Research…

I’ve been sitting here for the last 20mins thinking there’s something wrong with my eyes because I’m having an INSANE amount of trouble focusing on the text in this article…

NOPE, it’s just a really crappy, low-quality digitised file. My eyes aren’t blurry, the article is :S

Ugh I really hope this is actually useful for my assignment, otherwise I’ll have given myself a headache for nothing.

~K

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Assessment craziness

I’m aiming to get assignment 1 finished tomorrow, so I can do a bit of final exam review on Friday before the exam on Saturday.

I’ll then finish assignment 2 over Saturday night/Sunday.

At least, that’s the plan. Hopefully it works out that way. I’m thinking I’ll skip my Friday A&P lecture and just do exam prep, and then catch up on the lecture recording next week.

I had a furry study buddy for a little while tonight, but when Hubby went to bed, he left too 😦 so now I’m up doing my assignment all on my own.

I’ll have to head to bed soonish though, because it rained quite heavily this arvo so I’ll be getting Hubby to drop me at uni tomorrow – annoyingly, I have no way of knowing if the bike path is under until I get to it.

Looks like it will be the same until at least Wednesday next week too, as it is supposed to rain pretty much non-stop from now until Tuesday if the weather man is to be believed… I like rain, but we’re supposed to be heading into winter now!

But good news – I got 57/60 on my last assignment, WOOOOOOH!!!!!! So far, this means that I’m maintaining a GPA of 7 (for non-Aussies, we grade from 1 – 7, with 7 being the highest you can get. A 4 is a pass, and anything less is a fail)!

I know it’s the “I told you so” dance, but let’s just imagine it’s my Happy Dance 🙂

~K

Spaz-tacular

I had thought I was feeling a little better this morning.

NOPE.

Had an absolutely spectacular spaz out at lunchtime today. Why?

Because I went into the kitchen to make something for lunch, and there was nothing for me to do that with. There was food, but pretty much EVERY SINGLE DISH IN THE HOUSE was dirty and on the kitchen bench.

But that in itself didn’t phase me too much. I was annoyed, and settled down to sort out the dishwasher and get it running again so I could clear a bit of the sink and wash a plate/bowl so I could do some lunch.

THEN IT HAPPENED. I picked up a pot off the bench, and it turns out that it was a structural object for that entire section of the bench. I managed to catch most of it, but a glass fell on the floor and smashed.

Then I had to clean it all up. I was feeling pretty awful by this point, but it got worse.

Our dishwasher is missing one of the spiny things that hold the plates up – so it’s a bit of a balancing act to get the smaller side plates to stack properly. THEY WOULDN’T STAY STACKED. I’d get them sitting properly, and as soon as I moved the drawer even the slightest bit they’d all fall over again.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back… Hubby sort of got a phone call from me in a blubbering mess, telling him that when he got home he was going to DO THE F***ING DISHES because I. Just. Can’t.

I took the little plates out and just ran it without them, because I was determined to get SOMETHING good out of the mess.

I ended up eating cereal for lunch because I hadn’t managed to get anything clean – cereal eaten out of a mug, with a teaspoon.

UGH I was doing so well WHY do I have to start having trouble again?!?!?!

And yesterday, one of my uni friends asked where I was all last week. I ended up just mumbling something about it being a ‘bad week’ and left it at that, because I’m not sure what his approach to mental health is just yet. Also, I’ve only known him for 2 months, I’m not sure how much I really want to share just yet…

Sometimes, this still feels like a very private battle, because it’s extremely hard to explain it to people without them brushing it off (“oh, we all have days like that. It’ll be better tomorrow”) or looking at me like I’ve grown an extra head or am going to randomly start killing people.
I even get the feeling sometimes that Hubby doesn’t believe it’s as bad as I tell him, but I’ve got no idea whether that’s an actual thing or just the anxiety/depression talking.

Now I’m going to go and do some Tai Chi and see if I can calm down enough to get back to my assignment.

Oh did I mention? 2 assignments and an exam, all between Friday and Monday. Haha oh what a fun week I shall have…

~K

Necessary kitchen appliances

Sometimes, it feels like I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t own a waffle maker.

There are SO MANY yummy looking recipes for making your own waffles, and I want to try them all, but I don’t really want to shell out $50 for an appliance that will only get used once a month, and take up cupboard space the rest of the time. (I haven’t yet been able to find a waffle maker that costs less than $40, except for those cast iron ones that you put on a gas stove… and because I don’t have gas, I can’t get those either.)

Which got me thinking – what appliances are “essentials” for me, and what could I survive without, but would rather not?

