Satay Chicken Noodle Stirfry

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I think after eating this meal last night we got our veggie intake for the next couple of days!!!

Recipe used: http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/recipes/2009/january/satay-chicken-noodle-stir-fry

We love this recipe, and are making it once a week at the moment! Very easy to make, filling, healthy, and its cooked in 20 minutes.

Servings: 4 portions

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Irish Soda Bread

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I baked this beauty on Saturday. I normally bake it in a loaf pan, but this time I thought I would double the recipe, so I used a normal circular cake pan.

Recipe used: http://www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/recipes/desserts/pages/traditionalbrownsodabread.aspx

A few issues I had with doubling the quantity was that the outside cooked way faster than the inside and when I finally pulled it out of the oven after 1 hour, the middle was still all batter-y. I read up online as to why this is and I think it was either 1 of 2 things.  The first – the cake pan was too small for the quantity of batter in it. 2. The oven temperature was set too high. I tend to this it was the first reason, so next time I will try only doing 1.5 x instead of 2 x the normal quantity.

The bread was still delicious once I cut out the uncooked part!

Make sure you eat it with 2-3 days of baking it as the outside goes quite hard very quickly.

I normally serve the bread with butter (for James) and I add some honey to mine – it’s absolutely delicious!

Try this recipe for yourself and tell me what you think of the taste!

A man who knows how to cook!

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I have enjoyed James cooking three nights in a row over the long weekend just passed.

1. James’ Nonna’s Meatball + sauce recipe served with cous cous

2. James’ Nonna’s Split Pea & Lentil soup recipe, served with Irish soda bread (made by me – I will blog a recipe post with the recipe)

3. James’ recipes for Fettucine Carbonara

All three meals were absolutely delicious and I can’t wait for him to cook for me again!!

Back to work for James today, so the cooking is back in my hands! – Not that I mind at all! 🙂

Volunteering with New York Cares

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Just got back from a very fun afternoon volunteering with James at a New York Cares project.

Since moving over here, as you have all read, I have had plenty of time on my hands. James suggested I sign up and become a volunteer with New York Cares, and I did, almost 2 months ago now. I have done quite a few projects including helping serve food to people with low vision, watching movies with people at a rehabilitation center, helping out at after school care with kindy kids, playing sport with kids who have different levels of autism, food prep for meals given out to the homeless and many others.

I absolutely love volunteering – especially seeing how happy it makes the people you are helping. They often take a special interest in me due to having an Australian accent. They love it!

So James and I have recently started doing one volunteering project on the weekend together each week. Today we went to a project where we were on food service. There was around 50 volunteers on this particular project due to the huge amount of people we serve food out to. Today we hit a record of serving 1400 people in 2 hours!! Normally they serve around 900 people. It must have been the cold weather today. It was absolutely incredible to see how the kitchen worked with continually pumping out more food for us to serve, and then the huge production line of us serving and getting it out to the homeless/low income people. At the end service, we packaged up takeaway containers of leftovers and handed it out to people as they left the building.

We will definitely be signing up to this project again!! It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the people we volunteered with were great fun to work with.

Delicious Corn Muffins + My story behind my baking streak

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Recipe used: http://www.food.com/recipe/delicious-corn-muffins-24344

I just baked these beauties from scratch and have pulled them out of the oven to cool. The apartment smells amazing, and they taste absolutely amazing!

Doing my own calorie analysis, calories per muffin = 229 cals (which to mean seems huge for such a small muffin!!) Won’t be having these again for a while, but for now, James and I will enjoy them!

