Have Your Cake and Eat It by Mich Turner {book review}

It's an interesting phrase "have your cake and eat it" - generally one hears the phrase being said as "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Meaning that life isn't perfect; that sometimes you get one thing, but that means you miss out on something else. You can't have both!

Why can't we have both, why can't we have our cake and to eat it too? Mich Turner probably asked the same question and she is telling us that we can have our cake and to eat it! 

Mich is not only a baker, cake decorator, and author she has a degree in food science and a founder of a company! She's done it all and she's done it again with her latest title Have Your Cake and Eat It! A book full of nutritious, delicious recipes for healthier, everyday baking. 

When we bake at home we can control what is put in it and Mich shows us how best to do that! I will get to all the delicious cakes and bakes recipes, but for just a moment I want to point out that the introduction, ingredients, and dos and don'ts chapters are great because Mich not only tells what we are going to need, but educates us on the why and how of baking! It's what turns it from a good baking book to an amazing one! 

Now to all the glorious recipes Mich gives us. First chapter Muffins, Cupcakes, & Buns - The easiest of all bakes. The next chapter Biscuits and Cookies - my favorite type of bake because they are easy to make and they come in all sort of varieties: crispy, crunchy, soft, gooey .... Bars & Flapjacks come next my second favorite type of bake! Finally we get to the Cake chapter the longest and most extensive chapter followed by the last chapter on Meringues! 

My list of recipes to try: 

Date, Banana, & Peanut Butter Muffins 
Raspberry, Rose, & Pistachio Cupcakes
Pumpkin Scones
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Party Rings
Almond & Cranberry Biscotti 
Almond Toscaner
Date & Apple Squares
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Brownies
Strawberry & Walnut Flapjacks
Pumpkin & Carrot Bars
Queen Elizabeth Date Cake
Citrus Coconut Layered Cake 
Soured Cream Vanilla & Blueberry Cake
Layered Chocolate Orange Cake
Lemon Meringue Chiffon
Lemon, Pistachio, & Honey Loaf Cake
Banana, Coconut, & Caramel Pavlova
Raspberry & Rose Meringues

*I was given a copy of Have Your Cake and Eat It by Mich Turner  to review by the publisher, jacqui small. Retails at £22 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

Blueberry Scones

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: I wonder if asking Ms. Chase to dance would...
Giles: For God's sake, man, she's 18, and you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about. 
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - season 3 episode 20

I started watching Buffy when I was in high school and I was obsessed with it! My friend and I would call each other during the commercials for any "OMG" moments. We related to all the teenage angst and felt we were a part of the Scooby Gang.

Re-watching it now I am still taken into all the angst, but with less "OMG" moments not just because I have seen it before, but because I have more life experience. Now it's more like "Yup that's how it happens, that's life." Which is why it's such a great show.

Watching Buffy has been a trip down memory lane and when I decide to watch it again in like 20 years I am sure I will see it differently once again. Sometimes long for the days of having the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone, but mostly I'm glad those days are over.

Blueberry Scones

150g dried blueberries
orange juice, for soaking
150g cold unsalted butter
500g self-raising flour , plus a little extra for dusting
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 heaped teaspoons caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large free-range eggs
4 tablespoons milk , plus a little extra for brushing

A couple of hours or so before you start place the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over just enough orange juice to cover. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Put the butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt into a big bowl and using your (clean) fingers to gently rub the butter into the flour until just combined. The less it's touched the more crumbly it will be.
Make a well in the middle of the dough, add the eggs and milk, and gently mix with a spatula or spoon. Drain the soaked blueberries and fold into the dough. If needed add a little bit of milk, until it forms a soft, dry dough. It should be bit scruffy, the opposite of bread dough which is usually smooth and neat.
Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the scruffy dough and leave in a bowl (covered with with cling film) in the fridge for 15 minutes.
When the time is up roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 2-3cm thick. Then with a 6cm round cutter or something with about that diameter cut out circles from the dough. Place them upside down on a baking sheet. Re-roll the rest of the dough and cut out as many as you can. Brush the top with either melted butter or milk.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. They will be risen and golden on top! Leave them to cool before serving with clotted cream and jam!

