Sexy-ass Peanut Butter Cups for Halloween!

Yay! It's Halloween Time. 

Let me just begin this post by sharing with you a hilariously awkward photo from my preteen years . . . 

God I love Halloween.

If you haven't already guessed, I'm the one absolutely loving life in the inflatable toucan costume.

One thing about trick-or-treating is that at the end of the night we'd always barter off our candy loot with each other so that we'd end up with a pile of our favorites. 

"Trade ya a pack of Skittles and a KitKat for that king size Twix"

Now Reeses have always been a top contender in our pyramid of candy favorites. 

Conveniently, they are also one of the easiest candies to make from scratch. Hence, why I'm sharing them with you today.

Peanut butter cup

The first version is the super simple classic (just pb and chocolate) and in the second version we create a simple coconut ganache to go with the pb, just gourmet-ifying it a little bit. 

The second version is actually from The Lazy Cat Kitchen's Chilli Chocolate Raspberry Cups recipe, which is absolutely delicious! I just swapped out a few ingredients 'cause we're peanut butter lovers up in here. 

pbcups.jpg
Peanut Butter Cup 2

I hope you find these recipes as friggin' delicious as I did!

Leave a comment below with your favorite type of Halloween candy. If I get enough comments I'll attempt to create a simplified version of the favorite!

As always, let me know how your baking goes and if there are any recipes you want simplified and loaded up on Just Give Me a Cookie!

Not part of the community yet? Then get on the bandwagon and sign up below!

  

Overdosing on Sugar and these Banana Oat Squares

For this blog post I thought I'd share with you one of my Just Give Me a Cookie emails + recipe. If you found this enjoyable enough to receive in an email then sign up for Just Give Me a Cookie below! 

I had a pretty bad hangover the other day. . . 

from overdosing on sugar. It freakin' sucked! Nausea, pounding headache, grogginess. All of those same symptoms you're graced with the morning after you hit the bottle too hard were the same symptoms I had from eating "healthy". 

Have you ever started eating food that was under the guise of "healthy"? Only to realize that "healthy" was actually loaded with sugar? 

Now, don't get me wrong. If I wanna indulge in some sugary sweets, I will (duh, hence this blog), knowing that what I'm putting in my body is sugary sweets and that I should limit the amount of it I eat.

However, it really twists my whiskers that food companies are creating these so called healthy foods that are actually loaded with hidden sugars. So here I am stuffing my face with "healthy granola bars" only to find that, hold on, there's actually about 15 grams of sugar per serving. Oh snap, every "healthy" thing I ate today was actually all just processed crap food. WTF. *Cue sugar hangover. 

All I'm asking is that why can't the healthy labels actually be healthy and not super saturated with refined sugars so that I can save my refined sugar intake for dessert?

End rant.

So, in order to push back a little I've created these banana oat squares for a healthier midweek snack. 

Banana Oat Squares 1

They turned out surprisingly fluffier than I anticipated (prob. due to the white flour).  Now, I just used what I had in the pantry but I think next time I will totally replace the white flour with coconut or almond flour. 

There is no added sugar in these bars but you will need to have a look at the type of peanut butter you use to see how much hidden sugars might be lurking there. I like to use natural, organic pb and I've actually just found out its pretty easy to make if you've got a super powerful blender (This recipe is for almond butter but you get the point).

*Note: The pb used in this recipe was more on the oily side, as in you need to stir it before using. A drier pb could yield a denser, drier oat cake. 

Banana Oat Squares 2

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let's save the sugar for dessert and other times of splurge, not for when we're trying to be good!

That's why I'll be pumping out a few more weekday snacks to help you (and me) kick those other convenient "healthy" but nasty foods to the curb!

Banana Oat Squares Recipe

As always, I'd love to hear from you! Are these recipes hitting the nail on the head? If not, what recipes would you like to see featured on JGMC? 

Cookies, Cookies, Me Loves Cookies

So due to unfortunate circumstances, I've had to send my camera off to get fixed. Soo what's a gal to do?! 

Well, I've pretty much drowned my sorrows in cookies. These Oh-so soft ginger cookies to be precise. (Photos taken before the camera probs went down).

Gingersnap cookie 1

If you've signed up to be apart of the Just Give Me a Cookie community then check your inboxes cause this super yum cookie recipe has just landed in your inbox!! 

Seriously though, I've received so much praise over this little cookie when I brought it to a Thanksgiving party the other weekend. (Yes, we celebrated in October 'cause we did it Canadian style this year, ya heard?) 

