Tag Archives: Cooking

101 goals for the next 1001 days

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Note: In case you missed my previous posts relating to this new list of goals, you might like to first stop by here, here and here 🙂 Goals 1 through 47 are adapted from my previous list, and goals 48 through 101 are the most recent additions. Where I’ve been working on an old goal but haven’t quite finished it yet, you’ll see the weird numbers reflect where I’m at today as I begin the new list (applies to goals 6, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40 and 47).

Enjoy! And let me know your thoughts…

Wood pennyfarthing

101 things in 1001 days

From 21 March 2014 to 16 December 2016

1. Read through the Bible in a year

2. Knit a couch throw with natural yarn

3. Get to my goal weight and/or goal size and maintain

4. Finish our wedding scrapbook

5. Go on 3 hikes

6. Go on 2 motorcycle rides

7. Work through Love Dare again

8. Get a pretty girly camera bag

9. Paint 4 artworks on canvas

10. Assemble an emergency kit

11. Visit a cave

12. Make a list of 48 things I’m grateful for

13. Complete a 1 000+ piece puzzle

14. Go on a rollercoaster

15. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor

16. Read 73 books and keep a list of them

17. Make a custom recipe book

18. Visit 5 different museums and/or monuments

19. Have a sleepover party

20. Go for a bicycle ride

21. Take 101 (poster-worthy) photos of my new pet rats

22. Grow a plant from a seed

23. Invite 5 different friends/couples over for a visit

24. Try 5 new cocktails

25. Write a letter to my favourite author

26. Apply henna 3 different times

27. Get 7 more hat badges

28. Navigate a maze

29. Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos

30. Write a list of 25 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime

31. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

32. Take part in a colour run

33. Eat at 2 new restaurants

34. Take 10 photos of 10 different birds

35. Go to Gold Reef City

36. Celebrate 3 obscure holidays

37. Make a time capsule

38. Visit a bird of prey centre

39. Revisit our wedding venue

40. Watch 6 movies I’ve never seen starting with K, N, Q, U, X and Y

41. Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English

42. Revamp my lingerie collection

43. Enjoy another spa day with my best friend

44. Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa

45. Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie

46. Put away R10 for each completed task

47. Write 4 letters to 4 people who changed my life

48. Buy 5 music CDs for my collection

49. Throw a housewarming party

50. Plan my 30th birthday party

51. Buy 3 more legit Bollywood movies

52. Complete a one-month photo challenge

53. Celebrate our 10-year dating anni in a special way

54. Get a good pocket/handbag camera

55. Interact with a raptor

56. Make a classic ‘Sunday roast’ meal

57. Get 5 new movies for my collection

58. Ride in a hot air balloon

59. Donate blood

60. Do 5 random acts of kindness

61. Find 5 inspiring new blogs to follow

62. Investigate becoming an organ donor

63. Plant a tree

64. Plant a vegetable garden

65. Go to the Lion Park

66. Host a Christmas gathering

67. Go to a theatre show

68. Visit an animal sanctuary

69. Go berry picking at Just Darling farm

70. Visit Lindfield Victorian House

71. See a movie at Rosebank’s Ster Kinekor Cinema Prestige

72. Have a ‘pretty boudoir’ photoshoot for Ninja

73. Hire an old car and go for a drive

74. Celebrate Raksha Bandhan in some way

75. Do a SCAD dive

76. Try 5 different natural foods from Organic Emporium

77. Get new running shoes

78. Get glasses frames that suit me better

79. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bathroom

80. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bedroom

81. Make or buy 2 decor items for the lounge

82. Make or buy 2 decor items for the kitchen

83. Get more potted plants

84. Upgrade our medical aid plan

85. Hire or buy another camera lens

86. Pay off our building loan

87. Make my own vanilla extract

88. Visit an organic/farmers’ market

89. Get a new set of bed linen

90. Make my own air freshener

91. Make my own potpourri sachets

92. Make my own jelly sweets

93. Make 5 new desserts

94. Create a photo album of all our pets

95. Cook homemade soup in winter

96. Define my own smart fashion style

97. Define my own casual fashion style

98. Buy 3 completely new smart outfits

99. Buy 3 completely new casual outfits

100. Revamp my jewellery collection

101. Take at least one mini-break away with Ninja

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30 x 30 (x 30) challenge

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So! Who’s up for a challenge? :mrgreen:

30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Earlier this week I decided it’s time to tackle Goal #72 on my 101 things in 1001 days list, namely the 30 x 30 challenge of doing 30 minutes of physical activity for 30 consecutive days.

