One Bowl Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buttery without the butter, delightfully sweet without refined sugar: With only eight ingredients, one bowl and no butter, oil or refined sugar these Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are vegan, gluten-free, easy to prepare and make for a great snack or nutritious treat.

healthy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Where do I start with these healthy vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies? They’re small but mighty. Okay, not really. Yet they’re small but have quite the story to tell. Inspired by the oatmeal cookies my mum has been making, sharing with the whole family and raving about these had to happen. See, I’m all for my family eating oatmeal. And cookies. But if there’s an option to merge these in a healthier way I’m even more in for it. Needless to say my mum’s standard recipe does not fit this criteria or else I wouldn’t have dusted off my apron to get baking.*

*granted, I didn’t wear an apron but writing this post reminded me I really should the next time.

healthy vegan oatmeal cookies (hazelnut version)

The verdict? My mum took one bite and said: “delicious, you can bake me a tin full of these”. Needless to say this made my day. Because you might imagine the rarity of a statement like that coming from her. Can we call that a huge success? Especially surprising as – and I’m going to commit a blogger crime saying this – I wasn’t overly impressed by the cookies myself. But I should add that a) I’m generally not a cookie person. Chocolate has my heart, or, rather: sweet tooth. And b) I still thought they were delicious, I’d just choose chocolate over any cookie any day so I’m not qualified to judge ;). My sister was a fan of the cookies, too, though, which should say it all: thumbs up for these.

I tried both a hazelnut and almond version of these – the first picture above shows the almond, the second one the hazelnut ones – and both were equally well received. The almonds blend in well with the other flavours while the hazelnuts add a litte extra flavour  – which I personally thought was great – so you decide what you’re feeling like.

healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies -

Crispy on the edges, soft in the middle with a delightfully hearty oat flavour spiked with hints of chocolate – they just deliver. They’re not your average dessert-like sweet cookies but their more nutritious but not less delicious cousins. Have your cookie and eat it [for breakfast], too!

One Bowl Healthy Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

yields about 8 cookies

3/4 cup quick oats [60 g] + 1-2 tbsps, divided [use certified gluten-free if necessary]
2 tbsps ground almonds/almond meal OR hazelnut meal [~18-20 g]
3 tsps tapioca starch
2.5-3 tbsps of maple syrup [see notes]
1 heaped tbsp of coconut oil  [20 g]
Pinch of sea salt
1+ tbsps of mini chocolate chips OR chopped up dark chocolate [see notes]
1/2 tsp vanilla [optional]
[Optional: non-dairy milk]

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F/175 °C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the oatmeal into a fine flour. Add ground almonds, baking powder, salt and tapioca and give it a quick pulse to combine.
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla if using to the dry ingredients in the blender and mix to combine. The dough should stick together well at this point. If the dough is too crumbly, add 1/2 tbsp of non-dairy milk at a time to reach the desired consistency. Transfer dough to a small mixing bowl.
  5. Using your hands, mix in the remaining oats. You want the dough to be less sticky and rollable, not crumbly, so start with 1 tbsp of oatmeal.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and stir through with a spoon or your hands.
  7. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, using around 3/4 of a tablespoon of dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and flatten into cookie shape between your palms. No need for perfection here.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for around five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:
Using hazelnut meal I found 2 1/2 tbsps of maple syrup to be enough but adjust to get the right consistency.

Use sugar-free/stevia-sweetened chocolate for a completely refined-sugar-free option.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies_8

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Walking around outside soaking up the summery smell of the air. Can I bottle that scent up for colder months to come?!

 

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What’s one family favourite dish/cookie you’ve “healthified”?

Do you prefer chocolate chips or raisins in your oatmeal cookies?

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Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

Rich dark chocolate and tropical coconut flakes sitting atop a soft oatmeal crust and covered in homemade dairy- and refined sugar-free condensed milk make these Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars irresistible. They require only eight simple ingredients, are gluten-free as well as easily turned vegan and can be refined sugar-free.

Bienenstich_Coconut Caramel slice

How about we play a little association game for a moment? I’ll give you – or actually, myself – a keyword, you follow up with the first thing tagt comes to your mind. Ready?

Cooking? Fun. Hard to fail.

Baking? Unpredictable.

With cooking I’ve found that you can hardly mess things up really bad. Sure, you can burn food, accidentally go too heavy-handed on the spices or … But in most cases, some tinkering around will still help you turn a fail into an edible dish.

