Small Pleasures

This afternoon I busied myself trying out two new recipes that I couldn’t resist. Both of which wouldn’t have helped my waist-line, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the pleasures that sugar and butter have to offer 🙂

The first recipe I tried was very very simple, it was one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes that I do believe I posted a video on in the previous blog post. I made her Raspberry and yoghurt swirl. The recipe does call for crushed up oatmeal cookies but I didn’t have any of that so I went without. I also used low-fat berry flavoured Greek yoghurt instead of full-fat, plain.

raspberry yoghurt swirls 016 raspberry yoghurt swirls 011

It’s messy (I’ve never put together a parfait before in my life) and doesn’t look like much, but HOLY DAMN it tastes like heaven in a glass!! It was shockingly good and I enjoyed every last teaspoon of that heavenly mixture. It’s so simple too! All you need is frozen raspberries, Greek yoghurt and icing sugar! I can’t wait to eat more of these in summer 🙂 I think it would make the perfect treat on a hot summers day. Ice Cream? Pfffftttt, this is WAY better than ice cream. I seriously recommend you try this recipe, it’s killer!

2 teaspoons of icing sugar to every cup of raspberries I’d say and as much Greek yoghurt as you need. You can add crushed biscuits if you’ve got them (any biscuits would probably do the trick).

The second recipe I tried was the non-vegan version of Oh She Glows’ Soft Ginger Cookies.

Ginger biscuits 030Ginger biscuits 020Ginger biscuits 016Oh. My. God.

These biscuits are the most delicious thing I have ever cooked in my LIFE. I’m not even exaggerating, these are so amazing, it’s hard to believe that I managed to produce something so good! They’re like biting into a fluffy ginger cloud… Oh my gosh I get dreamy just thinking about it…

My only complaint is that the recipe calls for Himalayan sea salt… Although I can’t quite figure out why :/ It was rather unpleasant to be enjoying such a delectable cookie and then find yourself biting into a big, hard lump of salt 😦 It ruined it a little bit… Next time I wouldn’t add the salt.

Without the salt, they’re perfect!!

Anyway, the title of my blog “small pleasures” relates 100% to cooking (funnily enough :P) and the way that such small things about it can give you such pleasure. As Nigella Lawon says: “There’s a lot to be said for mindless, repetitive action”. Couldn’t agree with you more Nigella! What I’ve come to love so much about baking and cooking is that you get such fabulous results from the work you put into it. It’s worth absolutely every second of the time you spend, and it’s come to be quite therapeutic for me. It’s my ultimate de-stressor, but unfortunately I’m bleeding our poor old pantry dry of ingredients. We’re out of Cocoa powder at the moment which is a pain because I have an amazing recipe for Chocolate Mint cookies from Nigella Lawson’s website.

One of the biggest small pleasures (lol) for me has to be the garlic roasted peanuts that Mum and I have started making.

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They are so delicious and SO easy, it’s insane. All you need is a bucketload of peanuts, some peanut oil and about 7-8 cloves of crushed garlic. Mix it all in, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and repeat until they’ve spent collectively 8 minutes in the microwave. See! How easy is that? And believe me, they are YUMMY.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today. Tomorrow’s forecast is terrible so I plan to spend the day making the vege broth I’ve been meaning to create for about 2 weeks now… Better late than never.

Night!

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September 30, 2010 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

Nigella Lawson, Julia Child and Chocolate Spice Muffins

Sorry for being M.I.A as of late… I’ve been absolutely flat out, run off my feet all week and I’ve been too exhausted to do anything in mu spare time. I’m working at the local newspaper this week as a reporter and the hours are long and the work gets taxing. I enjoy it, but it is quite tiring.

I came home sick yesterday afternoon with a headache, nausea and a cold. I was glad I did, I passed out on the couch for two hours to help ease my headache and catch up on 4 days of lack of sleep. Once I’d risen I baked some Chocolate Spice Muffins from my Cupcakes and Muffins cook book. Unfortunately they weren’t so great by themselves, but I’m sure with some whipped cream and jam they would’ve been lovely.

