Saturday, August 27, 2011

A delightful Saturday

Hello :) Just a few snapshots of my day so far...

In the morning I went with my friend Tara to Glebe markets. I may have bought these shoes which I kind of love ;) I say it a bit hesitantly though because I have quite a collection of vintage shoes now. I just can't help it when they fit so well...they can't be left behind! I justify this pair though because they are black (always versatile!), made in Italy, comfortable, very reasonably priced, and the mini studs make them rather unique, don't you think?
After we potted around the markets we had coffee at this adorable French patisserie. I had a soy cappuccino and a small sour cherry pastry, so yum! I also bought this light rye loaf. I mentioned in my last post I haven't eaten bread in a few weeks, so I had to buy a delicious loaf. The toasted sunflower seeds just make it. For a late lunch I had a few slices with fresh ricotta & strawberries. It's sooooo good and I got the idea from Cate's blog where she had this combination on a bagel. 
In the afternoon I did some study for Biology and this is the view from our sun room. Isn't this native bush lovely?
And look at one of our veggie patches! We just started to grow tomatoes, lettuce as well as lots of herbs. 
Frankie magazine came out this week, oh so exciting! It's such a delight to read on the train to uni. I think I accidentally squealed on the train when I came across a recipe for "strawberry, apple and vanilla jam. And they provide amazingly cute stickers to label your jam!! I'm going to make it with a few friends next weekend! 
I finished Anh Doh's autobiography the other day which I immensely enjoyed and already have my book I'm going to read next week, "Perfume: the story of a murderer". I loved the film, so I can't wait to read the book :) 

What have you been up to this weekend?

I also saw Horrible Bosses with Adrian yesterday (his choice, not mine). I'm not going to lie, it was pretty hilarious! 

Hannah x

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Quick quinoa salad

Hello :) I've really been getting into quinoa lately! I think it's become a bit of a bread substitute for me. I don't know why, but I haven't really eaten bread in about two weeks. I haven't been consciously cutting it out though. For breakfast I've been eating porridge (now with chia seeds and LSA for some extra nourishment!) everyday instead of toast and for uni lunches instead of sandwiches I've been making salads. And quinoa seems to be my salad grain of choice at the moment!

I don't have much time in the morning, but I've been making this really easy salad combination all the time because it literally takes a minute. The night before I cook about 1/2 cup of quinoa and leave it in the fridge. Then in the morning I mix that with olives, pre washed spinach and rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. No cutting required! How easy is that?! And some balsamic vinegar to dress it. If I have a few more minutes I might add some chopped cucumber, carrots and red onion. And sometimes I add a can of chickpeas too, for extra protein :)

And here was the rest of my lunch (morning/afternoon tea) today. It's pretty similar to when I posted my lunches here, when I was just starting uni. I also had a medium soy latte :)
 I've also realised the joys of the microwaves at uni, so occasionally I've been taking leftover pasta, curries etc. yummo. 

Well I'm finished uni for the week (woohoo!). I hope the weather continues to be warm & wonderful, so I can spend lots of time outside :)

Hannah x

Sunday, August 21, 2011

5 quick dinners!

Hello :) Here's the thing. My friend is home alone for a few weeks and I hate to say it, but he can't really cook too well. He confessed he's been eating pasta for most of the week. He's been cooking pasta with chicken and lots of vegetables so that's great, but can get rather boring. 

So I've decided to come up with a few quick dinners he can make. Unfortunately he's not vegetarian (so sad!) and is super weird, not liking yummy things like eggs and avocado. So quick omelettes and avocado on toast are out of the question!

1. Chicken stir fry with vegetables and hokkien noodles (quicker than rice)
Cut up chicken breast into small slices and add to a wok/pan with olive oil and soy sauce. Then add finely chopped vegetables (mushrooms, carrots & broccoli) and pre-cooked hokkien noodles and stir for a few minutes. Serve with some more soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce, and sesame seeds on top.

2. Fish with mashed potato and green beans
Cook a piece of frozen fish in the oven according to the packet instructions. Whilst that's cooking boil 2 potatoes, mash with some milk & butter and boil some green beans. If you can cook fresh fish A thats preferable, but I know you like frozen fish ;)

3. Potato and zucchini fritters. 
Leah posted this great recipe here and I think they would be great to make! Simple, quick & delicious! Fritters are perfect.

