10 Things in 10 Months: Easy Sourdough Starter Recipe!

Monday, 9 March 2015
I'm sticking to my guns this time, folks!

Sunday evening; I had spent the day roasting beef for Sunday dinner, veggies for the next few nights and some meal prep in general. I gave myself the baking bug, and also ended up making some really delicious baked apples using this recipe from The Kitchn - I already had the oven on, and the bag of apples I bought at the growers market on Saturday were just screaming "make me into a delicious dessert that will then require your boyfriend to go and get vanilla ice cream because you did not prepare for this!"... well, ok, maybe not the last part (but he did go and get the ice cream.. what a sweetheart!)

I then parked my caboose on the couch, intent on devouring the latest edition of The Collective, whilst stuffing my face with caramelly delicious baked apple and ice cream. But then, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall spoke to me. About bread. Ok, so maybe not actually to me, but he happened to be on the TV in the background, and my ears will always prick up when "bread" is mentioned. Delicious homemade bread. I love bread. I tried to do the whole paleo thing once, but I came to found out that if I don't have toast for breakfast, I don't feel like my day has begun. Or that I've eaten at all.
That got me thinking, sourdough starter is on my 10 things to do list, why not now. It's Sunday, the perfect time to start it, because it will be ready for next weekend and then I can sit at home, baking bread and just eating fresh, hot bread slathered in butter and honey, and then never eat anything else again because really, who would want to?! Maybe add in a cup of tea or 10 and I would be a happy little camper. See, I really do love bread.

"Without bread all is misery" - William Cobbett

I couldn't agree more. It is time to start ticking things off my to do list! I used quite an easy recipe, this one from The Kitchn, but converted it to metric. Essentially, it is equal parts water and plain flour, every day for 4-5 days, with a bit of mixing.
I went with 100 grams plain, stone ground unbleached flour and 100 grams of room temperature filtered water. I think I ended up giving it about 1tbsp more of water as it wasn't really looking like such a "shaggy dough". I think that's to do with the type of flour I have used though.
Sunday evening starter!

I'm really excited! I can't wait to see how it works out. I'll be feeding it every night and will hopefully have some nice bubbly looking starter some time this week. Today was actually the second day I fed it, and I did notice one or 2 bubbles! I've moved it around the house to try and catch the afternoon breeze to help with the wild yeast doin' it's thang.
I'm going to make a sourdough loaf 2 ways; 1 using our bread machine, the other using the regular oven method. I am really hoping the bread machine yields a good loaf, that way I can set it before going to bed and wake up to a house smelling of glorious fresh bread!

If you've got any bread making tips, I'd love to hear them - baking is not my strong point!

Organising My Closet

Friday, 6 March 2015
Lately, I've been doing a lot of cleaning, cleaning out and organising. It got to a point where all I saw anywhere in our apartment was clutter; a lot of things we didn't use and were keeping "just in case".  Oh, and in my closet.

My closet. How full it is. Boyfriend and I don't even share a closet, because I have too much stuff. My clothes and shoes live in the spare room in the double closet, while boyfriend has the small walk-in closet in our bedroom. I've made a few resolutions to try and curb my bad buying habits, hopefully they will work!



During my clean out, I targeted my shoes and my summer/spring clothes. I buy a lot of the cheap rubi shoes flats for work, as they are relatively inexpensive and good for wearing to work on casual Friday's. They also fall apart easily. And, instead of throwing them away, for some strange reason I keep them.  Resolution 1: When your shoes are broken / no longer wearable, throw them out! 
All my broken shoes went in the bin, the ones I haven't worn for the last 6 months, got donated to charity.  Sometimes, I buy shoes that are HELLA uncomfy with the intention to "break them in" and I never do.  Because that shit hurts, man. And blisters, ugh, they make comfy shoes hurt.  Resolution 2: If the shoe doesn't fit (comfortably) when I try it on, don't buy it.  ..Regardless of the sale price!
For my clothes, it appeared I had an obsession lately with buying t shirts. I only wear t shirts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes after work. I could've worn a new t shirt every day for about a month, and still had a few spare! Some t's went to the pj draw, some went into the donation bag. Resolution #3: How often will you wear it, do you already have one? Because I absolutely would've said maybe once a week, yes I have 3.
I also culled my work wear. I have quite a bit of work attire, but really just stick to my tried and true favourites. I am pushing myself lately to not wear the same outfits again and again, and not just to wear my ultra-comfy ponte pants all the time.  I did go through a phase of "brightly coloured work wear" that never actually made it out of my closet. Resolution #4: Stick to neutrals for work. Because hot pink capris, I would never ever wear on the weekend, so why the fuck did I think I would wear them to work! I guess spring/summer gets the best of everyone, even an autumn/winter lover like me!
I do like a bit of colour though, but I really found that a lot of what I wasn't wearing, both in my work wear and casual clothes, was because it didn't fit properly. Just like the shoes. Resolution #5: Try before you buy. Or make sure they have a great return policy if you're shopping online!

