Snicker Bites

I am using a photo of my rum balls because these look quite similar on the outside. This is another recipe for some quick and yummy no bake desserts.

What you will need to make Snickers bites:
- 200 g unsalted ground peanuts
- 100 g cornflakes 
- 100 g milk toffee, or soft chewy caramels 
- 200 ml heavy cream 
- 250 g of dark chocolate 
- 50 g of honey

How to make Snickers bites:
- Crumble the cornflakes, you can do this by putting them in a plastic bag and squishing with your hands or taking a hammer to them. 
- Mix the cornflakes and the ground up peanuts.
- Chop up the caramels into small pieces, pour the heavy cream in with them and melt on a low heat until you get a nice smooth cream.
- Pour the cream over the dry mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Leave the whole thing for about 15 to 20 minutes in the fridge to cool.
- After cooling form into balls, or if you want you can do a different shape and roll them into ground peanuts or sugar or sprinkles.

Photo Credits: My photo.


Pizza poofs

Hubby and I love movie time and what comes with that? Snacks! 
I thought I would try and make some sort of a Pizza pocket/bite thing and while these bad boys aren't the prettiest they sure were tasty, cheap and quick. Also if you make a bigger batch you can freeze them and then later on just pop into the oven.

What I used:
- A packet of ready rolled pizza dough
- Fresh mozzarella, I bought one packet (one ball/ 200ish grams I think) and I ended up using it for 2 packets of dough and still having some left over
- Spaghetti sauce/pizza sauce/ heck ketchup 
- Some pepperoni, or other meats if you prefer. 
- If you want to add spices like oregano and such go for it.

How to:

- The dough is already rolled out so you just unwrap it and lay it down flat. 
- Cut it into equal size squares. Now mines were a bit chunky but I didn't mind. So if you want bite sized tiny snacks make small squares, they WILL grow in the oven. 
- Spread some sauce/ketchup in the middle, don't go too close to the edges as you don't want it running out later.

- Add on a chunk of cheese (you can put more than one kind of cheese if you want) and pepperoni or other meats.

- Fold the corners of the square over so you make a little pillow like thingy.

- Put the little pizza pockets that you made on a baking tray (you can use baking paper but its not necessary just grease the baking tray instead).

- I baked mines for about 20 min on Gas Mark 6, but that would depend on the size you make so just bake them until they are golden brown.

This was the first time I attempted this, they were absolutely delicious, although I forgot that the dough would rise so they ended up being a bit more poofy and chunky than I had expected. I am not complaining though! And neither did the hubby. 
If you are wondering why one of them is completely different and weird..... I can't remember what I did to it, well I can see what I did I just can not remember why in the world... but hey! You can make them in that shape too!

Next time I am using this same dough to try and make some bread sticks. I am thinking some butter, garlic and herbs thrown together and ....well I haven't thought that far ahead and to be quite honest I am making myself hungry.

Note: All images are mine.

Rum Cookies

I think we all need a bit of alcohol in us from time to time, this goes for cookies too!

What you will need to make spiced rum cookies:
- 175g (6oz) of unsalted butter, softened and a bit extra for greasing
- 175g (6oz) dark muscovado sugar
- 225g (8oz) plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp dark rum

How to make spiced rum cookies:
- Preheat your oven to 180 *C (or 350 *F, Gas Mark 4) and grease two baking sheets.
- Cream together the butter and sugar, you should whisk it until its all light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and the nutmeg into the creamed mixture.
- Stir in the rum into the mixture. place 18 spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepped baking sheets.
- Make sure you space them apart giving them plenty of room to expand. Flatten each one of them slightly with the back of a spoon (you can take the liberties when shaping them).
- Bake your spiced rum cookies in a preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden. 
- Leave the cookies to cool and crisp on a wire rack before serving.

Can you guys tell I'm really wanting some cookies this morning or what? 

Photo Credit: Photo is mine.


Slow Carb Diet

First it was one book, The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, then I just had to have another. He is effortless in his writing, non condescending and it just flows page after page.
The second book was The 4-hour body. One section of that book is about weight loss and it talks about a slow-carb diet. This diet is based on foods with a low GI (Glycemic Index). You are not allowed starches or anything sweet pretty much.

Allowed Foods:
- Eggs
- Lean meat, preferably organic, grass fed etc. but in my case that is not a reality because I can't fork out the cash for the good stuff.
- Beans and other legumes, chickpeas should be eaten in moderation though.
- Vegetables, but no yams or potatoes those are too starchy.
- Condiments are allowed as long as they are not sugar laden and/or cream based. So for instance Caesar dressing is a no-no, so is ketchup but hot sauce and mustard are ok.
- Seasonings and herbs are also ok.
- Unsweetened cocoa and vanilla extracts are ok to be used too.

Banned Foods:
- Dairy, no milk, cheese or anything that comes even near being milky cheesy or delicious. If you absolutely must then small amounts of cottage cheese are allowed. But who wants that right? 
- No delicious bready goodness of any kind.
- No soy byproducts such as tofu, soy milk, soy shakes
- Again no potatoes, yams or any other starchy veg.
- Rice, oatmeal and grains in general are out, this includes corn, popcorn... I'm not sure if corn is a grain but either way it's not allowed.
- No cereal.
- No pasta.
- Ketchup and any salad dressings and sauces with sugar, no corn or maple syrup or fructose either.
- No alcohol, except dry red wine in moderation if it tickles your fancy.
- This one might surprise you but, no fruit other than olives, tomatoes and avocados in moderation.

