Thursday

Cranberry and Almond Granola


I've been on this 1500 calorie a day thing for a few weeks now, and plan on keeping it up for a long time so I've been trying to find ways to manage my snacking - which really is the biggest problem area for me! Some of the stuff I've done is swapped out all milk chocolate for dark chocolate only (lucky I already love dark choc!), cutting out cakes and cookies that I don't know for a fact are totally worth the calories (you know what I mean? Only the great stuff!), and no sweet, flavoured or sugary drinks. 

Last night I decided to make some granola for my night time TV snacking (in our house it's Netflix and Snack) and I have to say I'm really pleased with this specific mix and baking times. The last time I made my own granola it was a bit too crunchy and I think I burnt some of the components. 

Without further ado, here's the recipe for my Cranberry and Almond Granola:

Yield: 3 cups granola

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil 
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 + 1/2 cup sliced almonds 
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries*
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the maple syrup, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt until thoroughly mixed 
  3. Add the rolled oats and sliced almonds and stir to coat everything in the maple mixture
  4. Spread the mix out on the prepared baking tray (I just used a standard cookie sheet) and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven at the 20 minute mark and toss the granola with a forked spatula to "turn" them in a way, and then put it back in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes*
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before adding the cranberries, use a fork or spatula to stir so that it mixes well. Then store in an airtight jar or container and it should keep for 2 weeks max 
*Notes:
  • You can use other dried berries of your own preference, I've also done this with chocolate chips and coconut flakes!
  • For step 4, if you feel after 20 minutes that it has toasted to your preferred crispiness, then stop there.

Wednesday

Raya and Renovation

Raya (Eid) is upon us, and Riz and I are looking forward to the week off. It's the last few days of Ramadan and we've got a lot of work to do to set up both our parents' houses for the Eid celebrations. Of course I'll be working in the kitchen most of Saturday to help mum make her famous Laksa Sarawak, that I'm excited to blog this year. However, this may be the first year in a long time that I don't bake anything in preparation for the first day of Eid, as with my recent back troubles (I had a slipped disc in January) I find it challenging to stay on my feet for so long.

If I do bake, it will be in a much smaller quantity and for family only. Which works as this year we're not doing an open house either as my parents chose to do a family only affair - which means we can kick back after the photos and laze about!

The week off also comes at a good time as Riz and I are about to embark on a major renovation process for our new place! It's a bit of a fixer-upper and we're both really excited (maybe me a bit more than him hehe) to see it all come together. I plan on blogging the progress as it goes along, and thinking of doing it on here as this really is more of a personal blog more than anything these days. I'll still do recipes when I try out new stuff, but I really want to catalog the progress on our home somewhere! Or should I start a separate blog for that? Hmmmmm does anyone care? lol Do people still read blogs anymore??

I have a quickie recipe coming up before Eid for my favourite home made granola. I'll be making a batch tonight for my mother-in-law and will write it up tomorrow!

Lots of love,
Nabs

Friday

Blood Orange Poppyseed Loaf


I'm gonna enjoy the blood orange season for as long as it's here (which is not long, considering I live in Malaysia and we get it imported from the States - so it's really touch and go) so I hope you guys really don't mind that I'm posting yet another orange based recipe. I mean, come on, these things are bloody gorgeous! 

So what are blood oranges? As my mum and various aunts have asked (we really don't see them around these parts), I feel we could all use a trip to Wikipedia (one of my top 5 favourite places in the world):
The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange, which is itself a hybrid, probably between the pomelo and the tangerine,[4]Within Europe, the arancia rossa di Sicilia (red orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status.[5] In the Land of Valencia, it was introduced in the second half of the 19th century.[6]

Also, it's not ALL aesthetics: 
Blood oranges have a unique flavor profile compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.
Ah, the reason we don't see it around these equatorial parts:
Blood oranges may have originated in either China or the southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are now the primary orange grown in Italy. The anthocyanins which give the orange its distinct maroon color will only develop when temperatures are low at night, as during the Mediterranean fall and winter.[3] Blood oranges cultivated in the United States are in season from December to March (Texas), and from November to May (California).
Interesting.... well, maybe not to you, but I now have 7 other tabs open linked from that one Blood Orange wiki page. It's a slippery slope... could easily spend hours going down this wikipedia rabbit hole.

Okay, now that I have wasted enough of your (and my) time, here's the recipe for my new favourite thing. Also, let's be honest ... 


... you can totally do these with normal oranges. I have, and I will - when the season ends. But for now... let's just enjoy the colours. 

Blood Orange Poppyseed Loaf
Slightly adapted from The Whole Bite blog
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • 2 tsp blood orange zest
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a loaf tin by greasing and lining with non stick paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, orange zest and sugar until combined, then add the eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil and beat well
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and fold until all the dry ingredients are just wet, and stir in the poppy seeds
  4. Pour the batter into the tin, top with thinly sliced oranges (optional) and bake for 50 - 55 minutes
  5. When done, remove from the oven and prepare the orange glaze (whisk the orange juice and confectioner's sugar together to form a paste), pour this over the warm cake and let it sink in
That's it, hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Give the recipe a go this weekend, it really doesn't require a lot of hands on time and it's always nice to have something a bit extra for tea time. Lots of love,
x Nabs

Tuesday

Peanut Butter Brownies


Two weekends in a row of baking and I have to say I feel really charged! I also watched Moana, caught up to Riverdale and fit in an early morning walk with my dad. All in all, I'd say I had a pretty amazing weekend. Work is pretty full on, but relatively OK compared to some busier periods we've had in the past two years.

Anyway, funny thing is... I started baking again when I definitely need to cut back and get fit again. I kind of let myself go in the past two years, and am paying for it with my slipped disc. So maybe I should feature some healthy, clean eating type recipes on here, huh? We'll see... it's good enough I'm getting round to doing this. I always told myself it's all about self discipline - the health, managing my work, etc - but it's really a lot easier to say than do.

Anyway, here's a really quick recipe that will give you a BIG payoff even if you only allow yourself half a bite.


Peanut Butter Brownies
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C, and line an 8x8 inch baking tin
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, then remove from the heat and beat in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and fold until just combined. Pour the batter in the tin, then drop the peanut butter evenly across the surface. Swirl the peanut butter around with a butter knife, then bake for 60 minutes