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

 

 

Australia voted YES! Rainbow pizza & pancakes for marriage equality.

Although I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in equal rights, and so, hearing that 61.6% of Australians had voted “YES” in the recent postal vote (legalising gay marriage) was overwhelmingly exciting.

Naturally, I decided to draw inspiration from the rainbow flag which represents the LGBT movement, and make rainbow pizza and pancakes to celebrate.

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If you want to make eye-catching (and extremely delicious) rainbow meals, read on.

Rainbow Pancakes (makes 15)

We’ll start with the pancakes – since they are the simplest (and because everyone wishes dessert would come first).  These are the perfect breakfast or lunch (or dinner??) recipe, and I used a simple pancake shake mix to make it all happen even quicker.

You will need food dye, pancake mix, vanilla essence, fruit (to garnish) and butter for greasing.

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Start by working off the pancakes you’re about to eat, and shake the pancake mix like crazy as per its instructions. Once it’s ready, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the mixture (gives it a delightfully sweet tang) and pour 65g of the mixture into 6 different bowls. Add the food dye as follows:

Red – 8 drops red dye

Orange – 2 drops red, 4 yellow

Yellow – 5 drops yellow

Green – 5 drops green

Blue – 5 drops blue

Purple – 3 drops red, 1 blue

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Then, cook up a storm, and cook the pancakes over a medium heat in a frying pan. Tip: make sure you add butter to pan between each pancake so they don’t stick and burn (and earn a lovely, buttery aftertaste).

Voila! Garnish with berries.

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I also tried making one large, multi-coloured pancake with the left over mixture. It looked a little funky, but was too yummy to turn away.

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Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple (and I want my food ASAP) so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases.

You will need:

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  • 1 Pizza Base
  • Tomato Paste
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (you can use light mozzarella if you want something healthier)
  • Colourful Veggies, my suggestions:
    • Red – Red Pepper (Capsicum) & Red cherry tomatoes
    • Orange – Carrot
    • Yellow – Yellow cherry tomatoes, Sweet corn
    • Green – Broccolini, Snow peas
    • Purple – Red onion, Cabbage (I didn’t end up using the cabbage)

First, after heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top – this is different to normal pizza recipes; the cheese needs to be put on first so the veggies stick but you can still see their beautiful colours.

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Then, chop up all the veggies and place them on the pizza in a rainbow fashion.

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Cook for 10 minutes and your pizza is ready!

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These recipes were so tasty, and incredibly fun to make. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other rainbow recipes 🙂

xx

 

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I couldn’t choose just one colour for this post. 

 

Exploring Chocolate Heaven

If there is one thing I can’t resist its chocolate.

The other day I discovered a modern little restaurant called Passion Tree. They offer a range of delicious desserts including crepes, waffles, hot chocolates and frappes, and if that’s not enough to entice you they are all presented like works of art.

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The setting of the cafe sort of contradicts what it serves. Whilst most chocolate cafes have dark and creamy coloured interiors with tea lights flickering amidst the aroma of melted chocolate, Passion Tree had a reasonably stark setting with bleach white walls, floors and chairs.

However, this did not take away from the quality of their menu. Each dessert is so intricately designed and mouthwateringly over-the-top it was a struggle even deciding which one I wanted.

Eventually I chose their ‘Campfire Smores Epic Hot Chocolate’ (pictured above). The mug itself was the size of my head and was filled with warm, creamy hot chocolate, which had the richness and consistency of Max Brenner’s Italian Thick hot chocolate. This was topped with ice cream, whipped cream, smoked marshmallows and crushed oreo’s and drizzled in melted smooth dark chocolate.

My friend got the Triple Choc Brownie which came with vanilla ice-cream, strawberries, and was drizzled in buttery dark, milk and white chocolate. I’m not a huge brownie person but this one was so deliciously intense that one bite of hers satisfied my chocolate craving for the next year (not 100% true).

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Each dessert was around AU$10 which I think is pretty fair considering the flavour explosion you get. I definitely want to go again to try their signature ‘Bingsoo’ which is a Korean dessert with flavoured shaved ice topped with ice-cream in an oversized cocktail glass (much like a large frappe).

Definitely a place to check out if you can!

xx

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Chocolate brown for all things chocolate

 

The Perfect High Satiety Breakfast

Hey guys!

I have been working on this recipe for a while, trying out all different styles of breakfasts (muesli, toast, bacon & eggs, avo on toast, pancakes) to try and find a yummy, low calorie breakfast which is also very filling.

