Thursday, 29 December 2011

Santa baby

Hi Bloggers!

So another Christmas is done and dusted. I hope you had a wonderful time with your families and ate lots of scrummy foods! We had such a wonderful relaxing Christmas this year, got to give our parents lots of hugs and talk wedding plans. Only 21 days now! I'm starting to get really excited! It's not everyday you get marry your best friend in the whole world.

I didn't do a lot of baking this year (I know shock horror!) but I am planning on making a panforte (Italian Christmas cake with nuts and chocolate) for our new years picnic. So if its any good I will post my recipe next week xx. I did get these sweet cookie stencils from my sister in London, so I used them on my chocolate cookies recipe


Here's a little Christmas picture of us... our last Christmas as "boyfriend and girlfriend".



Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Gingerbread house fun!

On Sunday I embarked upon the very exciting challenge of building my first ever gingerbread house.It was so much fun, I highly recommend giving it a go!

Here is my process step-by-step.I used a cookie cutter set but you could buy a pre made one and just decorate it.

Bake the gingerbread! using the dough recipe below.

  • 2-2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp Gregg's Ground Ginger
  • 1 cup (220g) firmly packed Chelsea Soft Brown Sugar or Chelsea Dark Cane Sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Chelsea Icing Sugar 

 1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Sift flour, baking soda and ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add Chelsea Soft Brown Sugar  or Dark Cane Sugar.
3. Add butter and rub in with fingertips or pulse in food processor until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and stir or pulse to mix. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour to the mix and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour.
4. Roll out on lightly floured surface or between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes and place on tray. Form leftover dough into a ball and re-roll and repeat cutting out until all the dough is used up.

5. Bake gingerbread for 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack.




When your gingerbread pieces are cooled its time to start building!

I made royal icing from the Chelsea Sugar website you can get it here. Its really an awesome icing! I'm going to use it for all my christmas cookie decorating this year.

The most important part of your construction is the first two bits! First you have to spread a thick layer of icing on the bottom of your tray. This helps give your two sides something to sink into.

Make sure you have a thick layer of icing for all of the walls! It takes a good few minutes to set but when it does its like a rock!

Then after a few hours of setting time, its ready to be decorated! Let your imagination go wild! We just bought lots of lollies and went at it without any real plan, but next time I think I would plan it all out so its a bit neater.

Sooo much fun. 



Takes a good 3-4 hours total to make but its worth it! Heaps of fun and now we have a huge pill of yummy gingerbread to eat all week!


Below is the gingerbread house after we hacked into it last night...

Wishing you a lovely Christmas Blogger friends xx

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Summer lovin'

I think we can officially announce that summer has hit New Zealand. Today was one of those ' ah its summer days'. Not a breath of wind, just boiling hot sun and beautiful clear skies as far as the eye can see. It got me thinking about my favourite things about Summer so I thought I'd share a few.

Taken @ Shelly Bay, Wellington.

Snorkeling! Last year we went snorkling for hours at Goat Island Marine reserve (its awesome!) and next year we are planning our honeymoon at the Great Barrier Reef! I haven't got my own snorkle but thats going to change this summer.

 Collecting seashells and making them into pretty art or necklaces.


 Iced coffee


BBQ's- Homemade marinades and yummy sausages (with potato salad of course!)


Driving in bare feet (because they are too sandy for shoes)


Strawberries & Watermelon! 


What's your favourite thing about Summer?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tea and other delicious things

Recently I've had some time to reflect on the finer thing of life...I could spend a few paragraphs explaining them to you. Or! I could just post this picture I found...


So cute! and so true (maybe bar the Road trips though, I used to like them but after way too many 9 hour drives from Wellington to Auckland and vice versa I'm not really a fan anymore-Sorry Road trips maybe we will get back together in the future.)

Other cool things I discovered this week?


Tehehehe I cracked up when James showed me this! I think I laughed out loud for about a minute or so... I hope you enjoy it <3.