Baking, however? You’re not the main player anymore. Handing control over to the oven that – if not on good terms with you – can merge ingredients that taste amazing on their own and in unbaked state into … oddly shaped puddles of goo that might still taste good but nobody wants to eat. Can you tell I’m not too fond of baking? What can I say: I like predictability. Prior to recent experimentation I’d have never guessed no-baking could be that much fun and as evidenced in the past weeks have enjoyed sharing some recipes from this category, too.

Coconut Caramel Bars_4

Yet I also remembered how much I’d liked baking from childhood on – following recipes obviously – and didn’t want to let the oven win that easily. And – heureka!  – these bars were born. Let’s talk about them: triple coconut. Meaning three times the creamy/tropical/natural sweetness/give me more factor. Plus – as odd as I find saying it with the nut in there – these are therefore nut-free, too!

While these bars are truly catering to the sweet tooth, most o their sweetness comes from unrefined sugar and only a small amount of refined in the chocolate. Dare I say these little treats are the bee’s knees ;)?

Coconut Caramel Bars_3

Long story short: this recipe sounds more difficult than it is. Yes, we’ll be making our own non-dairy and refined sugar-free condensed milk. No, this is not hard. Can you stir a few ingredients together and keep an eye on them every now and then for half an hour? It’s the perfect thing on a Saturday afternoon while you do a few sudokus, catch up on your Bloglovin’ feed or just have a little kitchen dance party.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

For the non-dairy condensed milk:

  • 1 can [400 ml] coconut milk [light might work; I used ¾ light, ¼ full-fat]
  • ¼ cup [80 g] honey or maple syrup for a vegan version
  • a pinch of salt

For the crust

  • ¾ cup old-fashioned or quick oats (60 g)*
  • 2 tbsps coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsps unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown rice syrup [40 g]
  • ½ bar [1.75 oz] dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsps dried cranberries**
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  1. For the condensed milk, combine coconut milk, honey and saltin a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should reduce to ~1 cup of liquid,. To determine this, keep a heat-proof measuring cup by the stove to check.
  3. When the milk has reduced, let it cool down and then transfer it to the fridge. For the best result chill the condensed milk in the fridge overnight or at least six hours.
  4. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan and set aside.
  5. Prepare your crust by pulsing the oats ina blender to yield a coarse flour. Mix with shredded coconut, honey, coconut butter and honey.
  6. Press crust mixture into the prepared pan. Top with chopped chocolate, cranberries and flaked coconut. Pour the non-dairy condensed milk on top, spreading it to cover the whole crust.
  7. Bake at 320 F/160 Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Check in between to make sure it doesn’t burn [oven temperatures vary!]. The condensed milk should be bubbling and thickening .
    Let cool completely before slicing.

* use certified gluten-free if necessary

** use another kind of dried fruit like mulberries or raisins for a sugar-free version

Coconut Caramel Bars_2

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: It’s Spring! Okay, not meteorologically yet but the temperatures hit 13 °C today! Sunshine = endless smiles, even on a long day of work.

 

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What’s your favourite form of coconut?

Cooking or baking?

 

Week in review: Walking, working, blogging.

… and just like that the first week of February is in the books. That one went down fast. No? Just me. Either way, it’s Monday and time to take a leaf from Meg’s book and be at least a smidgen proud of not drowning completely in the hurdles of everyday life

[Also: did anybody catch the song reference in th title?]

Week in review

 

Starting with one of the last things checked off my to-do list and then going on in no particular order I …

  • Called my grandma. We had a good strike of talking about bi-weekly the past months of 2015 but it somehow fizzled out with the start of the new year. Our conversation included me trying to explain what exactly I do when I mention blogging [the umpteenth attempt but we have to forgive our grandparents for being confused, no?]. Despite my efforts to rectify this belief she still thinks that a) every one of you commenting is some sort of pen pal of mine [hiiii!] and b) suggested that I should move in with one of you to live overseas for a few months. I won’t deny I think she’s onto something with that last idea 😉 …
  • Published three posts again. I will admit this was a bit of a struggle for a few reasons but I’m happy I kept up with this kind-of-schedule from past weeks. A regular posting schedule is one of my unwritten goals of 2016 after I was inconsistent during the past months and I’m happy it worked so far.

current view_writing

  • Worked in my regular job and taught German three times**. Two of those lessons went down pretty well, the third … not so much. Being the over thinker I am it’s hard to combat considering a failed lesson or children not making much progress as my fault. The brief consideration of becoming a teacher is an issue of the past now for sure.

**these two jobs do not amount to as many hours as a full-time job – I wouldn’t want to make my working life sound as stressful as some other people’s. I have huge respect for people working 40+ hour-weeks and still getting a lot done on the side.

