Category Archives: Australia

Thanks for Franks in Blanks

This morning Jillian and I walked down Tryon, and chatted with this horse.


And looked at these barns.


Then, with some simple mental math, we decided we canceled out 1/45th of today’s energy intake, and made our way home to prep our tum tums for some fantastic noshing.

In our family, we value education.  Enter: our Thanksgiving history lesson.


Education shmeducation.  My aunt just covers our seats with pilgrims and turkeys.  Close enough, right?

Auntie Sharon does it up right.  Look at all that business on the chandelier.


Buffalo chicken dip is dope.  Dunk, dip, slather, eat with a spoon.  Nothing is better than buff chick dip.


Weenies, weenies, weenies.  Chocolate before dinner.

And welcome to the 7th grade dance.

oOoOo… the boy’s room…

… and the giiiiirl’s room.

Delumptuous (this is a word)…


Get in my belly.


Turkey, turkey, turkey, TURKEY, turkey, turkey, turk.  (Sorry to everyone present for singing one word jingles far too many times)



Dad decided to cut half the bird like Bobby Flay does — big ole hunks to keep the juice in.  Bobby taught Dad this morning when he was on Rachael Ray’s show.

While Dad carved, we popped open some chocolate wine.  Grandma deduced that she’d rather enjoy the two as separate entities.

awwww yeah


A few Aussie throw backs:

My aunt used a koala clip to seal up the cupcakes, and I spotted the aboriginal painted coasters in the dining room.

And the main event.  Jillian made pumpkin pie (it was outrageously delicious), and Uncle Dicky Van Gogh-ed it.


A simple Keurig lesson and Gram’s apple crumb.  Doesn’t get better.

Why hello, cupcake tree.  How might you be on this fine November evening?

Do some giving, do some thanking.  Make your body horizontal.


Full Fridge

There’s nothing better than those first few meals post grocery store visit.  Except I generally don’t know where to start.

Here’s one.

Cheddar, Turkey, Apple Samich.

And another.

Sick of frozen veggies, I piled as many fresh ones on a plate as possible last night.

Mixed greens with funny little mini squash and zucchini, tomato, very roughly chopped almonds, lemon wedges (like Gram does), parsley, edamame hummus, and goat cheese.  I used to hate goat cheese and now I can’t get enough of it.  All topped with raspberry walnut dressing.

This morning I scrambled up an egg and some whites, topped toast with strawberry jam and threw a few red potatoes in a skillet with tomatoes, peppers, s&p, chili powder and red hot.  I wilted some greens, too.

And last night when I was avoiding writing a paper, I prepped some slow cooker chicken noodle soup.

May I interrupt your regularly scheduled programing for a snippet of the paper — a personal essay for my magazine class. Made me miss Australia, even though our house got pretty disgusting.

…Sand coated the floating wood floors along with a stratum of glass shards.  The boys blew out a window with a rugby ball just days before — the same rugby ball that left peacock blue and green smudges along the white walls of our bowling-ball-alley of a hallway.  Mike’s Shakeweight and men’s Ugg slippers served as our resident trip hazard in the way of the door.  Onionskin thin rolling paper lay scattered along the coffee table next to a small plastic pouch of pot, pursed open with its contents spilling into a neat little mound.

I gazed at the army of cereal bowls containing small pools of rancid milk and oversaturated puffs, situated between empty metallic wine sacks, and silently prayed the mess concealed the illegal sight that would easily pass for an anti-drug PSA with the slogan, “Pot depletes your cereal supply.”

Our hexagonal 5-gallon fish tank, the one Garrett snatched from the side of the road, sat fish-less on the corner of our clutter-ridden kitchen table.  Directly in front of the tank, our goldfish Skippy hovered along the surface of a murky-water filled jar.  Dead.

And having just traversed the Uggs, the owners of our beachfront home stood inside, taking in the damage of the 8 filthy mongrels that occupied it.

Their eyes darted from my sweaty face to Liz’s beet red one, back to the dead fish, and then across to the busted window.  The Aussie Carmen Sandiego look a like, with her shiny blown out dark hair, black pumps and red lipsticked lips, rattled off a series of questions about the property, while the significantly shorter man kept his eyes glued on Skippy, who had clearly been belly-up for days.

Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner popped by unexpectedly to check on the alleged leaky roof.  They claimed they “were in the area.”   We had no choice but to grace them with our sweaty, smelly post-run bodies, in our smelly, dirty home, that was really theirs.

