So here we are, Merry Christmas! Can’t believe how fast December has gone, actually can’t believe how fast the year has gone. It’s the last day of 12 Days and I couldn’t think of a better way to end it than to share with you all how to have the perfect Christmas. And when I say perfect, I really mean imperfect because I believe perfection lies in the imperfections of everyday. I’ve put together all my recipes, tips and tricks to having the most magical day ever.
The Perfect Christmas Morning:
You know that quote, “I’m only a morning person on Christmas”, well that could not be more accurate. Ever since my sister and I were tiny humans, we would run into each others rooms early on Christmas morning and then run downstairs to see what Santa had left us in our stockings. Our excitement would eventually wake our parents and grandparents up and we would sit around the living room by the tree opening our stockings. After that, we all head into the kitchen to make our Christmas breakfast, pancakes, fruit, hot chocolate and egg nog. Once the dishes have been cleared and washed, we’ll go back to the tree and open all of our presents while sipping on more egg nog and listening to Christmas music. It’s always the most chill, relaxed but exciting morning of the year.
Each family always has their own Christmas traditions, and I think that carrying those for generations hold so much meaning. But I also think that coming up with new traditions to pass on to your kids and grandkids are so special. Every year for Christmas my grandma made her special ‘holiday nugget’ cookies (our family recipe), and as I got older I began to carry on that tradition as well. My family has all the little things we do on Christmas that we’ve pretty much done my whole life, and carrying on those traditions no matter where we are always makes the day extra special. Traditions are rooted in family, remember to be thankful to have been blessed with your family, Christmas is rooted in family.
Fun Things To Do On Christmas Day:
- Play a big board game with your family
- Watch a Christmas movie (Santa Clause and Love Actually are always SO GOOD on Christmas day) and cuddle up with Christmas cookies and peppermint hot chocolate
- Play with all your new presents. I know this sounds like something kids do, but I promise everyone wants to sit there and try/check out all their new goodies
- Go look at all the Christmas lights and decorations around your neighborhood (or wherever you are)
- Shop!! I know this sounds crazy, but post-Christmas sales are the real deal
- Cook dinner…and try out a new recipe while you’re at it (festive recipes down below:)
- Festive crafts and DIYS- make paper snowflakes, homemade ornaments or DIY decorations… and you’ll be getting a start for next year
- Build a gingerbread house, bake some Christmas cookies, get your sweet tooth ready
- Lounge around all day in your Christmas PJs or ugly Christmas sweaters… you deserve it!
The Perfect Cheese Platter:
Is there any other way to start a Christmas meal than with an over-the-top cheese platter?! To start off, grab a large board. Pick out 3-4 cheese of your choosing. My motto when it comes to cheese is the stinkier the better, but to each their own. Get different kinds of crackers or slices of a baguette and lay out on the board. Now arrange the blocks of cheese in the center. Fill up the open spaces with slices of fruit, bunches of grapes, jams or honeys and nuts. Always have a sweet and salty element on your board. And of course… serve with wine:)
One thing my family has started doing over the past few years is different kinds of tapas during festive meals. Tapas is the Spanish word for small plate/appetizer. Usually, we do these on slices of baguette or simply on crackers. Our go-to is a thin slice of baguette, garlic yoghurt, caramelized onions, grilled red peppers, prosciutto, a slice of camembert with sugar and bruleed with a blow torch (absolutely to die for). Others we have done are a slice of chorizo with asparagus and aioli, crab salad with avocado and caviar, as well as prosciutto, blue cheese, pear, honey and black pepper. These are so easy to make ahead of time and in bulk and are always the first to go at any dinner or gathering.
Grilled Garlic Prawns:
6 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
- Carefully split the prawns in half, you can leave the head on or you can remove it and use it to make a prawn head oil.
- Season with salt, pepper and any other desired herbs.
- In a large pan, heat butter and garlic on high heat until butter bubbles. Put prawns in the hot pan (meat side down). Cook 2 minutes, flip, and cook another two minutes.
- Serve hot with fresh parsley to garnish.
