The Sweet Stall at Italian Market

StallDuring my holiday’s in Italy this summer, we discovered that there was a traditional market in the city centre. This was great because we could get some fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses to make some delicious fresh Italian food! At the market I stumbled upon the sweet stall, and despite it being miserable rainy weather, my mood was instantly lifted. As a self-proclaimed candy lover, this stall just looked like a sugary heaven, and I just couldn’t resist not buy some! There were blues, pinks, reds, greens, blacks, browns, caramels, whites, yellows, oranges and purples…an edible rainbow! The sweets were so bright, colorful, and instantly made you feel like a kid again. It was a great little holiday treat, because after all, holidays are supposed to be filled with things that make your happy, and lots of special treats! Here are the pictures of the stall and the selection I chose! Stall candy Candy 2 Candy 4

My selection of sweets!

My selection of sweets!

Stall 1

Raw Brownies

The fear everyone has when trying to eat clean and when you are on a gluten free or dairy free diet is that you aren’t going to be have all the yummy treats like cookies and brownies. But luckily, this isn’t the case and there are now many alternative recipes for these sweet treats that are healthier and fit with ones diet requirements. And this is one of those recipes!

Brownies close upI found a new blog to follow recently, which is called Deliciously Ella. She lives a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, meat free and processed food free lifestyle due to suffering from a debilitating illness. Once again it’s another case where changing ones diet helps reduce or eliminate the symptoms of these chronic diseases. You really should check out her blog; there are so many delicious looking recipes, and she also does cooking classes in London for those who want to learn more. Something I am definitely going to be looking into this fall!

Anyway, one of the first recipes I found on the blog was for raw brownies and I watched the video and saw how easy they were to make. They only contain 4 raw ingredients and take about 10 min to make max! And my goodness are they good, and do taste like brownies which is really nice. Just shows that eating clean and healthy can still mean you get to enjoy some treats!

So here’s the recipe:


2 cups of medjool dates (this is important as they are the stickier dates)

Medjool Dates1 cup of pecans

Pecans2-3 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder

Raw Cocao2 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional, although I did use it)

Maple SyrupStep 1. Pit the dates

Step 2. Put pecans in the food processor and blitz for a few seconds so that they are broken down into smaller chunks.

Crushed pecansStep 3. Add the dates, cocoa and maple syrup to the food processor.

Brownie ingredientsStep 4. Blend until everything is mixed and it starts to form into a mass in the blender.

Blended brownie mix

Step 5. Put the mixture into a brownie tin or a silicone mold (which is what I did and made it very easy to get out). Use your fingers to press and spread the mixture so that it fills the tray.

Mix in trayStep 5. Put the mixture into a brownie tin or a silicone mold (which is what I did and made it very easy to get out). Use your fingers to press and spread the mixture so that it fills the tray.

Final brownies

Good Friends are like Stars

I live a very global life, traveling a lot and spending a couple days here and there in different countries sometimes, especially lately. It’s definitely exciting and I love it, but it does mean that I am away from friends and loved ones a lot. Even when I am in one place, my best friend lives in a completely different country and so don’t get to see them a whole lot.ab47bf86aa1de1659bab6bd27c81c255That is why this quote is so true, good friends are there and stay there for you, even if you don’t see them often or on a weekly basis. Weeks or months can go by without seeing them yet you know that if you ever needed anything they would be there for you in a heartbeat. That’s what true friends do, and is what makes them so important to your life.

And sometimes when it’s too hard to call out for help, and you choose to just keep what your struggling with and going through, just knowing that those good friends are behind you in spirit is enough to give you the strength you need to get through anything.

So like with stars on a stormy and cloudy night, where you can’t see them, you know they are there, and that alone can bring comfort.

Alaska Cake

My friend was recently on an outward-bound trip in Alaska for a month. I knew that they had been roughing it big time in the wilderness, sleeping in tents, eating basic and not necessarily exciting food, and no communication with the outside world for the whole time. So I decided that it would be a nice to have a welcome home cake waiting for them when they came home.

I wanted it to be an Alaska themed cake, and the first thing I thought about when thinking about Alaska is snow, ice, penguins and polar bears (although they actually saw grizzly bears instead of polar bears, but oh well). Thus I wanted to decorate it in white frosting to look like snow and create little polar bears out of fondant to put on the cake.

Final cakeI knew that one of their favorite cakes is one I have made many times before, and it’s the blueberry cake from the Hummingbird Bakery. It’s a delicious cake and super moist because it contains sour cream, which makes its light and fluffy. Every time I make it, it’s devoured in minutes! Find the recipe here!

Cake BatterNow for the frosting I used cream cheese frosting, which is what Hummingbird Bakery suggests as the perfect pairing, and they are right! I made my own from their recipe but you can always use store bought frosting as well. You can find their recipe here!

The next step was to create the little polar bears to use on the cake. I will admit that I did buy plastic bears and penguins as well, just in case my own attempts didn’t work out. But no worries, my bears worked out surprisingly well and were very easy to make.

I used one of the new Wilton Shape-N-Amaze packets of edible decorating dough already in a winter white. You simply open the packet, knead the dough and then just mold the dough into what shapes want.

248537-3-5And here were my results. I must say I was really pleased by how cute they turned out!

Polar BarPappa & Baby BearI also made a little snowman for the back of the cake with the leftover fondant I had. I used one packet for all 3 figures.

SnowmanTo assemble the cake I covered it roughly in the white frosting to make it look like a snowy mountain range, with lots of little peaks. Then I placed the fondant figures on, as well as the plastic ones on the bottom because I wanted to have more on the cake. Then I sprinkled everything with shredded coconut and white sprinkles to make it look like snow.

CakePolar bear on cakeFinally I used a sparkly blue writing icing to write the words “Welcome Home” to finish it all off.

Cake with writingAnd voila, a delicious and special cake to welcome my friend back from their cold & wet trip to the Alaskan wilderness. They absolutely loved it!