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All posts for the month December, 2010

Blog Insight

Published December 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening, as I’ve mentioned before I’ll be returning back home for Christmas for 2 weeks and I’m looking forward to it. So this weekend I’ll try to update some post before I go on a break for 2 weeks. As this year is coming to an end, I reflect upon the time I’ve spent in Melbourne so far and some of the wonderful blessings which I have received from the Lord.

It hasn’t been always easy staying in Melbourne been away from my family and friends, and though there are of course challenges along the way, the Lord has always provided us with sufficient wisdom and strength to deal with issues/problems. The Lord has blessed us with our accommodation in the city area where there’s a gym/swimming pool facility downstairs which helped us to keep a little fit and healthy – I have not caught a single cold ever since moving to Melbourne (which is amazing consider I catch an average of 10+ colds in Perth and Melbourne weather as you guys are aware can be a 4 season within a day) and I walk to work everyday and get to go home during lunch break to eat my lunch and watch the TV at the same time! The convenience of walking to QV building and Vic Market for my weekly grocery shopping and the varieties of restaurants available as I step out of our apartment!

The blessings of the Lord having led us to Bethel BP church, I found myself looking forward to Sundays attending God’s house to listen to God’s word. God’s word is so real and wonderful, I have a short attention span, struggles with reading God’s word daily and when it comes to the book of Revelation I was thinking to myself oh no – I’m going to fall asleep but wow, it’s not only fascinating but I was greatly encouraged by the powerful preaching of God’s word and was widely awake during the whole entire sermon wanting more!

Yes and not to forget about the Masterchef Audition experience I’ve had – it was an unforgettable experience and I’m so glad God has given me this opportunity to attend and now I live with no regret as I know what’s it like auditioning for Masterchef and photos to keep for my fish memory. 🙂

Job wise, God has been good to me he provided me with temp jobs to cover me for the time of the stay not only provided us an additional source of financial support but keeping me occupied and learn to be submissive to my supervisor and to do continue my tedious work with patience. Then I hurt my wrist had to go to the physio and end this project I was working on. God closes one door and opens up another door. I later was contacted by my agency and was told DHS wanted to offer me another short term role that will not involve any mouse work so that I could continue working and not strain my wrist further – God is amazing & wonderful He really knows our needs and what’s best for us.

Catching up with a long lost friend who I have not seen for 10 years and God has used this opportunity to bring her back to church again – it was meant to be and I’m grateful for this opportunity.

Who would have thought by moving over to Melbourne that my relationship with my younger sister have become closer and we have even started praying together with her confiding in me some of her current issues she’s facing in her life (this has never ever happened while I was in Perth).

Spending more time with my brother in law’s family and observing how they raise their children and seeing the difficulties a family will face from day to day – a good practice for both Pandabear and I for our future family planning. I keep getting told and asked by church aunties that I look like my sister in law and are we sisters?? We have lots in common not just in looks but also we both love our food and battles with our weight issues as well 🙂

Anyways, the list will go on and on but I’m thankful for this great opportunity of moving to Melbourne for 6 months. Melbourne is such a great city – apart from the crazy weather, the people here are really nice and not to mention the brilliant restaurants and food they have over here. But if people ask me whether I would prefer living in Melbourne or Perth. I would answer without a slight hesitation definitely Perth, as my family and friends are there. Even though Melbourne has it’s perks, I’m a creature who is very family orientated and my family means a world to me. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else in this world. 🙂

So friends have a safe Christmas and blessed New Year as we welcome the year of 2011… Another interesting and exciting new to come…

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Weight Loss Journey – Bye Bye Jenny Craig I won’t miss you…

Published December 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, sorry been out of action lately. I’ve gone back to working full-time this week and so to rest my dodgy right wrist I’ve decided not to work on my blog at home. I’m going back home for Christmas this coming Monday which means I’ll be out of action for 2 weeks till the new year.

