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The winter has finally kicked in. The leaves have long been gone, the trees stand bare and the temperature keeps dropping steadily. The birds have started to immigrate to warmer climates and the snails appeared alongside with the very first raindrops.

Walking the dog everyday I have started to observe these little things that betray the coming and the passing of the seasons and for the first time in my life, a feeling of excitement envelopes my heart.

Its been a week though that I feel incredibly tired. The days come and go and all i want is to crawl in my bed, cuddle with the blankets and sleep. A pile of books on my nightstand is getting dusty.

Am I just tired? Or is it the winter blues?

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Oh the winter blues.. You know them, dont you?
They have this greyish blue hue, feel like a soft woolen scarf and have the taste of marshmellows roasting on the fireplace. The sound of a scratched billy holiday record thats been turned one too many times and the smell like vanilla and christmas cinamon cupcakes. Now and then you can hear a little bell or maybe just the rain ticking on your window. You must listen carefully cause soon, the snow will fall and will dumb with it the world in a silent white coat.
Knitting socks, reading books, making cranberry marmelade..waking up early, going to be early..trying to catch the few rays of sun.. waiting patiently for another spring..
I really like the winter blues..
If only I had more energy..

So today, i decided to indulge in a delicious lunch.
I chopped vegetables, rolled out dough, cut little circles and boil some tomato basil sauce.
Sprinkled the cheese on the little dough circles and added veggies. Sprinkled with herbs and garlic and baked for 15 min at 200oC..
Healthy mini pizzas with vegetables and goatcheese for an energy boost.
And the winter blues get slightly tinted with red..

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We all love chocolate. I refuse to believe otherwise.
Maybe some of us like dark bitter chocolate. Maybe others prefer a lighter milky sweetness. Maybe you are the white type of chocolate person. And maybe you like it nutty.
Regardless your particular preference I would like to assume you like chocolate.
And if you indeed like chocolate.. you got to like chocolate mud cakes.

I have been looking for ages for the perfect chocolate mud cake. Sweet and at the same time bitter, moist but not wet.
I knew exactly the right shade of chocolate color and the texture but somehow it was always quite not right!

But after about a year experimenting with TS Table Spoons.. I came across a Eureka moment.
I guess I had given up on the thought of actually perfecting the chocolate mud cake recipe of my grandmother.
Sometimes, with the passing of time, we tend to forget details of things. A mere generalization of feeling, aromas and colors is whats left behind and the rest of the story tends to be filled up by a very conscious consciousness.
That is the reason I decided to abandon the effort and merely accept faith and just mix the written analogies in order to achieve the mediocre certainty of a nice chocolate mud cake.
Yet, as i tripped over, fate had it, my flour bowl turned and a few of its precious powder content flew up in the air.
To make along story short, I ended up with about 2TS less flour… which brought me to the most delicious chocolate cake recipe!

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What you need is 125gr. dark chocolate, 125 gr milk chocolate, 250 gr butter, 4 Leggs, 550 gr caster sugar, 325 gr self raising flour, 1 ts instant coffee, 188 ml water, 30 gr cocoa, 1 TS orange liquer, 1 ts vanilla extract, 125 ml buttermilk (or yogurt!)
You can start by mixing chocolate, butter, coffee, water over low heat mixing regularly.
In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa, sugar.
Then mix the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Add eggs, the vanilla and the yogurt.
Give it a good stir and bake for about 1 h. at 180o C or until the knife come out clean depending on your oven.

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sweet popcorn party favor

Last weekend, mister and I, celebrated his birthday with a few close friends and relatives.
It wasn’t a big party with fancy lights and dj’s. It was a rather small gathering with heartfelt wishes and cozy corners where friends and family got together to wish my darling another happy year.

Mister has a “strong affinity with water”. In fact we both do. In one of our first dates we decided to go swimming in the middle of May in the Atlantic Ocean at around 3 am. It was freezing cold and I didnt manage to get past running my toe in the water but mister took a brave dive. The water attracts us. Its magical color, the light defracting on its surface. There is something poetic about it and when mister asked me to make a party invitation for him, naturally I suggested a nautical theme.

