Fudgy Brownies

(ใฃโ—”โ—กโ—”)ใฃTreat yourself to some fudgy, chocolatey brownies! Not only that, but they are also perfect for sharing with family and friends โ™ฅ

โ˜…ๅฝก[แด…ษชแด… ๊œฑแดแดแด‡แดษดแด‡ ๊œฑแด€ส ส™ส€แดแดกษดษชแด‡๊œฑ?!?!]ๅฝกโ˜…

Okay, so this recipe isn’t exactly the healthiest but kids love them. I do plan on posting a healthier brownie recipe in the future, but for now, this is the one that I am using. Because these brownies are made with simple, standard ingredients, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be a show-stopper!

If you’re looking for a healthier, plant-based dessert recipe, then I recommend checking out this chocolate cake recipe by Peppa Pig. Kids love Peppa Pig so you really can’t go wrong with this healthier alternative.

Anyways, back to the brownies. The fudgy brownie recipe is fairly simple and straightforward. To make the brownies extra special, you can dust them in confectioner’s sugar or add a few chocolate chips. Another advantage of this recipe is that it’s simple enough for children to help. Let’s get started, shall we?

FUDGY BROWNIES

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ยฐF (175ยฐC). Grease an 8-or-9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Using a mixing bowl, mix together the cocoa and sugar. Add in the melted butter and stir again. Finally, whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and salt, and mix just until smooth. Gently incorporate the chocolate chips (optional). Don’t overmix it.
  4. Scrape the mixture into the pan and spread it out n an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven with oven mitts, then let it cool on a heat-proof surface before cutting. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar to decorate (optional). Enjoy!
Just so you know, Rebecca is the one who approved this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Salad Dressings ยป3 Waysยซ

Here’s a funny joke:

Q: Why did the tomato turn red?

A: Because it saw the salad dressing!

*cue laughter*
โ™ก Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The Art of Salad Dressing

I typically don’t make salad dressing, as my mom makes better salad dressing than I do. I purchase Kraft salad dressings only when I am lazy or busy because they are easily accessible and convenient. However, homemade salad dressing is way better than store-bought ones – even my mom agrees. My mom lives halfway across the country, so I can’t show up at her house every day for freshly made salad. So that leaves me with two options: a) keep eating the Kraft salad dressings or b) learn how to make my own.

Iโ€™ve compiled these recipes so that you can enjoy more freshly made salads, and make salad a part of your diet. Many salads are healthy, but people don’t always like them because they’re so bland. If you dress the salad up with an interesting dressing, not only will it be more appealing to people’s taste buds, but it can also give their bodies all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The best thing about this recipe is that it is all ready for you to use in just a few minutes and can be made using ingredients that are probably already in your house. I’m confident that these salad dressing recipes will be helpful to you, as they have been to me.

Salad Dressing Science: Salad dressing is a process where two liquids – oil and water or vinegar – are mixed together. Normally, liquid drops of oil and water remain separate from each other. If you start with just the oil and the vinegar, they won’t mix well until you add an emulsifier, which helps them to combine more smoothly. You can mix and match ingredients to create your perfect salad dressing.

๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—ป ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด!

SALAD DRESSINGS ยป3 WAYSยซ

Servings: 1 mason jar each                         Time: 10 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

1. BASIC B* VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

2. CITRUS SUNSHINE DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

3. SWEET HONEY VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients and mix them well using a whisk.
  2. Slowly add a little bit of oil while continuously whisking the mixture. Once you have added a small amount, start to whisk faster.
  3. Toss the dressing with a green salad, or add it to a mason jar for storing in the fridge.

โ™ก Image #1: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

โ™ก Image #2: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Creamy Vanilla Mango Smoothie

This recipe is very easy to make and I unintentionally discovered this delicious smoothie the other day when I used vanilla soy milk instead of coconut milk. This smoothie tastes super creamy and it is vegan! ๐ŸŒฑ This drink tastes like mango ice creamโ€”no joke! Even my husband likes this beverage so I am going to show you how to make this Booster Juice Imposter in the comfort of your home.

