Thursday, December 24, 2009

A low Alcohol Christmas.

This year, I have to stay sober for Christmas. I'm the on call technician, so I be sober and clear headed to have the wits about me to "turn if off then on again".

My favourite low alcohol beer is Clausthaler. You can get 4 packs at Foodtown and Countdown for around $7. there are 0.5% alcohol each.

I can drink ten of these before reaching the equivalent of one standard beer. You may be thinking, yeah but whats the point if you can't drink alcohol, why bother with the poor cousin low/no alcohol? I actually like the taste of beer! I would quite happily have one of these for lunch, if it didn't look so dodgy in a hospital cafeteria. I know a lot of people would stick to orange juice and coke, but do like the flavour of alcoholic beverages and not just the getting drunk part.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cooking POWER!

I bought myself a christmas present today. A heavy stainless steel fry pan. I keep killing those teflon ones. I do have a great cast iron pan, but there are a little bit of a hassle to clean and season each time (but absolutely the best thing to cook with)

I watched this video over at Houseboat Eats about the water test in a stainless steel pan to determine correct cooking temperature and why an under heated pan will "grab" at your meat. I was convinced to test my mettle with this pan.

Lucky for me Briscoes had a 60% off stainless steel cookware sale today. Destined to buy this pan I was!

Monday, December 07, 2009


I got an A- in my exam, I am stoked, i only had a B+ heading in, so I really nailed that sucker. heh heh.
Such an adult student now.

Been wandering around the neighbourhood, I stole 3 miniature rose blooms and stuck them in my hair. Bought a coke, sauntered up the hill in the setting sunlight.

Been reading lately, using the library online request system is the bomb. I browse for what i want, request a hold and a couple of days later I get an email saying everything is ready for pickup. Its brilliant. But does some what lessen the library browsing experience. (Or how I choose books to reading based on the pretty covers)
What its really good for is when you see a book on the internet or a friend tells you about it you can immediately hop online and request the book, ...before you forget. Which I inevitably do.

So I've read some classic science fiction. Heinlein and Clark, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and Childhoods end. That stuff just blows my mind. I know a lot of adults that don't read science fiction just because its "science fiction" I don't know how it got such a stigma attached to it. These are  old, not even the books of my youth, but books I read in my youth. And even at thirty, they are still fresh exciting books to read. The best thing is that the library is full of them, or you can buy them new for almost nothing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You know what I did today?

Got up, ate avocado on toast for breakfast and a cup of tea.

Checked my shares. No change. I still suck at investing. (Except for the stock Dylan told me about. It was up)

Worked, had the $5 Chinese lunch from across the road because someone said it was good yesterday. I was average. Worked some more, slacked off in the afternoon. Cleaned my slide drainer. It was quiet.

Drove home. Opened my parcel from 3 deals. Oh boy 2 new work shirts. I put one on, mmm new fabric smell. Opened other mail.

Opened a beer.
Internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet internet
Put empty beer bottle in recycling bin.

Vacuumed the top floor. Vacuumed the curtains. Filed some papers. Sorted out lights from darks for the washing. Ate some nuts. Wished there was more beer.

Remembered I wanted to go to the library today (dang)

Read some recent papers about fatty acids. Reading computer moniters still sucks when will the future be here!

Read a real life book.
Emptied the dishwasher.
Prepared dinner. Cauliflower/garlic concoction, asparagus and fried meat (my favourite)
Kissed my husband as he walked in the door.
Ate dinner. It was yum.
Accepted an invitation to an outing with my Father.
Poured a whiskey.
Considered my study options for next year

Posted this on my blog

Sunday, November 08, 2009

damn older husband

God damn husband, being older than me.

He'll be retired while I'll still be slaving away, 8 hours a day working for the MAN. Although technically working for the government is a pretty good gig in this country, work is work, is working for others gain and a minimal wage.

So I've got to get a plan, somehow I need to retire at the same time as my husband, then I can dedicate my time to pottering around in my garden, tasting beers of the world and writing that erotic science fiction novel I've had floating around in head for the last week. You know, the things we all dream of.

Now, I'm not really the start a business, entrepreneurial type. I have very little of that tough edge or drive that successful people seem to have in droves. I'm mostly lazy and would just like to win the money. Paying the bad at math tax hasn't worked out so far so I am forced to actually try and save and invest. OH THE HUMANITY.

I bought some shares, my tycoon brother gave me a stock tip, I checked out the company and it looked pretty good. The CEO bought a huge parcel of shares so he's obviously confident in what they're doing. But I had minimal cash to invest. Most my spare monies goes on the mortgage, but I invested what I had. Banks don't really want to lend you money to buy shares these days, its definitely a cash buy only. Sure you can get margin lending, but I don't know if they would set that up for a small time investor like me. Also as my brother tactfully worded it "the NZX moves slowly" that's putting it mildly. Its pretty unexciting, especially when you're only investing tiny tiny amounts like me.

Most average joes when they want to invest go with property, I would say thats because its the only assets class that banks will lend you a shit load of money for. So that is my next plan, to buy a god damn rental. I don't want to be a landlord, I really can't imagine anything worse (I'll fork out for a hard arse property manager). It does seem to be the only way to get any kind of decent capital gain in this country. Its going to be a god damn nightmare. I can't afford Auckland so I'm going for Waikato, maybe Whangarei at the right price. I'm going to try buy by the end of 2010. I'm scared, bank managers, lawyers, accountants, ARGH, I had a bad enough experience buying our own home. Our broker was a dick and so was our lawyer. Nuts. 100% using our own home as security? Seems risky to me, but trying to save a second deposit while we pay off our bastard mortgage will probably take 4 years. Too long really. A pity we've already committed to the last family holiday before the kids grow up because that holiday savings account is just asking to be invested in something.