They asked to see the kitchen.  Above the sink, laden with crusty dishes and stagnant water housing scrambled egg buoys and cooked pasta boats, hung a sign reading “Thank you for keeping this kitchen spotless at all times.”

Artificially colored pre-workout powder dusted the top of the microwave.  Strands of spaghetti that Garrett flung at the wall weeks before dried into the plaster.  Wet grass and mud sat in clumps along the gray tiled floor, tracked in from Marcos’s rugby cleats.

Miss Glamazon and her debonair counterpart scanned the indecent warzone.  “May we see the bedrooms?”….

Back to beach-less Syracuse.

Here’s my funny crock pot I got for free by transporting a friend’s friend’s furniture in my old truck.

Last night I tossed cut up chicken breasts, onion, carrots, celery, parsley, dill, meyer lemon wedges and an insane amount of pepper into some chicken broth and water, and popped the vat in the fridge overnight.  Then this morning I let it sit on the counter while I went to the gym before I put it on heat (I’m always afraid I’ll blow something up or break something if I stick extreme cold next to extreme hot).  It cooked on low for about 6 hours.  Once I got home I cooked up some noodles to toss in.

Panera “you pick two” style, I had a salad with red beans, mustard and goat cheese with a bowl (or two) of soup.

Then for dessert I melted down some hershey’s dark chocolate and almond butter and topped it with cereal.  Odd but fantastic.

Tomorrow I HAVE to eat CAKE for work.  (We’ll pretend I didn’t ask my editor if we could feature a dessert in the paper).  Death by chocolate in mah belly.

Baking Success + More Baking

Okay, so no horrendously awful failure with the pumpkin-banana bread.  In fact, it turned out pretty darn good and super moist.  This morning I lightly buttered it and let it hang out in a hot pan for a few minutes.

They served banana bread everywhere in Australia.  It was always best buttered and toasted.  Our roommate Garret morphed into a banana-bread-making pro by the end of our stay.

Some nuts and apple sauce on the side.

Then I interviewed Chef Robert Smith at Limestone Grille in Fayetteville.  After a lengthy photo shoot of the food, I sat down with the photographer to share coconut sea scallops – sauteed in white wine, brandy, coconut milk and red curry and topped with tri-colored peppers and onions… all served on house rice.  Seriously soooo good.  The chef sanctioned off a separate room for the shoot and interview so it was nice to just chat with him in a quiet area while the photographer did his thing.

Then I arrived home to the smell of cookies! Liz whipped up no less than 100 of them for a class she’s taking.  Luckily since I shared some banana bread, she shared some dough and cookies.

And look at this! What domestic roommates I have!

Anna created this fancy-shmancy sandwich for her dinner tonight.  Even some banana peppers are lodged in the middle.  Anna is also the world’s best popcorn-on-the-stove maker.  I avoid it at all costs because I burn half of it while the other half refuses to pop.

And then while making dinner, I unfortunately happened upon a massive stink bug on our kitchen window:

Obviously Liz snapped a shot while I suited up for battle… just like the other night when I balanced on a kitchen chair on top of her bed to take care of a nasty-arse spider and she took a picture of me instead of holding the chair steady.

See that piece of wood connecting the cabinets above my head?  Well my voluminous bun got stuck on it when I tried to jump off the sink.  The lengths I go to to protect my children.

For dinner I made a salad with honey-mustard red beans, grilled onion, blue cheese, roasted cauliflower and butternut squash, and pineapple plus a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Almond milk and a cookie for dessert.

I Ain’t No Grandmaw

This is not a giant thimble.

Instead it serves as a tea-steeper for this funny little contraption —

Thanks to Liz for the killer birthday prez — a travel tea tumbler.

Tonight I tea-balled instead.  Hehehehehehehehehehehe.

But on the realz, I have a serious tea collection that I sort of forget about sometimes.  Tea goes in phases for me while coffee stands in as a complete necessity.

I’ll spare you the food photos since I ate the exact same two meals as yesterday — an egg white omelet and the other half of the stuffed acorn squash.

But since I just proved how geriatric I am with my tea collection, I’d like to take the opportunity to pretend I’m really adventurous, as evidenced by the activities I engaged in while abroad…. here are a few highlights —

Let me begin with the ballsiest of all ballsy (mom calls this chutzpa)– Bungee jumping.