Even my boss (who's a baker!!) said they were super yum! So there ya have it folks. These cookies are just perfect for Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas cookie swaps, you name it!. 

Want the recipe? Then sign up below to receive this and many more delicious treats! 


Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes with Ground Linseed (flaxseed)

Hi there friends! Before I show off my bloobs this week with these super easy blueberry pancakes I wanted to take a minute and let you know I'm taking some time to gather my thoughts, recipes, and tips from my dear readers (crickets) to bring you Just Give Me a Cookie!

FlaxBlueberryPancakes 1

What is Just Give Me a Cookie?

JGMC is a sometimes weekly foodie gift from Me to You. It is the lazy bakers guide for all you busy humans out there who LOVE freshly baked treats on a week night but who are short on time and maybe not super confident in the kitchen. JGMC is about being imperfect and getting creative with the ingredients and tools you do have. (No special trips here!) It's about you being able to shut your brain off afterwork and still indulge in a hot, gooey-ass cookie that took only 5 of your precious minutes to make from scratch. Each JGMC virtual package will contain a featured recipe that is baking S-I-M-P-L-F-I-E-D with side-by-side swap out ingredients for fast, lazy baking without sacrificing yumminess! Can I get a hallelujah! 

Wanna join JGMC?

Dude!! So stoked! If you are interested in receiving Just Give Me a Cookie's foodie gifts just sign up at the bottom of this post! Stay tuned for when I release my very FIRST one! 

OK, Onwards to Why You're Actually Reading this Post in the First Place, PANCAKES!!

FlaxBlueberryPancakes 2

This recipe came about this weekend because I had a half a can of coconut milk that needed to get used up asap and because I had a new bag of ground linseed calling my name. 

"Wtf, linseed? Seriously you hippy?" ya. I know what you're thinking and you know what?  I just happen to like a little extra fiber in the morning, goes well with my coffee . . . 

. . . .

. . . .

 . . . .  

But seriously, what's the point of adding that expensive ground up shit to my food? 

Flaxblueberrypancakes 6

Well, according to official sources like Web MD and my mom, linseed (flaxseed) is loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other micronutrients. Linseeds may also lend a hand in preventing cancer, stroke, and heart disease. But enough of that confusing medical stuff. It really just means that you get to do your morning doo just a lil' bit easier and feel better about stuffing your face with syrup and a side of pancake without sacrificing fluffiness or flavor. It's a WIN WIN! 

Also, I'm not the biggest fan of wholewheat pancake mix because it literally feels like I've ingested a brick after eating one. So by adding ground flax to my white flour pancake mix, I don't feel as bad about indulging in my fluffy bleached flour pancakes. :)

*Note you could also sub oat flour for white flour which I just might do next time. 

FlaxBlueberryPancakes 3

Before we move on to the recipe, 

There are three cardinal rules when it comes to making pancakes

  1. DON'T OVER MIX your batter, just until everything is incorporated. Ain't nobody got time to worry 'bout lumps. 
  2. Your batter needs a NAP, after all that mix'n, let your batter rest for at least 15 minutes (aim for 30 if you have the time). Idk why but Bobby Flay says so and it works for me! Fluffy pancakes all day err' dayy!
  3. Low n' Slow, NEVER rush the pancake, initially turn your pan on medium/low heat and turn down slightly during the cooking process (depends on your burner)

Following these three crucial steps will ensure you don't have any of those heavy, sit-like-a-brick in your stomach pancakes. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup of white flour (or try oat and let me know how it goes!)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup ground linseed 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • BLOOBS ( as much as you want, but if you HAVE to have a measurement somewhere around a 1/3 cup)

 

Directions

  1. Some sophisticated people would tell you to sift the flour into the bowl, but I DON"T GOT TIME FOR THAT. If you're like me, just simply place all the dry ingredients in first and give a mix to incorporate it all
  2. Crack and whisk egg in a sep. bowl, then dump into bowl with dry ingredients
  3. Add in the rest of your wet ingredients, mix until JUST incorporated. Don't give a F*** about those lumps
  4. Dump in your bloobs, stir once or twice, and leave that shit to R-E-S-T. Go make yourself a coffee, watch your trashy morning tv shows, or whatever the hell else you do in the morning.
  5. After sufficient amount of time (15-30 mins) come back and get the griddle going baby!
  6. I like to start on a medium heat and then lower after my first or second batch.
  7. For those of you who, like me, are poor and don't own a non-stick pan I've found that the best method for cooking un-stuck pancakes is a half'n half combo of butter to oil. This way you get the lovely butter flavor with out OVER buttering (and yes there is such a thing as over buttering, see here.)
  8. Be patient with your lovelies, once on the pan let them do there thing, gettin' all bubbly and shit. Only once the sides have risen up from the edge and a sufficient amount of bubbles have risen to the top is it time to try flipping. 
  9. Keep your pancakes hot by using a plate as a lid or by placing them in a 325 F oven. 