Scones are one of the most controversial afternoon treats here in England; from how they are pronounced and what gets put on first the cream or the jam? I myself pronounce scone like cone with an 's' and I like my cream first then the jam. 

*recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's Crumbliest Scone recipe - found in Jamie's Great Britain

Banana and Walnut Muffins

No one ever eats a whole bunch of bananas. That's why I generally only buy 3 at a time, one for me and one each for my little people. I could continue down the path of going on about how these muffins are a great way to use up old bananas, but to be honest I bought discounted already brown bananas just so I could make these muffins! 

Actually I had a bag of walnuts in my cupboard - so this time it wasn't the bananas at all! Except for the muffins. The muffins are about the bananas. 

Banana and Walnut Muffins

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
75g melted butter
190g sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
200g flour
100g walnuts, chopped up

Heat the oven 180C. Mix the smashed bananas and butter together. Mix in sugar, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle in baking powder and salt and mix. Slowly add flour, blending after each addition. Fold in the walnuts and scoop the batter into the muffin pan, lined. Bake 18-25 minutes. 

These muffins are super easy to make! They actually don't take all that long in the oven and can easily be made upon waking up on one lazy weekend morning! 

One Pot Peanut Butter Brownies

When I first moved to the UK when I talked about peanut butter people were like "eww." It was rare for me to come across a single soul who loved peanut butter as much as me. Then I start this new job and I have at minimum 4 co-workers who absolutely love peanut butter.

The fact they love it as much as I do gives me the perfect excuse to bake with peanut butter. Since we've had a bit of a stressful time of it the last couple of weeks I thought I'd do just that. What goes well with peanut butter? Chocolate! It is my strong opinion that the best baked chocolate treat is the brownie.

I have made a lot of batches of brownies in my baking career and I always come back to this recipe. They are super easy to make as they are made in one pot or saucepan if you want to be pedantic. I generally keep the ingredients in my cupboards for brownie making emergencies! Brownies solve a lot of problems. It's true.

So, if you have problems that need to be solved or co-workers who love peanut butter make these!!

Peanut Butter Brownies

150g dark chocolate, broken up
150g milk chocolate, broken up
250g salted butter
400g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
150g smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4 and line a brownie pan or an 8in square pan with parchment paper.
Very gently melt both chocolates with the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Just before the chocolate is completely melted, take off the heat and gently stir until it’s completely melted.
Then add the eggs one at a time to the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the pan and stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and dot the peanut butter over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter through the batter. Bake in the pre-heated oven for a minimum of 35 minutes. Depending on your pan size and oven add an extra five minutes if need be. Cool before cutting into squares and sharing with friends, family, and co-workers!

7 Movies for Singles to Watch on Valentine's Day

Generally speaking I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day, but as it's my first as a single person in a while I started thinking about how I might celebrate it. I figure I will celebrate as I spend most of my Saturday nights - watching a movie by myself in my jammies on my couch.

It sounds pathetic because it is. However, I really don't mind. I like my own company and a good movie with take out! Sounds like a great night in to me! So, I thought if you were like me you might need a suggest or a reminder of a great movie to watch this Valentine's Day!

Without further delay here are 7 movies I couldn't recommend more!