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Last night I was looking up cooking related videos on Youtube and I felt compelled to search for Nigella Lawson. I’m so glad I did! I feel so inspired by her and I love her food philosophy. Even though most of what she creates has your entire RDI of calories in one serve, her food looks like fun to make and would be great to serve at birthdays, Christmas and BBQ’s.

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I would love to own one of her cookbooks but I’m too poor :/ They cost quite a lot, so I’m counting on a wicked trademe bargain to get one.

Another cookbook I’d LOVE to own is The Art Of French Cooking volume 1 and 2 by Julia Child. If you’ve seen the film Julie and Julia you’ll understand why this sounds like such a great cookbook. Also, Angela from Oh She Glows used this cookbook to recreate a vegan version of a beautiful food she ate while in Paris. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

julia child mastering-the-art-of-french-cooking-two-volume-set

Unfortunately these also cost a small fortune even on trademe, so until I find a paying job these will sadly be out of my reach 😦

Last night I made pizza for dinner, the lazy and sick person’s answer to dinner.

Anyway, I’m not feeling well so I’m off now, I shall leave you with these amazing Nigella Lawson youtube videos to entertain yourself.

Ciao!

September 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Daylight savings is finally here!

WOOHOOO! I am SO glad that it’s finally daylight savings 😀 I love a few extra hours of light in the evening, you can get so much done! I spent most of my day doing this:

gardening   pizza 003 gardening   pizza 004 My step dad and little brother have gone away to Hamilton today so Mum and I made a day of gardening and getting the garden sorted. I worked on that ugly patch of dirt with weeds and what-not (the photo was taken RIGHT at the beginning before I had time to make much of an impact) and around the back in the vegetable garden. I spent collectively about 2 hours gardening today and about 2 out and about shopping for things for the garden with mum.

We went to the garden centre and bought $10 worth of brightly coloured flowers for me to plant in the area pictured above as well and seedlings of veges to plant, potatoes to plant, compost and potato food. I also bought 2 new pairs of shorts because believe it or not I had NONE! I only had my P.E shorts which are way to small for me now.

I made fresh lemonade this morning so it would be there for us to drink this evening because I knew we’d be fairly parched after gardening. I was very pleased I did as well when we finally came inside at 6.20pm and I had the chance to scull back a cool drink. I absolutely love the flowers I planted, just check out the beautiful colours!!!

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I pulled out all the weeds, got rid of the dead flower heads and pulled out some of the unruly plants that were taking over the space. It felt so good to see the garden looking nicer and cleaner with new, pretty flowers. I think I have a thing for gardening ^.^

I cooked the most delicious pizza for dinner, I used this recipe from vegweb.com. I was AMAZED at how it came out and it tasted sooo good! I cooked it for mum and I. I wasn’t vegan because I used cheese, but I didn’t mind.

gardening   pizza 019 gardening   pizza 030 It was so good and I would thoroughly recommend this recipe to anyone wanting something quick, easy and tasty.

Anyway, I’ve got a looong road trip tomorrow to Auckland and back in one day with mum to pick up my Granddad so I’d better get some rest. I plan to do some yoga in the morning to loosen up my joints (which will undoubtedly be very stiff) and prepare for a total of 8 hours in a car.

Ciao!

September 26, 2010 at 8:24 am Leave a comment

Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Stir-fry

stir-fried tofu and vegetables 007 stir-fried tofu and vegetables 008

Tonight I made the most delicious Tofu and Vegetable stir-fry, it totally made up for the chocolate cake earlier on today. I used pre-marinated tofu (the flavour which I forget) and I chopped and marinated the veges myself.

