My Spring Bucket List!

Hi there! It’s been a while hasn’t it?! I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA; I’m hoping to refill my little blog with loads of new bits of chitter chatter and writing over the coming weeks so watch this space! I’ve got loads of ideas and half written little ditties saved in my drafts that I just haven’t got round to posting so expect a flurry of new stuff soon!

I’ve had little to no mojo to blog for ages and I think it might be finally be back (yay) which I’m super excited about. Browsing through my usual, favourite blogs to read I may have taken this idea from Gillian’s post I read in the week (have a read of it it’s just here she and her blog are just lovely I would totally recommend having a little gander over there!) But I do love doing these types of posts. Once I’ve done it and written it up I feel so much more inclined to actually follow it all through almost like I’m now formally bound in a written contract to you all. No pressure eh Ab.

But here it is…My Spring Bucket List. I hope it may inspire you to do one too, or maybe even try and do some of these things for yourself as well!

Spring Bucketlist

Spring Clean- Nothing says Spring has Sprung like doing a complete Marie Kondo on everything you own and decluttering your space. I am in desperate need of re-organising my bedroom, getting rid of any clutter I just don’t need. I’m not saying I’m a hoarder but what if I need this *insert item of clothing I haven’t worn in years but ya never know if I might get invited to a costume party and need a leopard print cowboy hat…ahem*.

Spend less time online-  Over the next few months I want to be able to spend less time surrounded by technology. As one of my mini missions I want to be able to switch off a bit better before I go to bed as well so I’m planning to have at least 30 minutes of no phone or computer and try and read before I get my full 8 hours (lol if I’m lucky).

Exercise more- I want to find my fitness specialty and feel a bit happier and more confident within myself and with my body image before the warmer weather hits.

Splash more colour into my wardrobe- Once I’ve finished with my spring cleaning and my decluttering and have lost a bit of my winter wobble I can reclutter my decluttered wardrobe and hopefully inject a bit more fun and colour into it. I’m a sucker for wearing things that are either dark colours or all black errrthang and that’s fine and fail safe for me but I want to experiment a bit more and maybe splash out from my black clothes to more Springlike shades.

Go on nature walks- This sounds like the type of thing you’d encourage a group of pre schoolers to do and I’m not about to go and do leaf drawings and hug a tree but there’s a lot of pretty walks and areas near where I live that once Spring has fully burst through Nature it’ll look so pretty.

Visit different parts of the UK I’ve not been to before- I hope this one may stretch out throughout the most-part of 2019 not just for Spring but I’ve said for a while now I hope to visit and road trip parts of the UK I’ve never visited before. There’s so many places throughout these Isles I’d love to go to and some of them aren’t even really that far away from where I live. I have a car and a railcard and even though train prices can be a bit extortionate I want to be able to tick them off my bucket list soon. Oh and actually try the regional foods I’m obsessed with but try them from the locals. Welsh cakes I’m looking at you here…

Go on a fun day trip-  A few of my friends and I actually had a conversation just the other day about going to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Experience and perhaps a zoo trip too. I really want to be able to be in the position where I can plan lots of fun trips and have loads to look forward to this year.

Bake some exciting Easter treats-  I mean this one might be a bit more topical right now but I want to take full advantage of my sweet tooth and make and bake (oh and share on here and my socials) some chocolatey snacks. I want to try new things and as much as I love a creme egg brownie as much as the rest of Instagram I want to sweep my foodie brain and see what me and my creativity can come up with.

Visit a local food market or food fair- If you’ve followed me for a little while on here you may remember a post about the Frome Independent Market. Have a little refresh of said post just herrrreeeee! It happens on the first Sunday of each Month and I either want to go back and see what’s on offer or even traipse to a new one and see what delights we can feast on.

Aim to get halfway through my Goodreads Book Challenge-  I love reading and like mentioned above, I want to spend less time on my phone and more time actually doing things and in the present moment. I set myself a challenge to read 25 books this year. Roughly 2 books a month I thought it sounded doable. I’m on 5 so far which I’m quite happy with considering! But I’ve been slacking a bit and where I could have switched off from and picked up one of growing TBR pile instead of doing my billionth Buzzfeed quiz of the evening.

