Holiday wind down

Hi everyone!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Our Christmas weekend started off with lots of cookies and treats.聽The students at our school loved the cookies we gave them and some of them even thanked me on Monday when we returned to school. Unfortunately alot of students didn’t come to school on Friday so we had a lot of cookies left. I tried giving them away to our colleagues but they didn’t want to take more than 8 packets of cookies so…. we were left with about 20 cookies, which we ate on Friday night.

In addition, we’ve decided to stay at our current school for another year. We’re also going home for a month and over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to find teachers to work in our place. It’s been a real mission as most of the schools in the area have winter camps around the same time that we are going away. I’m really exited to get away. Its summer in South Africa and I can’t wait to get a bit of sun.

I would also like to thank all you guys for following me on this blog and allowing me to share my life with you. I will not be blogging until after the new year as so many people are on holiday at the moment. To all of you Happy New year and I’ll see you again soon 馃檪

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On the 23rd day of Christmas-10 minute fitness challenge.

Over the holidays we always overdo it with the food. No matter how well you follow your eating plan during the rest of the year, we always find a way to throw that out of the window during Christmas season.

I’ve been reading a lot of comments on fitness websites and it seems that a lot of people are afraid that all their hard work will go down the drain. I’ve read somewhere before that you can gain about 500 gram over 3 days but the Dailymail found that people can gain an average of 2.20 lbs (1 kg) over the holiday period but this depended whether or not your BMI was within the normal range.

I’m no expert but I usually try to stick to my eating plan throughout the season and only splurge on Christmas day and maybe one or two days after. This doesn’t always work but if you stay active, like going for a walk after lunch, it will help at burning some of the extra calories and your weight gain may not be so much.

Since I don’t go to gym during Christmas I do try and make some time for some kind of movement, other than reaching for one more piece of chicken 馃槢

Here are some of my favourite 10 minute exercises that are easy enough that you can do it inside your bedroom before breakfast.

You don’t really need a jump rope, you can use an invisible (make believe) jump rope.

I like this one because of the variety and you can put a list of your favourite plyo exercises in there 馃檪 What is your favourite holiday routine?

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On the 22nd day of Christmas – Nutella Banana Bread

I’ve had some banana’s laying around and I bought some Nutella this weekend because I wanted to make no-bake Nutella cookies but never got around to it, so I figured I’d use it with the banana bread. I absolutely love the idea of fruit breads and chocolate makes everything better… right?

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The bread came out fruity, because of the chocolate being baked in the bread, it gives the bread a chocolatey crispy outside and soft and gooey inside. It was lovely.

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INGREDIENTS.

  • 6 ripe Bananas
  • 2 cups flour ( all purpose)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 250 grams butter
  • 2 eggs
  • teaspoon vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Banana Bread

  1. Mash the banana’s
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Mix the eggs in the butter mixture, add vanilla essence and salt. Add the mashed banana’s
  4. Mix the flour with the wet mixture. Mix the chocolate chips into the dough. keep some chips to put on top of the bread
  5. Put the Nutella in the microwave for 15 seconds, until it is soft enough to pour.
  6. Pour half of the dough into a bread pan. Pour 1/2 of the Nutella over the dough and use a knife to make a design with the Nutella. Then add the rest of the dough on top and repeat the Nutella step.
  7. Bakeat 350潞 for 50 minutes to an hour.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool before eating, the chocolate is very hot and you could burn if you’re too hasty.

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On the 21st day of Christmas-Chocolate chip cookies.

There can’t be a Christmas without at least one Chocolate chip cookies so I had to make them. I was baking 聽cookies the whole weekend, from cutout cookies to confetti and ginger cookies. Frankly I was a bit tired of baking since my oven can only bake 6 cookies at a time, so baking is not a whole day event because I’m baking thousands of cookies but rather because my batches are small. That being said, I made 280 cookies and still had to make 20. I only noticed this after packing all the cookies in their little bags. I suppose I obviously “tasted” more of them than I should have…

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Last night I quickly prepared the dough, luckily I had chocolate chips because I wanted to make some for my sister in law for Christmas. The dough had to be chilled so I left it in the fridge overnight and this morning I started baking, I managed to make 30 cookies although they weren’t very large. Quota filled!!!

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It was the first time that I made Chocolate chip cookies but they came out very well. They were soft and chocolatey. I think the kids will like them. Once more I used the recipe from Sally’s baking addiction聽and used chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted1
  • 3/4 cup (135g) loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

I measure out the ingredients exactly as stated, out of experience I don’t just measure with the eye :p

Sally always lists the ingredients in the order it should be used, so I firstly mixed all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl

I then melted the butter in the microwave by cutting them into smaller blocks. After that I mixed the sugar with the melted butter.

Then I whisked the eggs slightly and added it to the sugar butter mixture, I also added the vanilla extract here.

Then I mixed added the wet mixture to the dry mixture. After mixing everything together I added the chocolate chips.

The very importantly, I chilled the dough in the fridge, you can chill it for 2 hours but I left mine overnight.

Preheat the oven to聽325掳F (163掳C). Line your baking sheets, and start rolling the dough into little balls. Sally suggests using 3 tablespoons of dough per ball. I only used one teaspoon.

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What cookies did you make for Christmas?

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On the 20th day of Christmas- Pay it forward

This past week I had the most amazing experience. Sometimes with all the things going on in the world you feel like you’ve lost all your faith in humanity but then something happens that reminds you that there are still good people in the world.

Some of our friends did us a huge favor last month and since it’s Christmas 聽I wanted to send them something truly South African for Christmas. They have also been living in a foreign country for the past 6 years and sometimes you really miss things and foods from home. So… off I went onto Facebook and asked if anyone聽knows of someone who does this kind of special delivery. The next day I received a message from someone I don’t know who said that they’ll be able to help me with my delivery. When I asked her how much she will charge for this she said that she will do it out of her own pocket and that I should consider it as paying it forward. It was such an amazing gesture that it brought tears to my eyes. I was dumbfounded by the fact that a stranger would do that for another stranger, especially in a world where people take others for granted or are eager to cause others harm.

The concept of paying it forward is such an amazing idea. I remember when my husband and I just met. We were driving home from his parents house, he was still living with them, and his only means of income was his monthly allowance from his parents. He took me home and the gas light came on, he told me that we would make it to the nearest gas station. I lived about 35 kilometers from his house. About 2 kilometers from the gas station, the gas ran out and the car died. We had to push the rest of the way, and I was in a dress. Everybody passing us could see that we were in trouble and nobody stopped to help us but then a car driving in the other direction came our way… the 2 men in the car asked us what was wrong and we told them that we ran out of gas. My husband was scared to give strangers money for gas but they didn’t even ask for money. About 10 minutes later they came back with enough gas to take us home and they drove off, after refusing payment. A few years later, my husband saw a young man at the petrol station asking strangers for money for gas, he was a rep who came to Johannesburg to try and sell his products and didn’t have enough money to get back to Pretoria, so my husband game the gas attendant some money for gas. That ways paying it forward, my husband did something for someone that someone else did for him years ago.

I thank God for all the amazing people still left in the world even when we stop believing in goodness especially over this Christmas period.

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