Monday, September 30, 2013

Epic

My brother is on school holidays and so we decided to hangout  together today because we don't do enough of it sometimes. My brother really wanted to watch the movie Epic, and even though I wasn't as keen on watching it as he was, I still watched it with him anyways. 

Well it turns out that we both really enjoyed this movie. It was funny and had many heart warming moments along with a few sad ones too. Better yet, Beyonce did the voice of the character Queen Tara. Is there nothing that wonderful woman can't do?! 

This is a great kids/family movie for people of all ages. I give it 8/10. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vegan chili dog & waffle fries

I don't always know exactly what I'm going to do for my 'something new' before I get out of bed and start the day. In fact, I only decided on my something new at about 3pm today. I did some very quick Googling and went out to buy my ingredients to make some dinner before the shops closed at 5pm. 

Now for all of you who have been following the blog, you'll know how much I love trying out different hot dog recipes. There's just so much you can load up in your hot dog to make it tastier (and messier) to eat. 

Today I went for a vegan version of the American classic chili dog (In Australia chili is spelled "chilli", with two letter "l"s). It was surprisingly so easy to make, and I was chowing down this baby in no time. 

I got the recipe for the vegan chili from Oh She Glows. It's a simple and delicious recipe which can be easily changed and adapted to suit each individuals taste. I added some vegan mince into the recipe to give it a bit more of that hearty feel. I used Sanitarium Casserole Mince which can be found in the health food isle of Cole or Woolworths. 

Now I just can't have a hot dog without some sides. As I was googling some photos of chili dogs, I came across what's called waffle fries (aka lattice fries). These looked so cool that I wanted to make my own. I was lucky enough to actually have potatoes in our kitchen as well as having the appropriate slicing apparatus to make these! It was meant to be! :)

I thoroughly enjoyed this chili dog! I don't have any words to describe how much I enjoyed it. I'll just sign off by saying that food is great :)



Vegan chili
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped 
  • 1 can Sanitarium Casserole Mince (or 1 1/2 cup vegan mince)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 can each: black beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans (rinsed) (I used 1 can of mixed beans and 1 can of kidney beans)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 can organic mushrooms, drained
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime (optional, I didn’t include)
  • Secret Ingredient –> 2 tbsp CHIA SEEDS (it thickens up the sauce, but you don't have to use it if you don't want to. I didn't have to because mine was thick enough but I still added it anyways)
Directions:
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Add garlic, peppers, onion, carrot and sauté until everything is soft, approximately 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes on low to medium heat. Add more water if it becomes too thick and cook for longer if needed. 
  3. I served mine up with a bun, vegan sausage, mustard and diced white onion; and of course the lattice fries. 
 For the waffle/lattice fries, I followed the instructions from the video below and then deep fried them in sunflower oil. 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Paranormal Activity & Wolf Creek

My friends and I have been planning on having a scary movie night for ages and we finally got our chance tonight. There's just something about getting together and inflicting fear into our minds that just gets my blood pumping. Yes, I am a huge fan of scary movies. Even though I get frightened sometimes, I really like that thrill. 

Keeping in tradition of any type of movie night, we gathered a whole bunch of snacks to munch on while we watched. Opposed to having purely junk food, we actually ended up having more good food than bad. For our healthy option, we had carrot and celery sticks with a homemade pumpkin dip, fresh fruit, nuts and roasted chick peas.



We ended up watching Paranormal Activity (the first one) and Wolf Creek. I hadn't seen Paranormal Activity but heard a few good reviews. I thought it was quite good. It wasn't as scary as I had anticipated, but I still found it watchable. For a horror movie, I give it 7/10. 

[ PARANORMAL ACTIVITY POSTER ]

Back when Wolf Creek first came out, I watched the first half but didn't end up watching the end because I was watching it on a Bali DVD copy and it kept freezing up. The girls and I really enjoyed this movie. Some parts of the movie definitely had us on the edge of our seats and cringing at the blood and gore. What freaked us out the most was the fact that this was based in Australia, so it hit home just a little bit more. I give it 8/10.


