Monday, August 8, 2011

Who? What? Where?

I know, I know saying....

Who are you, again?

What the heck happened to you...?

AND Where the hell on Gods green earth have you been..?
Well I apologize, but firstly I must say 'thank you'.  I've had so many kind emails from you asking how I am and why I've been completely MIA. Well here's what... I've always believed that unless you have something of value to say, it's probably best not say anything at all. With all the noise out there consisting of people speaking just to speak, sometimes it's nice to just be quiet and listen. To have your thoughts fully formed and digested before you start sharing them.
My summer so far has consisted of spending time with one of my best and most cherished friends, horse riding, white water rafting, hiking and enough awe inspiring nature to make you seriously contemplate what's truly important. When you take yourself out of city living for anything longer than what could be considered a vacation, all of the things that you think make you happy seem to take on different shapes and forms until you're left with a clear picture of what really lights you up and makes you tick.
Turns out it's what I've always thought it was, but in order for me to stay grounded it's important to actually live and practice those ideals, not just be aware of them. And let me tell you, it's a hell of a lot easier to practice them when all that excess is removed.
I've missed you, I'm so glad to be back and I'm so looking forward to sharing lots of fun, mouth watering, jaw dropping things with you! Hope you're having a fun summer/cozy winter, no matter where you are!

lots of chirpy love
t xxx

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hip Hip!!!

I'm not shy.  I'm not going to pretend like I'm one of those modest 'who cares' folks that doesn't make a big deal about it because that would be a lie... and I don't lie. Well, not since my mum told me she could see my nose growing if I ever fibbed.
I'm not coy about it or believe that today's just another day.  It's not! Today, I'm stoked. The singing phone calls, the friends, the family, the cake, the cake, the cake. I have so much to be grateful for and on this day I want to spend it saying Thank You! Thank You for the friendships, for the support, for the ongoing love.  Thank you for checking in with me when you haven't heard from me in a while, thank you for making me laugh. And laugh and laugh. But most of all, thank you for being you! If I could hand you a fork and a slice of cake right now I would. You've given me a kind space for my inner most thoughts and mundane musings and you've made me feel less alone even when I've actually wanted to be.
I can't help shake the feeling that there's so much to look forward to... and that just maybe, it's right around the corner!

HIP HIP and loads of chirpy birthday love to all of you!

xx t 

Monday, April 25, 2011

To The Rescue

What happens when you have a food blog and you get severe food poisoning? Nothing.... well nothing except saltine crackers, ginger ale and a whole lotta ugly.
It's been a few days and food is beginning to take on its appeal again. Well let me be clear, we're not entirely on good terms, there's some residual trust issues that have to be worked through, but I'm committed to getting things back on track. With all the nutritional elements found in these babies, consider bananas the yellow skinned cape wearing, "here I come to save the day" superhero of your digestive tract!
So in keeping with my current timid relationship with with food I decided to keep things as simple and digestible as possible, no real expectations other than health. What I didn't expect to discover was mind blowing deliciousness. Who knew something dairy free could be so creamy? Who knew that one ingredient could be so versatile? Added bonus being that you don't need an ice cream maker to make this baby. As long as you have a food processor or a blender, you're set!

Banana Almond Maple IceCream - sans the cream!
6 ripe bananas
1/4 cup of Grade B Organic Maple Syrup (honey or brown sugar depending on your taste preference)
2 Tablespoons Almond butter (or peanut butter)

Cut bananas into one inch slices and place in the freezer until solid (if using brown sugar douse banana in sugar before placing into the freezer).
Place banana slices into food processor and whip until smooth. Add your sweetener of choice if using honey or maple syrup and then your protein booster (almond or peanut butter). Continue to whip until fluffy and smooth.
Then enjoy all of the mood elevating and disbelieving notions of digesting something that isn't but seems just entirely too good to be true!
sending chirpy and healthy love to all of you!

xx t 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

on the inside.

"What on Earth are you doing?" Were the words my mum uttered when she caught me in her bathroom vanity furiously covering my 6 year old sun kissed face with the heaviest foundation I could find.
"I hate my freckles, I don't want them anymore." I muttered through about 8 layers of caked on make up. This sudden self loathing was prompted by a boy from my neighborhood who had taunted me during my after school bike ride. Our neighborhood was divided into two child 'gangs', of course girls and boys being separated and vehemently despising one another. Think mini "Pink Ladies" against "Lord of the Flies". Every afternoon we would ride our bikes around the neighborhood and rile each other up, like some kind of miniature people turf war with little to no serious fall out. Except for today.
"Only boys have freckles."
"Yeah... boys!"
"That means you're a boy!"

All followed by rounds of laughter and pointing.  I rode my ribbon clad, bell ringing bike home as fast as I could and bolted inside to rectify the problem.  Only minutes later to be caught by my mum face deep in foundation in the midst of a "I hate boys, I don't wanna be a boy", break down.
This prompted a conversation about how beautiful she thought I was and that what's more important than anything else was being a kind, loving and generous person. "It's what's on the inside that counts Louie, don't ever forget that", she lovingly said as she removed the entire container of make up I had slapped on my face.
Of course she's right. Look at these Nutella Molten Lava Cupcakes... They might look like a regular chocolate cupcake with Nutella cream cheese frosting on the outside, but once you get to know them they'll knock your ever loving socks off!

Still.......I shoulda kicked that little twurp in the shins when I had the chance.

