, but I'm pretty sure these were appetizers of the Asian variety.
They brought their dog, too.
He got LOTS of attention!
Of course, there was more barbecuing.
Duncan and Claire!
The meat! Sausages and lamb (I think it was lamb).
Lara and I were in meatless moods, so we ate lots of potato and salad.
We also got a visit from the neighborhood dog. He came up to the house a whole bunch of times and attempted to persuade us in a game of fetch.
He usually won at least one of us over. How can you say no to a face like that?
He has owners, but they let him run around during the day and play with the neighbors.
Soon, the sun went down and the dancing began. I was up there once they broke out the Backstreet Boys.
We had a delicious pavlova for dessert with fresh berries.
There were sparklers.
We all had a wonderful time.
Including the blokes.
We drove back to Adelaide the day after that, and then we went back to Melbourne early the following morning. It was an exceptionally warm seven-hour drive, so I was very happy when we made it back to Al's apartment.
I just realized that I have no recollection of mentioning that Alastair moved to Melbourne last year after visiting me in Chicago. I'm sure you would have figured that out by now, but I feel pretty silly for not bringing that up. I have the tendency to just suppose that I already told people things, so I am very sorry if I forgot!
Despite the fact that some parts of Australia had terrible weather (cyclone in the Northern Territory and torrential rain and hail in Melbourne), we had a lovely Christmas in Adelaide.
I started off my day with a three-mile run in a park near Al's mom and dad's home at 8 am. The park was full of walkers and joggers and dogs, and everybody was happy since it was a sunny and warm Christmas morning. Al's mom and dad were also out walking, and Al went there to run (although I never go with him since he runs so much faster than I do).
At 11, Al's brother Nick, his wife Anna, Al's brother Hamish, his girlfriend Ayzsa and her son Nate came over for mimosas and presents.
At 12:30, we arrived at Aunt Susie and Uncle Andy's new house in the Adelaide Hills for lunch. As usual, there were drinks and plenty of food!
We also had our assigned seats and our Christmas bon bons (they contain the Christmas hats, as you will see in a few pictures).
We had passed appetizers before the big meal, such as amazing homemade sushi, spring rolls, and smoked salmon tarts. After that, we had lunch. I filled my plate with roasted potatoes, green beans, incredibly moist and delicious turkey, and tomato pie (sliced tomatoes, onions, and crusty bread).
Most of the fam (minus myself) were from Adelaide, but there were also two uncles and one aunt from Melbourne.
I sat in between Uncle Tim and Jamie (my future father-in-law). I have fun no matter where I sit on Christmas since we are always a chatty bunch.
Soon after we started eating, we cracked open our bon bons and put on our Christmas hats. Festive, eh?
Instead of going out and buying presents for everybody there, we did a "Kris Kringle" gift exchange. Each person buys a gift with a $20 limit and wraps it in red paper. We then take turns grabbing presents. We did the same thing last year in Melbourne
when there were 30 people there, and it worked out very well.
I got a pairing knife and a dish-washing scrubbing bristle gadget that fills up with soap (I really can't think of the name of it right now...if there even is a name for it). I'm pretty stoked about them, but I'll probably trade for Al's Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals
cookbook. He got the same thing last year for Christmas, and I really don't see the point of him having two of them. He doesn't, either.
We ate our dessert on the patio.
There were Haigh's
truffles, mini mince pies, brandy butter, Christmas pudding, cream, ice cream, and a saliva-inducing bowl of fresh raspberries. If you don't know what these desserts are, then look 'em up on the 'net!
I have zero complaints about the desserts. Everything was just perfect.
Soon after dessert, we got a visit from Father Christmas. He drove up the hill on Uncle Andy's jeep. Perhaps Andy let Santa borrow his car, which was very nice. We looked around for Andy during this ordeal, but we couldn't find him. Maybe he ate too much and had to lie down for a power nap.
We expected Santa to bring his reindeer, but he instead had his Little Helper named Lolla.
As soon as he got to the top, they made a dash for a the house. They had important presents to deliver.
We didn't see Santa after that, but we found Andy a little while later. I wonder what he was doing all of that time?
