Monday, March 30, 2015

10 small daily rituals for daily peace + presence

You can blame my romantic nature, but I spend a lot of time in my head, dreaming and thinking about holidays in far-off lands, of what-ifs and could-have-beens; I know I'm not the only one guilty of this. Sometimes I get so caught up in worrying about whether or not I am living the dream, or past wrong-doings and guilt-trips that I forget that I am very lucky to have as much as I do.

So I came up with a list of daily rituals - things that I can execute immediately and will lift my mood. I'm not talking about doing sun salutations or ten hail mary's, here (though if those things help you, go for it) I'm just talking about small little things that take a bit of extra time or effort, a bit of concentration, or a bit of a kick up the arse, that make me feel like I've got my life in order, and make me focus on the here and now and appreciate everything that little bit more.

10 small rituals for daily peace and presence

  • TAKE TIME to eat your breakfast, have a coffee, have some time in the morning. This is one I really need to work on myself, I'm guilty of spending every last second until I really have to get up, hitting the snooze button on my phone and then skipping breakfast until I get to work, and running out the door bleary eyed. When I've taken the time to sit and have my yoghurt and coffee whilst skimming the morning news, I feel so much more awake and ready for the day.
  • FOCUS on the small things. My friend takes a picture a day that makes her happy, and I think this is one of the most lovely little things you can do to remind yourself of the people around you that are important, and the joy that they can bring.
  • STRAIGHTEN your bed. I know it's sounds like a trivial thing but getting into a made bed makes me feel so much better in the evenings. This applies to kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, wherever you know you'll appreciate coming home to a clean space. Pick up your junk, throw away your rubbish, straighten the cushions.
  • TIDY your workspace. I work at my desk, where I also do my makeup too, so by the end of the week, I can barely work there. I've been trying to make the effort to put all my lotions and potions away, as soon as I've used them. 
  • MASSAGE your cleanser, serum, or moisturiser into your face, when applying. I have a cleansing balm that smells like aromatherapy oils, and just taking the extra five minutes to massage it into my face with some basic facial massage techniques always gets me ready for bed, makes my eyes heavy, and ready for bed.

  • LEAVE the phone alone in bed. I'm really trying to work on this one, because I'm so guilty for scrolling through twitter, instagram, my emails, in bed before I fall asleep. The light doesn't help, and it doesn't make me associate my bed with sleep. The nights where I leave it on the other side of the room, I get a noticeably better quality of sleep, so I really must do it more.
  • BREATHE in some fresh air, and some sunlight on your skin. I can't stress how much better I feel if I get some fresh air in the day. It might be a five minute stroll outside the office at lunchtime, or it might be a brisk walk around the block after work, or even parking on the far side of the carpark at the shops, but taking the time to get some fresh air always makes me feel a bit happier.
  • LISTEN to other people, and don't just wait for your turn to speak. Self-explanatory, really, but I see it in other people and it irks me. 
  • NOTE your surroundings, and take pleasure in them. I was stuck in traffic on the way to work the other day, and delighted in watching a buzzard lazily circle above a field. The smallest thing, but it gave me a little bit of happiness in one small go.
  • SWITCH OFF your phone, laptop, anything that might distract you, and do something you really enjoy for thirty minutes +. Maybe it's just watching a movie, reading a book, knitting, going for a walk, but taking the time, distraction free, to really immerse yourself in that thing, makes me remember why I enjoy it. My favourite thing to do is to just go for a walk and leave my phone at home.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

