Double Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Yes, yes I know I’ve rattled on about next month’s Happiness Project Goal being Health…but I felt like making ice cream! Plus, it’s not March yet!

This is a recipe I’ve used before with much success. I used the basic chocolate ice cream recipe from the booklet that came with my ice  cream machine and then added bits of homemade chic chip cookie dough. If you haven’t tried the world’s best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe yet…why not!? You can find it here.

home made ice cream recipe

Double Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Place the cocoa and both sugars in a medium bowl and stir to combine
  2. Add the milk
  3. Mix on low speed (or whisk) to combine until cocoa and sugars are dissolved
  4. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla
  5. Pour into ice cream machine and follow manufacturers instructions
  6. Add small rolled balls of chocolate chip cookie dough to mixture 5 minutes before it is done
  7. Transfer to freezer safe container and freeze

This recipe is so yummy! Enjoy!

Eleanor x

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Happiness Project: February Tools (& free printable)

In my previous post here I spoke about my Happiness Project goal for this month. Productivity. I have been doing my best this month to stop procrastinating once and for all and be as productive as possible with my work and day-to-day tasks.

One thing that I mentioned in my previous post was that I have been writing down a list of tasks each morning. Most people would see this as a “to-do list”, but I have somewhat of a problem with that terminology. The “to-do” part of our every day to-do list holds with it connotations of arduous, mundane tasks or chores. I got tired of seeing my day and the things I had to complete in this light. So instead I have started to think about my tasks as Things to Achieve.

New to do list

Print it out for yourself!

It’s all about attitude. If you shift your view of your daily tasks you will begin to see them as small achievements towards a greater goal. And when I say greater goal, I’m not thinking of world peace or anything like that. You might have “go grocery shopping” on your to-do list, which is seemingly boring and mundane if you think of it as a chore. But try viewing it as something you are going to achieve, with the greater goal in mind being to eat healthily, save money on take-out, whatever.

I’ve found that this very simple shift in attitude has helped to motivate me to complete my every day tasks, because they are all working towards something. I also like to look back on my list of Things to Achieve at the end of the day to review my progress. It gives me a sense of achievement to see what tasks I completed each day, as well as providing a challenge for the next day with those tasks that I may not have achieved throughout the day.

It’s all about attitude.

Click the link for a copy of the template for a list of Things to AchieveYou can find out more about the tools I use for my Happiness Project here.

Good luck!

Eleanor x

Savoury Pancakes

So, apparently yesterday was Shrove (or Pancake) Tuesday. And according to Wikipedia, that has something to do with Lent, Easter and fasting. All I heard was pancakes. Mmm pancakes! I had actually been planning on making these savoury pancakes for dinner sometime this week since my boyfriend ever so subtly brought all the ingredients home one day. So, rather than making them for dinner on a Wednesday or even (heaven forbid!) a Thursday, I thought I would make them on Pancake Tuesday!

This is a recipe of my mum’s (like most of my recipes) and I remember looking at her like she was bat-shit crazy when I was fourteen and asked what was for dinner and she replied with, “Savoury Pancakes!”. Seriously, mum? Gross.

How surprised I was upon tasting these pancakes, with chicken and bacon in them, to discover that they were delicious! (I had thought she was making normal sweet pancakes and putting meat and cheese into it! Mamma you crazy!)

This recipe makes about 7 medium pancakes so only serves about 2 well, it is best to double for any more people.

savoury pancake recipe

Savoury Pancakes with Chicken, Bacon, Cheese & Spring Onions

Savoury Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ – 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup chopped, cooked bacon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • A good grinding of pepper
  • ½ – 1 cup cheese, grated
  • ½ – 1 cup chicken, chopped (optional)
  • Oil for greasing pan

 Method:

  1. Sift the flour and salt together
  2. Mix the beaten egg and milk together and pour over the flour mixture, folding through gently with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon (the mixture will still be lumpy)
  3. Add bacon, spring onions, sauce, pepper, cheese and chicken and fold in lightly
  4. Heat a large heavy frying pan or griddle iron and grease the surface lightly
  5. Place the mixture on in spoonfuls, and cook on both sides
  6. Lift onto a cloth-covered cake cooler
  7. Serve with butter on top

Enjoy! And thank you to ediblesubstance for inspiring me to write a Pancake Tuesday post!

