It has been so hot lately!
I shouldn’t complain for two reasons.
1. I live in Upstate New York, some of you live in places where it is much more hot!
2. I’m moving to Taiwan next year where it will be hot all.the.time.
So no complaining.
Still, I can think back to colder times, can’t I?
I’m remembering Christmas today with some seasonal pictures and a recipe for Gingerbread Waffles featured in last week’s WIAW.
Christmas has that thing about it. That glow. Literally.
Our family hangs our stockings up in a row on this little stand (?) because we haven’t gotten around to building a mantle piece yet. Also our fireplace is sadly electric/gas, although I wish it were real so I could listen to the crackling logs and smell the charring wood.
Mom likes to put Christmas lights where they don’t necessarily go. I love this adaptation of the idea because it makes the bowl glow and warm to the touch.
We cut out Charlie Brown tree (shown below and above)
Out of our yard instead of going to a tree farm to cut it. Saves money and also we have quite a few. I think it looks a bit German, actually. Not overburdened with ornaments. Just simple and glowing.
Crinkle. We unwrap stockings first. Santa has finished the milk and homemade cookies G and E have left out the night before. G reads the note. E gets into the chocolate. Typical.
After snapping some pictures of my family, I tug my stocking off it’s hook and set to unwrapping everything inside. One present at a time. Folding the white tissue paper that has been wrapped with string.
Everyone takes pictures of their feet on Christmas as well. The slippers have been around for so many years and have ‘mouths’ at the front. My feet stick out like thick tongues.
I unwrap the first finds.
If you’ve never had Theo chocolate, do it. It is seriously some of the best chocolate I’ve had.
I got into a bit of the chocolate before breakfast
I also got a friend.
and some lovely earrings from Anthropologie.
Because Christmas was a fair while ago, I’m not really sure I remember what I had for breakfast, but pairing this post with the Gingerbread waffles I had at some other time seems fitting.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
dash baking soda
sweetener, to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 egg white
scant 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Mix dry together. Mix wet together. Pour into your waffle maker.
Mine is seriously so old. What I’d give for one of these….
Enjoy with whatever toppings you love. I’m partial to yogurt for dipping, as well as my usual assortment of nut butters.
Best thing about this recipe? It makes TWO that you get to eat all by your very own self.
It is no secret that nut butters have saved my life.
I’m not going to write you a sappy story about how sad my life was when I eschewed all fats, but I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this, and I’m DEFINITELY not the only one who now loves them.
Another thing I love? Ocean State Job Lots.
This place always has so many great things and what I love about it is- it is always changing, you never know what’s going to be there!
Seriously, protein powder for under $20? I’m SO there. We have got two jars of Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter in the basement, which is what we buy in bulk from BJS, but I told my Mom I wanted to try her out on some home made nut butter, and so we bought some plain peanuts to do the job. I’ve always wanted to try macadamia nut butter, so I stuck that canister in the cart as well.
This macadamia and cashew mix was only like….$4.29, which was a whole $6 cheaper than the one I found afterwards at CVS. Seriously???
My Mom and I each make a large glass pitcher of green iced tea every morning and drink it throughout the day. I picked up these fruity flavours to try. Funny, I only like fruity tea when its cold!
This was the result of the peanuts we got. Super swirly and perfectly roasty.
You don’t need a recipe. Making nut butter is simple enough and it would just be silly if I told you how. Just do it, if you haven’t.
Next, I ground up the cashews. I remember when I first tried cashew butter. Such a buttery flavour, I die.
I ground up the Macadamia nuts as well, but due to their high fat content, they made more of an oil than a butter, so I added the cashews for a nice mix.
This one, however, merits some praise. I don’t discriminate. I like nut butters sweet, and savoury. Mostly not too sweet, but I’m not picky. For those of you with a bit of a sweet tooth, I give you….
Macadamia Cashew Oatmeal Spice Cookie Butter
-drop of SweetLeaf Toffee Stevia (PERFECT!)