[ WOLF CREEK POSTER ]

If you're looking for a nice way to spend a night in, then you can't go past a movie night. It doesn't have to be with horror movies. Just grab some friends and a few of your favourites and you're in for a great time. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cafe Elixir, Wanneroo

I heard about a place called Cafe Elixir in Wanneroo a while ago and finally got the opportunity to eat there tonight for dinner. I was so surprised at how lovely the place looks. It was more like a fancy restaurant rather than a cafe. There were heaps of tables, inside and outside, and the place was just very neat and elegant. 

Unfortunately there wasn't a vegan option on the dinner menu, but the staff were so helpful with finding something for me to eat. They combined a few different dishes to come up with a portabello mushroom filled with bruchetta topping (tomato and onion), basil pesto and a side of balsamic glaze. It was absolutely delicious and I was so grateful for their wonderful service. They were so good about finding me something vegan. I am one very very happy customer. 

My friend's meal also looked amazing. This is the description: "Chicken breast stuffed with bacon, spinach and camembert cheese, wrapped in a delicate filo pastry and baked off, then topped with a creamy garlic sauce. Served on a bed of chips or mash potato with a side salad." Oh my goodness, it sounds just as good as it looked!

I'm so impressed with everything about this place. I had a great time eating here and I will be back to find something vegan for breakfast and lunch. 







Thursday, September 26, 2013

Self flipping popcorn pancakes

Modern Family is one of my favourite comedy shows. My brother and I have been watching all the episodes in order from season one episode one. The other week we watched episode 19 of season four "The Future Dunphys" where Phil and Luke tried to invent the self flipping popcorn pancake. The idea was to put popcorn kernels inside the pancake so that when they pop the pancake flips by itself. 

My brother and I thought this was hilarious so we decided to try it ourselves. I found a new recipe for vegan pikelets from Veggieful that I want to try so we used this as our pancake batter. We tried to cook the pancakes so many different ways in order to get it to flip over by itself, but we were unsuccessful each time. When my parents came home, they got in on the fun too and tried to come up with new strategies.

This is what we tried, in chronological order:
  • Putting the popcorn kernels in the pan, then pouring the pancake mix over it. Fail. The popcorn kernels didn't even pop.
  • I tested the popcorn kernels to see if they popped in the pan without the pancake batter. They only popped properly if a lid was put on the pan. 
  • We got a big pot and put the kernels and batter in it and put the lid on. Fail. The kernels didn't pop. 
  • Dad suggested cooking one side of the pancake and then putting it on top of the kernels in the pop with the lid on. Fail. The kernels didn't pop properly and the pancake didn't flip.
  • We put the corn kernels in an egg ring and then placed the pancake on top (in the pot with the lid on). Fail. The kernels didn't pop properly again.
  • We put the kernels in the egg ring but then put a teaspoon between the egg ring and the pancake so that air could get in. Fail. The kernels didn't pop properly. 
  • Finally I hopped onto YouTube and found a video where they tried the self flipping pancake in the microwave. 
  • So I put the kernels in the pan and put pancake batter on top and waited for it to cook enough on one side to transfer onto a plate. I put it in the microwave on high. SUCCESS!! The kernels popped after about 2 minutes and the pancake flipped!!!
Myth busters eat your heart out :P

My findings:
This only worked in the microwave, and unfortunately when the pancake came out of the microwave it was rock hard. Cooking it in the microwave absolutely nuked it. So technically, even though it flipped by itself, it's not edible. 

Even though the outcome wasn't ideal, I had so much fun trying this with my family. My dad and I are alike in so many ways and we didn't want to give up until we found a way to make the pancake flip by itself. I loved that he didn't think I was being immature because I found amusement in this. Definitely a great bonding activity :)

video

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Juice Plus+

An old friend from high school invited me along to her place tonight to listen to a guess speaker talk about an easy way to get all the necessary fruit and vegetables into your diet. It's called Juice Plus+ and essentially, it is a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables which have been dehydrated, ground into a fine powder and put inside an easy to swallow capsule. 

It was a nice little gathering of friends and family as well as some of my friend's friends who are currently using Juice Plus+. From what I heard tonight, the product is really good. I'm all about increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables we eat because your body benefits so much from it both inside and out. What I really like about Juice Plus+ is that you find yourself drinking more water because when you ingest the concentrated amount of fruit and vegetables, your body needs more fluids to counter balance this. Too many people these days aren't drinking enough water, but it's so important because it hydrates the cells and flushes out toxins. Quick, grab a glass of water right now!