Eleanor x

Caramel Ice Cream with Choc-Macadamia Bits & Chocolate Sauce

I had promised to make the girls at my dance studio a batch of my home made ice cream for a few weeks now and thought (on my day off) it was high time to come through with the goods! It also just so happens to be one of my dance teacher’s birthday today, too. Perfect!

I wanted to try something a bit different to my usual go-to seriously rich chocolate with mix-ins ice cream. So I hunted around a bit for some ice cream recipes and finally found this Caramel Ice Cream recipe that looked quite nice. But, I couldn’t really fathom making plain ice cream, so I thought I’d make it a bit more interesting by adding in some chopped chocolate and macadamias as well as some yummy Haigh’s Chocolate Sauce (my Valentine’s gift).

caramel choc macadamia ice cream recipe

leftover ice cream in a teacup!

Caramel Ice Cream 

Ingredients:

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 350mL full cream milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 300mL thick cream
  • 1 block macadamia chocolate
  • Chocolate sauce

Method:

  1. Lightly whisk egg yolks in a bowl
  2. Gently heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and pour over the eggs
  3. Stir well to combine, then set aside
  4. Place sugar and 2 tablespoons of cold water in a saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve sugar
  5. Increase heat to medium and cook until mixture begins to turn a rich golden colour
  6. Add vanilla bean (or paste) and cook for a few seconds (don’t let the mixture get too dark or the ice-cream will be very bitter)
  7. Very carefully pour in the cream (it will splatter quite a lot at this stage)
  8. Reduce heat to low and stir to melt the lumps of caramel that have formed
  9. When it is smooth, stir in the egg mixture
  10. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens
  11. Transfer to bowl and leave in fridge for a few hours or overnight until cool
  12. When mixture is cooled, pour into ice cream maker and mix for 20-25mins
  13. Add in chopped macadamia chocolate and let mix for 5mins
  14. Transfer into freezer container one-third at a time, placing a thin layer of chocolate sauce between each layer
  15. Gently fold mixture a few times to create a swirl with the ice cream and the chocolate sauce
  16. Place covered in freezer

This ice cream is seriously rich! The recipe I used and modified only made a fairly small amount – if you make it you might like to try mixing it with some homemade vanilla bean ice cream as well, it may tone down the intense caramel flavour.

Good luck!

Eleanor x

Happiness Project: February

You may have noticed that this past month I haven’t been posting quite so often and not nearly as much as I would like to. This is primarily due to February’s Happiness Project Goal, which ironically didn’t leave me with enough time to make or bake anything that would have lead to a post. So, what goal would that be, Eleanor?

Productivity

:productivity |ˌprōˌdəkˈtivətē, ˌprädək-,prəˌdək-|noun: the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create,enhance, or bring forth goods and services

Throughout February (yes, I am aware that we still have 9 days left of the month) I have resolved to be as productive as I can be. Productivity is something that is always in my mind, the ultimate goal in a way. It’s something that I feel I often struggle with – especially at Uni when assignments are due. I can be an outstanding procrastinator, which is essentially the direct opposite of being productive. I am of the opinion that when you are being productive you do not feel as though you are just getting things done, but that you are achieving. For me, the feeling of daily achievements is a big contributor to happiness. How often do you feel down on yourself as a result of procrastination or falling short of your potential? Hopefully not too often, but for me that guilt was too present for my liking. Which brings me to my resolutions for February, the month of Productivity.

