Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Egg Nog

I absolutely love Christmas. I love the lights, adore the music, and love the generally since of cheeriness that seems to be everywhere. Seriously, my local grocery store decorated and has started playing Christmas music, and it seriously makes me stay in there for at least an extra 5 minutes every time just because it makes me happy to be around an Christmasy a grocery store.

                                                      Printable Recipe 
So naturally, the day after Thanksgiving I start getting into Christmas mode. By the way, being in the UK there is obviously no such thing as Thanksgiving here...I really miss that about he USA. But I digress. So, part of getting in the Christmas mode for me is the food aspect. Gingerbread cookies, pumpkin bread, and obviously EggNog!!! But again, UK....not big on eggnog. In fact, you can't find it anywhere. So instead of just buying a carton of it at Kroger, I was forced to make my own this year. Which turns out, is the best thing that's happened to eggnog, because homemade is actually WAY better than store bought as I have come to find out.

Now, first off, credit must be given to Epicurean Mom. I first found the recipe there, and just added a bit more cinnamon to mine and used whole milk instead of cream at the end. The best part of this though, it's super easy. Mix spices and milk, bring to a boil, mix egg yolks with sugar, pour hot spiced milk while mixing egg/sugar combo, and then take that whole mixture and bring to about 160F/73C until it thickens. Then add some more cream/milk and there you have it!

Now, Iv'e been making it non-alcoholic, that way if I decide I want it with or without I have the option. You can always just add some spice rum to it right before you drink it. Whatever works for you!

And don't forget to top it with some Nutmeg right before drinking. The aroma of it is part of the experience, and the flavor is equally as amazing!

So those of you in the UK who have never had EggNog, or those USA natives who are obsessed but can't seem to find it you go! Any easy and delicious eggnog recipe to enjoy through the holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

You know those people, who are ALWAYS doing something? Full time job, volunteering, going out with friends, and still managing to get a good work out in on a regular basis. Well, I'm not one of those, but oh how I wish I was. The point is, I got slightly busy and that's why I have not posted in FOREVER, because I got slightly busy. It's a bit pathetic

Anyways, so I don't know if I ever told you all, but I have an obsession with cupcakes. Not the way they taste (thought that's obviously essential) but more with the way they look. I just think they are so cute! So this is a cupcake post! And my first one too. Printable Recipe 

Look, I don't mean to brag...but people have told me these are "The best cupcakes I have ever had". And that coming from a person who has an obsession with cupcakes, and goes around Bristol and London and tastes every cupcake they can find. 

And I won't lie, they are pretty freekin good. A blueberry cake, with home made lemon curd filling, topped with a lemon/cream cheese frosting. I admit, they are mostly a summer cupcake, but who cares when they are so delicious. 

The batter is super easy to make, as is the icing. The lemon curd is pretty much just mixing all the ingredients together and letting it heat up until it forms a custard. So all in all, pretty simple recipe with a pretty amazing outcome.

Home you love them! Give me your thoughts. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

15 Minute Shrimp Veggie Stir Fry

Happy Thursday All! It's almost Friday!

So, the husband has been busy busy busy at work this week, and I'm always less willing to cook more time consuming meals when it's just for me. But I face this one predicament, I want to eat delicious food all the time but in most cases delicious food takes more time than not. Well, I'm beginning to realize that's not really true.

This took pretty much negative time....give or take 15 min. Which is basically equivalent to negative time. So easy, so fast, and seriously delicious! Here's what you will need...

Some rice noodles. These are pre-cooked almost all the way rice noodles. PERFECTO for stir frys.....I love you Sainsbury. And no they aren't invisible..just already in the stir fry. (50 points to the first one who spots the cute puppy face in this picture^^^^^)

Your stir fry vegetable mix of choice. Our grocery store does this wonderful packet of fresh never frozen stir fry veggies for 1 quid. Amazing!! I would avoid using frozen mixtures...from experience they always turn out sub par when compared to the fresh stuff.
You'll also need 1/2 lb of shrimp (cooked or uncooked, honestly it takes about the same amount of time)

And EVERYONE knows that a good stir fry is not a good stir fry without a good sauce. 


Makes the dish. 

