Raw brownies

Raw brownies

After I tried out an avocado based cookie recipe, I developed an interest in other alternative baking styles. So far, my go to site for recipe ideas is Bubble Girl Bakes. She has a great list of both savoury and sweet recipe ideas for the dairy free, gluten free, raw, or vegan chef. I was particularly drawn in by a raw vegan brownie recipe. Now, I’m not vegan. So I decided to add some chocolate sprinkles to my recipe, but obviously it can be done without. She recommends cocoa nibs, but after some research I found out that they are very bitter, and carry only a faint residue of chocolate flavour. Hence why I opted for the sprinkles. I used her recipe as a guideline, and made some revisions to it as I went. My version is as follows,

about 3 cups of pitted dates (I used the Medjool dates, very plump and flavourful)
2 big splashes of dairy free milk (I used Almond)
half a cup of chocolate sprinkles
half a cup of shredded coconut
two big spoonfuls of coconut oil
1 cup of cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
and a splash of vanilla (I didn’t have any vanilla, but her recipe recommends it and I would have used it if I did)

and then mix that all up in a food processor until it turns into a big ball. Unfortunately, I did not have access to a food processor. So I played a long annoying game of stop and go mixing with a stand mixer that continuously got clogged up by the dates 😦 After that, take some parchment paper and line a small dish to help get a nice shape for your brownies. Pat the mixture into the dish, and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. After I took them out, I added a couple extra sprinkles on top, and sliced them up to serve. They are surprisingly good. I have to say, I was a little skeptical about the recipe, but it is definitely a must try!

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Back to basics

Back to basics

Sometimes the simplest makeup can be the most beautiful. I love a perfectly lined eye with some killer mascara and a bold lip. I really don’t think you can go wrong with that style. I love experimenting with liner. Usually I flip between liquid, pencil, shadow and black track. Each one goes on a little differently and gives a unique style to the eye. If you want a classic, I would always recommend liquid. You are guaranteed a perfect wing with a liquid liner, I think it gives you the most precision. If I want something more subtle, I go for pencil. Then black track and shadow for a more bold style. I actually haven’t done a classic winged liner in a long time, so I was a little rusty with the symmetry, but overall I was pleased. I always feel like a 1950’s model when I wing out my liner. Such a confidence boost!

All black and blue

All black and blue

I was on the fence about a crop top I got at H&M about a month ago, but ended up deciding to keep it. I actually really like it now, I think the material makes it look more expensive than it is. It was only 7 euros, so realistically even if I wear it once, Im still okay with that 😉 The structure of the shirt is more boxy than I normally go for, but pairing it with something high waisted helps to balance out your shape. The one downside is that the style is too fancy to be paired with casual clothing, so Im a little limited in what I can pair it with in my wardrobe. Although, I suppose that just gives me an excuse to go shopping to match it with something…. So really, its win win.

Wrap me up

Wrap me up

Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate at least one healthier meal into my eating. I love wine, I love carbs, and I love chocolate. So between those three, I haven’t been as skinny as I used to be. My biggest problem with healthy food is that I love cooking and I love flavour, and I find low fat recipes can scrimp on those elements. Too many healthy recipes rely on bringing down the fat content without replacing the flavour that the fat has. If you want to take away butter from a recipe, you better be adding something super tasty to take its place! Well, lately I’ve been experimenting with lettuce wraps. I don’t really scrimp on the calorie count of the food that I put in the wraps, but hey, at least I’m not eating three tortillas! My latest fix has been tuna lettuce wraps. Tuna is great because you can add pretty much any herb or vegetable to tuna and it will still taste good. Now, you may notice the strawberries I put on top. I know it might look a little weird, but I promise you it tastes amazing. Adding fruit to dishes that are more on the savoury side is almost always a good combination. Just make sure your fruit is ripe, the last thing you want is a sour tasting strawberry on top of your food. If its sweet, it will add just the right amount of sugar to compliment the flavours in your dish. This meal works out to being pretty cheap, especially if you don’t add the berries. Grab some tuna and go wild with whatever veggies you have in your fridge. You really can do no wrong!