One thing to note – I haven’t included “fridge” on this list, because as far as I’m concerned, that isn’t even something that should be considered as optional, EVER. It’s a case of food safety, particularly when you live somewhere that never leaves the “danger zone”, even in the coldest depths of winter. (The “danger zone” is 5-60°C – this is the favoured temperature range for bacteria growth. I’m afraid I have no idea what that temp range would be in °F.)

Essentials:

Hotplate
For the record, I have never lived somewhere that didn’t have a hotplate. If I was looking at rentals, and the kitchen did not have a stove/hotplate setup, I would not even consider it.

Oven
This is tied to the hotplate thing – I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have some sort of oven. I love baking, so a lack of a decent-sized oven at a house would be a deal-breaker for me. If we were buying a house and there wasn’t an oven/hotplate in the kitchen, they would be the first things I bought.

Deep freezer
This probably has a lot to do with how I was brought up – Mum would always make extra/buy in bulk and freeze everything. The 6mths I spent without a deep freezer was hell (old one died and we had to save up the money for a new one) – we spent so much money on food, because I couldn’t buy/cook in bulk to have easy meals for days when we were busy, so we ended up eating so much takeaway food.

Toaster
This is the single most-used appliance in my kitchen after the kettle. I have been known to survive on variations of toast-and-toppings during busy uni times, or when my mental health takes a crash. Toast is an easy, quick food that requires little or no thought and invites minimal decision fatigue.

Could survive without, but don’t want to:

Dishwasher
Yes, I can survive without a dishwasher. I have done so for the past 2 1/2 years. BUT now we have one again, even though it’s only a little one, I don’t want to have to go without it again. It saves a heap of time, and when we have a dishwasher, Hubby actually does the dishes (i.e. packs and unpacks the dishwasher).

Blender
I don’t use this a lot, but when I didn’t have one, making pureed soups was incredibly annoying. You CAN do it, but it takes FOREVER and involves a colander, a potato masher, and a spoon. And the puree is never as smooth as you get it from the blender. The one I have also has a kitchen whiz bowl and all the associated attachments, but I think I’ve only used those maybe twice in the 5 years I’ve had the thing. I keep them, but they’re in the back of the cupboard and hardly get used.
Hubby also likes the blender, because it means he can make his “Death by Chocolate” thick shakes, though I’m surprised he hasn’t killed it yet because of how thick they are. No kidding, you can stand a spoon up in one, and it won’t touch the sides of the glass.

Microwave
This is another one where when our old one died, we were without one for a month and it was such a pain (the only reason we were without one for a month was because it died a week after payday, and we got paid monthly at that point so we had to wait until the next pay run to get a new one). I do not advocate having a complicated microwave, or even a strong one. Ours is only 700w, and is seriously the tiniest thing in the universe – it barely fits a dinner plate inside, you have to tip the plate on an angle to get it through the door – but it does what it’s designed to do. It reheats food, and occasionally cooks something (mainly steaming veges when the idea of cleaning the full pot-and-steamer-insert setup is way too painful to contemplate for a single serve).

Handheld beaters
I would LOVE to have a stand mixer – but realistically, it’s not a necessity. However, if I don’t have access to handheld beaters I avoid recipes that call for extreme amounts of beating. They make certainly things so much easier on the arms! They also don’t take up a lot of room – mine is smaller than one of my shoes (which is saying something, since I’m only an AU size 6 – which is a 4 in Converse sizing).

Rice cooker/slow cooker
I’ve included these under the same category, because it is possible to get ones that do both. I currently have a “do both” on my wishlist for my birthday, because I have 2 separate appliances atm. Slow cookers are a god-send for busy weeks, and are fantastic for bulk cooking. I love my rice cooker because we eat quite a large amount of rice, and it makes life SO much easier when I don’t have to worry about yet another thing on the stove. I will personally be keeping my large 6L slow cooker when I get my “do both”, because the large one is great for doing soups & roasts, while I will use the smaller one more for things like pasta sauce, curries, and other similar things that I don’t want to make 20 serves of.

Sandwich toaster
This looks sort of like a baby George Foreman grill, but with flat plates. I have cooked way more than just sandwiches on this – we have also used it for bacon, steak, sausages, eggs, and pancakes.

Electric kettle
I actually don’t have one at the moment. Mine got invaded by ants, and I couldn’t get the taste of them out, so I just bought a cheap stove-top kettle. The stovetop one works fine, but I can’t wait until I can get an electric one again. Electric kettles use less power, and are rather less noisy (I have gotten very good at taking the kettle of the heat the moment it even THINKS about whistling, because I hate the sound), but are also more expensive. Particularly seeing as I refuse to buy a plastic one – fussy fussy me just thinks the water from them tastes yucky. The nice metal one I’ve got on my wishlist is $30, and that’s not even the most expensive!