Tofu and Vegetable stir-fry

Ingredients: (choose the proportions according to how many servings you want)
Pre-marinated tofu, firm if possible
Carrots
Capsicum
Mushrooms
Spring Onions
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
2 garlic cloves
Tuscan Seasoning (although I’m pretty sure any combination of herbs and seasoning will do the trick)

Method:

Remove the tofu from it’s packaging and drain the marinade off it through a sieve and into a small bowl. Put a pan onto a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Once the marinade has drained off, chop the tofu into slices and then into rectangles, put the pieces into the pan and cook until brown.

While the tofu is cooking, chop the vegetables however way you like and put them all into a medium sized bowl. Once all the veges are chopped, squeeze the juice of two lemons into the bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil, tuscan seasoning and two garlic cloves, crushed. Mix it all together (I used my hands) and let to sit.

Once the tofu is cooked, add the marinade into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with rice, couscous, quinoa or by itself.

This is SO TASTY it’s my favourite stir-fry to date ^.^

September 25, 2010 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

“Food must be made with love, you can taste it if it’s not”

thai pumpkin soup   chocolate blueberry cake 010thai pumpkin soup   chocolate blueberry cake 014

That right there my friends, is Vegan Chocolate-Blueberry cake from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I was searching for a vegan recipe to make for lunch and during my search I stumbled upon this recipe. I had planned to make Vegan Pizza for lunch but I was so compelled to make this cake that I had PB + J toast instead for lunch and got straight onto the cake.

I was very interested to give this a go because I’ve never before made a cake that doesn’t use milk, eggs or butter. Also the fact that this cake is fat free (but has A LOT of maple syrup – do not be fooled people, that still counts as major calories) was hugely enticing to me. From the moment the cake went into the oven I was excited and it wasn’t long before the delicious aroma of baking began to fill my nostrils. It baked for half an hour and I was very eager to taste it, I let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then cut a slice and drizzled maple syrup over the top. It’s supposed to be served with blueberries but we only have frozen blueberries so I opted to have the syrup alone.

Unfortunately this cake didn’t taste as great as it looks or smells, but I guess since it has no butter it came out well. In future I wouldn’t use wholemeal flour because it created an odd texture. Plain white flour would most probably be better. I’m not sure that I’d make this cake again because there are so many other delicious vegan/vegetarian dessert options. I’d be more inclined to go for fruit salad or something similar. However, for one who loves chocolate and cake and is considering veganism, this wasn’t a bad substitute.

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The title of my blog is a quote that made quite an impact on me from this book that I’m reading right now. I was in the school library the other day browsing for a book to read and since I’m horrible at picking a book I chose this one for the fact it combines two of my favourite things:

1. Food

2. Italians

🙂 That sounds so silly, but I miss my Italian brother Tommaso soooo much, I picked this book with him in mind.

tommaso
Anyway, I’ve been SO inspired by this book it’s insane!! I have so many new ideas for food and I’m so keen to experiment with new flavours and the freshest of fresh foods. I love the heart and soul in the book, it perfectly encompasses my attitude towards cooking. Tonight I’m going to try stir fried vegetables with marinated tofu and couscous. I want to cook the vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices. I want to keep it as simple yet delicious as possible.

If you’re looking for a good read and you love food, I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, the other night I cooked Pumpkin Thai Soup but I didn’t get any good photos of it so I won’t post it. I was missing a few ingredients so it lacked that little something-something. I might try it again with the proper ingredients.

Hope all is well and that everyone’s been enjoying their first day of the school holidays.

Ciao!

September 25, 2010 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

Blueberry Muffins

12 glorious, delicious blueberry (well, mixed berry actually) muffins.

blueberry muffins 006 blueberry muffins 009 blueberry muffins 012

I actually baked these for Dallas for his 18th birthday which was yesterday. The lovely recipe courtesy of my new favourite read- Cupcakes and Muffins.

blueberry muffins 003 blueberry muffins 004
I used mixed berries instead of plain old blueberries because we only had frozen mixed berries. I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t turn out so great because I made a mistake in the recipe, but they turned out great 🙂 They weren’t so great the next day when they were cold, but they were amazing when they were still hot from the oven.