Santa also visited last year, but there were too many children present for Lolla to make an appearance. Alastair's family is just full laughs...yes?
I hope everybody else had a wonderful Christmas! I'll be in Adelaide relaxing until the first or second of January, and then we'll go back to Melbourne until it's time to go back to the States. As of now, I'm enjoying my relaxation and am not looking forward to going back yet!
P.S. Thanks to Penny for letting me steal a few photos off of her camera!
AHHHHHH I'm so full right now! Let's talk about food from the past couple of days. Two of my dishes have a common theme.
On Saturday, for dinner, I wanted my gnocchi. I almost always have San Remo gnocchi
in the fridge, unless I already ate it and have to buy more. As I have told you all many times, I am obsessed. I made things a little different this time, and I made my sauce from scratch. I used leftover canned tomatoes from making the chili
, minced garlic, a brown onion and dried oregano.
Along with parmesan cheese and broccoli, it made a great meal! As usual, I left half of the gnocchi for the next day.
We then went out to the Cremorne
on Saturday night (I wasn't socially awkward, and I had a great time), and we stayed indoors all day yesterday since it was pouring down with rain. Wet Sundays are meant for staying inside!
Then, Monday came along. Since I'm going home in exactly one week, I didn't bother making a proper grocery shopping list. In fact, I didn't make one at all. I figured that I could bring canned soup for lunches on certain days, and I could always have eggs or cereal for dinner if I ran out of any food. Yum.
I just didn't see the point of buying a lot of food, especially since I know Al won't eat it after I leave.
Since I didn't have a list, the hungry voice inside of me told me to buy fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was open like this when I got it.
No, I'm totally kidding. It wasn't open when I got it. That would be madness! I think I have a San Remo addiction. I loved my pasta so much, that I needed restraint from eating the whole thing.
These are my leftovers for my lunch tomorrow (or what would have been the second half of my dinner), and it was less than half of the whole portion! These servings are massive! The package says there are two in there.
Like Saturday night's dinner, I also added broccoli and parmesan. See the similarity?
After dinner, my night got even better. My shopping partner threw some of these in our cart earlier:
If you non-Aussies haven't had Tim Tams, you haven't lived! I had my first one when I first met Alastair. He was staying at my apartment at University of Illinois with my three other roommates. Since he was with us during Australia Day (at the beginning of January), he ordered a huge box of Aussie goodies to share with us. He was visiting Chicago when the box arrived, and he told me to open it. It contained a stuffed animal kangaroo (of course), Vegemite (I really need to do a post on that), an Australia jumper/sweatshirt and TIM TAMS!!! Al told us to go ahead and try them. We were hooked! In an apartment with four girls, I'm surprised that any of them remained until he got back from Chicago!
We hardly ever buy them these days, because we eat them too quickly.
On a side note, I work next to the Arnott's factory in Adelaide. On most days, the air smells like a huge liquid Tim Tam. It smells like the Chocolate Room in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory (if you ever went there...which you didn't...since it's all made up). It smells like the ocean changed from salt water into a sea of bubbling, rich milk chocolate. Do I need to keep going? Or if you live in Chicago, do you know that smell when you get off the Kennedy Expressway onto Ohio Street? That chocolate smell? It's like that!
So Tim Tams, if you haven't already figured it out, are chocolate biscuits! You can get other flavors, though. When Al let us open his Australia Day package, there were also caramel Tim Tams. You can see more of them here.
TELL ME that you don't want to try a Tim Tam right now!
Here are more facts about Tim Tams:
- the chocolate starts to melt on your fingers the instant you touch it. So when you get sad that you finished your biscuit, you still have the satisfaction of licking the remaining milk chocolate off of your fingers.
- If you bite off both ends, you can use it as a straw for your coffee. The hot liquid will melt your chocolate, and it will result in a hot chocolately coffee mess.
- Al's brother used to work at the unbelievable-smelling factory. He took "reject" Tim Tams home. If they weren't the right shape or something like that, he could leave with a bag of them. The best part is that they tasted exactly the same!
- Al's brother's fiance's brother now works for Arnott's.
- The tray of Tim Tams on our table is more than halfway gone....
