Friday, December 31, 2010

Turning over a new leaf


First off, may I just say...
HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)

2010 is now in the past and we're just starting out a new year.
For me 2011 brings a fresh start, a new perspective, change.

No longer am I dreading the start of the new school year
or starting to write lists of all the books, pens and tools I'll need for the year ahead.
Hey, I won't even have to go looking for the calculator I always seemed to lose! 

A new year is also a time for many to come up with lists of resolutions for the year ahead, but not me!  
How many people actually keep their new years resolutions?
Sure, I could say "This year - I want to practice yoga every single day" but I know that will never happen,
because I'd soon tire of it.

I'd much rather have a goal, a broad goal at that - but a goal all the same.
This year, my goal is to embrace the new year and whatever comes with it. 
So starting from today, I'm turning over a new leaf and starting fresh in the hopes that this year will have a lot in store!

But do tell me,
What are your hopes for this new year?
and do you make new years resolutions?

 


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!


I hope you all have an amazing Christmas,
filled with family, friends, food and fun. 

Enjoy!
and for those of you who's Christmas involves traveling, 
Stay Safe! and Keep Calm :)

Love always, 
Kristy xo
 



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blustery days

These unseasonably cold and windy days have made me realise just why certain cookies are holiday favourites.
Gingerbread filled with spices that warm you from the inside out were exactly what was needed on this blustery day.
At this rate - we could be having a white christmas!
Where oh where is the sun? and heat?! 
Totally not regular summer weather. 

Today I made up a batch of gingerbread cookies using this recipe from Taste

Gingerbread Cookies

125g Butter, softened
1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup 
1 egg yolk 
2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp Allspice 
1 tsp Bicarb (baking) soda

Preheat oven to 180*C
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarb soda. 
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (you may need to add a little water or milk to bring the dough together). Press dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Once the cookies were baked and cooled the fun part came, decorating!
The thought of piping icing wasn't too appealing today, so we went with fondant covered cookies! 

You could make your own from scratch, or be lazy (like me) and use ready to roll fondant :) 

So tell me - 
What's your favourite holiday treat? 
Mine would probably have to be christmas pudding! 
but I have a new found soft spot for soft ginger cookies!

 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Saturday: Sophisticated Crunch


Its obvious our tastes grow and mature as we do, 
from liking coffee to wine to dark chocolate.

As a child, dark chocolate was the enemy. 
Bitter, sour, not sweet enough. 
For me it was milk chocolate or white chocolate on the odd occasion. 

Now I'll choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate any day.
Though I do still have a soft spot for milk chocolate every now and then. 

But isn't that the same for most people?
Is it because our tastes do change, or is it because what's expected of us changes?
I sure as hell haven't seen business men sucking on lollipops!


Alter Eco sent me their newest block of chocolate, Dark Chocolate Quinoa - Midnight Crunch, to try.
This is a 61% cocoa bar with crunchy, crispy quinoa pieces. 

I loved it. It may quite possibly be my new favourite chocolate bar.
I loved CRUNCH bars just for the rice krispies - but now I've found an even better solution.
A more sophisticated, grown up CRUNCH. 

I've never actually tried quinoa - so I don't exactly know what it tastes like alone. 
But this bar is deeeeeeeeeelicious.

Plus, what more could you want - Alter Eco chocolate is:
Organic
Fair Trade 
100% Natural
200% YUM! (the most important part)

I suggest you quickly take a look at their stockists and make a mad dash to buy yourself a block!

But do tell me, 
Do you ever indulge in (seemingly) childlike activities? 
I'm still a big fan of colouring in. 
I don't care how old you are, it's fun! 
I will happily colour for hours - and I don't even need an excuse for it.




Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Christmas rush!


Friday already? Sheeeeeesh!
Where oh where did this week go?! 

We are on the home stretch to Christmas,
shopping centre carparks are full of manic impatient drivers trying to nab a parking space,
santas everywhere have had millions of kids pull their itchy beards,
Christmas carols randomly get stuck in your head
and Christmas t shirts and sweaters have become an acceptable wardrobe staple!

My Christmas to-do list has decreased a little, but there's still presents I need to buy! 
You know what I hate most of all - when you see the PERFECT gift in a catalog
only to hear "Sorry.. we're sold out"

But, fear not!There are always other gifts! 
and today, I have two more to show you!

For the tea connoisseur


Do you know a person who isn't a big fan of coffee but loves tea?
Or maybe they're just a big fan on their afternoon cuppa. 
I sure do! (Me included) 

Why not add some variety into their life by making them a tea hamper,
filling it with different flavours and styles and of course adding a cute cup or mug and maybe some cookies.
You could even make some home made short bread or christmas sugar cookies! 