  • Replied to comments on the past week’s posts. Aside from a more regular blogging schedule I’m trying to improve my replying game because I want to show you how much I appreciate your comments – because I really do. If only I didn’t get distracted so easily online. Repeat after me: multi-tasking is not the way to go.
  • Did a second photo shoot for these vegan and paleo Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups. I wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the first picture  – I promise they taste better than they look –  but stressed myself about getting the post up on Friday still. Otherwise it’d have resulted in me posting three days in a row – Saturday, Sunday and today – and that messes with my OCD traits.

2_Chocolate Caramel Cups

  • Worked on two (three?) blog post drafts. Inspiration is an ebb and flow varying weekly. I’d prefer a consistent stream of inspiration but we’ve got to work with what your brains churn out, right? Though maybe those more regular walks again will help …?
  • Cleaned my apartment. Oh, those spider webs. Pesky, pesky spider webs. They’re everywhere. And did I mention I have slight arachnophobia? Fun times. Only not.
  • Washed my dad’s car. Questions coming up: 1. Who buys a silver-coloured car i.e. one that ? It’ll look dirty again in no time. 2. How many nooks and crannies attracting and collecting dirt does a car have? 1. Answer: people who prefer function over appearance. 2. Too many. Way too many. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job in making the car look more presentable again which – not quite altruistic, are we? – will benefit me, too, when I use it.
  • Painted my nails. For some reason I’d been putting this off because it seemed to take too much time (yes, I know: really??) but I’m happy I did. Colourful nails brighten my days.

Nails_Essie

  • Went on several walks. The past weeks’ nasty weather kept me mostly inside but recent almost spring-like days have provided excellent conditions for getting my daily dose of fresh air in. Mood change for the better? Check.
  • Survived an almost-attack of three geese on one of said walks yesterday. No, it’s not as funny as it sounds. They can be aggressive when they feel threatened and trying to walk past them in a few metres distance is enough. My legs felt like jello for a few minutes and I hope no neighbor heard my high-pitched scream. Actually, I wouldn’t have minded the geese’s owner to hear it so he’d finally fix his fence for good.
  • Kept up my “workout” routine which honestly is just a 25-minute-circuit without any jumps [does anybody else avoid those in at-home workouts?] but did take break from it on Monday. If you’re feeling unwell there’s no sense in pushing yourself and working out. Not at all. Mental progress is progress still.

And with that It’s a wrap as they say though having worked at Subway I should probably say: it’s a sub! No charge for extra tomatoes and cucumbers today.

Have a great start to your fresh new week!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Reading in an amazing new book I just started.

 

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

How do you combat feeling stressed about keeping a blogging routine up? Or is it just me worrying unnecccessarily?

Random question: what colour is your car?

 

 

 

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups [vegan & paleo]

Rich dark chocolate encloses a layer of slightly sweet coconut crumbles mingling with naturally sweet date caramel. An easy and quick to prepare treat suitable for vegans, gluten-free and paleo eaters alike – there’s a refined sugar-free option, too.

Another chocolate creation already again? Why, yes. Valentine’s Day is around the corner after all so you can never have enough chocolate on hand. Though if you’re like me – or any other normal human – you don’t need a special occasion to eat chocolate. Its existence is reason enough to eat it. In fact, I don’t care much about Valentine’s Day. If you love somebody you shouldn’t need a special day dedicated to prooving just that. I’d much prefer to be surprised rather than either well, not surprised as it’s a given on that date or disappointed if my significant other forgot about Valentine’s Day while every other lady was showered with treats. A sweet letter, homecooked dinner or any other little treat saying “I love you” throughout the year would make feel much more loved. Bonus points if that surprise involves chocolate.

Chocolate Caramel Cups_6

Okay, onto the star of this post now. After trying date caramel for the first time here it made my mind spin for other uses of it. The same goes for my rediscovery of coconut butter. When I saw the cutest silicone molds at a store the decision was pretty much made. Side note: I’m awful at resisting cute kitchen accessoires, plates, towels/you name it. At least I used them right away …? It’s my excuse to postpone working on this bad habit. Don’t judge.

What these Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups are? Naturally sweet date caramel layered with crumbly coconut filling for a tropical touch enrobed in deep dark chocolate. They are the perfect balance of sweetness with some crunch from the coconut leaving you satisfied without the sugar shock. A no-fuss little treat made in almost no time.