weekend wanderings #57

new lifestyle blogs to read
  • This week I wrote about the trouble with the do what you love rhetoric - and although I was hesitant to post about it, it was very well received, which made me feel much better about those kind of articles.
  • These paintings by Fred Fowler are just perfect - I love the richness of the colours, and in particularly, those beautiful green backgrounds (lets not mention his to-die-for studio).
  • I always enjoy finding somewhere that I really want to add to my to travel to next list, that I had never really considered before. One of those such places is in the north of England - and Anya shared with us her second part of her Northumberland travel-diary which makes the area look stunning (probably in part to her beautiful photography).
  • I know from experience that attempting an ombre dip-dye is not easy (mine was more blocky than gradual), so I'm amazed at how great Alex's pastel dip-dye trousers turned out. 
  • A very helpful post with lots of tips on how to improve your knowledge around SEO from Terri, of Hello Terri Lowe, as it's what she does for her day-job, I'm inclined to trust her. 
  • Annoyingly, I was unable to see the recent solar eclipse where I live as it was too cloudy, but I have lived vicariously through several blog posts.
  • I am a sucker for anything to do with Italy, and Amy and her partner's photographs from a weekend away in Rome are just the thing I need to get me through to the weekend. Speaking of living vicariously...
  • For about a month now, I've taken a break from running to try and rest my knee as I was having some issues with it, but I think it's healing and hopefully I'll be able to start some gentle jogs again... Regardless, I am still devouring blogs about running, and this post by Mason Ellis has some great tips about how to run better, run faster, run longer, and be more focused.
  • I made Rachel Phipps' gluten free, vegan chocolate ganache bars this week - they're so amazing! I took one to work and although the 'chocolate' topping did melt slightly, they were the perfect mid-afternoon boost of energy that I needed! 
  • When I saw this post introducing Bellatrix the bunny from All Things Beautiful, I literally had to suppress a squeal - I'm not sure why but I feel like my life won't be complete until I have a little house rabbit in my life.
  • The Hong Kong Botanical Gardens look so cool, and so does Michelle's outfit, but I'm definitely distracted by those palms.
  • Anna of Door Sixteen understand my dream house lust: the Belgian home of Rini van Beek, a black exterior with all that glass and glossy white interiors, looking out on that beautiful scenery.
  • Sometimes when you're a blogger, you plan a post and you're getting it all ready... and then two other bloggers beat you to the punch. I can't blame them though, because they both have impeccable taste, but both Katie and Sarah shared their favourite lifestyle magazines.
  • Since paying my deposit on my holiday, I've been obsessing over places to visit in New York City, and I love Millie's regular updates on her trip - and I've been making notes based on her recommendations! I can't wait for pancakes and trips up the empire state building and walks in the park...
  • A colleague and I have a long drive tomorrow, and I'm thinking of making some breakfast muffins for our drive - and these blueberry and almond muffins sound like they'll be just the ticket.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Q #44

quotes 8

Spring feels truly upon us, now, Easter is just around the corner, and we've been flip-flopping between dull, overcast and grey morning, to glorious sunshine by 11AM. I saved this quote to my Pinterest back in January, which now seems like years ago, a wretched time of dark nights and blue evenings. It happens every year, but I forget how much happier I feel when the sun comes back and I can start to look forward to the summer once more, and start planning some weekend adventures...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

new in: miss dior perfume review


This perfume is a feminine indulgence, on my part - I am not a 'feminine' scent wearer, if you will. Anything overtly saccharine or floral, I left in my younger years, when I used to wear some sickeningly sweet perfumes, I actually shudder to think! Generally, when I go for a perfume these days, it's bordering on the cologne side of things, and it nearly always has to smell fresh and citrusy. However, this is a complete variation on that rule. I used to wear my mums bottle of this perfume, it reminds me of her, even though I think I took it and wore it most of the time. I kept smelling a similar perfume on someone at work, and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed this fragrance, so after revisiting and re-smelling it in John Lewis every time I went, I was lucky enough to find it in my stocking on Christmas morning.

I don't enjoy the bottle, but I suppose that doesn't effect the smell, I just think it looks very cheap, particularly with the plastic bow. The smell, though, it really is my perfect girly perfume. It's soft enough to wear in the day time, or layer up for evening, and because it's a 'chypre' perfume, it has that sort of leaning towards old-ladyish scent, which I kind of like. It reminds me of something my great-aunts and grandmothers might have worn. Then it has a citrusy top-note and a rose or jasmine middle note (I'm terrible at identifying florals!), which fade to the musky base notes. In a way, it seems just perfect for this time of year, mixing both the musk and the floral notes for a spring-time scent.

