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Happy 2017

1 Jan

Hello and welcome to 2017! Wishing everyone who reads this a year of achievement and contentment and success.

 I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do often write out my goals (which is kind of the same thing I guess) . I have personal goals, career goals, reading goals and of course blogging goals. I will share a few blogging goals I have.

1) To continue to consistently post on my blog- though I started my blog in 2012, I only began consistent posting in mid 2016, and I love it. It gives me something to look forward to and hopefully does the same for those who read the blog.

2) To expand my posting range- I primarily do recipes and tips with some travel and beauty stuff splashed in between. This year I want to do DIYs ,more exciting recipes  and more travel and beauty related posts.

3) To improve my photography skills- While I quite like taking photos and I do think I have improved over time, I know there is so much more to learn and do to create beautiful shots. I intend to invest more energy in that.

4) To engage more with fellow bloggers- I learnt in the latter half of 2016 that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Some very similar to me, some completely different but exciting and some just totally out of the box. Before, I never really considered finding blogs on WordPress,  I only used it to actually write my posts. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’m excited to see more.

This are my main blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. What are your blogging goals?

Have an awesome day!

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Champagne Gummy Bears

28 Dec


Hello everyone.  Hoping you had a beautiful Christmas/Holiday season and are as eager as I am to leave 2016 behind. It hasn’t been all bad but it was definitely messy. 

This is a recipe I tried a couple months ago but I thought would be a perfect NYE treat… Champagne Gummy bears. Of course, you can also use regular wine.

I first heard of these about two or three years ago. At that point they were only being sold by a very high end gourmet candy company and though beautiful and delicious looking, not easily attainable for me.

Then the pictures and tutorials began showing up on Pinterest and I knew…I had to try.

The recipe I used is a mash up of two I found online.  One is from Cooking with Janica and Sprinkle Bakes. I used less gelatin than both recipes called for and it gave me a softer gummy which I prefer. I also used the recommendation from Sprinkle Bakes of adding an additional flavour because just using the wine makes it a bit bland. So let us continue. ..

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 cup Wine– champagne, prosecco, red, white, blush. I used a white, a red and a sparkling rose.

2) Gummy bear molds– I bought these on Amazon, each can make 50 bears and it comes in pairs.

3) 3 packets of gelatin (or if you want a vegan option, use agar-agar)

4) Food colouring– Depends on the flavour, I used pink for the rose, red for the red wine and a little yellow for the white wine.

5) 1/2 cup of white sugar

6) 2-3 drops of wine food flavouring – yes this exists but I couldn’t get any when I wanted it so I used strawberry, I think any berry flavour can work.

7) Squeeze bottle– for easy delivery of the gel.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Mix 3 packets of gelatin with water and let it dissolve.

2) Add sugar and mix in.

3) In a saucepan /frying pan Pour in wine and allow to come to a boil. 

4) Add sugar/gelatin mix to warm wine and stir in to dissolve.

5) Add food colouring and Flavouring and mix.

6) Pour gelatin/syrup into bottle and carefully fill molds.

7) Place in refrigerator and let firm up- I left them in overnight 

Sugar and gelatin 




Add water




Fill molds




Finished gummies 



They look like gummy bears, they kind of smell like gummy bears but they don’t quite taste like gummy bears. They taste like a sweet cocktail or wine cooler. This is a sophisticated treat that’s pretty straight forward to make and I think it’s a perfect party favour for a NYE shindig!

Try this out and eat gummies responsibly. Have an awesome day!

Cozy Christmas  Breakfast 

24 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 24!

I feel like breakfast at Christmas time should be a little special and these two recipes are bound to be. The first recipe is Cinnamon pancakes with Blackberry syrup and paired with a spicy hot cocoa. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

Pancakes 

1) 1 1/3 cups (135g)Pancake mix 

2) 1 tbsp cinnamon

3) 1 cup Blackberries  Any type of berries will do. I chose blackberries because they were the cheapest st the supermarket. 

4) 1/2 cup (48g)  White sugar 


Ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Pancakes 

1) Add cinnamon to pancake mix and stir in. 

Add cinnamon 

Mix in cinnamon 

2) Add water and mix well. 

Batter

3) Heat skillet and make pancakes to desired size. 