I planned it strategically right at the start of a blazing South African summer, of course.

And that wasn’t enough, so I decided to add another ‘x 30’ on the end of that challenge too. Along with the daily physical exercise regimen, I’ve committed to a personalised detox.

It’s nothing hectic – nothing like my 21-day sugar detox – but I’m cutting out as many fatty foods, processed carbs and sugars as possible for the next 30 days, and I plan to eat a salad for at least one of my three main meals each day. I’ve reduced all my portions too, and I’m stocking my pantry I don’t have a pantry fridge and cupboards with the healthiest foods I can afford.

Or at least I will be, once payday rolls around 😀

But like I said, it’s a personalised detox. I know myself well enough to accept that 30 days without any sugary treats at all is going to be counterproductive – I’ll just give up that way. So each morning with my cup of unsweetened rooibos tea I indulge in a single, small vanilla biscuit. Treat? Check 🙂

Over time I’ve come to accept that some diet fads and detox ideas will never work for me. For one thing, I don’t do low-fat dairy. Period. It’s yucky and a waste of money and full of unhealthy additives. I’d rather enjoy a smaller portion of a full-cream product than mess around with low-fat and fat-free options.

Also, I’ll never stick to a diet plan that involves foods I’ve never even heard of, let alone eaten. If I can’t find it in the shops I usually buy from, it’s just going to be a stumbling block in my detox. Ditto if it tastes gross. You can keep your kombucha and your tempeh, thanks very much!

And finally, I’ll probably never stick to a diet plan that cuts out one or more food groups altogether. Yes, I do intend to give a month of vegetarianism a go e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y (despite my repeated failures in that area), but I still don’t expect it’ll become something permanent. I like my food, and I love variety in everything, so that’s what my current diet plan is based on 🙂

I started the challenge on the 13th of November, so that it ends the day before my dating anniversary with Ninja… at which point I believe we can celebrate with a well-deserved, detox-destroying romantic dinner.

The salads have been easy to fit in and perfect for the hot weather, but the exercise is obviously the harder part. I often get to walk for more than 30 minutes during lunchtime at work, and there are stairs to climb and weights to lift at home. No excuses!

Being the pedant that I am, I laid out all of this in a handy checklist. And here it is, free for you to download should you wish to attempt something like this for yourself 🙂

My 30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Here’s to good health and achieving our goals!

Zest

Spring Day feast

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Happy Spring Day to those in the southern hemisphere! Sorry my northern friends, I don’t mean to rub it in that your warm weather is slowly seeping southwards 😉

But winter isn’t over for us yet – it was absolutely freezing icy cold this morning. When we went to church we joined huddles of hunched-over people wrapped in thick coats and jerseys. Even the heartiest singing didn’t warm us up today!

Thankfully, though, Jozi is usually sunny even when it’s cold, so as I write here this afternoon I have warm bright sunshine flooding my desk… and cheerfully highlighting all the dust I haven’t got around to cleaning… Meh.

Anyway, enough of that. What I’m really here to write about is the delightful Spring Day feast I made for Ninja and my parents today. My folks were originally coming over to meet their new ‘grandrats’, but since that’s been delayed we just turned it into a celebration of the first day of spring.

Spring Day 2013

Spring Day 2013

For the decor I chose mismatched and cheerful colours, using what I had around the house instead of spending extra on new fancy stuff. For example, I had these bright orange paper cups in the cupboard, so I just prettied them up with spring-themed flower stickers.

For Marzipan

For Marzipan

I used my multicoloured bamboo placemats and colourful serviettes left over from my first special dinner. Ninja had also bought these cool 3D/holographic bookmarks for each of us, so we gave my mom the horsey one and my dad the eagly one (oops, couldn’t resist inventing a word there).

For Daz

For Daz

I also snipped a few sprigs off a jasmine bush to use as our centrepiece. I so enjoy the scent of those flowers: it always tells me my favourite season has arrived at last.

Jasmine

Jasmine

And now for the best part: the food 😀 I made us a three-course meal as follows:

Spring Day menu

Spring Day menu

In case you can’t see the text on the pic, our starters were those mini pizza mushrooms that I first made for this dinner and then again for this dinner. I also recently hosted my in-laws for lunch and made it for them too. In fact, I could quite easily make that starter for every fancy dinner for as long as I live, and never tire of it. Those ‘shrooms are just so darn delicious!!!

