Monday, January 27, 2014

Super fast, super healthy cookies for a crazy woman

The always cheerful and weirdly calm little fifties housewife alter ego in me says, with a sparkling smile:

"If you don't buy crap, you won't eat crap"

Some kind of healthy resolution I no doubtly picked up from hours on Pinterest.

What a stupid saying I thought as I stare blankly at the bag of spinach, farm fresh eggs and slow cooker chicken left overs.

I WANT CRAP! I want to stuff copious amounts of cookies and everything in my face. Rage.

There are only two options:

Run frantically to nearest bakery and try to explain over short breaths that you'll take the table in the corner, a 12oz coffee with room for cream and more seriously, explain with earnest that you don't want to see the bottom of a cookie plate, keep em coming, understand?


You can bake something

But if you're annoyingly "health minded" or something stupid like that, this will be a challenge.

This post on 'Story of my life' saved the day.

The perfect answer to: I only have healthy stuff, but want cookies NOW dilemmas. That doesn't just happen to me right?

Her recipe calls for 1 cup oats, half a cup peanut butter, half a cup ground flax, half a cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup honey and one teaspoon vanilla.

I had oats, so I knew this was going to be the answer to my mad woman cookie craving needs.

I used almond butter instead of peanut butter. Making me feel like the healthiest, smartest person around, because eating healthier makes you feel better than other people makes you feel healthy or something.  

I wasn't sure what ground flax was and had no time to Google that sort of minor detail. I figured, sounds healthy, you know what I have that's healthy? Coconut oil. Basically the answer to everything forever. So I added that.

I also didn't have chocolate chips, because, well see above stupid notion of not buying stuff 'that's bad for you'. I did however have a whole slab of Trader Joe's organic dark chocolate, it's so healthy that I don't even consider it a treat, more like a salad if you will. So I chopped that up and used that.

I had honey, organic, local free trade, conflict free, happy, made in the USA honey. Obviously. (Well my parent's in law have bees so there's the reason for that)

And vanilla, yes check.

I mixed it all together, used my bare hands to roll each spoonfull into little balls and placed them on some wax paper.

The recipe then suggests to cool the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours.


No time for that. That mixture went straight to the freezer. For about as long as it takes the lick the mixing bowl out and make a cup of tea.

Finally! Cookies, basically the healthiest yummy snack I could make. Win!

All is well with the world again. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make sweet potato wedges and spinach salad to go with the slow cooked chicken for dinner.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A small announcement

Admit it. You're here because whenever a newlywed says they have an announcement you think it's to do with a stork!

Well sorry to disappoint, no babies here. Only some wonderful other news:

We booked our tickets and we'll be in South Africa in 53 days! Well 53 days and 42 hours of flying.

It's for a visit. A.MONTH.LONG.VISIT!

I know I'm slightly over dramatic to announce it in this way, but it's cold and boring and we're on the tightest budget ever (see above reason), so it sure is big news to me, and my momma I guess.

To celebrate this South African news I'll share with you my fail proof recipe for making amazing South African Fudge. Or as I used to call it 'fudge'.
South African Fudge is American Fudge's hard core little sister, hard core because it's harder, coarser and chocolate-less, pretty bad ass if you ask me.

I promise you this, I'll not be making this for at least another few years. Not because it's bad, but because I made a zillion batches as Christmas gifts this past month. It's the perfect 'made with love', 'I'm playing up my exotic South Africaness' and budget gift (again, see above reasons). 

Zillionsof batches surely establishes my authority on the subject don't you agree?

Okay, let's get to work.

My secret weapon is:

A candy thermometer. As a first time fudge attempter you will not, I repeat, you will not know what the elusive 'soft ball stage' looks like. With this magic wand you'll know, and you'll fudge will turn out perfectly.
So there's that, get one! Or don't and end up with a soft mushy sugary mess that you'll eat with your bare hands as you wade back in forth in a dark corner, or what ever.
Next, find Golden Syrup. If you're in the US then go to your nearest World Market, that's where I found mine or some Trader Joe stores claim to have it, but not around my neck of the woods.