 

So by now you should be able to get off that couch and cook yourself up some fluffy, healthy ass pancakes!

FlaxBlueberryPancakes 5




Gettin' My Chai Cake on.

So, it's been pretty cold/rainy/bleh over here in the Southern Hemi. It's winter time and I am thoroughly OVER IT! Logging into facebook and insta, I keep seeing marvelous pictures of summer enjoyment aka family beach days, icecreams & s'mores, that crystal clear water NC's been having. 

I'm over here like burrrrr. Waking up in our frosty house, dragging the space heater around like it's a drip feed, squeegee-ing off our un-insulated windows, and trying to squeeze any source of warmth I can from those summer photos y'all keep posting. 

One thing I really crave in the winter is a ginger-y, spice-y, warming type desserts served along with a homemade chai tea! 

jess lowcher: Chai spice cake 1

And that's exactly what I made this week. On Sunday, when we made our big shop, the plan was to attempt to whip up a batch of chai tea concentrate, which requires whole spices of cardamom, clove, fennel, and a few others.

So, that's exactly what I bought, whole spices

Mid-week the craving for spice cake kicked in and overpowered my common sense. BECAUSE, I don't have a spice grinder, pestle and mortar, or ANY OTHER TYPE OF BLENDING DEVICE. 

Common sense conscious: "Hmm whole spices vs. knife = HOURS of standing hunchback, slaving over those damn spices until they're small enough to bake with. Maybe, we should buy the ground versions . . .?"

Stubborn, hungry conscious: "But I'm too cheap for that and we've already got perfectly good spices here. Besides, it's raining outside and you've already made the switch to sweat pants and fluffy socks. Yea . . . you're not going anywhere".

Well, you can guess what side won and I spent about an hour or so twiddling away trying to get my spices small ENOUGH. 

It was a sad sight. There were some new dents put in the fake wood floor, dinner was put off until 9 (sorry Chris), but in the end I made that freaking spice cake DAMMIT!

I was committed! 

And I have to say, It was delicious! A labor of love, hell yes, but mmm yumm!! Goes GREAT with that homemade cup of Chai I made earlier in the week! 

jess lowcher: chai spice cake 2

 

So here's my recipe for chai spice cake with citrus sherbert frosting:

Ingredients

FOR CAKE

 

 

 

 

~15 pods of green cardamom (1 tsp of ground cardamom, but fresh is better)

~1 tblsn of fennel seed

~1/3 tsp of star anise

~1 tsp of mixed spice

Pinch of Salt

2 cups of AP Flour

1/2 cup of soft butter

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of baking soda 

1 cup of buttermilk

1 egg

1 cup of brown sugar 

1 tsp of vanilla

 

FOR ICING

3 tblsns of sour cream

zest of half an orange

zest and juice of half a lemon

1 tblsn of vanilla

2-3 tblsns of powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Crush cardamom pods to remove seeds. Grind all spices however possible. You could use a pestle and mortar or spice grinder to make your life easier. (I started off placing all of my spices in a bag and banging the shit out of it with a heavy object. Then moved to just trying to crunch up the remaining large pieces with my knife). Ideally, you just don't want TOO large piece of any of the spices but some small chunks are ok. I actually found them quite pleasant, it upped the spice factor!
  2. Cream butter until about the consistency of mayo.  Again, you could use a food processor or electric beaters. Since I am poor and have neither I just used a whisk and took advantage of a chance to show off my guns to Chris. 
  3. Beat in sugar, then beat in egg. Beat until well combined
  4. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all your spices together. Mix well.
  5. Add vanilla into buttermilk and mix
  6. Fold in half dry mixture then half of buttermilk/vanilla. Repeat until dry mix and buttermilk have all been incorporated. 
  7. Place in greased muffin tins or cake pan and bake for approx 30 mins. 
  8. While cake is baking take this time to make the icing. Zest orange and lemon into a bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream, and powdered sugar. Then whisk until there are no lumps. You may want more powdered sugar depending on how you like your icing. I like mine no too too sweet and ended up using about 3 tblsns of powdered sugar. 
  9. Let cake cool completely before dumping on your desired amount of frosting. 