Food Preparation:
- Deep fat frying, especially of battered and breaded food, is a big no-no.
- Pan frying food (bit again not battered or breaded) is ok. If you have a non stick pan that allows you little or no use of fat/oil even better.
- Cooking, steaming, microwaving and baking is all allowed. So is grilling and any other method that wouldn't soak the food in grease.

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Cheat Day:
One day of the week should be a designated cheat day. This is not optional and is an integral part of the diet. So don’t think you are doing yourself favors by not eating on this day. Use this day to pig out and eat all and any food that you might have been missing and or craving during the rest of the week.

Rule #1 Avoid “white” carbs
- Pretty self explanatory and these foods are covered above under banned foods.

Rule #2 Eat the same few meals over and over again
- Tim thinks that simplicity is the key. If you set a routine and follow it you will be more likely to succeed.
If you eat 2 eggs and 2 slices of back bacon each morning without having to plan and think about it you are more likely to follow through. 
He says pick above allowed ingredients, make up 3-4 different meals and repeat them. It makes things simple.
- In my opinion, whatever works for you, we are all different.

Rule #3 Don’t drink calories
- You need to drink a lot of water, on or off this diet. You can drink as much as you want of unsweetened tea, coffee or other low/no calorie drink. 
- Do not drink milk (no soy milk either), normal soft drinks or fruit juice.
- If you must you can have a single diet soft drink (no more than 450ml).

Rule #4 Don’t eat fruit
- To summarize his explanations, humans naturally did not have fruit year round, let alone all the fruit that is available to us now.
- Fructose gets converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than pretty much any other carbs do. Glycerol Phosphate-> triglycerides-> fat storage.
- My two cents is, on top of all of this most of the fruit in the grocery stores is laden with chemicals and gmo anyway. So unless you are buying organic, local and in season it MIGHT not be as healthy and harmless as we think.

Rule #5 Take one day of the week off
- According to research spiking your calorie intake dramatically will increase fat loss because it ensures that your metabolic rate doesn't slow down from the extended restriction of calories.
- There will be a spike in your weight, due to water gain, after the binge day but that will disappear within a day or two and it ensures larger weight gain in the long term.

That is it in a nutshell. You can read more, in a lot more detail with many explanations, examples, and more in the 4-Hour Body book. You can also Google and research the diet online and find a ton of information that you can use without buying the book.

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My experience after a week on the diet:
- I have not worked out. My week has been pretty sedentary (office life). 
- I have started eating breakfast which I never do. 
- I haven’t been hungry as I can eat however much I want of the allowed foods.
- I am eating less, less often but feeling much fuller and not even thinking about food. 
- It was a lot easier than I thought and I craved things a lot less than I thought I would.
- My coffee suffers the most. I am using almond milk as a substitute but man, it is just not the same.
- The night before our cheat day hubby and I made a 2 mile trek to the store. We figured it wouldn't hurt our weight loss to walk 10k steps. The plan was go crazy and grab whatever you are craving, no limits! To my surprise I had trouble picking stuff out. We bought a lot less than we anticipated.
- After the binge day I didn’t lose weight that day or the day after but I still lost inches. I’ll take it.
- I have lost a total of 4.6 lb in a week. Not bad considering the fact that I am not working out, not starving or hanging upside down while drinking some weird oil.

Have you heard of this diet before?
Have you tried it?

Photo Credits: My photo.



How to marinate and pickle mushrooms

Here is a small how to for all of us who cant resist grabbing that teeny jar of pickled mushrooms, despite the ridiculous price tag. Next time you are at the grocery store resist the urge and pick up these instead;many of the ingredients you most likely already have at home- Mushrooms – Garlic bulb – Vinegar – Whole black pepper – Vegetable oil – Salt – Clean glass jar.

You can use these ingredients to create your own marinade, play around with it you can always add a thing or two or skip on something. However, if this is not your thing you can always pick up Italian dressing or many other oil based dressings and seasonings at the grocery store and just soak your mushrooms in that. This takes, depending on your taste and how strong you want the aroma to be, anywhere from couple of hours to a few days.

This option comes in very handy for last minute dishes when entertaining or such, you can prep it in the morning and by dinner when guests arrive your mushrooms are ready to wow them.

For those of you that want to try creating your own marinade read on:

-Wash and clean your mushrooms thoroughly.

-Put the mushrooms in a pot of lightly salted water, big enough to hold all of them and have them be completely covered (or swim in, as some like to do that) with water.

-Bring the water to a boil and drain your mushrooms.

-Combine all your ingredients, adding the right amounts by your taste standards until you are happy with the taste and the aroma. + The amount of marinade you will need is enough to cover all of your mushrooms once they are in the jar.

-Pour half an inch or so of marinade into a warm glass jar, now put in all of your mushrooms and then finish it off by pouring in the rest of the marinade in so it covers the mushrooms completely but you leave some room at the top of the jar.

-Close the jar tightly and let the mushrooms sit for about half an hour or so at room temperature, you don’t want to put them into the fridge while warm!

-After the mushrooms have cooled of you can put them into the fridge.

-Clean glass jar does wonders. + You can either buy one or use an old pickle or jam jar. Make sure the jar is thoroughly washed, otherwise the smells and the flavors might mix and it wont be pretty.
-Add some extra vegetables. + Vegetables such as carrots, peppers or onions can pickle just as nicely as mushrooms and they look lovely and colorful when presented.
-Mushrooms usually come in a little box, they are either sliced or whole, a boxful will do just fine for your first time pickled mushrooms. + It doesn’t matter whether you pick sliced or whole mushrooms, however the whole ones look more presentable somehow.