In other news I spent a good 4 hours on Pinterest on Friday night, I think I might need a Pinterest intervention lol. If you havent discovered the joy of Pinterest yet you should sign up and follow me :)

I only baked once this week... considering its school holidays atm that was pretty restrained I thought. It was a marble cake which was actually wasn't as good as I hoped, but was super fun to make! You basically divide a plain cake into three  add cocoa and red colouring, then just go nuts with a fork mixing them into a pretty pattern :)


Hope you have a swell weekend x

Friday, 30 September 2011

Elvis brownies

So tonight I have the house to myself and decided to combine two if my favourite things listening to some loud Rock and Roll music while baking a new brownie recipe. The result? possibly my best brownies yet!

I thought I'd share the recipe with you because unlike regular brownie this one has a bit of a secret trick at the end....

Its an ice bath! yep, you heard it here first! letting your brownies cool in an ice bath will ensure they are crunchy on top and gooey in the middle, brilliant!



Recipe adapted by me from kingartherflour.com

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa
3 large eggs
3/4 cup of brown wholemeal flour
    Melt the sugar and butter in a microwave safe bowl for about a min on high. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix in the three eggs and your cocoa until combined. Do a bit of a dance around to your favourite Elvis song, then add the flour and pour into a greaseproof paper lined brownie pan. Bake for about 25 mins at 180 and then quickly place into an ice bath too cool! Viola! Elvis brownies:)


    I also wanted to share this FANTASTIC musician I discovered last month, I'm really enjoying his music. His name is Ben Howard and his album is called "Every Kingdom" and its released 3 Oct. All his songs are just hauntingly beautiful, I love his lyrics they are like pretty poems. His voice kinda reminds me of a combo of Bon Iver and Robert Pattinson, mmm whats not too like?

    "We stood
    Steady as the stars in the woods
    So happy-hearted
    And the warmth rang true inside these bones"


    The Pines by Ben Howard

    Friday, 23 September 2011

    Bloglovin

    I've heard that Bloglovin is the hip new Google Reader so I've added a link for any of you who use it. I personally prefer my Google reader, but hey its good to try new things sometimes.

    To 'Follow my blog with Bloglovin' just click the bloglovin button on the right hand side xx

    Monday, 12 September 2011

    Lemon yogurt cake

    Lemons are in season at the moment and I just can't seem to resist buying them when I see a huge bag of them for 3 dollars! But this in turn leads me to the problem of how am I going to use all these lemons, before they go bad? After trawling the internet last weekend I found this fantastic yogurt lemon cake. It takes about 5 mins to assemble and 30 to bake, the hardest part is waiting for it too cool before you devour it.

    After eating a piece of this cake it got me thinking just how much I love lemon things, lemon curd, lemon delicious pudding, lemon hand lotion.  

    (Lemon flutter from Lush)

    Lemons are one of those really versatile fruits, you can cook them in sweet or savory dishes and even preserve them so the lemon love can continue all summer long!

    Ingredients:

    • 1cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2-3 tsp of lemon juice
    • grated rind of 2 lemons
    • 3/4 cups oil
    • 1 cup of vanilla yoghurt
    • 2 cups of self-raising flour
    Syrup:
    • 100g caster sugar
    • juice of 2 or 3 lemons (depends on how tangy you like it)
    • Zap in microwave to desolve, about 30 seconds.

    Directions

    1. In a bowl, mix rind, oil, eggs and sugar with a fork.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.
    3. Pour into greased ring tin and bake at 180 C for 30 minutes.
    4. Take out and poke holes all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup.
    5. ENJOY!!

    Tuesday, 6 September 2011

    Caramel deliciousness

    What better way to spend an afternoon than baking a new treat? Today I decided to make what my Mum calls 'tan slice' but what my recipe book names 'oaty caramel slice'. I took some pictures of the process because really I just wanted an excuse to use my cool new android camera app.

    In other news I'm getting excited to see lots of movies in the next few weeks, its funny how some months there is nothing you want to pay $15 to see and other months you want to see everything! This month is one of the latter! The one I'm most looking forward to "The Help" which I'm planning on reading in the next little while ( thanks to my awesome sister for posting me the book!)

    Caramel tan/oaty slice:

    Base:
    1 1/2 Cup flour
    1/4 Sugar
    175 g butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 Cup oats

    Filling:
    1 can condensed milk
    2 tablespoons golden syrup
    50 gm butter




















    Beat butter sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, add flour and oats and mix until crumbs form and the mixture clumps together.




