 

Extreme Peanut Buttery-Cake and The Happiest of Birthdays

As Americans, we're born into a world where the peanut butter & chocolate combo is king.  It's practically injected into our systems at birth (ok, so I'm exaggerating a little bit here but for the expats reading this post y'all know how the rest of the world views us Americans and our peanut butter). 

So when it comes to birthdays, you can pretty much bet that the big PB&C will be making a grand appearance somewhere.

This year it's in the form of cake. Yes cake.

chocolatepbcake1

Cake that was whipped up using a severely cracked measuring cup, a colander as a sifter, a crock pot for a mixing bowl, a 1960's Sunbeam Mixmaster, one cake pan, and one spring form pan of different sizes.

Ghetto baking at its finest. Don't judge me. 

chocolatepbcake4

Over the last few weeks I'd been deliberating over EXACTLY how I wanted to execute this cake. Seriously, have you seen just how many types of just PLAIN Chocolate cake there are out there? Now try frosting with peanut butter in it. I mean, while I'm sitting on my butt right now typing up this post I can think of like 10 different ways of crafting up a cake with chocolate and peanut butter in it!! 

As a girl who doesn't really know her way around cakes (cause cookies and brownies are more my thing ya dig?) I was a little worried that the combination of my makeshift baking tools and half-assed attempt at measuring/then carving out a 1/2 cup of butter from the 500 gram blocks you buy here in New Zealand was going to land me with a less-than-stoked tasting cake. 

So wanna know how this chocolate cake with swirls of crunchy au-natural pb, chocolate/pb frosting, topped with some lightly salted peanuts to finish turned out?

rIMG_5127.jpg

 Well I found out that I didn't have quite enough batter to fill one of my cake pans, so one layer was pretty thin. Ha. Also, it needed some chocolate chips because Chris and I both felt we were lacking chocolatey-ness but overall it was a tasty cake.  

SO don't think I'll be posting any recipe for this cake YET. Just feast with your eyes for now. IF you would like some inspiration for your next cake I highly suggest having a drool over these master pieces:

The Sugar Hit's LUSH CHOCOLATE MILO CAKE. Umm, hello sexy!!

and Nigella Lawson's HONEY CHOCOLATE CAKE. GET IN MY BELLY RIGHT NOW!

Living the Dream

Attention family. I've found my calling in life and have finally fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming the person I've always wanted to be! 

The Little Mermaid!!

So ya, if you need me you can find me here, on this rock. All day er' day. ON THIS ROCK. Excuse me now while I continue singing and brushing my hair with a, what do you call it again? Oh, fork.  

 "Ahh-Ahh Ahh-Ahh"



I have no comment . . .

Let me just preface this whole post by mentioning that the baking gods hold some type of grudge against me when it comes to making biscuits. 

My biscuit making history has been written off as fail after epic fail.

After every fail I write off these fluffy yummy nuggets as something I will just never be able to make for myself and sulk about it for a few months.

Until . . .  one day I get this great idea to try my hand at making biscuits, because ya know, how many times can a girl fail at this? Well, the answer is . . .

Many. Many. Many times. 

But I never learn that lesson. This time I was so sure of the recipe. I went through the process of making the dough. Screwed NOTHING UP. Was so pumped because THIS WAS IT!

Everything was going so well, the sausage'n gravy was coming along nicely and I could see the biscuits rising . . . and smoking . . .

and then the butter fire started.   Yes. 

A BUTTER Fire. 

I managed to pull out my biscuits seconds before they were engulfed in flames. We had a full on fight with the smoke detector but 15 minutes later order was restored. 

No, we did not burn down the apartment. Yes, I may have put too much butter in the biscuits. 

*Note I didn't include any photos of the biscuits'n gravy because:

 A. Despite it tasting delicious, the combo scarily resembled dog puke B. I'm saving the honor for the day I truly master THE BISCUIT! 

So instead, I hope you enjoy these totally random photos from the weekend. 

Brown Butter Cookies

When you're the new kid on the block and your friend count is still well under 10 . . . you embark on baking adventures to fill you wide open weekend schedule and that empty void in your homesick heart.  

These brown butter cookies ( recipe here ) really do help to cheer you up. I didn't stuff mine with Nutella but instead just shoved a whole bar of dark chocolate up in it and sprinkled with sea salt just before baking. 