4. Roast vegetables and chicken 
Roast veges you have, potatoes, carrots, and sweet potato perhaps with some salt and olive oil and serve with some BBQ chicken, or chicken breast. I don't really know how to cook chicken though...

5. Lamb chops with beans and corn on the cob 
Cook a few lamb chops under the griller as you do (I have no idea how to...) and serve with corn and green beans/broccoli

Now as you can see I'm not too much help, as I don't really know how to cook meat, so I'm asking you vegetarians and meat eaters alike, what are some classic, quick meals you make? 


Hannah x

Moments in quiet contemplation.

Hello :) Uni is busy busy, so all I want to do on the weekend now is curl up  in bed with a book, catch up with friends and bake cakes. I've been trying to study as well, as exams are coming up, but it's the downtime I've been enjoying most. Time spent reading, eating and reflecting...

I was trying to finish Jane Eyre as I went and saw the film today :) I still have 50 pages left but oh well! The film was just beautiful, I very much recommend it. This is actually chai tea I made, it was so yummy! I've realised the trick is to cook it on the stove and heat up the milk. I added chai tea we had as well as more crushed cardamom pods and cloves, sugar and cows milk.
 I made this quinoa fruit salad on Saturday morning whilst looking out at our garden. I cooked the quinoa with a teaspoon of chia seeds, topped with strawberries, a banana (exciting!), kiwi and orange. Then I sprinkled almond flakes on top and drizzled with agave :) 
My lunch today. Yes that's right, I had English Breakfast tea and scones for lunch. 

And finally, I could listen to this song again and again...

So that's all for now. I'm enjoying these last few hours of Sunday before the business of another week begins...

Hannah x

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A book per week.

Hello :) Yes, that has been my goal for the past month. Reading a book per week! At first it seemed a week  was not very long to read a novel, especially during a hectic Uni schedule. But I am travelling 1.5 hours each way 4 days a week, so it is sufficient time indeed!

I do love reading, and used to read lots of books when I was younger, my bookshelf now piled with childhood classics and authors such as Emily Rodda, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. Over the past few years though, although I have read some novels they have been few. I usually get engrossed in a book, read it within a few days, then forget to read for another month or so. My mother reads a book every few days so we're continually borrowing books from the library or buying them from library sales or opshops. Our house is a bookshelf I tell you!

So what have I been reading in the past month?

Well I started with a book from the library called "Lilia's secret", a wonderful story set in Mexico about discovering your past. I then progressed to Tim Winton's novel "Breath" which I loved and thought was profound and beautifully written. Last week I read "Finnikin of the Rock" by Melinda Marchetta, which was an interesting read, proving a little hard to get into but nontheless a great, extremely well devised and written novel.

And this week I am reading the classic Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre, in anticipation for the movie adaptation I hope to see! I'm finding it a really good read, often poetic and melancholic.

So far I've been taking great pleasure in reading more novels and taking time out from study to become totally engrossed in other people lives and stories, even if fictional. I suppose reading has become a form of escapism, as assignments, mid session quizzes, exams etc pile up. I think through continuing this, I'll start to find more of a balance between study and leisure.

Even though I think what we eat is critical to our health and wellbeing, on a more holistic scale, our mental health is just as important. I think when uni or work become stressful and exhausting we need hobbies and things to look forward to. Whether it be reading, or playing an instrument or participating in sport, or whatever, it's important!

Next on my list of book is Anh Do's autobiography "The Happiest Refugee" which my entire family have read and loved. There's other books in our house which look interesting too!

What are you reading at the moment or what are some of your favourite novels? I'm going to the library on the weekend so I'd love some suggestions! :)

Hannah x

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My weekend, again!

Hello. This weekend I've been taking it easy as I've been sick for the past week :( It's been a combination of stress, exhaustion and not getting enough sleep I think. I'm really focusing now on taking care of myself, drinking lots of grated ginger & manuka honey tea, eating lots of oranges and fresh vegetables. Despite saying I don't believe in supplements I've started taking an immune supplement with olive leaf, zinc and echinacea which I think is quite necessary and I'm trying to get as much sleep as I can. During the week it can get tough and I actually only get about 6 hours sleep (the reason I've been getting sick I think), so I'm going to aim for 7.5-8 from now on! What do you do to prevent being sick?

... Anyway, here's a few snapshots of my weekend.