Anyways, this week I had my final consultation with JC and I was really nervous as I wanted to break the news to them that I aint coming back anymore. After 3 months of eating JC meals, I’ve finally had enough!! Though I must admit initially I was really impressed with the frozen meals – they were really tasty and their snacks are pretty good too. But like any good things, they will come to an end soon. For me, the weight isn’t shedding off as much, I’m still hovering around the same weight mark and are really getting sick of the frozen meals – as they do repeat after week 4. So, since my membership trial $10 for 10kg membership for 3 months is coming to an end. It was a perfect timing for me to tell them that I don’t want to continue anymore. Well, when I arrived at JC for my weekly consultation I went really late around 6.20pm which means I’ve had my dinner already which means I should put on a little more weight.

My consultant was meant to be Sarah but she was really busy with the previous client so I ended up with my initial consultant Corinna 🙂 I love Corinna she’s always been so supportive…she asked me how was my week and I said it was ok. I managed to ate most of the meals but didn’t hit the gym at all my excuse was I had ‘the time of the month’. Anyways, I hopped on the scale and surprisingly I did lose about 300g consider I had ate my dinner so really I might have actually lost 0.5kg. So she was very proud of me. But I had to break the news to her that after 3 months worth of frozen meals, I’ve decided to go back to my normal food as January will be my last month in Melbourne and I really want to explore all the good restaurants that I have missed while I was staying in Melbourne. She said “that’s fine, yeah if it was me I would have been sick of it too” (she whispered) as I don’t think she’s meant to agree with me. She gave me a warm smile and said “you’ve done really well, consider you’ve been doing it for a short time and you still managed to lose some weight” I thank her for all her support and said well, I might return back to JC one day. She replied with her great smile “yeah we’ll have your files and will welcome you back anytime” She didn’t convinced me to stay and was still so nice to me. It made my decision to leave JC alot easier. So I went to the counter and paid for the remainder of this week’s meal. This week will be my last week for JC 🙂

In Summary, I have been keeping a record of how much it has cost me to buy the JC meals and the final weight loss for the 3 months was 7.5kg 🙂 even though I have not made it to my half weight loss mark, I’m still very proud of myself.

Here’s a glimpse of the costings:

22/09/10 $152.90 week 1
29/09/10 111.65 week 2
6/10/10 136.55 week 3
22/10/10 143.3 week 4
29/10/10 99.4 week 5
4/11/10 83 week 6
10/11/10 142.3 week 7
17/11/10 131.9 week 8
24/11/10 90.15 week 9
1/12/10 68.15 week 10
7/12/10 111.75 week 11
15/12/10 77.6 week 12

Total cost for 3 months = $1,348.65
Average weekly cost = $112.39

Seriously, it isn’t too bad – for some weeks my meal costs are quite low – I’ve been eating out a lot more hence there was a back log of frozen meals. But average costing per week ended up less than $150 which is great!

Here’s my pros and cons of joining JC:

Pros:
1. Easy to follow meal rosters – didn’t have to think what you need to eat each day – very convenient. Brekkie, snacks, lunch and dinner all planned out for you. Save cooking time and preparation time
2. If you end up eating out on a particular day, when it comes to your weekly consultation you can let them know to take out the meal on the list as you have a spare one at home
3. If you don’t like a particular meal you can swap it with another one (as long as the calorie count is similar – they will let you know)
4. weekly consultation and weighing – you are accountable to someone on a weekly basis and the consultants will weigh you and go through how you can improve for the next week. A great support as you don’t feel as if though you’re doing this alone
5. Membership trial 10kg for $10 was a great deal for 3 months
6. If you are on holidays for a few weeks, you can let them know and they will let you have a few weeks break
7. The frozen meals are actually quite tasty and surprisingly full. They are well portioned which teaches you to eat regularly and make sure you have regular meals which are small portioned.

Cons:
1. Once you’ve had a few frozen meals for at least a month, you start to get sick of it as after week 4 it goes back to week 1 menu and they just rotates around
2. Cost wise – it’s a little on the expensive side, they do provide you with itemised invoice showing how much each food item cost and they are a little on the expensive side. If you pay for the regular membership fee it will cost around few hundred dollars plus you need to pay for the meals as well.
3. The weight loss progress is a little slow, you will find at first there’s not much progress as your weight adjust to a ‘food shock’ to your system. Your weight will fluctuate from losing 1kg one week and then gaining that back and then losing 1.5kg the next week. So it’s not really a quick weight loss program but rather a slow weight loss program
4. Not sure how healthy it is to live on frozen and microwave meals but they do recommend fresh fruits and salads with their meals along with a multivitamin supplements they provide
5. On top of the membership cost and meal cost you’ve also got to buy your own fresh vegies, fruits, yogurt and milk so really there’s still some grocery cost involved as well which can be a pain sometimes.