  1. Work as much as possible
  2. Write daily “to achieve” lists rather that “to do” lists
  3. Each night, reflect on what I achieved that day
  4. Use any spare time to work on nagging tasks, future projects, things that need to get done

Looking at this list of resolutions now, after 20 days of doing so, it’s a bit unrealistic. I’ll tell you why. While all my resolutions are working in favour of constantly achieving and feeling productive, I didn’t really allow myself any down time. This was a mistake. My average day this month has looked something like this:

  • Up at 5.00am/5.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 1: 6.30am – 7.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 2: 7.30am – 8.30am
  • Work at a Childcare Centre 8.30am/9.00am – 3.30pm
  • Work on PT programs, answer e-mails, work on business proposal etc during 45min lunch break
  • Nanny 3.30pm/4.00pm – 6.00pm
  • Dance classes 6.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Home at 10.00pm
  • Write a program for PT sessions
  • In bed by 11.00pm

This may or may not seem a bit hectic to you, I know many people do a lot more. Unfortunately, I have a shocking immune system that doesn’t seem to agree with my goal of productivity. I have been fighting off colds and headaches all month and fell in a heap this weekend.

I am writing this post mid-month as opposed to writing a summary of my month once it’s over because it’s not working as well as it could be. I now resolve to work smarter. So, rather than constantly working and always being on, I resolve to be more productive in shorter bursts of time. I also think I need to take the time for active relaxation. By which I mean things like yoga or meditation, not just sitting on the couch vegging out – that is not active relaxation, it’s passive relaxation.

Which all brings me to a little teaser for next month’s goal… Health. I am so excited about this one. I’ve been reading this wonderful book; The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder and am planning on putting a lot of her principles into  practice in March.

Stay tuned!

Eleanor x

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits are my go-to quick sweet treat. They are so easy to make – you can have a batch ready in half an hour – and I always have all the ingredients I need in my cupboard. I love mine soft and chewy, other prefer them crisp and crunchy. They are sweet and delicious.

For those of you out there who aren’t from Australia or New Zealand, you may have no idea what an Anzac Biscuit is. This sweet cookie was said to be sent by wives to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers abroad during World War I because the ingredients in them wouldn’t spoil and kept well when shipped.

Oat Cookies recipe

Yummy Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cups coconut
  • 1 ¼ cups rolled oats
  • 2 heaped dessertspoons golden syrup
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • ½ tsp soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160°C (320°F)
  2. Mix flour, sugar, coconut and oats together
  3. Melt syrup and margarine together
  4. Mix soda with boiling water and add to margarine/syrup mixture
  5. Add to dry ingredients
  6. Place dessertspoons of mixture on a greased baking tray
  7. Bake in a slow oven for 15 minutes (soft) or 20 minutes (hard)
  8. Cool on trays (note that they harden as they cool)
ingredients for anzacs

Dry mixture for ANZACs

wet mixture for anzacs

Melt the butter and golden syrup on a low heat

anzac recipe

Mixture should foam up a bit when bicarb and water is added

For those of you who have never tried an Anzac biscuit, I hope you will try these! I promise they are really really yummy!

Oh and I should mention that I whipped up a quick batch of these to take to a meeting with a friend as a thank you and used one of my jars (from my OMJ post) completed with some pretty pink ribbon and a kikki.K label. Apologies for not having a photo to show for it, but I was in a hurry to give them to her! More jar posts to come, promise!

Enjoy!

x

OMJ! (Oh My Jars!)

So, I was wandering around a shopping centre last week wasting time before a dance class was to start and stumbled into a massive $2 shop. Nothing special, it was filled with the usually crap that one finds in a cheap discount store. Except this one happened to have a treasure trove of…jars!

Exciting, right!? …..right?

Maybe it’s just me, but I have long been on the hunt for glass jars that don’t cost up to $20 a pop. Primarily, to store pantry items such as flour and sugar (I can think of 5 types of sugar I have in my pantry off the top of my head). So I got super excited when I found so many jars ranging from 50¢ for the itty bitty ones up to $3.50 for the big’uns.

I feel that, according to most people, I should be ashamed to say that I spent over $50 on jars (especially considering that I can’t justify spending that much on any item of clothing..ever). But, well, I’m not ashamed at all! I spent $51.30 and look how many I got!

jars for diy projects

oohhhh so many jars...