Roasts are always the perfect center piece for a festive meal. Whether it’s turkey, chicken, pork belly or ribs, theres always a way to make it a little more Christmassy. Try spices like clove, all-spice, ginger, star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon as your dry rub. If you have access to it, using fresh spices (like whole cinnamon sticks) can do wonders. Adding a little bit of sweetness using oranges or cranberries is another way to amp up your roast.
One of the desserts I made this year was a tiramisu. I always thought that it was a technical and difficult dessert to make, but it couldn’t be easier. This boozy, creamy dessert will be a hit!
Lady fingers or pound cake
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1/3 cup Kahlua (coffee liquer)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup marscapone
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Cocoa powder, for dusting
- Start by whipping the cream with the powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla essence. Once soft peaks are formed, fold in the marscapone. Set aside.
- Mix coffee and Kahlua in a shallow tin. If you’re using pound cake, cut into strips the size of your container.
- To assemble: Start with a thin layer of the cream at the bottom of a clear class container.
- Dip your cake or lady fingers in the coffee mixture and form one layer.
- Add cream on top and spread evenly. Repeat this process until you’re done.
- Refrigerate for a few hours or over night. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.
Brandy Snap Canoli (A take on Jamie Oliver’s recipe):
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Hennessy (brandy)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup marscapone
1/4 cup dark chocolate
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup candied nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)
Orange, to zest
- To make the shells of the canoli, bring the brown sugar, butter and syrup to boil in a pan (until it becomes a silky caramel).
- Pour the caramel into a mixture of flour and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Add brandy and mix it in.
- Scoop spoon full of the mixture onto a baking sheet (with lot’s of space in between) and bake at 375 degrees for 7 1/2 minutes.
- Once baked, leaved to cool for exactly 90 seconds, then shape around a wooden spoon or rolling pin until set.
- Set the shells aside until ready to fill and eat.
- For the filling, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Then add marscapone and gently fold in.
- Add chopped chocolate, cranberries and nuts to the mixture and grate in half of the orange zest. Gently mixed.
- Right before eating, put the filling in a piping bag and fill the shells.
- Serve topped with powdered sugar and orange zest.
And with that I’m signing off for 2018. Thank you for an amazing year, can’t wait to see all the next has to offer.
Happy new year and I’ll see you in 2019!! xx
Hi everyone and happy day 9! I can’t believe we’re only a week out from Christmas, it’s going by so fast. I hope you’re all enjoying (or looking forward to enjoying) the holiday season with all of your loved ones. Today’s post is going to be two of my favorite cozy recipes for a cold winter evening. First is going to be an updated version of my smoky-ranch meatballs, and second will be my fresh pappardelle pasta with meat sauce. Hope you enjoy these and see you for day 10!
Minced beef and pork mix
1 or 2 (depending on amount of meat) packet of ranch seasoning
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Good squeeze of ketchup
1/4 cup of spring onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jar tomato sauce
Basil and other desired spices.
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Form meat into balls, about 2 tablespoons per meatball, and set aside.
- In a pot, heat up the tomato sauce over medium heat and mix with spices.
- Get another pan and heat it up with olive oil on high heat. When hot, begin cooking meatballs. Cook until browned, then set aside.
- Put meatballs into the pot of tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Right before serving, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cover to melt.
- Serve hot.
Fresh Beetroot Pappardelle with Meat Sauce:
For the pasta-
3 cups all-purpose flour
For the sauce-
1 pack of minced beef
3/4 jar of tomato sauce
2 zucchinis, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta-
- Chop the beetroot and put it in a small pan over high heat with a little bit of olive oil and water. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Pour out liquid into a small bowl and set aside. Use muslin cloth or an old dish towel to squeeze all the liquid (and coloring) out of the beets.
- While cooking the beets, put the flour in a large bowl and form a small well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the middle and begin to knead the dough while slowly adding the beed juice. Knead for about 5 minutes.
- Once well knead, flour well and pass through a pasta machine (roll it out as thin as it will go).
- It’s meant to be a rustic pappardelle, so hand-cut it as thick or thin as you want.
- When ready to cook, cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
For the sauce-
- Start by sautéing the meat, onions, zucchini and garlic with a little bit of olive oil.
