How to add more flavor ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ™Œ

Ghirardelli dark & white chocolate

Hot cocoa, also known as hot chocolate is an international drink. It isnโ€™t a beverage for just winter season or cold climates, since this delicious drink made with coco powder, and hot whole milk, and sugar to sweeten it, is very soothing and fun to drink for little ones and grown ups.

I grew up drinking hot coco with my breakfast, and never ever dreamt of adding anything else to my chocolaty milk, till now. More chocolate with added flavors.

Marshmallows, salted caramel, mint chocolate, even for fun jelly beans. It is super easy to make with your entire family, and a step by step video will give you some more ideas on how to make these flavor boosters for hot drinks, and even for dressing up vanilla ice cream for a jaw dropping presentation. I hope you enjoy making them, and if you come up with more ideas please share it with me.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‹

Breakfast, Snack Jam bars ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ Easy & Delicious๐Ÿ‘

Apricot jam & almonds

To bake healthy and delicious goodies sometimes can be time consuming, expensive, and frustrating. I am not shy to say I donโ€™t enjoy spending hours baking, and waiting for anything to rise for 8hours. But I love trying new recipes, and sharing them with my family, and watching them enjoy my experiments.

Every now and then when I come across a recipe that is delicious and practical, I am beyond happy. In this case fruit bars, that are delicious to pair with tea or coffee, even top them with ice cream, and just perfect to wrap in wax paper as a thoughtful gift for a friend, teacher or the next door neighbor.

This recipe is super easy to prepare, bake, and by changing the fruit layer, you can drastically change the flavor for the next batch. I made these bars to use up my leftover cranberry sauce, and it came out absolutely delicious.

You will need๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ.

1 cup butter room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt. Zest of an orange ( 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract ) 3 cups all purpose flour 2 1/2 cup cranberry sauce, apricot or cherry jam 1/2 cup almonds, or walnuts

Preheat the oven 375ยฐ bake for 40-45 using a 9×13 baking dish. Dough will be soft and buttery, using a rolling pin or your hands lay enough dough to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch thickness, a layer of jam, and a layer of nuts. Cover with the rest of the dough. Bake until slightly golden.

Layer of apricot jam, and a layer of toasted almonds
Cranberry sauce & walnuts, in squares.

I am planning to bake some with raspberry jam and a layer of shaved semisweet Ghirardelli chocolate. Yummy ๐Ÿ‘canโ€™t wait๐Ÿ˜‹

Holiday Baking is on โ„๏ธ๐Ÿช๐Ÿ™Œ

Cooking and baking has always been a fun hobby that I have enjoyed immensely. I am an average cook that loves to experiment with cooking healthy meals. I enjoy baking, just simply because I am addicted to chocolate, and for me a lovely pastry with coffee, and tea is a trip to heaven and backโ˜บ๏ธ

Christmas peppermint bark

This year, more than ever in my life ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I have been cooking and baking for my family, and now for holidays I have decided to bake new goodies and find my new favorites.

I started with :

Pizzelle

Pizzelle ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ every Christmas we enjoy eating these lovely lightly sweet giant snow flakes all day long when we travel to see grandparents. This Christmas I had to bake our own batch ๐Ÿ˜ณ I pulled out my pizzelle maker which I had received years ago as a Christmas gift, and used grandmasโ€™s recipe. After a couple of tries they came out perfect snow flakes ๐Ÿ˜‹

Italian wedding cookies

Italian wedding cookies ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ they are made with crushed almonds, and coated with powder sugar, and look like small snow balls. They are beautiful to look at, and are lightly sweet, and believe me when I say ๐Ÿคฃ you canโ€™t stop at just one.

Cranberry bars

Cranberry bars ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ using leftover cranberry sauce from thanksgiving meal, I baked these thick delicious bars with two flaky layers of dough, cushioning a layer of my chunky cranberry sauce, and a layer of walnuts. I am already thinking of making more of these bars with almonds. This is my absolute new favorite ๐Ÿ‘

Peppermint barks

Peppermint bars ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ I have always bought them as gifts for friends, and loved having them during holidays. This year never found the time to purchase them on time, so I decided to make some. Couldnโ€™t perfectly layer the white chocolate over the dark chocolate, but the result was a swirl of dark and white with crushed peppermints that made little ones very happy to crush and spread over the baking dish. Easy, fun to make, and very delicious. Next time I will make it thinner, so it would be easier to cut, and I have more to eat๐Ÿ‘

I wish you all happy cooking and baking๐Ÿ’•please check out our YouTube channel. And please subscribe and leave your comments. I love reading them and sharing more videos with you. https://youtu.be/Qb8lgNMk8AY

Keeping it together ๐Ÿฅฐ

I can list many things we are not doing this Christmas, but I realize I will be only whining, and not respecting the facts that this has been a historic year. The events of this year has changed many lives, and will change the way we used to entertain for many years to come. Special days like birthdays, anniversaries will be remembered as not so memorable, and our photos will be good evidence of that, but we also know family get togethers during Halloween, thanksgiving and Christmas will never be the same again.