How cute are the itty bitty baby ones!? I got them more for the cute factor as opposed to having any real plan to use them. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. I’m definitely going back for more of the big ones for storing baking supplies.

So far, I have a few ideas for the jars. I’m planning on using them for:

  • Pantry organisation (storing flour, sugar, pasta, rice etc)
  • Homemade candles in the jars
  • More homemade bath salts, moisturiser and body scrubs (see original post here)

Now – my question to you, dear readers, what do you think I should use them for? I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas for DIY or organisation projects using my fabulous treasure trove of jars.                        

 Comment below with ideas of your own, things you’ve seen, links..anything!

Once I get a few ideas, I’ll put them to the test and post on my success!

Thanks!

Eleanor x

How to De-Clutter Your Wardrobe (Minus the Um’s and Ah’s)

If you’re anything like me and tried to spring clean your wardrobe, this is a pretty familiar scene, no?

You’re frazzled, surrounded by piles of clothes tentatively separated into a giant Keep pile, a significantly smaller Chuck Out pile and the inevitable I-Haven’t-Worn-This-Hideous-Neon-Turtleneck-With-The-Tags-Still-On-Since-I-Bought-It-On-A-Psychotic-Whim-But-It-Might-Come-In-Handy-One-Day pile.

Sound familiar?

I am, admittedly, an organisation junkie. However, I’m also a bit of a hoarder. Which makes it extremely difficult when I go into organisation frenzy mode but then end up successfully justifying why I should keep those itsy bitsy pink pyjamas from when I was 7 years old because they have Pocahontas on them and aren’t they just so cute with the little tassels!?

Alas, I think I have stumbled upon a solution. All you need is some coat hangers and some willpower (I’m sure I can pick some of that up somewhere). I can’t for the life of me remember where I discovered this genius idea, but I think it’s a beauty.

I recently cleaned out my wardrobe and, instead of getting distracted by trying on the metallic blue lycra leggings I was given for a dress up party two years ago (I was so close to posting a photo but thought I’d leave it to your imagination), I decided to try out my new tactic.

Organisation Tips

Coat Hangers!

All I did was hang up all my clothes (minus some trackies and tshirts that I had already scoured through) with the coat hanger facing backwards.

That’s it. 

Now, every time that I take an item of clothing off a hanger and hang it up again after wearing it, I’ll re-hang it with the coat hanger facing the right way. In six months (to be fair to cold and hot seasons) I’ll look through my wardrobe at the items that haven’t been taken off the hanger in that time and get rid of them because, chances are, if I haven’t worn it in six months – it’s not an item I need to hang onto.

Brilliant isn’t it? Now, go, hurry to your wardrobe and turn everything around!

Eleanor x

Happiness Project: January

I had been meaning to write a post all month about my Happiness Project goals for January. Considering what my goal was, it’s a bit ironic that I never got around to doing it.

However, being the very first month of my Happiness Project and wanting to test the waters a bit, I thought it better to write an update about my progress once the month was through.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, here’s a bit more information about my Happiness Project. There’s also a bit of a spiel about the tools I’ve been using for my Happiness Project here.

Now, I want to be clear about why I chose to do a Happiness Project. Judging by the name, it is understandable that many people will assume that the only reason to undertake a project focussing on happiness would be because you’re not. But that’s not what this is. A Happiness Project is not about digging yourself out of depression or trying to be happy because you ultimately are not. That is not an issue I need to address. Rather, what Gretchen Rubin (the author of The Happiness Project – my source of inspiration for starting my own Happiness Project) aimed to achieve by creating the Happiness Project was not nearly as contentious. Rubin argues that many people state that what they want out of life is purely to “be happy”, but that most people don’t put in any effort to achieve this goal. Simply put, the aim is to actively do things in your own life to create more happiness. She created The Happiness Project, in which she focussed each month on a different goal, with resolutions to actively seek out happiness in her own life. I have done the same.

So, what was my goal and overall theme for the month of January?