Anyway retirement at 45 seems like a fantasy, but if I can at least work it so I can work part time, I'll be happy with that.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

If you are old like me, don't go to Moonsoon Poon

I'm a grumpy old woman now.

Officially. I never thought 29 would be the end point, but what can I say, I'm over it.
I'm over loud obnoxious music being piped into the restaurant.
I really don't enjoy shouting at my friends for 2 hours or crappy service.

Monsoon Poon is a restaurant that thinks its a nightclub, with their policy of sending everyone to the bar to spend money on drinks first and pumping out the music so loud that you can't talk and all there is to do while you wait for your table is drink drink drink. Very devious.
I won't be going back, but some demographic obviously enjoys the place because it was completely packed.

I'm just over the loudness.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to like beer

Some 21 year old guy was asking advice on reddit on how to like beer. 21 is pretty late to learn how to enjoy beer but I'm sure it can be done. In order to give the guy some decent advice I reflected on why I enjoy beer so much.

I think alcohol enjoyment is a learned cultural phenomenon. While in the past unsafe water supply was mitigated with the production of alcohols ,today we enjoy clean safe water. So the drinking of alcohol is now a custom passed down through the generations.

While I was growing up all adults in my family drank. I separated it into two kinds, stupid alcohol that caused noisy parties and slurring adults and the there was normal alcohol, the beers after hard work, the homemade wine at Granny and Popsies place and shandies.

Shandies were the best thing ever, half lemoade and half beer. The sweetness of the lemonade with the bitter homebrew beer in a perfect ratio. This was the drink served at 5pm just before dinner. Popsie would decant a bottle of home brew in a jug and make a lemonade soda stream. Us kids would all get one and it was the perfect summer drink. We rarely got shandies at home so its was all the more special. Some nights, probably winter, we would get a small glass of home made wine. It was always in a fancy etched glass and the wine was plum or feijoa. If we were good we could have a little extra at dinner. Alcohol was associated with happy family dinners. So to enjoy beer it helps to have ritualised happy memories associated with it and to start off by mixing it with lemonade.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Intersting things all around

I was buying a tomato plant at Kings Plant Barn in Porana road when my husband had a hankering for coffee, thanks to the trend of installing cafes in garden centers I was able to oblige and whilst waiting I admired the mosaic of the queens jewels.
I bought cucumber and tomato seedlings so I hope the cold weather is finally at an end.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Iodised salt! I tell no lies!

Stolen from the Herald! Visit the above link for original article.

Bakers start producing bread with iodised salt this weekend.
By law they must now use the ingredient to introduce iodine to New Zealanders' diets and help to overcome the risk of iodine deficiency.
Only organic and unleavened bread will be excluded from the requirement to use iodised salt.
Bread baked with iodised salt will not taste any different.
Iodine is an essential nutrient for good health and iodine deficiency is a global health concern and a re-emerging health problem in New Zealand.
The World Health Organisation says iodine deficiency causes brain damage, mental impairment and thyroid diseases including goitre, a large swelling on the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland.
Despite increased access to iodised salt around the world over the past decade, WHO says that in 54 countries the intake of iodine is still too low.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) developed a mandatory iodine fortification standard to help deal with iodine deficiency.


Monday, September 21, 2009

MOAR SALT! There's nothing wrong with iodised salt.

One hypothesis on how early man got the jump on the neanderthals is seafood. Early man took advantage of the sea's bounty, eating shellfish seaweed and fish. The extra omega 3 is thought to have fueled brain development giving them an edge over their large mammal eating cousins.

But maybe its not just the omega 3 that increased the brain power, Iodine may have played a role as well. Iodine deficient populations are associated with increased incidence of goitre, but iodine deficiency is also associated with many different types of mental retardation. in the last century isolated mountain populations with low iodine soils suffered from very high rates of retardation.

Some scientists think that iodine during pregnancy can increase the IQ of the child, reduced iodine intake before 2 years of age is theorised to cause reduced IQ. Iodine deficiency is thought to cause ADD and extreme iodine deficiency is known to cause retardation.

The myth that salt causes all high blood pressure (reducing salt intake can reduce your blood pressure in about 1/3 of people with hypertension, but salts not what caused it. Some individuals have the misfortune to be salt sensitive but this is not the majority of people suffering from hypertension) had led many people to eliminate as much salt as possible from their diet, at the some time this has reduced many peoples iodine intake. New evidence is coming to light that iodine deficiency is correlated with breast cancer, gastric cancer and maybe even chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.

Great sources of iodine include seaweed, seafood and iodised salt. Seaweed is tastier than you think and remember that you need to try a food at least ten times before you decide if you like it! (I read that somewhere
really reputable ;-) for reals!)

So not only does iodised salt make you smart and prevent cancer :-) its damn tasty too!
Eat iodised salt, don't feel bad about it, enjoy it knowing you are getting some damn iodine! If you are not salt sensitive there is little reason to dramatically cut back intake. (All things in moderation off course there no need to start an all brine diet.)

Some references I remembered to bookmark:
Isotopic evidence for the diets of European Neanderthals and early modern humans.
Seafood gave us the edge on the Neanderthals
Iodine Alters Gene Expression in the MCF7 Breast Cancer Cell Line: Evidence for an Anti-Estrogen Effect of Iodine
Essential Hypertension

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health Insurance a mugs game?

