New Zealand is my Home (and the wonders of microwaved apples)

I’ve been home for just about a month, and in that time I have been doing studying and studying and learning to drive (YAY) and neglecting this blog and cooking and recovering and shivering because its only just hitting spring. But anyway I am so glad to be back: New Zealand is so familiar and the winter (when we had missed most of it) seemed cozy and comforting when we first got back. In the pouring rain I might add. Typical New Zealand! Our suitcases were a bit soggy.

And the recipe: In those chilling hours of boring old maths, I remembered a delicious little treat that takes 1 minute to prepare and 3 minutes to zap the healthy goodness out of in the microwave, thus turning it into a really delicious fluffy, self saucing, tangy, cinnamoney treat.

Here it is: the 3 minute baked apple!

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So it’s very basic: just wash a nice crispy apple (if you are a good person who bothers to do this) and cut out the core. Put it in a microwave safe bowl or ramekin.

 Put a teaspoon of butter (optional) in the middle. Fill up with currants or raisins, then sprinkle cinnamon over.

Microwave for 3 minutes (it may take longer or shorter depending on the power of your microwave – our one is quite powerful) until the apple is soft and fluffy, and a sticky caramel sauce is drizzling out of it. It will smell delicious too.

Wait for it to cool slightly before devouring.

*******

On my weird photo: It actually isn’t that delicious looking in my quick messy instagram photo (I wasn’t very interested in taking photos – I wanted to eat) but it is. Truly. 🙂

On microwave poison: I know microwaves probably aren’t the most healthy way of cooking an apple. But I still felt healthier than eating a piece of cake. And then there’s the WORST I suppose, which is a delicious cookie in a mug. This is a combination of cake and microwave. Oh well, I like it! Yum I say.

On sugar and dairy free: I categorised this as sugar and dairy free, as the butter is only an optional unhealthy additive, and the only sugars are fruit sugars.

Enjoy! Becca 🙂

Mothers Day DIY – No. 4: Chocolate Coffee Syrup

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This is so easy to make, looks really fancy, and tastes delicious! If you don’t have a coffee maker, using this syrup and hot milk, and a basic coffee plunger, you can make a totally delicious and easy Mocha.

I found this recipe online a couple of years ago. Back then, I never thought about saving where I got it from, so I just printed it, and used, and loved, this recipe.

Sadly, I have no idea where I found it online! All I know is that it is an AMAZING recipe, very easy, using only basic ingredients.

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 Chocolate Coffee Syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder (not ground chocolate)

1 cup sugar

dash of salt (improves flavour but only use a very little!)

1 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

Mix the cocoa and sugar together in saucepan. Heat on medium high, leave it there, for a minute or two. (No more – you don’t want to burn it!)

Add the water slowly, mixing well in between.

Add a dash of salt. Once mixed completely, the mixture will probably be boiling, so lower heat to medium. Let it boil for 5-8 minutes, mixing constantly.

Boil till mixture thickens. When you move spoon fast through mixture, you can see the bottom of the pot. This means it’s done. Turn off heat, add vanilla, stir thoroughly,  let cool for a few minutes, pour into sterilised jar.

Soak jar in boiling water to sterilise.

To make a delicious mocha,

1. fill 1/4 to 1/2 cup with coffee (plunger/filter/instant – whatever you like)

2. stir a teaspoon of Chocolate Syrup in.

3. Top up with warm milk (frothy if you like!) Microwaves work really well for quickly heating milk up. Not healthy, but quick. 🙂

4. Drizzle more mocha syrup over the top.

5. Enjoy you easy, delicious, homemade mocha!

Make a pretty label for your chocolate sauce, put it in a cute jar, and you have a delicious mothers day present. Or a present for anyone, really! You could also use this as an ice-cream sauce, add it to milk shakes, iced mochas, make yummy chocolate milk….

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Homemade Pesto & Pasta Salad

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For lunch today we made a delicious (and easy) Pasta salad, with olives, the last few teeny cherry tomatoes from our garden, freshly made pesto, and cashew nuts.

Put a pot of pasta on to cook. We used a 500g bag of elbows.

 

IMG_6651   Here are our lovely freshly picked ingredients for the pesto.

– handful of basil

– about 5 leaves of silverbeet

– squeeze of lemon juice

– 1 clove garlic

– 1/2 cup grated cheese

– salt & pepper

– 1/2 cup cashew nuts (or any type of nuts)

 

Blend the basil & silverbeet, add lemon juice, garlic, and cheese. Season with salt & pepper, and last of all add nuts. Only blend nuts for a couple of seconds if you like them to be chunky.  (Sorry about the funny colour of the pesto, I used some red silverbeet in there and it made my pasta and pesto go a bit pink!)

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Pasta Salad:

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1/4 cup grated cheese

a few cherry tomatoes

500gm steaming freshly cooked pasta

1 lot of Basil & Silverbeet Pesto

Mix all ingredients together and serve. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 6

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Rocket & Pear Salad

IMG_6570One of the best salads ever.

Usually, magazines have a huge amount or recipes that I never ever have any ingredients for. So I was very surprised when I was randomly looking through an old copy of Better Homes and Gardens, and found it was full of great recipes!!

Here’s one of them, but I have slightly adapted it because I STILL didn’t have exactly all the ingredients.