- I only had one (so far)....
- Willy Wonka must be kicking himself that he didn't invent them. SUCK IT Everlasting Gobstoppers!!!!
- Target in the US may or may not carry them. I know that they did at one point. What are you waiting for? If you're in America, go to your nearest Target and find out!
Before I go, Tone It Up
is a good site to go on if you want free, at-home workouts. I was too lazy to go to the gym after work, so I tried one of their workouts. They kicked my butt. They also give nutrition advice.
Four more days of work! I can't believe it.
This is going to be a long one! That's what happens when I take a lot of pictures but wait 2-3 days to upload any of it. Silly me. FRIDAY
Friday for lunch, I went with some of my coworkers to City Zen
on King William Street in the city. We usually get sushi, but we changed it up and got yam cha. I never had yam cha before, and I didn't know what to expect. As I just figured out from my web searches, "yam cha" is often called "diim sum" in the US and the UK.
For me, an easy way to describe it is Chinese tapas. You order a whole bunch of small dishes for the table, and everybody shares.
The meal started with jasmine-infused green tea. It was cold in the restaurant, so it really warmed me up.
We also got a bottle of Geoff Merrill sauvignon blanc (from McLaren Vale) for our table. Why not? It was Friday, dudes!
We got a bunch of different sauces for the table. The one nearest to me was soy sauce, but I'm not sure what the others were. There were a few ones that tasted like sweet chili sauces. I didn't get to try all of them, so I'm not sure which ones would have been the best.
Below: fried squid
Fried prawn sushi (all of these were taken with my iPhone camera, so forgive the blurriness)
Tofu in some sweet and sour sauce that I happily would have eaten, but the girl in our group who was ordering sent it back since we didn't order it.
We all ordered some sort of dessert after the meal. I was curious about fried ice cream, so I ordered it with chocolate sauce on top.
It tasted great. I enjoyed the crunchy exterior. It was unique. Still, I prefer my ice cream un-fried!
We had tons of other dishes that I didn't load onto here. There were some things that were like egg rolls and steamed dumplings, and then we had two bowls of Chinese broccoli. I'm glad that I tried it, but I'm not sure if I would go to yam cha again. A lot the food was fried, and I just didn't feel healthy after eating it. The food also tasted good, but it was nothing earth-shattering.
I was also upset during the meal since I had a nasty confrontation with a coworker just before going to lunch, so that probably affected the experience. I guess not everybody in an office can be perfectly nice (but I'm lucky that most of the people in mine are just wonderful).
Saturday started by waiting on hold with Qantas in Australia for 45 minutes. Al, the problem-solver, used the international minutes on his phone to call Qantas in the US. There was no hold at all there, so I hung up with Australia. I changed my return ticket to the US to Monday, May 30. I also get to fly into Dallas this time. Qantas just moved their San Francisco hub to Dallas this month, which is fantastic for people who live in the Midwest and eastern regions of the US. I loathe LAX in Los Angeles. Actually, the only reason I am sad that I'm not going through LA is that I can't see Jess
While waiting on hold for 45 minutes and sandwiching the phone between my ear and my shoulder (I know that I could have put it on speaker, but my washing machine was on the loud spin cycle. I needed the phone at my ear.), I prepared hot cross buns for breakfast. I'm actually not sure if we have these in the US or not. Does anybody want to share their wisdom? They are only available during the Easter period, and they are semi-sweet tasting buns.
Al loves them so much that he bought several packages of them this year and put them in the freezer. I'm surprised he even let me eat them.
Per his instructions, I cut them in half and spread a little bit of butter in between each bun. I put them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes and ate them...all while waiting on hold.
After I changed my flights, I went to the gym and then came back to make lunch. It included this:
and three triangles of this:
Lunch came together very nicely. The fish is very lightly breaded and also doesn't taste too fishy. I also ate a mandarin orange. I'm almost positive that I call them clemintines in the US.
I also had a dark chocolate Adora disk, which is a calcium supplement. I bought them with my mom at her favorite vitamin store, and I have been hooked ever since. Lately, I've been dipping it in peanut butter.