So it's kind of a throw-back for me in several ways, and I enjoy that, and I can see me wearing it a lot over the next year. What are you wearing at the moment, any new purchases?

Monday, March 23, 2015

doing what you love vs doing what you must

doing what you love work ethic

I need to preface this post with a short statement: I wrote this a little while ago, and had it saved in my drafts, unsure of whether or not to post it. I mentioned to you on Friday that I start a new job this week, and it looks like it could be something I'm going to really love - but I wrote this when I was feeling a little disheartened with my job search and my old job. Whilst I love the people there (most of them haha) and the skills it gave me... wasn't challenging me in the way that I wanted from a job. But It was a job, and I know that in this climate, I am extremely lucky to have one! And that is the point of this post, even though my bitterness may come through, that any job that pays you decently enough, you should be grateful for, because a lot of other countries and millions of other people don't have it half as good as us.

-  -  -

This idea for a blog post sprung out of a recent twitter chat I had with some other bloggers: the idea of loving what you do for a living. Whilst I think this is a lovely idea, it does present it's own set of problems...

I wish for a day when I can do solely what I really enjoy most in life (which is essentially baking, knitting, blogging, and going to the gym) and not worry about money, as do a lot of us, I suppose. But there are very few people I imagine, who can say they they really love every aspect of their job. And if you are one of those people, well done, you have it made! 

But for the majority of people, I feel like that isn't the case. When I was at uni, I shared a studio with a relatively nice, middle-aged lady, who decided she didn't care about getting good grades, good feedback, or looking for a job afterwards, because she had done all those things when she was younger. She had a very well off husband, which allowed her to just, sit around and paint all day. There was no need to earn money from it, her children were grown up so she had the time. She had it made, and yeah, I envied that, but it's not a common reality for a lot of people. To me it all felt very... boring. 

If I just sat on my arse all day and did what I loved, I'd have no money, my parents wouldn't let me live with them, I'd have no cash, no way of getting a job, either, probably, without references and current employers. I probably wouldn't love that. Also, you can't enjoy the daytime without a night, can you? If I never worked, I probably wouldn't enjoy the sitting around at home, baking and knitting, because it wouldn't feel special! I relish my weekends and days off, because I can fill them with the things I adore, and they feel like little treats to me.

I don't wish to belittle people who are genuinely doing what they love, because deep down, who doesn't want that? But the do what you love mantra is bandied about in a way that borders on derogatory towards people that aren't doing what they're MOST passionate about; it degrades people that work to get by. If you're lucky enough to be doing what you love, that's cool, but I often find those people that are, are quite militant about other people following their dreams. It's good to have dreams and passions and wants in life, and it's good to work towards them, but you've got to be realistic at the end of the day.

I'll be honest that I'm not sure where I'm going with this, maybe I'm just confirming to myself, that it's okay to not do what I'm most passionate about in life, because doing that job that I must do enables me to do all the things I love. It gives me money and stability through which I can then pursue my dreams, etc. I can work for minimum wage because I need to eat, and hopefully one day I'll be able to do what I really and truly want that will put money in the bank and food in the fridge. Until then, there's the job I've got and the job I do love, in a weird way, because it gives me that freedom. 

If you're interested in this, here is an article I read recently on Jacobin Mag about the do what you love mantra, which talks about this all in much more depth!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

weekend wanderings #56

[If this post appears twice in your feeds, or you commented previously - I very much apologise as apparently it somehow got deleted? either way, I found a cached copy, and here it is, my apologies!]

Friday, March 20, 2015

Q #43

quotes 11

I mentioned it on Twitter, vaguely, but I have some big changes happening in my life this week. Your well wishes were received with open arms and minds, and a wide open heart, and with some stroke of good fortune I got a job offer and I start next week! This means leaving somewhere that I've worked since I was 17, and this feels like the most massive change in my life. Part of my fritters with excitement and thinks yes, I am BEYOND ready for this challenge, bring it the hell on! And part of me whispers in the back of my mind that maybe no-one will like me, that I shouldn't have punched above my weight, that maybe I'll suck, that maybe this, or that, or what if... 
It's strange, because I know now that I have reached some peaks in life, in terms of having good friends, in having confidence, in a strong mind and will and knowing who I am. And suddenly it has all fallen into place? Someone asked me if I would've gone for this job a year ago, and I probably wouldn't have, I would've been too nervous to try for it, but since then, I've learned so much about myself, and I feel ready for anything.