That’s my thoughts on what is necessary for a decent kitchen set-up, and those appliances do everything that I need.

Most of these appliances don’t have to be expensive – I bought my 6L slow cooker 8 years ago, and it’s a no-name brand and only cost me $20. The rice cooker and sandwich toaster both only cost $10, and the toaster we currently use was $5. The blender cost quite a bit more, but it was a birthday present the first year after I moved out of home.

Does anyone have other appliances they can’t live without?

~K

Oh deja vu

I’m watching Shrek to try and cheer myself up…

OMG Prince Charming is Jaime Lannister.

Suddenly, it all makes sense about why I had always envisioned Jaime Lannister as looking like this, even before I watched the show…

Self-absorbed, pompous idiot? Check.

~K

Write-off…

This has been a crappy week, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I’ve been feeling “off” all week, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m coming doen with something or whether it’s just CFS popping in for a visit again. So all week I’ve had a bit of a sore throat, and all the usual sore joints and muscles, and then my wisdom teeth decided to make their presence known again. I am tired when I wake up, even though my fitbit says I’ve slept well, and for about 8hrs, and I don’t get less tired as the day goes on.

Mentally, I’ve been distracted. I have had an insane amount of trouble concentrating. I’ve been having trouble with extraneous noise again, any other verbal noise makes it incredibly difficult to focus on and process what I’m supposed to be doing, or on the conversation I’m having at the time. Words aren’t coming when I need them, so I’ve been having trouble with normal conversation – so I just avoid it. I’ve only been to uni one day this week, and my friends were all like “why you so quiet? Stop being so quiet!”.

Emotionally, I am nothing. I don’t feel “down” as such, there’s just nothing there – no happy, no motivation, no angry, just… Blank.

I was doing so well, and here we are again. Not quite back where I started, but not in a good place.

I’ve only been to uni 1 day this week – missing classes started out innocently enough on Monday with the funeral (it didn’t finish in time for me to get back for either lecture). Then on Tuesday, I decided that I would be better off staying home and watching the lectures rather than going to the tute, because what’s the point of the tute if I haven’t seen the lecture yet? Wednesday I went, because we are being assessed in our clinical health assessment skills over this month, and I wanted to give myself every chance to make sure I’ve got eveything right. We also had the A&P lab on Wednesday morning, so I went to that because Chris dropped me at uni and I was already there. Yesterday I only had a tute, and it was going over “nonverbal communication skills” – I decided not to go to that because I just finished my psych degree, and I didn’t feel like going over all that AGAIN. Today, I’m supposed to have my A&P lecture, but I won’t be going. The idea of riding to uni actually scares me, because I know it will only make me more tired and it will make my joints hurt more than they already do. And if I’m more tired than I already am when I get to the lecture, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate anyway, so what is the point in going?

Therefore, I’ve decided to call this week a write-off and hope that the rest helps me feel better enough to deal with the world again next week.

Before anyone asks – yes, I have stuff I can take. I avoid taking it because it interferes with my pill. Therefore, I need to talk to Hubby before I start taking it, because it’s not something that will only affect me.

I haven’t talked to him yet because I was hoping it was a transient blip that would blow over on its own (those happen, and they’re usually over in a couple of days), but since it clearly isn’t, I’ll talk to him when he gets home from work.

~K

Quick Update

Hey everyone, sorry for the absence!

It’s been a bit hectic here, and I haven’t had much of a chance to do any series posts or even “normal” posts 😦 I can’t promise when any will be up, other than these sporadic ones, at least until I’ve got life back under control.

My easter break was spent catching up on readings and housework. Got caught up on the housework – not so much on the readings.

Since then, I’ve had one exam (Saturday just gone), and I’ve got 2 more coming up (2 weeks time, and then 2 weeks after that) as well as 2 essays due in the first week of May. I’m still trying to catch up on my readings, and I’ve managed to get up-to-date on 2 subjects, but I’m still working on the other 2.

I ended up at the funeral of one of my primary school friends yesterday – 25yrs old, and he died from an asthma attack. I still can’t quite believe it – at our age, we’re usually attending weddings and christenings and birthdays for our friends, not funerals. He was almost finished his post-grad course in Law, and was going to be taking the bar exam in October. I didn’t sleep very well the last few days from thinking about it.

Today I’ve bailed on uni to watch the 2 lectures I missed yesterday and try and catch up on some more of my readings.

On a slightly more positive note though – I now have seasons 2-4 of Game of Thrones waiting for me when the semester is done 🙂 I’ve also got 2 of the new Outlander episodes waiting to be watched when I need a break from study.

If you’ve tagged/nominated me for a blog award of some sort, I’ll be getting to those at some point – probably when I need another study break. Thank you for your nominations!