After lunch, Al and I went to the city to hit the shops for a while. We then came back, and I fell asleep on the couch for a good two hours. I am an awesome napper sometimes. Al finally shook me awake and asked me if I wanted to go see "Thor". Of course I wanted to see "Thor"!
We saw it, and I absolutely loved it. I want to go see it again. And again. It was my kind of movie. I love fantasy and science fiction, so I was in heaven. I also bought a regular-sized popcorn, which should really be a large popcorn, and Al and I finished the whole thing. I still wanted something to eat when I came home, so I ate cereal. Don't you ever just want cereal for dinner?
Today, there was the Million Paws Walk
right by our place. Hundreds of people from all over the Adelaide area brought their dogs to the river and walked them to raise money for the RSPCA
. The RSPCA does lots of wonderful things, but they most importantly work to prevent animal cruelty around Australia.
You would have to tie me up to keep me away from hundreds of dogs a block away from my apartment, so I wandered outside after breakfast to say hello to my furry friends.
I got there just as they kicked off the walk. I have never seen such a large group of happy dogs! So many tails were wagging.
I got to pet a few doggies, so I was happy.
They also have adoption shelters. They have a huge one in the southern suburbs. I donated some toys to the pups for Christmas.
I didn't want to leave. I actually wanted to steal and/or borrow a dog so I could walk it, but I went back home so that I didn't feel too tempted. We had another exciting thing to do, so I wasn't quite as sad.
We drove to the Waterfall Gully car park and hiked up Mt Lofty.
Mt Lofty is the highest point in the Adelaide Hills. Al and I did the hike once before, right after I moved to Adelaide.
Mt Lofty sounds like a cute little hill, but let me tell you something. The hike is HARD.
We started, as we did before, at the Waterfall Gully.
Below: Waterfall Gully
As you see, it's a beautiful hike up to the top. It's about 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) to the summit, but it feels much longer. For a lot of the time, especially when you get to the end, it is so steep. At certain points, I was breathing so hard that it sounded like I was hooked up to respirator. I was literally breathing with everything I had. It didn't help that I was trying to keep up with Mr. Athletic in front of me.
As we got closer to the end, it felt like hours until we got to the top. The trail is so steep that you have to balance your weight so that you don't fall forward. Al has issues with his achilles tendons, and he could barely put his heels down on the ground at certain points. It hurt him a lot.
Please observe my swollen fingers (and nail polish that I STILL haven't taken off). They were so enlarged that I struggled enormously to take off my ring before getting in the shower later on. At its worst point, I couldn't make a fist with either hand. I wonder if this happens to anybody else.
This was the last bit before the summit. I wish you could see just how steep the ground was. I was huffing and puffing, but I was so determined to get there. By the way, people RUN up this every day.
I knew we made it to the top when I saw the familiar sign asking me to clean my shoes.
That thing would be dirty.
Mt Lofty summit!
The view is gorgeous. I'd love to be there on a clearer day, because then you can see Kangaroo Island from there.
What goes up must come down, right? Going down Mt Lofty is also a challenge. It's not as tiring as it is potentially very rough on the joints. We struggled not to fall forward. Not only that, but since we are going down on such a steep incline, we step down harder and put stress on our knees and feet. I relieved the stress by taking my mom and her personal trainer's advice and walking with my feet parallel. Guys, I will tell you more about this when I talk in more detail about my leg recovering. For now, let me just tell you that changing my gait has significantly reduced the pain in my leg. Maybe it could help you, too!
Here is some advice if you want to do the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike:
- Dress like you are going to the gym. Wear gym shoes or hiking boots, and please, please do not wear jeans. You will sweat and will be so uncomfortable in anything that is not workout pants or shorts. I've seen people in boots and jeans. Please do not do that to yourself.
- Bring water. You will need it on the way up. There are no drinking fountains on the trail, and you can't buy anything until you get to the summit.
- We always bring a light and small backpack for our phones, keys and water.
- Be prepared for the fact that the hike up (and down) is not as easy as you think it will be. It's not an easy stroll through the woods.
- Take your time going up. You may be in good shape, but you will still struggle unless you are used to steep hills.