Cook pancakes 

Stack





Syrup

4) Place blackberries, sugar and teabag into a skillet or saucepan.

Ingredients in skillet 

5) Add  water and bring to a boil.

Boil





6) Adjust to a simmer until syrupy in consistency 

Syrup 

7) Pour over pancakes. 

Pancakes with syrup 




Spicy hot cocoa 

WHAT YOU NEED 

(Makes one 16 oz(475mL) cup )


1) 1/4 cup(56g) Chocolate morsels /chips

2) Cocoa powder  (unsweetened )

3) 1 tbsp of White sugar 

4) pinch of Salt

5)2 cups (16floz )of milk

6) 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper 


Cocoa ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Place all the dry ingredients including the chocolate morsels into a saucepan and mix until chocolate has melted.

Ingredients in saucepan 


2) Add milk and let simmer 

Cocoa in pan

3) Pour into cup and top with marshmallows and pepper 

Finished cocoa 

Your breakfast is ready to serve! 

Finished breakfast 

This is a delicious cute breakfast.  The cinnamon adds a festive feel to the pancakes and the fruit based syrup gives it a more complex grown up flavour.

The hot cocoa is rich and decedent and the pepper adds a most unexpected  dimension. It gives a slow smokey burn that somehow goes beautifully with the chocolate  (because what doesn’t go beautifully with chocolate? )

Definitely try this one out and have an awesome day !

FESTIVE DRINK -Hot (Chocolate) Shot

15 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 15

It’s the 15th day of Blogmas and we’re rounding out the Christmas drinks with a chocolate shot. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Vodka-Regular or flavoured; this one happens to be chocolate flavored because it happened to be on sale but a marshmallow or vanilla flavored one would work too. 

2) Chocolate milk– Or chocolate almond/cashew/soy milk.

3) Mini Marshmallows – for topping.

4) Brown sugar– For the rim

5) Shot glass.



The ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 




1) Rim glass with using simple syrup (white sugar dissolved into water) then coat with brown sugar.

Glass rimmed with sugar



2) Pour shot glass 2/3 way with chocolate milk.

Milk



3) Fill remainder of glass with vodka and top with 3 mini marshmallows.

Vodka and marshmallows


4) Toast marshmallows- I used a long handled lighter. Be sure to let the flame touch the Marshmallows but not the shot itself (unless you want it flaming!)

Toasted marshmallows



Finished shot




The toasted marshmallows smell so good  (it’s fine with untoasted marshmallows as well). The rich chocolate flavour goes smoothly with the vodka. This a great little drink to get your guests in a party mood and it looks like hard work but is so easy and quick to do.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

FESTIVE DRINK -Spiced Apple Rum Punch

14 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 14

On the 14th day of Blogmas we continue with festive drinks. This one is a punch with rum as the base along with apple and spices

.
WHAT YOU NEED
 

1) Brown rum– 16floz/500mL

2) Apple juice-32floz/1L

3) 1 large apple -or more if you like.

4) 2tbsp ground Cinnamon -or stick

5) 1 fruit teabag -I used a redfruits tea, you can use apricot, peach etc.

6) A punch bowl– I have none so I used a mixing bowl  (:

7) Glasses 

8) Yellow or orange sugar for rim.


Rum and apple juice



Sugar, apple, cinnamon, glass and bowl




WHAT TO DO 

PART 1- Prep the glass (es)

1) Choose a wide mouthed glass for easy filling with spoon.

2) Coat rim of glass with simple syrup  (white sugar dissolved in small amount of water) 

3)Coat rim with sugar– you can use orange or yellow  or even brown sugar. If you don’t have a specific colour, you can make it yourself using a bit of food dye and white sugar.

Syrup and sugar


Decorated rim

PART 2- “Spice the Rum”

1) Pour rum into microwave safe bowl or place in saucepan over low heat.

2) Add cinnamon-as much as you wish depending on how spiced you want it.


Rum and cinnamon 


3) Add apple slices and teabag

Added ingredients 


4) Heat for 3 minutes in microwave or simmer until apple slices are softened .

5) Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes . 


PART 3- Mix and garnish 

6) Pour apple juice into punch bowl adding cooled rum concoction to it and stirring to mix.