I wish I had a better picture, but I assure you, that this photo does in fact depict me dangling by my ankles with my shirt flopped over my face … obstructing my vision.  I may or may not have shed a lone tear whilst walking up the neverending stairs to the bungee platform.  Then had to wait for about 40 people to jump before my turn, which consequently came once it was completely dark out.

This one kills me.  White water rafting grade-four rapids proved to be one of the most hilarious but also terrifying experiences ever.  I landed in our guide’s lap on more than one occasion.  Please note all of our faces.

Snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.

Tamed wild roos, while looking super fashionable in sneaks.

Swam under a massive waterfall — a struggle to get to.

Endured (and I mean that) a 7-hour glacier hike in New Zealand… sans restroom.

Bolted “Fat Bottomed Girls” at Karaoke night

And to really try and prove I ain’t no gramma —

… won a limbo contest at a bar.

I hope I convinced you how hip and adventurous I am with this post, because things will undoubtedly become progressively more old-lady-like.

Corn not Kern

Today was a glorious day.  Promptly at 10am, I flung open my bedside window, and surprise, surprise… it was gorgeous out.

This weekend a few friends who studied abroad with us drove up to visit.  An iced Americano from Recess + a BMC from Mom’s Diner + Aussie ladies = a happy morning.

Hint: BMC = Moms’ fancy acronym for a broccoli, mushroom, and cheese egg white omelet.

THEN I convinced (forced) Molly to hit up the Manlius farmers’ market with me.  Little did I know the “market” consisted of 3 tables.  But I walked away with some dinner ingreedz, and a lovely autumnal drive where we each commented on the “beautiful foliage” at least once every 2 miles.  We also drove down a dirt road — how adventurous and spontaneous — where a lady stood at the end brushing her horse and shot us the stink eye so hard that I thought she would shout “Get off my lawn” like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

Then I came home and engaged in some light reading about 18th century slavery.  What a great read.

Here’s my loot from the FM…. an acorn squash, an onion, the world’s most itty bitty bulb of garlic, and overpriced but enticingly good dried (chandler) bing cherries.

I wonder what people think when they drive by our street and witness me crouching in the grass snapping shots of food.

Kind of embarrassing.

So after pretending to read for a while, I started on dinner.

I halved the acorn squash.  Wait — has anyone heard Paula Deen say acorn squash????? She says A-kern.  A-KERN. I heard her say it yesterday and it upset me.

Speaking of Paula Deen, today, and this is a direct quote, my roommate asked this of her baked mac ‘n cheese — “I wonder who made butter? It’s just so great.  It makes everything taste better. Butter. Butter, butter, butter.”  Almost a haiku.

Back to the a-CORRRRRN squash.  I cut her in half after scooping out the inards — found out that an ice cream scooper is ideal for this task– and popped her in the oven at 400, open side down in a glass casserole dish filled with about an inch of water.

Then boiled up some brown rice, and added it to a bowl with the dried cherries, chopped walnuts (that I spilled all over the floor … but it’s okay cus I rinsed them), half an apple, diced onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or two of pumpkin seeds, some butter (butter, butter, butter), salt and pepp and almond milk.

After all this business was taken care of, I stuffed the half-cooked squash with the mixture.  Back to some unfortunate reading.

After about 45 minutes longer in the ove, this happened:

And because I endorse sticking to a balanced diet, I consumed an entire pint of B&J’s chubby hubby.  I wish the pretzels actually had a crunch, and I also wish my heart would stop palpitating.

Getting Roasted

Some veggies got roasted tonight.

Enter: Cauliflower, carrots and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepp…

Then I cooked up some lentils and melted down a laughing-cow wedge to stick ’em together.  A little feta on top.

Aaaaand… some kidney beans sauteed with mustard, cayenne pepper and a touch of honey.

Cheers to dessert.  And to a mini Aussie reunion tonight 🙂

Ode To an Aussie Brekkie

But first… let’s take a gander at some funny organized beach photos.  Something uncannily similar about these.

Cousins in Maine.

Roommates in Australia.  Garrett = thrilled (we woke him up from sleeping after an exam).  And don’t forget our duck in the bottom right corner.

For breakfast this morning, I channeled some overseas eats.  I guess the kiwi is a bit more New Zealand-esque… but roll with me on this one.

Alright so essentially the only Australian throwback might be the grilled tomatoes.  A stretch — but it makes me miss the brunch spot on our street.

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