Homemade Pho

Hi sunshines!

I might have gone a bit over the top with the sunny weather and the ice cream last week and boy did I regret it when a sore throat turned into a full blown flu. That’s right, runny nose, fits of sneezing, watery eyes……all very attractive 😉

When someone has the flu in our household we pull out the big guns – medication, Vicks, tissues and Pho! There is something about this Vietnamese dish that helps to clear out the system and open up the breathing tubes. I’ve only ever had Pho twice at Vietnamese restaurants, after which I read through some recipes on how to make it at home. Ultimately, i’ve pretty much made up my own recipe of Pho but it suits us well, so hopefully it will help you too!

Ingredients

1 small/medium size onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cinnamon stick

1 Chillie pepper (varies with level of spiciness)

soya sauce

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 pack tofu (cut into pieces)*

1 serving rice noodles

Any other vegetable you would like to include: mushrooms, carrots, etc. (Optional)

Cilantro to garnish (optional)

*Tofu can be substituted for meat or seafood of your choice, however cooking instructions will vary, so ensure that you cook whatever you choose well.

Directions

1. Roughly chop the onion and stir fry in a large wok/ saucepan on medium heat

2. Add the garlic cloves, chopped up chillie pepper and cinnamon stick (as well as any other vegetables you would like to add)

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3. Add the tofu to the pan and a splash of soya sauce on top

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4. Add the vegetable broth into the mixture, I use 1 tsp of Bouillon with 3 cups of water:

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5. Stir well

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6. Now add the rice noodles, bring to the boil and then cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

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Image7. Garnish as you wish, serve and enjoy..

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8. Say “Goodbye flu!” 😉

Have a healthy week!

Do any of you have variations for making homemade Pho? 

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The Book Thief

We read this book last month at the Book Club and there were mixed reviews over it. Some people thought it was depressing or long, I actually mostly enjoyed it. Albeit there were some slow parts to the story but the I found the whole idea of the book quite original and inspiring even. 

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The book is based in the late 1930s in Germany, during World War II. The main character is Liesel Meminger, a young girl (not yet a teenager) who is fostered by a German couple. In their own unique ways, her foster mother and father provide a nurturing and loving environment for Liesel and this allows her to pursue her love for books. She is mostly accompanied by her best friend Rudy, who is also her partner in crime, and her bravery allows her to chase after her passion for reading and writing. 

The book also entails Nazi Germany and the reality of the downward spiral of the Jewish people during that time. Liesel’s father allows a Jewish man to stay in their basement who soon becomes part of their family, as a favour to his late Jewish friend. Another courageous act which is a demonstrated throughout the book.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about “The Book Thief” is that it is narrated by Death. I know that sounds morbid but looking at Death’s perspective on World War II and Nazi Germany is fascinating. He outlines the story in a way that a human could never do and keeps the reader guessing with chapter ending cliff hangers. 

In my opinion, the best part of this book is the idea of a young girl who, at the beginning of the book is hardly able to read or write, works so hard with a desire to learn. Her passion is motivating and her love for words drives her to steal books as her family is unable to provide her with many. This passion of hers ends up helping many distressed by the war and ultimately helps her to survive through such times.

Beautifully written but perhaps not the best holiday/ summer read! Save it for the winter rainy days 😉 

Have any of you read The Book Thief? 

Buttermilk Cupcakes

Hiii guys! 

I know this is a healthy eating blog but once in a while, a girl has to have cupcakes. 

This recipe has got to be shared because it is so easy and will have you baking up a batch of fluffy cupcakes for any occasion! Also, It’s a lot lighter than other ways of making cupcakes.

Adapted from Eatliverun

Ingredients

1 cup Supreme Sponge flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup cocoa powder for chocolate cake OR 1/3 Sponge flour for plain cake*

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

A bar of chocolate (optional)

*On this occasion I made plain cake, but I have used the cocoa powder before to bake chocolate cake and the result is equally as delicious. 

