Thursday, January 27, 2011

Muesli with chocolate chips

I didn't bother with too many new year's resolutions for 2011.  If 2010 taught me anything, it would have to be that life can sometimes just happen and will take all your best resolutions and intentions with it.  So this year I've decided to go for a slightly less rigid approach and my only resolution was to make more time for the simple things in life.  To live in the moment and to stop from time to time to take it all in. 

Just potter around with the kids.

Stroll through the garden and look at the flowers, not the weeds.

Stare at the clouds or the mountain for a few minutes.

Be more spiritual. 

And make time for breakfast.  Not the bacon and eggs, full-house kind.  Just something simple and easy.  I use to operate on breakfast but lost the habit somewhere along the way.  Not sure why or how, but I have a sneaky suspicion it just sort of happened in the midst of all the morning chaos of getting everybody else ready for the day.

So yesterday, I made a batch of muesli and this morning I spent a few minutes outside with M and our new puppy.  Just eating and pottering and enjoying the cuteness of both M and the Beagle.  

We named the puppy Bonga, which sort of mean thank you in the Zulu as we thought we had so much to be thankful for and because the kids could not stop saying thank you when she arrived.

And she could not resist the muesli either.  But then again at the moment she cannot resist most things.  Shoes, carpets, toys, just about anything get chewed.   And we love her more for it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting

It was L's birthday last week and I wanted to bake something for his wonderful staff.  You see, last year was a rough year for him initially.  That was until he went looking for greener pastures and some of his staff members and a good friend joined him.  They are wonderful people, who contributed largely to the rest of his year being so much better.  A little bit of cake went their way as a small token of thanks.  And of course it is always nice to share in a bit of birthday magic.

It is never easy for me to decide what to bake.  I have a million recipes (well, L does say that I can exaggerate, but not sure I am though) floating through my head and finding THE ONE is always a bit of a mental tug of war.  It was my sister who helped me out by casually suggesting carrot cake.  It always seems to be a winner and why not.  
Well, it did go down a treat, especially the icing and therefor a post is required, as the recipe was requested.  I love it when that happens.  Love to spread cake happiness around.

This is the sort of recipe that needs to be shared, as it is so easy-peasy.  And it takes hardly any time to prepare and leaves you with very little washing-up to do.  Best of all, it is light and moist and not too rich either. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thai-Style Litchi chicken

Well it's been a while since my last post, but sometimes life just seems to take a detour and you just have to go with the flow.  Last year was definitely full of detours for our family, nothing serious, but very time consuming.  I am not going to bore you with the details, but lets just say I even learned how to build a house out of timber during the process.

My parent moved in with us for a few months last year as well.  It was a wonderful experience, albeit challenging at times.  And the biggest challenge was to adapt our respective eating habits to suit the other party.  Strange don't you think, that I lived with them for such a big part of my life and did so much cooking while I was growing up, and yet our eating habits have drifted worlds apart since?
I am a very curious cook, always looking for new recipes, new styles of food to cook.  I enjoy nothing more than challenging myself with a complicated dish that I have never tried.  My favourites dishes sometimes evolve from opening the fridge and just cooking what is in there, trying something I have never done, mixing different flavours.  And that is how this family staple happened too.  

It is such a simple dish to put together and you don't need fresh litchis at all.  In fact, it is much better with the canned version.  The herbs are refreshing, without being overbearing.  And this dish was a hit with my parents too.