food

DIY Christmas Hamper

Christmas is the time for food, family and gifts and we think we’ve found the perfect way of combing all three! There is nothing like giving a homemade gift so this year we decided to make a few big, homemade hampers to give to some of our loved ones this jolly season!

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Although we do love a good sugar/salt scrub we went with the edible hamper route this year (let’s be honest, it’s much more fun eating left over chocolate than lemon sugar). We grabbed a few recipes from taste.com.au and are pretty happy with how our hamper turned out! We might even keep one for ourselves to enjoy after the Christmas season. Here’s what we filled our hampers with:

 

Spiced Banana Chutney

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We know, we know, what is banana chutney?! We though the same thing but thought we’d give it a go anyway and boy howdy are we glad we did! We had a tiny glass left over of it and it was gobbled up within the hour! This is one of the nicest chutneys we have ever tried and we’re pretty chuffed with the end result! It was deceptively simple (considering we could make it), tastes like a heavenly elixir and last 6 weeks in their jars (before opened) so you can make it in advance before the Christmas rush!

If you’re in Australia, the recipe is in the December issue of Taste.com.au magazine.

Chocolate Bark

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Chocolate bark is basically melted chocolate with yummy things on top so you can’t go wrong! We made our bark with dark, milk and white chocolate with three different toppings that are to die for! We still can’t decided which is our favourite and sadly they are all wrapped up and ready to give away so we don’t have any more left to munch on.

If you’re in Australia, the recipe is in the December issue of Taste.com.au magazine.

Brownies in a Jar

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This is quite possibly the easiest, yet most effective gift ever. You basically pop all the dry ingredients of your favourite brownies or cookies in a jar, stick the directions on a label and you’re done! They look super cool with the ingredients piled on top of each other plus, if you’re lucky, your friend might ask you over to eat the finished product.

Here’s the recipe we used, http://www.sixfiguresunder.com/homemade-fudgy-brownie-mix/

Choc-Chip Cookies

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Everybody, yes everybody, likes chocolate chip cookies.  So you know these are a definite winner in your DIY Christmas hamper. As an added bonus, they are super easy to make! Whip up a batch, pop them in a cute little bag/box and Bob’s your uncle. This item will be lucky to make it to boxing day.

We used this simple and delicious recipe from Donna Hay.

Et voila! A thoughtful and yummy DIY Christmas hamper.

We went to our local reject shop and picked up a pack of jar toppers and tags for $2 to make our goodies look a little more appealing, popped them in a basket and they are sitting in our study waiting for Christmas time!

 

Happy Cooking, N & M xx

 

 

The Best Pancakes in Town

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There’s nothing that I love more than a steaming pile of hot pancakes in the morning, so when N and I discovered these berry pancakes I knew I had to try them ASAP!

I present to you, the yummiest, healthiest, most amazing pancakes that I have ever tried! You will not be disappointed.

 

You will need:

3 egg whites

¼ cup oats

¼ cup low fat cottage cheese

2 Tbsp. quinoa flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 tbsp mixed berries + berries on top

 

What to do:

  1. Preheat your pan
  2. Combine all of your ingredients (but only half the blueberries) in a food processor until you have your favourite pancake consistency.
  3. Fold the remaining blueberries into the mixture.
  4. Cook batter like a normal pancake.
  5. Top with some mixed berries and that’s it! Dig in!

 

We love making a big batch and keeping it in the fridge so it’s even easier in the morning to have a delicious and healthy breakfast!

 

Wooh! What a way to start the week! You can thank me later 😉

– M x

Scrumptious Couscous Salad

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This is no ordinary salad. It’s sweet and yet savory, easy and yet complex with flavor, delicate and yet filling, healthy and yet so very, very delicious. Since I first made this salad for a girls’ weekend, it has been my go-to recipe when I have to take a dish to an event; without fail, I will have at least one person ask me for the recipe. It’s great as a side salad, just with some leftover meat or even on its own! I personally love it for lunch with some tinned tuna or shredded chicken…yummo!