Drink more water- This one is just so important really isn’t it?! I am ashamed to say I’m not amazing at drinking water rather reaching for a soft drink or a cup of tea. Flavoured water is a start, having a glass or a bottle within arms reach is another step along the drink-more-water path well you get the gist.

Try to keep on top of my blogging and get into a routine- I am sure I’ll be preaching this until the end of time but I really want to get into a good headspace and have set posting days on here. I once said it would be Wednesdays and Sundays but LOL that never happened. Either way I need to sort out the half written when drunk state of my drafted posts. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to know your thoughts! Would you rather a set day or days of posts? Is it nicer as a random surprise email to say ‘Hiya I’ve posted?’. Similarly I’d love to know your thoughts on things you’d like to see being spoken about or blogged about?

 

Have you got anything you’d like to do or achieve this Spring? I’d love to know! HAPPY SUNDAY!

 

 

 

 

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Sweetcorn Chowder.

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*This post contains gifted items from Indigo Herbs however the words, pictures and opinions are all completely honest and mine*

Hello! I love soup. This isn’t how I start all conversations, but maybe it should be from now on..? But going back to my first point I really do love soup it’s probably one of my favourite things to cook if you can call throwing a load of veggies and spices into a big old pot and letting it simmer for a few hours before blending. Like howwwwww is this cooking?! Why when there are so many wonderful soups available to make is Gordon Ramsay so angry and stressed all the time when he can just throw some leeks and potatoes in a pot and put it on the heat and chillllllllll.

So I made a sweetcorn and apricot kernel butter chowder and it was just as fancy and delicious as it sounds. This was the second time in my life I had ever had sweetcorn chowder, the first time was when I was a lot younger and was on my lunch break and stumbled into a little cafe from the wintry rain. FYI I didn’t literally stumble, which is shocking given how clumsy I actually am.

I didn’t remember whether it was just because it was a cold, wet November day that the piping hot soup and thick crusty bread tasted so good or because it was genuinely really nice. But nevertheless I decided to retry this and make it for myself and my family.

This recipe is super simple and could feed a whole village (as long as the village had no more than 10). I like to double up on recipes like this in case someone wants seconds or even to have for a quick lunch the following day

I used:

  • 1kg frozen sweetcorn kernels. Tinned or fresh is also fab.
  • 1 large white onion finely diced.
  • 2 celery sticks finely chopped and diced.
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic.
  • 500g waxy potatoes. It was roughly about 3 medium sized potatoes if that’s any help!
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of apricot kernel butter. I used this one from Indigo Herbs which is very smooth and creamy.
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  •  800ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tin of coconut milk.

Start off by putting the chopped onion, celery, garlic into a pot on the heat with a glug of oil for a few minutes letting it sweat off til it softens and goes a delicate golden colour.

From there add in the vegetable stock, coconut milk, salt and pepper, turmeric and the washed, peeled potatoes on a high heat Stirring it for a few minutes. The added coconut milk helps give it a rich sweetness but if you would rather not use this you could use regular cream, milk or leave it out altogether. Similarly this and the potatoes thicken up the whole soup.

Pour most of the sweetcorn into the pot but leave a generous handful behind. Leave that to simmer for about 30 minutes and using an immersion blender, blend until it’s smooth.

Adding in the Apricot kernel butter and the remaining corn kernels, stir and serve whilst still hot. By adding in the Apricot kernel butter it gives the soup a nutty savoury flavour as it can be quite sweet with all the coconut milk and corn it evens the whole thing out.

Perfect on a stormy evening in front of telly with a good series on if you ask me.

 

Making Homemade Granola.

*This post contains gifted items from Indigo Herbs. However all the thoughts, opinions, pictures and words are all entirely mine*

Have you ever wanted to be one of those people that have it all? Y’know you see them out and about with their perfectly immaculate ironed clothes, not a single baby hair out of place and you can just kinda tell they have their proverbial poop together. Like they probably shop solely in Karen Millen, Waitrose and Wholefoods, have a diary they actually stick to and probably make everything from scratch, even their breakfast cereals. Are you thinking about Bree Van Der Kampf too cos same!?

