Archive for June, 2010


Posted in Daily Life, Dreams, Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, POETRY, Ramblings, Random, Reflections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Mandy

Today I am very excited, apart from the fact that I’m almost done with the darn “Taxes”, myself and 5 of my very close girlfriends are going to have a “girly” night in Brisbane, watching the Broadway play “Fame”!!  (How many of you remember how famous the movie was years ago?) We’ve assigned our designated driver, will go for dinner before it starts and looking forward to having a great time.  There is nothing that can compare to spending quality time with your girlfriends, where we can laugh, giggle and just be crazy!!  We’re all going to dress up in our really cute ensembles and high heels.  The fantastic thing about relationships between girlfriends are that there are no sharp lines or rigid rules. Our level of commitment is true, we all have busy lives but, without a doubt, we’ll be there for another, in good or bad times.  Sometimes we get caught up in the stream of life, and don’t make enough time …..The only way to attain and maintain this “balance” is through understanding, patience, and love for each other.   To me our friendship is like a bank account, you cannot continue to draw on it without making a deposit!  I am a big believer that you have to nourish any relationship, and am still very much a part of my friends’ lives as they are very much a part of my life.  Nothing will ever change and for that I am very thankful.

Among Life’s precious jewels, 
Genuine and rare, 
The one that we call friendship 
Has worth beyond compare.


Oh, my god! What have I done?
I laid the trap, and the trap is sprung!
Little menace I abhor…
Now lies dead on pantry floor.
I’m sad and sorry for you, tiny mouse
But you should’ve stayed…



Posted in Cooking, Daily Life, Family, Friends, People, Personal, Random, Recipe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Mandy

It is almost July and with the sudden icy weather that hit us during the past week –  have decided to feature a Curry recipe. Normally served with rice but for those of you who are more aware of the waistline, it tastes just as good without.  We normally did this in a 3 legged pot on hot coals back in South Africa and even though it’s another season where some of you live, it tastes great anytime!!

1 x 800 gram lamb (leg of lamb is soft and works well) – cut and diced into little square blocks
2 x Onions sliced
About 5 tablespoons of special medium or hot curry powder – more or less to taste
Butter – between 3 and 5 tablespoons
Fresh ginger cut into a few pieces
Two to 4 cloves of garlic cut in pieces
A tablespoon of coriander seeds – some crushed and some whole
A tablespoon of turmeric or more to taste
A teaspoon of black peppercorns – crushed – more or less to taste
Some fresh bay leaves –
A teaspoon of cumin seeds – to taste
A pinch of nutmeg – more or less to taste
Salt to taste


Take the butter and put into saucepan.
Add the sliced onions.
While the onions are busy browning, mix the curry and some salt well and rub it into the lamb.
When the onions start to brown add the lamb. Cook over slow heat adding about 750 ml water (watch that it doesn’t cook dry otherwise add more water later).
Mix the rest of the ingredients (cumin seeds, nutmeg, peppercorns, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves, garlic and ginger) and add it to the meat and onions after about 5 minutes.
Let it all simmer for about one hour on slow heat (just check that it doesn’t boil dry or burn – if need be add more water).
When the gravy attains proper consistency add a small cup (about 500 ml) of coconut milk or cream / yoghurt / buttermilk and mix well.

Serve with basmati rice or extra-large parboiled long grained rice. It sure is a tasty dish and for the cold weather – it definitely warms you up.


Posted in Daily Life, Dreams, Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, Ramblings, Random, Reflections on June 29, 2010 by Mandy

It’s that time of the year again in Australia. EOFYS!!! “What does that mean, you’d ask”?….No, I’m not swearing and I certainly am not trying to sell you something.  It is quite a common Australian phrase at the moment, every single time you switch the TV on, it is all over the place!!  It stands for End Of Financial Year Sales!!!  Our financial year runs from July 1st to June 30th and that means, like a prisoner, stuck in front of pages and pages of bank statements, receipts, mileage on your cars, home mortgage interest, medical receipts, stock taking, the complete annual reconciliation of the business….you name it! 

It’s all good to have an accountant processing everything but it still has to be prepared…therefor my wish this morning is to grab a magic wand and pray for some kind of mystical spell that will let me get through this as quick as possible!!!  For lack of time..I’ll leave you with this : “The Tax Poem”…..and if I hear someone saying that EOFYS word one more time….I’ll strangle them!!

Tax his land, tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his car, tax his grass,
Tax the roads he must pass.

Tax his food, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
If he cries, tax his tears.

Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove me to my doom!”
And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.


