BLOGMAS DAY 22: Gingerbread Cookies

I mean what is more festive to bake during the final week in the run up to Christmas than GINGERBREAD! This week I was over at one of best friends from university, Lauren and we decided it would be super fun to decorate some gingerbread cookies! Now Lauren is like me in that we both LOVE Christmas so the idea of baking and blasting Christmas/Musical songs was the perfect way to spend the afternoon! We had been looking for a quick & easy recipe for gingerbread dough and came across this recipe that was so easy to make on its own as well as being able to increase or decrease the ingredients depending on preference. This is the recipe that Lauren and I went for!

Gingerbread Biscuit Dough

- 350g plain flour
- 175g light brown sugar
- 125g butter (room temperature)
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp syrup
- 3 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder

1. Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and lay some greaseproof paper on a baking tray

2. Chuck the plain flour, cinnamon, ground ginger and baking powder into a bowl. At this point you can add more or less ginger depending on your preference. Add in the butter and mix it all together until you have a breadcrumb consistency. 

3. Add in the sugar, whisked egg and syrup and mix it into the breadcrumb mixture until it forms a dough. You can use your hands at this point to make the dough to really ensure that all the mixture is a part of the dough.

4. Place the dough in clingfilm and place in the refrigerator for 15 - 20 minutes. 

5. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out the dough onto some flour. 

6. Cut in your shapes, whether it be a gingerbread man or if you are attempting a gingerbread house! 

7. Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown. 

8. Remove from oven and leave on baking tray for 10 minutes before removing to cooling tray. 

Note: These cookies do expand. And with our remaining dough, we decided to attempt a big gingerbread man!

9. Once cooled, decorate to your fancy! 

I had the best Christmassy afternoon with Lauren, and thank her and her family for letting us make a mess of the kitchen! It was so nice to catch up and sing out hearts out over baking!!! SO SO FESTIVE!

Last night Faye & I went for a pre-Christmas meal with our grandparents, Granny Sue and Grandad Mike. It was so nice just to catch up with them and chat about everything that has been happening since we last saw them back in June! It really is crazy how time flies and how much we have all changed! Lovely to see them!

Christmas Song of the Day: I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY - WIZZARD

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BLOGMAS DAY 9: Krispy Christmas Trees

This is honestly one of the quickest, easiest but funnest Christmas recipe I've attempted so far. I've seen different variations of this recipe on Pinterest over the last few weeks so I decided to give it a go myself! The biggest thing for me when looking for festive recipes is both taste and aesthetic. I love preparing a food selection that looks so Christmassy and tastes divine! Of course when i came across this recipe I was instantly attracted to how it looks! These Krispy Christmas Trees are the perfect addition to a dessert table or buffet, or for a quick snack!! 

Ingredients:
- 200g of White Chocolate
- 200g of Rice Krispies
- Green Food Colouring
- Confectioners/Icing Sugar
- Greaseproof/Wax Paper
- Sugar Decorations of your choice. 

1. You'll want to cut out big semi-circle shapes of wax paper and fold them into cones. From the middle point of the straight edge you can begin to make the point of the cone. Use tape to hold the cone in shape.

2. Next you're going to want to take your white chocolate and melt it. You can either quickly zap it in your microwave, or melt it over a pot of hot water. I prefer to use the latter so that it doesn't leave your chocolate tasting like the inside of a microwave! 

3. Add a few drops of food colouring. It is good to at a few too little drops at first so that you don't over do it. If you want your Christmas trees to be a little darker, add more drops. Stir until you have the colour green you want and it is fully integrated into the white chocolate. 

5. Chuck you rice krispies into the melted chocolate and mix until they are completely covered. At first it is going to seem like they will never be fully covered but keep going until they are!

6. Spoon your rice krispies into your cones, making sure to pack them in tight to form a solid shape. It is crucial that you smooth the base of the cone so that the trees are able to stand up once removed from the wax paper.

7. Place the cones, point down in either glassware or tupperware and place in the freezer for one hour. After, remove the wax paper and you will have your trees!

