Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cappuccino Choc Cherry Brownie

I love coffee, and as well as drinking it I also enjoy experimenting with coffee baked goods. Here is a recipe I developed recently as part of a Nescafe Dolce Gusto Christmas competition, where I had to create a baked treat featuring Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee pods.

Cappuccino Choc Cherry Brownie

1 Nescafe Skinny Cappuccino pod, made according to directions
50g butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup glace red cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Spray an 8x8 baking tin with non-stick spray or line with grease proof paper.

Pour the cappuccino into a large bowl and add the butter, then melt in the microwave for one minute until the butter has melted. Mix in the cocoa, sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla essence until well combined..

Gently mix in the flour, baking powder, chocolate chips and cherries.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for one hour.

The brownie should still be quite soft in the middle, but will have cracked slightly and pulled away from the edge of the tin.Cool completely in the tin, then cut and store in an airtight container.

Best served with a coffee on the side!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

DAREcember Week 3

Three weeks into the Fox In Flats Style Dare and I am managing to play along most days. My wardrobe choice is still slightly restricted due to my leg and surgery, but yesterday was my six week follow up and everything is looking good. 

She's A Lady- this prompt made me think of pearls so I got out a peal strand I got as a gift from my Dad a few years ago.

Neck Party- I wore the same pearl strand but doubled it up and added this fun necklace made by the talented Miriam.

In the Navy- Navy and blue are two of my wardrobe staples, so this one was easy! I added a button up sleevless blouse to navy denim pants, and finished off with some Navy suede boots.

Safari- I think this was my favourite outfit of the week. I took this dress (with a nude slip underneath) and added a tan belt and shoes. This was so comfortable on my post-surgery body, and kept me cool through a school prizegiving and birthday BBQ.

Foxy Flats saw me trying out my new Mox Grape shoes as we put up the Christmas tree.

I Forgot I Had This.... chiffon black top with a bit of bling. It was so hot here today, so I slipped on some canvas jandals to keep cool.

White Haute and what a change in weather- my plan of a dress went out the window due to rain so I put on these white pants with a Decjuba top and a huge gold necklace.

I will share the last round of Style prompts next week. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great Christmas and enjoy the festivities!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Need a Nibble?

Nibblish is a great idea to make snacking easy for those of us who want the right combination of good fats, protein and energy after work, the gym or even as a 3pm pick-me-up. Nibblish make healthy snacks more interesting, fresher and easier for busy people who love their food. With the help of a top nutritionist they have developed an amazing range with the perfect blend of ingredients in every snack. Even better, the parenting couple behind Nibblish are based in New Zealand and understand the importance of convenience and nutrition rolled into one.

Each week, Nibblish sends me a box with four pre-packaged snacks featuring baked dried fruit, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate and other goodies. You get to rate the snacks you receive, or change your preferences based on dietary needs or taste, so that each Nibblish box will be full of yummy nibbles. You also get a nutritional information panel for each compartment, so that you know exactly what you are eating. 

Here are some of the flavour combinations I have received so far.

CopocobanaBrazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Raisins and Dark Chocolate. A standard mix that was great eaten with a cold drink in the afternoon. I really enjoyed the taste of the raisins and there were no surprises with this one. This would suit a lot of different food preference and age groups.

FlorentinePumpkin Seeds, Cherries, Walnuts and Dark Chocolate. Now this I could eat every day! The decadent dried cherries were a tastebud explosion, and I loved the crunch from the seeds. The chocolate pieces were enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and the nuts are always a good choice when paired with seeds and dried fruit.

Chilli Lime BitesChilli Lime Cashews, Blanched Almonds, Red Skinned Peanuts and Pistachio Kernels.My three year old absolutely loved the cashews, as did I. This was a delicious combination that worked well on a hot, sticky day.

Midnight MintCashews, Mint Raisins and Dark Chocolate. I love mint anything, and while it did take some getting used to as I would expect the mint flavour from the chocolate, not the raisins, the aftertaste was very pleasant and I enjoyed this as a late night snack with my TV watching. 

Pina ColadaNatural Pineapple, Walnuts and Coconut Flakes. I did something a bit different with this mixture and added it to my overnight oats. It gave my breakfast a real tropical punch and was a great way to start the day. The pineapple was delicious!

