Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk / Fruit Sushi

On Day 18 of my New Thing  A Day challenge back in 2015, I really fancied something sweet and warming so I decided to make some rice pudding in the slow cooker.  I did not have any milk in the house but I had plenty of tins of coconut milk so I quickly Googled some recipes and found one which basically said something along the lines of “put some pudding rice in the pan and add enough coconut milk to just cover the rice.  Cook in slow cooker until ready.”

So I figured I had nothing to lose and threw in a whole bag of pudding rice and a tin of coconut milk.  Well, that was very silly of me because I had forgotten just how little rice you need in comparison to the milk… I had to keep adding more and more coconut milk and gave up after I had put in three tins… the rice pudding was so dry and Tim decidedly did not like the coconut flavour so it was considered a flop.

The next day, on Day 19, I decided to try using the sticky clumps of very dry and chewy coconut rice to make fruit sushi.  We added sliced strawberries and kiwis.  Using cling film and a bamboo rolling mat, it took just a couple of minutes to roll it together, and then we sliced it.

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Our fruit sushi looked so pretty!

Sadly, however, it tasted horrible.  That is most definitely not a reflection on the recipe at all but rather on my disgusting coconut milk rice.

On the upside, our twin Alaskan Malamutes absolutely adore all things coconut so they very enthusiastically ate the whole lot and we had very happy pupsters 🙂

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Brownies in a Jar – Edible Gifts!

Following on from discovering the benefits of making salads in a jar, I decided that (in the name of balanced eating lol) I should try making some brownies in a jar…

These were also inspired by The Domestic Geek – I am definitely a big fan!

I decided to attempt slight variations on the original recipes, and prepared three different brownie mixes (one plain, one with chocolate chunks and pecans, and one with walnuts), and it took just a few minutes to prepare each one.

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The idea is that when you want to bake your brownies, just tip the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl with some oil, vanilla extract and eggs, and pop into the oven.  So simple!

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The jars looked and smelled amazing, but of course the real test was how tasty the brownies would be once baked.  We were not sure how long the jars of brownie mix could be stored for so we baked one batch two days later, the second batch twelve days later (for ourselves) and the third batch nearly three weeks later (in another “something new” challenge).  Each batch was DELICIOUS!!!

These brownies in a jar are brilliant, and would make an ideal gift for a loved one with a sweet tooth!

BROWNIES WITH CHOCOLATE CHUNKS AND PECANS

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup dark cooking chocolate broken into pieces
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F or Gas Mark 4) and lightly oil a 9×9 inch baking dish.

Pour contents of jar into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the following:

  • ½ cup of melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tsps of vanilla extract.

Mix well.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Serve hot… ideally with vanilla ice cream!

Salads in a Jar – Meal Prep

I love food – pretty much all food – and I am very keen on salads.

Back in January 2015 I was exceptionally busy and had very little free time, let alone any real time to spend cooking.  I started looking into the concept of meal prepping, i.e. preparing meals at the weekend in advance of the week ahead.  I especially loved the idea of salads in a jar, which I came across on YouTube on a channel called The Domestic Geek.

The idea is simple: you prepare a salad and store it in a jar in the fridge for up to three days.  Salad dressing goes in the bottom of the jar, then your sturdier veggies (so they won’t wilt), and then more delicate leaves etc on top.  When you’re in a hurry and want to eat your salad, you just give the jar a good shake and then empty the salad onto a plate – et voila!

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04 January 2015 was a Sunday and I had a busy week ahead, so for my New Thing A Day challenge, I made three jars, each with a different salad, and popped them in the fridge.

Throughout the week I had a salad ready and waiting for me when I got home from work.  They were quick, simple and fun to make, looked so pretty, definitely time-saving, and oh so delicious!  My favourite one was the Greek salad – yum yum!

These salads in a jar were such a great idea that I have continued to make them on a regular basis ever since 🙂

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Honey, Apple and Carrot Dog Treats

Do you have a pet that is a super fussy eater?  We sure do!  In fact, we have TWO… Lila and Rumo are our beautiful Alaskan Malamute twins… and they can be ridiculously picky about what they will eat, especially when it comes to dog treats.

One of our dogs’ favourite New Thing A Day challenges I did back in 2015 was learning how to make them some homebaked dog biscuits.  I have tried a number of different recipes since then but this one remains their absolute favourite.

We had received a very thoughtful Christmas gift from our family: an adorable set of dog biscuit recipes together with the cutest cookie cutters.

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So, on Day 3 of keeping my 2015 New Year’s resolution to try a new thing a day, I was keen to try my hand at baking some dog biscuits for the very first time. I selected an apple and honey biscuit recipe because our dogs definitely like sweet treats, plus we already had all of the necessary ingredients.  I decided to add carrots to the ingredients because our dogs are especially fond of carrots.

From the moment I started grating the apples and carrots, the pupsters knew I was up to something interesting and shadowed my every move as I mixed and rolled out the dough, cut out the shapes and placed them onto baking sheets.

Once the biscuits had been baked to perfection, I took out the freshly baked biscuits from the oven, and even to me they smelled gooooood!  Lila and Rumo frantically went through a whole repertoire of tricks in an attempt to persuade us they deserved a cookie: offering paws, high fives, sitting, lying down, wooing…you name it!

When the treats had sufficiently cooled down, and Lila and Rumo had calmly sat down and waited politely, they were each rewarded with a biscuit.

THEY LOVED THEM!!! 

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So much so, that in fact, a little later on, when we had left the kitchen, Lila snuck back in and decided to do a little countersurfing, helping herself from the cooling rack – very, very naughty behaviour indeed!  But from a fluffy princess who turns up her nose at almost every dog treat in existence, it just goes to show what a big hit these were!

The recipe states that these treats will keep for 3 weeks in an airtight container but I cannot say for certain because our dogs make sure they never last that long 🙂

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HONEY, APPLE AND CARROT DOG TREATS RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 (Sweet) apple – grated
  • 1 Large carrot – grated
  • 250g Seed and grain wholemeal flour
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tsp Sunflower oil
  • 1 Egg

Method:

Line baking sheets with greaseproof paper and preheat oven to 180 C (350 F / Gas Mark 4).

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until it becomes a smooth dough.

Place dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 5mm thickness.  Cut into shapes using cookie cutters and place on baking sheets.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.  (30 minutes for a softer, chewier biscuit or 40 minutes for a crunchier texture)

Allow to cool completely on cooling rack before transferring to airtight container.

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You can follow our dogs’ adventures on Instagram 🙂