Anyway fear not my internet pals I am going to teach you a a simple way to have it all. Well to make your own breakfasty foods that is. Sorry I can’t guarantee you’ll suddenly become super organised overnight. The Granola is good but unfortunately as much as I’ve consumed; it’s not magic.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what better way to start than with something you’ve spent the time (not very long at all if you ask me) lovingly creating to enjoy on a bitterly cold Monday Morning before work.

Granola is like a leveled up cereal to me. It’s a bit fancy it’s a bit adult and something that I’ve never actually tried to make before. Opting to buy a bag or a box of it in shops and then feeling a bit moany when I’m eating it as it’s either too crunchy or not crunchy enough, not enough extra bits or a bit lacking in something. Talk about the modern day Goldilocks! Once you’ve mastered the basics you can pretty much jazz this up any which way you like to suit your personal tastes or for someone else’s if you’re giving this as a gift or bargaining tool.

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So to start with you need a base for this awesome granola. I used 300g of jumbo oats. I love oats especially the big chunky ones that have a coarse nuttiness to them. You could use a gluten free oat, the smaller types, a mixture of oats, puffed rice or millet or spelt flakes. It’s entirely up to you.

So in a bowl I’ve got the oats, to that I added in 3 tablespoons of dark agave nectar. I like this as it’s totally vegan, rich like treacle and so sweet too. But if you prefer you could use honey, golden syrup or maple syrup. I added in a teaspoon of vanilla extract (have you noticed I’ve got a sweet tooth…???) but you could omit that or add different essences you can get loads from almond, gingerbread, orange or coconut) You’ll find these in cookery shops, online and in supermarket home baking aisles. Equally you could use the actual spice itself like ground ginger or ginger finely sliced into the mix, coconut flakes or dessicated coconut. Honestly homemade is so personable and versatile.

Adding in 2 large heaped tablespoons of Indigo Herbs raw Almond Butter (find it just here) to give it that sweet yet savoury flavour and really bringing the whole thing together.

After stirring it all through, I then added in the rest of the ingredients. I used 50g almonds, 50g cashews, 50g roasted macadamia nuts, 25g sunflower seeds, 25g pecans. Roughly chopping some and leaving some others a whole to give the granola a bit of added texture. I stirred them in until fully combined.

Then pour onto a ready prepared baking sheet, making sure it’s all laying out flat to bake each bit perfectly.

Bake in the oven at 150C/fan 130C/gas 2 for about 15 minutes until golden brown. I personally prefer the crunchy taste of a cooked nut but if that’s not for you, you could always add them once the oats have fully cooked.

Once cooled store in an airtight container and it will last for up to a month (that’s if you haven’t nibbled it all before that) it’s perfect with your choice of milk or yogurt, my personal favourite is with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a splodge of honey. YUM.

As someone who would often purchase granola and probably wouldn’t have even considered making my own I was so shocked at just how easy this was! I would encourage all you breakfast lovers out there to go and try your hand at making some yourself!

 

Nut & seed butter alternatives // Indigo Herbs *

Hiya! I hope you’re all well! I’m very excited to be sharing with you today the first of many posts I’ve written alongside a company called Indigo Herbs. Indigo Herbs is a health food company from one of my favourite places in the UK, set in the heart of Glastonbury in Somerset (if you’ve never visited, you definitely have to at least once! It’s the most unique town) They stock a wide range of organic Superfoods, high quality herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and Herbal Teas to name just a few. As someone who’s interested in health food and general health and well-being, I really love how informative their page is AND how great their prices are! It’s easy to spend a small fortune on health foods and as someone who used to work in a health food shop I know that before you know it you need a bank loan on just stocking up on good quality basic ingredients!

As I’m so passionate about wholefoods and health foods I was really happy to be able to work alongside Indigo Herbs and try out their range of nut and seed butters and share a whole host of different, easy recipes that literally anyone could do. I’m not the world’s greatest cook or baker but I really enjoy creating bakes in the kitchen (as long as it doesn’t take too long to clear up after as well) I love peanut butter I eat it with slices of apple, sandwiches, on toast, added into sauces or curries, mixed with porridge or brownie mixes or even straight from the jar with a big old spoon. Drooling at the thought I won’t lie. So I was super excited to be able to try this whole range; as a lot of it I hadn’t ever tried or used before. Plus I really LOVE the fact that their butters are all organic and raw so they’re still packed full of all the proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients and hasn’t been heat treated or lost in the process of making of them.

indigo herbs nut butter

So first of I’m going to start with the nut butters. I’ve tried almond butter before in the past but I’ve never had walnut butter or hazelnut butter.

