Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Here on my side of the dateline Christmas Day is drawing to a starry end.
There were roast potatoes eaten, carols sung, too many scorched almonds to count were ingested and paper and bows litter the floor beneath my Christmas tree.
Every year though, the most important gifts of this day are not those that I unwrap on the morning of the 25th of December. The greatest presents are those that I entrust to the corners of my heart and the dusty files of my memory, saving them up for every moment in the years to come when I feel a little low, or when I need reminding of what the real reason is for the madness of everyday life.
On a lonely day I reach into the chambers of my heart and draw out a slightly bent house shaped package. As I peel off the brown paper, I see my house and inside my family are waving. I know that when I get home there will be a hug to warm me again, and a strong shoulder to lay my head upon to take away the weariness of the day.
There are days when I need to take a gift out of my memory, just a little something to make me smile, and I dust off a furry, wiggling parcel and unwrap the memory of Molly sitting on my uncle's lap bathing his face with kisses while we all laughed at her intensity.
I am a lucky woman, not only at this time of year, but through all my days. I stockpile the gifts of the time that I am fortunate enough to share with those I love, and I am never without the gift of someone's presence.

To all my friends and family who are ending their Christmas Day as I am, and all my friends and family (including my blogging family) who are just starting their December 25th; I am making a wish for you all.
May this day, and the year that follows be full of gifts everyday; may there be warm arms and wagging tails to greet you, may you find something to love everyday, take time to find peace in your life and hope in your heart, keep a smile close and handy and share it with everyone you meet and may the joy of the season follow you the whole year long.
Merry Christmas everyone, stay safe, and lots of love from my heart and home to yours,

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Very Special Birthday

The 16th of December marks a very special occasion for our family every year - my Dad's birthday!
This past Friday Dad celebrated another fantastic year on this earth with a trip to Melbourne with Mum to attend another family friend's birthday party.
Dad and Mum - just a couple of years ago...
I wanted to take an opportunity to wish my Dad a happy (somewhat belated) birthday right here on the blog.
Dad, you have given so much to Jess and myself, we are truly lucky to have you as our father, our friend, and our live-in mechanic/handyman/washing maid.
See, maturity, it runs in the family...
Even though I am no longer a little girl, I still count myself as Daddy's little girl. You have taught me so much in my life so far, and I know there are many lessons for me to learn still. You are the reason I can make shortbread off by heart, the best bear-hug giver I have ever met, the biggest kid at Christmas time, a great partner in crime when it comes to teasing Mum (lovingly as always) and the genetics responsible for making me unable to say no to 'just one more chocolate'.

Here's to many more years of Sunday afternoons scones, watching car racing on TV, landscaping projects, Christmas light competitions, pancake breakfasts and laughing at Mr. Bean.
I love you Dada. Happy birthday.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Lighting of a Fire

'Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.'
William Butler Yeats

On Monday of this week we celebrated yet another wonderful occasion, my little sister graduated from her university degree!
Doesn't she look super smart in her cap and gown? Born to wear it I say.
After four years of hard work, late nights, and more cups of tea than I can count, Jess achieved her Bachelor of Urban Development in Urban and Regional Planning. For the rest of us that means that she is a town planner, working to make our cities better in the future and consulting with communities to understand what it is they need most from their towns.
I am insanely proud of her.
Congratulations Jess. After all of your hard work you truly deserve to be recognised for all that you have achieved so far. You inspire me every single day.
Jess's group of graduates, and two of their proud teachers.
In our family, education is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself and the world. I am not talking about just university degrees or academic accolades; we value life education, the thirst for learning about the world that comes from really living every second of our lives, the skills that we learn from those who walk the road before us; in fostering the natural curiosity that lies within us all.
There is no end to what we can learn, no limit or bounds to the human mind. Education, learning, wisdom, all of these are the keys to so many doors. There is no lock strong enough to keep out an open mind.

Jess and Rachel, who reads this blog. Hi Rachel!
Growing up Jess and I were surrounded by books. Our parents talked to us about the news, about ideas that were larger than just our lives, about dreams and hopes and the history of our own family. 
Mum and Dad lit a fire, nurtured the two young curious minds that had been entrusted to them.
There were no rules about what girls 'should' learn. Jess can wield a drop saw to help Dad renovate the house just as well as she can frost a cupcake. I can hammer a nail as surely as I can sew a button on a shirt.
We learnt from a young age that hunger is good. 
Hunger that leads to devouring books late into the night, filling pages with stories and poetry.
Hunger that fills your soul with a yearning to observe, to create, to question, to listen, to seek minds greater than your own, to never close the door on an opportunity to learn more about the world and it's people and their ideas.

