Friday, February 25, 2011

Blogger Confessions Part 1

I'm one of these people who just like to know stuff.
Random stuff, facts, figures, pointless information - I'm just a bit of a sponge!
I love getting to know more about other bloggers,
so I thought maybe you might like to know a little more about me!

I love breakfast so much and have so many ideas for breakfasts that I plan them days ahead. This means it can be Monday afternoon and I'm already anxiously awaiting the arrival of Thursday's breakfast.

I love to bake/cook things people would never think of making. Soft pretzels, you bet! English muffins, why not? 

I used to be scared of baking with yeast because I thought I wouldn't activate it properly and my creation would be a big, flat, fail! Now, yeast and I have become good friends - though I still think it smells like old people.

I freeze just about everything that could possibly be frozen - my freezer is piled with muffins, breads, pretzel dough, cookie dough, fruit (especially banana), pesto, cheese - you name it! I've actually considered buying a standalone freezer just so I can bake more.

I eat spinach like it's my job. I can not for the life of me understand how people eat measly plain lettuce salads - for me its go big or go home! That said, I don't think I could ever drink a green monster, the whole concept grosses me out!

I'm turning into the muffin woman. I think I've baked a batch of muffins at least once a week for the last month or two. I love super dense bran muffins and I've been experimenting with flavours - pumpkin, blueberry, banana, zucchini, carrot, apple, lemon etcetc.

Speaking of pumpkin, I'd never tried it in a sweet food until I made pumpkin muffins. Now I'm hooked and looking for pumpkin recipes left, right and centre. Pumpkin muffins with peanut butter are to. die. for.

I really like William Shatner and I'm not certain why, I guess because he's a genius? But please, lets just ignore his star trek days.

Speaking of Star Trek, I severly dislike science fiction. This may be because my parents reaaaaaaaaaally love it and I've had to endure boring shows like Star Gate and every other show with Star in the title. 

I get really excited over new food finds. Yesterday, I found date spread and it probably made my day. Date and Peanut Butter sandwiches? HELL YEAH!

I think that's enough confessions for one day.
But who knows, I may do another one - what do you think?

But I want to know
What's something the blog world doesn't know about you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cereal Killer

Breakfast is hands down my favourite meal of the day.
Whether it be a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal or a refreshing bowl of cereal I'm all for it!

Cereal also happens to be one of my favourite foods, I actually think it should be an entire food group on its own.
I'll eat it for breakfast with a bunch of creative toppings and I'll eat it as a snack or for dessert.
To be completely honest, I'd eat breakfast foods at every meal.

Back to Nature have a line of delicious cereals that are made from all natural ingredients and aren't overly processed.
In fact, the Apple, Apricot & Almond Farmer's Choice Cereal was already making regular appearances in my breakfast bowl before this review was even thought about!  

The Farmer's Choice cereals are much like a granola. 
They're crunchy and full of flavour with a bit of chew from the dried fruit hidden inside the clusters. 
The cereals are also wheat free and high in fibre and contain no added cane sugar.

I'd never tried the Apple, Cranberry and Cinnamon version before the review and I can safely say that...
I LOVE IT! and it will also be making regular appearances in my breakfast bowl.
I love eating them with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit and adding whatever nuts or dried fruits that may take my fancy
as well as adding them as a crunchy topping to my oatmeal or mixing it with cottage cheese.
(I know, I know - people have an automatic "EW" reaction to cottage cheese, but I love it - don't knock it till you try it)

Now my only problem is choosing which flavour I want to have that morning!

The Apple, Apricot and Almond Bitez are bite sized muesli bars with all the flavour of the Farmer's Choice Cereal.
They are delicious! I love chewy muesli bars so these were absolutely perfect, they have the same feel as a freshly made oatmeal cookie. 

You might be thinking BUT THEY'RE SO SMALL?!?! and don't worry - I was too.
However they are really satisfying, proof that size isn't everything!
They've become a snacking staple and I have a few stashed in my purse for when the hunger monster attacks.