If you have enough mango you can use it instead of ice. Personally, I prefer to use frozen diced mango and skip the ice. Also, the maple syrup makes a BIG difference when it comes to sweetness, and a little goes a long way. Feel free to add extra soy milk until the thickness of a milkshake is reached. I hope you like mangoes as much as I do because this smoothie is about to rock your taste buds! ๐Ÿฅญ๐Ÿ˜‹

Creamy Vanilla Mango Smoothie

Servings: 2                          Time: 5 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of diced frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla soymilk such as Silk
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup to sweeten
  • Ice cubes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour the vanilla soymilk and the maple syrup into a blender. If you can, use a good blender that is capable of crushing ice. My personal favorite is the Vitamix.
  2. Once you’ve added all the fruit and ice cubes to the blender, place the cover on top of it.
  3. Turn on the blender and blend/pulse ingredients until smooth. 
  4. Pour the smoothie into a tall glass. Enjoy! 

โ™ก Image Source #1: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

โ™ก Image Source #2: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Stovetop Hot Chocolate

I noticed that people don’t visit my blog pages, but rather they read the blog posts. This is why I wanted to add an archive of only recipes to my Recipe Page.

Now that it’s practically winter and it’s too cold to do anything outside where I live, there is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea or coffee. I don’t mind the instant hot cocoa from the grocery store – we have a can that we are currently using. Sometimes, I want “a taste of home” and yearn for something a bit sweeter and richer than a cup of hot tea or coffee.

โ™ก Image Sources: https://www.pexels.com/search/hot%20cocoa/

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I can still remember my most recent experience with homemade hot chocolate and the memory is so vivid that I can almost taste it. My husband and I were in southern Ontario, at an outdoor outlet mall, when we decided to stop for a hot chocolate at one of the cafes. We were window shopping when we came across this amazing cafรฉ and had to try their hot chocolate. I can remember exactly how it tasted and it was by far the best that I’ve ever had. I want to try and recreate that recipe, I know mine is nothing special but I always love when my daughter asks me to make something. A few weeks ago, I did just that. Although I didn’t take any photos at the time, I wrote down the recipe. Now, I want to share the recipe with you!

โ„ ๐•ด๐–™’๐–˜ ๐–™๐–Ž๐–’๐–Š ๐–™๐–” ๐–’๐–†k๐–Š ๐–† ๐–œ๐–†๐–—๐–’ ๐–’๐–š๐–Œ ๐–”๐–‹ ๐–ˆ๐–”๐–ˆ๐–”๐–†! โ„

Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Servings: 4                          Time: 15 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 handfuls of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon (optional), and water in a saucepan. Turn on the saucepan to low heat.
  2. Use a whisk (or another spoon/spatula) to mix the ingredients until there are no lumps of cocoa powder left.
  3. Slowly add the milk and whisk the ingredients together.
  4. Keep stirring the ingredients until the mixture is hot. Bring to a light boil.
  5. Before serving, froth the milk and cocoa powder together. Add marshmallows and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Easy Hummus Dip

Continuing on with the challenge from yesterday, you probably have a can or two of chickpeas in your cupboard, right? I sure do! To accompany the guacamole dip, why not try some hummus dip? It’s just as tasty and quick to make.

While I usually can find store-bought hummus for a cheap price, I think it’s important to remember that it’s not always the best idea to buy something just because it is cheap. Store-bought hummus can be of lower quality than homemade, and sometimes you don’t get the same true taste. With my recipe, though, I’ve found that even though you might have to spend more time making your own, it will be worth the effort because this homemade hummus usually has a better taste.

EASY HUMMUS DIP

Servings: 5-6                         Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1.5 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • optional: sliced veggies, pita bread

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add a few inches of water to the saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the cloves of garlic (still in the skin) and cook them for 10-12 minutes, or until the cloves are tender.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and run cold water over the garlic to cool it down. Once the garlic is cooled, peel the skins.
  4. Add the peeled garlic and canned chickpeas (drained) to the food processor. Add yogurt, olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and water to the mixture.
  5. Process the hummus for approx. 30 seconds, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
  6. Scoop the hummus into a serving bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Serve with sliced veggies, pita bread, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!

