Sunday, May 24, 2009

No surprise yet...

Kyle and I were going to work on the surprise today but I'm not feeling very well. We will be postponing everything until after my medical on Friday.

I need to concentrate on that more than anything else.
Your prayers and thoughts for me passing it would be very much appreciated.

Ciao for now

Chanelle

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Testing, One, Two, Three, Four

I'm currently working on something, it was supposed to be for Mothers Day (sorry Mum!) but we are experiencing some delays at the moment.

Hopefully we will have it sorted out by this weekend!

Until then here's a photo of my new hair cut, I have a new photo editing programme so the photo is slightly... improved. Nice and cool for summer which is taking a wonderfully long time to arrive. It's only been too hot for two days so far, its cool enough today to even wear a hoodie!!




















I'm now in the sloooooooow process of growing out the black again.... sigh

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Family?

Family for me, has never had anything to do with who you are related to by blood or through marriage. My family are not necessarily my blood relations, in fact most of my blood relations can go pound sand for all I care.

My family and I am lucky to have them are people like these two cheeky buggars below.
















This is Rochelle and Christopher Davies, and they have been just like my little brother and sister since the day they were born. I held them when they were babies, stayed at their home and their Mum and Dad (Heather and Neil) helped raise me. They are pictured below.

















Are they related to me, nope. Are they my family, yes and some of the dearest I have.

The following photos are of the other family that I have known either my entire life or as close to it as I can remember. These are the people that shaped me, moulded me into the people I am today. These are the people I looked to for an example, they are my family blood relatives or no.

These are people who have supported me through my trials and celebrated my blessings. I do not have photos of all of them of course (so if you are not pictured it doesn't mean you are excluded), nor can I fully express what they mean to me without writing for hours. They know I love and respect them and pray that their lives will be happy.















Here is my Mother and Viv at my Mums 50th.
I credit Viv with my cooking skill (except for Mums chop suey
and salad dressing). I spent years in her kitchen every
Wednesday learning to cook. I can have a roast dinner
done faster than anyone I know now (except her).
Colin her husband has also always been there for me, both him
and Neil have offered me a wonderful example of how a
loving family man should be.
















Here is Mandy who is also very close to my brother.
Mandy has been up at 5am countless times to welcome me
back to NZ and I have seen more movies with her than with
anyone else.

Your family is not just who shares your bloodlines, they are the people whom you hold closest in the world. I only have two people in my life that share my blood, but I have many family members.

I have learnt who my real family and friends are since moving half way around the world. It can be an agonising lesson to know that some who you care deeply for can forget or dismiss you so easily, but I can take heart in knowing that so many still include me in their lives. The people who are special in my life make me so much luckier than most.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just stopping in really...

Kamloops has grown on me a bit this time. I don't know if it is because I am more used to the weather now (freezing cold in winter and blistering hot in summer) or perhaps its because I know we are moving to Vancouver soon? Either way, Kyle and I are trying to get the most out of being here before we take off.

Now Kamloops has two rivers (the North Thompson South Thompson) running through it, they form a big Y shape in town and then join up and flow down through BC to the ocean. The river freezes over in winter and rises and falls in early spring/summer. When the river falls, it creates a big sandy bank. Now the locals here insist that it is a beach (a beach my foot!) but even so it is very nice and we have taken to walking along the banks while we can.

As the snow from winter melts it runs in to the river and the water rises but there is about 6 weeks when you have nice warm weather and a big "beach" to walk on. Here are some pictures. of the North Thompson and then the rivers after they have joined up to form the Thompson river. Sorry about the second rivers camera quality, I thought my old camera could take video on an SD card and I was mistaken so I took photos instead!















The Thompson River from the North Shore looking
over towards the city. The big building you can see
is the university dorms















The dry river bed that loops around McArthur Island Park,
this will fill with water as the river rises until its all of the
grass you can see is covered















The North Thompson looking out to Westsyde and
over to the Reservation. This is the "beach" beside
river. Many people take their dogs down here to let them
run while the bank is still uncovered.















The North Thompson looking over to the rest of Kamloops
From this point you can see the down town area, Sahali and
Aberdeen.