Bring it On! 
- Your first thoughts may be why would I want to watch a movie with a bunch of girls going "rah rah rah"? Don't be fooled as this movie is so much more. When Torrance takes over as team captain she thinks it will be another easy season, but when she learns of a well kept secret it turns her world upside down. You can't go wrong with this movie as it's a lot of fun and will get you cheering along!
Quote: "She puts the 'whore' in horrifying." - Courtney
Romance/Relationships: a terrible boyfriend vs a cute crush on the new kid

Pitch Perfect
- If you haven't heard of this movie you must have been living under a rock the last few years .... if you haven't seen it, it's a must! Becca starts university because her dad wants her too, she'd rather be in a recording studio anywhere, but there. To please her dad she gets involved and that is where the magic starts.
Quote: "Even though some of you are pretty thin, you all have fat hearts, and that’s what matters." - Fat Amy
Romance/Relationshops: moody girl doesn't let anyone get close to her, but will she make an exception for this one guy?

He's Just Not that Into You
- It's also maybe not the best movie for Valentine's Day. However, it's full of interesting characters in a variety of different relationship stages. It is easy to relate too because many of us have been where the characters have been at some point in our lives. If we haven't been there we will be.
Quote: "So trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, he genuinely doesn't give a shit. No exceptions." - Alex
Romance/Relationships: the whole point of this movie is how men and women behave in different relationships

Devil Wears Prada 
- Girl who has no fashion sense, but wants to be a writer, gets a job at the biggest fashion magazine as an assistant to the editor and hijinks ensue. Will she ever fit in? Will she ever be a writer or will she live life as a go-for? It's a must see!
Quote: "...It's for Paris, I'm on this new diet. Well, I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight." Emily
Romance/Relationships: the sweet down to earth boyfriend vs the hot sexy guy in the publishing business

Now and Then
- A great coming of age film. Probably one of the best of all time. After making a pact with her best friends that whenever one of them needed they others they'd come running. With Chrissy due to give birth at any moment she calls her besties to be by her side and together they reminisce about the summer their lives were changed forever.
Quote: "As we grow older, it becomes difficult to just believe. It's not that we don't want to, but too much has happened and we can't." - Samantha
Romance/Relationships: young girls figuring out that not all boys have cooties

- A dark comedy/drama about a waitress named Jenna, who is in a very unhappy relationship and is a waitress at a diner where she is known for her pies. She has all sorts of silly, life reflecting names to give to her pies. She has a plan to escape when things take an unexpected turn.
Quote: [after reading a news column about a woman contemplating suicide] Oh I love living vicariously through the pain and suffering of others. - Old Joe
Romance/Relationships: horrible marriage and an affair

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
- The title says it all. What more could you ask for in a movie to watch alone on Valentines Day. Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy all hate and then love, but in the midst of it killing zombies!! I know which movie I will be watching first on Valentine's Day.
Quote: "A woman is either highly trained or highly refined. One cannot afford the luxury of both in such times. - Elizabeth Bennet
Romance/Relationships: it's Jane Austen at the heart and zombies at the brain plus of course marriage

What movie(s) would you add to the list?
Leave a comment below!

*Photos are not mine own and are linked to the orginal source.

Apple & Carrot Juice + 16 Juice and Smoothie Recipes

A long long time ago a young 26 year old wished for a juicer for her birthday. Her desire for such a kitchen appliance came from the thought that store bought apple juice had too much added sugar. Her wish was granted and she was gifted a juicer.

The first juice she made was apple juice. She soon realised that apple juice needed no added sugar as it was super super sweet and needed to be diluted with water.

After that the juicer lived on a shelf, forgotten, and eventually covered in dust. 

Fast forward to present day and with a new slow juicer sitting on her counter 24/7 juicing has become away to drink more then water. See I don't like squash nor do I drink much soda so to add something besides water I am experimenting with freshly squeezed juice and smoothies.

That's right the girl in the story is me! As if you didn't know..... Anyhow here are couple of juice recipes I have made recently. I have also included several juices and smoothies from other bloggers that I just have to try out soon!

Apple & Carrot Juice: 

4 large carrots
2 apple
1 lime
1 small piece of ginger about an inch
1/4 cucumber

- Chop the vegetables and fruit into chunks that fit your juicers chute before juicing them. Then pour into your favorite class with a few ice cubes!

