EASY TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

Supermarkets are fully stocked with flour! That can only mean one thing.. more baking. We’ve been taking the more healthier route for the last few weeks by switching cakes for smoothies (see in our previous post) which we have thoroughly enjoyed, but have missed baking and obviously eating cake. So when we saw the shelves filled with flour, we had to get back to our new found love during lockdown. Our first thought was to have a go at baking chocolate chip muffins which is so quick and easy to make.

1: Pre-heat your oven to 250°F. You want the oven to be as hot as possible to set the edge of the muffins so it rises nicely.

2: Place a sieve into a mixing bowl and add two-three quarter cups of plain flour that is 330 grams. One teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of baking powder. Then begin to sieve the contents into the bowl then whisk for a few seconds.

3: Add one and a quarter cup of whole milk to another bowl followed by half a cup or 113 grams of unsalted butter that has been melted. You can melt the butter in a microwave or an oven. Then add one cup or 200 grams of granulated sugar and whisk the contents.

4: Now It is time for the eggs, crack two large eggs into your mixture as well as one quarter cup of sour cream or plain yogurt. It helps keep the muffins extra moist. We hate the word moist but it really does lol. Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Vanilla extract just gives that extra flavour you need. Begin to mix.

5: Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and then whisk until it’s almost combined. It’s now time for the best part of the whole ingredients.. the chocolate chips. You need one and a half cups of chocolate chips or more, It’s totally up to you. Then add to your mixture. Save a handful of your chocolate chips to the side to sprinkle on top later. Start to mix with a spatula not a whisk.

6: Scoop and fill your mixture into the paper muffin cups. Lastly sprinkle the chocolate chips you saved to the top of your muffin mixture.

7: We made 12 muffins altogether and had mixture left over and decided to make a small cake. We greased a baking tin and applied baking paper, then added the rest of the mixture to the tin. We placed the muffins and cake into the preheated oven at the same time.

8: Your muffins should be in the oven for 5 minutes at 250°F then reduce your oven to 200°F – The muffins should be in there for 25 minutes .

This is yet another quick and easy to make cake/muffin that tastes amazing! We enjoyed the cake for dessert which went down nicely with cream. Our chocolate chip muffins took no longer than twenty minutes to prep and thirty minutes to bake.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR TOP SIX SERIES PICKS TO WATCH DURING LOCKDOWN

1: OZARK

If you want an all-week binge session then Netflix’s drama Ozark is a series not to be missed. This show debuted in 2017 and we completely missed it. But since the lockdown and with so much time on our hands we gave into much of the fanfare. The gripping story is about mob accountant Marty Byrd (Jason Bateman) who relocates his family to Missouri after becoming entangled in a drug cartel’s money-laundering scheme. We don’t want to give too much away but the plot thickens once you delve into season two and three. So if you’re an avid crime series fanatic this one is certainly for you.

2: JESSICA JONES

This is yet another series we were late to the party with… One of Marvel’s darker characters Jessica Jones takes you through her journey as a super-powered woman who is so strong she can lift anything from cars, to ripping bathroom sinks from walls with her bare hands. Jessica Jones is a former superhero who then opens her own detective agency in New York City. As a private investigator she finds herself in various situations dealing with cases involving people with remarkable abilities. This is another Netflix show that will keep you entertained and watching throughout the day until night. The series began in 2015 and came to its jaw dropping conclusion in the summer of 2019.

3: QUEEN OF THE SOUTH

We are so versatile with our interests in general that whilst writing this we’ve realised during lockdown we have been hooked on action / crime dramas, with one of them being Queen of the South. The drama tells the story of Teresa Mendoza, who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her drug-dealing boyfriend is murdered in Mexico. She teams up with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. This is yet another binge worthy drama that is filled with lots of surprises along the way.

4: BLOOD

Blood is a thriller series based in rural Ireland that tells the story of a woman returning home to Dublin after the sudden death of her mother. She grows suspicious of her father and is convinced he had something to do with her mother’s death. Blood will keep you on the edge of your seat as the story unfolds and brings more mind-blowing storylines throughout. The series is currently in its second series and you can catch the psychological thriller on Channel 5 and Virgin Media. You can watch Channel 5 outside the UK and any other country such as the US, Australia, France and Canada.