I'm nearly 30 and I pay $17.83 a fortnight for Health Insurance. $463 a year for Hospital and Specialist care.
Sure I can get treatment for free at any public hospital, but there are waiting times to consider.
And if I have to go to hospital, I'd like a private room and not have to listen to the person next to me crying out in agony all night in a vain attempt to be given some morphine.

So is it a good investment? If I saved that much for 20 years (conservatively) I'd have about $14,000. What are the chances of me requiring $14,000 worth of private health care in the next 20 years? That's what I'm gambling on. That what the health insurance company (Southern Cross) are gambling on too.

Southern cross is "not for profit" I guess that means every dollar they take in they pay out again. (Minus admin and CEO salaries). So excellent chances of claims being approved. But in a way my premiums pay for older people, then when I'm older, all the youngin's can subsidise me! Its the ultimate pyramid scheme, we just have to keep recruiting people to sign up for health insurance.

I keep looking at it, wondering if this is something worth continuing with, that $17.83 could be going on my mortgage. Murphy's law says as soon as I cancel my insurance I'll need it, so for now FEAR will keep me contributing to the insurance game.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stop Facebook Using Your Picture in Adds

This popped up on MY facebook page one day, I was not impressed. Okay well actually I laughed, then posted the image on zeds facebook page telling him he was in big trouble. Some of his facebook friends thought I was serious (they haven't met me).

Facebook has the option to allow/disallow use of your picture in adverts. For the sake of your loved ones please disallow use of your picture in adverts.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shiny Pretty Things

So pretty, so shiny, so luminescent! We need more shiny to brighten up the winter days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back to school for me

Ah the joys of extramural study....... oh hang on, there are none. I miss lectures! I don't miss undergrad labs though, they always seemed so pointless.

Okay I lie, one benefit of extramural study is being able to lie in bed on a cold night doing your required readings on your laptop because you managed to find a "copy" of your text book and journals online. Joys. Or emailing the course coordinator and getting the standard "oh god, another annoying extramural student" type reply.
I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one in the whole world enrolled in my course though. Its very isolating.
Nina pops round for studying sometimes. Her handouts are all about how much immigrants hate it here. (I may be paraphrasing unjustly.) I wish I had someone who could get me excited about enzyme kinetics though. Every time I start reading that chapter....ZZZZZzzzzzza soporific.

However I am well into my second assignment (first one already emailed in! wot a nerd bro!)

The only thing weighing on my mind is the bill, they haven't sent it yet, first they suck you in with course materials, readings and assignments..just to get you HOOKED. Then comes the bill. its just like drugs....exactly like drugs.

So my delightful friends...have I told you how much I love you lately? I really do! If you felt like helping me pay off my University Bill, and I know you do because you are all about joy and love, you can click on any of these links. meh, well only if you can be bothered. Otherwise sympathy will do nicely :-) Oh debts! how i love thee. Anyway on with the squeeze!

Thinking of buying a book? (of course you are you smart thing you!) Buy it from Fishpond! They will give me a 10% commission!

Want to get cash rewards for shopping online and doing surveys (its legit bro,I got $120 last year) and help me at the same time? I'll get $2 for every active member that signs up.

Why not get a Rabo account? Its an online bank account with high interest and no fees, ever. You can split your master savings account into multiple accounts each with its own name and savings goal for free! If you play their little cash stealing game you'll get up to $50 free just for opening an account. Thats right..the bank pays YOU to open the account/I use a rabo account for savings and its very good for serious savings goals ( I know you have serious goals! But even frivolous goals will do!) Its the safest Bank in New Zealand Play the Rabo Bank Game and earn $50. Every person that opens a bank account earns me $10.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

OMG My computer desk is a Fracking mess

I'm not known for my tidiness, but man look at my desk! Its just a general dumping ground for bills and other crap I don't know what to do with. I just cleaned all my junk out of the car, I suppose I should do my desk as well. It does NOT strike me as a fun Monday night activity. Drinking beers and then falling asleep reading my book in bed sounds much better.


Ah sweet clean desk, now to reward myself with a cup of tea and some 85% dark lindt chocolate. Less than 2g of sugar per square and lots of cocoa goodness.
I'm trying to cut back on sugar, but one must not cut back on life.
Chocolate must still be eaten.
If only for all those antioxidants. Flavonoid powers! Well flavonoids are pretty powerless on their own but as flavonoids are excreted by the body they increase uric acid levels, a powerful antioxidant (which can also cause gout in some people, too much of a good thing, can be a very bad thing). Dark chocolate also contains cocoa phenols which can reduce blood pressure. Eat 70% or greater.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

How I get Free Money for Shopping Online in NZ

Its like flybuys for the internet. Shop at certain online stores, get points. Its a simple loyalty reward system.

With Smile City you trade those points for cash or goods. I get about $120 a year without going out of my way to buy anything extra.

Some online stores that you earn points through are
Pharmacy Direct, Fishpond books, Liquor King, Foodtown, Duty free stores, Airport parking, City flowers, Mighty Ape (computer games and Dvds), The Apple store (mmm iphone drool!).

You can also earn points by doing surveys and visiting the Smile City website. These are optional but really build up your points quickly.

Be rewarded! Join SmileCity today!

I hate getting up early for work.

But some days, I am rewarded with beautiful sunrises across the hospital car park. Of course co workers give OMG crazy lady alert glances when I stop to take such pictures at 7am.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Heroin Wings - Delicious Internet Chicken!

I'm a big fan of trying recipes I found on the Internet. I'm a daredevil like that.

Tonight I'm trying heroin wings.

4 lb chicken wings (I'm using chicken nibbles)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp dried parsley (I'm not using this, blech!)
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

(I'm adding garlic powder baby!)

