Quick 'n' Easy

Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

in the two months since my last post here, i've started med school. it is insanely busy and crazy and i love it.  i can now give injections and have a rudimentary understanding of why these here olive oil blondies might be a tad bad for us. but oh well they're delicious let's eat them anyway. 

starting this new chapter of my life ( i say started, but i'm halfway through the semester) has made me consider what kind of stuff might be featured here on this little internet corner. i figure that i might like to look back on all aspects of my life, not just my baking and cooking adventures. so expect some med school life content! in other news, between lectures, tutorials and traffic jams (i am beginning to feel like i'm spending my life in the cars somewhat), i have been slowly rekindling my love with the gym. slowly.  it's a fragile and tentative relationship, not unlike the one between tom and jerry from old saturday morning cartoons. speaking of cats, the cat lady life is approaching me. when i once thought that uni life would be staying out late and partying on, it really is hanging out with my bestie's new kitten (so! cute!), and wondering if 8:30 is too early to go to bed on a saturday night. #grandmalife

the importance of routine is setting in too. even though all my days start at different times, and my timetable is slightly different every week, i'm starting to get used to a routine of uni, study, sleep, gym (ish), working and hanging out. hopefully i get better at incorporating more of these posts into that routine! the shock of feeling lost, confused and not understanding most of what is happening is wearing off, and slowly but surely uni is becoming more like a good friend rather than a weird kooky cousin. the more i hear about the importance of looking after yourself as a medical student, the more i realise the importance of keeping it simple when it comes to wellbeing. personally, i don't feel the need for special powders in my smoothies (but hey! if that's what floats your boat keep on rolling!) or complicated workouts and wellbeing apps. just simple things like drinking water, going for a run, lifting some weight, having naps, switching my phone off and taking time to check in with my brain about how i'm feeling works for me. essentially, the content i'm studying is complicated enough - so i figure keeping the rest of my life as simple as possible is the way to go! 

so, in the theme of keeping it simple, here's a delicous recipe that is no fuss. no thousand glossy photos or complicated instructions. just a treat that may not be excellent for your body, but is fabulous for the soul. it's all about balance hey?

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even though the easter period is a time for chocolate, this recipe is perfect to share with those who perhaps aren't chocolate fanatics. these blondies are sweet, moist, dense, caramelly and delicious. i threw a chocolate buttercream frosting on top (with sprinkles ofc) to jazz them up a bit because i live by the rule that everything is better with buttercream and sprinkles. this recipe belongs to molly of mynameisyeh, and i made them for a bake stall at my old high school earlier in the year, they were a hit!! my frosting was slightly different to the original recipe, just because of my own personal preference and for dietary reasons. 10/10 would recommend, an excellent alternative to a brownie for the dairy-free amongst us! 


Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

makes 16 large blondies

ingredients

for the blondies

2 c flour
2 c lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 c olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the frosting

200g vegan butter (room temp)

350g icing sugar

50g caco powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp unsweetened almond milk

sprinkles

method

to make the blondies

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line a square baking tin with baking paper, about 20x20 cm. 

in one large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. in another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and vanilla. making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the wet mix and whisk to combine. 

pour the batter into the lined baking tin and use a spatula or palette knife to spread an even surface on the mixture. bake for 35 minutes, then check for done-ness by sticking a skewer into the centre, on a slight angle. if it comes out clean, the blondies are ready. if not, bake for another 2 minutes, then check again.

leave to cool in the pan while making the frosting. 

to make the  frosting

cream the butter, icing sugar and cacao powder in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. beat for 3 minutes until pale and smooth. add the vanilla and almond milk and beat again for another minute. 

remove the blondies from the pan and frost. decorate with sprinkles as desired. 