8. Now its time to decorate! You can find seasonal or decorative sugar sprinkles and shapes at your local grocery store. Gino and I found these diamond decorations at target for $1.99! 

9. To get the decorations to stick I simply mixed a tiny bit of water with some icing/confectioners sugar and made a thick and edible paste/glue. You can then go crazy and stick the decorations on like baubles on a Christmas tree!

10. Dust off your masterpieces with some confectioners sugar to replicate a light sprinkling of snow. And there you have it!

I loved doing this recipe and thought it worked really well without taking too long to perfect! Give it a go and be sure to tag your pictures with NevNYC on Twitter and Instagram so I can see them!

HAPPY BLOGMAS DAY!

Nev x

Christmas Song of the Day: SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN - JACKSON 5

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BLOGMAS DAY 5: White Chocolate & Cranberry Christmas Scones

Okay so I reaaaaaallly wanted to do a little baking recipe with White Chocolate & Cranberries, something about that ingredient combination screamed of my childhood Christmases. Lets just say what I set out to do with this recipe, was not at all how it turned out. HOWEVER, I ended up making these goddamn tasty scones that everyone in the apartment loved! Isn't that the point/beauty of homebaking?! #getmeonthegreatbritishbakeoff.

WHITE CHOCOLATE & CRANBERRY CHRISTMAS SCONES:

(MAKES 8)
Ingredients:

2 Eggs
1 Cup of Margarine
3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 Cups of Light Brown  
1 tbsp of Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cups of White Chocolate Chips
1 Cup of Dried Cranberries
Confectioners Sugar/Icing Sugar for Dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit, and grease a baking tray.

2. Mix together the Margarine, Light Brown Sugar and both eggs. It should be quite a runny, light brown consistency. 

3. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time until all the flour is fully stirred into the mixture. 

4. Add in the cranberries and white chocolate chips until it is a stiff, doughy mixture! 

5. Divide your mixture onto your greased baking tray.

6. Bake in the over for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown!

7. Dust off your scones for a sweet little finish!!!!

I hope you have as much fun making these festive little treats as much as I did! If you make them be sure to tag NevNYC on Instagram and Twitter!!

MERRY BLOGMAS EVERYONE!

Christmas Song of the Day: SANTA BABY! - EARTHA KITT


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Downtown Date Night

I've expressed in previous blogs that one of my favourite part of the cities is the West Side Riverside, ESPECIALLY now it is Summer. I ran down the Riverside path a few weeks ago before I walked and each pier had something going, BBQ's, sporting events, New Yorkers hanging out in the sun, so so cool. On the sort of mid-section of my run I went round Pier 25, Pier 25 had sun-loungers, astroturf, volleyball courts, cocktail bars on boats, skate parks and mini-golf. Loads to do and it seemed just a great environment in the city to relax or exercise and have fun! Now on holidays/vacation I am a sucker for a game of mini-golf, its most likely my desire to win, and mini-golf is one of the few "sports" I. WILL. WIN. SO I thought mini-golf would be perfect for date-night with Gino. With it being the Summer our hours at work have increased meaning that we don't get to see each other as often as we used to so date-nights are perfect in the city, and of course there is so much to do! We both agree that this date was the besssssssst, so I thought for this blog I would talk about where we went as we can both highly recommend. 

Washington Square Park & Greenwich Village
First of all we mooched on down to Washington Square Park. If you've never been to Washington Square Park, its the park that Will Smith's character Robert Neville lives opposite in I Am Legend. The park is surrounded by some of NYU's Buildings so the park is always busy and full of artists, painters, photographers etc. Last night we walked straight into the park and straight past an artist doing a huge pastel drawing of Muhammad Ali. The park was pretty busy at around 5:30PM as people were stopping in the park on the way home but still, the huge fountain make it such a gorgeous place to wander through. As you cross through the south exit down Thompson Street you are in the heart of Greenwich Village, with tonnes of cute boutique stores, pubs and restaurants. We then took a right down Bleecker Street to one of my favourite eateries!