When it comes to cookies I like to under bake mine and let them rest on the tray for 5-10 minutes (depending on my self restraint). I love a good gooey cookie and this also ensures that any leftovers will be deliciously chewy the next day.

P.S. Did I mention Chris and I just bought a car? Freedom! I mean don't get me wrong biking everywhere and taking the bus was working out  . . . it just meant we ended up not doing most the things we set out to do because: a. You have to allot a minimum of 2 hours for going anywhere and b. we are lazy.  Woohoo, hello mini van! Complete with stick family of four sticker on the back.

(*Raises cookie*) So here's to actually getting things done and maybe some weekend adventures! 

Eating our way around town

Kiwi's lovveee their coffee!

Seriously, you won't find a crappy cuppa joe anywhere around these parts! Not even at the gas stations. The cafe culture is big here and in every corner street shopping center you will find more than one place serving up yummy cups of their signature long blacks and flat whites. 

Every weekend in the Mount there is this wonderful market called The Little Big Market which plays host to handmade craft stalls, vintage pieces, and foodie style food trucks. This time Chris and I split a super yummy Thai version of chicken noodle soup.

Holy Yum.

The original plan was to hike the Mount afterwards and get some fun photos from the top but there ended up being a little bit of surf. So yea, that didn't happen.

 



New Kids on the Block

Have you ever moved somewhere new and when you got there knew not a

 

single soul?

 

Well I feel ya because that is Chris and I right now. 

I mean it's hard to make friends when you have no car and the business you work for consists of only  

YOU & YOUR BOSS(es)

no other coworkers to hang out with afterwards.

That being said though, our bosses are pretty damn cool.

 

SO yea. We will work on that whole no friend thing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Having friends and family is something you seriously take for granted until you make a huge move . . .

(like crossing the continent of North America and over the world's largest ocean type of huge)

to a tiny island in the South Pacific.  I mean not gonna lie, our first 2 weeks have been a bit lonely. Our only friends right now include the retired lady upstairs, who's also the landlord.

This Will Be Colorful

Just finished up crafting a beachy little film for 

This Will Be Colorful

If you're from The Banks and you haven't seen TWBC's work then you definitely need to check them out! Absolutely adorable sea inspired greeting cards, wall art, pocket cards, and so much more!

 



Love birds Liz + Cricker tie the knot!

One of my besties tied the knot last weekend!! 

It was a gorgeous little DIY wedding on the breath taking sound front property Liz grew up on. 

It was absolutely stunning!!!

Not only did I have the privilege of being a bridesmaid but also their wedding photographer as well. 

Woohoo! 

Please visit here for the full password protected gallery.


Intro: How to take the trip of a lifetime on just $25 a day

*Note: I know my grammar is cringe worthy at the best of times so I'm apologizing in advance for it*

Oh Instagram, every few milliseconds someone on the planet posts another epic travel photo that just begs for my double tap. Usually I find myself spending way too much time staring at these photos and dreaming of my next big escape. I know I'm not the only one.  However, most of us snap back to reality, wipe the drool off our faces, and talk ourselves out of such an impractical trip. A one week vacay to the Caribbean sounds much safer.  Too many of us write off our travel dreams because the length of time off work or the money required seems impossible.

Now I don't know what to tell you regarding time off work, 'cause you gotta sort out your own priorities. Would you be willing to quit your job for the trip of a lifetime? For my boyfriend and I, the answer was an unwavering YES! For us it seemed like the perfect time to embark on a long term trip because we're young and haven't settled down yet, so why not? 

Going on an extended trip, is not so far from reach as many Americans think. Does it require some planning? Yes. Some budgeting? Hell yes. However, it's actually quite doable if you know the right resources, are willing to get your hands dirty (literally, I'll explain later), and commit to that shit. How do I know? Because I just spent the last 5 months traveling through New Zealand with my boyfriend and we were able to do it on just $25 per day!! 

Want to know how we did it? 

I'll tell ya . . . . . in my next post. :) 

*p.s. Just a side note here. Now until the end of the month I'm having a sale!! 15% off all prints from my store!


Raglan & Karekare

The last bits of our travels before we return home for a short bit  Actually, we've just gotten back into the states and I have to say the 30hr trip has taken its freaking toll. I'm not just tired, it's beyond that point. 

For those of you who enjoyed my images from New Zealand stay tuned because I'll be posting a sale within the coming week! Woot!! 

Tid Bits from South Island . . .

The west coast of the South Island could arguably be summarized by one word.