The main course was ham and spring onion clafoutis with roasted cherry tomatoes and avocado with basil pesto mayo. This is where I had the most fun, since I love experimenting with new dishes and flavours. (I’m determined not to lose that interest even though I no longer have as much spare time for experimenting as I had before…).

I’d never made a clafoutis (say: ‘klafootee’) before, but I based my recipe on this one and simply substituted ham and spring onions for the basil and tomatoes. I also used four small ramekins rather than one big dish. It’s such a simple and easy recipe, and my family enjoyed it (though we all added some extra salt, without which it would have tasted far too mild and milky).

Tomatoes ready for the oven

Tomatoes ready for the oven

The roasted cherry tomatoes are an idea shared with me by my best friend. She first made it for me with pasta and wilted spinach (oh, how well we ate that day!), but the tomatoes work perfectly on their own too. Simply wash them, pop them in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with whatever herbs and spices you like (I used origanum, pepper, chives and salt). Then bake them for 30 minutes at 180 °C – which was ideal in this case because that’s the same as for the clafoutis, so I baked them together.

Savoury clafoutis with roasted tomatoes and avo with basil pesto mayo

Savoury clafoutis with roasted tomatoes and avo with basil pesto mayo

As you can see from the pic above, the poor clafoutis had no patience with me fussing with the photography… it started to deflate almost as soon as I took it from the oven 😛 Still delicious though.

The basil pesto mayo was also a hit (with everyone except my plain-eating husband, hehe). Since I enjoy basil but can’t eat the garlic they usually put in commercial pestos, I decided to make my own pesto. As a replacement for the pine nuts used in standard pestos, I added a few spoons of ground almonds. Hmmm. Didn’t do much for me. Then I simply mixed up low-fat mayo and milk, and stirred tiny shreds of fresh basil into the mix. Yum! A perfect complement to the plain avocado, with none of the disadvantages (for me at least) of using garlic.

And the dessert of fresh strawberries and hot marshmallow sauce? That’ll be my next post 🙂

Lime, sour cream & coconut cake

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For National Women’s Day this past week I baked my third ever cake, thanks to the delicious recipe from Kate Bracks, winner of MasterChef Australia Season 3.

Cake batter

Cake batter

And wow, all I can say to you is: Bake. This. Cake!

Lime juice and zest

Lime juice and zest

The recipe is easy and the ingredients not too pricey; the method is also interesting because of the hot syrup you pour over at the end. I was intrigued by the use of sour cream, but it works a treat, and this cake really is as moist as Kate promises.

Lime, sour cream and coconut cake (thanks to Kate Bracks)

Kate also suggests eating this cake with fresh cream and blueberries, but when I shared this cake with my best friend and later with my parents, none of us remembered the berries and cream. We were too busy enjoying the cake exactly as it is!

This recipe is definitely a keeper, and was a tasty way to work on one of my goals 🙂

Oriental pie with chutney, avo and banana

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I’m probably doing this all wrong, posting a hearty winter dinner recipe when most of you are enjoying a long-awaited summer. But deliciousness must be shared, no matter the season! You could always bookmark it for wintertime in your hemisphere 😉

Oriental pie with chutney, avo and banana

Oriental pie with chutney, avo and banana

Oriental pie filling

1 onion, chopped (or 2 T dried chives)

1 T oil

1 t curry powder, heaped

½ t ground ginger, heaped

1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)

±350 g mince

1 bay leaf

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

¼ C vinegar

30 ml brown sugar

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Fry onions/chives in oil.

2. Add curry, ginger, garlic and mince. Fry until mince browns.

3.  Add rest of ingredients. Cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

4.  Place in a casserole dish. Prepare the topping.

Oriental pie is delicious served on a bed of brown rice

Oriental pie is delicious served on a bed of brown rice


Oriental pie topping

1½ C flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

1 t curry powder, heaped

40 g butter

1 onion, grated (or 1 T dried chives)

1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)