    Meanwhile... in a pot add condensed milk, butter and golden syrup, let it bubble away on a low heat until the butter melts and it becomes caramel in colour ( takes about 5 mins). Press 3/4 of the base mixture into a slice tin ( 26 cm x 26 cm) and pour over the caramel sauce. Crumble the last 1/4 of the base mixture onto the top of the caramel sauce and then bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and the caramel is no longer 'wobbly' (about 25-30 mins).




















     Cool and cut into fingers.Mmmm Caramel deliciousness....

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    Pretty things and the week that was

    Beautiful warm Wellington weather L-R Scorching Bay, Breaker Bay, Sunset from our house.

    Yes! thats right it was sunny almost everyday last week and I managed to get outside and enjoy it on more than one occasion which was awesome! If this is any clue on the Summer we have to come then I am very hopeful of long summer days filled with swimming at the beach and big cones of homemade ice cream!

    I'm pleased to announce Wedding planning is going really well now, the trick is to decide on one thing and then stop looking (thanks for the tip Geraldine) Because otherwise you just get bombarded by pretty things and find yourself not being able to decide because you love them all! Here's a sneak preview of our wedding..... the church: Saint Barnabas, Roseneath.

     and reception venue...Wellington Rowing Club

    I think thats all I'm going to share on our wedding for now, 4 months to go and the rest of my ideas will have to be a surprise!

    Thursday, 1 September 2011

    Hello SPRING!!

    In honour of this lovely new season I have had a bit of a 'spring clean' of my blog:) I've added some new things (like a countdown for our wedding!) and of course a new season means a new blog banner. This year I've gone with some singing baby birds because who doesn't love seeing cute baby things? It pretty much the best part of spring! I especially love the new jumpy lambs and ducklings! oh yes! Spring is here and I am pleased (to say the least!).


    Thursday, 18 August 2011

    Very exciting post... healthy KFC!

    No, its not a typo bloggers! I have recently discovered a recipe for chicken that tastes like KFC only its baked in the oven not fried.

    This discovery stemmed from a kindy I was working in last week, the teachers had been watching 'The foodtruck' on tv one and apparently he made his own version of KFC. One of them really wanted to try it so they googled a recipe and viola! here is is. I made it twice last week it was so good, my flatmates couldn't believe how good it is (and neither could I) you really just have to have a go for yourself!

    Homemade 'healthy' KFC:

      4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or chicken pieces with bones  
      1 Tbsp salt  
      1 cup flour  
      1 tbsp. pepper  
      2 tbsp. paprika 
      1/2 tsp. garlic salt  
      1 1/2 tsp. ground mustard  
      1 1/2 tsp. ground thyme  
      1 1/2 tsp. basil 1/2 tsp. oregano  
      1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger  
      1 egg, beaten 1/4 cup vegetable oil
      (Wait... thats only 7 secret herbs and spices, hmmmm)

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

    In shallow bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Heat large pan with vegetable oil. Dip each chicken piece in a the beaten egg then into spice mixture; coat well.

    Add to hot frying pan and brown on both sides. Remove to paper toweling to drain oil. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

    Number of Servings: 4

    'Real' KFC



    Baked KFC

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    Blogger award

    A lovely fellow blogger Trees from Adventures of a girl from the Naki awarded me a blogger award a few days ago, which is very exciting! So basically you answer these question below and then pass it on to 15 other bloggers.Make sure you send them little message so they know you've awarded it to them.


    Whats your favourite colour?
    I like yellow, its bright and happy. Its going to be one of the colours for our wedding

    Whats your favourite song?

    I don't think I have just one. I like loads of music. Especially Johnny Cash, I could listen to him all day and never get tired of his music.

    What is your favourite dessert?

    This is tricky for me, I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth ever. But I think something chocolatey wins hands down, there's nothing quite like a good fudge brownie with hot fudge sauce and ice cream!

    Whats pissing you off?

    Nothing really at the moment... It is kind of annoying that power is so expensive right now. I dread getting their bill in the mail

    When you're upset you...
    Pout and cry, I'm such a girl!


    Black OR white?

