Sometimes you don’t realize you have a slight obsession with something until you look at it from a different perspective. You might one day have a look at your closet and realize blue and polka dots are absolute dominants. You might have a look at your Instagram feed and realize you’ve been photographing every stray cat you ever met. Or you might search your blog history for recipes and realize you have a chocolate obsession… But a chocolate obsession is not a bad thing, especially on Chocolate Day. Here are 7 ways to indulge in chocolate – try not to make them all at once!
Chocolate coconut biscuits
Grandma's recipe is a real success on every occasion. The chocolate covered biscuits work equally well with coconut or walnut topping. Learn More
Dried fruit dark chocolates
These good looking chocolates are made with Pina Colada tea mix, but you can replace that with virtually any dried fruit. Learn More
Black beer brownies
Moist, chocolatey, packed with flavor, these brownies are absolute comfort food. Learn More
Peanut & chocolate mousse
This mousse is not only delicious, but healthy too! The light consistency makes it lovely on its own or as cake frosting. Learn More
Chocolate & whiskey cheesecake
This is one of my favorite past experiments, and the whiskey cream makes it absolutely delicious. Learn More
Lemon & walnut dark chocolate
A refreshing and flavorful chocolate that you can make with just four ingredients. Learn More
Marzipan body scrub
If you're off chocolate for the time being, you can still enjoy it in the form of a body scrub. A marzipan one no less! Learn More
Yes, I know, everyone makes salad in a jars and everyone makes anything in a jar lately. It’s trendy. But there’s a reason for that: it works. It’s practical, easy to transport and boy, does it look cute! Also, it’s Fresh Veggie Day, which makes a great excuse for a backyard picnic.
I lhonestly don’t have recipes for salads – I always use what I have at hand and hope that everything fits together. Sometimes I may throw in nuts or fruits, other times I do a kefir dressing. But most of the times I just chop vegetables and maybe cheese, add olive oil and vinegar, and call it a salad. So nothing fancy here. Jar salads work regardless of the recipe, but here are a few things that you should always keep in mind:
- Start with a clean jar. Obviously. But also make sure it’s dry, to prevent the veggies from spoiling. And make sure you have the right lid!
- The lower layer is the dressing. I put in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and vinegar on the bottom of my jars.
- The next layer is made of wet ingredients. These are your tomatoes and your cucumbers, and whatever else is juicier than the rest.
- Cover with harder veggies that will block moisture, such as bell peppers and carrots.
- The next layer is the protein in your salad: cheese, egg, nuts, chickpeas, chicken, you name it.
- For the top layer, use dry ingredients such as pasta, croutons or leafy greens.
- Store in the fridge tightly closed until ready to eat. Shake a bit and enjoy, preferably outdoors!
Careful! Your delicious salad might attract wild beasts, as it happened to me:
Banana milk is the easiest meal/snack/dessert you can make. My sister introduced it to me a few years back, and I’ve been making it on every occasion since. Some time along the way, I made another discovery: strawberry milk. Tasty, and so pretty! So why not mix everything together and see what comes out? The result: delicious strawberry banana milk, a recipe will all the ingredients stated in the name. Have it for breakfast, have it for dinner, pour it over your cereal, sip it ungarnished – there’s no wrong version.
But it can’t be a legit drink without a straw, right? I always feel very wasteful throwing them out when I’m done. And I’m done in a couple of minutes. I mean, you could reuse plastic straws once or twice, but they get icky so quickly. I was very excited to find out that there’s an alternative: beautiful, reusable straws from Glass Dharma! In case you’re not convinced of the need for such straws, just read some of the scary information here, and you might change your mind.
And how good do they look? The graceful bended design is timeless and versatile, it really adds to the overall look of the drink. If you’re worried about cleaning glass straws, don’t be: you can get a cleaning brush that fits perfectly and does all of the work for you. And they’re guaranteed to last a lifetime. Now that summer is here, these bad boys are getting a lot of use around the house and I’m so happy with them.
Strawberry banana milk
A refreshing breakfast, dinner or snack made with just three ingredients.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 1/2 cup cold milk (can be non-dairy)
- 1 cup ripe strawberries
- Wash the strawberries and remove the greens.
- In a bowl, break the banana in small pieces. Add the milk and strawberries on top. Blend for 2-3 minutes or until homogeneous.
- Garnish with strawberries optionally.
- You can take these measurements loosely. Feel free to add more milk or fruit to taste.
- Add some strawberry ice cream to the blender to make the drink more like a milkshake.
Audrey is the girl behind Maine Forager’s Field Guide (check out the blog here) and she was sweet enough to help with a blog post while I’m away. It’s actually a rhubarb liqueur recipe that I find super intriguing! By the time I come back from Tokyo, rhubarb should be in season, so I’m excited to give it a try! Meanwhile, scroll down and see what the fuss is about:
We live on a small little bit of land in the suburban sprawl of the little city of Portland, Maine, USA. Our winters are long, so when the snow starts thawing and the crocuses are peeking their little heads out of the muddy ground we all rush to our seed stashes and begin our fantasies of all the fresh, local fruits and veggies we can make before the leaves start turning brown again.