1 egg, beaten

½ C water

Ingredients for the topping

Ingredients for the topping

Method

1. Sift dry ingredients together.

2. Rub in butter.

3. Add onion/chives and garlic.

4. Mix egg with water and add to mixture.

5. Mix well. Spoon over oriental pie filling.

6.  Bake at 180 °C for 30 min.

A warm and spicy winter dinner

A warm and spicy winter dinner

Notes

  • I’m not sure of the origins of this recipe; I suspect it was a Cape Malay dish, but my version comes from my mom.
  • As you can see, I’ve used dried chives because Ninja and I are allergic to onion and garlic.
  • You could make this dish as mild or as spicy as you like by varying the flavours to taste.
  • I always enjoy curried dishes with avocado, banana and fruit chutney on the side. We use the South African classic, Mrs Ball’s Peach Chutney – loved by South Africans and imported by expats everywhere!
Oriental pie

Oriental pie

How to ‘green clean’ your oven

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Oh, I tried chemical oven cleaner once. Never again.

Although I thought I’d rinsed the oven thoroughly, some oven cleaner residue was lurking still… and it nearly killed us 😯

So these days I use the natural method of oven cleaning, which requires nothing more than some bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, and a bit of elbow grease!

For those who would also like to steer clear of dangerous chemicals and have a spotless oven, here’s a quick pictorial.

This is what my oven looked like beforehand. It’s not as bad as it could be, but still speckled with baked-on dirt. Yuck!

My oven before

My oven before

A closer look

A closer look

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I only clean my oven roughly every six months (hey, stop judging me!). It’s a lot of work and I doubt anyone enjoys the task, but it has to be done.

A last look at the dirt inside

A last look at the dirt inside

Cleaning the oven with bicarb and vinegar is a two-part process, because you need to leave it overnight (same as with some chemical oven cleaners).

Step 1: Liberally sprinkle bicarb in the oven

Step 1: Liberally sprinkle bicarb in the oven

For the first step, try to get the bicarb up on the top of the oven and in all the hard-to-reach corners too. You could also make a paste with bicarb and water to get it to stick if needed.

Step 2: Spray the bicarb with white vinegar

Step 2: Spray the bicarb with white vinegar

Be warned: Step 2 releases some caustic fumes, though nothing compared to the dangerous fumes from chemical cleaners. I spritz the vinegar onto the soda with a spray bottle, which helps to reach odd spots.

The bicarb and vinegar immediately react with a hiss

The bicarb and vinegar immediately react with a hiss

Now you can leave the mixture to do the hard work overnight while you sleep 🙂 I take out all the trays and racks and treat them separately and leave them in the bath. Our oven’s door also detaches easily, which makes the job simpler.

Step 3: The overnight work

In the morning you should see that much of the mixture has dried. Often it will have turned brown in spots, which is how you know that it’s been eating away at the dirt on that surface.

Step 4: The hard work begins

Step 4: The hard work begins

Now it’s time to put on your gloves, grab a scouring pad and start scrubbing. If you did a thorough job on the first two steps, the mixture of bicarb and vinegar will have lifted off a lot of dirt and grease that can just be wiped away. In the pic above you can see a circular area I’ve scrubbed clean without much effort.

A helpful tool: the partitioned bucket

I recently bought a cleaning bucket with two separate sections for clean and dirty water. This was a great help and is a worthwhile investment (although I can’t help wishing it came with wheels too).

Step 5: Scrubbing, rinsing and drying

Step 5: Scrubbing, rinsing and drying

There’s no secret to the rest of the job: it’s just scrubbing, rinsing and drying. I lay newspaper on the floor to catch the inevitable spills, and wipe up the excess bicarb with paper towels. The roof of the oven is my least favourite part because of the awkward access, but with persistence it comes clean as well.

It’s a tedious job that took me just over an hour (maybe because of all the interruptions for photos?), but you can make good use of the time by listening to music or audio books in the background as you work. The great thing about using ‘green cleaners’ such as bicarb and vinegar is that if for some reason you don’t rinse them off properly, they won’t harm you or the food you cook in the oven afterwards.

And the results are just as good as with any chemical cleaner! 🙂

Sparkling clean again

The Host

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Well, I had a whole bunch of good intentions for starting off the week yesterday, but life isn’t always a straight line. The trick is learning to adapt to the curveballs instead of getting frustrated by them.

I started strong, kicking off my day with cleaning and grocery shopping. But around midday our power and water were both cut off! I couldn’t do any more of the washing, cooking or cleaning that I’d planned.