Posted in Daily Life, Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, Ramblings, Random, Reflections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Mandy

This Monday morning I did the same ritual, came downstairs at 5am for a coffee and to check my emails.  To me it is the most peaceful time of the day, it’s quiet and this is the time I gather my thoughts for the day ahead.  For the last 2 mornings I thought I caught something out of the corner of my eye but did not really pay too much attention to detail. Then it happened again this morning!!!!  I opened the pantry door and there it was…..a mouse, making himself very much at home between the containers.  I screamed at the top of my voice, (am sure I woke the whole neighbourhood) 

I try to keep my home spotless at all times and grew up with the belief that they are notorious for disease carrying.   I just don’t understand how he got inside.  As I’m typing this, I feel someone or something’s watching me 24/7.  You can bet your sweet ass that I am going to clean everything out in the pantry, and as sad as it is, put down a mousetrap.  Definition of a mouse:- An animal which strews its path with fainting women!  How will I ever get through this day?  HELP!!!

What is that little speck I spy
From the corner of my eye
Surely nothing…just my mind
If I turn what will I find?
Having a coffee in my kitchen
Something’s scratching my intuition
But I feel safe here in my house
OH MY GOD!!!   IT’S A………..MOUSE!!!!!!

Thanks oxo


Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Life, People, Personal, Random, Recipe with tags , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Mandy

Pumpkin fritters are delightful, especially when served warm with crunchy cinnamon sugar. You can almost serve it as desert! (And a favourite in South Africa)


  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed and well-drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Oil for frying
  • Cinnamon sugar


  1. Ensure that the pumpkin is well-drained. Beat eggs and add to pumpkin and mix.
  2. Add the rest of the of the ingredients, except for the oil and cinnamon sugar. Mix well into a thick batter.
  3. Heat a heavy pan, using medium to high heat to start with. Add a little oil.
  4. Scoop up heaped tablespoons of batter, and drop into pan, but not too close together.
  5. Fry until bubbles form on the top surface. They should now be firm and golden on the underside.
  6. Flip over and fry on other side.
  7. The fritters will puff up slightly while cooking. To test, press lightly on the fritters. When done, they will tend to spring back.
  8. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  9. Serve warm with plenty of crunchy cinnamon-flavoured sugar.



Posted in Daily Life, Dreams, Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, POETRY, Random, Reflections, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by Mandy

I’ve just woken up and am watching a beautiful sunrise…in various shades of red, orange, pink, or golden-yellow (and was lucky enough to capture these pictures at the right moment). It’s such a shame that most people on this earth miss sunrises….. One can only revel in the joy of life.  I walked outside with the most wonderful spirit…with cotton clouds passing through and so much to be thankful for.  This was the tip of the goodness that I’m feeling today…..
Today I will remember that I am an honest, devoted and loyal person who lives for my family and friends. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I am happy to be me.  I can truly say that I do my best in every attempt to right my wrongs and say I’m sorry for the mistakes I make.
Today I will embrace life…..I am so happy to be alive.  Much love to all of you ~ oxo

I am happy I am alive

My dreams were never this colourful

My sleep was never this peaceful

My life was never this meaningful


I am happy I am alive

I am close to inner bliss

I am more like a careless dally

Soul also smiles, I learned


I am happy I am alive (Spell Bound)



Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by Mandy

All this gorgeous sunshine today has me throwing open my windows and craving all the vibrant veggies. Could it be? My inner bear is done hibernating and is ready to get active? (even in the heart of winter here in Australia)  Eat ruffage? Yeah, not sure what the deal is…but I’m going to roll with it while the inspiration is here. I’ve been craving wholesome goods like wheat berries, and snatching up bundles of asparagus like an addict. A recent trip to the shop left me with an abundance of vitamin-rich veggies that you can feast on….no matter what season you’re in.


½ cup soft wheat berries
1 ¾ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 ears of corn
4 flying saucer squash
½ bunch asparagus (approximately a dozen spears)
3 green onions
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Olive oil, salt and pepper for sauteing

1. The wheat berries take about an hour to cook through, so you want to get these going first. Rinse the wheat berries, then, in a saucepan, combine them with the water and salt. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for one hour or until tender. Drain any extra liquid and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Toss the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper to season. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, cook the corn on the cob by steaming or microwaving it. I prefer using the microwave because it’s fast and easy. Simply wet the corn, with husk still on, rinsing off any traces of dirt. Place on a plate and microwave for about 2 ½ minutes. Be careful when removing the husk, hot steam will be released. Cut the kernels off and place into a large mixing bowl.
4. Slice the summer squash into bite-sized pieces and saute in a large pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper until slightly browned and tender. Add to mixing bowl.
5. Cut the asparagus crosswise, about ¼ inch thick, so that you get little “coins.” Sautee in the pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until just tender. When the asparagus is almost done, add the green onion (chopped finely, crosswise into small rings) to the pan. Sautee for about 30 seconds longer, then add to mixing bowl.
6. Add the cooked wheat berries, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and vinaigrette to the mixing bowl. Combine well, top with feta, and serve.

