Today I thought I’d share with you my favourite 4-ingredient cookie recipe. It’s perfect for whipping up on a Sunday night, so you have healthy treats/snacks to snack on through out the week.
Now that we’re all getting cold in Sydney (and by cold I mean the weather has changed to 22C/71F, and Sydney-siders are wimps), it’s lovely to have some comfort food options that aren’t going to make the anticipation of bikini season super stressful.
Christmas is coming… which means lots of delectable choccy recipes are also coming to this blog. Check out my favourite hot chocolate recipe (for a late night treat) below – only around 100-150 calories depending on what you use…
Christmas is the time to indulge in all your favourites, but there are healthy substitutes for every dessert, that still taste just as good.
You will need:
2 tbsp cacao
1.5 cups plain almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 – 1 tbsp maple syrup *depending how sweet you like it aka don’t hold back*
These did come out looking more like Patrick Star than Xmas creations, but they tasted better than you can imagine.
Okay so yes I used a store bought packet mix (Betty Crocker wins every time) as the base, but, there was a twist. For a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity, I added a hint of smooth choccy flavour by adding chocolate chips to the dough, and created star designs with specific cookie cutters.
Read on if you’re interested in my simple, yet divinely tasty XMAS cookies, or better, create them yourself in 20 minutes.
Gather the following:
Betty Crocker Salted Carmel Packet Cookie Mix
Note: This is limited edition packet mix – hence why I grabbed it in Woolworths. If you aren’t able to get your hands on it, try adding Hershey’s caramel choc chips to a plain cookie recipe.
Cadbury choc chip cookies
Star cookie cutter
Okay, so the method:
Mix all the ingredients together, until you form a cookie dough.
Use a rolling pin to knead the dough out on top of an acrylic/plastic/stone surface.
Here’s where it got a little more complicated. I’m currently experiencing an Australian summer, so naturally the sun was beating down at 30˚C, which made all my cookie dough melt and stick to my hands. So, I wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer for 5 mins to make it think it was in the northern hemisphere. Note: this might be a good idea if you are in a hot climate.
Cut little star shapes out with the cookie cutter.
As the cookie cutter will make the raw cookies a lot thinner and smaller than Betty Crocker recommends for cookie sizing, you only have to place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), so they don’t burn.
Brunch (an odd mix between Breakfast and Lunch) is around 11am, and is meant to be a hearty meal that covers breakfast and lunch. Somehow it always ends up being a second brekkie for me because I can’t hold out til then.
Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work. For some reason (I’m not complaining) the most convenient thing has been brunch.
I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good, not so good and GREAT places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.
Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has a dainty and graceful vibe serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.
I’ve also been having the weirdest scone cravings lately – so I hit up The Tea Cosy in the (iconic) Rocks, where we indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea (a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of Xmas Markets).
Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. What’s the purpose you ask? They are meant to prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little skeptical.
However, after looking into them it actually makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.
I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea (note: they are incredibly bitter/sour/off-putting and you will need a palette cleansing chaser). I throw kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds into the blender and down that with a banana (the chaser).
If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to get all your daily nutrients in one go, it’s something I would definitely try!
Today is my day off and I’m going to do the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve already dropped $500 on presents this December, and I still have some bits and pieces I want to pick up. Looks like another expensive day, but it’ll all be worth it when Dec 25th rocks round.
Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day, celebrating with family and friends.
I walked to my family friends house halfway through the day and it was quite charming seeing how empty and quiet the streets were – everyone was inside relaxing and enjoying time together.
For Christmas I was so spoilt by family and friends, and although the presents were an awesome addition to the day, the best part was just talking and laughing with people close to me.
Excuse all the presents strewn in the background, my family has a habit of becoming messy whilst chaotically opening each gift and thanking/chatting to the people we received them from.
From my parents my main gift was given in advance, because they paid for my flights to Asia in January, as I’m holidaying with a friend and paying for the rest of the trip myself.
However, they were a bit naughty and still gave me a present to open on Christmas day, which was a VS Sassoon hair curler, because I’ve been loving the 80’s corkscrew curls look lately.
From my extended family I was spoilt to a couple of make-up products including the NARS sheer glow concealer, the NAKED 3 palette, Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder and a beauty blender.
A friend who knows my addiction to tea, so gave me T2 Choc Chip Chai, T2 Madagascan Vanilla Tea, some Nepalese lemongrass tea from her travels in Nepal and a Morrocan mint tea.
I’ve just been loving the T2 Choc Chip Chai, it’s made with an array of spices (Black tea, cloves, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, orange blossom, gingko, flavouring, cardamon) to create a spicy chocolate flavour.
Other friends gave me LUSH bath bombs which I am going to treat myself to when the weather gets a bit cooler, a make-up bag from a small Sydney based boutique, a 2017 calendar made out of recycled paper and cute cupcake patty pans embellished with pink polka dots and gold lining.
As you can see I was so spoilt and I am so appreciative of all the gifts I’ve been given. I’m getting really excited for my trip to Asia and will take lots of photos and keep you updated.
Hope everyone is enjoying the festive season as much as I am!
Of course, my favourite saying came out to play again this year – there are no calories on Christmas.
I started off the day with a cheeky candy cane cookie (Vegan recipe – my friend made them for me) and a T2 Choc Chip Chai with soy milk.
Traditionally my family has celebrated Christmas Day by opening presents in the morning, and then having a large Christmas lunch, which always becomes dinner as well because we all sit around talking into the night.