Rather than sit around doing some proverbial thumb-twiddling, I used the sudden gift of free time to check off another goal on my 101 things in 1001 days list: Goal #89 – Go to a movie by myself. At least they had electricity and running water at the mall!

I went to see The Host, and enjoyed it… it was kind of like a girly romantic sci-fi. I’m not usually into sci-fi all that much, but Stephanie Meyer has a knack for making otherworldly plots appeal to gals too 😉

Anyway, yesterday also showed me God’s grace and perfect timing in my life. For the first time ever, I decided to split up my shopping. My plan was to first buy all the dry goods and take them home, and then later go back to the shops to purchase all the perishable items such as frozen fish, meat and fresh veggies. My reasoning at the time was that if I could get these items straight from the shops into my cooler bag and into my fridge as quickly as possibly, I might avoid them going bad (I think bad frozen fish – and not the Easter feast – was actually what nailed me with food poisoning a couple of weeks ago).

So I did my dry-goods shopping at a normal pace and brought home all the goodies. After I’d finished unpacking the grocery bags, I took a breather for five minutes and got ready to leave to buy the perishable items. Then, just as I was about to leave, the power and water were cut.

My first reaction was natural frustration, but that quickly turned to amazement at the divine timing of each event. If I’d bought all the shopping at once as usual without coming home, or if I’d left five minutes sooner for the second round, I would have had hundreds of rands’ worth of perishable items sitting in a fridge that couldn’t stay cold. The electricity and water only came back five hours later – that would have been long enough to defrost and ruin my frozen fish and other delicate items.

Many may see that as a lucky coincidence, but to me it shows clearly that I have a loving Father who’s involved in the smallest details of my life. As Proverbs 16:9 tells us, ‘A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.’ I’m grateful the Lord directed me to do something out of the ordinary and mercifully prevented me from wasting a lot of money and good food 🙂

'Direction' © Sunshine Scrapbook

‘Direction’ © Sunshine Scrapbook

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

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What do you get when you combine quiet hours on a cold Sunday afternoon with an experimental, sweet-toothed housewife and the bare month-end essentials in the cupboards? A recipe for an unusually yummy cake, of course!

Yesterday I ticked off another cake for my Goal #22 of baking five different cakes. Since I had no eggs in the house I used the egg-free, dairy-free custard cake recipe I’ve posted about before, but dressed it up with a number of delicious tweaks.

The idea came to me when I thought about some of the fruits, nuts and spices that I enjoy adding when I make a bowl of custard for dessert. If those ingredients taste great with custard dessert, why not add them to custard cake?

To the dry ingredients I added 1 teaspoon mixed spice. To the wet ingredients I added 1 small mashed banana. Then when the mix was combined, I folded in 1/4 C cashews (chipped and toasted) and 1/4 C currants. Those amounts were arbitrary, based on all I had left of the ingredients. But they turned out to be just right 🙂

Cashews and currants about to be stirred into the mix

Cashews and currants about to be stirred into the mix

The recipe made enough for one small square pan.

Cake mix in the pan

Cake mix in the pan

The first time I tried the custard cake recipe I sprinkled white sugar to make a crispy crust. This time I went half-half with white sugar and brown treacle sugar.

White sugar and treacle sugar toppings

White sugar and treacle sugar toppings

The cake looked and smelled great when it came out of the oven. I didn’t wait long to taste it!

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

The results were even better than expected: a moist, slightly dense cake with a pleasant dash of fruitiness. I was also excited to discover that the treacle sugar had added a surprise element… it had melted and trickled down into the cake, so that some slices contained a warm and sticky molasses centre. Nom nom nom nom! :mrgreen:

Treacle sugar surprise

Treacle sugar surprise

Well, I knew I loved it, but would it pass the hubby taste test? At first Ninja looked dubious about the currants (he loathes cooked fruit), but soon he was asking for a large second slice 😀 Success!

Proof that eggless cakes can be awesome too

Proof that eggless cakes can be awesome too

Paired with a steaming cup of rooibos tea on a chilly autumn night, this cake made a splendid after-dinner treat.

We all know it’s risky to experiment with baking… many recipes will flop if you mess around with their ingredients too much. But never let that stop you from adding new flavours to your old favourites – you’d be amazed at what a couple of arb additions can do 🙂

A pickle pictorial

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This will just be a quick post because it’s been a busy weekend and I have tons of tasks to catch up on.