Toss the veggies in first and cook for about 3 minutes. Add your soy sauce/rice vinegar/sesame oil/ agave concoction. Toss in your shrimp, cook for about 5 if raw and 2 minutes if cooked. Add your rice noodles, cook for about 6 minutes and top with Sweet Chili Sauce. 


I'm getting hungry again just looking at it. We do have left overs...I could just grab a few bites.

Honestly. Go make this. NOW!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tumeric Face Mask (For that Oh so Beautiful Glow)

OK, I know this one is a bit different. Not something you eat, but it is technically still food, and it is made in my kitchen, so the way I see it...this is totally appropriate. Plus, who doesn't love a little self pampering? I personally, LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. it.

This is by far, my all time favorite face mask, including ones I have actually purchased at beauty stores. Mint Julep face masks come in second. But this one is W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L! To start with, it has a beautiful color (at least I think so). But even if it was puke green I would still love it because of what it does for my face!

STOP! I know what you're thinking. "Ummm, this girl is CRAZY with a capital C. That's going to turn my face yellow". 

 It won't. I'm not the first to do me. You can fine tumeric face masks all over the internet and people have been using it for ages. If you follow this recipe, you shouldn't have any issues. But I can say this...NEVER add olive oil. You'll find some recipes that say olive oil instead of honey, or in addition. From what I can tell, olive oil is the magic ingredient to taking it from a nice glow, to looking like a sick Umpa Lumpa. 

This gives you a beautiful glow AND makes your skin feel so clean/fresh/soft/moisturized...pretty much any positive descriptor that you can think of for your face. Here's a break down of how it does so many wonderful things.

Flour- serves as an exfoliator. Helps get rid of all that dead skin covering your beautiful face!
Pure Honey- antibacterial. Trust me, I'm a Microbiologist haha. No seriously...I am. But if you need proof google that baby! PLUS, it's moisturizing. Double Wammo!
Greek Yogurt- packed with nutrients for you face to help those skin cells be happy campers. And yea, moisturizing...again!
Tumeric- Oh dear. Don't get me started on tumeric. Too late! It's like a super food that's totally taken for granted. First off, it too has antibacterial power! It's good for you immune system (when take orally), your liver, your blood pressure..the list goes on and on. Why? Because brace your's got an absurd amount of anti oxidants in it. So yeah, it's good for your face! Good for you health. Don't just put it on your it. Not the face mask, but just in general :-)

So, here we go. 

A little bit of tumeric

Some flour

Mix it all up!

Add your yogurt, honey, and some milk to counteract the thickness of it all. Stir it up!

And last, but not least..apply all over your face and leave for ~30 min. Obviously, be careful to not get it in your eyes (though to be honest, I always put it right under my eyes and have never had an issue). I always put it on before I take a shower, that way if I get any in my hair I can just wash it right off with ease. 

Super easy, super cheap, and super amazing. But wait...THERE'S MORE! No seriously, you will have a lot of left over after just one application. No worries, this can be covered and put in the fridge. Iv'e used it for up to a week after making it. It won't go bad. It's got all that antibacterial goodness that keeps it nice for days. I wouldn't use it past a week though. That's my arbitrary cut off.

Now go make it and make your self all pretty/handsome. Yeah that's right fellas, this is for you too! My husband puts it on (admittedly after an hour of pestering from me) when I make it, and it does wonders for him too!

Tumeric Face Mask

1 tsp Tumeric
2 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs greek yogart
1 tbs milk
1/2 tsp pure honey

1. Mix flour and tumeric
2. Add in all wet ingredients and stir
3. Apply to face/neck and leave to dry for 30min.It will become very dry and stiff, and will crack if you move your face muscles too much. I generally try not to talk when I have the mask on to prevent cracking.
4. Wash off with warm water

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blueberry Banana Bread

You know those days, where you wake up full of energy, ready to face the day? All you want to do is go out and just do something? Well yesterday, was not one of those days.