Teekanne tea, imported by Premier Food and Beverages have a delicious green tea range with 5 different flavours.
Strawberry Lemongrass
Spearmint
Ginger Orange
Camomile Mint
Lemongrass

I loved the strawberry lemongrass, it's a perfect summer tea and super refreshing. 
The spearmint green tea is also perfect for having after meals and would be super calming on an upset tummy.

For the Yogurt Lover or Healthy Holiday-er


I absolutely love yogurt, though I had never thought about making my own.
Too difficult, too messy, too time consuming - that's what I thought. 
But I was definitely proved wrong with this easiyo yogurt maker I was sent to review. 

Making your own yogurt is SO simple!
and with a Real Yogurt Maker Gift pack from Easiyo - you have the perfect gift for a yogurt fanatic like me!
You can even tailor the yogurt to suit your exact tastes. 

I love thick, tangy greek yogurt and after a quick read of the cookbook inside the gift pack 
I knew exactly how to do it! 
Before going to bed I filled the yogurt jar with water, added the sachet of yogurt mix
and followed the instructions before heading off to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, the yogurt had set and I placed the container in the fridge so it could chill before I tried it.
I had 1 kg of perfectly tangy unsweetened yogurt and it was delicious!

Easiyo have a huge range of different yogurt flavours and types. 

There's:
The family range with flavours like strawberry, banana, mango and caramel
The reduced fat range that has unsweetened apricot, berry and other reduced fat flavours
The specialty range with flavours like Greek 'n Honey, Vanilla Custard, Sweet Greek and Low fat and lactose versions
The probiotic range with flavours like nectarine and boysenberry as well as a BioMum and Organic range 
and of course the drinking yogurt range in wildberry, mango and lemon.

Best of all? You can pick up an easiyo yogurt maker and yogurt flavours at most Coles and Woolworths stores!

..

So hopefully I might get you thinking about what gifts you could be giving this Christmas!

But do tell me -
What do you look forward to most at Christmas? 

Kristy received Teekanne tea courtesy of www.premierfoodandbev.com.au and the Easiyo Gift Pack from www.easiyo.com
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to ksayerphotography@gmail.com 





Monday, December 13, 2010

Running behind

Christmas is fast approaching.
The tree is up, the lights are on and christmas music fills the air of shopping centres.
Oh and don't forget Santa!

Speaking of Santa,
I've been a bit of a bad santa this year.
Christmas seems to have snuck up on me
and I've still yet to buy a lot of Christmas presents!
It doesn't help that I have a few recipients who are ridiculously hard to buy for.. 

I'm a bit fussy when it comes to giving gifts.
I always want to find that perfect one so that my gift isn't the one that gets shoved in the bottom of the drawer. 
(Though I still don't know whether that happens :P) 

I thought I'd share a few gift ideas with you in the days leading up til Christmas 
afterall - the holidays are a time for sharing, right?

For the Cafe Junkie
Do you know someone who just can't have a day out without stepping into a cafe (or several)
or maybe someone who has a takeaway coffee cup permanently attached to their hand?
Why not give them a cafe experience at home? 
Bondi Chai is a blend of black tea, honey, vanilla and exotic spices that is so easy to make at home
and tastes just like what you'd get in a fancy cafe (or maybe better!) 
It's usually served latte style - but the recipe section of the site has some fantastic ideas. 
Bondi Chai ice cream sounds like a perfect summer treat! 

Being the oatmeal fan I am - I decided the powder is a perfect addition to oatmeal.
Sweet, spicy and full of flavour. 

Bondi Chai comes in two flavours - Vanilla Honey and Club Cinnamon.
Vanilla Honey was my favourite with the sweetness of the honey and the rich vanilla flavour
- it actually has a flavour similar to that of a sweet custard or cake
but the Club Cinnamon is perfect for someone who likes a bit of spice! 

So how would you give someone a bag of chai powder?
Is that what you're thinking? Well do I have a solution for you!
Take a box or a basket, a little tissue paper to line the bottom
add the chai powder and a cute mug 
and maybe even some tasty treats for your lucky recipient to enjoy with their chai latte
and then all you have left to do is wrap it up and tie a big bow!

Have a look here to find out where you can get some for yourself!

For someone who needs a little pampering or a pampered princess

It can be so easy to forget about looking after ourselves 
sometimes we just need a little reminder!

There's a few women in my life who need to remember to look after themselves sometimes!
Sure - you could give them a voucher for a spa day or a massage
but will they use it? Hmmmmm.