I was having a conversation with a friend at work about leaving, and she was also worried about whether she was making the right decision about leaving herself, and the pros and cons of it all and sometimes, you just never reach an outright decision, do you? Sometimes, you've just got to jump in head first, and not try and predict an outcome. For this job, I found out I had an interview, had an evening to prepare, and found out I got the job the day after the interview! For someone who always felt a little uncomfortable with spontaneity, I feel like I need to do more things like this, to test my strengths! 
Deep down, I'm know that I have made the right decision. It's a better job, more challenges, more responsibility, more prospects and more of a career in mind, yet there is still that little pitter-patter of first day nerves in the back of my throat, like starting school all over again! 

Anyway, I've rambled on an on, but this is a really long-winded way of saying: don't wait. Whether it's about a job or a lover, a opportunity or a argument, just don't wait. Jump in and see what happens, or you'll just keep coming up with excuses not to do it! This is coming from the girl who lacks the spontaneity gene, and can find an excuse for everything....

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

banana, chia seed, cashew butter and cocoa smoothie

banana, chia seed, cashew butter and cocoa smoothie banana, chia seed, cashew butter and cocoa smoothie

The alternative title for this post was 'the only smoothie recipe you'll ever need' , because really, I sing it's praises that highly. I've made it three times now, and I love it more each time. I originally got it from the Meridian nut butter website, but I've lost the exact link (I'm sure you can find it somewhere), but I have adapted it a wee bit to suit me.
For me, this is the perfect post-run, post-workout drink. Sometimes I just have it for breakfast if I'm feeling really indulgent at the weekends, and it tastes amazing, plus it's packed with lots of protein and other goodies, so it doesn't feel quite as bad as downing a giant bottle of chocolate milkshake....
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder;
- 1 tbsp chia seeds;
- 2 ripe bananas;
- 1 tbsp cashew nut butter;
- 1 cup (250ml-ish) of milk of your choice;
- 1 tbsp cacao nibs*;
- 1 tbsp protein powder**.
1. Theres not much method to a smoothie (you basically just chuck it all in) but I recommend whizzing together the cacoa nibs (if you're using them) and chia seeds together first, to get them a bit finer, because they do make your smoothie a bit chunky. 
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. 
*I consider these optional, because they're kind of hard to find. I had to get them from Holland and Barrett, and they're not cheap for a giant bag, so just to warn you. Also, I'm not sure they add a great deal. I like to leave them kind of chunky, and they make the smoothie a bit more like a pudding, because you have to chew them. But basically, they're not essential. This will still taste good without. 
**I also consider protein powder a waste of time, unless you're a serious body builder or whatever, I don't see the point of it, and I think it tastes awful! haha
Let me know if you try this! I really think it's so good, I'm on a mission to convert everyone to it...

Monday, March 16, 2015

spotlight on:!

I always see Jasmin popping up in the Twitter chats, and her blog is always one of those that I meant to get around to reading, but hey, I'm a chronic procrastinator, so I'm so glad I finally got this opportunity to get to know her better! I'll let Jasmin introduce herself to you all... 

Hey there! I'm Jasmin and I blog over at - I am a kiwi living in London with a confused accent and a diet coke addiction. I can't keep my feet in the same country for long, could likely eat my body weight in cheese and am always looking for ways to make me and others happier! I blog all about lifestyle, including food, travel, London adventures, technology and occasionally beauty.

- - -

You're an active member of the blogging community on Twitter, which I always love, how did you get into blogging and what do you enjoy most about it?: 
Unlike most bloggers, I didn't know the blogging world before I got here! I actually started by doing a lot of posts on reddit. After awhile I figured I should probably but these all in one place and jasmincharlotte was born. My blog has changed huge amounts in the year it's been running and I love it. The best thing about blogging is definitely the community! I love chatting to and meeting other bloggers!