Nutella Chocolate Molten Lava Cupcake

1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of Nutella
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1/3 cup of hot water
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 and 2Tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs room temp
1/2 Tablespoon of Vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sour cream room temp

In a small saucepan, heat cream until quite hot whisking to ensure that it never boils. Add chocolate and Nutella and whisk until smooth. Place in bowl and let sit in refrigerator until cool.

Preheat Oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. IN another bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium heat mixing to ensure that mixture is smooth. Once brought together add to electric mixer and whisk until cool which should take around 5 minutes, remember if mixture is too hot, the eggs will cook when you add them . Add eggs one at a time then Vanilla and cocoa mixture. Beat until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternating with sour cream and ensuring that it is fully incorporated yet not over worked.

Add to muffin tins. Take chilled Nutella and chocolate mixture out of the refrigerator and scoop one heaped Tablespoon into the centre of each cupcake. Bake for around 18-20 minutes until Cupcakes have risen and the tops are cooked. Transfer onto wire racks and allow to completely cook before you even attempt to frost them!

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup of Nutella
1 Tablespoon of unsweetened Cocoa powder


Whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and continue to mix until fully combined. Lastly, add Nutella and cocoa powder and whip until smooth. Please feel free to add more Nutella if your taste buds require it!


xo t

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

tuesdays tune...


"My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon."-Masahide
While one of my besties was in town we took a road trip up North to one of my favorite places on the planet, Big Sur. Fate would have it that there was torrential rain prior to our trip which caused mud slides both North and South of the Freeway entrance into Big Sur, which meant a complete detour through a National Park.  Fate would also have it that because of this alternate route, Big Sur was completely deserted the entire weekend.....Who could imagine that Big Sur could become even more breathtaking? Just take a few extra tourists out and bingo!  

From 2008-2009 almost 180 000 acres of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was burned to the ground. It's pretty unbelievable to still see the extensive damage that was done and even more amazing to witness the ability that nature has to readjust and rebuild itself so spectacularly. 
When you're still in the midst of some pretty large life changes {like myself} it's nice to be reminded of what's possible, especially after what seems like such a loss.... Which in this case, looks a lot like an even brighter rebirth.   
xo tash

Monday, April 11, 2011

You pick.

What happens when your kitchen sink clogs? You call your landlord. What happens when your landlord has the thickest Lithuanian accent and zero boundaries with his tenants?......

Landlord: What's this Cockroaches in your sink everywhere?
me: Cockroaches?! What are you talking about Cockroaches? Where?!
LL: Here, here, here and here. These ones, everywhere!!!
me: Oh. They're Lavender flowers.......for the ice cream.
LL: ...........................................................................................................................................................................
me: ...............................................................................................................................................................What....?
LL: You cook too much.
me: I know.
LL: When's your birthday?
me: May.
LL: If you don't have boyfriend by your birthday, I buy you cat.
me: umm.....thank you, but I.....I..... don't really want a cat.
LL: You have to. It's boyfriend or cat. You pick.
me: Is that in my Lease?
Lavender Honey Ice cream  
- adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1/2 cup of good quality honey
1/4 cup dried culinary lavender flowers
1 1/2 cups of 2% milk
1/4 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

This recipe takes a little longer to make than regular ice cream, because it's all about infusing the lavender oils into the honey and then again into the custard. So with that in mind, heat the honey and 2 tablespoons of the lavender in a saucepan until the honey is warm. If your comfortable with your microwave feel free to warm it in there for a second and then allow it to sit for around a hour. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a separate saucepan. Once warm pour into a large bowl and set strainer over the top. Pour lavender infused honey through strainer gently pushing flowers into strainer to extract as many oils as you can and discard used lavender flowers.  In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until smooth. Add them to the warm milk mixture and then once that's combined, pour the entire uncooked custard back into the large saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. If you  have an instant read thermometer it should read between 170 - 175 F.
Pour the custard again through the strainer to ensure that you have a silky smooth custard and add cream and remaining lavender. Refrigerate overnight, allowing the lavender to make really great friends with the custard and the mixture to chill thoroughly. Sigh... I know.. Patience... What a bastard!
Think about waking up the next morning knowing you've got something fabulous waiting for you! All you have to do is strain the mixture again removing the steeped lavender and then follow your ice cream makers instructions. Voila!


I have a thing for culinary lavender. There's something about its delicate nature that makes it a little more refined than your average flavor additive. I always find myself sitting a little straighter and speaking a little softer when I'm consuming it.  Like I would be if I were dining with Julie Andrews and lets be honest, who doesn't want to dine with Julie Andrews?

....Maybe that's what I'll name my new cat..... sigh.....

x tash

p.s. it feels good to be back. Oh how I have missed you all :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Ode to Besties Everywhere! x

As I mentioned in my last post I've had my bestie visiting from Australia, which explains why it's been so quiet around these parts lately {sorry my lovelies, I hope you forgive}. You see, this is really a once in a lifetime kinda trip for her and I as it won't be too long before she'll be in the family kinda way and I'll be welcoming a little troop of mini besties into the world. So her gorgeous hubs decided to stay at home {he knows how we get when we're together} to give us our last little hoorah, well for a while anyway.

- this will give you some idea of what we've been up to!

Music: Mango Tree by Angus and Julia Stone.



I hope everyone's lucky enough to have a love like this :) I'll see you next week for lots of fab recipes!

xo tash

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