Roll your chicken bits in melted butter then roll in the combined cheese and spices. Bake at 180C for an hour or less depending on the sizes of your chicken pieces. My little nibbles are quite small so maybe only 45mins for those. Anyway use your common sense.

Here's what mine look like before I baked them. As you can see they are all unevenly coated. I'm not sure if it was because I was drinking or I'm just uncoordinated either way I'm sure no one will be complaining when they're cooked!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Auckland City Farmers Markets - Which One is Worth Getting Out of Bed For?

I had a whole morning to myself as husband was on a song writing course and stepson didn't finish rock climbing until 12, so I thought I might get up early and check out the Farmers Markets in town.

But who can drag themselves out of bed early on a cold winter morning? No one, thats who. Except those freaks who like jogging in a chill factor of minus one. Really you guys? You like that stuff? My lips get chapped just thinking about going outside.

Anyway so I dragged myself out of bed eventually (fark my house is cold!) and headed to britomart. Urgh Inner city Auckland. Surprisingly got a park right outside the market ($2 an hour) and wandered over, first impressions...

Its small! Where are all the people? Poor souls trying bravely to bring spirit and atmosphere to the britomart car park on a clear cold winters morning. Still everyone was friendly enough.
I bought Macadamia nuts, only to find they were Californian...WTF!! I thought farmers markets were supposed to be about local produce. Tricky Bastards. But then I bought some coastal honey from Barrier island. Yum and toxin free! Then I saw the muffin stand, I was sans breakfast and they looked so perfect! Made by The Godmother bakery and only $2 each. I chose passion fruit and it was glorious people! Absolutely glorious! Best cupcake I've had in ages. Perfect for the next morning tea shout at work I think, must make a note of it for my boss........

Then I was all about the free range eggs, a must have for todays conscientious consumer. By then I had walked around the tiny market what felt like a dozen times and I still had an hour to kill. So I drove the short distance to the Parnell farmers market at La cigale.
Now this was more like it! Traffic chaos, a good sign, I turned around and parked further down the street and wandered up. Already I could smell aromas of garlic and baking bread. Now this was worth getting out of bed for. More stalls and more chaos. People were speaking french all over the place and the salmon man was actually hawking his wares. Game meats, sausages, petite fours, nuts, cheeses, breads, fresh fruit and veges, fish, spices and heaps of other stuff. Inside I grabbed some kind of almond french pastry thing , it was still warm, perfection. As I nibbled my pastry aimlessly wandering the market I was tempted into buying some smoked Gouda and not long after some Cajun garlic chicken sausages, no filler all meat, sooooo goood! Just then I spotted Peta Mathias, shocking red boots and a shock of red hair, buying a hot ham roll. This must be the better market for foodies then. Before I knew it I had to leave and go pick stepson up, I could have stayed for a coffee and maybe more french pastry delights but alas, responsibilities call.

Its definitely worth a repeat visit, even just for a pastry. I'll be going to one of the Weds/Thurs night dinners at La Cigale, they serve slow cooked meats (good ol' comfort food for winter) and fabulous desserts all for very little money. $20 main, $8 dessert and complimentary fresh roast almonds with pre-dinner drinks. Sounds Divine.... any takers?

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Book Changed my Life - "Good Calories Bad calories" by Gary Taubes

A calorie, is a calorie. All that matters is how many you eat.

Or so I thought.

This book examines the deeper metabolic interactions of our food. Did you know insulin can affect your blood pressure? So eating that doughnut can raise your blood pressure! Or that low cholesterol is linked to higher incidences of strokes, so by taking all those cholesterol lowering drugs you could be at greater risk from stroke. It actually makes a huge difference to your body what type of foods you eat and where you get your calories from.

I think the main aim of this book was to sort out "fads" from "facts" about food. Gary Taubes has been interested in this avenue of science for a long time and he first caught my interest when I stumbled upon his article from the New york times "What if its All Been a Big Fat Lie". In his book Taubes shows how scientific method was pushed aside so the conventional dogma could remain unchallenged for decades. Everything is backed up with scientific papers and there is over 100 pages of footnotes. This is a well researched book that anyone who cares about their diet should read.

One of the more shocking stories in this book is how low fat, low calorie diets came to be promoted to diabetics. This type of diet has actually been shown to increase the need for blood sugar controlling drugs and metabolically is not ideal for anyone with a blood sugar problem.

Also worth noting was how little doctors actually know about nutrition. Even more shocking is how little nutritionists know about nutrition, because neither of these groups have been talking to the biochemists, the scientists actually studying metabolism. Sciences have become so specialised that information sharing is almost nonexistent between some groups.

This book is a culmination of over 5 years of research with a lot of direct conversations with the researchers and not just reading their papers. The author is not out to sell a diet, a weight loss system or any products aside from the book and I believe this a a genuine attempt to promote facts about food and health.

This book has completely change the way I look at food and it was a timely reminder to read those science articles in newspapers carefully, to go to the source rather than reading some journalist interpretation. The first thing I wanted to do after reading this book was to run out and buy a copy for every person I care about. But that would have made me look like some sort of evangelical nut! But I do become quite passionate about scientific information and getting the truth out. I feel even the local health organisations are sending out often misguided information on nutrition, health and weight loss.

I completely recommend reading this book, you will be amazed, you will find yourself shaking your head in amazement as some of the bad science that has been presented as hard truths.

If you are wanting to get to the truth about food with some real science then this is a great place to start.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Whats the big Deal about omega 3 anyway?