In my Family events that get us together include our grandparents, and close relatives. Their presence is necessary and important to us, and their visits has always left an impression on our children. Every occasion matters, and they are memorable. This Christmas family visits are not possible, and to keep grandma, and grandpa part of our fast growing family (one day they are toddlers, next day they are teenagers) we are staying in touch using everything accessible to all of us.

Sending pictures while trimming the tree, baking, and decorating the yard has kept our family close and involved. Trying to create memories together while not being in the same space. Keeping it together until things are back to normal !! โ€œafter all tomorrow is another dayโ€โค๏ธ

Paper Garlands for Christmas ๐ŸŽ„

Ginger bread garland

During the holiday season, decorating has become an important note on our todo list, right after shopping and baking cookies. For my family holidays always called for traveling, and cooking. And this year unfortunately traveling is out, entertaining is out and we are left with cooking, baking, and keeping our family busy, happy, and healthy.

During holidays making ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree became a way to also entertained our guests, specially the younger ones. Nieces and nephews, grandparents, and classmates, will spend time putting together a ginger bread house, or get crafty and make ornaments, to keep or give as gifts. This year with a smaller number (no guests ) we are still planning on making paper garlands, and ornaments, decorating, baking, thinking of our family, friends, and just be thankful and grateful during the holiday season.๐Ÿ’•

To see step by step instructions on how to cut a perfect angel and a Christmas tree garland Please click on this video ๐ŸŽ„ https://youtu.be/nJDlqF70Z_I we love to read your comments๐Ÿ’• so please watch, leave a comment, and subscribe๐Ÿ‘

Peppermint candy garland๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜„

Have a safe and happy holiday season โ„๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ

Place cards for the holiday table๐Ÿ˜‹

This is a fun project that my family actually loves to work on without complaining. It is part of setting our table for our family before sitting down to give thanks for all the wonderful goodness around us.

This year we are setting a smaller table, but the work is still there, and we need place cards to be clear who is sitting where. Yes for the three of us !! Our fun project started with gathering our supplies. We get creative and try to be colorful, interesting, and unique.

Cinnamon sticks wrapped in colorful ribbon holding a place card
Used a sharpie on Christmas tree balls

Please watch my video for more photos on how to make fun, natural, beautiful place cards with your family๐Ÿ‘ Have a wonderful, safe holiday season๐Ÿ’•

Smoothies for a snack ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ‘

Who doesnโ€™t like to snack? When taking a refuge at home from the summer heat, it is easy to wonder around the kitchen looking for snacks. I am fan of snacking, and I can spend hours creating cheese trays or snack trays. I mix the chips with the healthy nuts and berries, and balance the bland with salty and spicy. Healthy snacks is what I am all about. Being a vegetarian most of my life my family gets bored with my healthy collection of berries, and nuts, so I give them a break by making smoothies on hot summer afternoons.

With smoothies everything goes. What you add for sweetness is a major part of keeping it healthy. To make smoothies sweet I often add honey, maple syrup, nutella and peanut butter. To make the mix smooth for drinking I add vanilla or chocolate soy, orange juice, or milk. Some cinnamon, vanilla extract with few drops of lemon juice for extra flavor.

Stay cool, and fill the gaps with yummy snacks.๐Ÿ˜˜

Smoothie recipe:

Two bananas

1/2 mango

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blueberries (or other berries)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1cup OJ

1 Tsp Nutella

1Tsp of Honey for sweetness add as needed

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Healthy quick & easy smoothies book. https://amzn.to/39rrqIy

Giving up to sweatpants !๐Ÿคฃ

Staying home hasn’t been that stressful, what is stressful for me is keeping my family happy, healthy, focus on school work, and following a workout schedule.

Since quarantine started, we have also let go of our many daily routines. Getting up at a certain time, shaving, wearing makeup, putting on clothes, socks, grabbing our to go coffee mug.

To stay happy surrounded by our children and whoever we had to be quarantine with is more work than we are used to.

We are realizing now that Cleaning, cooking, entertaining, educating, is more work and planning than we have ever done in the past and is simply exhausting, but also very necessary.

For me making a large bowl of pasta, baking double chocolate brownies, gardening, going on long walks, watching a movie, wearing sweatpants all day long is what I need to do to stay, stress free, hopeful and happy surrounded with family. What I see for now as simply necessary.

10 Great books on Architecture, Art, and Design.

If these days you find yourself with some extra time on your hand, check out these amazing books, to read or give as a gift.

I am always looking for art books with great photos, and I found several on this list. I came across these books on architectural digest. Hope you find one you like to own๐Ÿ‘

https://m.youtube.com/user/HouseResort