New Zealand is one of those places I've always wanted to visit - what was it like growing up there and travelling about as much as you have? 
New Zealand was an amazing place to grow up in! It involved a lot of nature, a lot of hanging by the seaside and the kiwi culture which just cannot be beat. I love it as a country but when it comes down to it, it is so tiny! Only 4 million people in the whole country. When I got into my 20s I need somewhere with hustle and bustle which is why I ended up in London. Along with NZ, I have lived in Aus/UK/US - they were all amazing experiences and I'm so glad I had the opportunity. Now I can't stop travelling!


You seem to cover such a wide variety of topics on your blog and I love that - what are you favourite things to blog about? 
Woo yes! As I mentioned my blog has developed so much, essentially because I decided to just blog about what I love!
Currently I have 4 favourite things to blog about:

What are the next places you want to travel to and why? 
Ah my ultimate vice! I cannot stop planning holidays. My next 3 planned trips are: 
  • Porto, Portugal - I loved Lisbon last year and cannot wait to explore more of the country (plus it's a bargain!).
  • Scotland - I'm planning a huge Scotland road trip in the summer. All the pictures of the highlands just look amazing, I'm hoping to find a little bit of NZ up there. 
  • Gran Canaria - Over Christmas I am off to the Canaries for a giant family trip (we all like to converge in one place), so somewhere with a beach is ideal. 
After those, I really want to get back to the US and Las Vegas. I've been twice but both when I was under 21, so another trip is definitely needed. I also really want to do a big trip of Croatia and Greece as it's a side of Europe which I haven't visited yet!


And to round up, I thought I'd share with you my favourite posts from Jasmin:
- - -

Sunday, March 15, 2015

weekend wanderings #55

Sorry this post isn't as long as previous editions, I am trying to write this inbetween cooking dinner for my mum (it involves roast veg and mashed potato, so I'm terrified of it all! I'm a good baker, but cooking is something else...). Hope you're all having a lovely weekend! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Q #42

quote 5

There is something about the Spring that gets me so excited for travelling, for the urge to see more. Maybe it's an antidote for the the cooped-up feeling I get during the Winter, but who knows.
I'm currently dreaming about Italy (when am I not, to be fair?). I'm trying to work up the courage to travel there for a little break by myself, and whether I could cope with flying alone... 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

new in: fossil preston handbag review + what's in my bag!


I recently splashed out on a new handbag - and it makes me very happy. I find nothing better than finding 'the perfect black bag' and I think I've found it in this lovely little number from Fossil. 

Fossil are one of those brands that I never really think to look at, for handbags, or anything like that, but I was in John Lewis in Southampton a few weeks ago, and I saw this little number and fell in love with it. It's got a long strap (a must, for me), a thousand little pockets for my bits and bobs (not a must-have, but very useful for all my accoutrements), comes in a beautiful soft black leather, and just generally looks pretty great. It was pricey, as bags go, but then not at expensive, at the same time, and seems quite reasonable for a good quality handbag.
I love all the gold hardware detailing, it's not normally something that I would opt for, normally I'd pick a silver tone over gold, but I really like this. I'm not one for handbags you can't throw over your body, or can only hold in the crook of your arm, because I get annoyed with bags like that! For every day, I need the ease of one I can wear cross-body when I've got my hands full. 

For whats in my bag, keep reading..

Sunday, March 08, 2015

weekend wanderings #54


Saturday, March 07, 2015

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If you're looking for somewhere to advertise your blog or jump-start some traffic and get some new readers, have you considered advertising, or sponsoring another blog? I started doing this myself last year and have noticed a huge rise in followers and traffic!
For more information about stats, visit my sponsor page, but you can buy your ad-spot through Passionfruit (who I use myself, and trust 100%) below.

And until Easter I'm offering 10% off all packages with the promo-code 'SPRING10' at checkout (because I'm feeling the spring-sunshine!).