1. Firstly preheat the oven to 140 degrees C. Be careful not to use a very high temperature as this will make the cup cakes sink. 

2. Then sieve the dry ingredients (except sugar): the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt (and cocoa powder if you include it). 

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Dry ingredients sieved.

3. In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil, vanilla essence and sugar.

Image4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, a spoonful at a time, whisking continuously.

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5. Line a cupcake tray with paper holders (Is that what they are called?) and fill them about half way. Whilst filling up the paper holder, I added a piece of chocolate inbetween the cake batter.

Before…….

6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown

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After 🙂

7. Frost when cooled

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Anybody want to guess what happened to the 12th? 😉 

The beauty of this cupcake recipe is that it never fails! The cupcakes always come out light and fluffy. You can also double the mixture and pour the cake batter in two round 9″ pans and make a cake. 

Have a sweet week ! 😉

The Sonal Project

The title of this post was taken from my very favourite show “The Mindy Project” – written and acted by Mindy Kaling whom I find so entertaining, if you haven’t seen it – you must! I’m currently reading her book “Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns)”. 

After a couple of months away, my regular readers (if there are any ;)) must be wondering where the heck I am……and here is an update for you, mum: 

1. I turned 25 on April 1st. Not gonna lie that was pretty scary – I debated on whether I should put up a “25 things I learned…” but really that would be unrealistic because I’m still such a work in progress. I do however know that:

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2. A London trip in April turned out to be quite an experience with an annual 3 day spirituality lecture leading up to my favourite boys’ 2nd birthday:

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3. I moved house from literally two buildings away. I love my new place but my goodness – how do I get these boxes to unpack themselves? 

4. I am now obsessed with the American TV show “The Office”. Steve Carrell is hilarious! As all my favourite shows have ended for the summer and everyone was so upset about The Office coming to an end, I finally decided to check it out – i’m just slow retro like that.

5.  Two months of hardcore boot camp has left me with a new appreciation of a life without boot camp! Life now feels like such a breeze! 🙂 Waking up at 6am three times a week was definitely not my style but I do admit it was amazing to work out in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep because I spend the rest of the day wondering if it was just a dream. 😉 

6. I am officially co-president of a book club! This might seem like fun and games but oh my gosh running a book club is no joke, especially when you have almost 20 members! We choose a book each month with a vote (and a lot of diplomacy), have two meetings a month that usually consist of 10/12 people with 2 members leading the discussion. It feels quite like english class which is perfect. Expect some book reviews coming your way! 

7. Healthy eating has been going well for the last couple of months, I think I found a happy rhythm. Weekdays mostly consist of green monsters or egg breakfasts, salads for lunch and fish or tofu with sweet potato for dinner. With slight variations here and there, but I am a creature of routine and this suits me well. Weekends are a bit more relaxed where I allow myself to the luxury of ice cream and other yummy carbs. I have found that without sweet foods during the week my body doesn’t really crave much on the weekends, and if it does small doses are sufficient. My sweet tooth threshold has definitely decreased! 

8. Movie wise, I cannot get over The Great Gatsby! It was magnificent 🙂 Leonardo DiCaprio just gets better with age.

I cannot imagine a post that is more egotistical – and I do not want to count how many “I”s have been used in this post. For this, I apologise! I‘m just so happy to be back onto the blog and I missed this creative outlet. Hope that we are all caught up! 

See you soon with some scrumptious recipes, book reviews and general thoughts about life…..:) 

Homemade Nutella

Hi everyone! 

I don’t know about you guys but i’ve always found Nutella to be one of the best things man ever made. The chocolate hazelnut spread that gave me so many delicious ways to eat it: on toast, on pancakes, on anything, and of course, straight out of the spoon. Yum yum. 

I haven’t actually had Nutella since I started this quest on healthy eating – or rather haven’t bought the tub home but it’s sneakily made its way back to me via ferrero rochers and ice cream flavours 🙂 

My cousin is also another fan of Nutella but since she is on a paleo diet and cannot have any, I decided to make her a paleo, vegan version for her birthday. The result was better than expected. Roasted hazelnuts are the bomb ! 🙂 It’s also pretty easy with the most time consuming process being blanching the hazelnuts….ready? 