This wasn't actually made on the weekend- but a few nights ago my mum made this delicious lasagna with spinach, lentils and a bechamel sauce which I think was photo worthy. It was so nice to come home to dinner made!
I whipped up this quick quinoa salad yesterday as I was feeling a bit peckish (hahaha it's a joke cause lets face it, quinoa looks like bird seed...). It also had lettuce leaves, olives, tomatoes, cucumber and walnuts with lots of balsamic vinegar. I was inspired to cook quinoa after seeing Sarah's post and like her, I'm going to cook a big batch of quinoa later today so I can make quick, delicious salads for uni next week. 
My sister has only recently started liking avocado, which is crazy but also great because she's been making guacamole all the time! We shared this on the couch :) There was so much garlic, gave it a real kick!
I made these muffins for afternoon tea. I have no time during the week to bake so I always end up making lots of food on the weekend.  I simply added a handful of raspberries, a few tablespoons of cacao powder to the recipe as well as adding melted dark chocolate on the top with a raspberry and icing sugar. Yum!
And today I went with Adrian to the city to surf! He was in the blue group, go him! I watched the beginning from the side line, and it seemed a bit like a jumper throwing contest as you can see, as everyone wanted to take off their jackets before the race. Look at them all in the tree!
And Dr. Chris Brown was there stretching, for a world record! 
Woo! Adrian finished in about 70 minutes. I had to rush from the city to Bondi on public transport to meet him afterwards. Although it was set up so there were trains and buses every few minutes it did confirm how I dread crowds!! I felt so exhausted afterwards, and I hadn't even run at all ;) 
And now I'm getting stuck into some study! Although I must say learning about carbohydrates has made me awfully hungry as you can see ;) 

What did you get up to this weekend?

Hannah x

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Potato Rosti Breakfast Salad

Hello :) So last week whilst trawling through The Circle website, as you do, I came across this tasty recipe called "Potato Rosti Breakfast Salad", cooked by who? "The hottie" from Masterchef, Hayden Quinn. Sqeeeee! I never really watched Masterchef this series to be honest, but it was pretty clear who every female wanted to win.

Anyway! This dish looked really yummy so I decided to make it on Sunday for a light lunch. Here's a link to the recipe. You can watch him cook it too!

And it was oh so delicious! I can't believe I've never poached an egg before! It was a lot easier that I expected and if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn well ;) 

The rosti's were great to make as well and tasted like hash browns, yum! I used our small food processor which grated the potatoes in a few seconds. It's very important to squeeze as much water out of the potatoes too. 

I enjoyed the salad as well, courtesy of a lovely dressing made out of djion mustard, vinegar, honey and olive oil. 

So each of the 3 elements (the egg, rosti's and salad) worked very well together, although I can also see myself making them separately. I might try making the potato rosti's with some sweet potato too...
Oh and he mentioned cooking them with ghee which I know you can easily make with butter, so I might be trying that on the weekend ;)

Have a nice rest of the week! I'm sick at the moment but trying to get better!! :)

Hannah x

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On skincare.

Hello :) Lets talk skincare because I believe skin health is very important! I suppose being eighteen I don't have much experience in this department but I'm happy to share my two cents. And like most people, I'm a firm believer in very simple skincare. These are most of the products I use (or make!).

Cleanser. I use the Jurlique foaming cleanser which is a little pricey but I've had this bottle for at least ten months and theres still quite a bit left! I don't believe you need a cleanser but this takes off all my tinted sunscreen which I wear every day. I generally only use this at night and you only need a very small amount. I like that this product is natural too, which I think is important.

Facial exfoliator. In the past I've just the Jurlique daily exfoliating cream but when I read the tube and saw the ingredients included crushed walnuts, oatmeal and honey I thought "I can just make this myself!". So I did and really don't see the point in spending money on an exfoliator, especially as many of them are very harsh. So once or twice a week, depending on when I can be bothered I make my own exfoliant which I mix with a bit of cleanser to gently remove dry skin. Here's some fabulous ingredients you can mix together to make your own exfoliating paste!
- honey- to soften the skin
- oats- use a mortar and pestle to crush them into a fine flour
- almond meal- this is a great, I use it all the time!
- milk- to help mix everything together and make a 'paste'
- yoghurt- something a bit thicker to help bind everything together. Plus it's very cooling on the skin :)

Body exfoliator. Like with a facial exfoliator I don't believe you need to spend money on this product. Make it yourself! Although I haven't in a while as it's too cold to rub this in before a shower! But when I do make my own I simply use sugar (any sugar will do) and olive oil. If you have some lovely smelling essential oils, a few drops of that would scent it nicely :) You want a nice consistency, not too dry and not too oily, well whatever floats your boat! I think sugar granules would be too harsh to use on your face though- only on the rougher parts (legs, arms etc) of your body which can get dry and flaky (yuck!) in winter.