Two more curious minds. Or just curious people really.
Our parents showed us that you never know who has something to teach you. Your greatest teachers in life may not have an education degree, or work in a classroom, or have even finished school. They will not have succeeded in every venture they have tried. They might be years older than you, from a generation so removed from yours that it would be easy to dismiss them as old fashioned or out of touch. Your teachers might be younger than you; wisdom from the mouths of babes.
Trent and Jess.
The most important thing is that we keep an open mind.
Learn every single day. Discoveries will not always be grand or life-changing or even immediately recognisable.
Just remember to stay curious. Nurture the minds around you, young, old and in between.
Read, watch, listen, write, be in the world every day.
All those around you have walked different roads. They all have something to teach us.
If only we take time to learn.
Take time to light the fire and keep it burning.

'I am still learning.'

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Christmas List

Whenever I manage to sit down and start a day with one of these:
One caffe americano, thank you very much!
I know that whatever comes will be worth it.
Today Jess, Trent and I headed out to brave the crowds and finish off our Christmas shopping. Along the way we came across this pretty face:
Jess with Trent's little sister Maddie
It was great to stop for a moment and talk to Maddie while she was on her lunch break.
After our short rest we headed back out into the crowds; Jess was determined to get through as much as we could so that we could spend the rest of the holiday weekends baking!
Soon I was the only person left on Jess's Christmas list, poor little sister I am the hardest person to buy for.
For me, the things I value most from people are not available in the stores even at this time of year when it seems you can buy anything if you have saved your pennies for long enough.
I know it sounds trite, but the greatest gift to me is time.
Don't send me jewels, or clothes, or expensive cosmetics that I don't know how to use.
What I really want are your Saturday mornings at the markets where we can sip coffee and talk about slow things as we wake to our weekend, I long for our Sunday walks on the beach watching the waves roll in as dawn breaks, I crave Friday night sing-a-longs to our old favourites as we make dinner in bare feet, and those cups of tea on rainy afternoons where we talk about the shiny secret places in our souls.
The moments our hearts and souls touch are the most valuable presents to me. I collect them in a place deep inside, they are my anchor in stormy times, the mirror that reflects how beautiful this life can be, they are my investment in my past, and a hope for the future.
These are the Christmas gifts I wish for.
What is on your Christmas list this year? What do you wish for that can't be wrapped with pretty red bows?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Silver Bells, Silver Bells, It's Christmas Time in the City

One of my fondest memories of Christmas time is going to visit the city to see the tree, and the lights and all the store windows that had been decorated for the season.

Every year Mum and Dad would pack Jessica and I into the car and we would drive into the city, usually after dinner. Our special treat was always a Hungry Jacks (Burger King for my US friends) soft serve ice cream cone.  After all the gorgeous hand churned, locally produced, organic and artisan ice cream I have eaten, one bite of one of these can still take me back to those nights with my family. In fact, whenever I am in the city at Christmas time there is some kind of special magic. somehow I shrink back down to a little girl in a red and white dress, white sandals strapped to my feet and ribbon in my hair.
Trent and Jess
The cobblestones of the pedestrian mall still feel the same beneath the soles of my shoes as I wander up to Myer to see what the window dressers have chosen to display this year, what story they have decided will be animated with puppets, which music will be quietly piping its way into the crowds gathered around the glass. As our ice creams melted a little we would grip Mum and Dad's hands tightly and make our way over to King George Square to see the Christmas tree. Seemingly miles high from an 8 year old's view point it gleamed with huge baubles, and white strings of light, and always perched on top was a beautiful Christmas star.
Papa Bear and Mama Bear
This year, I wanted to recapture the magic. I set a date with my family to have dinner and wander in the city like we did all those years ago. Of course, this year we were five rather than four because Trent is part of our big crazy circus too!
Not little girls anymore
Although the windows were not as good as they once were, the tree was still beautiful and the night was just as magical as I remember. After a wonderful dinner at Vapiano we marvelled at the tree, checked out some of the stores (and did some Christmas shopping for the little Chickpea) and had some quality people watching time. 
Gluten free gnocchi pomodoro with parmigiano - delicious!
 Although we didn't get to have our soft serve ice cream cones, Mum and I shared our favourite (lemon sorbet) while we browsed a book store. 
Now I am sitting at home beside my own beautiful tree, an indulgence I allow myself every night leading up to Christmas when everyone else has gone to bed.

