My Endless Love: Mix and Measure

I have to apologise once again—I promised a post in never delivered on. I haven’t been ignoring Heidielka as much as simply unable to get online.

Boxing Day morning found me in migraine central—a place I stayed until Friday, unable to conjugate sentences, let alone write a whole post. Over the weekend, I was simply enjoying the computer-free zone, and decided to start fresh with a new week, and a new endless love. In fact, it just so happens, it’s the post promised last Tuesday.

I’ve been a baker since I was a kid. Sunday afternoons, from as far back as I can remember, were spent in the kitchen mixing and measuring, spooning and shaping. And then waiting…waiting for that wonderful smell of fresh-baked somethings.  Moving out of home (and back, out again, and back again) hasn’t dampened my baking adventures either. On the contrary, living with an ex-chef, Wabi, and KAO over the years, has only increased my love of baking, oftentimes at ridiculous times of the night.

But there is something I love more than baking, and that’s baking for others. I love finding a recipe that I know a friend will love and being able to make it and give it to them. Maybe I picked it up from my mum, but I love feeding people, especially if it’s something “extra special nice”, as my nanna used to say.

So, whenever Christmas time comes around I get excited—what better time to bake like crazy than the season of eating, right? Which is exactly what I did this year. I made a bunch of things, both savoury and sweet, but there were a couple of recipes that I just have to share with you. Not only were they fun and easy to make, they tasted amazing, and looked pretty fantastic as well.

First up, the cute cupcake from last week. The little snowmen were a happy purchase back in November—I found them wandering the aisles at the local supermarket. The cupcakes themselves were my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe from the ever-fabulous Nigella Lawson. This recipe is just divine! I’ve been making these for the past five years (which adds up to a lot of cupcakes), and they always turn out perfect—light and fluffy, but with serious strength, which also makes them perfect for special additions like fruit or chocolate chips. The buttercream…I threw together with a random combo of butter, icing sugar and milk. I’m not so good at recipes for frosting.

Then there was cookies. Cranberry, white chocolate, & pistachio cookies to be exact. YUM! These babies were such a hit that the first batch disappeared without me getting a picture. No problem though, they were worth making again…and again…and again. I found the recipe in the Christmas issue of Donna Hay, and have slowly tweaked it so the cookies are a wee bit healthier. The below is my version, which got rave reviews from everyone who tried them, and were much less sickly-sweet.

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And lastly, five-star rocky road. I had a friend tell me, “I hate white chocolate, but that rocky road—best I’ve ever had”! ‘Nuff said. Oh, except to say that this baby is soooo easy to make—ten minutes, tops.

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Did you make any stand-out treats this Christmas?

Snowcake…

How was your Christmas day? Mine was (somewhat surprisingly) really good.

I’m lounging in bed after a day of endless eating, water fights, and games of Bullshit, contentedly nibbling on a spare meringue shell. My brain has moved into switch-off mode, so a real post tonight is not happening. Instead, I thought I leave you with a sneak peak of tomorrow’s post, one for all you other food nerds out there:

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Before Santa Comes

The final gifts are wrapped an under the tree. The desserts are all made, and the salads are half-prepped so there’s less to do in the morning.

I’m about to curl up in bed for a few hours, but first I wanted to share one of my very favourite songs, sung by one of my favourite artists.

I wish you all a happy, peaceful, and safe Christmas filled with joy, hope, and lots of love.

What to Get the Tiny Ones

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I’d like to say I’m done, but I’ve still got just a few more things to get, which means braving the Christmas Eve crowds. It also means risking overspending on extra bits and pieces for those I’ve already proclaimed ‘done’—especially the copious amount of little people all of a sudden in my life.

I always struggle buying for little people. Not because I have no idea what to get, but because I just can’t seem to stop myself buying all the things. Unfortunately, I’ve spent my Tiny People Quota for the season but, if I hadn’t, here are a few things that would have been under my tree:

What to Get the Tiny Ones

  1. “My cute Auntie is Single” Infant bodysuit from Café Press
  2. Restoration Hardware Baby and Child’s Shaggy Plush Animal Rocker
  3. Alphabet Kingdom Animals pillow cover case from feb10design
  4. Navy Blue and White tutu from My Baby Rocks
  5. Black and Cream Skull Crib Shoes from My Baby Rocks
  6. Eco Organic Balloon bib from Corinne Citrolo
  7. The Land of Nod’s Elephant Nightlight

Oh, and for the mummy-to-be I’d totally buy this:

“Don’t Touch it” Maternity T-Shirt from Cafe Press

Counting Down

I finally got all the images in my posts to work again! This means I’ve been a naughty blogger and backdated a whole stack of posts. I had to–I’ve got too many pretty things to share with you! In fact, today is the only day that I hadn’t actually pre-planned a post for before Christmas day.

Okay, that’s a lie–I’d somewhat planned it, because I’ve always got things ready to share, but it wasn’t pre-written. So what was it I had planned? This pretty print from Lily and Val:

Silver Bells Chalkboard Art Print: $29.00 from Lily and Val

Are you enjoying the Silly Season as much as I am?

Wrap Me Up, Give Me Out. Vol.2: DIY Washi

I love wrapping presents. There’s something incredibly cathartic about the whole process that seems to calm me. Every year I get given the job of wrapping the family Christmas gifts, and I take it willingly, even planning months in advance the colour theme, ribbon choice, and decoration styles I will use.

But, every year, I’m also frustrated and annoyed with the amount of left-over wrap. In an effort to prevent too much leftover wrap, I often buy too little and am forced to go get more for one or two gifts, ending up with an almost-full roll or two and no way of using them until next Christmas. But saving them for a whole year is fraught with dilemmas, namely where to store then so they are (a) not in the way, and (b) not destroyed come December.

This year I decided to do away with regular Christmas wrapping paper all together, opting instead for plain brown paper lifted from the pile we use at work for wrapping deli meats. I bought what amounted to about five kilos of butcher’s paper, which is a lot. Obviously I’m not going to use it all over Christmas, but I figured, being that it’s a blank canvas, I can store the paper and use it for all manner of presents and craft activities.

And speaking of crafty activities, I decided to get extra crafty with the decorations for the wrapped presents and make my own washi tape. Check it out!

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Both these pretties were decorated using a mixture of washi tape and fabric strips, cut from regular old material. The washi tape looks gorgeous, and was really easy to make—I threw together 20 gift tags and approximately 30meters of washi tape in a little over two hours.  All it took was some double-sided tape, strategically placed to make use of the patters on the fabric:

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And then a bit of patience to cut each one out carefully, so as not to damage the tape. The fabric has frayed a tiny bit on the edges, but before using each strip I give it a little tidy up. Besides, the raw edges add to the rustic charm of the brown paper.

The tags I made by tracing circles onto empty cereal boxes and then using more double-sided tape to attach fabric to each circle.

And the bows on this one are the washi tape folded and stuck together:

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The tape gives the bow stiffness so it doesn’t flop as much as ribbon, and because it’s stuck onto the gift with more double-sided tape there’s no messy tape marks all over the pretty wrapping!

If you’ve still got gifts to wrap, give the washi tape a go—it’s fun to work with, and looks fantastic!