I know it's technically still summer, but the past two days in Bristol have felt a bit more like fall. And I'm not complaining, just loving it. All I want to do on days like these is curl up next to my pup (and husband if he weren't at work), drink some warm tea, and munch on something sweet. So, that's what I did. Plus today is my first day of work at my new job, so it was like a mini vacation.
Printable Recipe

Isn't she a beaut? Bananas, bursting blueberries, and cinnamon all mixed into one lovely bread! What's not to love? Nothing. Nothing is not to love. I had some bananas in the freezer I was meaning to use, plus I promised this post would be coming soon so I thought, "Well, today is pretty much perfect for some warm Blueberry Banana bread". But I can't take full credit for this, I ever so slightly adapted the recipe from Taste of Home.

So, let's get started! First I got out those frozen bananas to thaw as well as the shortening to soften. BTW, NEVER throw away browning bananas. They are perfect for breads, pancakes, etc. Just throw them in the freezer until you are ready to use.

Gathered up the rest of the ingredients. Eggs, sugar, blueberries, flour, baking soda, salt....

 Oh look at me all fancy schmancy. "Finest quality" Vanilla extract. Actually...that's all they have at the store.

Next up, creaming the shortening and sugar. I used a table top mixer for this, but a whisk or hand mixer will suffice. I then added the eggs and vanilla extract and mixed until creamy.

In a separate bowl, I whisked all of the dry ingredients. Slowly added the creamed mixture to the dry ingredients until fully mixed. Dropped in the blueberries and folded them in. P.S., recipe calls for 1 cup, which I followed but I would have liked more in the end. Maybe try 2 cups? Yes!

Now, at this point...most people would put the batter into, oh I don't know...a bread pan. But most people probably didn't just move across the globe with minimal kitchen ware, so I made do with what I had. An oval pyrex dish. Hey, you gotta work with what you got...and this is what I got.

Tossed it in the oven at 375 F/176 C and watched that baby rise! Ok, the rising actually took a long time to start, but once it did it was magical! Well, that was easy wasn't it? Honestly, the hardest part is just waiting for it to bake. Fifty minutes seems like an eternity when all you want is just one sliver! Be sure to let it cool down before you take it out of the pan too. I made the impatient mistake once of flipping the pan to get the bread out and it was disaster.

I have to say though, the most impatient one was my husband. The only thing I heard from him when he got home was "When can I eat some bread?". Ummm, when it cools off and I can cut into it without it being a total mess...that's when. Patience truly is a least when it comes to baking. 

Hope you guys love it as much as I do!

Printable Recipe 

Ohh, and one last thing. This makes a pretty large loaf, so if you don't want to wait 50min for a loaf to bake or want some smaller ones to pass around to friends, just use some mini loaf pans and decrease the bake time to about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. OK...bye.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Garlic Lemon Hummus

Alrighty guys, this one is easy peasy lemon squeezy. No pun intended. That's not true, pun totally intended.

So this one was part of last night's dinner, but it's perfect for snacking on too. I honestly DISLIKE all store bought hummus that I have ever eaten. Perhaps I simply have not come across the right one for me, but of the many I have run across, they all have the same issue... Too Sweet! It's like all the flavor is there, but they added a cup of sugar for the fun of it and ruined it.

And then, one marvelous day about two years ago, my mom decided to make some hummus to snack on. Why, oh why, was I not shown this earlier in life?! And the best part, you can make it whatever delicious flavor your little heart desires. Fancy some roasted peppers? Throw them right in! Love yourself some garlicy pesto? Add in a nice dollop! By the way, pesto....SUPER easy to make as well. I'll get around to making some and post that as well. So, from that day gross sweet store bought hummus. Only the yummy homemade kind for this one!

So, as always..gather up those ingredients! Chickpeas, paprika, lemon, salt....

Olive oil, and garlic. 

mmmk, so now that we got that you're going to want a food processor or a blender. I used a hand blender because it's all we currently have since the move, and it was a less than pleasant experience. My husband turned to me mid process to say, and I quote "Why don't you go take a walk out side? How about getting us some wine?" To which I kindly replied "I don't need a freekin walk. Get your own wine!". 

So basically you just toss everything right into your blending apparatus, which for your sake and sanity I hope is NOT a hand blender, and blend away! I will note, that the olive oil here is both for flavor and consistency. So if you aren't too keen on adding too much olive oil but want something less thick, you can try using milk or save some of the liquid that the chickpeas comes in and add some of that to get a less dry and smooth mixture. 

