Cooking time: Strawberry and vanilla chia seed jam

I am totally not a morning person. I struggle to wake up every single day. One of the things that makes my morning that little better though, is having a yummy (and easy to make) breakfast to look forward to. I’ve spent many the hour on Pinterest, googling recipes, and experimenting with various ingredients.   

My latest experiment has been chia seed jam. I thought this would make a nice topping for my breakfast oats, or could be simply used as a jam on my toast – a much more healthy alternative to the one I buy from the supermarket, and I know exactly what is in it. 

I used this recipe to get me started. 

Last night’s concoction is my favourite by far, a strawberry and vanilla creation. This is what I put in it:

  • 1.5 cups of frozen strawberries
  • A dash of water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A dash of vanilla essence (1 teaspoon would do)
  • A squirt of honey (about one tablespoon worth)
  • Two tablespoons of chiaseeds 

I can’t give you very exact measurements for some of the ingredients because I just kind of prefer to chuck things in to taste (some might call it laziness). You can find the instructions on how to cook at the link above. I found it useful to add a dash of water (about one tablespoon would do) to stop the fruit from burning while cooking. 

This stuff turned out to be absolutely delightful. So far in the last twenty four hours, I have eaten it on toast, with my oats and over ice cream. So versatile, so tasty and so healthy.

What’s is your favorite breakfast creation? Have you made chia seed jam before?

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Guide To Surviving Winter

You might have figured this out from my previous posts, but winter in New Zealand really isn’t my favourite time of year. It’s constantly freezing, it rains a lot, and there are absolutely no public holidays between June and October. It’s a long haul.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. These cold days give me the opportunity to take a step back and enjoy some down time at home, without feeling like I “should” be out doing something.

So what have I been doing to keep myself entertained?

Reading

I’m ashamed to say I don’t read near as much as I used to. When I have downtime, I find myself choosing to watch a show rather than read a book. Reading is something that I have been making a real effort to prioritize this winter, even if it is just fifteen minutes each night before bed.

My favorite book I’ve read lately is Me Before You, which I really enjoyed. It is a sad one though. Check it out here.

Blogging

I’ve really been enjoying working on this blog, whether I’ve been creating content, thinking of ideas and reading other blogs, or working on the layout. It’s been cool to have a new project. I’ve even created an Instagram specifically for the blog, where I’ll post pictures of what I’ve been up to, and pretty, inspirational things. You can follow me @thisgirlinhertwenties.

Cooking and baking

I’ve blogged about my adventures in the kitchen here and here. I’ve been working on creating wholesome and healthy dinners more regularly, more tasty and nutritious breakfasts, and also baking the occasional delicious treat.

To be honest, in the past, I often felt like spending time in the kitchen is a bit of chore. But I’ve actually discovered that if I just potter around the kitchen, put some music on and take my time, it can actually be quite enjoyable.

This weekend alone I baked a bacon and egg pie, made some toasted muesli, and baked some brownies! That’s me sorted for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days.

Binge watching

Of course I’ve spent more time than I should binge watching Netflix. I’m kind of obsessed with re-watching Gilmore Girls right now, and cannot wait for the new season to come out. November 25th is marked in my calendar.

Escaping to a warmer climate

There is no better feeling then trading in the freezing weather for 30 degrees sunshine. You can read more about my recent trip away here.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this winter. What do you do to make the winter months more enjoyable?

koselig

Image found here

 

Learning to Cook – The Couple Edition

One of the things I’m quickly figuring out as I get deeper into my twenties is that adulting is hard. Paying rent every week, waking up early everyday, preparing healthy meals for myself etc.

That last one, preparing meals, is one that I have always struggled with, ever since I started cooking for myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s just that it’s not something that I feel particularly passionate about, especially after a long day at work.
When I was living alone, it was a bit easier to cook up something quick and simple without much pre planning with whatever was in the freezer, or you know, just eat toast and/or ice cream (that happened, many times). 

When I started living with my boyfriend, I quickly realized that my impromptu “I’ll figure it out when I get home” approach to cooking really wasn’t going to work anymore.

After a year of taking various approaches to cooking (and countless takeaway meals when we gave up trying to figure out what to cook for dinner), I feel like we have a good rhythm going when it comes to cooking.

Having talked to lots of other couples, I’ve realized that the struggle to cook quick, easy, cost and time efficient meals for two is pretty common. So here are few tips of what we have done, and what is working for us:

Have your fruit and veges delivered

We’ve been doing this for a few months now, and it’s a game changer. We get a box delivered fortnightly, and it makes such a difference coming home to a fridge full of veges. With the company we order from, you can pick and choose what veges you want on that particular week, or go with a standard box with a pre-selected range of veges. Knowing what is coming, and when, helps us to plan our meals ahead of time. It also allows us to try out things we wouldn’t necessarily buy either, like a spaghetti squash. It also works out to cost about as much as it would if we were buy to all the veges at the supermarket, but is way more convenient.