What the frack is an Omega 3 anyway?
Okay we are going to have to go into a little chemistry here (and not the sexy kind unless you're a biochemists who specialises in lipids, and if you are, well I'm already married so that ship has sailed my friend!)
Omega 3 refers to a whole family of fatty acids, not just a single compound. An omega 3 fatty acid has a double carbon bond c=c in the third (n-3) postion. These fatty acids vary in length and can have a chain of carbons from 16 to 24 long. They are essential fatty acids, meaning the body can't produce them, you have to eat them!

So they are a bunch of fatty acids, big whoop, who cares?
Mostly your brain and your heart care! There are several studies showing that Omega 3 fatty acids can prevent depresion, improve memory, reduce risk for alzhiemers, reduce cardiac risk, lower your triglycerides, are fuel for your heart, are good for your joints and are improves immune function.

Okay so they are good for you but why Omega 3 why not Omega 6?
Good question, both are essential, but our modern (western) diet is pitifully low in Omega 3, so we end up with an excess of omega 6 metabolites (all kinds of hormones) in the body which can alter metabolic function. Omega 6 metabolites have a more inflammatory effecton the body than Omega 3 metabolites. Inflammation = Bad, diseases like atherosclerosis and ischaemic heart disease are thought to be caused by non-immune derived inflammation.

Where can I get these Omega 3 fatty acids?
There are three main Omega threes we need to get from our diet

GOOD! ALA = α-Linolenic acid

BETTER!! EPA = Eicosapentaenoic acid

YEEEHAA!!! DHA = Docosahexaenoic acid

Our bodies can convert ALA to ----> EPA and EPA to -----> DHA but only in small amounts so its better to get EPA and DHA from our diets. A great source of EPA and DHA is oily fish.
Flax seeds are very high in ALA, and walnuts to a lesser extent.
Aside from fish and flax, you can get omega 3 from grass fed animals. Lamb, beef and even the eggs from free range chickens can have significant amounts of omega three.
Grain fed animals however have high ratios of omega 6 to Omega 3.
If altering your diet seems to hard you can of course just buy fish oil tablets :-) Check the label to make sure it contains plenty of EPA and DHA.

1 Minute Flaxmeal (ground linseed) Muffin - Microwave power!

This tasty flaxseed muffin is so quick to make and is perfect for breakfast of afternoon tea!
I've stared eating linseed aka flax as a better way to get omega 3. I have been taking fish oil tablets, but I occasionally get reflux from them (ew fishy burps!) and apart from bad breath there is a concern about mecury in fish, so I'm trying a plant based alternative. This healthy treat is gluten free and full of fibre.
Anyway heres my favourite way to eat flaxseed.

1/4 Cup ground flaxseed (I use the Healtheries brand which you can buy at most supermarkets now)
1 tsp of butter (be generous! go for an extra half teaspoon)
1/2 tsp of Baking powder
1 teaspoon of splenda (or crush a splenda tablet for no fillers! or real sugar if you don't artifical stuff)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 egg

I combine all the dry ingredients in a coffee cup while the butter is melting.
I whisk the egg into the melted butter and then add to the dry ingredients. MIX WELL! You definitely don't want any dry spots. Microwave on high for 1 minute or slightly longer depending on your microwave.

My muffins just slide right out when up ended onto a plate, I then cut in half and eat with cream cheese and a cup of coffee. Delicious!

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Zealand Online Book Stores - (Where to buy books online!)

Books, I love buying them from the Internet, you know what you are getting and there are no fears of wrong colour, size, or poorly made products.

Now that the NZ dollar has fallen back down to reasonable levels, purchases from Amazon are no longer as cost effective and most bargains are lost with the extra postage costs.

So what options are available for Buying Local, who has competitive prices and what are the shipping rates like?

I've picked two books. One is my favourite comfort read and the other is a fairly in depth comparison of scientific research and data on nutrition. Both have affected my life in a significant way. I'll find the cheapest version of each at the websites for very brief idea of prices.

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy)Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

Be sure to check shipping times on the books you select, a lot of these stores work from catalogues and do not have all the books in stock. You could end up waiting for 2-3 weeks if you select a book not currently in stock that has to be shipped internationally.

Most retailers off a variety of ways to pay, credit card, credit card via phone, online banking, cheques and even paypal are available at some retailers.

Another thing to check for before you buy is contact details, does the website have an free call number and an address listed. Trustworthy companies will have no qualms about publishing these details and although most problems can be sorted out with an email or two, it still doesn't beat talking to a real live person.

Fishpond books
I've bought a few books from here, prices seem competitive, lots of specials. I like the emails, I get a few, but every second one seems to be a $10 discount voucher for anything on my wish list. So sign up and get a Wish list!Free shipping for spending over $50 otherwise $5.99. States if UK or USA version. Affiliate Program and credit for writing reviews. Gift wrapping $5.95
Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $38.23
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $18.97

The Nile
Nice slick looking website, free shipping on orders over $50 otherwise $5 per order. Gift wrapping available for $3.95. Wish list.

Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $39.99
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $21.99

Seek Books
Basic but usable site. Gift wrapping $3. Shipping $6.50

Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $56.87
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $22.74

Has some very competitive prices. Free delivery on orders over $40, or $3.95 flat rate. Wish list, affiliate program with good rates, seems to be broken at the moment though. Points scheme, points = $ and can be spent on your next purchase. Price matching. Gift wrapping $2.95. Phone number is 0800 and displayed prominently on the site. Customer service seems to be the focus.
Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $33.85
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $23.46

Good Books
100% of retail profits go to Oxfam so you can feel good about your consumerism! Free delivery. The books are all sourced from a UK distributor so may take a short while to reach New Zealand. The idea of buying something for yourself while giving to charity at the same time is brilliant!
Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $43.42
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $18.17

The Mighty Ape
Previously a gaming and DVD store, now stocks books as well. Wish list. Free shipping on orders over $50. Shipping varies on individual items $4.50 for the Gary Taubes book. Request a better price option. Loyalty "Banana"points scheme earned through writing reviews and making purchases - points can be used to buy limited items. Has a mobile phone version of the site for shopping on the go. Gift wrapping is the most expensive $7, Gift note $3.
The Diet Delusion by Gary Taubes $36.99 (Different title same book)
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $22.99

Whatever - Books are "Not available online, please contact your local store for price and availability" Okay so they claim to be revamping the site, wait and see I guess.