5: GANGS OF LONDON

Gangs of London’ is the perfect addictive drama to get you through lockdown, but we must warn you now be prepared, if you are squeamish this show is not for you. Gangs of London shows the city being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of the international gangs that control it and the sudden power vacuum that’s created when the head of London’s most powerful crime family is assassinated. It is said that some of the characters are based on real life criminals. Right now there is just one season of Gangs of London and the drama has received raving reviews, so we are hoping the team get back together for a second series once the pandemic is over. Gangs of London aired every Thursday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, you can binge watch all nine episodes which are available to stream on NOW TV.

6. SAVE ME

Save Me is an emotional and powerful British drama. Starring Lennie James who fathered a daughter thirteen years ago and she mysteriously disappears. He then sets on a tireless quest to find his missing daughter going to any length to uncover the truth. Save Me is yet another series that will keep you glued to the screen whilst Nelly takes you on his dark and haunting journey. There are two seasons to this story but we advise that you watch from the beginning to end as this is a story you do not want to miss out on. Save Me series one and two is available on NOW TV.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

BERRY SMOOTHIE

Smoothies contain so many health benefits and can be enjoyed anytime of the day. A nutritious healthy smoothie at breakfast gives a good start to your day and energy you need to keep going until lunch time. Not only are smoothies tasty, we have so much fun making them as you can be so creative with it. One day you may fancy a green smoothie, a berry smoothie or even a banana, honey and milk smoothie. As Smoothies are packed with goodness and lots of flavour it also keeps you full which stops food cravings and prevent from snacking.

Smoothies after a workout is the best! Have you noticed you get hungry more after exercise? A smoothie is a healthy alternative to have after a workout. We like to add a scoop of protein powder which helps to build the muscle and repair tissue. This also thickens the smoothie and tastes more like a milkshake.

For breakfast today we made a kale, banana and berry smoothie which took no more than five minutes to make.

For the ingredients you only need a handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries and kale. One banana, half a cup of plant-based vanilla soya milk, a few ice cubes and a dash of water. If you have a sweet tooth you can add a teaspoon of honey.

Blend for around twenty seconds and there you have it – our easy to make berry smoothie.

Berry smoothie health benefits:

Raspberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The fruit is low in calories but high in fibre.

Blueberries is great for a healthy digestion and feeling full. Blueberries contain iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin K.

Bananas give you energy and are a sources of vitamin C. Potassium in bananas is good for the heart and blood pressure.

Kale is one of the most popular vegetables, loaded with powerful antioxidants and is one of the best sources of vitamin K.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

BAKING IN LOCKDOWN PART TWO

Hi guys, we hope you are all doing ok. Is it just us or are you all finding it difficult to get hold of self-raising flour? As we’re in lockdown people are keeping busy baking and cooking etc. But wow! When shopping each week there is literally dust from the flour left on the shelves… with no flour. Anyway, we had a little flour left in the cupboards and thought we’ll make cupcakes but halfway through mixing we realised we had far too much mix and decided to have a go at making a vanilla sponge cake.

Making a sponge cake is harder than it looks! You have to make sure you get the correct consistency and if you mix for too long this will create air bubbles in the mixture that can cause the cake to collapse.

Step1: First thing’s first. Always preheat the oven before you start baking so your oven’s piping hot before placing your cake mixture in.

Step 2: Start by adding four ounces of butter to your bowl. Followed by four ounces of granulated sugar and begin to whisk for three to five minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add four ounces of self-raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.

Step 3: Crack two eggs, then beat the eggs for about a minute and then put into the mixture. Next add the milk and pour bit by bit as you are whisking, we used a cup of milk.

Step 4: For flavour we added two teaspoons of vanilla essence and continued mixing for a few more seconds.

Step 5: Place your baking paper in your baking tin. Then grease with butter, this is always a good way to prevent your cake from sticking to the tin.

Step 6: Pour your mixture into the baking tin and place to the middle of your preheated oven for around thirty minutes. We set the temperature to 180 degrees.

Voila! Shelley and Michelle’s Vanilla Sponge Cake, which took twenty minutes to prep, thirty minutes to bake and in total it only took 50 minutes!

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Shelley & Michelle xx