Yummo, right!? I sprinkled a little bit of paprika on top and dunzo! Of course everything here can be done to taste. So if you prefer a more citrus taste, squeeze in some more lemon. More salt? Yup, sprinkle that right in. You don't have to keep blending it either. Just get the consistency you want and then add the extra salt, paprika, etc. and just mix with a spoon. The flavors will blend right in! It really is perfection. Grab some pita, carrots, broccoli, and dip it right in for a healthy snack. Or, if you're lucky you'll get to enjoy it like this...

I know, it's a bit of a tease! But all that goodness (minus the hummus and the store bought pita) is the husbands doing. Falafel and tabouli. It was, indeed, amazing! I would promise to make them myself and post it, but I don't have much patience for what I arbitrarily deem "complicated" dishes and falafel was one of those. But the tabouli I might, it is in fact very simple. We shall see. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

French Toast Goodness with Bananas

Woohooo! First blog post ever is going up!!!!!

Ok, done with the excitement. But it is exciting, isn't it?

Anywho, on to why we are really here. To talk about pure deliciousness! And the focus today? Ummm...amazing French Toast Goodness. Because who doesn't love french toast? That cinnamony fall flavor is like nothing else. Not to mention that amazing moment when you cut into your first piece and that warm gooey syrup seeps out just a little, enough to tease you before you take that first amazing bite. Ok, I'm getting a little carried away, but seriously this stuff is plate licking good.

And what do I have to thank for the idea to make french toast? Because let's be real, no way I make my self breakfasts this delicious every morning. Extra eggs! Yup, that's it. The husband needed 1 egg for a recipe he was going to be making, and I needed 2 eggs for a Blueberry Banana Bread I am going to be making (post to come soon!). But we only had 2 eggs in the fridge, so of course we had to buy more eggs. And since eggs at most grocery stores don't come in singles, we thought our surplus of eggs was a good excuse to make something special for breakfast. And the fact that it was a particularly cool morning in Bristol today made it that much better to bite into this baby! All that was missing was a hot pumpkin spice latte! I will SO be making that soon...I will!

Oh, and what's that tucked away in between two slices of fresh warm french toast you ask? Well ok, you probably could use your deductive reasoning skills to figure out from the title of this post that yeah, it's bananas! I'll admit, I'm not typically a huge banana fan. I think the husband is half monkey with the amount he eats. But sometimes, they really do make a dish...and this dish, is one of those dishes. So enough babbling, lets get down to business!

So I got together my ingredients. Cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, vanilla extract...

milk, eggs, bread, bananas...

I know, I know...there are no bananas in these pictures. I forgot to take a picture of the one ingredient that I just got through saying, makes the dish! Dummy. 

Next, I cracked the eggs into the bowl (I prefer a flat bottom to fully submerge the bread) and added all those lovely fall spices and flavors a long with some milk.

Yeah don't worry, it's not going to look pretty. Just mix until most of those huge spice chunks are gone, but several will still remain. Now, it was time for those bread slices to go for a swim. And then, onto the pan you go little one! I used some butter on the pan to keep the bread from sticking. 

Cooked it on medium heat until both sides were a beautiful golden brown. Once the first slice was done, I put it on the plate an immediately cut up half a banana and placed them on top. The heat from the french toast warms up the banana and makes it that much more flavorful!

I then topped it with some Agave Nectar and cooked the next slice. My sister introduced me to this beauty! Not as high in sugar as honey, but still naturally delish. My husband was VERY skeptical about not using maple syrup but I said "Trust me, it's gonna be good!". And right I was!

Aww, look...a french toast sandwhich! Ummm, yes please! I then added a bit more cinnamon on top, some more Agave Nectar, and just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 

And then, both the husband and I devoured it. I promise, I didn't actually lick the plate despite my comment on this being "plate licking good". It just looks like that because I ran my last piece along the WHOLE plate to make sure I didn't leave any goodness behind. Don't judge me! I like my food and my food likes me!

And that's it. Took not more than 30 mins to make, and about 2 minutes to eat every last morsel.


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