My next step will be to do a little bit more of a clean out when I switch over to my autumn/winter clothes. I've been a bit naughty and buying a few things without really remembering if I have one already (or, like, buying all the grey sweaters when I know I already have elevenyhundred!) And definitely, definitely my winters pj's!!


If you have any tips of tricks to curb my frivolous buying / stop my closet from exploding, I'd love to hear them!

Blogging Hiatus is OVER!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Aaaaannnnnnnnnnnd we're back! Well, I'm back. Sorry for the hiatus, ladies and gents, but I completely lost my mojo after coming back from our North America trip last year, and decided it was better to not, rather than to, and give you guys crappy content. Nobody likes crappy content!

I honestly cannot believe we are in March ALREADY. As much as I am loving that Autumn is here (well, at least on its way!)  I am so surprised at how fast this year has gone already. There's been a few exciting things happen this year so far; weddings (not me), pregnancies (not me), hair chop (totally me), new booties (me again!), booked a trip to Hawaii for May (definitely me!) and it is really shaping up to be a great year!

I have put a few things on my "to do" list this year, both on a personal level and on a fun-stuff-I-wanna-do level. Mostly the latter. Now that we are in March, I have called my fun list "10 things to do in 10 months!" and maybe, some of the stuff won't seem so fun, but each to their own

  1. Make Pasta from scratch. Flour, eggs, water, the whole kit and caboodle. I must!
  2. Make my own sourdough starter. I am in love with sourdough bread, I especially love Sonoma bakery's and Bill's Organic. But I also love baking, and I love our bread machine, so why not make my own!
  3. Lose 10kgs. Because last year, Oktoberfest got a little out of hand (and far too jiggly for my liking!) If I happen to lose more, great. But I am not going to extremes here.
  4. Make a pie from scratch! I haven't decided whether I want savoury or sweet, but I've never made a pie crust before and I think it's about time I did. And, my boyfriend loves pies so that's some extra girlfriend points right there!
  5. Knit something. ANYTHING. I've started 2 scarves over the last probably 5 years and finished either of them. Time to sort that shit out. I will start from scratch and get myself some nice wool!
  6. Perfect sweet potato (baked) fries. You guys, I can never get these suckers crispy, no matter how much I soak them. It's time to get answers!
  7. Do the Bondi to Coogee walk. I've lived in Sydney city for the past 6 years, and I've never done it. I want to! I just need to not be lazy.
  8. Have a white Christmas. Which will mean all of my dreams have come true! Ahahahaha! This is definitely in the works for 2015, however, we just need to decide whether it's Canada or Europe (would love to hear any recommendations!!)
  9. Conquer a fear. Take your pick. I hate cockroaches, don't exactly like lizards, am quite afraid of heights and have been pondering a career change for a while now but am pretty chicken. I have no idea which one I will conquer, but as long as I do one, that'll make me happy.
  10. Read a new book every month. I have so many books in my bookshelf waiting to be read. Instead, sometimes I re-read my old favourites. Not anymore! It's time to whittle down that "to read" stack.


On a personal note, this year I just want to be a better person. A better partner, a better friend, a better daughter, a better Aunty.  I want to take more time to enjoy each day, rather than wishing it away for the weekend.  I want to make more great memories. I'm going to listen and put myself out there more - I can be quite closed off at times, which I know can come off as me not caring. I also get a little awkward when it comes to sharing personal things, so can inadvertently be a little blunt. Hopefully, by opening myself up and putting myself out there, that will change, even if it's just a little bit for now.

It's good to be back!

Recipe: Easy Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Holy moly! This Sydney "spring" weather sure is giving us a run for our money! Massive storms and even snow! Snow this close to Christmas! Funnily enough, it's going to be back to mid 20's by the weekend. Go home, Mother Nature, you're drunk!

Now to the good stuff.

I love marshmallows and I love caramel popcorn. This recipe came about due to an intense craving, and a need to make a quick version of all the made-from-scratch marshmallow caramel popcorn recipes I had found online! When I have a craving, the last thing I want to do is fuss about with popping popcorn, making caramel, blah blah blah.

Here is a very simple recipe which only has THREE INGREDIENTS! I know. Three ingredients, who would've thought. Let's get on with it, shall we?

