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Tag: cooking

The Happy Cookbook Challenge

I’m a goal driven person. Set me a challenge and I’m all in, guns blazing, and ready to go! I love the drive that comes with crossing off steps to reach the new goal, then the thrill that you feel when it’s all done. The pride and absolute sense of achievement is something I thrive on.

I’ve been reflecting on cookbooks and the previous cookbook challenge I set myself – to make all the recipes from Donna Hay’s Seasons Cookbook – and while that challenge is long ended and for various reasons still unfinished, I’m ready for a new goal to reach.

So, I decided on Lola Berry’s The Happy Cookbook for my next cookbook challenge.

A few reasons – I wasn’t able to complete the last one due to a few factors. I’ve become extremely lactose intolerant and am now unable to taste a lot of the leftover recipes. I live very remotely in Central Queensland and am unable to source a lot of the ingredients, like fresh seafood. However, I was able to complete 150 of the 200 recipes in the book, so I’m pretty happy with that effort.

I chose The Happy Cookbook because the recipes are Dairy and Gluten free, which is how I cook now. I’ve already made quite a few of the recipes in the book (but will be remaking them as a part of the challenge) and I know they’re full of flavour and not too difficult for me. I will be using my Thermomix with the challenge and will blog about it along the way. And I’ll be able to source the ingredients locally or online.

No, I won’t be sharing the recipes from the book. There are copy-write laws against that. I can write about my method and how I found the challenge but if you’d like the recipes to make yourself, The Happy Cookbook can be found at all good bookstores. 

I’m hoping to be inspired to try new techniques, food that I don’t usually eat and to make more creations of my own in the kitchen.

So this evening I added up all the recipes and there’s 145 in total. If I give myself 6 months to make them all that’s 6 recipes a week. Some are smoothies, some are salad dressings.

Many are desserts, that’s okay with me.

The Happy Cookbook Challenge = 145 Recipes in 6 months. Before Monday April 25th.


Follow me on Instagram at Thestrandsofme and my Facebook Page to see how I’m going!

Cookbook Lover


I read a quote recently that said we only ever really cook around 6 recipes from a cookbook.

At first I balked at it and the whole ‘don’t believe everything you read on the internet’ came to mind. I am a cookbook lover through and through but when I sat and actually thought about it, it’s probably true.

You get your favourites, one that’s a little different, a couple of go-to’s and then the rest of the desirable recipes get shelved for another time.

After reading this I made a decision to make as much out of every new book I bought that I could. Lola Berry’s ‘The Happy Cookbook’ was my next purchase and I’m pretty sure I’ve made about a quarter of it already. And you know what, I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried.

Some I might not have made otherwise. They would have been shelved. But I’m a menu planner and making myself go out of my comfort zone really pushed me and I’ve learned new techniques and tastes.

And seriously, the Raw Caramel Butter is to die for!! 

Before Phoenix was born I challenged myself to cook every recipe from Donna Hay’s Season’s Cookbook and was blogging about it here. Out of the 200 odd recipes it holds, I made about 150 of them, so not bad going, but after reading the cookbook quote I realised I never actually completed that challenge. Going over the cookbook I can see that some things weren’t made as the produce wasn’t in season at the time I had spare, things are hard to source where I live (especially the fresh seafood), or I just don’t like to eat sardines. The majority of it was made though and I feel good about that.

I’d like to redo that challenge with a new book. Since the last one I’ve developed a pretty severe lactose intolerance and due to my Alopecia I don’t eat gluten, so something that doesn’t disagree with me would be idea, and Lola’s The Happy Cookbook comes to mind. I think over the next few days I’ll have a further flick though it and a few others I have to see what I come up with.

And now I’m more aware. A lot of work goes into a cookbook and I want to appreciate that work in my kitchen. With my tastebuds. All new cookbooks I have (and that’s always a lot!) get poured over, menu planned with and enjoyed throughly.

What’s the last cookbook you bought, and how many recipes did you make?


Thermomix Gluten Free Saturday Pancakes

If you’re with me over on Instagram (@thestrandsofme), you’ll know that I love my pancakes on a Saturday morning. it’s my way of unwinding after a busy week or Kindy drop offs, day care pick ups, work, and demos. I love taking the time to prepare a nice breakfast. For me, it’s the best way to slow down for a morning instead of rush, rush, rush. Weekends aren’t always slow and easy, but one thing is certain, there are always pancakes.

I’ve written about them and shared my basic Pancake recipe with you before (which I’ll have to find and re-type as I probably deleted it when I broke my blog…). One weekend I was out of flour and while I usually make my own gluten free flour mix it was early and I had a terrible case of the ‘I-couldn’t-be-bothered’-itis. So I decided to experiment…

If I’m honest with you (and I will be, because it’s my blog), most of my experiments are a complete flop. To the point where Hubby questions my ability to even cook. Then I make sure I take the words right out of this mouth with a fantastic dish!! My odds are 1 good blogable dish for every 5 crappy ones. These pancakes have made it to the blog, so they were pretty damn good!!

These are gluten and dairy free and unlike most ‘free’ things, they actually taste nice! Try the for yourself and let me know how you go.



Thermomix Gluten Free Pancakes

You’ll need:

  • 100g Almonds
  • 60g Rapadura
  • 1Tsp Gluten Free baking powder
  • 2 Tbs Arrowroot Flour
  • 2 Tbs Coconut Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 130g Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Oil for cooking


  1. Add the almonds and rapadura to the thermomix mixing bowl and mill for 10 Seconds / Speed 9
  2. Add the baking powder, arrowroot flour and coconut flour and mix together for 10 Seconds / Speed 7. 
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and coconut milk and mix tother for 20 seconds / speed 7 or until a thickish batter.
  4. Cook the pancakes one at a time in the coconut oil over a LOW HEAT. They will burn easily so take your time. Well worth the wait in the end!

Serve with your choice of accompaniment. Mine are always served with coffee.