Reasons #83-#85 Why I Love My Husband

Ryan came home yesterday from his weekend trip to Darwin.  I’m thankful he had this opportunity and I’m thankful for the future possibilities that were explored.  But mostly I’m thankful to have him home.  It’s him being away that has inspired this edition of Why I Love My Husband (Click here to check out Reason #82).

#83- I miss him when he’s gone.  I know I love him because of how much I miss him.  I miss him because of who he is but also because of what we have together.  As often as we fight or misunderstand each other, we laugh and encourage each other more.  When he’s gone, I miss all the little moments that happen throughout the day that make our life together special and unique to us.Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.58.16 AM.png#84- I love him because he brings me breakfast in bed.  As I type this I have an empty bowl next to me.  I don’t remember how it started and it isn’t every morning but many mornings, Ryan brings me my usual.  Greek yogurt, two Weetbix and a drizzle of local honey.  It’s a nice way to start my day.

#85- His kisses.  When Ryan is gone, we talk on the phone before bed.  We catch up, swap stories and relax a bit before saying goodnight.  Over the phone you can tell someone you love them and they can hear that in your voice.  However, the phone is not a good conduit for sending kisses.  I love my husband’s kisses and I love being kissed each day we are together.  It takes him being away to remind me how special those kisses really are.


Date Night in Perth

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.25.11 PMLast Thursday Ryan and I splurged a little to enjoy a fancy meal (thanks to Groupon) and a show.  We dressed up and headed out on the town.  We don’t have a full length mirror up in our place but we do have a short ride down the elevator in our building with mirrored walls:-)  I love that I can wear tall heals and I still look short next to Ryan.Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.32.56 PMRyan has never attended Cirque du Soleil before so when we heard it was in town, we jumped at the chance to see Kooza.  We see the tents that are set up every time we drive to or from Brookton so it feels like the circus really did come to town.  This was a fun show with lots of showmanship along with crazy acrobatic stunts.  I’d encourage you to watch the video on their website.  It will give you a little taste of what we saw.Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.26.34 PMThanks to an online promo code and Ryan’s searching, we had great seats.  This is a picture I took during the pre-show before they turned down the lights.  We were close enough to the stage to see expressions but far enough away to not be caught in the crazy antics.  During the show a few people were brought up on stage to be a part of the performance and I was just fine being an audience member only.

I’m thankful for the ability to enjoy an extra special date night every once in awhile.  Time for Ryan and I to just be together and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s also nice to see something fun and different, taking advantage of the wonderful things Perth has to offer.

Cooking with Vegemite

If you don’t know what Vegemite is, you’re missing out.  Yes, it is a yeast paste.  Yes, that probably does not sound appetizing to most Americans.  And yes, I do personally like it.  I’m personally a big fan of Vegemite on toast with avocado.  Ryan does not eat it on toast or in any other form as a spread but he does enjoy it as a strategic ingredient in recipes.  Vegemite works in these recipes because it’s very salty, so as a salt replacer and flavor builder it’s delicious.  Up until now, this recipe list only included meat pies; a meaty filling of ground beef and other ingredients (including Vegemite!) to form a thick sauce wrapped in flaky pastry crust and baked to perfection.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 3.46.06 PM.pngBut now this list includes stir fry where the Vegemite takes the place of soy sauce in the marinade.  We were hesitant at first because of the strong flavor but this broccoli and chicken stir fry was rather enjoyable.  We definitely like sweet chili sauce so the combination with Vegemite, garlic and lime worked nicely.  The sauce marinated the chicken and then we tossed in the broccoli and steamed everything together.  And the rice noodles got their own dip in lime and sweet chili sauce because they can be pretty plain.  Not bad for a quick weeknight meal.  What other Vegemite recipes will we discover?

Our Daily Bread

Bread is a staple food.  Despite food allergies and diet plans, bread remains on the table in many homes.  In our home we love bread and I’m thankful that I can buy nice bread here but a fresh homemade loaf is extra special.Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 8.57.53 AMI recently tried a recipe for No Knead Bread because the only thing better than homemade bread, is easy to make homemade bread.  This is now my go to recipe for us and for group events.  The autumn weather here lends itself to a hearty soup and a hearty soup pairs perfectly with crusty bread.  Our Friday night Bible study concurred when I brought that pairing this past Friday.  Everyone loved the bread to go along with their chicken potato soup and both loaves were happily consumed.