Ingredients

  • 2 x 125gr packets of Cob's 'I Love Caramel' popcorn (or, your favourite caramel popcorn)
  • 1 x 125gr packet of white marshmallows (I use Pascall's, you can use whatever colour/flavour you like, to be fairly honest!)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (don't use margarine.. that's just mean to yourself.)
Method
  • Grease baking dish, add in your packets of caramel popcorn and set aside. You could also use baking paper to line the baking dish, just don't use nothing like I did!
  • On a low-medium heat, place butter in a saucepan and start to melt
  • When the butter is half melted, add in your marshmallows.
  • Stir, stir, stir, stir that butter and marshmallow mix, until all the marshmallows and the butter are deliciously melted and combined
  • Pour marshmallow mix over popcorn. Stare at the glory that has become marshmallow caramel popcorn!
You can then eat it while it's all warm and gooey, or pop it in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up. Cut into sections, or just break it up. DANG IT IS GLORIOUS! I'm not going to lie, I ate the whole tray.. save for about a tiny square that I gave my boyfriend (oops, sorry my love!)

It is delicious, it is addictive, and it's oh so very easy. I will be making this again when December hits, and I am thinking of doing a few variations! Crushed up candy canes, dark chocolate chips, pretzels.. the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

How NOT to blog aka my life lately.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I am not being overly consistent with this whole blogging thing, am I? I promise to get back on the bandwagon and get my shit sorted. There's been a little bit of drama in my life lately, so unfortunately my experiment at blogging did drop off the radar! Despite the drama though, life lately has been pretty good!:
  • J. Crew sale. Guys, I love you so much. I got a new pair of Nikes for under $75 AUD including shipping. Happy girl! 
    Nike Pegasus '83's - no longer available at J Crew
  • We've been dabbling in a little bit of home-wares fun! We got a new BBQ, a bread machine and I bought a few things to update my bathroom; a new mint bath mat and a few suction shelves to vastly improve my bathroom make-up organisation (perks of having a separate bathroom from the boyfriend!) Needless to say, we pretty much spent the recent long weekend just gone making bread and cooking on the new BBQ
  • Trialling cookie recipes for the holidays. I am in need of a cut out cookie recipe that HOLDS IT’S DAMN SHAPE. I have done an extensive amount of googling and think I have solved my problem! Baking soda and/or powder are the devils! I'm going to give it a whirl with my favourite sugar cookie recipe, and I’ll keep you posted
    That is not what my giant jack-o-lantern cookie is supposed to look like!
  • Also, I made super easy caramel marshmallow popcorn. Recipe will be up VERY soon. Warning though; it's ultra delicious and a little too easy!
  • I made pate! Exciting! I used a bacon-beef liver pate recipe by Mickey over at auto-immune paleo, but substituted pasture fed veal livers, as that’s all my wonderful butcher had.
  • WE HAVE A BUTCHER NOW! We live fairly close to Sydney fish markets, and lucky lucky lucky us, Vic’s Meat Market has opened up there! It’s a “spin off” store from the infamous Victor Churchill – a renown Sydney butcher. I've been there about 5 times since it opened 2 weeks ago. They also have a little sandwich bar there that serves smoked meat sandwiches. Damn girl, damn girl. So good.
  • Holidays, I am getting excited for the holidays! All of my Halloween goodies have arrived, and I've hung most of my garlands too! I just need to get a nice frame to put some Halloween prints in there. I even got cute little jack-o-lantern string lights! Our apartment is looking very festive – a weird mix between “hooray spring!” and “o0o0o0oooo Halloweeeeeeeen!”. I've also started getting together some Christmas things... yeah, I know, too soon BUT! Long hair don't care!
  • I conquered the neon run! And may have had a few too many drinks beforehand, so I wouldn't exactly call it a "run"! A great social event though, lots of fun to run through the Domain at night - beautiful views

This week is already looking fairly busy. I'm off to the movies tonight with 2 of my girls, and this weekend we're off for a little girls weekend away! I can't wait :)
Spring is in full swing here.. well, it was until yesterday where we had a cracking thunderstorm roll in, and the temperature is back down to below 20C. Not complaining at all. I bought an amazing new Revlon ColourStay moisture stain in "Parisian Passion" yesterday, it's perfect for this type of weather! Also, I get a reprieve from being insanely jealous over the beautiful US Autumn.

In other news, I am trying some new things with my diet. I went and had my check up with my haematologist last week, and my platelets and white cell counts are still low. For no reason, thankfully. I am otherwise very much healthy. I have a feeling it's more to do with my previous history of sickness and constant tonsillitis infections, and my body has just never recovered from it fully. I've been reading up quite a bit on nutrition specifically relating to auto-immune issues, and there are some modifications I'll be making to my diet - namely upping my intake of good fats and leafy greens. Just call me the 'Kale Queen' from now on. Hmm.. maybe that should be my new blog name! I'll post a week-in-the-life-of-Stacey's-food soon, just to give you an idea of where I am heading. I'll be keen to see if there are any changes in my results in my next check up in December!