byCHLOE - Bleecker Street
I LOVE BURGERS. Love them. NYC is like a trap when it comes to good burgers, the city is literally showered with good burger joints. But as I am currently being good and attempting to cut all the crap I eat, out of my diet, I have been avoiding burgers. That was until I discovered byCHLOE. On the corner of Bleecker Street and MacDougal Street, byCHLOE is a vegan/healthy fast-food and brunch establishment. The MENU is to die for, and although it is a little bit pricey it is definitely worth forking out the dollar for. To cure my dying need for a burger we opted for the much healthier option, heres what I got:

Luke:
- The Guac Burger
Black bean-quinoa sweet-potato patty, corn salsa, onion, guacamole, tortilla strips, chipotle alioli on a whole grain bun
- Air Baked French Fries
- Seasonal Fresh Lemonade (Peach)


Gino:
- The Guac Burger

Black bean-quinoa sweet-potato patty, corn salsa, onion, guacamole, tortilla strips, chipotle alioli on a whole grain bun.
- Kale Artichoke Dip
w/ Almond Parm & Tortilla Chips
- Unsweetened Ice Tea

The whole meal came to around $40, which like I said is a little on the pricey side, but byCHLOE makes for a perfect casual date-night restaurant with a great atmosphere and food that tastes incredible. Living in NYC we could have easily spent a lot more on a simple meal for two! byCHLOE offers a wide range of meals and beverages that you can simply grab and go en route to work or for lunch. Their "Brunch Menu" looks particularly tasty and light, which is great if you're looking for a brunch that won't leave you feeling too heavy afterwards. I highly recommend byCHLOE if you're vegan or require gluten free, or quite simply if you're like us and want to try great tasting alternative food options. 

West Side Highway
If you're looking for a gorgeous evening stroll or a scenic route to get you Downtown then the West Side Riverside Highway is perfect. Along the way you have Chelsea Piers, a pier dedicated to recreational activity. Several other piers that offer a place to rest/read/meet with friends/exercise etc. and parks/boardwalks perfect for the New Yorker looking for some downtime. Walking from the West Village down to Pier 25 we passed joggers, couples, groups of friends, tourists all wondering along the path taking in the views of Jersey City across the water. One of my favourite spots is this dog water-park. Everyone knows I'm obsessed with French Bulldogs and these dog parks seem to be a great spot to try and see some...that I can steal...I'm kidding...

The West Side Highway also makes for a great running/biking route. Head all the way along to the West Side and you can run all the way around the edge of the island. I usually head to the West Side on 30th street and run down to Battery Park, this is about a 7.5mile route. 
 

Pier 25 - Mini-Golf Course
We just HAD to do it, and you know what, we actually had a really great time. Keep in mind the times, we had read online that different times daily mean that the course gets busy and as we were playing golf there seemed to be more and more people waiting for their turn at the next hole. For the two of us it cost $12 ($6 for an adult) and keep in mind that they only accept cash payments. This wasn't outlined on the website so we had to get to a local ATM, however located near the financial district this was not impossible. The course was great, very simple but some challenging one's that make for a great laugh. I am yet to see a mini-golf course that beats Winter Summerland Golf in Walt Disney World Orlando, but for a relaxing evening in Manhattan, the course makes for a great time. From the pictures below I think you can figure out who won ;)

As we finished the course the sun was really beginning to set making for some great photos of the river and the views around it. We highly recommend wandering around the rest of the pier, at the very end there is some sun-loungers that you can rest on and watch the sun set behind Jersey City. 

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different blog post, from the last few. A couple readers had said they missed write ups and reviews about specific areas and places to visit in NYC so I thought I would encompass that as well as what I've been up to in one big post. 

NOTE: As I was writing this blog, two news stories were released of two separate shootings occurring within 24 hours of each other in Orlando. Why the world has to be full of hate I don't know but I hope and long for a better world where things like this do not happen. My thoughts are with the friends, families and fans of Christina Grimmie, and the families, friends and all those effected by the shootings last night at Pulse Night club in Orlando. 

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