Pineapple Fizz 

1 small pineapple
sparkling water

- Cut the pineapple length wise and juice. Pour into your favorite glass with a few ice cubes and top up with sparkling water.

I love carrot juice and I was very pleased with the Apple & Carrot Juice the lime and ginger counter acts the sweetness of the carrots and apples with a sharp twist. Pineapple Fizz is the simplest juice ever! Pineapple juice plus sparkling water and done. I found it refreshing and light. Definitely recommend it as a mocktail for the upcoming spring and summer seasons!

I am always looking for excuses to use my juicer and here are some great recipes from fellow bloggers!

The Petite CookVegan Apple Pie Smoothie & Carrot Berry Smoothie & Wonderland Smoothie (pictured below)

From Plate to Pen - Simple Banana Smoothie with Ginger

Tin and Thyme - Cucumber and Celery Smoothie (pictured below) & Berry and Rose Kefir Smoothie

*images are owned by the respective bloggers listed and linked above 

Lemon Cake: The Lunar Chronicles

My tastes in books is very broad, I would give any book no matter the label a chance. However, I am prone to gravitate towards fantasy and science fiction. Even better if the two are mixed. Which is exactly what you get with the Lunar Chronicles.

The first book in the series is Cinder - based on surprise surprise Cinderella! Except she's a cyborg and a wanted fugitive. That's all I can say without giving too much away. I enjoyed it so much I couldn't wait to read what happened next in Scarlet. A story about a young girl who is looking for her grandmother and seeks help from a wolf. Marissa Meyer ties the two stories together very smoothly as she continued to do in Cress. The only title that might cause a raised eyebrow as it's the one name that isn't as obvious as the others if you haven't read the first two. Cress's story is based on Rapunzel and it's very cleverly done. The last but, not last title is Winter, which is based on no other then Snow White. Winter is the final book in the series and the fattest - probably due to the tying up of all the other stories as well as having a story for Winter.

In the end of the series they eat cake. I know it was a little bit random when Scarlet is like "Yo, everyone this has been a blast and so to celebrate here's a cake!" I can't say too much more without giving out spoilers and that's the last thing I want to do as this post is suppose to inspire you to read this series.

Anyhow, the cake Scarlet brings out is lemon. Therefore it made sense to me to make a lemon cake. Cake is a great comfort food and when mourning the end of a great series it good to have cake waiting for you. Just my option, but I dare you to deny it!

Lemon Cake

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 lemons, zest
4 medium eggs
200g self-rising flour

Heat the oven to 175C and prepare two 7 inch or 18cm cake tins by lining the bottom of the tin and greasing the sides with butter. Beat the butter in a free standing mixer or with a handheld mixer, until soft. Add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the butter and beat together until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together until just combined. Slowly add the eggs the butter mixture. It will probably curdle when it does that just add a tablespoon or two of the flour (from the amount above not extra). Once all the eggs are added sift in the rest of the flour and beat until just combined. Divide between the batter between the cake tins and gently smooth out. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes. Cake should be a light brown and springy to the touch. If in doubt use the skewer test.

While the cake is baking make the lemon sugar syrup: 150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (use the lemons from the zest and about another one or two lemons) and 150g caster sugar. In a sauce pan bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the sugar dissolves and it thickens up a little.

When the cakes come out of the oven leave them to cool for a short while before soaking the tops of the sponge with the lemon sugar syrup. Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

Lemon Buttercream
80g unsalted butter, room temperature
80g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
40g lemon curd + 1 tbsp

Beat the butter until soft before adding the icing sugar. Beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy and lighter in color. Then fold in the lemon curd.

to finish the cake: Ice the bottom layer with half the buttercream and a tablespoon of the lemon curd place the other cake layer on top and ice the top layer with the rest of the buttercream.

*Recipe was adapted from Peggy Porschen's Baking Boutique.


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