Afterwards, we went to Bunnings for a new heater and a sausage
. I was so cold and hungry by the time we got there, and some lady cut in front of me while I was waiting in line for the sausages. I was livid. Now, I am well fed and feeling much better.
I hope all of you had wonderful weekends! I can't believe I only have two more weeks of work. Crazy.
Feast your eyes on my iPhone photos from the past few weeks that I have taken but not uploaded! WARNING: These are completely random.
Photo one: This is an iced coffee. Apparently, if you get an iced coffee in Australia and don't elaborate on how you want it, you end up with a cup of coffee with milk and ice cream. It tastes good, but I think it was too heavy to consume when all I wanted was cold black coffee. I should remember that for next time.
Photo two: I ordered falafel from the snack shop last week for lunch. It was scrumptious.
Photo three: We bought this couch for about $350. It was a bargain, considering it was relatively new and originally cost over $1,000. We found it on Gumtree
, and I inspected it with one of my coworkers (the seller lived down the street from my office) before we sealed the deal. We were never able to have a big couch in the shoe box that we left, so we are elated to have something so big and comfortable in our new place.
Photo four: There was a full moon on Saturday night. It was picture-perfect until I snapped it with my iPhone camera. Honestly, though, how often do cameras actually do justice?
Photo five: This is a Peter Alexande
r shopping bag. Peter Alexander is an Aussie pajamas store that caters directly to me (execept I can't really afford anything in there). Everything there is pink and decorated with dogs. I especially love this bag, because the dog's face looks like my darling dog Mickey
(with a pink bow). I parted with the bag on Sunday, so I said goodbye with a picture.
Photo six: I found flowers that I swear I have never seen before.
Photo seven: The sky was such a beautiful shade of blue today, that I had to make more than just a mental picture of it while I was on my lunchtime walk.
Before I go, here is a link
to before and after photos from Christchurch. I've been following the coverage all day. It is an absolute nightmare (at least 75 people are dead), but at least there are many people who have been rescued from the rubble.
Have a great day, blog friends!
Al was the brains behind dinner last night. In true Aussie fashion, it was almost all done on the barbie.
We had grilled potato chips with rosemary, sea salt and thyme.
I honestly didn't like the flavor combinations. A+ for honesty.
I grabbed a few green olives (stuffed with red capsicum/pepper)
We also threw some chicken and veggie burgers from a local butcher on the barbie.
Dessert was fresh peaches from the neighbor's tree mixed with passion fruit and vanilla ice cream. That was a winner.
What is this Mystery Meat?
After dinner and dessert, I made my lunch for work the next day. I always make my lunch the night before so that I can sleep a little later. I've been making smoked turkey sandwiches since living with the future in-laws, but we were out of turkey yesterday. I didn't want bacon, so I pulled out another protein option: FRITZ!
Now, what the heck is fritz?
This Australian/New Zealand manufactured meat
is called 'fritz' in South Australia, 'polony' in Western Australia, 'luncheon' in Queensland and northern New Zealand, 'rokeby roast' in Tasmania and 'devon' in Victoria, New South Wales and southern New Zealand. Whew. I'm out of breath.
I never knew what to think of this stuff. When Al and I were dating but living in different countries, I'd watch him put fritz and tomato sauce/ketchup on his sandwiches on video Skype. I made fun of him all the time, because I thought it looked repulsive.
But you can't knock something until you try it, right? I tried a bite when I moved here, and I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked it, actually. It could be turkey or chicken or a hot dog or something else tasty that you put on your sandwiches.
I don't think it looks so bad now, but I still see why I made fun of Alastair on Skype. It's meat in a tube. It kind of looks like dog food. Look, Mom! It's manufactured meat (I know that she is so grossed out right now)!
My sandwich was great today, though. I put it in the sandwich/panini press at work, and it was so good.
I still think it's kinda great, but I have to tell you that I read about the ingredients while researching for this post. I rave about how much I hate pork (Aussie sausages are an exception), but here I am eating it ground up on a sandwich. Ahhh poor piggies. Am I still going to put it on my sandwich for tomorrow as soon as I publish this? You betcha. I still wish I was eating 'mystery meat' instead of ground-up pork. Sorry, Mom!