-about 2 tbsp oats
-1 pinch vanilla protein powder of choice
-a pinch of water, so it isn’t unspreadable
- TINY pinch cinnamon
I think that’s all that went in there? Whatever the combo was, it was GOOD.
My favourite part of this nut butter are the oats in it- it adds wonderful elements of texture.
If you’ve got leftover nut butter, you can add milk and make it into a sauce to have with rice cakes.
We had these rice cakes kicking around the house. Slightly stale, but when you’re crumbling them up, who is counting?
Let me zoom in on that sauce for you.
That would be PB & Co’s, Mighty Maple Peanut Butter mixed with white beans and a little almond milk for a spreadable sauce that is to die for drizzled all over juicy nectarines. The peanut butter is a bit sweet for my taste on its own, but when blended into this sauce, it’s really just divine.
Oh, and many of you asked about the Oreo Butter? I made a tiny container of it with four random oreos I found on my counter going soft in the summer heat. Apparently G had been fixing to eat them, but at least I wasn’t colluding by turning them into nut butter, so all is not lost.
I still can’t get over how these are accidentally vegan.
Blended it up with a bit of light cream cheese (NOW they’re not vegan) and some milk. Perfectly spreadable.
It is dastardly hot here, and I’ve been looking for some reprieve in the form of a large rain storm, but thus far, no such luck.
All this heat has really been encumbering my desires to go walking every day, much to my chagrin. But I suppose it will be fall soon enough.
Video of the day?
Love this song!! ‘The high road is hard to find’ but don’t give up!
Only Grimes can make it cool to dance with a burrito. I listen to this song whilst mowing the lawn and bop along in my huge headphones. Go ahead, emulate me if you like, you’ll get only the best looks from your neighbors who are jealous of your moves.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Apparently, I also can’t resist popping in for WIAW, Jenn really knows what she’s on about.
It’s just life.
Does anyone else think that cereal is much nicer when it’s all mixed together, such that you never know which sort is going to end up on your spoon?
That’s also life.
Life is also giant smoothies and cereals mashed into one. It’s no secret I love breakfast.
When life hands you phyllo dough and you’ve got no idea what to do with it- make it up!
Basically: phyllo, butter, cinnamon, sugar, wind up, bake, bingo.
A simple dessert with lovely shock value. In a nice way, naturally.
and the shock isn’t that I ate these for breakfast, because I didn’t. The shock (to me) was that I ate one at all.
Bowls of yum after AquaZumba. Yeah. I’m doing Aquazumba with my Mom.
If you’ve never tried to do zumba underwater, just give it a go. It’s harder than it sounds!
Life’s better coated in Cinnamon
and stacked in a pancakemountain.
Sunday, life brought me pancakes. But you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to hear about those
I had little of my Black Current Lindt Dark Chocolate bar left, so into the mug it went. Life likes to put a twist on things once in awhile. Plain dark chocolate just wasn’t in these recipe cards.
Life loves to let your hair grow so you can get it into a real live braid!
and apparently make you make the duck face.
In life, you hate your family, and love them, all at the same time.
My Father put his MP3 player on this chair and proceeded to cover it with papers.
My brother, E, sat down on the chair, causing my mother to reply hastily, ‘That’s not a chair it’s a-….table…’ as he sat.
I laughed. You won’t find it funny, but the tone in which she said it made me appreciate the small moments we have with those we love.
Life gives you a family who eat up peanut butter so you can have multiple jars.
Life Chobani gives you yogurt so you can make mug cakes!
Like a recipe, life is what you make it. I’m realising this, as I grow up. At 21, I can’t pretend to have experienced everything, but I don’t believe we ever can.
Not getting all sentimental on you now, of course.
When your life seems too dull, watch Skins and pretend you’re in it. . Anyone else into it/has seen it and wants to discuss? The British version, naturally.
