Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the new french fry

I don't know about you and your gang, but me and my gang (read: my gang is hardly a gang, but it sounded cool) love our homemade fries. We love them so much that they are pretty much guaranteed for eatin' every week.

I justify that this is ok (and healthy) because we buy fresh potatoes (organic, of course) and we bake them (in olive oil, salt and pepper) versus frying! Mighty tasty...and somewhat healthy fries? Can you at least give me the 'somewhat' part?!

Ok, so maybe I'm just in fry heaven denial, but it's becoming a hard habit to break. And instead of completely giving up fries (per se), I subbed in a new fry-friendly veg that does the same duty - if you can't beat the fries, then join them! These 'fries' make the same fry shape and are pretty much the same colour. Intrigued? I hope so. Or maybe you're just yelling at me through the screen to stop using the word 'fry.' Can't guarantee it, but I'll try. ;)

Side note: when I typed the title of this post, for some reason, it made me think of 'the new fry in town,' kinda like the 'new sheriff in town.' Don't ask - I'm overtired and pretty much wanted an excuse to put Toy Story in my post.

Rutabaga Fries

by Char
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients 1 - 2 servings (depending on how hungry you are!)
  • 1/2 rutabaga (or other root vegetable like parsnip), peeled and cut into fry form
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • a few tbsp of oil (canola or olive)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Peel and cut rutabaga (or other root vegetable) into fry-like pieces
Combine 'fries' with spices, canola oil and salt and pepper in a bowl.
Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
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How to eat them?
Dip them in ketchup (which I did). Eat them plain (which I did). Eat all of them (whiiiiich I did).

And just to make things 'fun,' make your ketchup into a smiley.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

reflections from a week off

I must admit that, although I didn't go anywhere for my week off school (aka: reading week), I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I had vowed to work out everyday, and pretty much do nothing (in terms of things that required brain power). I totally held up with the latter, and surprisingly the former!

I managed to work out nine days in a row!! Before I go into details, I just want to let you know that I did not overdue it each day - I took the hard days with the easy ones.

This was a good chance to get caught up on some much needed butt-kicking and running. I love to run, but between winter (ie. dreadmill and avoiding it) and school, I haven't paid much attention to it. I knew I needed that to change soon, and when better than a week off school?!

I ended up running 15 miles total last week, but they were all torturous runs. I have this cold that began the week before my week off and it just won't go away. Worse than a cold is a lingering cold. If someone would like to come take it off my hands, I wouldn't mind. Needless to say, I was having a hard time doing 9 minute-miles, and when I tried to break the 8 marker, I had an internal battle with myself thinking it was dying!

Other than working out, I did a little reading (not!) and cooking good foods. I'm pretty much the most boring person ever...good thing I realized this halfway through the post.

Had we ventured to Florida like the original plan in my head entailed, then I would have had more exciting news, like running the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2 days ago and getting so tanned that I wouldn't need to cake-on the blush/bronzer everyday! But husbands have to work...

Now that my reflecting period is over, it's time to get back to stats assignments and squeezing in workouts when you can!

This is the workout I have planned for myself in a few hours...onset of crying may begin...NOW (mainly because I have more than 1/2 of this stats assignment to still finish)

QUESTION: Given a week off, what would you do? Please say you're more interesting than me!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

in withdrawal

Sometimes the absence of something hits me when I least expect it. Like a Saturday night enjoy a bottle glass of wine and doing statistics homework. Hey, don't judge - stats and wine go great together (it helps make sense of all the Greek letters)!

What am I missing? Australia. It was my dumb move of turning on the Australian radio station that I listened to while I was traveling the east coast there. I knew I avoided listening to it for a reason.

The hubby and I ventured there back in November of 2009, as part of an extended honeymoon (don't worry, it wasn't all honeymoon while we were there, we worked for a bit).

Just to walk down memory lane (and encourage the husband to purchase some new tix to fly us to Australia again), here's a look at our journey. This may just make me miss Australia a little more, but it's worth it. Hey, maybe you'll take me back to Oz instead!