I also want to say that the bread below is AMAZING and packed with fiber. My favorite breads are the ones that are packed with seeds and have plenty of texture, so this stuff is ideal. I use it every day. I'm so grateful that Penny lets me eat her bread!
Time to make my fritz sandwich.
Update: I published but forgot to say that I watched the Superbowl live while eating my frtiz sandwich. I'm so sad I missed Christina Aguilera mess up the National Anthem. I still love you, though, Christina!
It's still not the same watching a Superbowl game without the commercials.
Good game, Packers! I've never been a fan, but I do love cheese.
If I moved back to America tomorrow and somebody asked me what I missed the most about Australian food (besides my excessive stash
of Cadbury chocolate bars), it would probably be finger buns. Yesterday, Penny and Jamie brought one home in the form of a loaf, but you can also buy them individually
When I first moved to Australia and lived with Al's parents for several weeks, there were almost always individual finger buns in the kitchen. My first impression was that they looked like Long Johns
. Finger buns, however, are not deep fried like doughnuts. They just taste like bread (with or without raisins or other dried fruit) with a thick, sugar coconut cream coating spread on top. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but this topping just tastes like sugary cream frosting. The coconut only gives it texture.
We hardly buy finger buns anymore, and I know why. Once I start, I can't stop! I think I had three slices yesterday. They're not excessively fattening (I think a single finger bun is something like 200 calories), but you don't want to go overboard on them. They're a fantastic treat though, and they're probably healthier than a Long John.
I went to the cricket yesterday, although I really didn't feel like it at first. The weather turned much cooler, and I spent about three hours shopping with Penny before. We were looking for dresses for Grumpy's
80th birthday party (she's having three, by the way), but we had no luck.
I ended up going, anyway. I wore jeans and boots with a tank top and a cardigan, and I still wasn't warm enough. I clung onto Al for warmth for the first 20 minutes, and then he just gave me his sweatshirt. What a gentleman.
We sat with our friends Claire, Duncan and Andrew. The Adelaide Oval was almost completely full, because it was final Redbacks game of the season. They made it to the championships. We played New South Wales.
The sky was gorgeous while the sun set. Claire and I were snap-happy.
Can you spot the Fruchoc Man
in the photos above and below?
We won! There were fireworks, which I didn't expect at all.
They were no Sydney Harbour New Years Eve fireworks, but we still enjoyed them.
We all grabbed a drink at the Lion
after the game, and then we headed home. Al and I kept talking about how much we wished that we already lived in our new apartment. If we did, we would have been so close to the game! We have a little more than a week until our exciting move-in day. More Wacky Weather
Now, Australia, when will the weather be normal again? There is more flooding
in Victoria, there are bush fires
near Perth and we all know what has been going on in northern Queensland. Adelaide is unscathed, although today feels like an autumn day. It's strange, but we're going back to the hot summer weather this week. I hope it holds out for the weekend. We're supposed to go strawberry picking and to a winery next weekend for an early Valentine's Day!
You may be able to tell that Al and I love chocolate. More than anything, we love Cadbury blocks of chocolate.
These are all photos from the past seven days. My favorite? I think that would have to be the rocky road flavor. It tastes like peanut butter and jelly and chocolate all in one bite! Then, the crunchie is my second favorite. Honestly, though, I'm not going to discriminate when it comes to my Cadbury chocolate. They are all good!
By the way, in case you were wondering, DAIRY MILK=MILK CHOCOLATE.
Right now, Queensland is preparing for their worst cyclone in possibly 100 years. This will affect some of the most beautiful resort areas on the Great Barrier Reef (Cairns, Townsville and the Whitsundays may sound familiar to you). Cyclone Yasi will hit land in a little under 4 hours. You can view the live coverage here
, and look here
if you want to grasp how large this storm is. Really, you should look.
Queensland is having a very bad summer, but it will get through these disasters. It's incredibly scary, though.
Also, I can't believe these snow storms in the US! Despite the wacky winter weather, I still miss snow. Am I crazy? I don't like driving in it, but I love watching it fall and seeing the world around me covered in white. I'm sure that Chicago is beautiful right now. Just be safe and smart (and make sure there is plenty of windshield wiper fluid in your cars)!