Absolutely Gorgeous has a divine skin care range that is a perfect christmas gift or stocking stuffer.
Absolutely Gorgeous is committed to natural beauty - so their range is full of skin and body care products that use only pure, organic and chemical free ingredients. 

You could purchase one of Absolutely Gorgeous's gift packs 
or put together your own pamper hamper for that special someone.  

Absolutely Gorgeous even have a baby care range perfect for new bubs and why not pick up something to pamper that new mum too!

Just head to Absolutely Gorgeous to buy online, or have a look at their stockists

So tell me - 
are you a more organised Santa than me? 
or has Christmas crept up on you too?

and What's the best gift you've ever received for Christmas?

Kristy received Bondi Chai and Absolutely Gorgeous products courtesy of 
www.bondichai.com.au and www.absolutelygorgeous.com.au
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to ksayerphotography@gmail.com







Friday, December 10, 2010

Sweet Saturday: Sweet Simplicity


I love baking being in the kitchen.
I couldn't narrow it down to just baking, 
because I'll take any excuse I can to be in the kitchen
cutting
stirring
frying
baking
grilling
mixing
chopping

You name it. 
It's only ever on a rare occaison where I don't feel like cooking or baking
(probably much to my mother's annoyance)


But sometimes the thought of pulling down the stand mixer (which weighs a tonne)
just doesn't seem attractive.
Some days I don't want to spend hours making something, 
only to have to spend hours cleaning it up.
Some days I just want something simple

Whipping eggwhites until stiff peaks
Tempering chocolate
Separating eggs
Stirring until your arm falls off 

No, not today.
I always like to have something out when people come over, even on surprise visits.
To whip something up on a whim is a skill I've started to master. 

But when you combine a surprise visit and a day where the mixer just seems too heavy
and the pile of dishes in the sink make you want to run for the hills, what do you do? 

Why - you turn to a box mix, of course. 

What?! Yes I did just say box mix
Why?! Quick, easy and you don't need a cupboard full of ingredients. 
But it won't taste home made?! Or will it? 


I was sent a bunch of Melinda's Gluten Free Goodies mixes to review
and the Heavenly Chocolate Fudge Brownie was one of them.
All I needed was two eggs and some butter.

I opened the box to find two sachets.
The first was the brownie mix made up of fair trade Dutch cocoa and the second, a sachet of specially sourced lactose-free chocolate. 

These brownies are perfect if you're baking for someone with allergies.
You get a gluten free, wheat free, lactose free (as long as you use a lactose free margarine or butter substitute) and yeast free brownie and you don't need to spend hours perusing the shelves of health food stores trying to find unusual allergy friendly ingredients. 


After baking, and letting them cool 
I had fudgy brownies with a chewy edge. 

But did they taste good?! Why yes, they did. 
You know what - don't tell your friends they're from a packet and they will never know.
In fact, you might need to come up with an excuse as to why you can't give them the recipe.

Maybe your old Aunt will do the trick!
You know she doesn't like her secret recipes revealed! ;)

Or you could share the secret,
and dispel the myth that packet mixes are rubbish.


But you'll have to get in quick, because these brownies disappear fast
It's okay though - because it's so easy to get your hands on another box and whip up a fresh batch. 

Just head to your local supermarket or look at Melinda's list of stockists.

Now tell me, 
What have you got planned for the weekend?
and do you have a specialty that you serve to guests? 
or always take to parties or friends houses?

I think my specialty would have to be desserts.
Cakes, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, slices - you name it!

Kristy was sent Melinda's Gluten Free Goodies products courtesy of www.melindas.com.au
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to ksayerphotography@gmail.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ho ho snow?!


If you live in Sydney - or anywhere in Australia,
you've probably been feeling like we're experiencing a whole year of weather in the space of a week or two. 

One second it's sunny,
but the next you look out the window to see the clouds threatening rain.
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs sun/wind/rain/snow?
Who knows what to expect! I know I don't. 

Though I don't think it'll be ho, ho, snowing for us! (At least I hope not!)

One thing we do know is that Christmas is coming!
is anyone else feeling like it's coming at a ridiculously fast pace?!
One second it's November and then BAM! We're counting down the days til Christmas

One thing I've seen all over blog world is talk about how to act during the holidays.
What to eat, what not to eat, how to fit exercise into your holiday festivities etcetcetc.
I don't agree with people who think you should eat less leading up to the holidays 
so that you can eat more on the actual day
and to be honest, the last thing I want to be doing on Christmas day is going on a run! 
(Actually - let's make that anyday.. I can't run to save my life - i'll take a nice walk, thanks!) 