    White, I'm not sure why though, I never wear white because it always gets dirty and it annoys me lol. But I do like the colour.

    Biggest fear?

    Burning to death would be pretty horrible. I used to have nightmares about that, I also thought I was good with heights until we went rock climbing and I realised looking down freaks the crap out of me!

    Your best feature?

    I like my hair, its an awesome colour.

    Everyday attitude....

    Happy go lucky, I'm pretty chilled which I think is a good quality. Unless I'm doing wedding planning it seems to stress me out!

    What is perfection?

    Having a hot chocolate and with good book,bliss

    Guilty pleasure..
    Donuts! I adore them. I think I want them at our wedding hahaha!

    FINALLY - award 15 blogs



    1. My sisters blog
    She blogs about her crazy travels and adventures and is currently based in London.  I love seeing what she's been up to and I think you will to.


    2. Abode in me
    Run by my friend Janetta, she writes about lovely things shes seen or has been doing, shes studying sculpture and it never ceases to amaze me.


    3.The Ardent Sparrow
    I really enjoy this blog, so many pretty pictures and inspiration, just check it out.


    4.Beantown Baker
    This one of my favourite food blogs, and also one the first blogs I started following, she makes soo many mouthwatering things.


    5. Beauty blog
    This is blog run by a cool chick called Annie. She reviews great products and its really handy to get someones opinion before you commit to spending a lot on makeup.


    6.Hello,I love you
    A blog by Kaylyn who is an amazing artist! So talented, go have a look at some of her stuff.


    7.Musing of a girl called Annie
    The blog of one of my dearest friends, she writes wonderful poems so keep an eye out.


    8.Wicked good dinner.
    Lots of yummy food and recipe inspiration
    ahh! I'm starting to slow down picking this many is pretty hard work!


    9 Yea Yea Pueblo
    I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago and its really cool! Her photos have beautiful vintage hues to them and blogs about lots of things im interested in like hiking and gardening


    10. Bunny.eats.design
    The blog of one very cool fellow NZ chick, she writes about her bunny and her adventures in Auckland. Her food is awesomeness.


    11. Scenic glory
    This one of my absolute fav blogs out there. Lindsay has so many great ideas! ( I'm totally going to make a dinosaur terrarium!) a what you ask? Go and see her blog x


    Phew! ok I seriously can't even award anymore because these are all the blogs I read regularly. But thanks for letting me share some of my favs with you! I hope you find some new good reads.



    Thursday, 14 July 2011

    Homemade muesli bars

    A couple of months ago I started making home-made muesli bars again. They are a lot cheaper and more delicious than store bought ones and only take 25 mins from the time you mix all the ingredients together to the time you can eat them!
    This is my my altered 'healthier' version:

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of rolled oats
    • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
    • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
    • 1/2 cup of sunflower kernals
    • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
    • 1 cup of dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins
    • 50 grams of butter
    • 1/2 cup of honey
    • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
    • Baking or waxed paper

       Melt the butter,sugar and honey together. Then mix in all of your ingredients, pour into a square brownie or slice tin. Bake for 12-15 mins or until golden brown, cool and cut up!

       If you want to be a bit fancy dry drizzling white or milk chocolate over them when they've cooled or dipping one whole side into some melted choc chips or buttons, yum!

      Wednesday, 29 June 2011

      Healthy brownies

      After seeing that picture I posted of healthy sugar free brownies I decided I would try one out. This is a vegan recipe that replaces white flour for wholemeal flour and only has 1/2 cup of sugar which is way less than your average brownies recipe (most have upwards of 2 cups! yikes!) Instead of butter they use apple sauce, talk about genius!

      Applesauce Brownies by The Messie kitchen.

      What you need:
      1 cup unsweetened applesauce
      1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda)
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      2/3 cup whole wheat flour
      1/2 cup cocoa powder
      2 teaspoons baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/2 cup chocolate chips or buttons whatever you have!

      What you do:

      1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 F) and lightly spray with oil or line with baking paper.
      2. Mix applesauce, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt altogether.
      3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the apple sauce mixture. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips
      4.  Bake 25-30 min, until centre is firm and not sticky. Cool completely before slicing.