You see, mister is the little star of my life and nothing makes me happier than see him smile so I decided to pull together a few colorful treats according to our nautical theme to delight our guests and bring excitement to the otherwise rather dull standardized birthday buffet concept.

custom flags for party

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nautical theme party treats

So even though birthdays occur only once every 7 years, we decided to eat, drink and celebrate in a sweet nautical theme style.

Did you know?
Birthdays occur only once every 7 years since the date you were born on moves each year to the following day of the week. This means your annual celebration is actually for your birth date – not your birthday – and in truth your birth day (= the actual day you were born on) occurs only every 7 years!

Here is a free template for your own mini popcorn paper boxes. Just add your name and print out!

If I ask you what you ate yesterday, there is a 67% chance you will answer potatoes! It could be that you had a delicious baked potatoes with sausage or just chicken nuggets and fries, perhaps mashed potatoes and lambchops or was it salmon and boiled potatoes?

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Potatoes are the second most consumed food in the Western world, tailing diary products.
They consist of about 80% water and only 20% solid mater. Their solid mater is mostly starch with a few proteins.
Not bad right? What is more, potatoes are quite rich in vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C) and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur).
No wonder potatoes make a hearty, solid meal satisfying our taste buds while providing our organism with necessary fuel for the coming winter!

Boiled, baked, fried, mashed..potatos can be prepared in a variety of ways. Yet, as they are the most popular sidedish to accompany our daily meals, I was running out of options and that is when I decided it was time for a makeover! Low in calories yet high in style, my potato make over suggests a fried treat with as many calories as its boiled equivalent! Who said potatoes cant be sexy?

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Did you know?

You could use potatoes in a lot of ways, besides eating them!
Potatoes contain a chemical called catecholase. Catecholase has the property of breaking down dyes. Next time you find yourself troubled by a stain on your clothes after dinner, cut half of a potatoe and use that to remove the stain.
And while you are at it, why not use the other half to polish your leather shoes?

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So, if you have been wondering about my previous post and why I chose to feature that in a culinary blog, I m ready to explain!

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You see, in reality I have been working on designing cookies for Movember.

Movember is an initiative (http://nl.movember.com/ ) that helps raise awareness for cancer in men using a strong visual sign of “manhood”..that of a moustache. (Yes.. we are talking about moustaches here ladies!)

So, being a girl myself..and not really knowing anyone with a moustache I had a whole lot of research to do…

There are many, many types of moustaches out there. Some elegant and some barbaric, some very fine and others quite bushy.. I have been checking infographic representations of moustaches for a week now trying to decide upon a form that i would like to use for Movember.
Late last night, I concluded on these following shapes which I lasercut and used to create my moustache cookies!

The dough is made with organic ingredients and flavored with deep vanilla scent and the sugar glaze is fine and delicate with a coffee aroma.

If you would like to say hi, taste some cookies, get a nice moustache trim and support Movember,
feel free to drop by the Movember shop, located in Magna Plaza Shopping Center in Amsterdam.
I will be there every Sunday noon with fresh cookies and surprises for adults, children and..pets!

MOVEMBERCOOKIES

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I know this is ment to be a humble culinair diary..but the designer in me is kicking to get out and when I saw this poster, I knew I had to share…

(The poster is to be found and purchased at

http://popchartlab.com/collections/prints/products/a-visual-compendium-of-notable-haircuts-in-hollywood)

There is something fascinating about this kind of depiction. Simple outlines of forms, filled in black ink. Very simple method to draw or illustrate and yet, its so effective!
I can immediately recognize at least a dozen of the haircuts..

Let’s try together! Shall we?

But if you wonder how I came up to this and what is its relevance to cookies, I m afraid I would have to bubble a little bit longer.

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