My XMAS Salted Caramel & Choc Chip Cookies

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.

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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
  • Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 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.

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Once cooked, place them on a plate and awkwardly place a rogue Christmas decoration next to them for aesthetic purposes (I’m kidding). 

The perfect Christmas snack.

 

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Caramel brown

xx

 

 

New Brunch Spots and Health Shots

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 (and not so good) 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.

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Flowerchild Brookvale – The vegan bowl: falafel, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, almonds, spiced chickpeas, sesame seeds, tahini dressing. Across from me – 12 hour slow braised lamb shoulder.

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).

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I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly (pictured below) who started the Poké trend in Sydney. I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

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Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce.

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!

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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.

What I got for Christmas 2016

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.

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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!

xx

Calories Don’t Count On Christmas | XMAS 2016

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.

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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.

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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.

xx

Healthier Mulled Wine Recipe

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.

Merry Christmas Eve!

xx

A Day in my Life

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!

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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.

xx

Calories don’t Count on Christmas! Mince Pies and Mulled Wine for Breakfast.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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.

I got very spoilt this Christmas, and got a Mimco Supernatural Medium Pouch, some cute Kikki K stationary and the Antler Aire Large Suitcase

Clearly I was spoilt by family and friends – hope you had a wonderful Christmas and got everything you wished for!

xx

A very exciting pair: Christmas and Travelling to NYC

December 1st 2015:

Today we put up our Christmas tree.

I feel like the best part of putting up the Christmas tree is all the (very important) festivity that happens with it.

I always put a Christmas movie on (this time it was Love Actually) and light a Christmas candle – you have to buy the limited edition Night Before Christmas, by Glasshouse if you haven’t already. I also baked some cinnamon sugar butter cookies to snack on whilst we decorated.

Unfortunately the final outcome was a rather dusty, half squashed, dying tree with way too much glittery decor and tinsel but nevertheless it definitely put me in the Christmas mood.

***

Today:

In just under two weeks I’m embarking on a trip to New York City.

Myself and a very close friend are off to New York in the new year to delve into a world of exquisite style, delicious food and high fashion.

Coming from a warm climate (by warm I mean Sydney is swelteringly hot at the moment) my first thought was about what I was going to wear in a New York winter.

NOTE: Last time I went to NYC I was that classic tourist in a puffy Katmandu jacket, wearing twenty pairs of leggings, socks with sandals, and a 20 kg camera, trying to trek across Times Square. So, to save myself from looking like a gobstopper in 50 layers of clothing again I’ve invested in a stylish figure-hugging winter coat and boots. ASOS has been brilliant for helping me find stylish winter clothes, because all Sydney hosts at the moment are crop tops, shorts and thongs.

I’ve also got a pretty comprehensive list of what I want to do: I want to have cream cheese bagels and chai latte’s (once a day minimum) from Starbucks, I want to wander through Saks Fifth Avenue and pretend I can afford something, I want to explore Soho and order Shake Shack, I want to get lost in Central Park, I want to go for a degustation at the Plaza (if I’m honest this was inspired by Bride Wars) and I HAVE to go to little Italy for pizza, pasta and some more pizza.

Might be a little too much to squeeze in, but the anticipation of it all is exciting enough.

xx

Begin.

This blog may fizzle out after a couple of posts. However, I am dedicating myself to at least beginning.

And then I can deal with whatever comes next.

I’m 17 and still figuring out what my passions actually are. But for now I know I like writing, food, and experiencing different things. I am also very interested in health, nutrition and how food fuels the body, so safe to say there are a plethora of things I can blog about.

But rather than mulling over the future, let’s concentrate on the present.

This is probably my favourite time of year. Watching society prepare for Christmas is like watching a child fall asleep. Everyone relaxes, all worries are put aside for later, and there is peaceful indulgence in Christmas surrounded by family.

In the lead up to Christmas I have been going to fun/quirky new restaurants in and around Newtown for meals with friends, eating and baking many tasty treats and wasting away hours of time and blocks of broadband usage on Youtube.

This morning I went to a local market and splurged on a small biscuit called an Alfajore which I was told was an Argentinian traditional treat.

It could have been my perpetual need for chocolate, or the excitement over a foreign dessert, but I wanted to try them as soon as I saw them. I loved the instant sweetness they gave, and the crumbly consistency reminded me of a melting moment.

Once I’ve tasted something good, I want to know exactly how to replicate it, so I can have it on demand, whenever I want. So, I have done a bit of looking and found online a recipe for alfajores that I am going to make for our Christmas day lunch.

However, I’m thinking that if I was super lazy and not feeling like investing hours into the biscuits, I’m totally down for pressing two pre-bought cookies melting moments together, with nutella/dulce de leche between.

After an eventful morning of eating and strolling around the markets, I’m ready to snuggle into bed with a cup of tea and a book. I’m loving The Diary of Anne Frank, which I’m reading for the third time…. damn I love the holidays.

Looking forward to whatever is to come.