For part III of my Australia trip recap, I’m sharing a recap of my experience at surf camp, plus some highlights from my extra night in Byron Bay and then very brief stay in Brisbane.
Does the following color combination appear oh-so-reminiscent of a recent holiday that may have involved fireworks, cookouts, and way too many chips consumed pool-side?
That’s because these blondies were definitely made TWICE for various Fourth of July celebrations, but I’m only getting around to posting them now because…life.
I recently re-took various personality tests around the interwebs which revealed an interesting shift from my former middle-leaning-introverted tendencies of the Myers-Briggs scale to the extrovert-leaning side. Way back in the day, I took the real-deal test and scored INTJ, one of the rarest personality types and basically the ULTIMATE introvert profile. According to more recent (free internet) tests, I have solidly edged over to the extrovert side of the scale, which I found myself thinking “yeah, that could be right,” considering what a success story my Australia solo travel was.
But these past few weeks, man–definitely confirmed I’m still an introvert. I’ve had some kind of meeting or social engagement every single night after work and it’s exhausting. I want to curl up in my room, read the book that my roommate left in my doorway, and not speak to anyone for a week. I think that’s the definition of introversion. Though my extended period of extroversion was fun while it lasted!
So for the fourth, I riffed on Michelle’s rhubarb and white chocolate blondies with additional fruit for a red white and blue theme (the first batch with cherries, the second with pomegranates). Thhen, when gifted a few jars of Ugly Fruit applesauce, I used it in a second batch in place of some butter.
Back in the day, I was a big fan of using things like applesauce and yogurt as a fat-replacer in baked goods. These days, I almost never substitute for fat in baked recipes since it almost always results in less satisfying goods that leave me wishing I’d just made the real deal. The applesauce, however, worked really well in these considering how fruity the toppings are anyway, simply resulting in a slightly firmer (instead of gooey-centered) blondie that still retains that buttery-sweet, salt-flecked flavor.
Ugly Fruit, by the way, is a company that uses blemished fruit that would otherwise be thrown away due to unsalable appearances that can’t make it through the high beauty standards of grocery stores. I’ve been seeing a lot of companies pop up lately that are attacking the issue of food waste from multiple angles and I LOVE IT. I think food waste and sustainability are incredibly important issues and it’s really great to see more people finding solutions to this rather gargantuan problem.
“Ugly Fruit is creating networks of farms, chefs, processors, and communities that are committed to tackling issues of access and nutrition and creating a food system that better allocates resources and provides healthier options accessible to all.”
^ How cool is that?? So to recap, make these blondies and go buy some really delicious small batch applesauce! If you’re on the East Coast, you can find Ugly Fruit applesauce in select stores in Connecticut, New York, and soon Boston (follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitte
(Ps. I was given samples, but not compensated to write this post; I just really believe in this awesome product!)
Disclaimer: OXO kindly provided me with the set of SNAP Glass Food Storage Containers you’ll see pictured in this post, but I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Try not to poop your pants in excitement that a recipe post–i.e. what this blog is ostensibly based upon–is finally here.
Or should you? This is a pretty solid recipe.
To recap my time in Melbourne, Melbourne breakfast is indeed THE THING. I had this ricotta hotcake that was life-changing–like top three things I’ve ever eaten in life–but also, every single pancake I had there was phenomenal. It was as though Melbourne got some sort of city-wide memo that all pancakes should be really super fluffy, tight-crumbed and tender (NEVER CHEWY) and topped with all the most exciting things.
So recreating the miraculously fluffy hotcake was a top 10 priority once I got home; lower than calling my parents, but above laundry (just kidding) (or am I). I dug deep into my realm of pancake research, devised a plan…and the first try was such a HUGE flop (I attempted to bake it in the oven to get the same golden dome and it ended up with this weird, holey, crackly surface) that I temporarily shelved my efforts and went back to the basics.
Melbourne is magic. Moody, hauntingly foggy gardens, intricate grafitti laneways, the most beautiful modern cafes, vibrant food, stylish inhabitants, bustling markets, I can see why everyone I met raved about Melbourne (and why my best Aussie-transplant-to-Houston baking goddess friend adores her hometown :)) I unfortunately encountered dreary, drizzly weather as Melbourne transitioned into winter during my visit and ultimately ended up cutting my visit short to continue chasing the sun in northern Australia via Surfer’s Paradise and Brisbane. Still, I managed to fit in a ton of delicious food, fun friend dates, shopping and exploring during my short stint in Melbourne.
If there’s anything that I took away from Melbourne, it’s that the cafe and breakfast scene is exceptionally strong which obviously means we (me and Melbourne) are meant to be and that I will be back sooner rather than later.
This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive three-day itinerary, just a little glimpse into what I did–hopefully it will provide a little inspiration/jumping off point for what to do/see/eat if you ever visit Melbourne (which you should TOTALLY do!)
Sydney kicked off the start of my month-long solo trip, and it was the best beginning of a trip I could imagined. From meeting the absolute friendliest and fun people in my hostel to exhausting myself walking 12+ miles a day to see gorgeous, iconic sites of Sydney (hi, Opera House and gorgeous beach cliffs) and eating ALL THE DELICIOUS THINGS…I had a great time, and you definitely will too if you ever go.
I wanted to share what I did in Sydney to shed some insight on how I spent my solo time there and perhaps provide inspiration if you ever plan to go! This is obviously not a comprehensive three-day itinerary of all the things to do in Sydney, just a little glimpse into what I did and what I hope to do when I go back someday. (Yes, my to-eat list is a mile-long…but like really, what did you expect?)