Image source: https://www.dreamstime.com/

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Easy Guacamole Dip

๐’ฉ๐‘œ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐’ท๐‘’๐“‰๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“ƒ ๐’ถ ๐’ป๐“‡๐‘’๐“ˆ๐’ฝ, ๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“‚๐‘’๐“‚๐’ถ๐’น๐‘’ ๐’ท๐’ถ๐“‰๐’ธ๐’ฝ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐‘”๐“Š๐’ถ๐’ธ๐’ถ๐“‚๐‘œ๐“๐‘’!

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can โ€œcheatโ€ by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any new ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

With the avocado craze dying down and Canadians finally being able to find avocados for a reasonable price, it is easier to use avocado in my dishes. I love avocado toast, but guacamole is way better! ๐Ÿฅ‘๐Ÿ˜‹ Guacamole pairs well with fresh tortilla chips and I no longer have to resort to store-bought guacamole on days when I am craving this healthy snack.

EASY GUACAMOLE DIP

Servings: 4-6                         Time: 20 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 ripe avocados, halved
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop the green onion and tomato into small pieces.
  2. Slice the avocados in half and use a spoon to remove the pits.
  3. Scoop the avocado sections into a bowl. Add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Mash it all up with a fork.
  4. Add the chopped onion, tomato, and salt. Mix everything together.
  5. Serve with a generous portion of tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Cute kawaii smiling avocado. Source: https://www.vecteezy.com/

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Peppa Pigโ€™s Chocolate Cake

Disclaimer: Please note that I make no money from this blog and I’m not involved with affiliates. This blog post is for educational purposes only!

This chocolate cake recipe is from my daughter’s book, “Peppa Pig Loves to Bake!” I want to share it with you because she tends to destroy everything she touches, and I don’t want to lose this recipe. I want to make this recipe evergreen, and currently, my blog is a good place to do that. We got the book from a book sale at my daughter’s school but it is also available on Amazon. If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll see a video tutorial by no other than Peppa Pig herself. Unlike the video, the recipe in the book is vegan. Alternatively, you can also use gluten-free flour if you’re avoiding gluten.

Did I mention that this recipe is vegan-friendly? ๐ŸŒฑ

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

Servings: 4-6                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ยฐF (190ยฐC).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour cake batter into an 8″ x 8″ square pan or 9″ round cake pan.
  5. Using an oven mitt, put the cake pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Using an oven mitt, take the cake out of the oven. Let cool.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, have fun decorating it! ๐ŸŽ‚

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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How to Quit Sugar For Good

(ใฃโ—”๏นโ—”)ใฃ I have a confession: I am addicted to sugar. ๐Ÿ™‡โ€โ™€๏ธ

I’ve had a sweet tooth since the day I was born and given a choice between candy or food for survival without the repercussions, I would have chosen the candy ๐Ÿญ Unfortunately, I inherited a sweet tooth from my grandmother and it runs in my family. Even though I minored in Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences (NANS), I didnโ€™t need to study nutrition to know that sugar is addictive. And If you’re anything like me, you probably know that sugar is incredibly difficult to quit. The last time I tried quitting sugar, I managed to detox for 21 days only to relapse during the Christmas holidays. My recommendation is not to try quitting sugar during the holidays, especially if you are just starting out.

I know that I am not the only one who struggles with this addiction and if you are reading this blog post, I am guessing that the title intrigued you. My intention wasnโ€™t to use clickbait, and to be totally transparent, the longest I’ve gone without sugar was #21days. They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and I want to ditch the sugar, regardless of how many times I relapse. This past weekend, I ate sugary foods and now I am paying the price with a lot of bloating, mood swings, irritability, and more sugar cravings. That being said, these past two weeks have been nothing but bad news for my family, and by now I am well aware that my coping mechanism is sweets and treats ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿ˜‹


Disclaimer: This blog post was inspired by blog.paleohacks.com. I added some of my own anecdotes to help emphasize the key points from their list (see image below โ†“) I hope you know that sheer willpower alone will likely lead to a relapse. If you want a more sustainable, long-term solution for quitting the sweet stuff, then we need to treat sugar like the drug that it is. Let’s get started, shall we?