If you’re a bread lover, this is an easy recipe for your baking arsenal.  The only two specialty things you need are an oven that gets really hot and a covered dish that is oven safe (I use pyrex but a dutch oven or even a pizza stone and a metal bowl would do the trick).  This is the video I first used to learn this No Knead Bread.  It’s helpful if you’re visual but here’s the recipe I use now:

3 cups flour (Regular all purpose flour.  No need to use bread flour and I’m going to experiment at some point with some wheat flour but that might need a different water ratio.)
1/4 tsp yeast (Active dry yeast.  I like to buy mine not in pouches anyway and I store it in the freezer so it last longer.  No problems so far.)
1 1/4 tsp salt (Just regular table salt but I’m sure fancy salt would work too.)
1 1/2 cups water (Plain tap water, not hot or cold, just water.  Some recipes call for 1 5/8 cups water and as far as I can tell it doesn’t make a huge difference and 1 1/2 is easier to measure but I have to do more testing.)

Lightly mix the flour, salt and yeast.  Add in the water and mix until just combined.  Let sit 12-24 hours in the same bowl covered with a towel (I usually have it sit for around 18 and this is perfect for throwing together before bed the night before and baking just before dinner time.)

Preheat oven to hot 450ishF or 200-250C.  Be sure to put your oven safe dish in the oven to preheat so the dish gets hot too.  Punch down and flatten the dough.  Fold the dough over on itself a couple times and place seam side down on a floured towel.  I like to let it sit for another 1/2 hour or so before baking but you don’t have to.  Put the dough in the hot dish (seam side up) and cover.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake 15 more minutes.

As it cools the crust will get even crustier.  Enjoy!

Getting to Know Perth: Restaurants

Australia is expensive so you could go broke eating out all the time.  But there are so many fun and delicious places to explore.  When friends come in to town, it’s a good excuse to try different restaurants in a new (to us) part of the city.  And especially for Ryan, it doesn’t hurt when Tuesdays are half price pizza days:-)Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 8.47.07 PM.pngShafto Lane is a neat little alley-way with lots of restaurants in downtown Perth.  We stumbled across it on a walk one evening.  And besides pizza, Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub has a fun menu including some yummy Irish dishes like Bacon with Cabbage (bacon in Australia is more like ham), Bangers (sausages), and the Beef and Guinness Pie (which I’ll have to try next time!).  The atmosphere and good food made for a lovely evening.  Eating through Perth is a really enjoyable way to get to know the city!

The Aftermath of Visitors

Ryan and I have always enjoyed hosting people in our home.  We have many happy memories of friends in our first home in Camarillo enjoying a small quiet meal or a large group packed into our place, filling every corner.  We’re slowly getting back to hosting again in our new place here in Perth.  Today we enjoyed a lovely after-church meal.  American style taco salad was a hit and super easy to prepare ahead of time.  At the last minute I added ranch dressing to the table (ranch isn’t a common things here in Australia) and one of the boys couldn’t get enough.  Children getting multiple helpings is a big compliment!Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 4.37.11 PMThe aftermath doesn’t even look too messy despite the fact that we used almost every bowl we own for all the salad fixings plus had tea, ice-cream and cookies for dessert.  This is one of those times that we will actually use the dishwasher.  We also normally have our kitchen table pushed up against the wall for just the two of us but we have enough space to pull it out and sat 7 people comfortably.  And I was close enough to the refrigerator that I could easily grab the lettuce and replenish when we were out, I didn’t even have to stand up!  Our space may be small but it works.

Today, a sink full of dirty dishes is a sweet reminder of friends, new and old.  We’re thankful to be able to host people and look forward to many more memories of meals and conversations in our home.

Home Cooking in Australia

There is not much that my husband enjoys eating more than pizza.  But I can only eat the same pizza so many times.  Additionally, moving to Australia we’ve had to relearn how to make things with some different ingredients.  This is no where near as steep a learning curve as cooking in Papua New Guinea was but some typical ingredients just aren’t typical here.  Like no buffalo sauce or certain Mexican ingredients are more challenging to come by.  Or something might be called, for example, pepperoni but it’s quite not the same taste.

With this in mind I experiment and cook.  Sometimes not so successfully.  My homemade hot sauce and buffalo sauce were way too HOT (and we like spicy) so I’ll let you know when I figure out a good recipe.  But tonight was a pizza success.  Homemade sauce, good pepperoni (this stuff was nice and thin) and mozzarella cheese on homemade whole wheat crust.  Ryan called these pizza cinnamon roles and I’ll take the compliment.