READ THIS: VOLUME 2

Thoughts

I’ve been doing some really satisfying reading/watching/skimming and I’ve gotta share!

The Book Thief (the movie) just came out and is supposedly good and usually I’m not averse to watching movies about books BUT it’s a movie based on a book about books – so no I had to read The Book Thief first. It’s a children’s book and it’s riveting – good pacing and a surprising narrator.

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Here it is on my handy dandy Kindle in its awesome Timbuktu case (FYI they don’t sell that case anymore).

This morning I discovered the delightful i am a food blog – the title is too cute – and the photography and inspiring twist on food just makes you want to read and savor every post. I’m itching to make these Earl Grey Tea Latte Pancakes.

The Everygirl is a website targeted at 20 to 30 career woman. It’s laid out beautifully and basically I’m just all over the home tours coz dayamn.

Also a new obsession of mine – Couple Blogs. Can I be painfully chic like Susk and Banoo or amazingly put together like the Rockstar Diaries when I grow up???

Recently I’ve been really wishing that I was creative and crafty. But I’m not… so… DESIGN LOVE FEST is fulfilling that part of me right now 🙂

Also I finally listened to everyone around me and started watching House of Cards. You should too. And then we should start a Robin Wright devotional group together.

Finally something a bit serious, which i know I don’t usually do, I read this article at xoJane (great website for women just generally) and it made me tear up. I think sometimes we don’t realize we really aren’t immortal.

Banana, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Squares (in a round pan)

Baking

Recently I’ve been on a health kick because BASICALLY I cut off all my hair and I’m terrified of having short hair and being unfit so… I eat salads ALL. THE. TIME. NOW.

Except when I’m eating baklava at Overdoughs.

Or when I’m baking these squares because I was so inspired by Top With Cinnamon.

Sigh. The world is clearly against me.

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6 Tbsps / 80 gm unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (I didn’t have exactly 1/4 cup so I added 1 Tbsp of brown sugar and it worked fine, adjust for baking time)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed, ripe banana
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chipsPreheat oven to 180 C/350 F.Place the butter into a round 8-inch tin put in the oven just till the butter melts.

Swirl the melted butter around in the tin to grease it and then pour the butter into a bowl.

To the bowl of melted butter, add the sugar, syrup, salt, egg, vanilla and banana.

Whisk the ingredients together.

Add the baking soda, flour, and coconut and whisk.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Full disclosure – I added more than 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the greased tin and spread out in an even layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

*The original recipe says they are blondies but to me the texture was really like a hearty breakfast bar – hence my renaming!

Spicy and Sweet Soba Noodles & Sushi Salad

Cooking

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This is so much tastier than it looks. I promise.

This week’s Recipe Challenge was making two Japanese inspired recipes that fit nicely into my protein/carb/salad dinners. I found both recipes from A Beautiful Mess – a blog which is ANYTHING but – but somehow manages to be even more charming because of its name.

So here we go!

Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles (Surprisingly complex)
serves 4

1 pkt soba noodles
1 pkt cooked shrimp
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger (1 knob of ginger bashed)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook soba noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Slice up the red pepper. Cook with a tablespoon of olive oil just until the peppers start to soften. Then, add the cooked shrimp and noodles to the pan and turn the heat down to low.

In a bowl mix the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes and minced garlic.

Pour over the noodles, shrimp, and peppers. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the liquid has reduced some. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Sushi Salad (Has a real kick to it)
Serves you

Salad
Lettuce (any kind)
1/2 an avocado,
sesame seeds
seaweed sheets (tear with your hands)

Dressing
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 Tbsp chili sauce
Squirt wasabi sauce (can get tubes of it in Fairprice Finest/Cold Storage)
1 Tbsp mayo

In the bottom of the bowl you plan to eat your salad in mix the lemon juice, mayo, chili sauce and wasabi sauce.

Chop and wash the lettuce and put it into the original bowl along with 1 or 2 seaweed sheets.

Top with sesame seeds.

MIX!

Eat.

Brown Rice, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Coriander, Mint, and Lemon Salad

Cooking

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I almost gave up on this blog for a minute there.

And then Serena, my wonderful high school partner in crime, resurrected it by giving me a RECIPE CHALLENGE.

Basically we have to give each other new recipes to try every week so we don’t get complacent and make the exact same balsamic vinegar romaine salad thingy with tasteless grilled chicken EVERYDAY. Ahem.

Last week, she challenged me to make this Recipe for Bulgar Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon – which I did with some adjustments.

Not going to lie this Mediterranean-inspired salad might be one of the best things I have eaten – EVER – and it’s healthy and easy. So, you know, you should get on this bandwagon too.

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I adapted the dressing recipe so it’s for one person – you can decide how much of the salad ingredients you want. If you don’t know how to cook your chicken – I can’t help you.

Salad
Brown rice (already cooked)
Chicken (already cooked, grilled/poached/whatever)
Diced tomatoes
Chopped cucumbers
Chopped coriander
Chopped Mint Leaves
Chopped green onions
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely minced garlic

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Measure out the amount of brown rice you want and mix it with the dressing so that the brown rice softens and gets all flavorful.

Chop chicken, veggies and herbs.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix!

Serve!

Eat!

Thank you Serena Bina for the challenge, this week I challenge you to make these pretty Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles and Sushi Salad!

*Please excuse the photos – I’m not sure why but this salad was especially camera shy.