Monday, November 29, 2010

No Cookies This Week!

I didn't have time this weekend to participate in the 12 Weeks Of Christmas Cookies!   Boohoo!  I find my social calendar is either feast or famine;  usually I will have nothing on for weeks and then next thing you know I have things on Friday, Saturday and Sunday!  This weekend I had to go into the city on Friday evening to get a special Christmas gift, on Saturday I had a workmate's farewell and then on Sunday I had my sister, brother in law and niece over for lunch.  By the time they had left, I was just far too tired to attempt to do any more cooking and my kitchen was a mess anyway.

If I have time to today (and energy) I will try and make something this afternoon/evening.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Motivation Diary: Nov 25

I had plans to get up for a walk before work today but when my alarm went off I was feeling like a train hit me, run over me, then backed up over me.  Gah.  This is what I hate about training; I just feel soooo tired.  I was also annoyed at my alarm because I was dreaming of holding and snuggling cute baby bunnies (yes I am nuts and I dream of cute rabbits in my sleep HAHA!).  Reminds me of the days I would dream of picking up a donut and just as I was about to bite into it my mother would wake me up for school.  LOL!

No chance of me going to do any activity today after work because I have a long 11 hour shift at work today.  It is unheard of for me to be able to get up early on Fridays or Saturdays because I am usually so tired from the week... *sigh* my plans for a walk in the morning before work are sucking!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twelve Weeks Of Christmas Cookies: Week Eight

I promise this is my last installment of Christmas Truffles.  To recap, on week six I made a traditional Christmas truffle made from a ganache.  On week seven I made a Christmas truffle from New Zealand's favourite cookbook "Edmonds Cookery Book".  This week is a healthy twist on truffles.  It's made with dates, nuts, oats and spices.  It was inspired by The Vegan Table and Oh She Glows.

Do you have a friend that is a health freak but also enjoys their sweets?  These truffles would make the perfect gift!  That is if there is enough left after you've sampled them *wink*

Christmas Truffles (The Healthy Version)

1 1/2 cups almonds
30 dates, soaked in hot water*
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

For decorating
shredded coconut
cocoa powder
sesame seeds

*I used dried dates, but if you use Medjool dates, then only use 20 and do not soak in water.

Place oats and almonds into a food processor and process until fine.  Add in dates (drained from water), cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & cocoa and process until it forms a ball or has formed a consistency to form small balls when rolled.  Using your hands, roll mixture into small balls and then roll into coconut, cocoa powder or sesame seeds.  You can use other decorations if you wish but remember to use something healthy (or else it will ruin the name ha-ha!).  Place in refrigerator to chill and harden.  These should keep for quite a while!

Week 8 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Monday, November 15, 2010

In My Lunchbox: Episode Four

I've been a little disorganised lately and a bit tired, so lunch has been made on a whim.  For the past couple of days before work, I've just whipped up a simple fruit salad made with in season fruit.  The tangelo comes from my mother's tree.  She is always trying to push either grapefruit or tangelos on me when I visit...haha!

The salad is size large of course (my style) and served with a side of plain yogurt sweetened with a little Splenda.  I usually dip the fruit into the yogurt as I eat it.


Frozen Raspberries

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

My co workers birthday was on Friday just gone, and instead of buying her a gift (I'm broke anyway.... or perhaps just cheap LOL) I decided to bake her a batch of cupcakes. She doesn't tend to eat goodies like this on a day to day basis which is probably why she keeps her slim figure, but I knew she would make an exception for her birthday.

This recipe is from a book called "Cupcakes: The Complete Edition"
It has no author that I can see (weird) so perhaps it's a compilation from several cooks. Who knows, but the recipe was fantastic so cheers to the original cook who came up with these. My co worker really enjoyed them and appreciated the fact that I made her something. I mean, really, the best gifts are hand made aren't they??

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
125g greek or plain yogurt
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp poppy seeds
juice of 1 lemon
grated lemon rind of 2 lemons

1.5 cups icing sugar, sifted
125g butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add eggs and beat until well combined.  Add in flour, yogurt, poppy seeds, lemon juice and rind and beat for a further minute or two.

Spoon into muffin tins lined with paper cups and place in oven for 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine all ingredients into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.  Spread onto each cupcake with a butter knife.

C'mon, bite me.... know you want to

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Twelve Weeks Of Christmas "Cookies": Week Seven

The Edmond's Cookbook is a Kiwi icon. It was the only cookbook in my mother's house and I used to stare at the pictures of the party cakes all the time. Something about the pretty cakes, happy children's faces and  the variety of goodies in the picture made me dream a little as a kid.   The edition I have has different pictures now though. It is sold in pretty much all bookstores under the cookery section and it is also sold in most supermarkets, not in the book section but in the bakery section.