Easy-Ways-to-Cut-Sugar-Out-of-Your-Diet-infog
๐Ÿ‘‰ Image source: blog.paleohacks.com

Easy Ways to Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet

Stop Buying Processed Foods If you stop buying processed foods, over time you will accumulate much less of them in your house. If you really want to quit cold turkey, dump your sodas down the drain and toss the rest of your empty-calorie snacks in the trash. We poured the sugar-laden sodas and drinks down the drain which was very therapeutic for me. Some people might say that it is a waste of money to throw food in the trash and I agree with them. However, we should not have purchased these products in the first place.

Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce I have not tried making my own spaghetti sauce. We try to buy brands that are low in sodium and contain the least amount of questionable ingredients. Look for spaghetti sauce when they go on sale and stock up on the good brands.

Swap Fruit Juice with Whole Fruit I quit this bad habit years ago and I don’t feel deprived by diluting fruit juice or skipping it altogether. Whenever I drink fruit juice such as 100% orange juice or 100% apple juice, I water the juice down with 3/4 water. To this day, I cannot drink non-diluted fruit juice. It is way too sweet!

Avoid Flavored Yogurt There is a lot of hidden sugar in flavored yogurts and that is scary! In a single serving of flavored yogurt, I have seen as much as 20 grams of sugar. Yikes! This doesn’t even include the hidden sugars and sneaky sweeteners that are usually added to flavored yogurts. Opt for plain yogurt and flavor it yourself. It is pretty tasty with a little maple syrup and sliced banana.

Make Your Own Salad Dressing I have not tried this yet but both my mom and husband started making their own salad dressings. I can see the appeal in homemade salad dressings and I plan on making my own one day. Please tell me that I am not the only one with 20+ bottles of salad dressing? I cannot bring myself to throw away store-bought salad dressing.

Give Yourself a Quota Going cold turkey is hard, and let’s face it: we are going to slip up from time to time. If you are used to eating fast food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, then you may want to slowly cut back on sugar and gradually introduce healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables. If you must have dessert, save your cheat treat for a time when you will really enjoy it, such as date night. I did not grow up in a household where I ate dessert every night and I seldom ate fast food, so, fortunately, I haven’t developed a habit of gluttony and instant gratification.

Try Stevia, Monk Fruit, or Xylitol I have a hard time loving stevia. I find the taste of stevia awful but a lot of people have jumped on the stevia bandwagon and they embrace it with open arms. I don’t mind monk fruit but most often, it’s not made primarily of monk fruit. The one I have is erythritol with monk fruit extract. Erythritol on its own has a cooling aftertaste but gives me stomach aches, so I use it sparingly. I also use maple syrup and coconut sugar in some recipes to replace cane sugar. For days when my sugar cravings are intense, I might try sugar-free gum.

Set Dessert Rules Do you ever implement new rules, end up failing and feel worse than when you started? This method does work with strict discipline but even my family and friends haven’t had much success with it yet. You will likely end up relapsing if you feel too deprived, undergo an uncontrollable binge, or experience withdrawal as you wean yourself off of sugar. What is the best way to overcome potential drawbacks? Decide to make a change and commit to it for a month.

Don’t Keep Treats in the House Preach! ๐Ÿ™Œ I stopped buying treats and we rarely have treats in our house. If we really want treats, we have to go out of our way for ice cream, or we make homemade french fries and chips (air fryer or baked). It also forces me to get creative. I have made recipes I would have otherwise never made, such as paleo mint chocolate truffles and chia seed pudding. If you’re going to make desserts, then at least make them paleo! Paleo desserts are naturally healthier and less processed compared to store-bought food.

Eat Dark Chocolate Ideally, you want to eat dark chocolate that is at least 70% solids. I do consume dark chocolate on a weekly basis, and I prefer to bake with dark chocolate which is naturally lower in sugar compared to conventional milk chocolate varieties.

Avoid Mixed Alcoholic Drinks Just avoid alcohol like the plague. Alcohol won’t help you lose weight, is chalked full of empty calories and it wreaks havoc on your kidneys and liver. There are other ways to have fun, like writing blog posts *laughs* In a more serious tone, alcohol is a toxin and I have been around too many alcoholics in my lifetime to know how batshit crazy alcoholics and drunk people can be. Didn’t know alcohol is a drug? FYI alcohol is a depressant. Look it up!