ROCKET AND PEAR SALAD

2oog baby rocket leaves (or a handful, however much you have)

1 small lettuce, roughly chopped (I used a red lettuce)

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

40g parmesan (but I just used finely grated cheddar)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (originally balsamic)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed.

salt and pepper, to season

*****

Combine rocket, lettuce, walnuts, pear, and cheese.

Put vinegar, oil, and garlic in a jar. Secure lid and shake it all up.

Drizzle over salad.

I also tried adding ricotta cheese to it. It was delicious! It put a mild creaminess to the sharp rocket flavour.

Try this salad with pizza…!! It’s perfect.

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D.I.Y Yummy Lip Scrub (3 ways)

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Lips scrubs take five minutes to make, and they make your lips feel sooo soft. You’ll be surprised.

I found a recipe in a magazine a while ago, and that made me want to make up a couple of my own.

Version 1: Chocolate, Brown Sugar, & Honey

(this is most similar to the magazine version)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder

1-2 teaspoons honey

or you could try

Version 2: Coconut, Brown Sugar, & Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coconut

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

honey to mix

or you could try

Version 3: Orange, Lemon, & White Sugar

1 teaspoon White Sugar

1 orange Vitamin C Tablet ( this is optional, but it tastes & looks good!)

fresh lemon juice to mix

-Mix the ingredients together until they are a stiff, sticky paste.

The honey scrubs last, the lemon one wont last. The sugar will dissolve with that lemon juice. –

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Put into a cute little pot, tie with a ribbon, and there’s a lovely gift.

These are so yummy, I tend to eat more of the lip scrub than I use. 🙂 Enjoy.

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A Rant About Lemons

We have 2 very productive lemon trees in out garden. Every year we get so many lemons, we don’t even use half of them.

SO, I’ve been looking at ways of using lemons in natural remedies, from cosmetic to health.

I thought I would share with you how good lemons are, in one long blurb.

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One of the best things is to have a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice. This is what I often do.

This is a great detox, and it really works fast. It is good for all sorts of things.

-It boosts your immune system. All that vitamin C!

-They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.

Lemon Juice balances PH. (this means its great for rinsing your hair with too, and washing your face, along with baking soda)

– Lemon juice can help with weight loss.

– Lemon juice really helps clear up skin.

– It can freshen breath…but as it actually is TERRIBLE for your teeth I would try chewing parsley instead. It works very well.

– It can help coughs and colds and sore throats.

-You can even highlight your hair with lemon. Squeeze a lemon onto your hair and sit in the sun for an hour or two.

Well, there are so many things lemons can help with, I’m actually wondering why they even have that “if life gives you lemons…” saying.

Because lemons are good!

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Here are a few little recipes and remedies I found on pinterest/collected from somewhere:

(Oh, and putting lemon juice on your face COULD be a bit harsh for your skin. doing it only now and then is ok though.)

-For blackheads- Combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of granulated brown sugar in a cup. Stir until the ingredients are evenly blended, and then apply the scrub to damp, just-cleansed skin. Massage the skin gently with your fingers, concentrating on dry patches or problem areas. Let the mask soak in for 10 minutes, and then rinse with lukewarm water. Read more here.

-Baking Soda Lemon Exfoliating Face Cleanser Ingredients: Lemon juice Baking Soda Instructions: In a small bowl, add about 2 tbs baking soda. Slowly apply lemon juice. The mixture will foam and fizz. Apply enough juice to make a thin, loose paste. Apply to skin in a circular motion for a minute or 2. Rinse with a warm cloth and water. Smooth, clear skin! Read more here.

-Oh, and try a Sugar and lemon juice gardeners hand scrub. I didn’t get this off pinterest, I don’t know how I learned this, but it works AMAZINGLY! (even if you aren’t a gardener.)

Just squeeze a lemon onto your hands, and sprinkle lots of white sugar over, and scrub your hands thoroughly.

Afterwards your hands feel sooo silky.

I did this on my sisters and myself, who don’t garden (if we can help it lol), and our hands felt amazingly different. I also did it on my mum, who does a lot of gardening and her hands get very dry. She was so pleased with the result!! You wouldn’t think that 2 simple ingredients would work so much better than a commercial hand scrub.

But they did!

-MINT TO SHRINK A PIMPLE Peppermint contains menthol & menthone compounds that reduce redness+inflammation, and it also acts as an astringent, clearing away pimple-causing oil. Pulse a handful of leaves in a food processor + 1 tsp lemon juice. (The acidic juice temporarily changes the pH of your skin, preventing bacteria growth.) Cover the blemish for 15 min, then rinse. Repeat 2x a day until the spot is gone.

-Lemon Honey drinks for when you have a cold. I really don’t like lemon & honey drinks, but i force them down because they are so good. Some people love them, though. I looked on pinterest at recipes and there are so, so many. I will have to try some.

But what we usually do is very simple. A mug of hot water with a lemon squeezed in, and a couple of teaspoons of honey.

-Have an itchy, flaky scalp? Squeeze lemon juice over the crown of your head. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse. The acidity from the lemon juice will naturally exfoliate your skin and clear up any dandruff. Read more here

Have a look up about lemons, because they seem to be great for every little ailment. 🙂

Thanks for reading this Rant about Lemons!