Real Groovy
They almost went bust, but now they're back. Free shipping on orders over $30. Affiliate program. Real groovey "club"Points System 200pts = $20 off next purchase ($5 to join). Wishlist. Packing slip with price excluded available.
Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes $29.99
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb $17.95

Specialist bookstores of note

Techbooks - Technical books
Arts Centre Bookshop New Zealand books

Worth a Mention

The Book Depository - UK site, free international shipping.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New Pac n' Save Open in Wairau

The north shore is a pretty calm place. The most scandalous thing thats been happening here is the "Supermarket Wars." Two rivals battle it out for customers and will go to insane length like court cases and appeals that take 20 years. All over biscuits and cheese. Groceries must be big bucks.

1)staff on minimum wages
2) ?????
3) profit!!!!

I got a free coffee so that was all good, it was a bit of a nightmare getting into the supermarket, they've created a bit of a bottle neck with the fruit and vege area. And usual supermarket nonsense of having to follow the ONE route paste the butchery and the bakery and the fruit and vege and the "value aisle" before you can start wandering off in your own direction to find the shampoo and conditioner.

But I doubt I will ever supermarket shelves so fully stocked, ah it was food shopping glory. Too bad I only wanted shampoo and conditioner. Oh and an impulse buy of deodorant. One can never be too deodorised.

So thats my Sunday morning thrill, I need to get out more.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Easy cooking is easy!

Apparently you can cook whole meals in the rice cooker. I got the idea from a Bento food blog

Add rice and water as usual, then throw the following on top, sliced chicken breast, 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, A big massive pile of mushrooms ( I used brown field and oyster mushrooms).
If you look carefully you can see that I used free range chicken! Yes, chickens that got to go outside before being murdered for my benefit.

Turn rice cooker on, return when rice is cooked and stir the chicken and mushrooms through.

Its delicious, tastes like a mushroom risotto but without all the hard work.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh and I went running..JUST FOR FUN!

This is me after running 5km. I look rather chipper if I do say so myself. We are all hanging round for the prize giving. Run Auckland events are awesome. If you win your race, you get a box of powerade. whopp de doo. But the spot prizes are awesome! The emphasis is on participation, getting auckland off its collective butt.
I ran a rather slow pace. But I finished, next race is in three weeks so I'll see if I can better my time.

Living the High Life.

Of course during periods of crisis on must stay strong. Stiff upper lip and all that. So a Sunday afternoon was spent listening to Jazz at Sale st in the city. Just above glengarry wine shop near Victoria park, this surprisingly large bar has a really nice outdoor area/garden bar kinda thing. Very cool for the inner city.
Of course it was a cold grey Sunday afternoon when we went, but you get the idea.
Delightful Nina and her band were playing. They are called Nina and the Misdeeds. But I think they should be called Nina's Misdeeds or Nina and her Misdeeds. Zed even got up and played tambourine for a bit. Pose for the camera my darlings! A lovely afternoon that could only have been enhanced by better weather or more beer.

This is me thinking my husband is looking awfully suspicious with that camera.


Oh man, I have been disconnected for so long now! Hanging on to the Internets by a small thread, of slow work Internets and Zeds laptop. All thanks to this little bastard. Crummy old motherboard. Oh and crummy old power supply.

So my motherboard was dying and corrupting my hard drive with it. It wasn't going down alone. Thanks to genius husband and apple computers all my data was saved! (though still unacessable to me as its on his work computer, but one day soon I shall have all my files back!)

So I had to go shopping to replace parts galore. mmm 500W power supply! zzzzzzzzap!

Yes yes yes I went with athlon again, I know, I know the intels are better,faster,more productive LA de da. But I was on a budget. Motherboards and chips were cheaper for athlon, and hey, I'm not exactly pushing my PC to the limit with all my "blogging" and civilisation games. So I settled for 2nd tier speeds.
But hey, I got 4gig of ram now (compared to pathetic 1 gig before) and I used to have a crappy 1Ghz chip. Now I got 2.7 with speedy bus and dual core whatsits. I'm FLYING BABY!

Of course now I am brokes, but not as bad as you might think.

I worry about families, who when their computer begins to get a bit slow, run out and buy a WHOLE NEW COMPUTER. Hey WTF! you Don't go and buy a new car when the battery dies and the alternator is fracked. Just replace parts as needed.

I just upgraded my computer to something fast enough to run the enterprise and it only cost me $550.

Oh and then realising my terabyte drive was never coming back form the dead I bought a new one of those too. $229

Details for the geeks:
Chip: 2.7GHz AMD ATHLON X2 7750 Black edition
Motherboard: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2HP
Rams: Super Talent DDR2 800 4gig
Hard drive: Western Digital 1 TB

Friday, March 27, 2009

Small Pleasures AND PAINS!

Sometimes a girl has got to treat herself...... yes treat herself to 15 minutes of agony. Treat my arse.

Anyway sometimes I get my eyebrows done, its $18 but I always feel a million bucks afterwards so its a good investment. If I look a little shiny in this photo I must admit I have been slaving in the kitchen making spinach and ricotta cannelloni. SLAVING. I'm actually having people over for dinner. Shock horror.

