But these days, I know how amazing my life is. I love my life and every person I share it with. Nowadays, even the simplest of things give me great joy. New experiences or trying something for the very first time is so exciting for me. If I had to write a bucket list, there would be so many things I want to do and see before I die, that I don't think I'd have enough paper to write them all on. So here's to living a very long life :)
Instead of writing an actual bucket list though, I've chosen to celebrate some of my "first time" experiences by writing about them in my blog. Hopefully, it's not too boring for you guys, but I really love acknowledging even the simple moments in my life, as a record of my attempt to live my life as well as I can and as fully as I possibly can. I'm basically trying to "love the life I have right now", as my friends over at We Heart Life would say (a great blog you should check out)!
Having said that, I'm going to share one of my new experiences from this week....making a roast chicken for dinner!! I know, I know, it's disgraceful that I've never baked a chicken before, but for some reason, I've just never got around to it. However, I'm proud to say that I've now done it, and actually did it pretty well, if I must say so myself. My family can vouch for me as well, as it got the thumbs up from all on the dinner table.
I've decided to share my recipe with you, as I think your family will love you for it, just as much as mine did, if you decide to cook it for them...
Slow-cooked Roast Chicken:
1 bagel, chopped into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed & chopped - this was from my garden :)
zest of 1 lemon
1 whole free-range chicken
200ml chicken stock
200ml white wine
pink sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the bagel pieces, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest to make the stuffing.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towel. Loosely stuff the body cavity of the chicken with the stuffing, then tie or skewer the legs together to secure the stuffing inside the chicken.
Put the stock and wine in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
Put the chicken, breast side down, in a slow cooker and pour over the stock and wine mixture. Season with pink sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook on low for 6 hours, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
Bake pumpkin and potato at 180 degrees celsius in the oven for the last half hour of the slow cooking time. Then remove the cooked chicken from the slow cooker and place in a baking tray and brown in the oven for the last half hour while the vegetables are baking. (Browning in the oven is optional, but I like the chicken looking a bit brown and crispy to serve).
Serve with gravy made from the slow-cooker roasting juices, baked potato and pumpkin, and steamed green vegetables.
So there you have it...my very first (& delicious) slow-roasted chicken dinner!
But that wasn't the only "first" for the week. I also went to High Tea at the famed Sparkle Cupcakery in Surry Hills for the first time, with a dear friend of mine! Although portion sizes were smaller than we expected, we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon...
Our High Tea consisted of sandwich slivers, strawberries with melted chocolate dipping sauce, sparkle cookies/macarons, chocolate mousse and two sparkle cupcakes of our choice (we chose the Belgian Milk Chocolate and the Lavender & Honey flavours to try).....
Also included were some take-home cupcakes. I chose the Belgian Milk Chocolate, as it was my favourite of the two we'd tasted, and I also thought the Coconut Ice and Pure Sparkle (which is a vanilla bean flavour) would be nice. My family thought they were scrumptious and were kind enough to share a bite of each of their cupcakes to quash my curiosity. They really were all scrumptious and it looks like Sparkle Cupcakery have found the perfect cupcake recipe! Oh well, there's still hope for me yet :)
My third "first" for the week was my trip to Sydney's Canley Heights to try Beef Pho, at Bau Truong Vietnamese Restaurant. This place came highly recommended by two of my nieces who have both travelled to Vietnam, and reckon that the food is deliciously authentic. I felt pretty confident that I would enjoy my Pho when I walked in to a packed restaurant, with lots of other patrons eating the Pho too! I wasn't sure what to do with all the accompaniments that were served with it at first, but I soon realised after watching everyone else eating it, that I could just throw in whatever I liked!
I loved the flavour mix of fresh basil, lemon, chilli, crispy bean sprouts and the delicious star anise aroma of the broth. Admittedly, I was glad that my brother-in-law waited to tell me exactly how they make Pho until after I was finished eating....apparently, the beef is added to the broth raw and is only cooked by the intense heat of sitting in the broth. For a split second, I didn't like the thought of raw beef, but it was truly delicious, so I didn't worry about it!
So now I know what Pho is and can cross it off my life to-do list; and although I have never had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam itself, at least my taste buds have experienced Vietnam and all the credit goes to Bau Truong!!
I've noticed that most of us like to be acknowledged when we've done something good. I know I do. Who doesn't want to feel valued and appreciated? We all do. One of the things I love doing is telling a waiter or chef how much I enjoyed their food for instance. I think it gives a person great satisfaction to know that their work is appreciated.