 The Waffle Bitez and Cookie Bitez are super fun cereals perfect for little ones
(or people who like me who still loveeeeeee and devour childish foods :P)

I loved the Cookie Bitez on their own. (I'm a huge dry cereal fan)
They're a great snacking cereal and perfect for adding to yogurt bowls.
They're just sweet enough and have no artificial colours, flavour or preservatives.
Plus, the little cookies are ridiculously cute - perfect for cookie monsters!

The Cookie Bitez and Waffle Bitez are also gluten and wheat free - so they're perfect for those with intolerances or sensitive tummies.

The Waffle Bitez I was a little disappointed with,
on their own they didn't have much flavour at all and in milk they turned soggy quite quickly. 
I would've loved a stronger maple flavour, which was what I was expecting. 
However, they hold up quite well in yogurt and work as a base cereal for adding yummy toppings.

You can find Back to Nature Cereals at Coles and Woolworths stores in the "Health Food" aisle
as well as in health food stores and independent grocery chains.
But I have to say - you MUST try the Farmer's Choice Cereals (especially the apricot one!) you won't regret it!

But tell me - 
What's your favourite meal of the day?
and What's your favourite cereal?

I already told you I love the Apple, Apricot and Almond Farmers choice cereal,
but some of my other favourites are muesli (any kind, really), honey oat cheerios and UT's Honey High Fibre Bites.

Enter to WIN the Morrissey sunglasses here! 

Kristy received Back to Nature products courtesy of
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to

Monday, February 21, 2011

Positive drinking?

Is it just me, or does the sun really need to dust off those cobwebs and come out again?

I'll admit it, I'm the type of person whose day tends to be really affected by the weather.
It's mainly the temperature - I feel the cold really easily, so as soon as its cold, windy or rainy I dread going outside. 

However, lately Spring Valley has inspired me to find the Spring in my every day.
By Spring, I mean that little boost - something that makes you smile or warms your heart.

So, what kind of things put the spring in my day? 

Chanel, my pup - somehow I managed to find the worlds cutest puppy who always manages to make me smile. Whether it be the way she will come up and paw at my leg when I'm working away at the computer or the way she scrunches her face up just so she can play with a toy that is double the size of her head. 

Baking - I love the satisfaction of creating something that works. Lately I've been trying my hand at bread making and experimenting with new recipes. My latest success? Soft pretzels! 

Little kids - Okay, I know that might sound creepy - but I can't be the only one who loves to see little ones running around without a care in the world. The carefree attitude of kids definitely inspires me to be more like that myself! Everyone needs to let loose and enjoy sometimes!

Good Food - Sometimes a delicious meal can give your day that added boost - perhaps its the pancakes you had for breakfast or that sandwich that took your right back to your childhood or the to-die-for cupcake you had for dessert, food has the ability to create memories as well as to take you back to a specific moment in time.

There's a million other things that make me smile, and I'm making it my mission to find at least one thing that adds a little spring to my every day.
It's all about taking note of the little things - maybe it's the smell of rain as you walked out the door this morning (I dislike rain immensley but I love the smell of it) or maybe its the cute old couple who strolled past you on their afternoon walk - I challenge you to find the spring in your every day!

All you have to do is tell me what makes you smile and puts the spring in your day to win a pair of Morrissey Sunglasses! Just click here and comment away! 

Back to Spring Valley, 
I was sent a whole bunch of Banana and Berry Nectar to try as part of the Sunnie Days promotion. 

This juice is super thick with the sweet taste of berries and banana and is a new addition to the Spring Valley Range. 
It's perfect for adding to things like jellies, smoothies or punches or drinking on its own. 
The juice does have a strong banana smell, put don't be put off! the banana flavour definitely isn't overpowering.
It definitely has a Spring Vibe about it and I'm inspired to make some sort of banana berry sorbet! 