Good Sunny Morning!
I honestly could not think of a title for this post. I have been sitting here for the past five minutes staring off into space, thinking of everything that is too corny or cheesy (why are those both having to do with food?) and altogether confusing.
So there you have it. Something literal. Because yesterday I was museuming again.
My wonderful body woke me up early again so that I could have time to putz around before I left. (<– not really, but I DID have time)
I decided it might be a good idea to make some jam since I had some rather squidgy plums taking up space on my shelf in the fridge.
I love plums for a few reasons.
1. They seem to always be the cheapest fruit here, so I’ve kind of been buying them exclusively. (and probably will lay off them once I get home for awhile haha)
2. They are the perfect mixture of tart and sweet.
Two minutes zapped in the microwave and BAM –> JAM!
It pairs well with yogurt cheese, and cinnamon on toast.
Toast in tummy, I set off to the bus stop wearing my vintage dress that I figured might be appropriate for where I was headed: The Imperial War Museum.
I got to the bus stop and, what do you know? There was another woman there wearing a vintage dress! I kind of looked around and made like, ‘no, we are not going to a convention’ and boarded the bus.
I took the bus through London, south of the River to Elephant and Castle. After winding my way through the meandering tunnels that burrow underneath the traffic circle there, I found myself leaving behind the dangerously complex traffic and walking towards the park in which the museum was located.
After walking around a bit and enjoying the sunshine, I found my friend and the two friends he had invited, and we went inside.
While my D and his friends perused the hall, I made for the loos (tmi?) since my bus ride had been long!
Taking pictures of yourself in the full length mirror is totally okay….right?
Obviously. Because I kept doing it.
We made our way upstairs and thank goodness for this sign:
Because I would have been more than happy to climb all over this old double decker!
Probably wouldn’t be safe….in my opinion, the best museums are the ones you can touch!
D did get a picture of me going into the body of a plane though. Sort of….I’m in motion!
This one was better.
After viewing all the tanks and aeroplanes and such, we made our way through the Holocaust Exhibit (I’m a bit of a WWII buff in this category) and down to the general War areas where there was a Trench Experience (which smelled like pee…) and a Blitz Experience (which made me want to build a bomb shelter in my back yard…)
Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong century? Which century would you choose?
I’m in love with all the wartime propaganda posters- the art really pops! The best ones were those for the victory gardens though!
The messages and graphics are cute and catchy.
and as a self identified cheapskate and food saver, I identify with these posters. Maybe I wasborn in the wrong time period….
There was one, however, that I couldn’t get behind.
For me, bread is something that has always meant fear. I don’t know what it is, but the staff of life strikes me dumb. I’m slowly working to overcome this, but I simply could not get behind a poster telling me to eat less of it
I had a look at this picture after I’d uploaded it and freaked out before I realised that those are D’s fingers, not mine.
Do any of you guys know this song? My Dad always sang it when I was a child to encourage good manners.
I even bought three post cards to put on my wall. I forgot to take pictures of them but they say:
-Eat your greens
-YOU deserve victory
-Start Fresh today
All are about victory gardens, except the YOU one, which has Winston Churchill on it. Fun Fact: Did you know that Winston Churchill and I share the middle name, Spencer?
Did you know that (I think) this building has been the Imperial War Museum since 1919?
We had a truly lovely day, and the humidity even stayed away so that I could enjoy a lovely breeze on my walk back to the bus.
I even managed to beat the heat until I got back to my heat box of a room with the window that only opens 2 inches
I baked some bread in our rubbish oven and had to flip the entire thing over to cook the insides as well because it doesn’t ever cook things all the way through. Gosh what I’d give to be home able to actually cook things. It is a bit gooey in the middle, but it came out alright.
I’m currently sitting in my room listening to Nickel Creek and reading about Nutritive and Non Nutritive Sweeteners. I’m setting off to the Wellcome Collection museum after lunch to look at some brains!