Anyway back to my eyebrow story, I usually get a frightful eastern block woman with a thick accent and an eye for the glamorous. I walk away with eyebrows usually only found on Russian super models. But today I got a shy little Indian lady, who asked if I would like to try threading instead. (Anythings got to be better than hot wax I thought) I was very wrong.

So while I sat through paid pain therapy I asked her about her life to distract her from my watering eyes. She used to work in a Fancy hotel in Delhi, India, she made okay money but got lots of tips. She gets paid worse here. Yep, New Zealand wages suck but money sure ain't everything.

There are many cheap pleasures in life. For example eyebrow shapes $18 and new bath mats $9.95

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shiney New Things

Polarised lenses bitches!

These I officially saved up for. I bought them, then had to wait weeks and weeks, but finally they arrived. Shiny new prescription sunglasses! I have uploaded a variety of poses. All self shot because darling husband ain't home yet. And check out my awesome "work" hair. My job, it is scienticiany, and I can't have loose hair dangling down all over the place y'know!!!! My hair might fall into some acid, or a dissected bowel, or even into my eyes at some MEGA critical point. (my cousin Talia says mega a LOT on her facebook. I may adopt it.)

Man I have a big forehead.

Must be for all those scienticiany brains. HAH!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I hate having a joint Credit card

When we got a mortgage the bank didn't like the idea of us having two credit cards, so we cancelled mine and got a joint account. AND I HATE IT.

It never shows who bought what, and you can't tell who made what repayments.

Also I am crap at managing it. I think a part of me ignores the small purchases I make thinking my husband will pay for it (wishful thinking), however when I had my own credit card I was responsible for every dollar and managed things just fine. I know my husband blames me for the credit card bill never going down, always holding steady. He's probably right. (Okay, Okay, he is right but its the only time you'll see that in writing.)

I AM SPENDING CRAZY WIFE.....(the kind you read about in novels, buying Prada sunglasses and Gucci handbags while the insurance clerk husband has to take a second job and becomes weakened and sick due to working 16 hour days!!!!!!!)

Although its not that bad (I don't think I'm sending my husband to an early grave just yet), after all it's not a crazy amount, sigh, but its an annoying amount. And I loath seeing it carried over month after month.

So perhaps it is time to remove myself from the credit card world. Yes, in fact... I resign! Its a horrible system encouraging consumerism. bah. Good riddance. Goodbye cruel credit!

** It is done, I phoned them, and said, "NO MORE of your temptations cruel serpent, I repent and will destroy this foul plastic that corrupts my wallet so!" then I pressed 1 for customer service.

All that is left to do is the ritual sacrifice of the credit card:

a) Burning
b) Microwaving
c) Chemical disruption
d) Traditional - cut to smithereens!!!!

Your vote counts!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Liked Kayaking

In my books it really rates as a sport. Anything I can do sitting down without moving my legs has always rated highly with me. But kayaking is outdoors, in fresh air and could actually count as exercise!

For my birthday we paddled the calm waters of the Puhoi river and Wenderholm estuary. While I'm sure ocean kayaking is no where near as relaxing or pleasant, it is something I would like to have a go at. I'm sure I could enjoy some scenic sewrage and avoid the container ships on a quick punt across to Rangitoto, if I really tried!

Oh and by the way I'm 29 now. Beginning to suspect I will never grow up. All this responsible shit is stil HARD. Like saving (bah, who can do that) and home maintenance (gak! I know nothing and have to pay people to do EVERYTHING --> see saving problem, the deck will fall down before we can afford to fix it) but I am redonkulously happy. I think I got the happy part sorted now.

Off to have pre dinner wines loves to you all!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Its been a draining week. Caution - self indulgent pity party ahead.

Oh I've been tired and feeling sorry for myself.

My wisdom tooth decided to retreat below the gums, and who can blame it, my mouth is hardly the party central it was in my youth. I'd take a peek and go back to bed and my nice wamr gums too. Anyway bastard thing got my gum infected and I had to go to the dentist. Consequently I'm having the tooth ripped out in two weeks. Meantime I shall raise funds for this thrilling endeavour.Overtime funness?

So with pain and general malaise I went to work, damn antibiotics didn't seem to kill anything, and the top wisdom tooth, all sharp and new would slice into my bottom swollen gum every time I closed my mouth. I tasted blood throughout the days and fell exhausted onto the couch the end of each working day. Face infections are no fun, and my lopsided chipmunk impression wasn't winning me any fans.

(told you I was feeling sorry for myself)

The pain has mostly subsided (mostly, oh god is it still infected!!!!!?) and the antibiotics have all been eaten, my pee stopped smelling funny and now I can just focus on the pain of paying for it to be removed.

And that was my thrilling week.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fix the Weird Beer Situation lady!

On Sunday we were having a totally hot, sweaty, non relaxing time in mission bay and it was beginning to make my husband grumpy. So I thought we could remedy the situation with a beer at a local cafe. This is what we got..........

Mmmmmmmm Beer served in a glass with ICE and a wedge of lemon. I mention the fact that there was ice in the beer to the management. And that I find it a little weird.

Apparently it was the waiters second day. Did we get replacement beers? Did we get discounted beers? Did we get free beers.....No no and no.

Did we have a good laugh about our icy beers? Yes.

In other news I went for a run today, starting to get that fitness feeling again. Now that its not quite so hot. It was a pathetic attempt at a jog really, but at least I'm getting my steps up!