I've always thought it important to give credit where credit is due. I believe whatever we accomplish in life is due to the gifts graciously bestowed upon us by our Creator; so whatever accomplishments in my life, I credit to God. And since it's God who gives us these gifts and talents, who are we not to share them with others if we are able?
Life is made so much richer when human beings share their talents and abilities with one another. I can't imagine a life without Victor Chang's Heart Transplantation work, without Jamie Oliver's food adventures, without Monet's Waterlilies, without Beethoven's 5th Symphony, without Shakespeare's Hamlet, or indeed without Audrey's Breakfast at Tiffany's! Can you?
Imagine if these people had hidden their abilities. Imagine if they had kept their talents all to themselves or just their closest friends. We would never have had the hope of a new heart if we need it, we would never have gazed upon enchanting masterpieces, we would never have heard the delights of such melodious tunes, we would never have experienced the thrill of literary mysteries such as "to be or not to be, that is the question", we would never have believed that we could cook what Jamie cooks, and so on.
We must always give credit where credit is due!
So now I'd like to give some credit where it is due...for my gorgeous new blog design. It may not have changed the world, but it certainly changed my little blog world! I love it and hope you do too (and I certainly hope you even noticed that it was different!)
It was designed by the beautiful Sarah Barker of Blogs by Sass (now called Moozoo Designs), and I'd like you to get to know her a little better....
|Photo courtesy of Sass from Life of the Bees|
Tell me a little about yourself….family, where you live, occupation, etc?
I’m 26 and have been married for 9 years! We have been trying to have babies for that amount of time and sadly it just isn’t working. We have our dog Moo Bear, an Amstaff and he is the love of my life. He’s a terribly behaved dog but we love him...even if he is a menace. We are about to become foster parents which is very exciting and terrifying at the same time. We live on the Sunshine Coast but we are about to move to Brisbane to be closer to the husband's work.
You have more than one blog. Could you describe them to me?
I have three blogs. I have Life of the Bees, which is my main blog, my design website Moozoo Designs (which used to be called Blogs by Sass), and also a 365 day blog that is very out of date LOL.
You design blogs…are you a web designer by profession or are you self-taught?
I have always had an interest in graphic design. Everything I know is self taught. I’ve always loved illustrations and drawing. The web design came after. I sort of fell into it after re-doing my own blog site and the blogs of a couple of friends. I realised that I was actually pretty good at what I do LOL.
What inspired you to first start blogging?
I started blogging over four years ago, first privately and then I started Life of the Bees. It was originally going to be all about our infertility journey through IVF and other things, but I found it addictive and now I blog about all sorts of topics. I always try to be positive and I make sure that my sense of humour comes through.
You also contribute to a blog called “We Heart Life”. Why did you decide to join this team and how do you fit it all in?
I am the editor of We Heart Life and have been for the past couple of months. I originally stepped in to help Carly (the creator) so she could have a little break. As it turns out, I loved everything about it and now I’m there forever :)
I also write some articles on the We Heart Life blog. You’ll find me writing about interior design and their "inspiring" posts, as well as a few "grateful for" posts and other bits and bobs.
If you had to tell me about one thing you are really passionate about, what would it be and why?
I am really passionate about what I do. I love designing and I am about to expand my brand which is so exciting. Very soon I’ll be offering other design services for digital AND print. There is nothing I love more than having someone tell me they love what I have created for them. I’ve spent years and years going from job to job never having a career or loving what I do until now. I am extremely lucky that my husband has a wonderful job that enables me to be able to go on this journey of self employment.
I assume you follow many other blogs. I know it’s probably very difficult to choose, but what is your favourite must-read blog and why?
My favourite blog is obviously We Heart Life. Not just because I’m the editor but because I love what it stands for.
What are you hoping to achieve with your blog in the future?
For Life of the Bees, I’m happy where I am with it at the moment. I couldn’t imagine it changing. I’ve met some wonderful people through my blog and the support network that I have built is amazing. For Blogs by Sass, I’m very excited to be launching a new site in the coming weeks and expanding my brand as I said before.
Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you?
For me, I blog authentically. I wouldn’t put something on my blog that I wouldn’t tell my mum. My blogging style is quite light and funny but you’ll find some serious posts in there too.
Thanks for sharing Sass. And thank you so much for my blog design...I love it!!