Tinted sunscreen. Sunscreen is very important as we all know. I like using a tinted sunscreen every day because it provides a bit of coverage and makes my skin look a little brighter in the morning as well as of course protecting my skin from the sun! I don't wear foundation at all so I suppose this kind of doubles as one :) I used to use the invisible zinc one but found it a little thick, so now I use one by Ultraceuticals which is SPF 30+ and perfect. I mix this with a touch of moisturiser and occasionally a drop of rosehip oil which gives a nice dewy glow!

Hand cream. I think hand cream is quite essential! If you don't have handcream, body or face cream is fine to rub into your mitts- any cream will do. Hands can become very dry, especially as you're constantly washing them throughout the day with soap that is usually quite drying. I use a beautiful scented handcream from Crabtree & Evelyn at night called "Summerhill" I received as a gift and also carry a small tube of handcream in my pencil case which I take to uni and apply on the train. It's a nice morning routine and has a nice lemony smell which peps me up :)

Rose hip oil and jojoba oil. I just love these facial oils! I apply a few drops to damp skin after cleansing at night and wake up with nice moisturised skin. You don't want to apply too much oil- 2 drops is plenty! This winter my skin has gone a little nuts and has become quite dry so these seem to be perfect. I was a little hesitant using oils on my skin but they're working out really well plus they're obviously very natural products. The rose hip oil I use if from Trilogy and bought the jojoba oil off the High on Health store here.

Lip balm. Like most of you probably have, I've tried lots of lip balms! I'm never without one in my bag. My current favourite is the honey flavoured lipbalm from Burt's Bees which costs about $6.95. The flavour is soothing and when I had dry, cracked lips a few weeks ago it was the only lipbalm I found that helped. Some lipbalms I've noticed can become quite pricey and I tend to lose them quite easily so find this one as well as working well is reasonably priced in case you lose it!

Now of course I can't mention skincare without saying health of your skin (I believe) comes down very much to what you eat and drink. You are what you eat! (I know most of these points are common knowledge, but it's a nice reminder and I'm a crazy list maker).
1. Drink loads of water and herbal tea. Sliced lemon is a nice way to jazz up water
2. Eat lots and lots of fresh fruit & vegetables
3. Snack on raw nuts and seeds
4. Sprinkle chia seeds on your muesli or porridge for an extra dose of omega 3
5. Add avocado chunks to your salads or for a healthy snack have half with a squeeze of lemon juice, pepper and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
6. Avoid refined sugars and processed food and try to "swap white for brown"most of the time. This includes using brown rice, wholemeal pasta and wholemeal flour
7. Use extra virgin olive oil wherever possible, just remember it's not good for using at high temperatures (but coconut oil is!)

Personally I don't believe in taking supplements such as multivitamins unless necessary as I've been learning in nutrition, it is very easy to have toxic levels of certain nutrients in your body. I think we can get all the nutrients we need by eating wholefoods. In saying that though everyone has their own opinion!

What skincare products do you use? Similar? Do you believe using natural products are important? 

Hannah x

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tofu burgers

Hello :) Lately burgers have been on my mind. I always love getting vege burgers when I'm out for lunch and have made these lentil patties in the past, but when I came across a recipe from Heidi Swanson I wanted to make them straightaway especially as we had all the ingredients and they looked so nutritious and wholesome. Well a few weeks went by and I thought today was the perfect day to make them :)

So here's the amazing thing about these burgers- they don't fall apart in the pan! It's terrific. The eggs and bread crumbs help bind them together and the tofu works really well. Who would have thought to whiz up tofu in a burger? Brilliant. I didn't have any dried breadcrumbs as the recipe suggests so I simply blended up fresh breadcrumbs put them in the griller for a few minutes to get a little crunchy which worked well. There are so many other great ingredients in these burgers- cashews, mushrooms, sunflower seeds with a kick of cumin, cayenne pepper and mustard.