There is something in the glow of the lights that sends time away, shifts me into that special place where I can reflect on all that I have learnt over the past year, all that has changed and grown inside since those lights last shone into the night.

I think that is a tale for another night though. Tonight I am going to sleep with the same peace as my 8 year old self, the same excitement for the magic of Christmas, and the grown up knowledge that the real magic is the wonder of family, the miracle of friends, and the myriad blessings in my life every day of the year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Appetizer: Bite-size Pastry Scrolls

As a self-confessed desserts junkie I sometimes struggle when it comes to thinking up appetizers that can be prepared quickly. On Sunday I was down to the wire with time and I realised that I didn't have quite the right amount of savoury to balance out our sweet buffet. As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention and so with some extra ready-rolled pastry in my freezer for inspiration, and an hour until guests started arriving, the bite-size pastry scrolls were born!
What follows is not really a recipe per say but rather a guide as to how I put them together. I did not think at the time to take progress photos so these will have to follow in a future post.

Pumpkin Feta Pastry Scrolls

1 medium butternut pumpkin (squash)
50 grams feta
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 (24cm x 24cm) sheet ready rolled puff pastry


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray. Slice a 1 inch thick round off the end of the pumpkin and store the rest covered in refrigerator for future use.
  2. Peel this round and thinly slice it into strips. Cook in a microwave safe container for about 2 minutes or until tender. Separate strips and lay on paper towels to cool and drain.
  3. Lay sheet of ready rolled puff pastry on a piece of baking paper and crumble feta evenly across the surface. Sprinkle with dried oregano.
  4. Lay strips of pumpkin across the pastry.
  5. Starting with the side closest to you begin to roll the pastry up like you would a map without incorporating the baking paper in the roll.
  6. Once you have a pastry cylinder, wrap it in the baking paper and place in the freezer for about ten minutes, this will make it much easier to slice.
  7. Using a serrated edge knife cut the scroll into 1.5cm widths. Use a delicate touch to avoid bending the rounds too much out of shape.
  8. Place on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.
  9. These are great served warm or at room temperature.

And now for version two!

Capsicum and Spinach Pastry Scrolls

1 sheet (24cm x 24cm) ready rolled puff pastry
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 red capsicum
Handful of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with paper.
  2. Thinly slice red capsicum into strips.
  3. Lay the pastry sheet onto some baking paper and spread with the tomato paste. Sprinkle with the dried oregano and then the baby spinach leaves.
  4. Layer capsicum strips across spinach and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  5. Starting with the side closest to you begin to roll the pastry up like you would a map without incorporating the baking paper in the roll.
  6. Once you have a pastry cylinder, wrap it in the baking paper and place in the freezer for about ten minutes, this will make it much easier to slice.
  7. Using a serrated edge knife cut the scroll into 1.5cm widths. Use a delicate touch to avoid bending the rounds too much out of shape.
  8. Place on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.
  9. These are great served warm or at room temperature.

I hope these recipes come in handy for any holiday season celebrations that you may be hosting this year. I am very excited today because we are finally putting up our Christmas tree.
Of all the holiday activities this one signals the real beginning of the season for me. We have the perfect evening, gloomy and raining, and I think I will bake some ginger biscuits to fuel us through the sorting of the lights and baubles, the garlands and the trinkets. Christmas has begun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Healthy Level of Insanity

Today's post is sponsored by my Mum. 
She was cleaning up after our big celebration on the weekend and putting all of her things back in place and found a little bit of emailed humour. Since 'tis the season to be jolly, we thought we would share.

15 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity
  1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
  2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
  3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
  4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "in".
  5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
  6. Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy".
  7. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
  8. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
  9. Specify that your drive through order is "To Go"
  10. Sing along at the opera.
  11. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
  12. Five days in advance, tell your friends that you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
  13. When the money comes out at the ATM, scream 'I won! I won!'.
  14. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the car park, yelling "run for your lives, they're loose!"
  15. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
And if all else fails, just take a look at this one.