Adapted from Paleo Spirit

Ingredients

1 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pinch of sea salt

If the hazelnuts are not already blanched – 

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. 

2. Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes.

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Roasted hazelnuts

3. With a damp cloth rub the hazelnuts to remove the skin easily and place in a bowl.

Image4. Try your best not to eat all the roasted hazelnuts.

5. Place blanched hazelnuts into the food processor and process until creamy.

6. Add coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and pinch of salt into the food processor and continue to process until smooth.

7. Store in the refrigerator.

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Homemade nutella

Have it with a spoon….

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I saved a bit for myself and the rest for my cousin, but my part didn’t last for long ! 

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This recipe turned out to be better than I expected – so much so that I must make some more for myself today! 🙂

Have you ever made homemade Nutella? 

Currently

Hi guys,

This post is an idea that I got from Jenna as an alternative to “favourites”! I’m always looking to try different things so here we go…..

I am currently……

Watching…..”The Mindy Project” – Mindy Kaling is hilarious! I am obsessed with this show nowadays. It’s about a doctor who is trying to get her life back in order, her good looking coworkers and how she goes about everyday life. She is awesome, you must check this show out! 

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 Listening….to the new Alicia Keys album “Girl on Fire”. I can’t help it, I have loved Alicia Keys since “fallin'” and this album does not disappoint. My favourite songs are: “Not even the King”, “Limitedless” and of course “Girl on Fire”. 

 Eating…..pesto. I only just tried making pesto at home a few days ago. Why did I wait so long?! It is delicious! I will have to keep trying to perfect it though – cut out the oil content and try to form a better texture. Once I do, I will share the recipe on the blog! 

Organising…..a book club! I’m so excited about this – I love reading so a club where we can chit chat about the same book and have snacks makes me happy. 

Reading……”A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry. I’ve reached 40% on my kindle and it is such a well written, beautiful read. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a new book. 

Inspired by……this video. Isn’t life amazing?

Your turn! What are you currently doing? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bootcamp

Hii  everyone,

This week has been quite a milestone for me. I joined a bootcamp with the trainer who usually trains me at the gym in a spur of the moment decision with two of my cousins. Bootcamp is held at the beach carpark for the month of March, three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at 6:30am (SIX THIRTY AM). The things I do to get out of my “comfort zone”! I’m not naturally an early riser so this week has been a bit difficult and so different from my usual routine. For the first session, it was dark, drizzling and foggy…..nevertheless here is what I love about working out in the morning:

1. My mum always told me that early in the morning is a sacred time – I usually would rather sleep and I never quite realised until now how true that might be. There is something SO peaceful about 6am, when the rest of the country is asleep. Gaining a couple of hours more than everyone really makes me feel like I’m making the absolute most of my day (even if its dark and foggy)…..#winning! 😉

2. I feel like i’m in some kind of secret society. Most of the people who attend bootcamp have done it before and these people are so enthusiastic about working out. At first I found it so amusing that crazy people would wake up in the middle of the night to flip tyres and swing kettlebells – but alas I have now become one of them.

3. The workouts are unlike anything i’ve ever done. If you’ve ever seen the television show “The Biggest Loser”, you would know what I mean. Included in the circuits are kettlebells, burpees, rope undulation, prowler pushing (which is pushing a big trolley like thing from one end to the other with a sandbag and no wheels), swinging a hammer on to a big tyre, bicep curls, lunges, carrying these heavy pieces of equipment around, flipping heavy tyres, and it goes on.

Don't mess with a girl who has a hammer

Don’t mess with a girl who has a hammer

4. I don’t have to worry about working out for the rest of the day!

5. It is so fun working out with others rather than by myself, there is constant motivation and healthy competition. 😉

The only downfall on bootcamp is how tired you can feel on Friday night! Naps are recommended.

Have you ever been to a bootcamp?