So as you can see there’s definitely more pros than cons of joining JC, and now that I’ve been through it what I’ve learnt is I need to regularly eat throughout the day (healthy snacks ofcourse) otherwise my body goes into this hunger or starvation mode and I end up eating 3 supersize meals as suppose to 6 small meals. When I eat out I would automatically try to order healthier options as the JC program is rather expensive, it will make me think twice whether I should have a large fried rice as suppose to having a small serve of fried rice and lots of vegies with it. It was also a challenge for me in terms of eating JC meals and preparing normal meals for Pandabear and I’ve so proud that I’ve finally learnt how to ‘not waste food’ buy over buying things. I even typed up a stock take of what I have in my pantry and fridge to monitor my spendings.

Here’s some meals I’ve been eating…

So it’s been a pleasant journey going through JC and looking back it was well worth it 🙂 Now it’s coming to an end it will be a challenge for me to see whether I can maintain my current weight or lose more weight and not pig out!

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Fifteen Chocolate tart

Published December 15, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. It’s time to get back to Jamie’s cook book challenge again 🙂 Anyways, came across this chocolate indulgence recipe and most of you guys know I love everything that’s associated with chocolate – chocolate icecream, chocolate cake, chocolate flavoured drinks, hot chocolate, chocolate cheese cake etc.. But I’m not really a chocolate on it’s own type of girl. There’s only certain chocolates I love…anyways, wanted to try out this recipe. Why did I say the recipe is full of chocolate indulgence cos even the pastry is also made with chocolate.

So here it is…

ingredients

ingredients

next step – creaming the butter, sugar and salt

next step making my chocolate pastry

now it was time to rest the dough in the fridge for an hour. I was starting to think my dough looks huge for the size of a tart tin..oh well, the recipe says to add that much flour…

time to take out the dough and roll it flat to fit onto my tart tin…honestly, there was way too much dough and I ended up rolling it to a very thick size. Fortunately, my sister in law was with me and she said the dough looks really thick, so I decided to re-roll again to a thinner size, the amount of dough we had was enough to make 2 chocolate tarts – no kidding 🙂

Then it was time to pop them into the freezer for 1/2 hour and then baking time. I had my ceramic baking beads that my little sister gave me for my birthday prezzie so they came in handy…Jamie said to blind bake the pastry.

Then it was time to make the filling – my favourite bit. Time to melt close to two full bars of chocolate, whole milk, double cream, sugar and eggs. This is going to be so rich…

So that it’s easier to pour into my tart tin, I decided to pour the filling mixture into a jug 🙂

Now it was time to pour the filling into the tart and bake it…for some strange reason, there were heaps of it left over…

Now it was time to grab the tart out of the oven. For some strange reason, the top section of the chocolate tart filling was not looking smooth at all, in fact it was bubbling when I was peeking at it inside the oven. I suspect either it was overcooked or the temperature was too high. My oven is pretty unreliable it hasn’t got a digital setting for the temperature control hence the temperature can be slightly off at times.

Time to cool the tart 🙂

Time to check out the cross section of the chocolate indulgence tart 🙂

So overall, the tart tasted really good but I reckon if I didn’t overcook the tart filling it would have been perfect and gooey inside it. But I followed the exact timing and temperature for the tart – not sure what happened there. Another strange thing is that I’m left with enough tart pastry and filling to make a second tart. So my first tart went to Church on Sunday and it was all gone left with one tiny mouth piece which went into my mouth 🙂 and the second tart I baked to take to work and my colleagues said “this tart is delicious!” but they didn’t finished it off cos they were trying to stay healthy and this rich tart was too evil and too chocolate indulgence for their liking…I admire their self-control cos I’m pretty sure it would have been gone if I took it to work back home hehehehe…I’m going to write to Jamie to tell him about his measurements, some instructions are also not very well written…After making two tarts I still had some dough and filling left over which I’m going to bake them into tiny biscuits 🙂

Cook book challenge success? Yup 🙂

Weight Loss Journey – The temptations of eating out!!!