It says:
"The essential cook book for very kitchen, the Edmonds Cookery Book enables the user to cook with confidence and pride. With over 3 million copies sold to date the Edmonds Cookery Book is the biggest selling cook book in New Zealand's history"

Now the reason I'm telling you all this is because my recipe this week comes straight out of the Edmonds Cookery Book. I mentioned last week that I found several ways to make truffles and this one was the first recipe for truffles I had known. I remember making this recipe for the first time about 15 years ago on Christmas Eve for the family so we go way back.

Honestly, I like the truffles from this recipe better than the recipe from last week. They are a lot sweeter, but have a more chocolate fudge taste which definitely has more mainstream appeal.

Without further ado....

Chocolate Truffles 
(part deux)

50g butter
100g dark chocolate
1 cup icing/confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp rum
1 tsp cocoa
chocolate sprinkles

Put butter and chocolate into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until butter and chocolate have melted. Add 1/2 cup of the icing sugar. Stir until mixture is thick enough to handle. Stir in rum and coca. Add enough of the remaining icing sugar to make a stiff mixture. Shape mixture into balls. Roll in coconut and chocolate hale. Chill until firm. Makes about 15

Stay tuned next week on Week Eight for yet another version of Christmas Truffles from me.  This one is a healthy version and will definitely be a bit of an experiment for me as I've never made anything like it before!

Check out what everyone else made this week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daisy Eats Grass

For all you animal/bunny lovers out there.  Here's a short video of little Daisy enjoying some grass!  Since the guy that mows the lawn here is so efficient I have to go to my mother's house to gather some long grass for her.  I also usually raid her vegetable garden too, which she doesn't mind of course because she can't eat it all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I want to quit lifting.

There, I said it.

I'm sick of it.  I've lost motivation and I don't know how to get it back.  I'm desperate to get it back.  I've even toyed with the idea of doing bodybuilding again because I had so much motivation back then. Maybe I want the discipline I used to have but I don't want to put the work in.  Am I lazy or do I just have different interests now?  I don't know.

I do know that unlike most people I feel better physically when I don't work out.  I can actually get up in the morning for work without it being a huge struggle.  I enjoy that.  Mentally though, I feel so much better when I do work out.  I feel like I've accomplished something when I go to the gym and have a good weights session followed by a bit of heart pumping cardio.

One reason why I don't want to quit is because I've set myself some pretty big goals.  I wouldn't mind quitting lifting after I've met these goals but I would feel like a failure if I didn't reach these goals before I quit.
I have aimed to bench press 100kg raw for nearly two years now.  I've also set myself the goal of breaking the current Commonwealth record for the deadlift which at the moment is 190kg.  None of these goals can be reached if I sit on my ass.  They also cannot be reached if I go to the gym maybe once a week.  They require some commitment. Probably more than "some" commitment, more like a lot of commitment.

I don't know what to do.  I feel like I need a break for a month or two (at least) but I don't want to take one because if I do take a break my strength will dwindle and I don't want to spend a lot of time building my strength up.  I feel like I'm stuck!  I've thought about just sucking it up and making myself go to the gym but when it comes down to it I REALLY don't want to go.

These are my thoughts.  Do you have any thoughts or words of encouragement or wisdom? Help!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Twelve Weeks of Christmas "Cookies": Week Six

I steered away from a Christmas Cookie recipe this week and instead opted for a Christmas treat that can also be given as a gift: Truffles.  There are several ways to make Christmas truffles, the traditional method seems to be just a simple mixture of cream and dark chocolate with perhaps some flavouring in it.  I've always known truffles to have some kind of alcohol flavouring in it, so that's what I went for.  It seems the best concoction comes from almost a 1:1 ratio of cream (in ml) to dark chocolate (in grams).  This recipe is a mixure of different recipes I researched on the web for this week.  I also decorated my truffles whereas the traditional presentation seems to be to roll them in chopped nuts, flaked chocolate or coconut. Any opportunity to make things pretty!

Christmas Truffles 

150ml heavy cream
200g dark chocolate (70%)
20g unsalted butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp rum or brandy

Place cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Add vanilla extract, stir then take off heat and let cool slightly.  Heat chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water until melted.  Beat in unsalted butter and rum until smooth.  Add cream mixture and beat until smooth.  Place bowl in the refrigerator for several hours until chocolate mixture is firm, but not rock solid.  Form into small balls and decorate or roll in nuts, or coconut.  Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Check out what everyone else made this week!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Zucchini Pasta

I tried this dish for the first time a few weeks ago. I'm not a huge fan of regular pasta; I'll eat it but I won't seek it out if you know what I mean. I do love vegetables though so this was a perfect stand in dish for me. I've used zucchini before in place of pasta when I've made low carb lasagne. This was definitely a tasty addition to the low carb "pasta" repertoire. Have this dish in place of your normal pasta and serve with your own special pasta sauce.

Zucchini Pasta

2-3 large zucchini

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground sea salt and pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan

1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into lengthwise ribbons.

2. Cook the zucchini strips in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the zucchini ribbons and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, tossing and stirring the zucchini, for two to three minutes, until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Adjust salt and add freshly ground pepper to taste, and transfer to a serving dish. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and zucchini.