You can whip it up for an easy lunch during the week or as a quick dinner on those nights when you just want something that’s simple and delicious on the table in next to no time.

 

Scrumptious Couscous Salad

Ingredients

2 tsps olive oil

1 large red onion (finely chopped)

4 tsps balsamic vinegar

3 tsps brown sugar

½ cup couscous

¾ cup boiling water

400g can of brown lentils (drained and rinsed)

½ cup flat leaf parsley (chopped)

½ cup fresh mint (chopped)

½ cup coriander (chopped)

8 fresh dates (pitted and thinly sliced)^

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

250g cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 ½ tbsp lemon rind (grated)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

80g Fetta (crumbled)

^I have also used dried pitted dates, and they are also excellent!

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occaisionally, for 8 minutes until soft. Next, add the sugar and vinegar and stir for 60 seconds. Remove from heat.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, pour the couscous. Cover with the boiling water, cover and set aside for approximately 5 minutes. The couscous is ready with the water has been absorbed and the grains can be easily separated with a fork.
  3. Add the onion mixture, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, dates, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, lemon rind, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Crumble feta over the top of the salad.
  4. Serve as desired and enjoy!

 

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Give it a go this weekend, you won’t be disappointed! You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already!

Pass this recipe on to your friends to share the yummy couscousy love.

 

-N x

Mmm Smoothies

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Let’s be honest; there have been around 10,000 blogs, vlogs and websites made about “healthy smoothies” and “green smoothies” in the last year alone. I’m not going to pretend that is a super different post with some revolutionary ingredient to change your life, but I will say that as a lover of all things edible and yummy these simple recipes have changed my mind on smoothies. They somehow taste absolutely delicious, fill me up and don’t make me feel like I’ve just eaten two bags of spinach.

I’m usually in a rush in the mornings (I love my beauty sleep) so I make these smoothies so I can quickly get a yummy, filling breakfast and head off to uni in time for class.

Banana Bonanza

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What you’ll need is:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey
  • A decent shake of cinnamon
  • 200mL of your choice of milk (I like to mix it up)
  • 100mL of water (can be coconut if you’re extra fancy)
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of your choice of yoghurt (my favourite is Greek but go for it, chuck in strawberry)
  • Some ice (optional)

Chuck it all in a whizzer, turn it on and voila! You have your very own Banana Bonanza (the names make them taste even yummier.)

Chia seeds are little bombs of nutrients. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” (or so they tell me) and they are loaded with antioxidants, fibre and protein.

Berry Blast

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What you’ll need is:

  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • Half a banana
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey
  • 200mL of pure apple juice
  • 100mL of water
  • 2 tablespoons of your choice of yoghurt
  • Some ice (optional)

You know what to do. Whizz it up and you are ready for a blast of berry goodness!

Using pure apple juice means that you won’t have any of the added sugar that lots of companies put in to their juices and it will be just as sweet with the raw honey added.

Green Monster

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This one scared me to begin with too. I mean who wants to drink their vegetables? Yuck. But trust me, this is just as sweet and delicious as the others!

You will need:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 8-10cm diced cucumber
  • 8-10cm diced celery
  • ½ a pear/apple cut in to pieces.
  • 1 sprig of mint
  • About 1/2 thumb- thumb of grated ginger (optional)
  • 150mL pure apple juice
  • 100mL water

We forgot the mint and ginger in the photo – oops!

Mix it all up and you have yourself one of the most amazing smoothies known to man.

The ginger in this one is amazing for fighting or warning off colds! I have this one when I’m feeling a bit down or stuffy. It’s a great start to the day and the apple juice, banana and pear/apple sweeten it up.

I would definitely recommend grating the ginger, as it can get quite stringy otherwise. I speak from experience.

I like to prepare the ingredients for my morning smoothie the night before and keep it in a bowl in the fridge. I obviously don’t add the juice, milk, water or yoghurt until the next morning but it makes the whole process even quicker and the flavours morph together overnight to make them extra yummy!

 

Bon appétit!

-M x

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