Sandflies

Or what we like to call them, Flying Teeth. 

No exposed skin is safe. Bug spray seems to just make them hungrier . . . 

At it's most extreme point Chris and I found ourselves wrapping our heads in shirts and putting socks over our hands.

  Camper Van adornment and sadly what you might look like after a few hours in sandfly territory.

Camper Van adornment and sadly what you might look like after a few hours in sandfly territory.

Now we know why the west coast is virtually uninhabited despite its rugged and gorgeous scenery. 

(Note: hands, feet, arms, and faces were sacrificed in the making of these photos)

In one of the previous posts we mentioned about making it all the way to the tippy top of the North Island and now we can say we made it to the very bottom of the South Island and it was freakin' windy. 

   After this shot I attempted to do the same thing pictured above which resulted in   a humiliating backwards summersault. (Don't worry Chris got it on tape.)

After this shot I attempted to do the same thing pictured above which resulted in a humiliating backwards summersault. (Don't worry Chris got it on tape.)

The day we played Moses and literally parted a sea of sheep. It took us 15 hilarious minutes.

All this camping has left us pretttty stinky and sometimes you're left with two options:

1. Pretend you don't stink

2. Dunk body parts under near frozen water until you can't stand it any more and pretend you don't stink

  Nope, no surf here.

Nope, no surf here.

Just thought we'd take a peaceful stroll along Cannibal Bay . . .

(note the irony there)

and then we came across a few pairs of fighting sea lions. 

One of the super cool attractions to check out in the Catlins is the Lost Gypsy Bus filled with literally tons of tinker toys to play with! 

Finally, a clip we've been wanting to share for a little while now. A little back story first though. Chris and I have taken it upon ourselves to rename all the glorious birds in NZ. Here is one of our favorites, a Robo-ninja-jetfighter, in the clip below. 

It's about damn time

Yes, I realize that there has been a huge lull in my blog posts. This is due to a series of unfortunate events that began with my hard drive crashing and ended (so far) with my laptop getting rained on. Luckily, all my files were saved but unfortunately I lost all my software and am currently operating off a trial version of photoshop :(.

Back to the cool stuff. So the first few photos were taken in Piha directly west of Auckland and apparently the most dangerous beach in New Zealand. 

After Piha we trekked it on down to the Taranaki area where the surf has been plentiful. So plentiful and awesome in fact that we've put off leaving 3 times now. One of these days we will make it to the South Island but for now we're pretty content.  

 Multi-tasking, doing the dishes while sneaking in a little surf check. 

Multi-tasking, doing the dishes while sneaking in a little surf check. 

About a week after arriving into the area Chris and I stumbled upon a retro twin fin surf contest going on at one of the local beach breaks. The "Tinnies and Twinnies Contest" (tinnies meaning beer that comes in a can) was basically just an excuse for all the locals to get dressed up in their most retro attire, pound down some sausages and beer, and just enjoy a fun day with friends at the beach. Chris entered and we ended up meeting some pretty awesome people. 

We finally did manage to write up a few postcards for the fam back home . . .

Have I mentioned the number of farm animals here well outnumber the people?

Also, remember that Rummy Card game from my first post? Well that has turned into a ruthless ongoing game which won't come to it's conclusion until the end of our trip. Currently, it's neck and neck and our points are well over 11,000. Loser has to buy dinner (which is freaking not cheap in this country!) and I can tell you it won't be me  . . . 

A Kiwi Christmas + New Years

I've been feeling particularly lazy and don't have much too say. However, I will say that the last two weeks have been some of the best thus far. 

Christmas in Waipu consisted of pure gluttony, waterfalls, mince tarts, and right hand beach breaks. Followed by New Years in the Far North! Woohoo!

After our time in Waipu we hop-scotched up to the Far North and rang in the New Years  at the tippy top of New Zealand (where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific). 


When you give a duck a peanut butter sandwich . . .

When you give a duck a peanut butter sandwich  . . .

you quickly learn to never do that again, unless you want a troupe of about 25 ducks (with 4 or 5 feisty seagulls thrown in the mix) start haggling you for more. Seriously, no toes are safe.

Our first WWOOFing spot landed us in Omaha. Ironically enough, it turns out our hosts are commercial photographers. The last two weeks have been spent nestled on the top of a large hill with a sweeping view overlooking Omaha Beach and Point Wells. Its been rainy and windy for about 90% of our stay but we did sneak in a few surfs at Daniel’s Reef and gorged ourselves on seriously the most delicious gelato in New Zealand.