Thursday, 31 July 2014

Monthly Memories | July

I won my first ever competition this month, a bake off
Finally all those hours baking (and eating) cookies has paid off, many batches and alterations later. I made the perfect batch.

 Just a photo of my babies, letting you all know what a hard life they lead. Chloe (far left) is convinced she is a human and uses a pillow as often as she can.
Especially when sneaking into our bed at night (naughty naughty). She knows to only goes to Benn's side cause he let's her in, apparently I have already claimed the "bad cop" persona.

I was able to go down to the Temple this month (twice actually). 
It was a beautiful day, where I visited an even more beautiful place. I couldn't help but snapping some pictures. 
I love walking around the grounds of the temple, the gardens and the architecture is lovely and I constantly feel a warm feeling of peace and love in my heart. 
If you want to know more about the Temple, click here.

Benn and Petal sharing a cuddle before bed. 
I read each night before bed as my way of "winding down", because I take forever (and ever) to fall asleep. Reading helps clear my mind and calm me from all the days worries before turning off the light. Although Benn sometimes falls asleep before I'm done, with the light still on. 
One day I hope to sleep with ease like that...

My man replacing the engine in our car. 
Dearest Benn;
Thank you for being so handy and fixing the car. Saving us countless dollars so we can spend them on other important things (like bills, yay!).
Thank you for enjoying it when you do it and not complaining (like we all know I would).
Thank you for trying to explain what your doing even when it goes over my head (like waay over).
Thank you for getting up early in the cold and working till it gets dark.
Thank you for all your hard work.
Thank you for being you.
I love you.

Want to see more? Follow me on instagram @neivelouise

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Creative Cooking | Chocolate Brownie Cookies

So, as you know I like baking. Mostly because I like eating sweets without the added cost, but don't we all? I've been experiementing with a few recepies lately and I am fallen in love (so has Benn) with some very simple cookies. I have named them "Chocolate Brownie Cookies", because everytime someone ate them they were like "It tastes like a brownie" and you know what, I liked the sound of that. These cookies also won me first prize!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
  • 2 1/2 table spoons of chocolate cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 200g of melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • ***Recepie makes roughly 12-15 cookies, depending on size
  • Mix together all dry ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • Add melted butter and eggs
  • Stir until well combined
  • Line baking tray with baking paper
  • Rol into balls and push flat on baking tray 
  • Cook for 15 minutes on 150 degrees
  • Remove and leave on tray for a further 5 minutes
  • Place on cooling rack until cooled

Finally, I won something.

Yesterday was the "County Fair" for my stake at Church. They have them every few years or so and there was lots of fun activities to be had on the day. I was tossing up to go all morning, because after baking my cookies it poured with rain for a few hours. Plus it was FREEZING. But I'm so glad I did. I decided to enter into the baking compettion because.. why not? I didn't think my cookies were anything too original, however, I like showing support for what people have gone to the effort of organising (the whole day was free), so I did that by entering the competition. Well it payed off.

Because I won!!!
1st Place in the "Biscuts Open Division" section. They were scored 88%. 
I was so proud. First thing I have won in my life, ever.

You can find the recipe to my "Chocolate Brownie Cookies" here.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Creative Cooking | Mixed Fruit Pie

So again, another yummy creation from what I found in my freezer. This time it was a bag of cut up fruit, from when I was going through my juicing phase. Not that I don't like juice anymore, it's just too cold to make frozen juice drinks at the moment. So pie it was. I didn't really follwo any paticular method, really it was just a sandwich bag of mixed fruit, 4 more apples and 2 handfuls of frozen berries. I will try to write up a rough ingredients and method, but really it was just off the top of my head and all guess work.

Okay so the crust is a little brown, but the taste is amazing!

Mixed Fruit Pie

  • 2 kiwi fruit
  • 1 pear
  • A handful of grapes
  • 2x handfuls of frozen berries
  • 5 apples
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 50g of butter
  • 1x tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour
  • 6 sheets of shortcut pastry
  1. Melt the butter over a low heat and stir in the sugar until caramelised
  2. Cut up all fruit into small pieces
  3. Add fruit to saucepan and stir occasionally
  4. Add lemon juice
  5. Keep on heat until soft
  6. Stir through corn flour until desired thickness
  7. Remove from heat and let cool completly
  8. Cover pie plate in shortcut pastry, then lay a sheet of baking paper on, weighed down with rice (or something similar)
  9. Put in oven for 15 mins, then remove rice and return to oven for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Remove pie crust and fill with fruit mixture
  11. Cut strips of shortcrust pastry and layer on top to form lid
  12. Brush a light coating of melted butter over lid
  13. Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until brown.
  14. Serve and Enjoy!!!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Creative Cooking | Chocolate Banana Bread

I recently cleaned out our chest freezer so we could turn it off and save power in our house (thanks to our expensive electricity bill...) and I found 3 frozen brown bananas. 
I vaguely remember putting them in there a month or so a go when I had made so much banana bread we have overdosed on it and we couldn't take it any more.
And I am so glad I did.

Instead of just making the usual banana bread, I decided to put a little chocolate twist in it, cause who doesn't love chocolate right? I am so right. It was amazing. I only added a small amount of chocolate, so the banana taste was still there and the combination was perfect. You will be making this one many times over I am sure, I know I will be! Benn was impressed and requested more once it was gone, now I just need some more brown bananas...

Chocolate Banana Bread

  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (heaped) table spoon cocoa 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 125g butter, melted, cooled
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and side of an 11 x 21cm x 6cm deep (base) loaf pan.
  2. Combine flours, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Whisk melted butter, vanilla essence and eggs together. Stir in banana. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth the surface.
  3. Bake for 45-50 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm spread with butter.