Steps so far today: 12,756

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Corporate Funness

Work work work, its not enough that I give them a third of my day in exchange for cash, no, now they want me to be healthy too.
As part of some sick twisted brainstorming session in conference room one (basement, windowless under gastro) it was decided that the workforce must be healthier. So we are all taking part in the corporate version of the 10,000 steps plan. Everyone gets a free pedometer!!! YAY ITS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT PAY RISE I WAS HOPING FOR! We are in teams and we have to walk the length of New Zealand. (Figuratively).
Although I am a chubby monkey, I am a busy little chubby monkey and manage 10,00 steps without doing much extra. So I have been increasing my goal by 1000 steps each day. Some of my colleagues are lucky to break 5000 steps. Whats really been surprising is how effective the whole scheme is. Everyone is wasting precious work minutes by comparing pedometer readouts. People are walking more and taking more exercise. Some workers are even wearing the goofy free t-shirt on their lunch breaks and walking round the block!!!!! Its a million degrees outside. We are all so sweaty. Its awesome.
Steps today: 14161

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I need some large old tiles

My squash, a bit late planting (okay waaaaaay late) but its gone berserk. Lots of little squashes all spilling out on to my lawn. Apparently I am supposed to put a tile under each squash ( I want to call singular squash a squish), this stops them rotting on the ground if you have some damp weather and lets face it, its Auckland, we know damp. So it the hope of actually maturing some squash before the weather turns completely any donations of tiles will be most appreciated!

My tomatoes are producing overtime and dying overtime too. Pests and giving their last life essence to produce good fruit has them all fallen over and yellow. The recent rain had led to a few splitting on the vine, I just add those to the compost. Wont be long till I rip em all out and plant some broad beans to replenish the soil. I don't know if I even like broad beans, but I imagine them sauteed in some garlic and butter and it sounds delicious.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love is Pancakes

Nothing says "I Love You" like pancakes and bacon. Opting for a brunch date at the paper moon cafe was excellent idea. We chat and I have a cup of coffee and two cups of tea to Zeds single latte. I harass him about joining kiwisaver, he smiles and tells me how gorgeous I am. Its love all over again.

I have long dropped the idea that Valentines day requires some kind of super date or extreme gift. But just because the day is so commercialised is no reason to ignore the chance to let my darling know how much I love him. In fact there is no reason to skip any opportunity for declarations of love and moments of affection. A year of such love makes valentines day seem superfluous though.

Its raining today, the bedroom window was left open out of humid habit and I awoke to find the cat licking the windowsill. Yes windowsill water is apparently tastier than bowl water. I completely understand, there is nothing like fresh rainwater, as a child I would run my hands through fresh wet bushes and suck all the rain drops off my hand. It tasted like freshness and trees.

Today I am going to read books.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't click on the link!

Yeah its hot, and we're ALL sick of hearing about it, so this wont be a post about how sleeping with the fan causes my husband to dream about hurricanes, or how every time I leave air conditioned work I feel like I'm walking through a sauna to get to my car or how I drive the car the LONG way home to sit in air conditioned comfort for just a few minutes longer.
No this post isn't going to be about any of that.

Actually I've forgotten what this was really going to be about.

General catch up?

Suddenly I am enjoying reading again. I went through a phase were every book I picked up was bad. But after some awesome summer reading I'm back into it again. Yes back to falling asleep in awkward positions, thumb slowly dying because its stuck in a thick hardcover book and the circulation is dwindling. Darling husband faithfully removes glasses and puts book away even though most times I mutter something ungrateful to him, half asleep. then with a kiss goodnight I am back asleep again, always waking up AMAZED at how my glasses are magically on my bedside table and book bookmarked.

pg13 picture of susie sleeping!
(what has been seen cannot be unseen!)

I also love beer. I tried stopping beer to see if I would lose any weight, after 3 ish weeks with no beer I still was the same. So I am back on the beer but have joined the gym. The perfect compromise. Its a fancy gym, they call it supervised training (or "oh GOD oh GOD oh GOD MY ARMS!" really it should be their slogan). Its hard to drive home sometimes.

I am super pleased with GMK's management of my kiwisaver fund through these fracked (and if you aren't watching the new battlestar you SHOULD BE!) up financial times. Every things on the up this month. I am confident of seeing good returns this year. I also LOVE their monthly reports, so detailed and emails to remind me to go look at them. $ 67.59 worth of google shares! Yeah I pawns the interwebs!

Monday, February 09, 2009

I be grillin! Don't be hatin'

I'm always blogging about dinner. But I love cooking, and look! I eats my vegetables! I'm not just all about the meat. Although I did have lamb with this meal (Lamb back strap, cheap tender, lean. Rub with garlic, morrocan spice, smash some really ripe cherry yellow tomatoes on it. Grill, eat.) My lettuces are not growing as fast as I would like, so tonights salad was all herbs and bits and pieces from my garden, it tasted very country. Thyme is still my favourite herb. It smells so goooood. Fennel is a surprise, just a wee bit in the salad = good. Mint and mint flowers. Marigold flowers, nastursums, oregano, chives, radishes, matoes all good stuff!

Aye, twas a foggy morn!

No zoom


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hell Pizza Run by Genii!

So, I got too drunk to cook one night (not tonight, tonight I am pleasantly sober) and ordered Hell pizza, delivered. One pizza with dessert. I ordered two ice creams and they sent ONE fork. I don't even begin understand the logic of sending out cutlery on a home delivery. As I understand it, most households now have spoons. But incase we were cutlery free.....they thought they would send a FORK! Or did they run out of spoons and somehow think "yes, yes ONE FORK will do!" Or maybe its some kind of code message. "Fork you customers, FORK YOU!"