Summer crafts

Summer crafts

I like to take on little projects during summer because it gives me an excuse to sit outside and pretend its not just so I can tan :p Rest assured, I have also been wearing sunscreen, so it is PG 13 tanning. So far, I have completed two projects. The beaded one is an anklet, and the string one is a bracelet. I have never made a string bracelet before, and let me tell you, it took HOURS. I had no idea they took so long! I even consulted my bestie to see what it was like for her because I wasn’t sure if I was just slow or if that was the norm. She confirmed that it is in fact the norm. Its such a shame though, they look so pretty! I wish they didn’t take up so much time. I also purchased a crappy 1 euro bracelet with some charms on it, I’m going to break it open and scrap it for parts. Ill reuse the charms on the bracelet and make my own base. Im pretty excited to continue making bracelets, I want to have a nice stack for summer. I may even be nice and make some for my friends 🙂 Crafts are a really fun way to entertain yourself, and I think I may even diversify my projects and move out of the jewellery field to something new. Im just not sure what yet! If you have any ideas, let me know.

Gravlax (thank you Norway)

Gravlax (thank you Norway)

My whole life, I thought that smoked salmon was the only type of cured salmon out there. Then I came to Amsterdam, and my whole life changed. Turns out, gravlax is a Norwegian variety of cured salmon that uses sugar, salt and dill to brine the fish and remains unsmoked. You have no idea how excited this made me. I love the taste of raw salmon, but I hate smoked foods. Gravlax has changed my world, so amen to the Norwegian folk who thought of this magical dish. Since my discovery, I have been putting that stuff on everything. Add some mustard, toss on some gravlax, instant perfection. My latest dish was a stroke of pure genius – if I do say so myself. I decided to poach some eggs, and add some gravlax on top. Nothing too fancy, until I added homemade guacamole! It was the perfect addition. Packed full of fresh lime and cilantro and a perfect compliment to the salty fish. Not to mention, it was super pretty. Definitely something I will serve at my next brunch! I urge you, if you are a non smoked salmon lover, and have thought that no cured salmon exists for you, try gravlax!! It is simply the best.

SkyLounge

SkyLounge

The Double Tree Hilton located next to Amsterdam Central Station recently(ish) opened up a rooftop patio called SkyLounge. I have been a hermit crab for what feels like centuries, so I decided I wanted to grab a group of my girlfriends and make them come out for a night on the town. It was just what I needed. We got dressed up, put on make up and heels, and went to a chic lounge. The view from the top is amazing. You can see the whole city, and it overlooks the water. Once the weather gets even warmer, I think this will be a fantastic spot. The drinks were a tad expensive, but we expected as much. It was still worth it to enjoy the atmosphere. We ended up ordering a drink to share, and it came served in a huge skull bowl. It probably would have been better to share it with two people vs four, but it was still delicious 🙂 I don’t foresee this becoming a regular spot for me because it is a little on the more expensive side, but every now and again it is nice to treat yourself to a special night. I would love to go back during the day to enjoy a coffee and see the views in the sunlight. Check it out if you are in/visiting the city!

Cropped from day to night

Cropped from day to night

The weather in Amsterdam is pretty incredible right now. It is in the mid 20’s and lots of sun. The only problem is that once the sun goes down, it gets a little chilly still. So it is key to find outfits that easily transition from day to night without too much fuss. I recently ordered these cropped pants from H&M, and I think they will make a happy new addition to my wardrobe. During the day, I can rock a crop top with no problems, it is def warm enough for that. At night, I need a little something extra, so I’m thinking my furry cropped sweater will be the perfect solution for the cold! I really love the look of a cropped jacket and high waisted pants, I think it is universally flattering. Of course my outfit has no colour, as per usual, but I will add some coloured lipstick next time to put the right dose of colour into the look 😉