I find it endlessly amusing how I’ve all of a sudden developed this random passion for cooking and baking. I’ve never been one to enjoy cooking and be inspired by the kitchen, in fact most of the time I’ve detested cooking and found it a drag and nothing more than a pain in the backside whenever the prospect of creating any sort of culinary delights arose. I can know honestly say that baking has become my “happy place”, a place of solitude and therapeutic benefits. I spend more time baking these days than I do anything else in my spare time. They only issue from it is the cost of ingredients… I’ll start focusing more on savoury food because I’m using up all our sweet food ingredients like sugar and butter.

Last night I cooked potato wedges for dinner, glazed in Olive Oil and various different herbs and spices. They tasted so great 🙂 I believe the satisfaction of knowing you created something delicious also adds to the experience.  I’m planning what I’ll have for dinner tonight… I’d like to try a recipe using Quinoa but so far I can’t think of anything particularly creative to do with it. I think I’ll make something using pumpkin, I’ve still got a pumpkin in the pantry from the other day with the intention of pureeing it for Pumpkin Scones, but maybe pumpkin soup? I do love a good, hearty pumpkin soup 😀

I’ve been doing yoga everyday since I bought the DVD and I think I’ve fallen in love with that too. What makes this trial run of yoga so different from all the others is that I’ve let go of the thoughts that I’m “not doing enough”, that yoga isn’t enough of a workout and that I should be slogging away at the gym for 2 hours to get any real results. I’ve just focused on being relaxed, working towards becoming more supple and achieving the proper movements. I’ve felt myself being more relaxed throughout the day and I think I’ve been handling stressful situations more effectively. EPIC WIN FOR YOGA! 😀

Anyway, I need to clean my room and get my daily dose of yoga in, so I’m outties! Bye!

September 22, 2010 at 4:06 am Leave a comment

Homemade Larabars

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larabars 036

Tonight I made homemade Larabars using my own recipe, based off one I got off Oh She Glows.

larabar I used the basic proportions although I made a double mix (which ended up being 4 very small bars) and I just changed the ingredients to suit what I had. What I love about Larabars is that they are both raw AND vegan. Each Larabar in the store has a maximum of 3 ingredients, usually just things like Dates and nuts etc, it’s really great to know that what you’re eating isn’t processed crap. Unfortunately however they cost almost $5 per bar and therefore they’re not something I can afford to have on a regular basis. This in mind I jumped at the chance to have a go at making my own!

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The ingredients I used were:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped dates (I chopped them myself)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup peanuts
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil

It was so simple, I added 1.5 teaspoons of oil to the coconut and dates in the food processor and then once I’d processed the nuts and added them to the dates and coconut I added a further 1/2 teaspoon.

I was a little disappointed at how little they were despite having made a double-mixture :/ oh well, they should be good for four school lunches. I’m trying to be more creative with my lunches to avoid processed things like spreads, muesli bars etc. I would like to keep it as raw and vegan as I can while I experiment with vegan food. Keep in mind that I am NOT a vegan, I’m still eating meat and dairy products, I just have an interest in veganism and am investigating the foods and how to do veganism properly because I am interested in slowly transitioning to veganism over time.

I haven’t tasted the bars yet, but I don’t think they’ll be very sweet, but that’s ok. Adding sugar and salt to foods that I deem unnecessary additives is something I profusely detest and therefore I shall not be adding any 🙂

Anyway, I had a shocking nights sleep last night which I blame on the coffee cupcakes :/ I had A LOT of the mixture and it was quite highly caffeinated.  I was wide awake staring at the roof until 3am to which I had a 6am wake up 😦

Tonight I will hopefully sleep better and wake up early to do some early morning Sun Salutations.

I’m off to bed with some “light” reading 😉 Goodnight!
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September 20, 2010 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

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Introducing…

Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Questions? Comments? Email me at jennyeatliverun@hotmail.com

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