We moved here two years ago, and my favorite favorite bit of this place is this one massive hulk of a rhubarb plant my husband’s grandmother tended years before we even got here. This beast has been living in the backyard for longer than most of our neighbors and produces the thickest, reddest chutes you’ve ever seen. Nothing is about as cheery (and easy to care for) as a big triumphant rhubarb in the middle of May. The landscape is bleak right now, grass slowly turning from white to green and I would be remiss to show you anything so sad this time of year except for my trusty, muddy bison leather LL Bean boots I use for garden shoes. But the transition will be quick, and when it is I will be at the ready with an arsenal of mason jars and local vodka (Cold River Vodka) to whip up a large batch of rhubarb liqueur.It is so simple. I just love a recipe that gives you the bones and lets you do what you want with it. Lemon zest? Sure, why not, throw some in. Black pepper? Yes, try one of the jars with that! The only tricky part is the waiting, but truth be told if you pop open a jar at any point during the steeping period you will still have a delicious drink. So here are the bones, as far as I’ve worked them out, and you can do what you want with the rest.
An absolutely easy, delicious and customizable rhubarb liqueur that tastes like summer.
- Fresh rhubarb, cut in 1" pieces
- 500ml vodka of your choice
- 2 cups (or 475g) powdered sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a large mason jar or bottle. Make sure the vodka/sugar mixture covers all the rhubarb while still leaving a little space for air at the top.
- Close tightly and set on the counter in an area that doesn't get too hot or too cold.
- Give the jar a good shake and a flip once a day, every day, for four weeks. At the end you have a beautiful sipping liqueur served straight or on ice, or a fantastic option to mix with prosecco!
- Some other things you may add, and be delighted with: strawberries, lemon zest, orange zest, ginger, tea leaves, blueberry, cranberry.
By the time your potion is done there is no doubt the back porch will be warmed by the sun and the lilies will have started growing up between the floorboards. A perfect place for a bucket of ice and a bottle of homemade liqueur to watch the clouds go by. Happy May, everyone!
One thing you need to know about this scrub: it smells amazing! I know everyone says that about their scrubs, but it’s really true! It’s refreshing and it’s a bit spicy, but I can’t describe it better than you can smell for yourselves. I usually make scrubs with sugar, but this time I wanted to use Himalayan salt because (1) it’s pretty and (2) it’s beneficial for the body. This type of salt contains loads of minerals and magnesium, so it’s commonly used in making bath salts. It also soothes soreness, detoxifies and hydrates, so I see no reason it shouldn’t be used in a body scrub. Next we have ginger, which increases blood circulation and tones the skin, leaving it fresh and radiant. And did I mention this smells divine? Oh, wait, I did.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 4 tbsp Himalayan salt
- 1 small piece of ginger (2 cm)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 drops orange essential oil
In a food processor, grind the Himalayan salt so that it’s not too chunky and rough on the skin. Add the peeled ginger and mix together.
Place the salt and ginger in a clean bowl/jar and mix with the olive oil and orange essential oil.
The scrub should be enough for 2-3 uses. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
Face masks are a treat I reserve for when I’m home alone. There’s something about having the house all to yourself, isn’t there? It makes you do all sort of “crazy” things. But you don’t have to be by yourself for this mask – it’s not green and it’s not spooky to others. More than that, a two-second trip to the kitchen will give you instant access to all the ingredients you need: honey and banana.
Bananas are rich in skin-beneficial minerals and vitamins, such as hydrating potassium, blemish-reducing vitamin A, color correcting vitamin B, and wrinkle preventing vitamin E. Honey is known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, soothing and moisturizing for the skin. The two of them together tighten the pores and make your skin feel smooth. Want to make this face mask? Here’s how:
WHAT YOU NEED
- half a banana (ripe)
- 2 tsp honey
Place the honey in a clean bowl. Break the banana into small pieces in the same bowl, then mash it with a fork until there are no more clumps and the honey is incorporated.
Optional: do a facial steam before you apply the mask. I used chamomile tea.
Apply the mask to clean skin for 10 minutes, then remove with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
Remember those Miffy-shaped cookies I posted at the beginning of the week? Boy, were they delicious. And so cute! I couldn’t help myself, and I made one of the pictures a wallpaper on my phone. I grin every time I look at it. I thought you might like to do the same, so here it is! You can download it here. Happy Easter!
You may or may not know this, but I’m a big Miffy fan. I have no idea why – I am, after all, a grown-up, and this bunny hasn’t been part of my childhood in any way. But I can’t resist her cute, minimalist features. When I visited her homeland last year, I went out of my way to find the Miffy store, and came back with as much stuff as I could carry. So you can imagine my excitement when I found Miffy shaped cookies on a blog! I immediately bought the cookie cutters from Amazon and they arrived yesterday. I’ve already made a second batch of bunny cookies and I love how they turned out. Wanna try? They’re absolutely perfect for Easter!
Peanut butter cookies
Crunchy peanut biscuits that are perfect with a cup of tea.
- 80g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 small egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- In the bowl of a mixer, put the butter, peanut butter and caster sugar, and mix well until the composition is light and fluffy.
- Add in the egg, and mix until well incorporated.
- Sift in the flour, progresively. If the mixer can no longer handle the weight of the dough, continue forming it by hand.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough in a thin layer. Cut the cookies in shapes and place on a lined tray.
- Place the tray in the fridge for 15 minutes, so that the cookies don't lose their shape from the heat (you can skip this step if your cutters don't feature any details). Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius (320 Fahrenheit).
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until the sides start browning slightly.
- You can replace caster sugar with granulated sugar, although the cookies might end up more irregularly shaped.
- When you roll the dough, keep in mind that the cookies don't have any baking soda, bicarbonate or yeast, so they won't grow. The thickness of the cookies will be the same before and after baking. For the same reason, you can place them very close to each other on the tray.