Saturday, 19 October 2013

Healthy bites- Graduation edition!

So it's official I am now a graduate! I am a fully fledge grown up, well most of the time...

Sadly my parents couldn't come over from Australia, but Dan's family were there to cheer Dan and me on and then take us out to a lovely bite to eat afterwards so as much as it sucked not having my own family there it sure made for a nice day out.

 Always manage to ruin a photo lol! That's Dan's brother by the way, he just started his first year at university that week in a funny coincidence
 My main man looking very handsome indeed.
 After the ceremony we went to Bill's for a nice lunch.
We're like two peas in a pod! hehe
 That's a bit more mature.
 This is the 'tent' we had our ceremony in. It was massive definitely not what we expected!

 My lovely graduation dress cant believe it was a size 8!

On a fitness level it was amazing to see everyone after the few months we'd all been apart and to have everyone say how great and different I looked, made all my effort over the past few months really worth it!
My two boys looking very smart! Well mostly... lol

Yes no food in this edition of healthy bites but I thought I would post it under this title because it was thanks to all those healthy nibbles along the way that helped me look and feel amazing for my graduation.

Its amazing how much my life has changed in the last 3 years, I've worked my butt off to come out of university with a 2:1 and am now using those skills in the big wide world, met an amazing person who is willing to spend his entire life with me (crazy stuff!) and I've changed my entire lifestyle on it's head in order to look and feel amazing for years to come.

 Life's great and amazing and I'm beyond excited to see what happens in the next 3 years!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls!

Now given these aren't the prettiest of cinnamon rolls but don't be fooled these things are tasty and good for you! A win win I say!

I made a half batch which yields 6 rolls but it can easily be doubled to make more.

Recipe vegan cinnamon rolls-

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast
pinch of salt
1/2 cups warm almond milk
1 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp of soy butter ( I used Pure dairy free butter)

1/2 tbsp of soy butter, melted
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180c (350f)
In a bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Next in a microwave safe bowl mix in the milk, syrup and butter and heat till just warm to the touch (Not boiled or you'll kill the poor little yeast!). Once warmed mix into the flour until combined and kneed till smooth  (around 5 minutes) then place in a oiled bowl to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. While you wait for your dough mix all the ingredients together for the filling.

Once the dough has doubled in size chuck onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle and evenly spread your filling on. Now with floured hands roll your dough into a log and cut into 6 circles. Place in a oils dish and leave in a warm place to prove for another 30 minutes. Once doubled in size place in the oven to cook for 13 minutes.

And there you have it yummy warm vegan cinnamon rolls perfect for a raining day!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

My birthday!

Well this post is a bit late but with the week I've had I'm sure you'll forgive me! This year we played it a bit low key with a nice trip into central London followed by dinner at TGIF!



My birthday outfit, love this jumper! Got it from Pull and Bear so cosy and warm.

First stop was at Starbucks around the corner from our house where Dan surprised me with a skinny soy chai plus a little message hehe.

In the morning we stopped at one of my favourite bakeries where Dan bought me a yummy nibble for my breaky.

After a nice healthy lunch at Wholefoods we continued shopping on Oxford street as well as Soho, then in the afternoon I made a bee line for Selfridges where Dan bought me my long awaited peanut butter éclair which I've been craving for ages! For a peanut butter lover this was out of this world yummy, very naughty but so worth it.

TGIF was so much fun! I ordered a massive glass of long Island ice tea to start me off. Sadly though as an expert in long island ice teas it didn't have as much of a kick as I'm use too, but at 7 pounds for a massive glass I was happy with what I got. After my first tipple I treated myself to a classic cosmopolitan which was cute, pink and delicious! For dinner I ordered a half portion of their famous Jim Bean ribs which were so moreish I had to stop myself from licking the plate. Dan ordered a steak (of course!) with all the trimmings (including a strawberry milk shake! hehe).

Afterwards we made our way to Soho where I finished off the night with a scoop of ice cream at a cool little nook on Row street. This place has been dubbed as the best ice cream in London, they've got everything from traditional vanilla, vegan chocolate to rosemary and honey which is said to be their top flavour and is the little beauty I picked. Definitely recommend this little shop to all who visit!

 A few bits and bobs from Mac I was in desperate need of! Excited to finally be able to grab them with the help I some much appreciated birthday money.
 A quick snap of my totally cute birthday card from Dan!

What better way to count down the last few minutes of my birthday then in bed with a big old slice of birthday cake hehe.