Berry CocktailCherry, Apple Strawberry Bites, Orange Raisins and Orange Infused Cranberries. I loved the fruit bites in this mix, but the orange flavoured dried fruits weren't my cup of tea. My boys really enjoyed this mix though, and so I don't mind them having it as a snack or on top of yoghurt. 

Lemon Lime InfusionPineapple, Lime Raisins, Natural Apple and Lemon Raisins. I really liked the pineapple in this mix, but once again the different flavoured raisins threw me off. I have decided that citrus flavours aren't for me, I prefer tropical and berry flavours. 

Moroccan DelightMoroccan Cashews, Dates and Coconut Flakes. This was a surprisingly sweet combination, lovely and sticky and somewhat decadent. It was a real delight, and I hope to get this one again soon. 

Orange CrushOrange Raisins, Orange Cranberry and Dark Chocolate. These orange flavoured fruits feature again in this mix, however I found this mixture to be less intense than the other two as the chocolate rounded it off nicely. 

If this idea looks like something you would like to try for yourself, use code RC-85-412 to get your first box for just $3.50! That is 65% off with free shipping included for four delicious snacks. 

Please note: I was not compensated in any way for this post. If I find a product or service I love, I just want to share it with my readers, and this was the case with my Nibblish subscription.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My favourite Christmas ornaments

I love decorating the tree each year, and some of the ornaments I hang on my tree have real sentimental value. Today I would like to share some of my favourite Christmas ornaments with you, and I would love to hear any stories of your own favourite ornaments!

First up is this adorable owl from Stitchaholic, complete with a candy cane holder! I have two of these on my tree and I think the chevron pattern is adorable.

We each choose a new ornament for the tree each year, and my 6 year old chose this train last week. I think it was a very good choice, as it is so shiny and it is his favourite colour too. It also matches the other red and gold train ornaments I have on the tree- our theme next year might end up being trains!

This little apple ornament was from my days as a Brownie. In 1990, I was presented with this apple at my last Brownie camp of the year, and I still hang it on my tree each December.

Lucas made me this red glitter ornament last year on his last day of preschool, and he was very excited to find it in the box and put it on the tree. He kept reminding me that he had made it- seeing him so proud of his creation means that this will be going on our tree each year.

Another new favourite is this cute hand print tree that my 3 year old made at his preschool- which we only found yesterday in his bag and immediately got placed on the tree. I love that he did it in gold and red, my two favourite Christmas Tree decoration colours, and he is also very proud of his creartion.

These ornaments are a mixture of handmade and store bought, old and new, but each one brings a smile to my face.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DAREcember Week 2

Week 2 has been a lot of fun with the DAREcember challenge, even though an unexpected event has led to some restyling on my part!

Swishy- this skirt from Boohoo is super swishy and the tassle necklace also adds a level of swish!

My Tuck ' Roll outfit was rolled up boyfriend jeans and a knotted white top for a playgroup Christmas party on Wednesday.

Not quite a  New 'Do, but I have been unable to tie my hair back for a while and now it is long enough for me to get it in a ponytail again! I am in two minds about growing it as I do like the shorter length, but I also like being able to tie my hair back although it tends to go everywhere by the end of the day! If anyone has some styling products that work with fine, oily hair I would love to know.

My Vintage touch for Friday were these pearls. I wore these to my son's school craft session and got lots of compliments- I should wear pearls more often!

Unfortunately for Saturday, Killer Heels did not happen as I ended up at the hospital with a labral tear in my groin. Crutches for the next few weeks means that flats are the only option!

Orange Kisses brightened up my day, even through the pain and tiredness a bright swipe of lippy always makes me feel ready to face the world. This is a subtle coral orange from the Mary Kay range, and was an exclusive colour for guests at a recent product launch.

My Print Mix plan changed as Monday dawned with no energy, so my boyfriend jeans were paired with leopard flats and my hospital notes plus bits and pieces were carried around in this fun mixed print tote bag.

There you have it, another week of challenges completed, albeit not my first plans after my leg decided to add more stress to the holiday season! I still plan to continue these challenges though, as otherwise I would end up in my pajamas a lot of the time as I am also still recovering from my surgery a month ago. Thanks to Andrea for hosting this style challenge!

Linking up with Confident Twosday, Wardrobe Wednesday and Thursday Fashion Files.