Chocolate Caramel Cups_8_

The recipe below yields three chocolate caramel cups – perfect for savouring all by yourself sharing with your valentine?! – but is easily doubled or tripled for a larger get-together. Many of my recipes result in small batches as I’ve found this to be a rarity. A large yield is awesome if you’re feeding a crowd but I’d personally would rather double a recipe than eat one and the same thing for a week. More room for further experimentation … mmmh.

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups

  • 1/4 batch of this date caramel
  • 1 1/4 oz/35 g of dark chocolate  [unsweetened for a sugar-free version]
  • 1 1/2 tbsps coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tsps agave (adjust to taste)
  1. Melt the coconut butter.
  2. Stir in the agave sirup, adjusting the sweetness to your preference. Mix in the shredded coconut.
  3. Melt dark chocolate.
  4. Add a teaspoon of melted chocolate on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Spread well. Let the chocolate harden in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Place a generous teaspoon of date caramel on top of the chocolate and pat down to even it out.
  6. Add a teaspoon of coconut filling on top and smoothen out as good as you can. No need for perfection here.
    Finish off with enough melted chocolate to completely cover the filling. Let harden in the fridge again before serving.

 

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups_10

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Getting a little walking in right in the morning. No day can feel completely bad if you start it with a bit of movement and fresh air.

 

Stay in touch!
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Do you prefer recipes yielding larger or smaller batches?

What are you thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

 

Healthy 5-Ingredient Snickers Truffles [vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free]

Lusciously sweet and creamy caramel studded with salted peanuts and covered in chocolate: all the flavours of the traditional candy bar combined in one healthy truffle. Easy to prepare, vegan, gluten-free and with a paleo option these are a treat everybody can enjoy.

Raise your hands if you like caramel? Okay. Salted peanuts/ cashews[aka crack]? Okay. Chocolate? Great. Lots of refined sugar? No hands?? Okay, me, neither. But if you do like all the flavours in Snickers bars I do have a treat for you today.

Date caramel truffles_3

See, I’m not necessarily opposed to refined sugar and it’s part of my diet every day. However, I don’t fancy eating too much of it and the additional ingredients in store-bought candy bars are far from tasty-sounding, too. Into the kitchen we go then. These truffles are

Sweet.

Salty.

Creamy.

Crunchy.

Refined sugar-free. Vegan. Paleo.

Covered in chocolate. We can never forget about the chocolate.

 

Date caramel_spoon

If you’ve been around the blog world for any amount of time you will be familiar with the many different kinds of balls bites made from nuts and dates with various add-ins. Confession: I’m not a fan of those. Granted, I obviously haven’t tried every kind out there and some sound pretty good. It must be mix of childhood “trauma”/lasting rebellion [growing up eating bars made from dried fruit and nut while others had chocolate bars isn’t fun] and the fact they don’t saturate but only make me hungrier. Not a good choice for a snack. However, I recently started playing around with dates caramel and that is something I could get used to. After using it in this recipe that – while delicious – was rather time-intensive I wanted to see if I could come up with a quicker way to bring together all of the amazing flavours used here. Much to my pleasure: yes, I can. As can you so next time you’re craving salty-sweet crunchy and creamy Snickers just make these and feel good eating as many as you want.

Date caramel truffles_1

I’m also very happy to announce these are mum- and coworker-approved which is a rarity around here. For one as I don’t usually venture into sweet territory with my recipes and I’m not exactly going to bring Cauliflower Curry to share at the office. And then as I trust my own tastebuds enough when it comes to savoury fare not inviting any other judges. These healthy Snickers truffles, however, got a major sign of approval and I already have a request for another batch. Nothing to complain about here. Make these for your family or coworkers and not have them guess the treats they’re eating actually aren’t all that sinful.

Date caramel truffles_2

 

Healthy 5-Ingredient Snickers Truffles

  • 250 g [a scant 9 oz]* soft dates* [don’t need to be Medjool]
  • 2-4 tbsps coconut butter [the more the creamier the taste ]
  • Optional: warm water*
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 oz roasted salted peanuts/cashews for paleo version, chopped
  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate [use unsweetened if you want to keep these refined sugar-free; I used an 80 % bar]

 

  1. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine dates, salt and coconut butter. Blend until relatively smooth. A few smaller pieces of dates are no big issue. If your caramel doesn’t become as smooth as you like add in warm water 1 tsp at a time.*
  2. Put the date caramel into a bowl and mix in salted peanuts.
  3. Using 1 tsp [more for bigger truffles] at a time roll caramel into balls.
  4. Melt chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler.
  5. Dip the caramel balls into the melted chocolate and set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate. Using a fork works best for this
  6. Transfer truffles to the fridge for the chocolate to set.