So, in order to save room for the huge Christmas lunch to come, I busied myself making a Bread & Butter Pudding. The whole ‘distract yourself so you save room for lunch’ thing was a bit of a flop because I ate half the pudding as I was making it.. worth it though.
For starters we had assorted cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Cheddar) with biscuits, salami slices, bread sticks, beef jerky sticks, chopped veggies with avocado dip and tomato relish. These were savoured with mulled wine, pina coladas and champagne.
At the main meal there was an array of dishes but I had some smoked ham, roast chicken and prawns. We also had a quinoa, kale and roast beetroot salad that I made.
By desert I was so full but made room for some bread pudding, a bit of traditional Christmas pudding soaked in Brandy, and a fruit salad with custard/vanilla ice cream.
Despite the food coma I had a huge treat myself and such a wonderful day.
Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
Okay so wine’s wine, and it’s never going to have the health benefits of kale or broccoli.
But, it is Christmas and time to treat yourself after a successful year, so I’d love you to try out my healthier Mulled wine recipe to celebrate the festive season.
The recipe substitutes using sugar, with dried fruits and spices.
To me, if Christmas had a scent, the warm, cinnamon-y aroma of Mulled Wine would definitely be it.
You will need:
1 bottle of red table wine
2 cups of water
1/4 cup raisins
5 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 grated nutmeg
Rind of 1 orange
1 chunk of ginger
Bring water, raisins, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange rind and ginger to the boil in a saucepan. Then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain the mulled wine and serve immediately. I like to put little orange peel curls or cinnamon sticks in each glass for decoration and extra flavour.
After pushing myself for an hour through a tough gym class, I set off to the city mall to do some serious Christmas shopping.
My goal today was to buy presents for the important people in my life and getting all of them under my belt felt like a massive accomplishment. I sifted through dozens of stores throughout the day and finally ended with a mix of presents I am really happy with.
For Mum, I got a satin robe with floral detail and some black cotton placemats/marble coasters to match her dining room. For dad, I got the Gillette gift pack and a new stainless steel kettle because their current one was $7 from Aldi and the plastic is already starting to crack. I also got my best friend two MAC lipsticks (Faux and M.A.C. red) and a satin nightie which I got myself as well so we can match! Satin is a huge favourite of mine at the moment because I just love the silky feel of it against my skin. Even better, the material doesn’t make me overheat on balmy nights considering we are moving into summer here in Australia.
I also had a cheeky treat myself, and bought myself a Belgian waffle at Oliver Brown which was delicious, but I have to say it did feel a little funny just hanging out in the chocolateria alone, amongst couples who were chatting and eating fondue together.
For lunch I explored a little eatery plaza called ‘Hawker Lane’ which offers a fusion of Asian cuisines. However, feeling a little unadventurous today, I went for my go-to brown rice avocado/salmon sushi roll and some edamame beans. Yum!
Once I got home I began to prepare dinner, whilst watching the Netflix movie How to be Single which is actually incredibly funny, and I would definitely recommend. It’s also really relatable to my life right now… For dinner, I fried up some homemade falafels and paired them with a light baby spinach salad and some butter chicken.
I think I’ll share my butter chicken recipe in a later post. It’s much healthier than the typical restaurant bought butter chicken but still rich with flavour and spice.
These are one of the easiest Christmas treats to make, and easily one of the tastiest.
All I used was one packet of gingersnaps, half a tub of cream cheese, chocolate sprinkles, icing sugar and cream.
After blending the gingersnaps into a fine powder using my NutriBullet, I added a dollop of cream cheese and kneaded the mixture with my fingers to create a cookie dough texture.
Then, still using my hands I created the round little truffle balls and laid them out on a plate. Placing them in the fridge for 15 minutes, I waited for them to cool whilst whisking up a spoon of cream cheese, plain cream and half a spoon of icing sugar into an icing paste. After taking them out the fridge I spread the icing on top and decorated the truffles with the chocolate sprinkles.
This recipe is so easy to whip up quickly for friends, or if you are just craving a christmassy themed treat. It has really settled me into the spirit of the Christmas season. Plus, their small size means you won’t over-indulge when treating yourself to one.
After stuffing myself silly with turkey, ham, pumpkin, potato, feta salad, veggies, custard, mince pies and truffles, on Christmas Eve, I woke up this morning to a tree full of presents and a slightly-less eager family who just wanted to sleep in.
Luckily I managed to get them out of bed by 9am – motivating them mainly with warm, fruit-mince tarts that I freshly baked.
I woke up at 7am and got inspired from a recipe in my Mum’s old Donna Hay cookbook.
I needed to prepare the filling, and combined the following in a bowl and set it aside in the fridge:
1cup Granny Smith Apples, finely chopped
Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
Dash of Brandy
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup currants
3 tsp lemon rind
50g butter melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
In the mean time I used cookie cutters to cut little circles in shortcrust pastry, and place them into greased cupcake baking trays. Then I prepared my star toppings using a smaller star cookie cutter.
After the hour was up I took the filling out the fridge and distributed it into the moulds. I placed the little star cut outs on top of each one, and brushed them all with melted butter.
After popping them into the oven (160C/320F) for 25-30 minutes, I dusted them with icing sugar and voila!
Everyone enjoyed fruit mince pies, gourmet chocolate truffles (from Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates – a boutique chocolate shop in Sydney’s Inner West), and mulled wine whilst opening presents.