Friday, March 06, 2015

Q #41

quote 4

My wanderlust and urge to travel might be coming to fruition! Been putting some plans into motion, recently, and it's getting exciting. I think I'll just always be one of those people that has their head somewhere else...
Me and my friend Gemma have put a deposit down on a trip to New York City in the autumn, which I've been reassured on Twitter will be beautiful and I'm so unbelievably excited as I've never cross the Atlantic! And we might also have a little English adventure in the summer! 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

on losing weight: meal planning


Planning meals when you're trying to eat well is really hard, I don't know how those of your that have kids, do it. I am very lucky in that I still live at home (well, most days I think this is lucky, haha) and my mum does a lot of the cooking. My mum and me are both trying to get a bit healthier again this year, and so we're trying to eat better, plan ahead, shop smarter, etc. All those things that you are told and you know that you should do, but it's hard to find the time and energy to do.
When I'm cooking and planning solely for myself, I really suck at it. I never take lists, never plan meals and I find myself going to the shops practically every day, which no-one really wants to do, do they? The worst thing is working in a supermarket, I always end up picking up a few bits and pieces after work each shift. And yeah, sometimes I get amazing bargains I'll admit (like half a kilo of monkfish for £4!), but I didn't really need those flat nectarines that although were reduced, weren't that cheap, really.
So I thought I would give you a few of my tips that I've picked up over the last year and a bit...
GET THE CALENDAR OUT; Me and mum will get the calendar and look at what nights everyone will eat together, etc, then plan meals accordingly. This way, if I'm working late or might be home late, I won't have to think about what to cook. If you're cooking for a family, try and figure out if there are nights when not everyone will be there and plan to what people like.
DECIDE ON MEALS; Look at what you've eaten recently, and space out certain dishes throughout the week. In my family, we tend to get bit bored if we eat similar things too often, though this doesn't bother me as much as my mum. The same goes for lunches. If you don't mind eating the same salad three days in a row, stock up on the same thing. If you know you get bored, change it up each day. We eat a lot of chicken and beef mince in our house, so try and space it out so you don't get bored. I also like to try and have a vegetarian meal a few times a week.
THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND; If you are at a loss of what to cook, like I was one day last week when all I had was a sweet potato in the fridge and a bag of salad, I just started inputting things into google and came out with a meal. There are so many healthy eating blogs and websites out there, you don't need to be good at thinking up interesting meals because someone has done that for you. Also, get out your recipe book! I stick loads of recipes I get from Waitrose Kitchen, their weekend paper, from supermarket recipe cards in there, then forget about them, so I need to work on this one myself!
WASTE LESS, SHOP SMARTER; Cut down on food waste and stop buying extra that you're tempted to eat. When we've decided what to cook for each night, we make another list next to each meal and make a note of what we need to buy or what we already have in. If you need rice, check you've enough. If you need meat or poultry, make a note of the date, so when you're in the supermarket, you know it will last until when you need it.
BEWARE THE BARGAINS; Stay away from the reduced stock at supermarkets. Like I said above - sometimes you can find really good bargains. However, I always find these throw a spanner in the works. Suddenly you have to shift things around to make the space for this bargain and the healthy meal you planned gets pushed back or never cooked. 
MAKE EXTRA FOOD; This is something I did a lot more when I lived on my own, but I would often make big batches of things like chilli or soup and either freeze it, or store it in containers in the fridge for lunches. It helps if there are back-up options if you don't feel like making anything, and stops you reaching for junk food or the telephone...
GET CREATIVE WITH LEFTOVERS; This sort of ties into the above rule, but sometimes if you make extra of something like spaghetti bolognese, you can use the meat and sauce for a chilli the next day for dinner. Add some kidney beans and make a little rice and it's pretty easy. 
PREPARE LUNCHES: When I was at uni I'd nearly always take leftover dinner for lunch the next day, and it takes the guesswork out of your lunch. Prepping your lunch the night before is one of the best thing I learnt to do at university. After tidying up from cooking, I put whatever leftovers or food I was planning on having into a container and it's ready for the next morning. Now I'm working I've become a giant fan of Marks & Spencer's' healthy ready meals for when I want hot food - they're nearly always on offer, high in protein and low in carbs, and taste really good.
TAKE YOUR LIST WITH YOU!; Lastly - don't forget your list when you go shopping! When you've written your list, snap a picture on your phone. I pretty much never leave my phone at home, but nearly always forget my list it seems, so that way all your careful planning hasn't gone to waste. 
All that said, there is obviously nothing wrong with just getting a takeaway in or going out for dinner; some fitness blogs and make it sound like one pizza is going to ruin all your progress. Really, it doesn't. I mean, eating it two or three times a week won't help, but really, what is one night in a month, or six months? 