The holidays are a time for enjoying yourself with those you love
and who love you,
eating foods you don't eat every day
and laughing and having fun

Christmas isn't about stressing over the fact that your Aunt Olivia's potato bake has 10 billion calories,
so maybe you should choose that salad sitting by your Uncle. 

You don't put weight on in one day
but you do if you consistently eat badly. 
One piece of christmas pudding isn't going to make you gain 10 pounds and neither will two. 
The whole pudding? Well then it depends on how big it is :P 

It makes me so sad to see people thinking so much more about their waistlines
than what Christmas really means.

 For me christmas means:
being with my family
eating a cold lunch outside
swimming
my mum's Christmas pudding
seeing how happy my little cousins are when they open their presents
not being embarassed to wear the silly paper hats from Christmas crackers
Christmas ham
lazing about in the afternoon
giving back to those I love
showing love to yourself
cooking up a storm
listening to Christmas carols  
remembering the real reason why we're celebrating

and so many other things. 

On the weekend, my mum made her Christmas pudding.
The smell of mixed fruit soaked in brandy, brown sugar and spices wafted out of my kitchen
making me feel like Christmas really is coming. 
We've yet to put up our Christmas decorations - but the past weekend saw us putting up all of our Christmas lights outside.
The coloured light streaming in through my window is another Christmas reminder.
I know that so many people complain about Christmas shopping - but I love it! 
and best of all? WRAPPING PRESENTS!

If you need a professional present wrapper, I will happily apply for the job!

But do tell me -
what does Christmas mean to you?
do you have any Christmas traditions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Saturday: I'm in a Jam.


Have you ever been so inclined to make something,
only to open the fridge or cupboard and find your missing some of the most vital ingredients?
I know I have, alot.

Yesterday I decided I was going to make scones.
Butter, cream, lemonade, oil - 
the thousands of different recipes left me confused as to which one to try.

Until I opened the fridge.
No butter.
No cream.

Because I was racing against time 
(read: the sun was looking like it was threatening to go back into hiding)
I decided to use a butterless and creamless recipe. 


Don't you agree these gorgeous jams from Anathoth were just SCREAMING for scones?
I was lucky enough to be sent their Three Berry Jam  and Cherry Berry Jam

I love good jams. 
I say good, because that's what they have to be.
I want them to taste real and homemade and have chunks of actual fruit.
I don't want to be eating something that's 99% sugar, 1% fruit. 

Now that I've gotten older and discovered real jam,
I love it with cream cheese on toast
or as a topping for oatmeal.

Anathoth's Three Berry Jam is a combination of strawberries, boysenberries and blackcurrants
and contains no preservatives, added pectins or colours.
The three berries combine to make a delicious jam that, like their pottles say 
"tastes just like homemade"


The Cherry Berry Jam is a new flavour for Anathoth,
It's full of juicy cherries and has a delicious flavour.

I'll admit, I was wary about this one. 
I looked at the label and thought about that horrible processed fake cherry flavour.
But my fears were soon relieved when I tasted the jam.
No fake cherry flavour in sight! Instead it was a delicious natural cherry flavour.
Just as it should be.

It's not quite as thick as the other jam because cherries are a fruit that is lower in natural pectin
but it's thick enough to spread on scones or toast - well, whatever you please really!


The Help! I'm out of Butter, scones recipe

2 cups of Plain Flour 
1Tbsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar  
(you can use caster sugar or icing sugar - depending on what's at hand) 
1/4 tsp Salt
1 egg
1/4C Oil  
(Light flavoured oils like vegetable, canola or rice bran oil work best)
1/3C Milk 
1/4C Warm Water 

Preheat oven to 200*C (390*F)
In a large bowl sift flour and baking powder, add sugar and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, milk and warm water.

Add wet mix to dry mix and mix until just combined (adding a little extra water if required).
Turn dough onto a floured workspace and pat out until 2cm thick.
With a scone cutter (or the rim of a glass cup/tumbler) cut out scones.
Place scones onto a baking tray, allowing room for them to spread.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until risen and light golden in colour. 

So there you have it, 
A scone recipe for when you're in a butter-less jam.
I know I know, That was lame!

To get your hands on some Anathoth Jam, head to your local Coles, Woolworths or IGA store.
I promise you won't regret it! 

But do tell me,
What would be your ultimate morning/afternoon tea menu?
and Are you often caught without vital ingredients on hand? or are you more organised!

My mum's ultimate morning tea is exactly what you see above
hence why you're seeing it! 
I'm a fan of a summer morning tea, full of delicious summer fruit.