Almond Butter:

Probably my favourite apart from the OG peanut butter. It’s rich, thick and creamy but not too sweet. High in Vitamin E, B Vits it’s a great source of dietary fibre and protein plus tastes great swirled through some brownies, banana bread or on a rice cake for a perfect afternoon snack.

Walnut Butter:

I had never tried (heard of) Walnut Butter until I tried this and I was actually really pleasantly surprised! I really like the taste of walnuts anyway I know some people find them quite bitter or like they kind of metallic/rancid taste to some of them which puts a lot of people off. I’ve found that the Lidl own brand ones are really nice and creamy tasting if the bitter taste you often can get puts you off! Nevertheless I was kinda expecting the familiar savouriness but it was creamy to start and had that bitter nut butter finish. Spread it generously on some toast and top with some berries and a drizzle of honey for a perfect, quick and different breakfast.

Hazelnut Butter:

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me this’ll certainly be up your alley. It’s nice and sweet and speckled with those lush hazelnutty grains. Adding it to already chocolatey recipes like a breakfast cacao smoothie will be like you’re drinking a fresh glass of nutella in the morning. YUM.

Moving on from Nut Butters to their fellow seed butter pals (was I the only one who didn’t actually know this was a thing???) Maybe I just have my heads in the clouds but I didn’t realise what you could do with seeds other than sprinkle them on the top of some meals and bakes. But I’ve really enjoyed trying these, adding them to things I’ve baked or cooked and actually broadening my tastebuds.

seed butter

White Sesame Tahini:

This is deliciously creamy and is basically just milled sesame seeds until it forms a paste. You can add it to soups, as a salad dressing or if you’re as addicted to Hummus as I am this is a great tahini to use and it’s so simple to make. Just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and oil, absolutely incredible if I do say so myself.

Black Sesame Tahini:

Just the same as white tahini but made with black sesame seeds. It’s rich in taste and in colour with a gorgeously glossy black shine to it. It’s full of B Vits, minerals and protein I love how it adds a really bold colour to bakes.

Sunflower Seed Butter:

This one I was most pleasantly surprised by it reminded me a little bit of peanut butter as it was smooth, creamy and sweet but much lighter and runnier in terms of texture compared to old faithful PB. Whether you use it for savoury or sweet cooking or baking, it adds a subtle creamy flavour. Perfect in cookies, hummus or in a dressing.

Apricot Kernel Butter:

Y’know those stones inside an apricot turns out they actually have uses. Who knew? Apricot kernels are high in vitamin E so it’s great for skin, hair and nails (eat it obvs don’t use it as a shampoo…Well you do you but it tastes good and I would probably recommend not putting on your face or hair ha!) It’s also quite rich in vitamin b17 which is a component of cyanide so best not to eat the whole jar. But then so are a lot of fruit seeds like apple pips so best to avoid those too if you can! On Indigo Herbs website they state it tastes sweet, rich and a bit like Amaretto and I TOTALLY got that. I dolloped some on top of a slice of wholemeal toast and ate it in about 7 seconds. Gurt lush.

Hemp Seed Butter:

I don’t really know much about the flavours of hemp, eating it or using it in cooking or baking. It’s really good for you, it’s a complete protein full of all the essential amino acids perfect as an energy source if you’re veggie or vegan or just want that added protein in your diet. Described on their website as peppery and creamy and it couldn’t have been more spot on. I added this into salad dressings and slathered it on the top of a cauliflower steak for a really unique, umami flavour profile.

Pumpkin Seed Butter:

Last and but by no means least is pumpkin seed butter. This taste just like pumpkin seeds with that similar smoky earthiness flavour to it. I used mine to make a pumpkin seed pesto pasta which was divine but if you wanted a sweeter flavour add some honey, maple syrup or some cinnamon and other spices!

Just to reiterate this was a gifted post courtesy of Indigo Herbs and the lovely Claire but all the thoughts and opinions throughout are honest and genuine. I really hope you enjoyed this post as much as I loved taste testing these! I’m so excited to share more nutty and seedy butter recipes with you all very soon!