Sometimes, I don't think they have any idea how they got me.
Poor things.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Most Important Ingredient

Please forgive my week long silence. Do not take it as a prelude to total abandonment.
You see, preparation for great celebration has been the goal of the past seven days.
Over this past week I have been involved in the use of 3 kilograms of butter, 6 kilograms of sugar, countless packets of flour, numerous bars of chocolate, hen houses full of eggs, bricks of cream cheese and fields of little tiny flowers made of sugar paste.
Thanks to a little magic, a tireless dishwasher and consistent oven, Martha Stewart's sagely wisdom, and free refrigerator space in the kitchens of kindly neighbours all these ingredients came together to form a heavenly morning tea for my little sister's bridal shower!

We had chosen a 'Kitchen Tea' theme and as her Maid of Honour, I was more than excited to take the lead in organising the baked goods for the day.
Mum was chief decorator, and she did such a beautiful job of looping bunting up over bookshelves, hanging paper lanterns, arranging all the tablecloths, napkins and assorted things that always slip my mind.
Casey (also a bridesmaid) brought over delicious salted caramel macarons and raspberry macarons and Sam (Jess's best friend and the third member of our bridesmaid trio) flew up especially from her new home in Victoria, especially for the day!
Over thirty of our closest female family and friends showed up to shower our beautiful bride to be with kitchen related gifts, play games (including the toilet paper wedding dress game - I definitely recommend this one!), share countless pots of tea and laughter, and indulge in a little (well, maybe more than a little) bite or two of a yummy treat.

In my family celebrations of this sort call for generous amounts of food.
Thus we confront guests with scenes such as this.

Plates of mini quiches, potato and capsicum frittata, a cheeseboard, fresh fruit and bite size pastry scrolls.
Perfect for Christmas appetizers, recipe to come.
Of course, the most important part of any gathering in our cottage requires copious sweets!

Chocolate cake (which you might remember from this post), a gluten free orange and yoghurt cake, cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, Jessica's baked vanilla cheesecake, Mum's famous scones and a gluten free variation made up the sugar containing quota of food.

The most important ingredient in any gathering though, is always love.
Friends who are like family and travel long ways just to be here for special occasions.

Family whom we love enough to know that we are also friends.

Sunday marked another celebration on the way to my little sister becoming a wife and starting a whole new stage of her life. I am so glad that we could take the time to gather with our female friends and give her the most important ingredient in starting her new life; love.
Love is always the most important ingredient.
May your cupboards never be bare.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Have Been Changed For Good

'Who can say if I've been changed for the better
I do believe I have been changed for the better
And because I knew you
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good'
("For Good" - Wicked the Musical)

Some people come into our lives for a moment, passing flitting in and out and leaving barely a brush mark on our soul.
Some people come into our lives forever, shaping the long distance course of our years, our decades, our ever afters.
There are others, who lie between a moment and forever. They come into our lives for a season or two. They signal the end of winter, the growth of spring, the lazy glowing days of summer, the golden remembrance of things passed in the autumn.
They pass out of our lives, leaving memories, acting as turning points; forks in the road.
They have much to teach us if we only listen. If we are open.
If we share our experience and grow together.
These people of the seasons often sow the seeds of change for us to nurture when they leave and harvest down the road in our lives.
There is sadness when these people leave us. They do not pass as silently as the seasons.
Our lives will have gaps in their shape.
Our hearts will be cracked, often broken, needing time to heal.
When we are feeling lost, after our paths have peeled away from those who loved us for a season, we must first take a moment.
Take a moment to let your heart cry, let it shatter into a million bright and brilliant pieces.
Take a moment at the crossroads.
However, do not stay here for too long. Look at all the beautiful things that this person has left you with.
Remember the happiness, the love, the wonder that you shared.
Those things do not die when someone leaves our side. They live inside us as the fertile ground on which to begin a new life.
We are stronger because of what we shared. Our lives are richer because of the beauty they brought us.

I know that my life will seem a little hollow for a while now that you are gone. I know that I need to rebuild a future for myself.
But I must thank you first. Thank you for the love. Thank you for all the smiles.
I do believe I have been changed for the better.
Because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Making your own luck: my best recipe ever

Firstly, I must apologise for the somewhat dour mood of my last post, and then, secondly I must thank everyone for their support whenever I reveal that I am having a hard time with something.
Although we do not celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I am truly thankful for all the friends that this little blog has brought me.

Yesterday, while walking to my car from work I stooped to pick a coin off the ground; being a firm believer in the old adage 'See a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck'. 