There are plenty of companies out there, but we have chosen to use FoodBox

Stock your cupboard up with the essentials

Cooking is certainly a lot easier when you have a well stocked cupboard. This may seem like stating the obvious, but it took us many, many supermarket trips to collect all the essentials. I’m talking herbs and spices, canned tomatoes, flour, butter, a range of sauces. Cooking is so much more appealing when you have all the ingredients at your fingertips.

Plan your meals in advance

I always used to hate the idea of planning meals in advance, it seemed so “adult”. It is actually a really beneficial thing to do though, because you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time, and it takes the stress out of figuring out what to make when you get home after a long day.

Make it fun

This is a big one for me. Instead of thinking of cooking as a chore, I try and think of it as fun. If I’m cooking on my own I will turn my music up loud, sing along, and treat it as some “me time”.

Alternatively, treat it as a chance to spend some quality time with your partner. Divide out the tasks, listen to some music, have a good chat, and enjoy doing something productive together.

And lastly…here are a few of my go to meals

Here are some of the meals that have been on rotation at my place lately. Keeping in mind that it’s winter, so we are opting to make heartwarming dishes.

  1. Soups – Easy, tasty and they can last for several meals.
  2. Pies – My favourite at the moment are a good old bacon and egg pie, or a chicken pie. Again, these will last for a few meals, and are so quick and easy.
  3. Spaghetti bolognaise/nachos and other mince based meals. These use few ingredients (which you will probably already have in your cupboard) and always taste good.

What are your go to meals? And what tips do you have for the twenty-something couple trying to cook at home?

Baking Cookies and Learning Life Lessons

Tonight I decided to bake some cookies. Now the last time I baked would have been a good few years ago. Mostly this is because my house was not equipped with the necessities of baking, but also, I just find it kind of stressful. But, I felt like doing something productive tonight. And if I’m honest, I kinda had this idea that I would end up with these beautiful Pinterest worthy cookies that I could post about on the blog.

As I mixed the ingredients together, I was feeling quite proud of myself. “I should do this more often”, I thought.

As I progressed though, I realized it really wasn’t working out. The mixture wasn’t looking like a cookie mixture should. I put extra butter in, mixed it for a million hours, and still nothing worked. I was all prepared to give up, when I realized that I’d forgotten to add the egg in. Yes, I forgot the egg. Such a failure.

But ya know what, it wasn’t too late. I chucked that egg in the mixture at the very last minute, and although the whole process took about an hour longer than it should have, and left my kitchen in a mess, they still tasted pretty good, and the flatmates enjoyed them.

So what did I learn? I’m not sure really. Maybe that we all make silly mistakes sometimes, but if we keep ploughing on, we will get there in the end?

Although I admit the cookies weren’t a complete disaster, they do not look Pinterest worthy, soooo I won’t be posting a picture. Here are some pictures of what I had hoped they would look like, so just imagine that they look like that.

Anyway, that was my Monday night misadventure. Off to bed for me.

 

 

Melbourne Exploring

Last weekend I took a quick trip across the ditch to one of my favorite cities, Melbourne. Every time I’m there, I fall a little more in love with the place.

I was there primarily to attend a friend’s wedding, but of course I made time to wander and explore, as I love to do.

The thing I love most about Melbourne is all the little hidden and unexpected gems you come across. One moment you’re shopping in H&M and the next your in an alleyway covered in colorful street art.

So below are a few of my favorite things from my little weekend escape.

Hozier Lane

This colourful lane is hidden away just near Federation Square. The walls are covered from top to bottom in amazing designs. It is an Instagrammer’s paradise.

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Hozier Lane

Wild Timor Coffee Co.

This tiny little cafe is situated in a quiet area in Carlton, and is a nice little escape from the busy city, even though it is only a few minutes from the centre of town on the tram. The coffee beans are from Timor, and the slice that I had was raw and vegan. It was all delicious. More info about the cafe is here.

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Wild Timor

Fed Square Book Market

We stumbled across the Fed Square Book Market where we spent a good half hour (and could have spent a lot longer), looking at the thousands of books they had. My favorite was this  little one which included cute quotes like the one below. I’m a sucker for a cute quote. You may recognize this one from the classic Taylor Swift song, “You Belong With Me”.

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Fed Square Book Market

Something I spotted from the window of Topshop

Lastly, here is one which I noticed whilst browsing in Topshop. As mentioned above, I can’t go past a good inspirational quote.

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