But do tell me, 
What has been your latest success in the kitchen?
and What would be your ultimate juice combination? 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Mum!

Thank you for everything!

 (especially putting up my with my entirely random nonsense)

Tell me one quick fact you know, but someone else may not!
(This way I have more to tell my mum ;P) 

and DON'T FORGET to enter my competition to win a pair of Morrissey Sunglasses

and yes, I did make those cupcakes! 
completely from scratch :) 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

COMPETITION: The Spring in Your Day!

I told you a little while ago that I was chosen to be apart of Spring Valley's Sunnie Day project.
But what is the project, you ask?

Well - Spring Valley's current promotion is all part of the idea that you can find the spring in your everyday, even if the sun isn't shining. 
No, no.. I'm not talking about a metal spring. I'm talking about something that gives you that little boost! 

It might be witnessing something hilarious or super cute, catching up with an old friend, having the most amazing lunch of your life, noticing the flowers that just popped up in your garden or finally achieving a goal you've set for yourself.

Who knows! But that little spring is there! 

So what have I got for you? hey hey?
Why, I want to give you something, Perhaps it will be the spring in your day?

Thanks to Spring Valley and Soup, I'm giving away one pair of Morrissey sunglasses. 

Spring Valley is currently giving away a pair of sunnies every 30 minutes for the next 11 weeks
and all you have to do is SMS your Spring Valley Juice bottle's barcode from any specially marked bottle
or go online to enter.

And if you win by entering your barcode? You get to choose from 5 limited edition colours
Black, White, Red, Yellow and Blue!
And if you don't win? Second chance draw baby!

But back to my giveaway, especially for you!
To enter, I want you to tell me...
What puts the Spring in your day?!
Leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered into the Morrissey Sunnies Giveaway!

The giveaway is open to Australian residents only 
(sorry international readers, I still love you!)
and you have to make sure I have a way to contact you!
(For non blog users you can send me your email address and a copy of your comment to - that way no one has to know your email address) 
The winner will be decided randomly, but you still have to answer the question in order to have a valid entry!
Entries close February 28, 2011 11:59 AEST

But until then, 
why don't you grab yourself a specially marked Spring Valley Juice and enter your barcode to win!\

Keep your eyes peeled for some more juice-y posts soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Valentine: Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe

 So tomorrow is Valentines Day.
Does anyone else feel like Valentines Day is the one holiday that really creeps up on you?
You've just finished celebrating Christmas and the New Year and bam Valentines Day is knocking on your door.

I decided to bake up some valentines treats for my family as an early valentines present,
seeing as my actual Valentine is 10, 000 miles away. 

This year was Sugar Cookies - two ways! 
Half of the batch had chewy jam heart centres, while the second half of the batch was frosted.

Two different cookies from one recipe? Simple! 

I still haven't decided which of the two I like best.
The jam hearts are definitely more grown up and sophisticated,
while the frosted hearts are super cute!

These cookies melt in your mouth, they're not a crunchy cookie whatsoever
This is partly due to the sour cream in the recipe which give them a super soft texture.

Sweetheart Sugar Cookies 

 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 180*C (350*F).
Beat butter until soft 
(if you're using softened butter, you can skip this step - I'm just too impatient)
add in sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 - 3 minutes. 
Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 
Cover dough and chill in fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Turn out dough onto a floured board, roll out to about 1/2 centimetre/1/4 inch thick.
(You may need to add a little more flour to make the dough more workable - but don't add too much or you won't have soft cookies!)
Use cookie cutters to make shapes and transfer to a lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown - no longer!
When you take the cookies out of the oven they may look underdone - but don't worry, you'll thank me later for your soft melt in your mouth cookies!

Adaptions -
Crunchy cookies: Bake for 5 or so minutes longer, your cookies will be brown on the outside with a lighter brown centre and will harden upon cooling.
Jam Centred Cookies: Cut out shapes in the middle of your cookies and fill with jam, bake for 8 minutes at 180*C before turning the oven down to 120*C for a further 5-10 minutes, or until jam starts to set. 