I'm not that much of a sales person, so I'll let you do your own research into Juice Plus+. But from what I heard tonight, it is a great way to increase the levels of nutrients in your body. This is something I'm very interested in and would love to give it a trial. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

South Perth park and Coode St jetty

I was driving along Mill Point Rd today when I decided to pull into Coode St and check out the parks along the river. I don't explore south Perth very much and so I thought this would be a good way to start. 

When I woke up this morning I decided to put my camera in my bag and I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed taking photos of all the scenery. It was nice to see Perth City from a different view. I had fun playing around with all the filters on my camera too. Mine you, I still need to read through the instruction manual. Must make time for that.

The parks were so lovely. The grass was green, there was a lovely lake which had two bridges to walk over and closer to the Swan River was the Coode St jetty.

I really enjoyed just walking around with my earphones in, soaking up the sun (even though it was hidden behind some clouds), enjoying the breeze and taking in the view. Mmm yes, my idea of a relaxing afternoon after a long day. 


I thought this was cool. It's like a mini island.















Monday, September 23, 2013

Induction day

I had an induction for an organisation I recently applied for. It's the first proper induction day I've done and although I've had to sit interviews for my last two jobs, this one was much more formal and I'm happy to have gotten through. 

Although I had already learnt about a few of the topics covered today, I found that I was still able to gain new insight from some things that I had already learnt. I'm sure there will be times where everyone feels as though they've learnt something "to death" and that there's nothing new to gain from learning it again, but I think we should always embrace opportunity to revisit things that have been learned in the past. Things change and we change. Sometimes we see or interpret things differently from how we used to in the past. The lesson I'm taking away from this is to not get stuck in my ways as the years go on. I think I'll make a conscious effort to re-evaluate my way of thinking from time to time. 

I really enjoyed one of the activities we did today. I had never done it before, and it was very effective in getting me to think about how to care for those who cannot move or communicate as freely as I can. 

It was about an hour or so til home time and on a piece of paper, we were each asked to write down something along the lines of how our day was and the environment that we were in. It was all anonymous and when we had finished writing then we had to scrunch up our piece of paper and throw it into the middle of the room. The gentleman who was running the session then picked up all the balls of paper and randomly read them out loud. There were a lot of nice things written, but amongst all of that was some honesty. Some people thought the room was cold, others were bored and some were disappointed that lunch was not provided for us (we had to bring our own lunch from home). 

The guy then went on to explain that although we had our own thoughts and feelings, if the situation was appropriate, then anyone of us could just turn up the heating and that even though we had to bring our own lunch today, we still had that choice of what we could bring. 

He pointed out that people who cannot communicate their needs and wants rely so much on us to be able to recognise these things and act accordingly. He said that sometimes people can overlook all the small things because for us we can just do it ourselves. For example, if you're taking a person who is non-verbal and in a wheelchair for a walk and the sun is in their eyes, they cannot verbalise this. If we were in their position, we'd put on sunglasses or walk in the shade, but they can't do this the way that we can. 

It really just comes down to trying to think about all of their needs and what we would do or want if we were in the same situation. Just because someone doesn't communicate something, doesn't necessarily mean that they are happy in the situation that they're in. If that makes sense. I hope it does. It's been a long day I'm my brain is all worked out. 

Even though all these training sessions can be quite long and tiring, I love any opportunity for personal and professional development. If it will make me a better person, I want to know about it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Heads Up!

I have always thought that my Great Aunt's children were my second cousins. However, after a bit of research into kinship terminology, I've discovered that they are actually my first cousin's once removed.

Assuming that I haven't confused you with all this terminology, today was the baptism of my second cousin; that is, the child of my first cousin once removed. Take a minute to get your head around that. If you're anything like me and you need a visual, refer to the figure below:


My second cousin Aidan was so cute in his little white Christening jumpsuit. He was so well behaved and smiled lots for the camera. He's such a precious little human being. 

After the baptism, family and friends all gathered for lunch. One of the highlights of the day was playing the Ellen Degeneres iPad game Heads Up!. It's pretty much a game of charades/Celebrity Heads. I played the game with some of the children there, my siblings, a few of my other second cousins and their dads (who are my in-laws. i.e. they're married to two of my other first cousins once removed). I'm sorry if I've lost you trying to explain my family tree. Anyways, I've never played this game before and it turned out to be so much fun! 