Hope today doesn’t get too hot!
Love, Hannah X
ps: Does anyone want to do a guest post for me while I’m in Morocco from June 7-14?
Let’s hear it for our starchy friends!! Yeah C6H12O6! (Someone with a science degree tell me if this is wrong, please. I’ll only be embarrassed that I can’t remember high school chem)
AND we should also hear it for Jenn, who is still putting this on.
Aha. Much better. Let’s get going. Obviously this isn’t what I ate in a day. It would be completely unbalanced to only eat quick bread, pastries, and pancakes in one day. So I didn’t do that. But I would like to pay homage to a few wheaty (and not so wheaty) friends who resided for a bit in my belly.
My friend S and I went to Chinatown to visit the chinese markets there. We popped into a bakery which immediately reminded me of Taiwan. The smells!! Of course, I had a bit of trouble deciding what to get, but since this was only £1, and quite traditional, I settled on the steamed cake:
It was the right choice as well, because it was just the right balance of light and sweet, for someone who hasn’t got a sweet tooth. Don’t be deceived, I didn’t eat the whole thing in one go. I’m working on it. (Mom, I know you’re reading this!)
Believe it or not, I’m actually getting a bit sick of this bowl? I’ve got a couple different ones at home that I rather cannot wait to get back to. What’s in the bowl, however, is timeless.
Lime pancakes, take one.
This recipe was perfectly moist. I know you all hate that word. But it was, okay?
Chickpea Flour Breakfast Bread
adapted from Dinners & Dreams
makes about 1.5 loaves (1 regular, 1 mini)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup chickpea flour
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 banana, mashed
2 cups mixed dried fruit (so essentially trail mix)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8X4 loaf pan and a mini one if you think you’ll run over, like I did. Or you can just use a square pan and make a cake!
Mix the butter, eggs, honey and vanilla until well combined.
Combine the chickpea flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Add them to the moist mixture. Mix again until fully combined.
Fold in the banana, and trail mix
Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is set and slightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool beforeunmolding.<– very important!
This was the bread that I kept one loaf and donated the other to St. Paul’s Occupy London- I hope they enjoyed!
I had a visit from an old friend:
Making my own nut butters is great, but it does not OIAJ make; I keep reusing my jars so I never buy new ones. Therefore the nut butter isn’t quite as stuck to the sides as it might be if it had been packed in there by an extrusion machine. Sorry to ruin your mental imagination of a nut butter packing plant.
Lime pancakes take two:
Let’s go pancake monday!
This time topped with coconut flour paste. and sided with lime yogurt, of course. I just squeeze the…well, I’ll just give you the recipe.
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
sweetener of choice
2 tbsp soy milk
juice of two limes
Mix. Put in pan. Eat.
Coconut flour paste: water/soy milk + 1 tbsp coconut flour
And they’re nice from all angles. They are a great way to start my monday and a TOTAL love after denying myself pancakes for such a long time. Next time my family has delicious pancakes, I can too.
Tonight, I went out with a couple friends to Karaoke in the JCR (Junior Common Room, for you non Brits). In respect for my New Year’s resolution (WHICH I”VE KEPT!!) to say “yes” to everything, I met them all downstairs at reception at half 7. I’ll get into this in another post, but I chose not to drink. I was unsure whether I’d have a great time, but ended up having a pretty alright evening. One of my friends and I sang “I want it that way” by the Backstreet Boys. I’m sure you all know it, but in case:
So I’ve been just completely not here. Funny, I seem to do this sort of post every time I drop out for a couple of days and come back with a slew of photos and such.
But here I am nevertheless.
I’ve had the thought of doing posts based on song titles when my itunes is put on random. This came up:
The entire song isn’t about being absent from the blog world, but the title seemed fitting.
“Where are you now?
I’m trying to get by with never knowing at all
What is the chance of finding you out there?
Or do I have to wait forever?”