I'll admit before I pan fried them they looked a little reminiscent of cat food (haha) so I added some chopped parsley from our garden to spruce it up a bit. But when they are cooked they become a deep golden brown and look delicious!

Here's how I made my tofu burger lunch today. And of course, here's a link to the recipe.

I defrosted a bread roll we had in the freezer from Bakers delight. Very handy! Then I spread some avocado on and placed a burger on. It fit perfectly, don't you think?
I added a slice of tomato. 
And a small handful of a rocket/baby spinach mix. 
Lots of alfalfa sprouts. Love those!
And to finish, a big squeeze of sweet chilli sauce. 
um....YUM! The end result was very scumptious. I also made one for my mum. And she loved it :) Of course you could use any salad you wanted with it. 
I had 100g less tofu than the recipe suggested and my mixture made 7 patties/burgers, although I squished them quite flat. And so theres now 5 leftover, sitting in our fridge, waiting patiently...
You can see I took a slice out of the bottom right burger. Woops!

Mmmmmm :) Do you like making burgers? I have another delicious looking burger recipe which I hope to make soon. Maybe this'll be the start of a burger making series... ;) 

Hannah x

Friday, August 5, 2011

A day at the Zoo!

Hello :) Today Adrian (I know, it's like A has a name!) and I went to the Zoo taking full advantage of the very warm and sunny weather. Winter? I don't think so ;)

The ferry ride was beautiful! Sydney Harbour is rather stunning on a sunny day, if I do say so myself.
Adrian made sure we followed the exhibits in order from 1-9. Sometimes I saw animals I wanted to go look at but had to wait until it was the right time...seriously!
Look! It's Luk Chai (I think). He was so cute and playful...
Chilling with the giraffes...
Close up! apparently I'm as 'tall' as the worlds shortest bear (1.5m). I didn't think this was particularly funny...
Naaaaw the koalas were so peaceful. 
And he's awake!
I made this chocolate cake in the morning which we ate on the ferry home, yum yum!
On the way home when the sun was setting. Lovely :) 

I hadn't been to the Zoo in years and it was the perfect thing to do on my day off from uni, especially as my week has been quite exhausting and stressful. And that is how I spent my Friday :)

What have you got planned for the weekend? I hope to do lots of study, cooking and might have a garage sale on Sunday with a friend. 

Hannah x

Monday, August 1, 2011

My weekend.

Hello :) This weekend was thankfully sunny & warm, meaning I spent most of it outside soaking up the sunshine!

I had this for breakfast on Friday (which I count as a weekend- not having uni), Saturday and Sunday! it seems to be my current favourite breakfast. Porridge with raspberries, walnuts and agave. I used rice milk which I really like at the moment- it's by Vitasoy and I thought it was interesting that it's enriched with calcium from chickpeas! I also find the taste of the rice milk really palatable early in the morning- sometimes the smell of cows milk and even soy milk can be really off-putting I find.
On Friday morning I finally bought ballet shoes :) I feel like I'm six again! 
Then in the afternoon A and I saw the movie 'The Trip' in Leichhardt, which was a lot funnier than expected! We had gelato beforehand and I thought this photo was particularly attractive (sorry A...)
 On Saturday morning I got a lift to Rozelle, walked around for a bit then wandered around the markets. Being cold I almost bought a cardigan but when the sun came out there was no need. I did end up buying these shoes though which fit perfectly! 
I made these carrot muffins when I came back from the markets, this time using soy milk instead of cows, using brazil nuts instead of walnuts and sprinkling chia seeds on top. I'll admit they weren't as nice as when I previously made them- but certainly that extra bit healthier ;) 
On Sunday we celebrated my Grandma's birthday at our house with family, which meant a lot of cooking (and washing up!) in the morning. My uncle made these delicious spring rolls with a dipping sauce made of coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli! 
What I had for lunch: lots of roast veges, salad, pesto pasta (which I made!) and vegetarian biryani
And for dessert apart from cake we made these baked apples, a recipe courtesy of Sophie Dahl. We'd never made them before and were impressed with how they turned out! The only criticism was a few sultanas on top were burnt, but oh well. 

And that was my weekend! Let's hope this gorgeous sunshine continues :) :)

Have a fab week!

Hannah x