Published December 11, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, sorry haven’t been posting lately been trying to adjust going back to work and recover from a week’s visit from my mummy and little sister. So yes, it’s time to catch up on my post. Well, as you guys know that I’m a foodie so when I was told that my mummy and little sister will be visiting me for a week, I’ve already planned in advance to take them out to certain restaurants to eat. Pandabear has provided me with a suggestion that since we’ll be out about during day time I should really still stick to coming home for dinner that way I can have some JC meals for dinner. As he knows me well, I will definitely pig out when I eat out he recommended me buying lunch size JC meals and have that for my dinner. Sounds fair 🙂 So did it go according to plan? Nope, cos we ended up eating out for dinner most of the time anyways :-O

So it was time for my weighing with JC and I was pretty sure I would have gained back at least 1-2kgs. So when I hopped onto the scale to my surprise it was only 1kg. Phew…not too bad and I was left with lots of JC meals so didn’t have to spend lots of money buying the next lot of food so it was a win win situation. Now that my mummy and little sister have returned back home, I have no excuses but to stick to JC meals again…so here’s some of the JC meals I’ve been eating lately…

So, after having most of the JC meals I’ve ended up with the same weight – I think my body went for an extreme shock when I returned back to the huge portions and oily food of eating out and now that I’ve suddenly changed back to smaller portions of JC meals it’s decided to remain the same weight. I think I’m at this point that I’m struggling with losing 3kgs so that I could reach my weight loss 1/2 way mark. I’m hoping that with last week of two of JC will help me achieve that. As my membership is expiring around 21st Dec it’s perfect timing as I will be returning back home for Christmas after that time for 2 weeks so it’ll be interesting to find out how much weight I would have put on. As I’ve only got one month of stay left in Melbourne (January) I really wanted to eat out and try out as many restaurants as possible and it will be time that I learn to control what I order and the portion size and to stop eating when I’m already full. Also, I’m starting to get bored of JC meals now as they only supply you 4 weeks worth of meals after the 4th week you go back to week 1 and it just keeps rotating…

It has been a great learning experience with JC and looking back now I’ve learnt to eat healthier food and to make sure I don’t let myself go into the starving mode and ended up eating large portion of meals cos I’m hungry and to do that I made sure I have regular healthy snacks throughout the day. Even though I have not reached my full weight loss goal, at least I’m 1/2 way there 🙂 so I shall let you know how I go with my last week and two with JC.

Blog Insight

Published December 7, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends,

Long time no post…it’s been a hectic week with my little sister and mum paying me a visit. We had a fiasco of eating, shopping, time wasting and the list goes on. So now I’m exhausted and some kgs heavier due to constant eating out and not having much of JC meals…okies I need to catch my breath – phew. What’s been happening over my world. Well, I have recently resigned from my work due to hurting my right wrist/arm from repetitious mouse work & bad posture. Yeah, who would have thought that I would hurt myself from work rather than from excessive blogging and facebooking. God closes one door and open up another door, I later on received a phone call from the same company who offered me another role less intense on mouse work so my plan of being a bum from Dec/Jan exploring around Melbourne has now gone out the window and it’s back to work for me tomorrow. I’m thankful for this opportunity as it means more shopping money for our Europe trip in February next year 🙂

What’s been happening lately, well this month has just started and I have managed to hurt my right wrist/arm, hurt my left toe (tripping over some metal sliding door thingy), a bruise on my right arm from acupuncture, dodgy left knee from perhaps too much walking/shopping with my little sister and mum and the list goes on…so this month I must be very careful not to hurt myself more as I’ve been quite clumsy and accident prone 😦

I’m way behind with my Jamie’s cook book challenge and I need to get back on baking desserts and moving onto the savoury section – testing out my home made pasta machine (which I secretly purchased without telling Pandabear – evil laughs)

I’m now gobbling down some awesome ilgelato and will try to blog more post some time this week….

So stay tuned….