Monday, December 14, 2015

10 Christmas activities for boys

Nothing beats the happy squeals of children in the lead up to Christmas, and a lot of the reasons I do a December Daily each year is to make Christmas a fun time for my kids.

Today I thought I would share some of the things I have done with my boys to make Christmas fun.

Going to the Santa Parade is always good for some fresh air- it has become more cultural over the past few years but you are still guaranteed to see Santa.

Speaking of Santa, you have to get a photo with him!

There is sure to be a Christmas Display in your area, which is always a fun day out as a family. Each year we go to Santa's Grotto run by a local church, and they have some amazing displays. It gets bigger each year and attracts a lot of people, so we tend to go in the mornings when it is quiet.

Have a Candy Cane Hunt- on a sunny day sneak out to the garden and hide some candy canes, then sit back and let your children and some friends or neighbours find them.

Make homemade Christmas cards for teachers, neighbours and friends. A lot of boys like to do craft if it has a purpose, and making homemade cards is a great way to say thank you.

Create your own icecream cone Christmas Trees for a special family dessert. Simply mix green food colouring with some coconut, then cover an icecream cone in icing sugar mixed with some water to create a paste. Sprinkle over the coconut, stick on some lollies and you are done!

Stage a Christmas photo shoot by letting your boys stand in front of wrapping paper taped to the wall.

Baking Christmas Cookies is great for science, mathematics skills and fine motor development. Plus, tasting the end result is always rewarding.

Making ornaments for the Christmas Tree is another great way for boys to get creative for a purpose. Here I made some green salt dough and pushed a marble in the dough, which the boys then filled in with glitter glue. I added a vivid 2015 and light strings, and will hang these on the tree.

Design Christmas potato stamps and have a go at making your own wrapping paper, perfect for grandparent gifts to be wrapped in.

I hope some of these activities inspire you to have fun with your boys this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Easy Breakfasts for School Mornings

It is getting to that point where there are only two more weeks of school before the Christmas Holidays, and I need to entice my nearly six year old out of bed in the mornings with something delicious and nutritious.

Below are some of his favourite ways to start the day- and my three year old approves too!

This DIY pancake mix is super easy to put together, and makes pancakes ready to go when you are! This is the best pancake mix I have come across, and I have added fruit, chocolate and different sauces to the base mix depending on what we have in the house.

My eldest boy loves Egg In A Hole, and this is a great way to get some carbs, protein and fat into a small serving if your child won't eat a huge amount at breakfast time.

If you want to cook one meal for everyone (because who has time to make four different breakfasts in the morning!) these Easy Egg Tacos can easily be customised but all cooked in the same pan. You can also serve this with baked beans, breakfast sausage or some bacon if you have a large appetite.

We have an abundance of strawberries in our garden at the moment, and these Peanut Butter, Strawberry and Banana Quesadillas are on high rotation! More filling than a peanut butter and jam sandwich, and I use wholegrain tortillas for extra fibre,

As it is summer here, sometimes we don't want anything hot for breakfast. That is where these Breakfast Banana Pops come in handy. The boys can help make these quite easily, and they are also great for mornings where you need to eat on the run.

So there you have it, five delicious breakfast ideas! I would love to know which one you would try.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Summer Style File Recap

Last week I took part in the fun Summer Style Challenge by Kimba Likes!

I am also playing along with some of the DAREcember prompts with Fox In Flats.

Stripe It Up and Stripes- this dress was paired with leggings and some burgundy loafers for a cooler start to December. I tried plaid stripes for a play on the challenge.

To The Maxi- not quite a full maxi but I do love this hi-lo maxi dress that I picked up for free at a clothes swap!

Slogan Tee and Arm Candy- this t-shirt suits me perfectly, and I stacked three bracelets on my wrist.

Sparkle and Shine and Red Lip- another double up as I used this red lipstick that has flecks of gold.

Summer Shorts and Black Out- these are my absolute favourite shorts and I paired them with a black top and simple black flats for a picnic lunch.

Frankie Says "Relax" and relax I did with my best mates and a cheeky cider! (Yes I am short!) My top and skirt are both from Glassons, which I think has some of the best weekend clothing.

Brights- this bright necklace was given to me by my boys and I love the unexpectedness of it.

Come back next week when I will be sharing my next 7 days of the Fox In Flats DAREcember challenge outfits.

Linking up with Confident Twosday and Wardrobe Wednesday.
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