Basically about where the heck is the person to love me?? Sometimes how I feel, so perhaps it is appropriate.
I’ve been distracted lately, you see. I’m trying to finish all my papers before I go home for Christmas because I just don’t want to have to create academic thoughts on something that seems less important than savouring the holidays with my family. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably plow through philosophy books while I’m home, but I’m not about to write essays on Gandhi or Daoism while I’m there.
I’ve also been distracted by music. Like, one of those nights when you try to listen to your entire music library on all of the music platforms you’re a member of nights? Yeah. Then you try to channel your emotions through the music and blast it full volume and lay on your back and sing and sing or whip around your room feeling everything just pouring out each of your limbs and reverberating through the stillness that surrounds your thrashing body. I’m not angry, I’m just FEELING.
Feeling amazed at recovery
Feeling strange feelings for a guy I probably shouldn’t like, which, after 6 years of an Eating Disorder and 3 at a Women’s College, is mighty foreign
Feeling excited to go home
Feeling like writing papers just isn’t a flow for my soul
Feeling like I just want to live life
So yeah. Music has been my best friend lately.
That and Microsoft word count. Or my enemy. Take your pick.
When all else fails, have some fiber:
or become obsessed with a new food:
But, as always, I love you all.
Cheers and back soon, Hannah
ps: I’m off to Harrod’s today with a friend (FRIEND!) which is going to be fun, I knew I just had to get over there before the holidays were over. Nothing like a little cheer
I know I said I wouldn’t post but I can’t help it. I’ve been so busy packing and running around getting new things and such that I thought I wouldn’t have time.
Guess I make time for stuff I love right?
(insert awesome button here. I can’t seem to get the formatting to work.)
Like WIAW linked up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons!
Gosh. What has even happened since I last posted? I managed to fit chia seeds, peanut flour and other various essentials into my suitcase which I consider a win. I’d have packed some nut butters too, but my mom was convinced the airport personal would thing they were harbouring bombs or something, so I will be totally content with buying them there.
We had to go to my school today to talk with my advisor because SOAS changed the courses online and I had to resubmit my form for acceleration. Heaven forbid I not get to graduate early!! Seriously, I think I’d cry. We set off at 8am for my college which is 2 hours away. And promptly got stuck in some horrendous traffic. It took us 1 hour to get as far as 15 or 20 minutes usually took us. I called my advisor and prayed she’d check her messages after getting out of class, so she wouldn’t think me rude.
Luckily she did and we had our meeting, albeit 45 minutes later than expected. This advisor is difficult. I’m pretty sure I’m socially odd sometimes and if she is as well, it is on the opposite side of the spectrum than I am (forbid my candid self deprecating humor, hah) and she never fails to rub me the wrong way. I’m sure I’ve told you all about her before. Needless to say, I made it through most of the meeting before she saw that I had written “Comparative Religion” as my major instead of “Religion.” She told me I “wasn’t reinventing the wheel” and that “***** college doesn’t offer that major” and made me change it. I told her I only wanted to make sure people knew I wasn’t studying to be a minister or something. I scribbled semi-angrily on the word “comparative” and sniffed as I blinked back the tears that always seem to leap into my eyes in her office. Not tears of anything but frustration at her stifling liberal arts attitude. Yes, a degree from this college opens so many doors, but honestly it’s so boxy. My major involves more than 15 words and lots of explaining.
On my whirlwind tour I managed to have this meeting, text my friend on my dead phone (how on earth?) and meet up with her for a short walk around campus which ended in one of our dining rooms where I grabbed a napkin full of sweet potato fries, cucumbers and pineapple** before walking out the door to meet my Mom who had gone to TJs while I was in my meeting. We both agreed it was better I didn’t go to save time, but also because I love TJs but don’t need anything now.