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happy belated easter, enjoy the choccies!! 

jess x

  

Passion Mango Smoothie

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since my last blog post here on ALA, i have experienced moments of resounding joy and crushing grief. between getting into the university course of my dreams and having to say goodbye to my loved pa, these past few weeks have  managed to stretch and stress my emotional capacity and range beyond belief. as the hot 'straya summer sets in, i have spent many an hour in front of the tv in the air conditioning watching final half of gilmore girls and contemplating how the rest of my 2018 might look and feel. it was between the bleeding-together-epidosdes of fast talking and coffee drinking that i settled into the idea of taking each day as it comes. but onto happier things. 

in the time between the end of school and the start of uni i have bought an inordinate amount of plants. house plants specifically. in the plant family there have been three additions this week alone! i think i may be becoming one of those ladies who fills the void with house plants and cats. cats!!!! i'm toying with the idea of adopting one and i think it might be the best idea since sliced bread. i just keep having visions of cat cuddles and playing with toys and patting and grooming and small little meows. there's even a name shortlist sitting in my phone. 

there has also been a surge in my d.i.y. adventures. it started with the park bench re-vamp that is now sitting in our backyard and yesterday expanded to the bedside table up-do using the cheapest ikea side tables i could find and some shiny white enamel paint. they look pretty spiffy alongside the house plants if i say so myself. 

so that's pretty much a re-cap of january. it was a tricky month so i don't really want to say much, but at least with uni starting, among other things, i'm sure february and it's 28 days will be a little more glorious. 

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passion mango smoothie 

{serves two}

ingredients

2 mango cheeks

5 tb lemon lime gelato

2 tb passion fruit pulp

1/2 c cubed ice 

2 tb cold water

1 tsp lime juice 

lime wheels (for garnish)

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smoothie time!

use the glass trick to cut two cheeks off one mango! chuck all the ingredients into a small blender. the passion fruit pulp can be canned or from real fruit (if canned, make sure it's real fruit based).

blend until smooth and split into two glasses. add lime wheels for fancy garnish.


- jess! 

Cranberry & Orange Punch

hey! how's the christmas prep going??? have you started???? have you already finished??? at this time of year melbourne goes a little nuts, and i think it's down to the madness of the holiday season. shopping centres quickly become more like overpacked psychiatric wards, as shoppers walk around with glazed looks in their eyes, full trolleys and dazed and confused expressions. the roads are overly busy as people try and achieve this and hat before the christmas break that really lasts until late january, and last week i saw two women literally fighting over the last turkey frozen roll in the supermarket whilst selecting my mangoes. 

thank the lordy lord for online shopping. 

it's been package central around here lately, with christmas gifts arriving at our door left right and centre. but it's always the awkward game of can i look!??!?!?!?!, because there's nothing worse than ruining your own christmas surprise. so to account for the ambiguity of delivery times, we've sort of resorted to hiding boxes behind our backs as we shuffle down the hallways. at least that's my plan for hiding the parcels anyway.   

but, despite all the christmas madness, the packed car parks and the supermarket sass, it's always worth it. because when you unpack the shopping you get to wrap presents, put them under the tree, plan christmas dinner and decorate your house with lights, christmas trees and decorations. so whilst the most wonderful time of the year makes people slightly insane, i suppose they don't call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing. 

notes: this morning i brunched with belle and we chitchatted our little hearts away over coffee, smashed avocado and sourdough toast. brunch is by far my favourite meal of the day. why? because it doesn't discriminate against breakfast foods no lunch foods and chances are if you argued your case well, you can pretty much eat anything you want. brunch is simple, brunch is easy, and it is always a good way to catch up with friends. because who says no to brunch???? belle doesn't drink coffee though so i thought something like this would be a great brunchy drink. this drink is so easy and quick i feel like a cop-out turning it into a full blown blog post. but, to be perfectly honest, it's a really festive substitution for alcoholic cocktails or mulled wine and ideal for party situations because of it's few ingredients. it's delicious and fizzy and i think it's simply yummy! 


Cranberry & Orange punch 

{serves two}

ingredients

juice of one orange (approx 100 mls)

200 ml carbonated water, chilled 

160 ml cranberry juice

mint leaves, fresh

ice, to serve 

method

combine the orange juice and carbonated water in a jug. mix the cranberry juice in. split the drink mix between two glasses. top with ice and some fresh mint leaves* and serve. 

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*to enhance the mint flavour in the drink, smoosh the leaves with your straw or a cocktail muddler at the bottom of your drink. 


- jess x