I know it's pretty easy for me to sit here and say this, but I've been doing all this and I've lost a lot of weight! It was a lot easier when I worked part-time, but I'm still managing now I'm working 39 hours a week. Hopefully a few of my tips can help - let me know if you have any other ideas that I might not know or might not have included.

Monday, March 02, 2015

healthy choc-chip cookie alternative: avocado, banana + chocolate cookie recipe

As you may or may not know, I am trying to eat 'sugar-free' for lent. This is flexible, though, I give myself the weekends off, in that if I want to eat white flour or what have you, I'll do it on these days and it's really just a kick up the bum I needed to get my eating habits way back on track. I've lost about 6lbs since starting! Because of this, I have been trying really hard to keep away from cakes, and sugary things, but occasionally, I crave a sweet, cake-like something. 
I scoured blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and websites for some lower-sugar sweet treats, and I'm building a good repertoire. I've got some excellent oat and apple flapjack bars and some whole-wheat banana bread that I'll be sharing soon, but after posting these on Instagram, I got a few requests to share you, so I'm going with this one first!

Anyway, a few notes on these cookies... They are good. However, I personally only really loved them when they were fresh out of the oven and all melty inside. The original post I adapted this recipe from said she preferred them out of the fridge - and to me this made the cookies too thick and a bit claggy - but my mum loved them like this! So who knows, you should definitely try them and see what you think. I love them hot, with a dollop of creme fraiche or some vanilla ice-cream...
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 medium sized banana
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp of honey, or more or less, depending on how sweet you like your cookies
- 50g of dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (I used 90% cocoa solids)
- 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (about 60g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Mash a ripe avocado and banana in a bowl, then use a hand mixer (or you can do it in a food processor) to make the mixture as smooth as possible, I found a wooden spoon didn't quite cut it.
3. Add the egg and honey, and mix well with hand mixer or processor.
4. Add the cocoa powder and baking soda, and mix in with a spoon.
5. Stir in chocolate chunks with a spoon, and then I put my mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes, as it was a bit sloppy to handle, well.
6. Dollop spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray, I used an ice-cream scoop that I use for cupcakes, etc. The recipe I based this on said it yielded 10 cookies. I managed to get 9 pretty decent sized cookies. You could make them smaller and get more.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, the cookies will go sort of shiny on top, and the aren't as wet looking any more. They are very dark, almost black cookies, so it's hard to tell how they're cooking, so keep an eye on them!
8. Remove, allow to cool and go a bit more solid, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Store in the fridge, and eat with a glass of milk, obviously!
Some notes on the original recipe from The Smoothie Lover: I have no idea where I would even get coconut sugar, so in the notes she says you can use banana instead, so I went with that. After tasting it, though, I found that the mixture was kind of bitter for me, so added the honey as well, and this combination is perfect! I am considering trying them with no avocado next time, and just two bananas.
I also normally wouldn't advocate the use of a hand-mixer, but I found it was hard to get the mixture smooth with just a spoon, so I would recommend it, or a food processor, etc.

I had lots of requests on Instagram for the recipe, so let me know what you think or share with me if you try this out... I'd love to see what you thought of them!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

weekend wanderings #53

This is edition fifty-three -which means I now have a years worth of Weekend Wandering posts - this is pretty cool to me, as I find it so hard to stick at things, haha. 
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