Sugar Cookie Frosting
125g Butter
2 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk 
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Beat butter until soft.
Add sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until pale and creamy.
Add in food colouring as you wish!

All you have left to do is package them up for your Sweet Valentine! 
That's if they make it to them.

So tell me,
What's your favourite holiday?
and how are you spending Valentines Day?

My favourite holiday is Christmas, HANDS DOWN. 
If it could be Christmas every single day of the year I'd be in heaven!
I don't know how people could ever tire of it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Juicy News!

All has been a little quiet on the blog front lately, 
as I've been a busyyyyyy busy bee.
But I'm back with a sneak peak of what's to come!

By the end of this week I will have a competition for you all!
I've actually been chosen as a blogger for the Spring Valley Sunnie Days Promotion.
Here's a little sneak peak at what's to come!

I will be giving away a pair of Morissey Sunglasses and you also have the chance to win a pair every 30 minutes by grabbing yourself a Spring Valley :)

I also have another competition in the works for the beginning of march, but more on that in a later post!
and as for the candy I showed you in this post, that was for Box of Treats.
Have a look at their Valentines Gift Packs (photographed by yours truly!)

Speaking of Valentines Day, I'm planning on baking up a storm with some Valentines inspired treats 
so hopefully you'll be seeing them this weekend! 

But do tell me,
What have you got plans for Valentines Day?
and How do you feel about Competitions?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spicing it up

I guess you could say I like relatively simple food.
Yes, some may say I'm boring because I don't want to eat truffles or foods I can't pronounce.
But what's wrong with clean, simple food?


 Whilst you may never find me eating overpriced culinary delicacies
you will find me in the kitchen, playing around with different herbs and spices.

Herbs and spices are a little bit like magic.
A dash of this and a sprinkle of that and your dish tastes 10, 000 times better than it did two seconds ago.

So when I got sent a bunch of Herbie's Spices, 
I knew that some creativity would soon be flowing in my kitchen.

First I needed some inspiration
and the "Herbie in South India" DVD I was sent was perfect for the job. 
With recipes like Mango Dal, Vegetarian Sambar and Herbie's Sunday Curry I felt like a had a better understanding of the spices contained in the package. 

The Curry Mix with Whole Seeds and Spicesis a blend of coriander seed, tumeric, cumin, paprika, chilli, mustard seeds, cassia, ginger, pepper and cardamon.
It's a perfect full bodied curry base with only a light heat which makes it perfect for the chilli fearing.

The Berbere is an African Spice mix which is perfect for grilling. 
The mix of cumin seed, coriander, black peppercorns, ajowan seed, fenugreek seed, allspice, ginger, chilli, nutmeg and cloves is perfect for sprinkling on meat before grilling. 
The heat from the spice mix works extremely well with fresh, summery salads.

Ras El Hanout is a Morrocan blend of spices, perfect for tagines 
It's a mix of paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, cassia, tumeric, fennel seed, cardamon, allspice, nutmeg, dill seed, galangal, orris root, bay leaves, caraway seed, cayenne, cloves, mace, black pepper and saffron. 
Ras El Hanout actually means "top of the shop" or the very best spice blend on offer.
Adding 1/2 a teaspoon of Ras el Hanout to each cup of cous cous makes an extremely fragrant Moroccan side dish.

Balmain & Rozelle Spice is a spice mix developed by Herbie to celebrate the "Feat of Sydney".
It was created as a testament to the depth of Australia's broad food heritage. 
The mix of Asian spice flavours as well as European, Indian and Australian Native flavours works surprisingly well together.
The mix contains Kaffir Lime Leaves, Lemon Myrtle, Tumeric, Salt, Cumin, Ginger, Garlic, Chilli, Coriander Seed, Galangal, Caraway and Cayenne.