      Body for life update

      Last Wednesday I started "The Body For Life" program. I've heard only good things about it from friends and family and I thought now would be an excellent time to start because its coming into winter now (the time I usually fall victim to winter comfort food). Today is week one down of the 12 weeks. I can happily report I have lost 2 kgs already and am feeling really great! The hardest part about it was actually the first few days. It felt weird eating every 2-3 hours and by the days last 'snack' I hard to literally force myself to eat something. But after the initial shock my body got used to it and by day 3-4 I was feeling really good. I have a lot more energy and am thinking it's not going to be as hard as I initially thought at all.

       Sugar free brownies! Yes please!
      Its definitely weird not being able to eat sugar though.... Being a self confessed sugar-o-holic I found this really challenging and am struggling to not eat a biscuit with a cup of tea! But a piece of fruit usually fills the gap, I did eat some sugar this week but only on Sunday (which is my nominated day off). I also made some body for life bran muffins that have Splenda in them instead of sugar and they are surprisingly good! They do tend to have a bit of that weird artificial sugar taste but you get used to it after a while and its better than having nothing sweet at all!.

      You're probably wondering why a baking addict like me is having this sudden urge to be healthy? Well the answer is in the question really. I love to bake things, but as a general rule baking isn't good for you long term and in the last couple of years (while I haven't put on a lot of weight) I just feel like I could be healthier! I've never been particularly 'slim'. In fact most of my life I've been a curvy chick which I'm fine with but I would like to be healthy and a little less curvy in some places lol.

      So after researching my options on the Internet I decided on Body for Life because it has had some dramatic results over the years, plus it doesn't require you to count calories (which sounds complicated and a pain). The one thing I don't really like about it is the protein shakes that your meant to supplement your meals with. Basically your meant to eat regular healthy meals but then in your snacks have protein shakes to boost your weight loss. I mean I try to have one a day but they taste pretty weird. I've started adding all kinds of fruit into the mix to disguise the taste (seems to be working so far). So yes that is my weight loss news I will keep trying to update you when I remember, so far so good!

      I saw this last night on Pinterest and thought it was awesome!

      Friday, 17 June 2011

      Winter threads

      I went shopping this afternoon ( for the first time in ages!) and I was kind of surprised at the amount of cool stuff in the shops at the moment. Usually when I go to the shops I find one or two things I like out of what seems like a million 'chain stores'. I guess this season the things I like seem to have come into fashion all at once (excite!). So I thought I'd share a few of my favourite things in the shops at the moment. I didn't buy all of these things, in fact I only ended up buying a pair of black pants for work, but a girl can dream right? Maybe I will save up and buy a few of these things before winter is over.


      Cute double breasted hoodie from Glassons [29.99]

      Then I went to 'Number One Shoes' and woah! They have divine shoes atm! They also have ' look books' now on their website which I found kind of weird at first until I found this one:


      Pretty right? Its like the have channelled my inner hippie and I'm loving it! I don't know how much of those outfits I would actually be game enough to wear but still! Its good to have options. I especially like the peace sign ring and the first pair of brown boots, mega cute.

      Necklaces are also really cool atm, I saw this amazing one in 'Cotton on' but I can't find a picture of the exact one, it was something like this though (which you can buy online from one of my favourite websites www. felt.co.nz)


      Bow necklace by kutekiwi

      Okay that all my favourite fashion finds for now, wishing you a lovely relaxing weekend blog friends!
       xoxo

      Tuesday, 7 June 2011

      Autumn Love

      Its officially winter here in NZ, but I wish it was still Autumn! On the long weekend we saw the most beautiful Autumn colours. We went to Masterton's Queen Elizabeth Park, now its my new favourite park! They have everything! A skate park, a miniature railway that goes around the river, an aviary full of pretty bird like peacocks and doves AND!! a deer park where you can feed deer through the fence:) Here are some of my favourite photos from this weekend.

      The deer loved our apples!
      Me feeding some hungry geese,ducks and swans

      Mini railway tracks
      Beautiful Autumn leaves

      Its pretty photos like these that made us decide on an Autumn wedding! We are aiming for Autumn 2012, so I will keep you updated on the details as we plan them:) Below are some of my favourite Autumn Wedding inspirations!

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