I’d like to take this time to take a quick poll.. who knew the show this title referenced before you read the post? It totally doesn’t count if you already saw this weeks video!! I feel like Parks and Rec is the most underrated show in the UK but over in the US it’s huge and thanks to Netflix (US version.. what? if they didn’t want us to access it they should make it more difficult 😏) I was introduced to it a couple of years ago and it’s now one of my top 5. I think Dave has it now if you’re interested but I digress, the main character, Leslie Knope, holds an annual friendship celebration on 13th Feb dubbed ‘Galentines Day’ and this year my friend Laura and I decided to hold our own with the help of Morrisons food/drink treats which you can watch a little of in this video.
The general concept is that you put emphasis on appreciating your friends one day a year in the same way you would your other half. I like the idea, it’s a bit cheesy but then so is Valentines Day, no? Relationships with friends are just as important as those with your family.. they’re the ones you choose after all.. and the ones that have to listen to you complain about the others.. they put up with a lot for a little, why shouldn’t they get a day of celebration?
Morrisons have a huge array of sweet treats, gifts and flowers for the weekend ahead but the star has to be the meal deal. A starter, main, dessert and bottle of wine or non-alcoholic equalivalent for £15. Since I had my eldest at 19 and my parents anniversary happens to be 14th Feb I have never actually been out for a swanky meal to celebrate Valentines so I’m well versed in the meal deal arena and what Laura and I shared for our girls day in was spot on. The Beef Bourjuinion was amazing, we had the Dauphinois potatos too which I’d highly recommend.. but do them in the oven, they need that crispy top!
We polished off our bottle of wine watching our favourite show, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a child free afternoon than eating and drinking with one of my best friends, can you?
This is a re-re-re-share but every now and then I like to re-blog it because it’s just the ultimate cookie recipe. I barely did any of my planned Christmas baking over the festive season, I even have 2 boxed baking sets I bought for the kids that are still unopened. Time just totally got away from me. I part I think that’s because the week before Christmas I was poorly (monstrous cough that kept me from sleeping and drove everyone else nuts) and i didn’t start to feel better until Christmas Eve so y’know.. TIME!! I’ve already started making a bucket list for next Christmas because I always put things off, not wanting to do them too early on in December but I really feel like I totally missed it altogether this year. Moving on, between Christmas and New Year I’ve decided to up my game on the home front, we’ve done the films we missed and baked up a storm so I thought I’d share (again) this foolproof recipe that take 5 mins to knock together and my family demolishes in about the same time.
125g butter, softened (I use salted)
100g light brown soft sugar
225g brown caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
200g (or a big bag) of chocolate buttons
I’ve edited the recipe this time purely because as the years have passed I’ve tweaked a few things and made it even simpler so if you’ve seen this before or even tried it don’t be alarmed.. it still gives you the same result with a few fewer steps. I mix together the sugar, butter and egg (I know it says lightly beaten but I do it all in one bowl.. who can be bothered?) before adding a little vanilla essence if I have it. This is not essential but I keep it in the recipe because it definitely does make a difference so use it if you have it on hand. Then in goes the flour.. it can take a while to bind it all but don’t be tempted to use your hands!! It’s not that kind of biscuit mixture and you’ll end up messy. A metal spoon makes lighter work.
Lastly I add chocolate buttons as opposed to chips for 2 reasons, 1. they’re already small (although I tend to crunch up giant buttons in my hands because you can buy big bags of those and one grab bag is the perfect amount for this recipe) and 2. I am very picky with milk chocolate and it’s Cadbury’s or nothing for me so the alternative is chopping up a bar of Dairy Milk… aint nobody got time for that! I use a table-spoon to measure out my cookies on a greased baking tray, you should get a minimum of 12 large cookies but bear in mind that they SPREAD so leave plenty of space between them before they go in the oven. I baked my last 2 batches at 180C for just under 2 minutes but they were large.. I’d put the timer on for 12 minutes and keep an eye on them after that. They will come out looking a little raw and cakey but that’s good.. they will settle fast when you get them out and that’s what gives them that gooey American cookie texture that Millie’s has us all hooked on. I leave mine to JUST brown on top before I take them out but my husband prefers them a little earlier so it’s all trial and error and personal preference.
Excellent with a glass of milk but just as good with my last cup of tea in my Santa mug til next Christmas (she lies, that mug will be used year round) these are my favourite cookies. I can knock a batch together with no notice and since I made my little tweaks to the ingredients I’m even more likely to have in what I need to make them. The original called for 100g of caster sugar and 125g of soft brown sugar but that’s tough to find and quite expensive in my experience. You do get a slightly more caremelised texture but unless I was making them for a special occasion (unlikely as I don’t think they’d last until the guests arrived) then I wouldn’t bother.
This years addition to the process was the sleeping puppy (who’s not such a puppy anymore) who was so irritated by me being in HIS kitchen he retreated to stairs to sleep on my dirty clothes. He did NOT taste the cookies and might still be a bit peeved with me about the whole thing.
Okay now when I say ‘no fat’ I really mean no fat was used in the recipe, ie: not butter but don’t quote me on their being not fat once they’re cooked and digested.. I mean sugar converts to fat, right? If that’s totally wrong I apologise.. also tell me as if so I have been living a lie. Anywho, if you follow Slimming World these brownie pieces are around half a syn each and stupidly sweet so if you’re looking for just a little something to curb that sugar craving they will definitely do the trick!
What you’ll need..
6 eggs (separated)
70g Splenda (or other sweetener)
60g cocoa powder (not hot chocolate)
1tsp vanilla essence
Once you’ve separated your eggs put the yolks to one side and whip the whites within an inch of their lives.. they’re the most important part of the recipe!
Mix together the egg yolks, Splenda, Cocoa Powder & Vanilla Essence in one bowl.. this is going to be tough as it can be a little dry.. this is where the whites come in. Add them a little at a time until you have a good thick brownie-like mixture. The recipes I read all said to add ALL of the whites in at the end but I’ve found that they can be a bit crispy (like meringue) if you add to much so I just eyeball it and when the mixture is smooth but still thick I pop it in the baking tray.
You can put it in whatever you like but as I was looking to create little brownie bites (if cut in to 25 pieces they’re half a syn each – EQUAL pieces that is, lol) I also grated some dark chocolate on top (didn’t syn it, risk taker) but that’s optional. I used fry light to grease the tray before spreading out the mixture and then put it in a preheated oven at 180ºc for around 25 minutes..
The tray I used on this occasion was a little large and there were some sections that weren’t really thick enough to constitute a ‘bite’ but I’ve since tried this in smaller ones and even yorkshire pudding tins and they work a little better .
Taste wise they’re VERY sweet.. I wouldn’t need more than one as I’m not a major sweet tooth but if you are they will definitely satisfy that. The sweetener gives a slightly synthetic aftertaste that I don’t LOVE but I guess that’s to be expected and this is the first time I’ve used sweetener in anything, if you have it in drinks etc you may not notice.
With less than a month til our holiday I have definitely given up the diet.. it didn’t last long in truth and since falling off the ‘wagon’ I have had more appetite than ever!! Never have I craved pizza so much in my life so you can expect some makeshift bikini body posts before we go involving less food and exercise and more fake tan and hope!