Kristy received Anathoth Jams courtesy of www.anathoth.co.nz
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to ksayerphotography@gmail.com





Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My favourite way to start the day


The first of December, already?!
This year is flying by. 

It seems Mother Nature is still quite confused,
I woke on the first day of Summer to pouring rain that hadn't ceased all night.
Uh, what?

You see, on the weekend when I took these photos it was sunny
and hot - definitely more summer-like weather.

Here I was thinking my breakfasts would be changing from my wintery oatmeal bowls
to summery bowls of cold cereal and muesli.
Well, they kind of have. 

Above was my breakfast on Saturday,
and milk and frozen banana slices were added later on. 

Yeaaah, I'm kind of obsessed with frozen banana.
But you have to try it - especially with muesli
because then you get super chewy pieces of dried fruit! 


Narelle from Food for Health was kind enough to send me their entire range!
I've seen the products at Coles and Woolworths but I hadn't had a chance to try them yet 
so I was definitely looking forward to breakfast! 


The Fibre Cleanse Muesli is packed full of psyllium, oat bran and rice bran to keep your bowels happy and your tummy full! It's also low GI so it keeps you fuller for longer and with the addition of linseeds it adds to your essential fatty acid intake. Your digestive system will love you with the additions of lecithin, magnesium and slippery elm powder. 
But don't worry! It's not just healthy - it tastes really good! Cinnamon, almonds and sunflower seeds work to give you a delicious flavoured muesli. 

The Fibre Cleanse muesli has no artificial flavours or sweeteners and no added sugar or salt
so you know exactly what is going into your breakfast bowl. 
It's fruit free too - which is perfect for someone who's not a dried fruit fan.

The Fibre Cleanse Muesli goes perfectly with some natural yogurt and fresh fruit 
or even straight up with milk.
It'd also be perfect for baking.



To be honest, If you had've told me the Fruit Free Clusters were going to be one of my favourites before I tasted it,
I would've said "Yeah... right.."  

But boy was I proven wrong. With this muesli, Food for Health proves that fruit free definitely doesn't mean flavourless or boring. 
Crunchy, chewy, flavourful clusters that'll make you think twice about their healthy ingredients.
It won over all my taste testers - even the ones who roll their eyes at chia seeds or psyllium.

These clusters are high in fibre and even have the addition of Chia seeds.
I loved the sweetness from the rice bran syrup and the crunch of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 

It's one of my favourite breakfasts of the moment with frozen banana slices (don't knock it til you try it) 
and milk - super summery! 


The Gluten Free Muesli is what you saw in the first picture,
a crunchy, chewy, flavourful muesli jam packed with dried apricots, apple, cranberries and currants.
You also get the crunch from the pepitas and sunflower seeds - making for the perfect balance.

Now this would probably have to be my hands down favourite.
In the last week I've not only had it for breakfast, but as a snack or dessert too.
It is delicious! and so filling.

The Liver Cleansing Muesli is a mix of ingredients designed to help your liver and digestive system. 
You get linseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, lecithin, barley bran, psyllium, millet, taurin and slippery elm.
Oh and don't worry - you get taste too :P


Another great tasting muesli that's low GI and packed full of nutrients. 
In my opinion - the perfect way to start your day. 




Food for Health Muesli is so delicious, you'll be wanting to take it everywhere you go.
Unfortunately, carting around a cereal bowl isn't always possible - especially if you're clumsy like me!


Luckily! their bars come to the rescue - chewy muesli in a convenient portable form.
They are perfect for snacking and eating on the go. 



Once again, these bars surprised me with the Gluten Free Fruit Free Bar being my favourite.
Though I am still a major fan of the Gluten Free Bar with Fruit as it's jam packed with apples, currants and cranberries. 


Oh and if you have issues with sulphur, you're safe! Because all of Food for Health's products have sulphur free fruit!
These bars are a perfect healthy snack and they're full of whole grains and healthy ingredients.


Best of all YOU CAN UNDERSTAND EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT
(applause please, people!)
So that gets extra respect points in my books! 


These products are definitely some of my new favourites! 
and I'm more than excited to share them with you. 
So I think today, you should rush out to your local Coles, Woolworths or Health Food store and get your hands on some! Your tummy will love me! 


If you live in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia or New Zealand - you don't have to miss out
Just check out their international stockists list

So tell me, 
Do your meals change with the season?
Or do you stick to the same things year round? 

Kristy received Food for Health Muesli courtesy of www.foodforhealth.com.au 
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to ksayerphotography@gmail.com