So here it is, the perfect breakfast to fill you up and keep you feeling good throughout the day:

  • 2 poached eggs cooked in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 piece of multi-grain toast
  • Black tea with almond/soy/cows milk (or herbal tea e.g. peppermint)

This meal has healthy carbohydrate in the bread, good fat in the avocado, protein in the eggs, part of your daily dairy requirement in the tea and a touch of flavour with the tomatoes.

Don’t feel guilty about the eggs (if you’ve ever heard anything negative about them), they are one of the healthiest and filling foods you can eat.

To avoid getting tired of having the SAME meal every day (I change my mind about what I like, like my underwear), mix the meal up by replacing the egg with 50g of fish, such as tuna, trout or cooked salmon. Or, you can try different breads such as wholemeal, rye or sourdough. Or, if you are feeling like a bit more flavour you can add some mushrooms or a small piece of grilled haloumi or tasty cheese. It’s up to you!

The feature image is one I captured this morning when I went out with a friend (Burnt Orange cafe Mosman). I ate about half and then asked for the rest take-away to savour for lunch.

xx

Green Tea Smoothie? Getting Your Greens the Yummy Way

Summer or winter I love a good smoothie (keep in mind I live in Sydney, Australia so winter isn’t really a winter).

After lots of trial and error, I have created the perfect smoothie with ingredients that have different benefits for clean eating.

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You will need:

1/3 Cup brewed green tea
Green tea is nature’s power drink, packed with anti-oxidants whilst carrying 0 calories. The low doses of caffeine keep you stimulated and awake without the negative effects that excessive amounts of coffee can bring. Green tea has also been shown to increase fat burning when drunk before exercise and prevents chances of cancer, infections, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Incorporating it into your diet is very recommended, but as I can’t stomach the taste of pure green tea, I like to add it to my smoothies.

1/4 cup Jalna pot set natural vanilla yoghurt
I love to add a small amount of creamy Jalna yoghurt to give my smoothie the taste boost that makes me love it. Don’t be fooled by half-fat yoghurts, advertising the benefits of a lower fat diet, remember that less fat means more sugar and the lack of satiety provided will make you want more.

Handful of frozen blueberries
Blueberries are little bursts of nutrients, full of fibre and important vitamins. They help prevent cancer and cholesterol problems and have also been shown to prevent heart disease. Adding a couple of handfuls to your diet each week is essential to clean eating.

1/2 a banana
Banana’s are wonderful for a low-calorie snack which still fills you up. They are associated with numerous health benefits, but perhaps the most poignant is that they have been shown to preserve memory. The brain is arguably the most important part of the human body, so including foods which boost its power is fundamental.

Heaped teaspoon of chia powder
Chia seeds have dominated the ‘clean eating’ industry since it began, with almost every superfood recipe including them. Their popularity is due to their anti-ageing properties, their help with digestion (keeps you feeling fuller longer and reducing sugar cravings), bone strength and how they help with building muscle and losing weight. This last feature of the seeds is because of their ability to absorb 10x their own weight in water, meaning they prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes.

1 teaspoon of acai powder
Needless to say, acai powder is a recently discovered (by the health industry) superfood. If you haven’t seen acai powder on almost every health food restaurant menu, it’s basically a powder made from acai berries found in South America. Having all of the properties (and more) listed above for chia seeds, they are mostly associated with weight loss as they oxidise cholerestrol preventing it from clinging to arteries.

1 cup of almond milk
I love almond milk! A lot of my friends have told me its an acquired taste, and although it may be, after about a year of drinking it I think it tastes like a chocolately, nutty brew. Using unsweetened almond milk is a reduction of 40% of your calorie intake, over drinking cows milk. Although you don’t want to stick solely to almond milk (builds up lactose intolerance), incorporating it into your diet where you can is important.

xx

My Weird Guilty Pleasure… Roast Pumpkin

I am the world’s biggest snacker.

When I’m studying from home and all I want to do is eat and not work.

i’ve found that making a snack that’s a little more filling gives my stomach the satisfaction it needs, and stops me from eating a thousand calorie-dense snacks all day.

A staple snack I make (you can also use this as a side for dinner/lunch) is roast pumpkin bites. After pre-heating the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) all I do is peel and chop up about 1/3 of a pumpkin into bite sized pieces. Then I lay them out on a tray that’s lined with baking paper, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Next, I season them with a sprinkle of thyme, basil, salt and paprika and then chuck on a handful of chopped walnuts.

Then, I slide them into the oven for 30 minutes.

This is a delicious little snack that stops all the cravings for food and it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

It’s so delicious and easy if you haven’t you should definitely give it a go.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

xx