2014 {and some thoughts on 2015}

This past new years it has taken me a while to process my thoughts about 2014 and focus on the year ahead. The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas is a blur for me. In early December we packed up our New York apartment, spent an amazing 2 week holiday in Hawaii and returned to Australia, just in time to not be jet lagged for Christmas Day. Then, in a flash it was New Years Eve, and bam 2015 was here. I hadn’t had time to think about the year that was let alone think about what I want to achieve in 2015.

When I reflect on 2014, I realize that the good-by far outweighed the bad and some of the unpleasant circumstances that occurred were really positive experiences in the end.


Celebrating George’s 1st birthday // Finding out I was pregnant with baby # 2 // Spending 2 weeks in Hawaii // Buying the bikes with a child seat so we could bike around the city // Finishing work a few months before we left New York which enabled me to spend time with George and explore the city one last time // Exploring the USA – in 2014 we visited Chicago, IL; Fire Island, NY; Kinderhook Farm Stay, NY; Woodstock, NY; Atlantic City, NJ; Lancaster, PA // We travelled with good friends to some of these places and these are memories I will treasure forever // Rooftop BBQ’s with friends // Being home in Australia for Christmas


Leaving New York // Having to say good-bye to the amazing friends we had made over the past 3 years and not knowing when we will see them again // Prematurely finishing work due to visa issues // Trying to get George to eat and chew his food // The weather in January and February (that pesky polar vortex) // Working long hours in a job that I was not passionate about // Being in New York alone often while Tim travelled for work // Morning sickness (or all day sickness as I experienced it this time around).

As for 2015, we’ll be moving back to Sydney in a few weeks and baby # 2 is due towards the end of March. The beginning of the year is surely going to be a challenge for our family but this year, with all the changes going on in our life this year I want to ensure that I take more risks, am more decisive, make healthier choices for me and my family, am passionate, that I express my gratitude and love towards my family and friends and stop dreaming and start doing.

I’ll leave you with a few photos from Christmas Day.

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{Travel Diary} Kinderhook Farm Stay

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In July we headed upstate to the town of Kinderhook, for a weekend with some good friends, at this amazing farm stay – Kinderhook Farm Stay. I’m a born and bred city girl and although I’ve had a short stint living in a country town at one stage during my life, I had no idea what to expect spending a weekend on a fully functioning farm.

All I can say is this particular farm stay was akin to staying in a private rental property but just on a farm rather than by the beach (our usual holiday destination of choice). The accommodation was great, the surrounding area was beautiful and it had something to keep both kids and adults entertained. For the kids; the farm had free range chickens running around the property, a herd of sheep, a few horses, and some pigs (which we didn’t end up see). George loved chasing the chickens around the barn and enjoyed picking his own eggs from the chicken coup. For the adults; if you love to cook simple, fresh produce this place was for you. We purchased the fresh meat from the butcher located on the farm, grilled it on the BBQ and sat around the outside fire pit at night until all hours eating and drinking under the stars.

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{^The accommodation was pretty special. It was an old red barn converted into a loft like living space with enough room for 4 adults and a couple of kids. This was the fully equipped kitchen and you can see over to the right one of the double beds. I loved the rustic vibe it had going on.^}

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{^For some reason we didn’t take a picture of the red barn accommodation so I took this one from here^}

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{^This kid always walks with purpose^}ihyt-2014 photo Kinderhook 8

{^The farm has a vegetable garden which you can harvest vegetables for yourself and cook them on the BBQ or in the kitchen in the red barn^}

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{^Both kids had so much fun playing in the dirt and exploring the farm^}

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{^A short trip to Price Chopper to pick up some supplies was probably the highlight of the weekend for George – just look at the excitement on his face!^}ihyt-2014 photo Kinderhook 1{^Tim and I went into town one afternoon to check it out and grab a cup of coffee. This was a gorgeous second-hand store that wasn’t open but had so many beautiful items in the window^}

{Spotted} The tartan or plaid scarf

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Plaid or tartan? I didn’t even know what the difference was until I googled it. According to House Beautiful,” designer Scot Meacham Wood describes it simply: “All tartans are plaid, but, not all plaids are tartan.” In other words, plaids are patterns of stripes that meet at right angles. With tartans, the horizontal and vertical patterns match, creating a perfect grid. Got it because I’m still slightly confused. Regardless plaid and/or tartan is one of those patterns, a little like animal print, but not on the same level, that just never seems to go out of style. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the print, consider buying a statement item like a scarf for the cooler months.

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One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six / Seven / Eight


{Fat Friday} Baked Donuts

Everyone that knows me well knows that I love baking so I’m not sure why I haven’t posted many recipes on this lil’ old blog of mine. Actually I lie, I do know why, it’s because I take really crappy photos of food. I really don’t know who food photographers do it, I just don’t have the patience or the eye for it. I should probably book into a food photography course really.

Yesterday morning I  finally got my baking mojo back after being sick for what feels like weeks and decided to give these Baked Brown Butter Pistachio Donuts by Joy the Baker a crack.

I had brought some donuts pans AGES ago, because whilst I love a donut I’m not really into the frying part that makes then so high in calories so I figured that baked donuts were a go-er, particularly since all the recipes seem to use buttermilk rather than slabs of butter.

Anyway, here is my measly attempt at food photography from the iPad.


{^Fun facts about me. I am a messy cook. I also tend to use every available utensil and pan/pot when cooking…my husband hates it^} IMG_0314

IMG_0318 {^I put way too much batter in the donut pans so ended up with a hole on one-side and not on the other…kind of like a cross between a donut and a muffin. Speaking of muffins, if you don’t have a donut pan you could totally make these as mini muffins^}


{^ I’m not sure why I’ve never had browned butter icing before but I’m here to tell you, you need to ice something with it. It is a salty and sweet deliciousness^}

I followed the recipe exactly as Joy has it on her website (see below) but I just left the pistachios off the top as I just wasn’t feeling it. Also if you don’t have buttermilk handy, just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1-cup of milk and let it stand for 5 minutes.


For the Doughnuts:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped and divided
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup / 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and browned (we’ll only use 4 tablespoons of browned butter for the doughnuts and 2 tablespoons for the glaze)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Brown Butter Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown butter
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, sugar, and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts. That’s the water melting out of the butter. Once the water has evaporated the butter will quiet down and begin to brown. Keep an eye on it, it browns quickly. The butter will begin to smell nutty. Remove from heat and immediately transfer browned butter (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Measure out 4 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined. Try not to overmix the batter. That might create rubbery doughnuts.
  6. Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out and fill each doughnut in the pan three-quarters full with batter.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and try not to over-bake them. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.
  9. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar and salt. I didn’t sift my powdered sugar. I was able to whisk the lumps out. If you have stubborn powdered sugar, sifting before is best.
  10. Add 2 tablespoons brown butter, 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still spreadable glaze.

Once the doughnuts are completely cool, use a butter knife to spread glaze onto each doughnut. Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with remaining pistachios. Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best within 2 days.