To be honest, I've never really spent time with my second cousin's dads. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't speak Vietnamese very well, and I've just never been close to them. But playing this game was so lovely because I was able to see a side to them I have never seen before. They're really fun dads...who surprisingly know a lot of English. Some of the words that we had to try and act out/guess were famous songs and actors and the two dads knew a lot of them which took me by surprise. I think that all these years since they first married into the family, I assumed that because they weren't born in Australia that they must not be familiar with Western culture and media. I was wrong though.

I loved one moment in particular where one of the songs that came up was "Ring my bell" by Anita Ward and one of the dads started singing it. Very cute. I really enjoyed spending time with family members that I don't usually hang out with. It is now a very special memory to me. 

This moment has taught me that although doing wild and extravagant new things like sky diving or visiting new countries can be great fun, sometimes it's the little things that can have a lot of meaning. It's all individual and depends on how the new experience makes YOU feel. People may think that playing a game of charades with the family is not exciting, but for me it was about getting to know the people who have always been in the picture but who I have never taken the time to get to know. 

So please, go out and search for all those little things because you might find that they make the greatest impression on you. 

Also, check out the game. It's so much fun to play with a large group :)


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Glow Run

I think I've become addicted fun runs. I don't know what it is, but there's something so great about legging out a few kilometers dressed in something cool alongside friends, and it doesn't hurt when we're doing it for a good cause too. 

My friends and I registered for the Glow Run which was held today. I was originally meant to do something similar called the Neon Run, but alas, it falls on the same night as the Beyonce concert so I had to give it a miss. 

Both the fun runs pretty much involve running a distance of 5km at night time wearing glow sticks, shirts that glow and anything else that glows or is neon and shows up under all the special lights that they use. Along the way are what I like to call 'party stations' where there is a DJ blasting some music for you to stop and dance and see yourself all lit up and glowing. 

It was a lot of fun and I particularly enjoyed seeing Riverside drive at night time. The only time I've ever seen it at night was while I have been driving, but to be able to take in the beautiful view while on foot was so great. Sometimes things that are already a lovely sight, is ten times better when it's lit up with lights. 



The Glow Run was the first 5km run my friend has ever done before. She did such a great job from start to finish and nothing makes me happier than being there to experience someone else's "something new" :)

Nights like tonight give off such happy vibes. We'll be doing more events like this, I'm sure. 























Friday, September 20, 2013

The Living Water Christian gift bookstore & cafe

I really love accidentally finding wonderful places in unexpected locations. For instance, today when I was heading back from the Licensing Centre, I came across a cute little Christian bookstore/coffee shop opposite the centre, kind of hidden behind a busy restaurant. When I first walked past it, I though that the entrance to the store was just the side door of the restaurant. What caught my attention was the sign that said had the words "bookstore" and "cake" on it. When I saw the word cake, I was automatically drawn in to have a closer look (even though most places don't sell vegan cakes). When I got closer to the shop windows, I saw lovely gifts for sale and two large posters which had passages from scripture written on them. 

The store is called The Living Water. I though it was so random to have a little Christian gift/bookstore on such a busy street like Boas ave. I must say though, it is such a lovely place. It's neat and tidy, with lots of pastel colours and shades of cream. When you first walk in, you have all the gifts on display. There's pretty much something for every occasion from baptisms and  confirmations to weddings and birthdays. The next section had shelves with books for sale, and at the end of the shop is a dainty little coffee counter with a play room for kids and tables for you to sit and enjoy your cake and coffee. 

I think it was so convenient that I found this place because I'm headed out to a baptism on Sunday and so I picked up a card while I was there :)

The Living Water has a lot to offer so if this is your kind of thing, then I totally recommend checking out the store, or their online website www.thelivingwatershop.com.

What I also really liked about this place was the lady who served me. She was so friendly and bubbly. Exactly what I'd expect to find in a Christian shop. We got talking and she told me that the shop had been there for 4 years. Good on them! It is such a refreshing store. When I walked in I felt as though I had left the rest of my busy life outside. It was peaceful in there. I got all kinds of good vibes. Here's to another 4+ years of such a lovely shop. 




I thought this was cute. It's a plastic loaf of bread with little cards that have short Bible passages on them! Very creative.