I have a little explaining to do behind my baking streak. So since moving to NYC and in my quest to find an entry-level job in HR, I would have to say the past 2 months since I have been actively seeking work has been the most stressful time I have ever encountered in my 23 years of life. Within these 2 months I have applied to over 290 jobs for entry level HR positions and administrative roles (as a way I could work my way into the HR dept at some point in the future). So I have applied to 290 jobs, had a couple of in-person interviews, numerous phone interviews and countless calls from Recruiters saying they wanted to meet with me to discuss roles. Additionally I accepted a role as a Junior Recruiter/Admin Assistant and had the worst experience with the person who employed me, it was so bad that I couldn’t take the stress of the work environment, so I didn’t go back after 2 weeks there. So anyway, my visa (J1) is all about the “cultural experience” rather than the work experience. They want you to “find a job that requires minimal training to sustain your cultural experience…” Well unfortunately this is not what I wanted out of the visa… I want to be able to get a job and work in the US for a couple of years before returning home with my boyfriend. Being on this visa means that I can’t use recruitment agencies to find jobs, nor can I do internships to gain experience, so basically I am stuck looking for a part-time job as a waitress or something (which I’m not putting down or anything), but the fact that I have come over to the US, seeking employment, I am qualified with a Bachelors in the field I am looking for employment, seems to be not enough to be able to get noticed in the US.

And look, I can totally understand that American employers would hire a local over a foreigner on a visa any day, because the process is easier, there is no visa and it involves less cost….but for the rest of us on visas seeking work in our field, how are we supposed to catch a break??

So anyway, I’ve gone off on a bit of rant here, so back to my story behind my baking streak. So I had this terrible experience with starting work with this employer, and for that two weeks I have never been so anxious, stressed, unable to sleep and upset in my life. Without realising any correlation between my stress and baking I started to make recipes I’d found on the internet from scratch. My boyfriend one day said to me, you do realise that ever since you engaged in discussions/started working with this woman you have been baking something twice a week? I mean, I love cooking – but normally its cooking dinner, not baking, let alone baking from scratch, I’m normally a packet mix kinda gal. But here I was stress baking, making anzac biscuits, muffins, irish soda bread and cakes all from scratch. It was my way of relaxing and not thinking about anything else except that tasty treat I would be able to sample in half an hour. James has benefited from my stress baking as well!

But I have been baking for almost a month now, and whilst it has been great, it needs to stop. We are both on a mission to lose weight (me, I have 4 kgs left after putting on over 11 kgs when I went gallivanting around Europe for 3 months last year… so I still hold on to 4 kgs, which I am very determined to get off. So from today, I have baked my last sweet treat – corn muffins! The only thing I am allowing myself to bake is irish soda bread, as its so nice to have fresh bread, and it is low GI (I think), so I think baking a loaf once a week for the weekend will be fine. But the rest of the yummy treats are not being produced for a while now.

So there you go…. a little bit more of my story – about my experience of finding work in NYC, how I deal with stress (a new method I have discovered without knowing) and now my determination to lose those last 4 kgs…

Introduction

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Hello fellow bloggers!

Well today, I post my first blog, and I am quite excited about sharing my story. A friend suggested to me the other day that I start my own blog and make blogging a little hobby of mine whilst I have so much free time on my hands (looking for work – but I will explain this later).

I am an Aussie living in NYC, since November 2012. My boyfriend got transferred over here in March 2012. So we spent 8 months apart last year and then finally in November we were reunited and I moved to NYC to live with him and start a new chapter of our life together.

I graduated from University at the end of 2011, with a Bachelor of Business majoring in HR & Marketing. 2012 was kinda like a gap year for me. I did 4 months HR work experience at a couple of companies, then did a 3 months Eurotrip with an awesome girlfriend and then I moved to NYC. What a year hey!

Since November 2012, living in NYC has been the most amazingly different experience. In 3 months I don’t think I have ever experienced so many hurdles in my life!! The visa I am on isn’t making it very easy for me to find work and several other reasons also isn’t helping with gaining employment. I shall blog separately about these issues.

My family all live back home in Australia – and I will be very lucky to have quite a few members visit us this year. My parents are coming at the end of May for 10 days, then my best friend is coming the first week of July and then my cousin is coming sometime in September! There also always seems to be some I know from Australia traveling through NYC on their way to somewhere else.

But for now, that’s my life for the past year and a bit in a nutshell! I look forward to following other bloggers with similar stories and updating you on mine!

Take care

Nikki