This was of course, before I realised that the coin was set into the concrete.
It stirred my mind though, and got me thinking about how it is so important that we make our own luck in this world. Although certain events in my life have me believing firmly that the hands of destiny and fate like to take  charge of the mixing bowl and spoon occasionally, I am even more certain that I am the mistress of my own recipe, heavy on the luck.
Luck is not a pre-made preparation that you can purchase off the shelf. There is one way to procure this precious substance: make it yourself.
You need:
  •  a good amount of self belief, 
  • a lot of love from others and for others,
  • an adventurous spirit,
  •  some readiness to take on the world and what it has to offer, 
  • a little bit of a bruised positive attitude (this makes the luck a little more dense and not so fluffy and gives excellent flavour)
  • Gratitude when the luck rises and comes out perfectly
  • Gratitude that you got to take the ride anyway, even when the luck isn't so perfect
I would like to end here by saying that even though your luck might not always come out like it looks in the recipe book, there is a chocolate lining to every crummy pastry sheet. Do not give up on yourself. Do not give up on life. 
The only real luck is that which you carry in your spirit. 
And that can never be broken.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today I am not okay, and that is okay

Some years ago I found myself in a dark place. I was lost, I had wandered off the path and had no idea which way to turn to find my way back.
I had no map, my compass was shattered and worst of all, I did not call for help.
My voice was muted, a pitchy broken croak.
I did not want to ask for help. In my mind it was not okay to be not okay.
So I stood in the woods alone with the clouds of my own making, my own mind, gathering overhead.
I waited, I wallowed, I laid down in the dark and cried frozen tears.
I let someone else rescue me, let others decipher that I was not okay.
I was passive in my recovery for a long time.
My own steps towards the sun came later, when I grew stronger.
I learned to avoid the darkness, to light my own torch when midnight threatened.
Eventually I knew the truth, that the light came from inside me. I was my own torch.
I was the candle. I was the bushel. Some days I was both.
I controlled how brightly I shone on the world.
Most importantly I discovered how to be authentic to myself. 
What to do on days when I was not okay.
That it was okay to ask for help.
That it is okay to be not okay.
So today, when I am blind sided by something in my life, when rain is threatening and my torch flickers in the wind I don't abandon myself like I did in the woods that day.
I look for the stars through the clouds. I hold that torch in the lee of the wind and protect it with all my heart.
I call for help.
Because today I am not okay, and that is okay.
Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maple and Walnut Layer Cake - and Puppy Love

In my humble opinion there is nothing better in this world than some puppy love.

Especially when that puppy love means my Molly is able to jump up on the couch (even though she isn't technically "allowed" up there) all by herself, despite her three-leggedness.
Oh I know, she just hates it!

Something that might come close to the beauty of Molly kisses is this Maple and Walnut layer cake, adapted from 'The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days' by Tarek Malouf and the Hummingbird Bakers.
Life in all its glorious, messy, hurtful, exciting cycle sometimes requires that one make layer cake to just celebrate the luck that we have in being here. Today was one of those days, and thus this cake was brought forth into the world.

Maple and Walnut Layer Cake(s)
Adapted from 'The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days' by Tarek Malouf
Makes one three layer cake

120 grams butter
400 grams raw caster sugar (you can use white if this is what is available)
360 grams plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
350mL milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 eggs
100g walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and wipe the inside of three 8 inch cake tins with butter and line the bottoms with baking paper.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer place the butter, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and mix on low speed until the combined mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. Place milk, maple syrup and eggs in a small bowl and combine. Then with mixer on low speed add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until well combined.
  4. Add walnuts and stir in by hand.
  5. Divide between the tins and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed on top.
  6. Let them cool in the tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then take cakes from tins to cool completely.
  7. When cakes are room temperature sandwich together with the amazing frosting recipe below!

Maple Frosting

200 grams butter
750 grams icing sugar
50mL milk
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
Finely chopped walnuts to decorate


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine icing sugar and butter until they resemble fine sand.
  2. In a separate jug lightly mix maple syrup and milk. Add this liquid to the icing sugar preparation and then beat frosting until light and fluffy.
  3. Lick the beaters, seriously, before you even think about putting any on the cake.
  4. Frost cake and then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Lick the frosting bowl. Yes, you may enter sugar coma but it is worth it.

