Monthly Archives: December 2012

Goal #52

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For the 7th anniversary of our first date, Ninja and I celebrated with a 7-course dinner at home! In so doing, I ticked off another goal on my 101 in 1001 list, namely #52: Make a 7-course dinner. The evening was truly amazing. I’ll be posting recipes for the various courses in separate posts, but for now here are a few pics:

Menu

The 7 dishes I put together

Table decor

The theme was ‘damask and hot pink’, which worked really well

Rose

A highlight from the overall theme

The dinner went off without a hitch and I had more fun than stress throughout. Ninja was blown away! It was the first time I’d made such a large meal, but I prepped well in advance and it was manageable. I’d definitely like to try a similar dinner party again, perhaps with fewer courses but more guests 🙂

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Goal #16

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I feel rather chuffed with myself to announce that I’ve ticked off one of my 101 goals already: #16 – Paint every nail a different colour and leave them be for a week. This was a fun goal, and definitely one of the easiest to tick off – it certainly suits my motto of celebrating all things bright and beautiful 🙂

And here’s the photographic proof, as required by item #1 on my list:

#16

[Random unnecessary note]

The polish colours are:

1. Clear polish

2. Extreme (blue)

3. Raspberry (pink)

4. Punk (dark blue with glitter)

5. Waterpolo pink

6. Deejay (blue)

7. Overheat (red)

8. Love Notes (light pink)

9. Lime Green

10. Escape (peachy pink)

[End random note]

What are YOU planning to do with the next 1001 days?

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But having a place to go, or something to do, may be infinitely more important for a person than going there or doing it. Horizons keep people more alive than pavements do. ~ William Horwood ~

I’ve just found something far superior to New Year’s resolutions. If you love lists and need a kick in the butt to accomplish those things you really want to, visit the Day Zero Project. It’s an amazing online community of goal-setters that I discovered while chatting on my favourite rat forums, as you do 🙂 The website allows you to make several lists of goals you want to reach, and the timelines can vary. One of their most popular challenges is the ‘101 things in 1001 days’ list. I took the leap and identified various goals, big and small, fun and serious, that I’d like to achieve in that timeframe. And here they are:

My 101 things in 1001 days list

Start: Dec 08, 2012 – End: Sep 05, 2015

  1. Keep a photographic record of this list
  2. Update my blog at least once a week
  3. Read the Bible through in one year
  4. Make a workout routine and stick to it
  5. Get to my goal weight and maintain
  6. Finish a scrapbook
  7. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  8. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
  9. Go on a hike
  10. Go for a ride on a motorbike
  11. Grow my hair long
  12. Dye my hair black
  13. Get a belly button piercing
  14. Relearn fluent German
  15. Make an origami animal
  16. Paint every nail a different colour and leave them be for a week
  17. Paint a canvas
  18. Assemble a disaster/emergency kit
  19. Go horseback riding on the beach
  20. Visit a cave
  21. Go for a walk in a forest
  22. Bake a cake
  23. Make a list of 100 things that I am grateful for
  24. Read all the Twilight books
  25. Learn Hindi
  26. Participate in a charity walk
  27. Complete a 1000+ piece puzzle
  28. Go on a road trip
  29. Go on a rollercoaster
  30. Visit a planetarium
  31. Go camping
  32. Go to a concert
  33. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor
  34. Read at least one book a month and keep a list of them
  35. Host a dinner party
  36. Go vegetarian for a month
  37. Make a custom recipe book
  38. Go to 5 different museums
  39. Have a sleepover party
  40. Go for a bicycle ride
  41. Make a new friend
  42. Eat 5 things I’ve never tried before
  43. Give someone a handmade gift
  44. Grow a plant from a seed
  45. Buy flowers for myself for no reason
  46. Create a flower arrangement
  47. Get my passport
  48. Try 5 new cocktails
  49. Decorate for a holiday
  50. Write a letter to my favourite author
  51. Spend a day without technology
  52. Make a 7-course dinner
  53. Photograph a landscape from the same location, capturing all four seasons
  54. Get a henna tattoo on my hand or foot
  55. Go skinny dipping
  56. Surprise my mom with flowers
  57. Go to Sun City
  58. Buy myself a bottle of expensive perfume
  59. Stay up for new year countdown with friends
  60. Go on holiday with friends
  61. Navigate a maze
  62. Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos
  63. Write a list of 101 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime
  64. Send in a photograph to a contest
  65. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find
  66. Send a message in a bottle
  67. Visit Namaqualand in flower season
  68. List all family and friends’ birthdays and anniversaries
  69. Get more pet rats
  70. Play a computer game
  71. Holiday in the Drakensberg
  72. Clear out all my junk
  73. Find the perfect fitting pair of jeans
  74. Go on a boat ride
  75. Dress in super sexy lingerie
  76. Go to Gold Reef City
  77. Make a playlist of 101 of my favourite songs
  78. Celebrate 5 obscure holidays
  79. Make a time capsule
  80. Visit Knysna wolf sanctuary
  81. Visit bird of prey centre
  82. Take the tourist bus around Cape Town
  83. Go on holiday by bus
  84. Learn to read an analogue clock properly!
  85. Make my own outfit
  86. Paint a room in my house
  87. Spend a night in a fancy hotel
  88. Go to a Lipizzaner show
  89. Go to a movie by myself
  90. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet
  91. Kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s
  92. Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English
  93. Go on a picnic
  94. Have professional photos taken
  95. Throw away all my underwear and start again
  96. Learn the basics of self-defence
  97. Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa
  98. Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie
  99. Put away R5 for each completed task – the total to be spent shopping at the end of my 1001 days
  100. Write 5 letters to 5 people who changed my life
  101. Start planning an overseas trip

I’d like to do a lot more than that, of course, but these items are a great starting point for deliberately adding fun and a sense of achievement to my life. New Year’s resolutions are difficult to attain because they’re usually open-ended and vague. The timeframe of this list is also helpful; one year would be too little time to achieve some of these goals, and any longer would lead to complacency. There’s also something especially motivating by counting your life (and your lists) in days rather than years: days tick by so quickly!

A bonus to this list is that many of the items tie in with one another. For example, #1 will be progressively achieved as the others are (although I won’t be able to keep a photographic record of some items, such as #2, 3, 4, 14, 55, 75, 84 and 101). And by achieving the other goals, I’m automatically able to achieve items such as #1, 2 and 99. I tried to choose a variety of goals, so that they wouldn’t all be daunting because they were too life changing, or over too soon because they were too easily achieved.

I plan to post pics of my achievements on this blog, and I hope this will motivate you to tackle a ‘101 in 1001’ list of your own!

Pancakes without eggs? Really?!

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I absolutely LOVE pancakes! They have been my favourite food since I could first say the word ‘yum’ 🙂 I enjoy them with virtually any filling, from the standard cinnamon-sugar-lemon juice mix to savoury mince with potato. To my mind, the flat breads of cultures the world over (think tortillas, rotis …) are just steps towards the discovery of The Pancake! And until just this week, I thought nothing could compare to the scrumptious (though admittedly high-cholesterol) pancake recipe that my mom passed on to me:

3 eggs

1 C milk

1 T oil

1 T castor sugar

100 g flour

pinch salt

But then I forgot to buy eggs this week, even though they were on my list. So when it came to Wednesday and I saw ‘Pancakes and Tuna Salad’ listed on my monthly meal planner, I was (momentarily) disheartened. However, buoyed up by the smashing success of the eggless custard cake, I turned to dear old Google to find an egg-free pancake recipe. I tried out this one, though I did end up modifying it very quickly, as follows:

1 1/2 C flour

2 C milk (plus random extra splashes to keep the batter thin)

1 T oil

pinch salt

1 T castor sugar

I started off following Meg’s recipe, but added the salt and sugar to counter the relative tastelessness (what can I say, I missed the eggs …). I also found that if the batter was too thick, the pancakes were more like fried tortillas. So make sure you have extra milk on hand. I used a nonstick pan (not something I usually cook with) and overall the results were great.