I plan to make 22 bigger and better then 21! I've got big plans for this year, full of music (of course!), food, wedding plans, blogging and much much more.  Bring it on!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Best ever white cake!

I'm sure your confused by the fact I'm posting a very naughty cake recipe but I can explain, see what's the one day a year when cake is a must? A birthday! My birthday to be exact! Yes yesterday I turned the un-exciting number 22, don't get me wrong though when it comes to birthdays I'm always a sucker no matter what the number.

So due to the fact it was just me and Dan this year for my birthday I decided to continue my tradition from last year (I made the awesome crack pie!) and make my own birthday cake. Like always I was on a budget, 10 pounds exact down to the penny! Now really if you think about in a bakery you would fork out easily over 30 pounds for a good quality cake, so at 10 pounds frosting and all I think this is the perfect recipe!

Yes The heading is correct this is by far the yummiest white cake ever! It took me a good few weeks of internet surfing to find the perfect combo of white moist cake and fluffy frosting and after some last minute adjustments the end result was beautiful and highly addictive.

This is a layer cake so you'll need two 9 inch tins, but if you only have one tin you could always put the entire batter in and once baked simply cut it in half (baking time will vary).

Best ever white cake recipe-

2 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 cup of milk (room temp)
6 egg whites (room temp)
1 split vanilla pod (this is so worth the extra money trust me!)
1 3/4 cup of granulated sugars
4 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter cubed

Preheat oven to 175 (350f). Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and set aside. Next mix milk, egg whites and the seeds from the vanilla pods in a separate bowl. Now grab the bowl with the flour and with a hand mixer beat in your cubed butter bit by bit until you have a wet sand consistency. Pour in your milk mixture now slowly bit by bit like your butter. You should have quite a wet batter, now pour evenly into tins and bake for 20 minutes or when the cake springs back when touched.

Now while the yummy cake is cooling lets whip up some icing!

Fluffy vanilla bean frosting-

3 sticks of salted butter
500g icing sugar
split vanilla bean
4 tbsp of cream
salt to taste (yes weird but true, when your making such a sweet icing it really pays to add a pinch of salt to cut through the sweetness)

Beat the butter until it goes white, this could take anywhere from a  few minutes to 8! But trust me in order to get beautiful white icing this is the most important step. Once you have the butter to the right stage add all your other ingredients and whip, whip and keep whipping! Keep whipping until its light and fluffy and you cant help but lick the beaters, this my friends is the perfect stage of fluffy awesomeness. Make sure you chill it for at least 30 minutes so its nice and easy to spread on the cake.

Now once the cake is completely cooled your ready to frost it up! As a special occasion be sure to make it nice and thick!

 As a decoration I made some hazelnut praline! It's so simple too make I just used a cup of sugar and cooked it dry till it turned into a golden syrup then I tossed my chopped hazelnuts in and poured it onto a sheet of baking paper. So easy to make and is a beautiful addition to any cake, plus it so cheap to make!

This cake was so amazing! It was moist and fluffy and the real vanilla pods just took this cake to a whole other level. I could talk about this cake all day so I should stop and let you be the real judge, trust me you wont be disappointed!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The joy of oats!

If you read my blog on a regular basis (thanks!) you'll more then likely notice one thing popping up quite regularly and that is oats! I love them, I have them for breakfast, lunch and even sometimes for a late night snack. Everything about them is great, they keep you going through the morning all the way to lunch, the flavour combos are endless and a nice big cup full comes at just 150 calories!

Now my basic recipes for oats is bullet proof. It's so easy I can whip it up at 5.30 in the morning half asleep! The ratio is simple 1/2 a cup of oats ( don't worry this makes a lot), a pinch of salt and about a cup of water depending on how thick you like it, I'm kind of a middle way girl. Also a great tip is to add half a ripe banana chopped up to the pot while the oats are cooking, the natural sugars will sweeten the porridge without any need for yucky processed sugars.

Like I said before the use for oats is endless so much so I grabbed a few photos from over the past year to show you!