- Once cooked, add the tomato sauce and half of the basil (and any other desired herbs and spices) and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Once pasta is cooked slowly fold it into the sauce.
- Serve hot and topped with fresh basil and pecorino cheese.
Happy cooking! xx
Happy Saturday lovelies!! I’m sitting here writing this from Tokyo, back with my family to celebrate the holidays. Since I’m now back home, I tried making a new Christmassy cocktail last night that I’ve been dying to try for a while. So for day 8 I thought I’d share the recipe with you all. I’ll link the recipe I used for inspo down below as well.
1 cup silver Jose Cuervo (or any other silver tequila)
2/3 cup Malibu (coconut rum)
1/3 cup Cointreau
1 cup lime juice
1 cup+ coconut water
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
Mix all ingredients well in a large punch bowl or pitcher with lots of large ice cubes.
Add extra coconut water or lime juice if it’s too strong.
Right before serving, add some sprigs of mint leaves.
Serve chilled with adorable Christmas glasses (the one’s in the photo are from Target).
This recipe is one of my favorites to make during the summer. It’s everything you want in a few bites. Salty, sweet, bitter, sour. All you need are some good figs, honey, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar and pepper. Read more down below to find out how to make this super easy yet delicious summer dish. Enjoy!
- Wash your figs lightly and then cut them in half, longways.
- Brush the inside of the halves with a little bit of honey, just enough to cover it all.
- Put the figs in a pan with a little bit of butter and cook on medium for about 8 minutes, or until the honey begins to caramelize.
- Once the figs are cooked, let them cool for about 10 minutes then wrap each half in one piece of prosciutto.
- Right before serving, drizzle a tad of balsamic and crack a bit of pepper over the top and your summer appetizer is all good to go.
The 33rd floor of the Marina Bay Financial Tower is home to the world’s highest micro-brewery, Level 33. In the midst of business and financial chaos lies the funky yet tranquil high end restaurant. After traveling 33 stories in the private elevator, you step into a world of awe and amazing food. Walk past the hostess towards the dining area and you find 6 huge rose gold tubs brewing different types of their signature beers. Most notably, they are working on their brand new Champagne Beer, launching on June 7th. Run by their master brewer, the quality of their beer is incredible. The dining area lines a large floor to ceiling window overlooking the famous and breathtaking Marina Bay scene.
While the view is incredible, equally impressive was their food and drinks. Their weekday lunch special (the Executive Lunch Set) is priced at $42++ which includes a buffet of charcuterie, cheeses, salads, seafood and fruit and a main of choice. And for only $5 you can add on a dessert plate. Even after filling myself up on everything from port cheddar to nduja balls and shrimp cocktail, the seared tuna I ordered as my main was everything I was hoping for. In the middle of a large white plate laid two steaks of perfectly seared tuna over a drizzling of sherry caramel and roasted carrots and topped with chervil and almonds; an extremely generous serving for the reasonable price. But of course I couldn’t eat at a craft brewery without trying one of their signature drinks. Wanting to keep it light (after all it was 11:30am…) I decided to try the Wheat Beer and Lemonade Shandy, as recommended by our waitress. Half of a liter was only $10, and was the perfect accompaniment to the meal.
This meal at Level 33 definitely did not disappoint and I cannot wait to go back again. The quality of the food and service only added to the naturally vibrant atmosphere, creating an inviting and exciting environment. Good food, an amazing view and friendly service… Singapore in a nutshell.
Address: 8 Marina Boulevard 33-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 018981
In honor of the Beach Bum Lifestyle Program and beach bum season, here’s a super healthy and protein-packed peanut butter cookie recipe, using the Usana chocolate protein powder. Links below!
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Usana chocolate protein powder
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1. Cream peanut butter, coconut palm sugar, vanilla and coconut oil together until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one by one and continue to beat for one minute on medium speed.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the baking soda, protein powder, flour and oats.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture in 3 batches and continuously beat on medium speed until fully mixed.
4. Add cacao nibs and fold into cookie mixture with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes, cool and enjoy your healthy treats!!
My Usana Website: http://aimefukada.usana.com/
My Usana code: aime10
The Beach Bum Lifestyle Program: http://www.beachbumlifestyleprogram.com/