I like the river because it is the only lush area in Kamloops. The surrounding areas are almost totally brown and dusty 90% of the year unless they are covered in snow. If you look at the mountains you can see dark coloured pine and the hills are covered in sage brush and/or rocks. When ever we go down to Vancouver I feel so much more at home because of the green everywhere. My eyes burn, here a lot because of the intense glare and stark colours. My sunglasses are practically glued to me even in winter. If I don't I get some really intense headaches. We have been spending almost every night walking to McArthur park because its a little island cut out from the river and is covered in nice lush trees and grass.

Maybe I struggle with it so much because it is completely foreign landscape. When you grow up around scenery like this...















you get a little spoiled? Well Kyle finds it beautiful here anyway and thats the most important thing.

I like that we are finding areas like this now so that when we can come back to visit we have nice places to go. Anyway thats my favourite part of Kamloops captured for you from me. I hoped you enjoyed.

Ciao!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pizza pizza pizza!

You all know I love to cook and if I wasn't so lazy I would have been a chef.... but alas I do not feel compelled to stand in a hot kitchen with the head chef screaming his head off for 16 hours a day so I have to be content with being a home cook instead.

As Kyle and I try to live a healthy lifestyle we need to find a way to have the foods we love but in a way that is healthier. Insert the home made fast food.

Now we have some criteria

1. It must be just as fast to cook as to drive and buy
2. It must be as cheap or cheaper than buying it
3. It must be extremely delicious to make up for the effort factor
4. It can not be fussy or difficult to replicate
5. It must be healthy, much healthier than the original fast food (or else what's the point?)

So enter my first success. The home made Pizza

Now obviously as it is pizza the toppings are up to you. For the pizza pictured I used

pre shredded cheese
pre made pizza base
precooked prawns
sliced olives from a can
canned tomato sauce (not ketchup kiwi's I'm talking red pasta sauce)
garlic powder (no salt added)
sliced red onions

The only actual cooking involved was the frying the red onion and baking the pizza. I fry my onions with water, not oil. They come out just as good (through a little balsamic vinegar in with them) and you save yourself 80 calories. Use just enough water to stop them sticking but not so much that they boil.

All I did was "assemble", while the onions are frying spread the pasta sauce on the base with a pastry brush and sprinkled on the garlic powder. Then on with the onions, olives and prawns and finally cheese and into the oven it went.

Here is a photo of the pizza sans cheese (the crust is already baked on this pizza, but it works just as well with a raw dough).
















And here it is fully cooked (this made 8 slices of pizza and worked out to be $6 for the entire pizza) much cheaper than pizza hut!. Kyle and I made one each and had the left overs for lunches.















Now a couple of tips to make your pizza "just like the take away version"

If you plan on making these on a regular basis consider investing in a pizza stone. It will make the base just as crispy as a take away pizza.

Coat the underneath of the base with corn meal (not corn starch!!!) it gives it that authentic touch.

If you are using raw dough, use raw ingredients, if you are using precooked dough use cooked ingredients. The raw dough will need slightly longer to cook and precooked prawns will become tough and chewy.

Preheat your oven on bake at 210 Celsius but then change to grill as soon as you put the pizza in the oven (be quick don't let all that heat escape!)

Just before your pizza is finished, spray the crust with olive oil. It makes the crust nice and brown and crisp. If you don't have a way to spray oil use a pastry brush. You only need a tiny smudge of oil, trust me this is the final touch!

The BEST part about these pizzas is you do not have to cook them straight away. You can wrap them in glad wrap and store them ready to cook in the freezer just like the pizzas from the supermarket.

So far we have made a Hawaiian version, and a Mexican chicken pizza. Coat the chicken into Mexican seasoning (the chicken works best if its sliced thinly or buy a ready cooked one), slice capsicum (bell peppers), a chilli, and use salsa as the pizza sauce instead of tomato past. Again use garlic powder and throw in some paprika. I also use a cheese that is spiked with jalapeƱo.

Happy (cheap and healthy) Pizza eating!

BTW my medical will be on the 29th so prayers and good wishes sent my way would be much appreciated.