For  vinaigrette:
1/2 cup mellow white miso (or light yellow)
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Blend miso, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and cayenne pepper in processor. With machine running, gradually pour in oil; blend until mixture is smooth.

I love all the pretty colors and textures in this kitchen-sink dish. It all just screams “healthy” to me, and makes me feel like summer fun (and sun dresses) …..I WISH!!!  Enjoy ~ oxo


Posted in Daily Life, Dreams, Emotions, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, Ramblings, Random, Reflections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by Mandy


Well, it’s already Saturday morning here in Australia, I decided to have a sleep in (which is a rarity for me) to recoup my mind and thoughts about the past week.  A week of extreme highs and lows….a week that I am very happy is behind me.  I would like to think that I am a very positive person who always try to see the good side of people at any given situation.  My life is full, sometimes too full….phones start ringing at 7am in the morning which might carry on till after working hours (that happens when you run your business from home)  But in saying that, sometimes things gets too much.  I suppose bad days happen to the best of us, days where you wake up in a really bad mood.  Where something (or nothing) has made you angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, whatever.  Days where you know up front this is going to “suck”.

You still have to get up and do your work, but before you even start, you’re already agitated inside. Being in a bad mood is not that hard.  Being in a bad mood while trying to force yourself to cheer up really sucks.  Fighting a bad mood only prolongs it, so if you’re mad, be mad,  If you’re sad, be sad.  This however does not give you the license to be miserable and unpleasant or question those innocent bystanders, those people close to you. It just means that you need to recognize and accept your bad mood to be able to do something about it.  We tend to think that a bad mood is always caused by something or someone else. 

Today is another day, I wish I could cut myself into a million pieces to keep everyone happy every single day but there’s only so many hours in a day.  I try to do the best I can and sometimes fail.  For those of you who occasionally have a really bad day when you just need to take it out on someone, don’t take that bad day out on someone you know.  Instead, take it out (if you have to) on someone unfriendly who you don’t know. And if I have failed you in any way this past week, I’m sorry. 

There now….I’m feeling so much better and wish you all a wonderful week-end!!



Posted in Daily Life, Dreams, Emotions, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, POETRY, Random, Reflections on June 25, 2010 by Mandy


what kind of person
knows just what to say, just when you need to hear it

what kind of person
makes you laugh your heart out, and never wish for anything more

what kind of person
has all the right moves, and defines the moments in your memory

this kind of person
that knows just where to stop
before you step over the edge,
before you plummet into the deep
before you sink into the blue

before you fall in love…

the kind of person who you always want, but never seem to have
the kind of person who is always there, and you never seem to notice until they’re gone
the kind of person who was right in the palm of your hand, like a butterfly…
that you took for granted
and took your sweet time with

until it was their choice, to fly away.

and that’s when you want it most.

My Aussie blog buddy that now lives in Italy mentioned this song in her blog yesterday….I fell in love with it immediately and just had to share….thanks darlin’….


Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, People, Personal, Recipe with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Mandy

This is an easy recipe and the perfect dish when you’re on the run (like I am today) and don’t have much time.  Hope you enjoy oxo



Chicken breast fillets, skinned and boned
1 t (5 ml) Lemon & Black Pepper Seasoning
3 T (45 ml) olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
½ t (2,5 ml) ground cinnamon
1½ t (7,5 ml) ground cumin
¼ t (1.25ml) turmeric
1 x 200 ml Tomato & Chilli Sauce
4t (20ml) Chicken Stock Powder
2 cups (500ml) boiling water
1 cup (250ml) quick cooking couscous
Green Onion Seasoning to taste
½ cup (50 g) flaked almonds (lightly toasted)
2-3 T (30-45 ml) honey

Slit the breasts, on the side, lengthways and butterfly them open. Season with Lemon & Black Pepper Seasoning and coat with olive oil. Briefly cook in a non stick frying pan. Remove from the pan. Cover and leave at room temperature. Sauté the onion in the remaining oil until soft and golden. Add the cinnamon, cumin and turmeric. Cook over low heat, stirring to prevent the spices from scorching, for about 30 seconds.

Add the Tomato & Chilli Sauce, Chicken Stock Concentrate, water and couscous. Bring to the boil for 2 minutes and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Slice the chicken into fine slices against the grain. Fork the chicken through the couscous. Season to taste with Green Onion Seasoning. Reheat briefly. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with honey.

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