My workmates will adore a two layer cake so I made these little mini cakes for Mum and Dad to enjoy for dessert!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I've Been Keeping a Secret

I can be secretive sometimes.
Greedy sometimes.
I like to hoard secrets occasionally and wait for exactly the right time to revel in their lip-smackingly delicious delivery.
Note: I also do this sometimes with the last piece of chocolate cake.
So, here it is. The secret that I have been keeping for the past two weeks (unfortunately there isn't any buttercream involved).
After a two year break, and swearing that I would probably never go back to school after 18 years of formal education; I, Amy, being of (questionably) sound mind and (for the most part) sound body, am going back to university! (again...)
Next year in February I will once again return to the hallowed halls of my alma mater (in reality a sprawling modern campus with an 'urban village' centre) and crack open the books (or laptop as it were) in an attempt to utilise my grey matter.
I will be completing a post graduate course in professional communication, focusing mainly on writing and editing.

I want to take the body of knowledge I have from my background in health, my innate sense curiosity for the world, and my enjoyment of learning and use that to tell the world about things. To bring knowledge, and information, and entertainment to people by writing.
I want to give voice to the parts of my soul that sing of how extraordinary this world is. I want to investigate the corners of my mind that create characters who follow me around begging for their stories to be written.
I want to use the written word to enchant, amaze, comfort, empower, soothe, and inspire others.
I want to be a writer.

Now you know my secret...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hold You in My Heart

Sometimes in life there is a rogue Joker in the cards we are dealt.
You never see it coming until the dealer flips over the edge and the picture comes into view.
It happens to everyone, in one way or another.
When you are lost in this void, chilled to the bone, do not fear, do not feel alone.
Here down in the deep, the deep that we all know too well there is hope, there is light.
There is life.
Take a hold of the hands that come to help you up when you have fallen here.
Relax into the arms and hearts of those that rush to embrace you.
Open your eyes to the light cast by the lamps of those that lead the way.
When you emerge from the dark, and you are blinking in the sunlight of a new day; please remember all of those who walked every difficult step with you during those starless nights.
Hold them in your heart, as they held you safe in theirs.
Keep your hands free to offer whenever they might fall.
Embrace them when they need strong shoulders.
Shine a light to guide them home.
I am so thankful for the hearts that hold me. I know that I never walk alone.
I hold you all in my heart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cupcakes for Friday

I spent some quality time in the kitchen tonight with Jess making sweet treats for a friend's little boy's birthday party.
Since we had some batter left over from mini cupcakes (pictures tomorrow) I baked and iced the extras to celebrate the end of another great week.

Lovely gathering dust

This derelict building is one I pass everyday I pick up my sister from university. Although now it is only a lonely facade and falling apart at the seams I love to imagine what I would do if I was able to buy the property and breathe new life into it. In my fantasy it becomes a bookstore cafe with an apartment for me to live in above the store. That way I could run around the city everyday and refuel on sugary goodness while wallowing in some literature. Well at least I can dream.
Lesson: Remember to see the potential in even the most broken places, have a little faith.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Spelt Flour Muffins

So you might have noticed that I do a little bit of baking...okay, okay, a lot of baking. I have to tell you that actually don't eat most of what I post on here as my stomach doesn't make friends with wheat very well.
Luckily nowadays there are so many options and I have founds spelt flour works incredibly well in most recipes that use wheat flour (please note: spelt is not gluten free, just wheat free).
After seeing so many delicious pumpkin recipes circling around the internet lately I knew that I had to have some of that gorgeous gourd in my baked goods.
Therefore I took a recent recipe that had peaked my interest and baked it with spelt, and made a few other little chickpea twists as well.
Please enjoy.

Spelt Flour Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Adapted from Skinny Taste.
Makes 13 medium size muffins and 1 little muffin for a friendly canine.

1 1/2 cups butternut pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 golden caster sugar
1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease 13 cups of a medium size muffin tin
  2. In a large mixing bowl place the pumpkin purée, olive oil, egg whites and vanilla, and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently, try not to over mix. 
  5. Spoon into greased muffin tin and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 12 - 15 minutes or until the tops bounce back when lightly pressed.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

These muffins are delicious when they are warm out of the oven spread with a little bit of jam, or plain. 
I need jam in my life though.
I also froze these tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and they defrost very well in the microwave.

I had a little extra batter left over - just the right size for a Molly treat (sans pumpkin seeds of course).
Oh yes, life is tough round here for a dog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Unexpected Places

Beauty is everywhere.

A carpet of gold in the car park of my office building.

Remember to look around, you never know what beauty is lying right at your feet.