When I first made my own pickled beetroot, I didn’t properly record the process. So here are some pics from last night, when I made a new batch of beets:

Cooked and peeled beets looking shiny

Of course, I had fun peeling them and got bright pink fingers again :mrgreen:

Beetroot skins are easily rubbed off once the beets are cooked

Beetroot skins are easily rubbed off once the beets are cooked

One plate of whole beets turned into two plates of sliced beets…

From 3 small punnets of baby beetroot I got plenty to pickle!

From 3 small punnets of baby beetroot I got plenty to pickle!

As mentioned previously, the last batch was a bit too vinegary for my liking. This time I doubled the whole recipe but substituted lemon juice for half the vinegar. Will see if that tones down the tang.

Spices in the pickling sauce

Mmmm, spices add such pizzazz to cooking 🙂

Straining the sauce

Straining the sauce

I bought myself two of these Consol jars with clever blackboard-paint labels. It’s easy to chalk up your notes and wash them off for the next time. Also great if you’re using the jars as gifts…

Proudly pickled by Zest!

Proudly pickled by Zest!

PS – I reserved some of the water used for cooking the beets and added a little sugar and a dash of lemon juice to it. Once it had cooled, I drank half a glass of that mixed with half a glass of red grape juice. It tastes unusual but not unpleasant… and I’m hoping that that way I’ve salvaged some of the nutrients, which often get lost in the cooking water 😎

Twilight saga and strange veggies

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This week I’ve crossed off two more goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list 🙂

I completed Goal #24 by reading all of the Twilight books, loaned to me by my MIL:

Goal #24: done!

Goal #24: done!

This was one of those fun, random goals on my list. After reading each book I watched the corresponding movie, which complemented the books well. Of course, I now have that beautiful song of Christina Perri’s stuck in my head too.

I’m not exactly a Twihard, and I’ve discovered it a few years late, but on the whole I’ve enjoyed this series. It’s not that the writing is the best I’ve ever read (it’s definitely not). And there were a few things I didn’t agree with, such as Bella’s lack of concern for her soul (being a Christian, that just jars for me), the suggestion that good works should get a person to heaven, and the silly undercurrent of feminism in some places. But I was impressed at how ‘clean’ the series was, considering prevailing modern morals and all. There are also some universal truths about guys, girls and relationships that are cleverly explored in the Twilight saga.

In a way it’s almost like the girly version of some of the Marvel comic superheroes that Ninja and my guy friends are always going on about. It’s also refreshing to have a heroine like Bella Swan who’s not perfect; I’m sure part of the series’ popularity stems from the fact that so many fans can identify with her. I don’t know if I’d consider myself a fan per se; I’ve got the movies on my shelf and now I’ve read the books, but that’s about it. It didn’t consume me in a teenage daydream the way Jack and Rose from Titanic did back when I was a teen… hehehe. But I suppose if there have to be Twilight teams, if I’m not hopelessly too old for teams, I’d probably be Team Jacob. What can I say – I’ve always had a thing for wolves 😉

Anyway, I’ve also completed Goal #46 by cooking the last two of my 5 new veggies I’d never cooked before. I’ve posted previously about the Swiss chard, patty pans and purple carrots I’ve tried. Last week I also cooked brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) for the first time, and the other night I steamed some pak choi.

Goal #46: Brinjals

Goal #46: Brinjals

I’ll post separately about the delicious moussaka I made with the brinjals. Here’s a pic of the pak choi… I must say, neither Ninja nor I enjoyed it much. The white parts at the bottom were quite sweet, but the rest was bitter. Maybe steaming just wasn’t the best way to cook it?

Goal #46: Pak choi

Goal #46: Pak choi

It’s been fun to stretch my tastebuds and culinary skills with this simple little goal. I suppose it’s similar to Goal #42 (Eat 5 things I’ve never tried before), but what I had in mind for that goal wasn’t necessarily veggies, or me cooking them myself. I’ll be on the lookout for other interesting things to try out for that goal.

Speaking of food and stuff, wowwee… this ‘month of vegetarianism’ has not been easy. Even though I don’t eat much red meat in general, cutting out chicken and meaty snacks such as dried or cold meats has been tough. In fact, yesterday I caved in to the best dried beef sausage ever… and blew my vegetarian month in three mouthfuls. Sigh. But hey, though I haven’t managed to stick to it this month, it’s not the end of the world: my deadline for my 101 things is only in 2015. Better luck another month 😛