OH MY GOD DECEMBER! Christmas is SO CLOSE! Surely there is someone out there as excited as I am!? 

Skincare Routine change up

Thursday, 25 September 2014
My Mac is a bit dead at the moment. It's being looked after by the lovely people at Apple who are replacing its busted battery! So I'm posting this from my phone (because I forgot to charge my iPad.) I'm also baking pumpkin pie cupcakes, but more of that later!

Since my last post on skincare, I've altered my routine a bit (not that long ago, I know.. fickle pickle.)

I was a bit over excited at the time. It was winter, I was in love with all the oils... then I went traveling, had to scale back my toiletries because I needed room for shopping, and I wasn't planning on wearing any makeup for the entire 3.5 weeks I was away (and stuck to this, save for 2 small stints.) Oh yeah, and it was summer!

I also discovered some new products while I was away MUWHAHAHAHAHAHA! And have incorporated them into my daily routine. Oh and Zoe Foster Blake has a flipping awesome new skincare line, so I decided to try some of that too and have promptly fallen in love (oooooeeer!!)

Morning
And that's it. Sometimes I will add in a few drops of Aesop's fabulous face oil to my moisturiser. I have a sneaking suspicion it was breaking me out with my over use, so I have scaled it back and just use it every now and then.
Night

3 times a week I have been using Exfoliating Swipey's by Go-To. I love them because I can still use my Hada Labo afterward, whereas with my PTR un-wrinkle peel pads I couldn't because they contained retinol.
I also masque it up 2-3 times a week, either using Origins Clear Improvement or Aseop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. I find the Aesop one good fore more frequent use and it really helps zap those pesky white heads that appear randomly.

I stopped using straight up rose hip oil, as the Trilogy cream already contains it. The cream is super hydrating and great in the colder months, but I will look to get a lighter one when that hot hot Australian summer heat gets here.
My nuxe oil, while great for winter, is not something I feel like I need as the weather gets warmer. I still put that bad boy on my hair though and damn is it ever delicious! And shiny, so shiny.

How much do you change your skincare routine when the new season rolls around?

Weekend Fun!

Monday, 22 September 2014
Well. What a weekend that was. I am getting far too old to be doing so many things without at least taking a nap each day!

Friday night we went to the Bavarian on York Street in Sydney for their Oktoberfest keg tapping and some dinner with our good friends, who are often our partners in crime on such adventures!

Saturday was much of the same. Lunch with a friend, then a whole bunch of us got dressed up in Oktoberfest costumers and had ourselves a celebration! We went back to the Bavarian, down to the Belgian before our final destination of the Lowenbrau at The Rocks in Sydney. We had booked a table for their keg tapping feast - they kicked off the same time they do in Munich! It was a great night, and I am so glad everyone dressed up!
I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction while doing the swim song.. apparently my bustiness does not comply with a costumer made of thin material.. and I popped the sides! Luckily it stayed together so I wasn't flashing anyone, but I'm a bit sad I won't be able to wear the dress again!
Excuse the face!
Surprisingly enough, my friend and I got up early Sunday morning to do the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival 9km bridge run! We walked and soaked up the amazing views - we got to walk along the Sydney Harbour Bridge, right on the road! We did have friends who were out with us the night before who actually ran the half marathon though!! I reckon it was a pretty good effort for all of us to get up and get into it, whilst meeting our time goals as well! We knocked our walk over in an hour and a half, so of course we went to the Opera Bar and treated ourselves to an icy cold beer and some bubbles.
Walking down the middle of the bridge
Sunday afternoon was almost a repeat of Friday and Saturday.. Boyfriend and I headed over to Manly on the ferry, met our friends again at the Moonshine rum and cider bar for a tipple and an amazing view, then we headed to the Bavarian at Manly for their keg tapping! I was over beer by this point. So very, very over it. We had a few glasses of wine in the beautiful spring sunshine and took part in some fun Oktoberfest singalongs with random German people. We ended up having an amazing dinner at Papi Chulo's on the water. We are definitely going back there!!
The view from the Moonshine rum & cider bar at Hotel Steyne in Manly

The view from the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Manly
All in all, I had a great weekend. Even though I'm tired today and behind on my housework (and just about every other chore!) it's times like these that I am so happy and so grateful for my life and the wonderful people I have in it!

I'm really hoping for a low key week ahead, and to focus on C25K, but we've already planned a brewing class for Wednesday night! No shenanigans planned for the weekend though, and I think that's a great idea! I wouldn't mind a lazy weekend on the couch :)

Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did. Happy Monday!!
 
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