7) Cut an apple slice into quarters then make a slit wide enough to sit snug onto the edge of the glass.

8) Fill with punch and drink ! 


Finished drink




This drink is warm and comforting, the apple blends with the rum and the cinnamon and teabag add that extra flavour making it taste like no other rum punch you’ve ever had.

This is an ideal drink to serve at a party because its a real money saver. The priciest thing is the one or two bottles of rum you’ll use (depending on the size of your guest list or your penchant for rum!)

I also think this kind of punch could work well with cranberry or grape juice. What other spices and flavours would you add?

Thanks for reading, remember to always drink responsibly and have an awesome day ! 

FESTIVE DRINK- Red Cocktail 

14 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 13

Hello and welcome to Day 13 of Blogmas. Today I bring you a festive red cocktail that’s great for a Christmas soiree.

WHAT YOU NEED

(This makes one 12 oz/400mL drink)

1) 1 cup/250mL of wine – A sweet Blush or Rose works best.

2) 1/2 cup/125mL cranberry juice -or any other redberry juice.

3) 2 tbsp/30mL grenadine syrup

4) Wine glass (12 oz or bigger)

Grendine syrup, wine and cranberry juice


5) Red maraschino cherries 

6) Dried cranberries (for garnishing )

7) Red sugar (for rim)

8) Toothpick (for garnish)

  Red sugar, dried cranberries ,  red maraschino cherries


WHAT TO DO 

1) Rim the glass with the coloured sugar– you can use simple syrup(sugar dissolved into small amount of water) or  a bit of water to moisten the glass. Then dip it into your sugar. If you’re like me and don’t have red or pink sugar you can make your own, I did this in my 10 Baking hacks post.

Syrup and sugar


Rim in syrup 


Rim in sugar


2) Add 2 or 3 cherries along with their syrup to the bottom of the glass.


Cherries in glass


3) Add wine and juice to glass.


4) Skewer a few dried cranberries along with a maraschino cherry and place on top.

Completed cocktail
And there it is! A cheerful holiday drink. A sweeter wine pairs well with the cranberry juice which is a bit sharp and the syrup adds more sweetness as well as some substance to the drink. The sugar and garnish make it look festive.
Enjoy! and have an awesome day!

How to Entertain on the Cheap

27 Nov

Signature cocktail and simple decor
Hello

The Holiday season is fast approaching and this means entertaining and lots of it . As someone who does her fair share of soirees I know it can run you ragged; physically , emotionally and of course financially . 
Often, what begins as an intimate gathering with close loved ones can snowball into an all out zoo scene and that cute budget you set goes up in proverbial smoke . 

Here are some tips I often consider when planning to entertain:

1) Plan a menu around items you already have

Don’t go out and spend a fortune on a massive turkey if you already have piece if lamb in the freezer. Decide what you make using whatever you have sitting in your cupboard . 

2) Make the most of your menu

Try to get as much out of the items you do buy. For example , if you buy a pumpkin, use it in as many dishes as you can; pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie etc. Do this rather than buying dozens of different items to make different dishes. 

3) Be selective with your invites

The way of the world of entertaining is such that some of the persons you invite won’t come while others will show up with extra guests. Be sure to invite reliable friends asking them to RSVP and make it clear whether or not they are allowed to bring guests.

4) Do potluck 

This is an oldie but a goodie. I am guilty of telling people not to bring anything when I entertain because I somehow feel it is in poor taste. It doesn’t have to be, we all have those friends who always offer to bring something so engage them. Also, people like to feel useful, why deprive your cousin of making his world famous sweet potato pie?

5) Make a punch/cocktail

It can be expensive to purchase multiple bottles of wine, vodka, brandy, scotch, rum and so on. It is far more cost effective to purchase one type of alcohol in bulk and make a punch or signature drink from it. 

6) Keep decorations simple

We all love our homes to look beautiful and festive. This means trees and wreaths and tablesscapes and railing and mantle piece decor, new curtains, new cushions… I could go on. The costs of these things really add up! Focus on a few things e.g the tree and tablesscapes. Chose items that can mix and match and be reused in the future.

I hope some of these tips help to allay the anxiety that can often come with entertaining, I also hope I listen to my own advice. Have an awesome day!

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