Taking off - LA to Brisbane (when I had short hair!!!)

Finally there!! Rented our first car to move us into our apartment. We had a hard time adjusting to the steering being on the other side of the car and driving on the other side of the road. Definitely need two navigators to do this task!

Checking out the beach we would call home for the next 2 months!

Our apartment was in the tower on the left (in Surfers Paradise).

View from our apartment.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this Mercedes drove by me lol.

Hallway to our apartment (we were the first door on the right)

 The beach I went to everyday that I was not working!!

A highlight of the trip, for sure (plus the most tanned I think I've ever been!)

Somebody had a cookie in his pocket that the kangaroo's were no slowpoke to recognize!

I'll say it...I could have a kangaroo as my pet!

I even tried surfing! I was no natural like the husband, but I sure did enjoy catching a wave the odd time!

Probably one of the funnest adventures we partook in; Fraser Island with a group of amazing people in an off-roader.

Checking out some ruins on the island.

Hanging out in one of my most favourite places EVER (that's bold, I know): Lake McKenzie. If you ever have the chance to visit this lake...DO IT! It is pure amazement.

Next stop on Fraser Island was Lake Wobby where if you sit in the water very still the little fish eat the dead skin off you. I must admit, I jumped a bit!

The sand dunes right behind the lake.

And finally the famous thing you've been waiting for on Fraser Island...the dingo! I had one kick me in the head through our tent...thanks dingo! 

We ventured to Byron Bay, too.

Then, we went to Sydney!!!!!!! <--- note my excitement!

This was one of the most beautiful beaches I have been to, despite being the smallest beach I've been to. It had a European feel, and absolutely gorgeous!

And the reason I forced the husband on a 2 day trip to Sydney:

The day we visited the Sydney Opera House, I tried my best to slow it down and just absorb it all. I told the husband I couldn't leave Australia without seeing this, which is why we took a quick 2 day trip, despite having to move out of our apartment the very day we returned from Sydney! Thank goodness for amazing roomies prepping the apartment for the move out!


The famous bridge!

Then it was onto Noosa...the most amazing beach and had water that was seriously as warm as bath water (without peeing...sorry, had to say it!)

Husband coming in from some surfing.

Camping for night with the roos!!! (don't mind the awkward girl in the pic!)

Our sexy camper:

Our next stop was Cairns - aka: the great barrier reef!!!

Driving to Cairns (and don't mispronounce it - it's said as "Caaaa'ns)!

On our trip out to the Great Barrier Reef!!

Our boat.

The secret to keeping your goggles clear and not fogging up? Spit on them!

The freakiest thing I've ever done? Scuba-diving. At least there's proof I did it because you can definitely count on me never doing it again! (Note: I'm the one on the right...don't be mislead by Tyler's long hair haha)

Me touching a super crazy, slimy clam.

The reef!

Our final trip was on the Great Ocean Road before we left for home.

One of the many scary signs we saw on the drive:

Our hunk of a beast camper we drove on the smallest, windiest road possible ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! I consider it a blessing we're still alive!

My fave part about Great Ocean Road: the real, legit Grotto (eat your heart out, Hue!)

The blowhole.

And onto the most famous part about GOR, the Twelve Apostles.

Crazy big trees, anyone?!?

(blurry, but captivating)

Cape Patton (amazing lookout).

All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime; one I will never forget and one I will always long to return to. Australia was a place that I had vowed to go to right away, which I did. I told the husband that I was going to matter what, so he could come with me or I would go. He decided to come and I think he was so glad that I talked him into it.

I really feel that I will return to Australia one day (and not just say that I will), because it was a huge experience that changed me! It truly fueled the travel bug in me!

I hope my reflection on an amazing experience encourages you to take that trip you've been hoping/thinking/wishing about, and just do it. You won't regret it. 

We didn't. In fact, we regret we didn't stay longer. All the more reason to make another trip back...soon! ;)

QUESTION: Where is your next trip?!