 This was my breaky this morning, oats with a tbsp. of unsweetened 100% cocoa, tsp of agave and 1/2 Tbsp of unsweetened jam. Very rich and very yummy.
 Original recipe with the added addition of tsp of brown sugar and some roasted hazelnuts.
 This is my favourite home made granola ever! The addition of oats and quinoa make this addictive and healthy, two things I like very much.
 Oats are also great in bars, this is my banana protein bar I made a few weeks back. Just pop them in your lunch box and you've got yourself a great afternoon snack!
 Another variation which I haven't had the chance to make myself yet is muesli. I am addictive to the stuff so much so I usually at least two boxes somewhere in my kitchen at one time. At the moment I have a yummy buckwheat muesli from Eat Natural that has a yummy addiction of toasted coconut! I also have a new one I'm trying out called Maca's Secrets, this has the added nutritional boost of maca powder and carob chunks. Be warned though if you haven't tried carob before the taste is very unusual and has quite a bitterness to it.
 Whole Foods does a great granola and yogurt combo which changes flavours depending on what's in season. Here I had honey and banana which was out of this world yummy!
 Oat bakes are also another great use of oats for breakfast. Be sure to put enough liquid in the mix though because the oats will soak it all up and the last thing you want is a tough dry oat bake.
 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so make it pretty and tasty! Who ever said porridge was boring is crazy. This banana, jam and peanut butter porridge doesn't look boring to me!

Add some chocolate soy milk instead of water and hay presto you've got yourself choccy pudding for breaky! And it's healthy!

See how amazing are oats and with fall upon us there's nothing better then a warm breaky to chase away the cold.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Healthy bites

Yay for fall! As an Aussie living in England you probably think I'm nuts but when the nights get longer and my jumpers start to look increasingly tempting I'm as happy as a kid on Christmas morning! Ow and speaking of Christmas look what I found (first photo)! I always get so excited when the food shops start to bring out festive themed chocolates, yes I do realise for most it might be a tad early but as my favourite time of year I couldn't think of better timing.

I'm lucky enough to have a very big and close family and when Christmas rolls around celebrations always go above and beyond something which I'll miss very much this year. Yes sadly there will be no flight home this year for me, instead Dan and I will be having our first Christmas in our new apartment, I'm so excited I've already started planning! But though I'm excited it would be nice to have a Christmas morning full of loud family and friends, way to many presents and way to much food but there's always next year and with me in charge of all the cooking plus the turkey its sure to be interesting!  

 My go to late night snack has been fruit and yogurt every night this week tad obsessive at the moment!
Sunday I let go of the reins and went out to dinner with a friend from university. The menu was so overwhelmingly massive I had no idea what to pick! In the end I ordered a cheese burger with guacamole, sweet potato fries and a soy peanut butter milkshake. The fries and shake were amazing! So soooooo addictive, the burger was good but out of everything I could have had wish I picked something a tad more exciting.
 Yummy smoked haddock and leek fish cakes on Monday night with a simple salad to bulk it out.
More yogurt of course with a little added crunch of toasted hazelnuts and sunflower seeds.
Yes this is no joke you are not seeing things! It's the new Poptart flavour Chocolate Peanut Butter! I got way too excited when I came across this box and couldn't get my card out quick enough. And as a side note they taste AMAZING! But be careful cause even though they come in wrapped packets of two that doesn't mean you pop them both in the toaster! I understand your peanut butter addition, I feel your pain but put that Poptart down save that other one for a rainy day you'll thank me later!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cheat day antics

This was quite a fun cheat day full of food, shopping, job interviews and more food! Tuesday is my only day off at the moment so with Dan having a job interview in the centre of London I decided to tag along and we could make a day of it. After nervously waiting for Dan's interview to finish (more on that later hopefully!) we hiked on into Covent Garden where I went all out on my cheat day.


 After going from a size 14 to a size 10 I've only just started to realise that non of my clothes fit properly! So this awesome top was an invest I swear hehe
 Dan decided to join in on my cheat day, think he was quite full by the end of it!
 New Converse trainers how dam pretty are these things! So comfy too!
 Nervously waiting for Dan's interview to end bought a cup of matcha green tea frozen yogurt for just 99p!
 Every time I've walked passed this place there's always a line outside the door, I've herd people rave, people not so sure but in the end I wanted to see for myself.
 And I'm happy to save it was amazing! I got a ''little cheese burger'', which I found out was basically a normal burger, where their idea of a normal burger was two patties. Might of been my cheat day but two patties was a little to far for me. All in all this burger was very very yummy, Dan was amazed with how quick I ate it!
Despite the face I had an amazing day out, full of lots of walking, chocolate, WholeFoods, Selfridges the list goes on and though I had a little case of the indigestions by the end of the day I would do it all again!

Well I'm off to read my new book (13 by Kelly Armstrong, amazing series) and relax with a little bit of chocolate, a girls gotta indulge at least once a day!