And of course you can't forget the basics! 
Herbie's Super Grade Extra Black Peppercorns is a mix of black, white, green and pink pepper
that is highly aromatic and perfect for freshly grinding over food to give it that extra kick. 

Herbie's Spices are available online or at a number of stockists
and their range includes spices from around the world, meaning you can create dishes that feel like they've come straight from a lebanese kitchen or a vietnamese street stall.

But do tell me, 
What's your favourite spice? 
I loveeeeeeeeeee Cajun Spice Mixes and Mexican Flavours.

Kristy received Herbie's spices courtesy of
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to basics

I'm sure every person has their essential ingredients, their "must haves".
Pantry basics used to be simple - flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, pasta, rice etcetc. 
Nowadays we have more exotic ingredients making themselves at home in our pantries and fridges.

One of the current "trendy" staples is Quinoa.
Whilst I've devoured my fair share of quinoa chocolate I'd never actually tried it by itself. 
Until my friends at Alter Eco sent me a package filled with what some may call basic ingredients.

 Quinoa is actually not a grain at all, it's a pseudocereal,
meaning that its used much in the same way as other cereals but it's not actually a member of the grass family. 

It's been used since ancient times, 
The Incas actually considered the crop to be sacred, referring to it as "mother of all grains".  
Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein source.
 Quinoa has recently come into Vogue, so to speak, due to its high protein content, source of dietary fibre and phosphorus and high magnesium and iron content. 

But you might be thinking, "enough with all the chatter, what on earth am I going to do with those tiny little grains?"

Well, the first thing is wash them thoroughly. 
Quinoa has a coating of bitter tasting saponins making it unpalatable. 
So unless you want to feel like you've had your cheeks slapped - take that quinoa over to your sink, pronto!
Your other option is to soak it for a few hours then change the water and resoak 
(I'm pretty sure the first option is much easier)

Now you've rinsed the quinoa (and subsequently avoided any cheek slapping) 
you can treat it much like rice, using a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bringing the water to a boil and then covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14-18 minutes until the germ separates from the seed.
Or if you have a rice cooker you can throw it in there just as you would white rice.

Another option for crunch lovers is to use quinoa in granola mixes
and bakers can find plenty of recipes that use quinoa. 

Alter Eco also sent me two varieties of rice - Purple Jasmine and Coral Red Jasmine

Purple Jasmine Rice is glutinous (meaning it's a sticky rice) and has a delicate sweet flavour. 
This would be perfect for a rice dessert and its pretty colour means its perfect for impressing foodie friends :P

Coral Red Jasmine Rice is derived from an ancient wholegrain red rice. The grains are polished by a natural technique using traditional millstones which means they retain all the natural riches and minerals of wholegrain red rice whilst being lighter and easier to digest as well as acquire a pretty coral colour. 

As someone who's not a big rice fan whatsoever I actually really enjoyed these rices 
probably because I'm secretly five years old their vibrant colour.
You've got to admit, colourful foods are so much more appealing than bland boring foods!

The last item in the box is something that will most definitely become a pantry staple for me. 
Alter Eco's Organic Ground Cane Sugar is deelicious.
Its much the same as brown sugar with the fact that it's naturally moist, however, its flavour is 1000000 times better.
The cane sugar has a rich somewhat molasses taste with hints of vanilla. 
It also contains up to fifty times more minerals than a refined sugar - white or brown. 

I've used it in baked goods and sprinkled it on top of oatmeal
and I don't think I could turn back to brown sugar again! 

I urge you to go out and find yourself some, I promise you won't regret it! 
Have a look here for where you can find Alter Eco products 


But back to the topic of foods,
What are your staple foods?

For me my staple foods would have to include
 raw oats 
wheat bran
chia bran
fruit and vegetables
peanut butter
cheese (especially cottage cheese)
dried fruit

and the list goes onnnnnnn and on! 

Kristy received Alter Eco Products courtesy of
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to