** this was one bag of dates for me. I only used half the caramel for a small batch of truffles as my blender (Vitamix) doesn’t work for blending smaller amounts at a time. The remaining ingredients listed are for using half the caramel so either double them or  keep the same if your blender allows for making smaller batches of caramel.

***add water 1 tsp at a time if the blending process takes too long or doesn’t yield the desired smooth consistency. However, adding too much water will make the caramel hard to handle later on so use sparingly.

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

Happiness-inducing today: Seeing the first pictures of my newborn nephew. I’m officially an aunt now!

 

Stay in touch!
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How do you feel about refined sugar? As mentioned I follow the balanced approach. If I can avoid it – looking at you, storebought sauces or bread! – I do but nobody will ever separate me from my chocolate.

Date caramel: what are your favourite uses for it?

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #7

Would you like me to talk about my dismay if the fact some parts of Germany are getting a first greeting of snow today? No? Me, neither [and luckily, the part of the country I live in isn’t affected yet]. Rather, let’s talk about something we all like: food. Missing last week’s link-up due to those unfortunate conditions I had no control over I’m happy to join Jenn’s weekly party.

Letting go of control is also an issue present in my food choices lately. I’m trying to keep recovery posts to a minimum as I don’t want it to be the focus of my blog. Life is so much more than just recovery or even food – What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday obviously being the exceptions. Yet: it’s something I’m working on and talking about food in an honest way to me requires admitting what I’m still working on. But let’s jump into [some of] the food I ate on Monday right away.


Food Talk Wednesay_logo

In case you were wondering: yes, kabocha is still my go-to breakfast [nd also still using my preferred method of preparation]. Though I will admit eating my way through several sub-par ones lessened my cravings and had me back on the oatmeal train for a few days. But looking at yesterday it was my first meal of the day once more. The harvest is dwindling steadily, though … Send help, please! And by help I mean kabocha!

Kabocha_homegrown_breakfast

After rushing around for the first half of the day, lunch time came all of a sudden and was where I decided to let go of control and [try to] trust my intuition again. For those who don’t know: Spätzle are a – usually homemade – German kind of pasta. I recently found a package of fresh vegan ones at an organic supermarket and knew this was my chance for a challenge. No nutrtional information on the package was what scared me.I’ve  gotten better at eating out but trying new foods at home is still more difficult.

Traditionally served with fried onions and lots of cheese [Käsespätzle], I went with my go-to vegan cheese sauce and some greenery as well as the obvious chickpeas here. The serving looks small but I had more than pictured [honesty, remember :)?]. A very real photo, too, as you’ll notice the sauce spillage – it happens.

Spätzle_lunch_vegan pumpkin cheese sauce

For some reasons, I follow pretty much every of my savoury meals wth a bite of something sweet and peanut butter. Because what is following below is of the [far] more decadent variety I will only show the more nutrious part of my snacks here. Also because I ego through apples and peanut butter at a speed others find seriously impressive. No such thing as too much of those,  am I right?!

apple_peanut butter_snack

Usually, What I ate Wednesdays show only my own meals and snacks. But I hope you’ll excuse the exception for some bragging a picture of my brother’s belated birthday* cake. Much to my dismay, he didn’t specify which kind of cake he wanted leaving me to  my own indecisiveness. Luckily, I could make up my mind as I was up for experimentation and had been wanting to try this vegan Coconut Caramel Tarte [for all Germans: from La Veganista backt and found here] for some time already. Only I wasn’t entirely pleased with the caramel’s outcome – especially given how long I had to babysit it while cooking. Because  I’m a fan of honestyI will be here, too: no, I didn’t eat a piece of this. However, this is not for fear of sugar. If you’ve seen past WIAWs you’ll know  my sweet tooth. The past years of recovery have taught me about my taste preferences and cake doesn’t entice me anymore. Which isn’t to say I didn’t try the caramel or taste-tested  the chocolate ;).

Kokoskaramell-Tarte_La Veganista_coconut caramel cake

… and that’s a wrap. Or piece of cake. Either way, this was my little chat about food – not snow! – for today and why not use the bad weather to peek at what everybody else has been eating?!

See you again tomorrow!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Going to the movies with an old acquaintance and being positively surprised by the movie itself.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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How is the kabocha situation in your part of the world? Germany really needs to give more appreciation [as in: appearance in stores] to this wonderful squash.

What was the last cake you baked?

Tell me your favourite meal from this week so far!