I did miss the flavour and light fluffiness provided by the eggs in my mom’s recipe. However, the egg-free version was less oily and rich, which is a definite plus in terms of healthier eating. Another plus was Ninja’s reaction: he didn’t just like them; he thought they were far superior to the old recipe. Not as greasy to handle, a bit more filling and substantial, and obviously cheaper and better for our hearts. He’s rarely this effusive about a meal, so I sat up and took notice 🙂

The verdict? This will become my standard pancake recipe from now on, and I’ll only make the richer version on those occasions when I’m up for a special treat. It’s fantastic to have such a cheap shortcut to my favourite food!

Custard cake with no eggs, no butter, no milk

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Yesterday I found (and adapted) another great recipe from the internet, because I was searching for something to bake that didn’t require eggs. When I came across this recipe for too-good-to-be-true cupcakes, I had to give it a go. I’d never baked with custard powder before, but the results were delicious (no pics, I’m afraid … the cake didn’t last long enough!). The original recipe is for cupcakes, but I first tried it out as a full cake.

 

1 1/2 C self-raising flour

1/3 C custard powder

1/2 t salt

1/2 C castor sugar

1 C water

1/3 C oil

1 T lemon juice

1 1/2 t vanilla essence

 

1. Sift dry ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.

3. Combine all and beat (preferably with an electric beater) until smooth.

4. Pour into muffin tins or cake tin.

5. Bake at 180 °C for 25 minutes (cupcakes) or 40–50 min (full cake), until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Notes

1. Grease the cake tin, line it with wax paper, and grease it again to make sure your cake doesn’t come apart when you remove the wax paper.

2. I sprinkled large-granuled white sugar on top of the cake just before baking. This turned into a crispy, sweet crust, and removed the need for 1 full cup of sugar in the recipe and for icing afterward.

3. This cake mix doesn’t brown in the oven, so you’ll need to test it with a skewer to determine when it’s baked through.

4. This was my first foray into egg-free, dairy-free baking – but it definitely won’t be the last!

Easy crunchy ginger nut biscuits

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Omm nom nom nom! These are easily the best ginger biscuits you’ll eat, and so quick to make. The original recipe is here, but I made a few tweaks because I’d rather have more ginger and less of a bicarb aftertaste. Adding more golden syrup than the original calls for also makes the biscuits extra hard and crunchy, which I love. Ninja and I scarfed these in no time!

Ginger biscuits

125 g butter

1 C castor sugar

2 T golden syrup

1 egg

2 C self-raising flour

3–5 t ground ginger

1/2 t bicarbonate of soda

Ginger biscuit dough balls

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

2. Grease or line flat baking trays.

3. Sift the flour, ginger and bicarb together.

4. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sugar and syrup. Add egg and beat to mix.

5. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Mix well to make a uniform dough.

6. Place teaspoon-sized balls on the baking trays, leaving lots of space in between for spreading.

7. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until nicely browned.

8. Leave the biscuits to harden and cool on the tray.

 

Notes

1. I found that 5 heaped teaspoons of ginger gave the perfect flavour, but you can adjust it as preferred.

2. I skipped the step of rolling the dough balls in extra sugar, just to ease my conscience about these treats!

3. If you use self-raising flour, consider omitting the bicarb. Or you could use 2 cups of plain flour and 1 teaspoon of bicarb. I find tweaks like this are necessary because I don’t like tasting more bicarb than ginger.

4. My oven is a cranky old thing, so I can’t give a set time for baking; 15 minutes might do it for most ovens, but I just keep an eye on my baking until the ginger nuts are nicely browned.

5. I found this recipe makes about 40 medium-sized ginger biscuits.