~K

Breakfast Burritos

IMG_2368-1

These are a great, high-protein breakfast. You make them and freeze them, then reheat in the microwave in the morning.

If you don’t like the look of my recipe, or you want some other ideas, just google “breakfast burritos”. You’ll seriously come up with a million different ideas, these things seem to be very popular.

I’m still working out the best way to wrap them so that they’re easy to reheat – I’ve heard of microwave-safe plastic wrap from American cooking blogs, but I can’t find the stuff over hear in Australia, so I’m still playing around. I’ve found that using baking paper is great for microwaving, but I’ve had trouble with freezer burn because it doesn’t seal quite so well. Alfoil and plastic wrap are easy at the packaging end, but a bit of a pain at the reheating end of things. If anyone has a suggestion, I’d be happy to hear it!

The amounts in this recipe will make 6 burritos

Ingredients:

Standard Ingredients (for me):

  • 1 cup taco mince
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans (cooked – this is about 1/4 cup dry ones. Just make sure you cook them correctly)
  • 1/4 cup chunky tomato salsa
  • 6 eggs (1 per tortilla)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 6 tortillas (depending on how many you will be making)

Other stuff:

Add anything else you would like! Often I add a couple of cubes of frozen spinach to the pan and defrost them before I add the eggs, but I didn’t have any left this time. You can LITERALLY put anything into these. Some of my common additions:

  • sausages – I boil them then dice them up, and cook them in the pan so they get a bit toasty on the outside
  • spinach – a couple of cubes of frozen spinach goes really well with the eggs
  • any “mexican-style” filling can replace the taco mince – mine are generally taco or chicken enchilada mix, because that’s what I make a lot of
  • avocado – haven’t tried this when freezing them (only when making fresh, or putting them in the fridge for the next day), but it does taste very good
  • refried beans
  • rice
  • roasted potatoes (make them small cubes before roasting for best results)
  • roasted sweet potato (see above)
  • capsicum (I think Americans call them “peppers”)
  • BACON

The list could go on. That’s just the things I’ve personally put in mine before.

Method:

  1. Sort out your mince/meat mixture: Put the taco mince, tomatoes, beans & salsa in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Next, the eggs: In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk (you’re making scrambled eggs essentially). Season to taste. Heat a pan over medium heat, and cook your eggs until they’re just cooked. You don’t want to let them get dry, or they’ll be chewy when you reheat your burrito. Remove egg pan from heat once they’re cooked, and stir through cheese.
  3. Spoon all your fillings into your tortillas, then wrap and freeze.

PS the wrapping takes a bit of a knack, don’t worry if they don’t look as pretty as the ones you see on Pinterest – they’re not going to be that way for long anyway, you’re going to be eating it before anyone gets to see it in the “pretty” state.

There are 2 ways that I generally heat these up – either in the microwave or the sandwich toaster. If you’re using the microwave, just make sure whatever wrapping you use is microwave-safe (or just unwrap it). Ditto the sandwich toaster, but if your burrito is still frozen it may not heat through properly without burning on the outside.

~K

Busy Day

Went to the uni medical centre and got my HepB booster, as well as getting all my paperwork signed to say I’ve got all the right vaccinations and serology and stuff. It’s all now submitted, so I’m basically done for that part of my assessment 🙂 I finished one of my recreational reads on the bus on the way home, so I’ve started another one.

I also baked a fruit cake (this recipe), and made some pizza scrolls (completely from scratch, dough and all! Kneading is very therapeutic. Possible Foodie Friday post!)

Then did some various cleaning and watched 3 episodes of Sword Art Online.

Now I’m off to bed, tomorrow is going to be mainly study/homework. I’ve still got a bit of reading to catch up on, and I’ve got to prepare for a mid-semester exam which is at the end of next week.

~K

Books…

I’ve just updated my Reading Challenge 2015 page to show the books I intend to read for each item.

If there’s an item without a book title, it’s because I haven’t picked something for that one yet. Please feel free to suggest something!

For “A book your Mum loves”, I’ll take suggestions from any mothers or other people’s mothers, because when I asked my Mum she said she didn’t know because she doesn’t get much time to read. Also, most of the books she’s encountered in the last few years have been along the lines of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, with the most complex being the “Baby Sitter’s Little Sister” series (she’s a teacher aide, mainly for lower grades). She loves Dr Seuss, but I’ve read all those and I’d rather a slightly longer book… haha

For the “A book with bad reviews”, make it a book that had less-than-stellar reviews, but that you personally liked… I refuse to read books that are terrible or that I don’t like, and if I have to buy it I don’t want to spend money on something I won’t read.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

~K