Enterprise

:enterprise |ˈentərˌprīz|noun1 a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort

It took a bit of brainstorming to come up with a name for what I wanted to achieve in my first month of my Happiness Project. Basically, I wanted to use this month to start fresh, do things that I have been “meaning to do” or putting off for one reason or another and start new endeavours. So I came up with enterprise, which sounded to me like the perfect word to sum up my goals.

This is the list of resolutions I wrote at the start of the month:

  1. Start a blog
  2. Start a small Personal Training Business and start training clients
  3. Complete a cupcake order for an event
  4. Start ballet and aerials classes (silks, trapeze, rope and hoop)
  5. Score a job that is vaguely relevant to prospective career and that will fit well around Uni

I also tried to spend the month taking advantage of any opportunities that came my way as well as making a point of using any free time to work towards my goals.

So, how did I go?

I am happy to report that I managed to keep all my resolutions for the month. YAY!!! Along with the above five resolutions I also took the time to do things I had been putting off for a while, like going to the doctor for a check-up and giving blood (I give every few months but kept forgetting to rebook). I had also been planning on doing a detox in my health focussed month of my Happiness Project this year but decided to stop putting off doing another juice cleanse and do it now. You can read about that adventure here.

By tackling my resolutions in January, I felt such a wonderful sense of achievement that, yes, made me happy. Oddly enough, while having brunch with some horoscope-obsessed girlfriends this morning, I was read my horoscope and rather surprised by Taurus’ golden nugget of (amazingly relevant) advice from Jonathan Cainer:

“If we only ever allow ourselves to feel good when we think we’ve got a good reason, we’re really limiting our lives. You need no explanations or justifications now. You just need to trust what you feel.”

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, I think that’s pretty damn good advice.

Eleanor x

Sweet and Sour Pork

Firstly, let me apologise for my lack of posts over the past week. I haven’t had a spare moment, luckily I am planning on writing a whole stockpile of draft posts soon so I always have something on hand to post regularly for you.

Now, I am not traditionally one to scour cooking magazines for recipe ideas and dinner inspiration but I recently picked up one of those cheap recipe idea magazines from the supermarket checkout (Recipes+) and found a whole lot of gems – including this sparkly one!

Quick, Cheap Recipes

Sweet and Sour Pork Medallions with Choy Sum and Jasmine Rice

Sweet and Sour Pork Medallions

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 x 125g pork loin medallions
  • 1 medium green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow capsicum, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil
  • 225g can pineapple pieces in natural juice, drained
  • 3/4 cup (store bought)sweet and sour sauce, heated
  • 2 green onions/shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch (230g) choy sum
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 cups cooked long grain white rice

Method:

  1. Put rice on to cook first while you cook the main meal
  2. Place pork medallions, chopped capsicum and oil in a large bowl and toss to coat
  3. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper
  4. Preheat a large char-grill pan over moderately high heat (I don’t have a char-grill pan, just a normal one works fine though)
  5. Cook and turn pork and capsicum in pan together for 4-5 minutes, or until the pork is golden and cooked through
  6. Transfer pork to a heatproof bowl and cover with aluminium foil and rest for 5 minutes
  7. Transfer capsicum into a medium sized heatproof  mixing bowl
  8. Add pineapple to char-grill
  9. Cook and turn for 2-3 minutes or until golden
  10. Transfer to bowl with capsicum
  11. Add the heated sweet and sour sauce and the sliced shallots to the bowl and toss gently to combine
  12. Pour boiling water over the choy sum in a large heatproof bowl to cover
  13. Stir until just wilted and drain
  14. Add sesame oil and toss to coat
  15. Serve up cooked rice, choy sum, pork medallions and sweet and sour mixture onto a plate
  16. Enjoy!

I have never before had sweet and sour pork like this, and it was absolutely delicious! The only sweet and sour pork I’ve ever had is that horrid deep fried stuff from Chinese takeaway that seems to be floating in an overpowering sauce. This version is simple, clean and tasty. I hope you try it and enjoy, let me know what you think!

Eleanor x