Cut Out Soda If you’re going to drink soda, you might as well drink liquefied candy washed down with a glass of lemon juice. I don’t need to explain why soda is bad which is pretty much self-explanatory. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that diet soda is any better. Diet soda contains similar ingredients as regular soda plus several questionable artificial sweeteners. Itโ€™s not even the sugar that is the most cringe-worthy ingredient, or the high fructose corn syrup for that matter. It’s the caramel color that is notorious for staining and corroding your teeth, and the highly acidic nature of both diet and regular varieties. Love the carbonated bubbles but don’t want to quit soda cold turkey? Try flavored sparkly water like Perrier, Bubbly, or Spindrift. Although acidic, these unadulterated sparkling waters are still healthier options.


(ใฃโ—”โ—กโ—”)ใฃ โ™ฅ FINAL THOUGHTS โ™ฅ

Well, there you have it! If this blog post inspired you to join me on this sans sugar journey and/or you are currently embarking on a similar journey towards a healthier lifestyle, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below โ†“ I look forward to reading your comments!

Also, if you would like to have your recipes featured on sereneluna.net, you can get in touch with me through my contact page or e-mail me @hilary_harm_7@hotmail.com ๐Ÿ’Œ There is no set deadline for recipe submissions. Ideally, I am looking for recipes that are wheat-free and sugar-free. Stevia, monk fruit, and xylitol are more ideal than added sugars. However, I will accept recipes that use small amounts of honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. anything of that nature. Thanks so much! ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿ’•

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DIY Honey Lemon Candy

โœง๏ฝฅ๏พŸ: * We wish you a [belated] Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ *:๏ฝฅ๏พŸโœง

Here in Calgary, it is snappy cold. It is so cold that I seldom leave the house unless I absolutely have to freeze my face off. Yesterday, I needed to run some errands and happened to stumble upon a pharmacy that had Pfizer vaccines. The timing was right, so I ended up getting my 3rd Covid-19 booster shot. So far so good – I have a sore arm, but otherwise I feel fine. These days, I am still trying to avoid the general public as much as possible without resorting to a complete hermit lifestyle. The temperature here is disgusting, and there is nothing glamorous about staying frosty. Last night, it was -30ยฐC (celsius) which is stupidly #cold.

Tis’ Flu Season Too

Not only is it unbearably cold AF, but it is also cold season (pun intended) โ„ I know that everyone is sick and tired of the pandemic so I don’t want to harp about the importance of getting vaccinated. I did what was best for me and you need to do what is best for you. I know that my immune system is not very good and I even wrote about my crappy immune system in an older blog post. I try my best to stay healthy, but sometimes sickness cannot be prevented regardless of how cautious and healthy you are. Sure, you can sanitize your hands and wear a mask all you want, but at the end of the day, there’s still a chance that you will get sick.

ใฃ(โ—”_โ—”)ใฃThink about it this way: It’s not a matter of if you catch it. It’s a matter of when you catch it. ๐Ÿ˜ท

Thank goodness that I am not sick right now *knock on wood* but when I am sick, I usually get a sore throat. If I don’t get a sore throat, it’s usually a bad head cold. Head colds and sore throats are icky, and I really don’t care for the store-bought throat lozenges. The most effective throat lozenges usually contain eucalyptus which is so overpowering and makes me wanna gag. Eukalyptus is definitely an acquired taste. Sure, an alternative is store-bought vitamin C drops which are pretty palatable but they can be quite pricy for what they are, and I much rather get my mega doses of Vitamin C from fresh citrus fruits! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹

I hope that my dear readers aren’t sick right now and that everyone stays healthy this holiday season. Whether or not you have a sore throat right now, I have a special honey lemon candy recipe to share with you today. This recipe tastes like store-bought candy but it is healthier and cheaper than what you would typically find in the supermarket. To be honest, I did not change the original recipe all that much; I used slightly less sugar in mine. Here is the link to the original candy recipe: https://www.manusmenu.com/honey-hard-candy

Even though the author says that you need a candy thermometer, I haven’t been able to find one. I made this recipe a handful of times without a candy thermometer and it worked fine. You really need to keep a close eye on the candy or you might end up with burnt sugar instead. An alternative to a candy thermometer is to take a cold bowl of water, and using a spoon, scoop some of the mixture out of the pot and transfer it to the bowl of water. If the candy sticks to the spoon and hardens right away, then that’s the texture you want. Also, this recipe calls for 6 tbsp. of sugar but I prefer to use 4 tbsp. of sugar for a tarter lemony flavor ๐Ÿ‹ It really depends on your personal preference! ๐Ÿ˜…

Not convinced yet?