**if you think this sounds like a good combo, you’re wrong. It was horrid. But then again, I didn’t eat them together
Back in the car Mom and I ate lunch (wasa crackers and celery dipped in a PB jar I’d stuck in my lunch box. I keep it classy) and set out to Deals and Steals, a store I’ve mentioned countless times. If you’re new around here (WELCOME!!) D&S is a discount store in my little ol’ college town that runs both a clothing/shoe and a food/vitamins branch. I love this place, without explanation, and knew I had to drag my mom through here since our separation (mine and the stores, not mine and my mothers) would be painful (just kidding- they both will).
We went to the clothing/shoe one first to pick up some Smart Wool socks for my Dad (size 10, blue or black, no seams) and ended up buying me these boots.
Yay or Nay?
They’re warm, that’s for sure.
Then we went to the Food D&S. I resisted buying
everything lots of things and ended up coming away with some great loot!
Since I’d been in May, D&S has added a refrigerated section, much to my delight, and I found myself a new-to-me product: AmandeAlmond Milk yogurt. Ever since I could eat almonds again, I’ve been wanting to try this. They didn’t have my flavor of choice (plain!) but I tried blueberry.
I opened it and the first thing I noticed was the strange texture. You know how dairy yogurt will stick to your spoon? Yeah, this stuff doesn’t do it. It passed the taste test, for a flavoured yogurt, even had the little blueberries in it. It wasn’t an offensive color and didn’t smell funky.
Nutrition-wise, it isn’t the most steller performance out there; there isn’t any protein and it has 0% calcium, which are the two things I look for when I buy yogurt. As a snack pick me up or just for fun, this would be great, or even for someone who didn’t/can’t do dairy and got those nutrients elsewhere. But for me, I need a bit of those macros and minerals in mah foods. Thanks, but I think I’ll stick to my Chobani or Fage.
I also bought some Crazy Richard’s Crunchy Peanut Butter. I’ve seen this there and I’ve been wanting to try it. For a whopping 9g protein and tons of slightly burnt peanut chunks, I was sold. Not to mention the $1.99 price tag!
I went a bit crazy for this and the Maranatha Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter.
The Crazy Richard’s was delicious. Really thick and filled with little bits of chopped peanuts. No added sugar or salt (I’ll admit to adding a pinch of the latter). Perfect paired with any number of things. I tried it along with the Barbara’s Snickerdoodle Snackimals.
Where have these been all my life??? Seriously good. I bit off all the heads first. Some vegetarian I am
The Dk Chocolate pb is really good too. I’m going to love the coconut flavour I found the other night while shopping online at Sainsburys. WOO.
inhaling dipping some things into the nut butters we rushed off to get my hair snipped.
Other random eats from lately include the perennial favourite sweet eggs on wasa crackers.
I like them giant.
I had some off color tuna. Have any of you ever noted the difference between Chunk Light and Albacore tuna? Because this wasn’t our usual stuff. I didn’t eat this.
Gone is my hummus. Again. Sadness ensued.
More Kabocha. Naturally.
If I can’t find Kabocha in the UK I swear I’ll cry. I had to literally pocket my hands today while passing a farmers market selling organic Kabocha.
Our bonds are strong.
Did some stir fry action with jumbo salads.
More tofu smoothie bowls. If you haven’t tried this, don’t knock it. It will change your life…..if you like tofu
Okay, real recipe time. Only I usually don’t measure….I should.
1/2 block tofu
~ 1/4 cup non dairy milk
~1/8 tsp guar gum and xanthan gum
chop up fruits of your desire (I chose 1 plum and 1 apricot)
Pour blended mixture over fruit or reserve some and put in mix-ins. I mixed in maple syrup to one and peanut flour to the other. Lets be honest though. I love the taste of plain tofu and I’m weird.
More eggs wasa combo.
And that’s all I have folks.
I’m leaving in 4 days. Holy wow. Packing is so-so. Have you ever tried to fit your life into two suitcases? It’s hard, man!
ps: check out this giveaway!! http://abznoats.wordpress.com/wp-comments-post.php