-2 cups sugar
-5 Table spoons water
-4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick)
-2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step one:
Heat the water in a medium sized pot on medium heat, add sugar and stir occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. Take care not to burn the sugar, except if you're going for the 'smoky burny' taste.

Step two:
Add the butter and G Syrup and stir until butter is completely melted, keeping this up at medium heat.

Step three:
Add the condensed milk and salt and stir until everything is combined well. Scrapping off any build up that forms around the edges.

Step four:
Wait till mixture is starting to boil, place your 'must have' candy thermometer to the side and give it roughly twenty minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping your eye on the thermometer, soft ball stage = 240 F/ 116 C. Important: Temperature must reach this in order for the recipe to be a success. Don't be a hero, trust the temperature!

Step five:
 Once you've reached the soft ball stage, remove pot from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Now, this is the fun part, add the vanilla extract and stir in like a mad woman (or man) for about 5 minutes straight, this will ensure a pretty texture at the end. Pour mixture in a container about 7" x 11" more or less, can be bigger can be smaller. I placed aluminum foil in my container (wax paper doesn't really work so well).

Step six:
Allow to cool for a few hours, but don't wait too long before you take the fudge out of the container and cut up into little squares. Trust me, on the 'little' part, these are crazy sweet! Allow to harden for a few more hours.

Step seven:
Store in an air tight container and share with friends and family. Or don't, return to dark corner and eat it all yourself, what ever, I won't judge.


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Artist's Way. Living a creative life

To read more books and exercise. To cut out the sugar and eat more kale. Spending more time outdoors and letting go of that Netflix subscription. These are the general hopes that come with a New Year and it's optimistic resolutions.

I'm  not one for resolutions, mostly to do with the fact that I'm not one for keeping resolutions, but I am ready to set some serious goals this year.

A word for 2014? I don't really have a word this year, some years I do and some years I don't, but I do get the feeling that this year will be about:

Working hard,
Learning hard,
and Trusting even harder.

I know I'm still young, although 22 year old me would think otherwise. I know that there's still time to be exactly who it is I want to be, and to do exactly what it is my silly ol heart yearns for me to do. Why didn't I feel this gracious time before.

On the other hand I feel as though as if time is running out. Running out for what I'm not sure. I have a sense of urgency I've obviously not felt before. This is not a bad thing.

A now or never kind of mentality if you will. The time to strive and achieve the creative life is now.

That's my hope for this year. To live a creative life.

To unblock these weird dreams of actually making a living off of my creativity.

For now my purpose is to be vague, I'm even too nervous now to say my dreams out loud. (but in time I will)

Have you heard of a book called 'The Artist's Way'? It's a 12 week course on the spiritual path to recovering the creative life you've always known you should be living. Having this book on hand fits in well with my 'use what you have' motto.
It's a little too weird for the normals, too normals for the weirds. Too New Age-y for the Christians, too Christian for the New Agers (that's a thing right?). I'll admit to you now that I'm committing to this 12 week course with some hesitations.

I've started and not completed this book maybe twice now, but I don't think I had the need to get over my artistic blocks like I do now.

I wouldn't call myself a struggling, suffering artist, but I do know that if I want to have the career I've always dreamed of I need to start taking this title way more seriously, just the artist part, not the suffering part.

I'll leave you with this: I'm committing to 12 weeks of intensive creative healing. 12 weeks is way easier for me to deal with than all this 12 months commitments I read about. I'll be sure to post about my progress here, maybe it can be a weekly thing.

Already I've started on writing morning pages and I'm almost done reading the tasks for the week one "Recovering a sense of Safety". My insides tighten as I read and write about this, my heart starts racing at the thought of sharing all of this with you. Guess those are indicators that I'm on the right path here. 

If this works for me then it will work for anybody. I'm a stubborn, impatient person with high ideals and big dreams, so if that sounds like you too then stick around.

I'll make 2014 count by giving my dreams a run for their money. Working hard at making my business work, learning even harder to get the skills I don't yet have and yes, copious amounts of trust in God. He did after all command me to not be afraid, because He is with me. So I'll be holding on to that for like ever. 

 Linking up with some inspirational ladies today, all of us sharing our hearts on how to make 2014 count. I'm excited.