Here are some photos of my cute heart-shaped candy creations. I hope that you enjoy making this DIY honey lemon candy recipe as much as I did. If you enjoyed this recipe and would like me to share more candy recipes in the future, please let me know in the comments below โ†“ Have a safe and healthy New Year everyone! ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ˜ท

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Healthier Banana Muffins

Disclaimer: Now I can officially say that we are all caught up with the recipes! Any new recipes that are posted in the future will be new blog posts. I am happy about that! ๐Ÿ˜„ This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on June 10, 2019. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! ๐Ÿ™Š๐ŸŒ

Since I am trying to eat as clean as possible by cutting down on my sugar consumption, I wanted a muffin recipe that I could easily grab for a quick, easy breakfast. I crave carbs so if I am going to eat carbs, I would prefer them to be cleaner than what you would typically find at the grocery store or local coffee shop. Finally, I found a recipe that I really like so I wanted to share it with you. I modified the recipe slightly which was based on the original recipe from www.gimmedelicious.com.

My photo didn’t do these muffins much justice but I added a photo anyways. Voila! My family loves these muffins and it is so easy to whip up a batch when you need a quick muffin fix. Let’s get started, shall we? 

HEALTHIER BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 45 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add plain yogurt, maple syrup, mashed bananas, and coconut oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes at 350ยบF.
banana-2850841_960_720
Mind your banana. Photo from www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Banana Bran Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted a very long time ago in a land far, far away. I am reposting the recipe as a blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! ๐Ÿ™Š๐ŸŒ

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can โ€œcheatโ€ by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any of your ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

I live in Canada and our degrees are measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. For baking purposes, I use Fahrenheit because itโ€™s universal and easier to follow. But if you tell me that the temperature today is 45 outside, youโ€™re not fooling anyone given that itโ€™s the middle of November and there is snow on the ground. I will assume that you have mastered teleportation and are probably enjoying a Daiquiri on some tropical island….. and you didnโ€™t invite me, how rude.

This week I made banana bran muffins and the batter was delicious. However, the muffins were dry and slightly overcooked, so I would suggest baking them for 15-18 minutes at 350ยบF instead of 20 minutes at 375ยบF. You can find the original recipeย here.

BANANA BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups bran mix
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine bran with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and coconut (optional).
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add milk, mashed bananas, milk, and oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes at 350ยบF.
banana-2850841_960_720
Mind your banana. Photo from  http://www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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Classic Shortbread Cookies

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. At this rate, I only have 2 more recipes to upload which are banana muffin recipes. These recipes don’t feel very festive but I am still planning to post them before the end of the year. Ideally, I would like to share a new recipe each week, but I know that this goal is overly ambitious. In a perfect world, there would be more recipes.

(ใฃโ—”โ—กโ—”)ใฃ Isn’t my mom’s mini Christmas tree adorable? ๐Ÿฅฐ

Despite feeling sick during the Christmas Holidays back in 2019, I attempted to make shortbread cookies that year and failed miserably. My advice is to let the butter rest at room temperature until it is totally soft.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The butter must be soft in order for this recipe to work!

I made the mistake of beating the butter while it was still partly chilled which resulted in pie crust cookies. You don’t want that.

CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Difficulty: medium

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat butter until creamy but not oily.
  2. Sift dry ingredients four times; add to creamed mixture a little at a time.
  3. Work ingredients with a spoon as long as possible, then turn mixture on floured board and knead until mixture cracks slightly.
  4. Pat to 1/3″ thickness.
  5. Cut with fancy cookie cutters and bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Now that we are approaching the Christmas holidays, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below โ†“ I love reading your comments! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thanks for stopping by!

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