The Brainiac (my fiance Al) finished his first exam today, and he was famished afterwards. I wanted to go for a long walk when we got home, so we compromised. We went on a long walk, and we picked up dinner on the way home.
I kept it healthy with a turkey sub from Subway. I had them load the veggies on, and I got a few squirts of honey mustard sauce. It's really quite remarkable that I walk into a Subway halfway around the world, yet it tastes exactly like any other store back home. Everything, down to the last chocolate chip in a cookie, is the same. How do they do that?
Sorry guys, I'm really tying to take better pictures. I used a real camera this time, but I don't think it's very good. I tried a few with and without a flash, and this was the best one I could get. I really have a lot to learn when it comes to taking pictures for my blog.
Smarty Pants, however, chose to go in a different direction with dinner. He picked his up from the local chicken shop. There are chicken shops, or snack shops, all over the place. You can get salads or sandwiches, but they specialize in anything and everything deep fried.
Tonight, Al ordered a chicken schnitzel pack. It consists of one fried chicken patty covered in hot chips (translation: French fries) and topped off with steaming gravy. Whether or not you think this sounds mouth-watering or downright disgusting (I usually think the latter), it's another popular Aussie treat. Actually, the only reason that I think it's slightly gross is because I hate soggy fries. They are hot and crispy when they come out of the fryer, but the combination of the gravy and being packaged in a closed box usually changes the texture.
Since we were home about five minutes after Al got his food, however, they were still crispy. I actually muched on a few gravy-covered hot chips when I finished my Subway. I gotta admit, they taste good. Salty, but good. I could see myself getting one of these in the wee hours of the morning after a long night out. It would certainly hit the spot.
I hope I answered my own question about why we love chicken schnitzel packs. With enough greasy goodness in one box, it's sometimes hard to be disappointed! I should also add that there are beef schnitzel packs as well.
Before I go, I want to say that hot chips, or fries, are spectacular here. Aussies usually use seasoning on their chips called chicken salt.. I might have to bring some the next time I go home so that you all can try it! And for those of you who live in Australia- how good is this stuff?!?!
A few ingredients include salt, sugar, wheat starch and dehydrated vegetables. It adds so much flavor that you don't even need ketchup!
By the way, in case you were wondering, the McDonald's fries here also taste the same. Again, remarkable.
My head went on vacation today. I figured that out when I got on the bus to go to the gym after work, and I realized that I didn't have any workout clothes in my bag. I had shoes and socks, but no shirt and pants. Then, when I made dinner, I turned on the wrong burner for Al's pot of water. He was waiting for his water to boil, but it was cold when he was ready to put his pasta in the pot. The good part of my errors is that I had a great walk home from the city after work, and Al and I had a good laugh later on before dinner. I guess it's okay to have a super-ditzy day every once in a while, as long as nobody gets hurt!
One of the better parts of my day included a coworker giving me a mini Picnic bar. These things are fantastic. I brought a bag of these mini bars home in June, and they were a hit. Everybody who tried them loved them. It's a little bit like a Babe Ruth or some other candy bar that has numbers in the name, but I can't remember it. Really, I'm in a special place today.
I started eating mine, and then I remembered that I wanted to take a picture. That's my third super-ditz mistake of the day.
Ahhh behold the amazingness of my iPhone 3G camera. I betcha a real camera could capture the details on this candy bar a lot better. A Picnic bar is "a unique combination of peanuts, wafer, caramel and rice crisps covered in delicious cadbury milk chocolate"- as so deliciously described on the wraper in the picture above. I didn't think you'd actually be able to read it above, so I made sure to write it down for later. It's a bad picture, but I'm sure that you can make out the caramel on top and the wafer in the middle. It's really messy. That's the only bad thing I can say about it. It gets all over me. Don't let that scare you away, though. You have to try one if you ever get the opportunity.
Well, I am tired, and I just wasted a good 30 minutes of my life watching a South Park episode that makes fun of Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and of course Al Qaeda. I highly recommend it if you watch any reality shows that have to do with New Jersey. You will laugh. Hard.