No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

Packied with fresh and zesty orange flavour in both the crust and rich fudge frosting these No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies offer you a taste of summer in every bite. With only seven ingredients, vegan, paleo, naturally gluten- and optionally refined sugar-free they are a healthy dessert or snack option.

Chocolate Orange Slice


Before we get into today’s recipe for these absolutely delicious, summery and mum/dad/colleague-approved No-Bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies I want to share some thoughts on my mind. About just that topic: approval.

Feed them to the neighbour’s chicken.

The above was my mum’s comment on these bars. Ouch. And I was this close to writing the recipe off as a fail though I thought they were really good. What made me redecide? Reminding myself that a) [food] preferences differ and b) my mum is a pretty tough critic. Boy am I glad I didn’t let her words get me down – though the chicken might have been pleased ;). Because my colleagues very much enjoyed the bars, one even saying that if she ever got married she wanted these and these. [I’m actually bad at accepting compliments but that’s a topic for another day.]

Shouldn’t I/we trust our own judgement when it comesto deciding which recipes to share on -our- blogs? I wish I could say I no longer depended on other people’s opinion at all but that’s not entirely true. Compliments are balm for our  [occasionally insecure] souls. Knowing you met somebody’s taste with a homemade treat just feels good. Where I’m getting here? Asking for others’ opinion isn’t always bad unless we can’t make a single decision ourselves anymore without getting somebody else’s approval. That just takes the fun and freedom out of life.

Chocolate Orange Slice_2

Okay, onto the food now. You know how they say ‘When the cake works, bake it in every flavour’? Shoes? You’re saying that was about shoes? Nah. That’s not my kind of business [though dresses are a wholly different story …]. But: cake. Or blondies. No-bake blondies. That is my business. And after the huge success of these brownies in my family it was only natural to adapt them in a different way. A fresher, fruity way. Don’t make me play favourites but oh my … these are good.

With only seven ingredients these are even simpler than the No-bake Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Thanks to the fact the base has some more texture i.e. crunch rather than being very smooth you might not even need a high-speed blender. I preferred it this way but grinding the nuts for longer and in a flour-like consistency would give you just that, too, if that’s how you like your brownies/blondies.

Oh and talking about approval: these blondies got my dad’s which probably is even harder to get than my mum’s – if that’s even possible. Shockingly, even I – remember what I said about that? – liked the crust on its own a LOT. I could totally eat it on its own but sssh: don’t tell the chocolate fudge. But you really shouldn’t make just one part because, well, you don’t just wear a single shoe, right? Some things are simply better together.

Chocolate Orange Slice_5

No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

100 g soft dates
1-2 tbsps of coconut butter [optional but ]

100 g raw cashews
20 g unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp of of orange zest, at best freshly grated from one organic orange

100 g dark chocolate [70 % cocoa or higher]**
1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp of orange zest

  1. Place cashews in a food processor or high-powered blender or food processor. Pulse until ground to your preference – either finely ground and flour-like or with a few more roughly chopped pieces for texture. Remove from the blender and mix in orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Process dates in the food processor until finely chopped/close to paste-like. Remove from food processor.
  3. Add nut meal back to the food processor, turn it on and slowly add the date mixture bit by bit, processing until a thick dough forms. You might want to stop in between, pushing the dates sticking to the sides of the blender/food processor into the blades and to prevent overheating.
  4. Firmly press the nut and date mixture into an 8 x 8-inch pan and put into the fridge to harden [it will be very sticky and soft].
  5. While the base is chilling in the fridge, prepare your ganache layer. Finely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.
  6. Add the other 1/2 a tsp of orange zest to the coconut milk and bring it to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and (!!!) let sit for three minutes. Do NOT stir before.
  7. Stir to fully combine all fudge ingredients. Top the chilled base with ganache and refridgerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.


**use sugar-free or steva-sweetened for a refined sugar-free version.

Chocolate Orange Slice_4

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


Happiness-inducing today: Seeing a person I love laugh. Nothing is more contagious than genuine laughter.


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Blondies or brownies?

How much do you rely on others’ opinon – be it in terms of cooking, blogging, fashion …?

Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry [vegan]

Quick, easy and nutrient-filled this warming and satisfying curry makes the perfect weekday meal. Vegan, naturally gluten-free and packed with nutrients and flavour.

More often than not my recipe posts turn into confessional ones. I figure everybody’s got a way to rid themselves of their sins so if mine’s a way of producing content: two birds with one stone, right? And if it means you’re getting a recipe that way maybe three birds? Oh well, I honestly don’t know where I’m getting here. A little birdy told me to …? Okay, moving onto food. Or: confessions. And delicious curries that don’t require you to stock up on every spice available at the Indian grocery.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_3

You might remember I’m a produce overbuyer in rehab. Only rehab means trying to stop the habit, it working for some time – and then going downwards again. Once more, a recent grocery store trip ended with me carrying home a monstrous head of cauliflower with no intention on how to use it. I know … Typical. Despite having a million ideas on how to turn cauliflower from bland into absolutely amazing  Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse so maybe that’s why it lures me in time and time again?!

close-up_cauliflower chickpea curry

I’m more often than not too overwhelmed to decide on a recipe. Add to the dilemma that I somehow manage to ignore the cauliflower’s existence [as if that was possible with a huge head staring at you every time you open your vegetable drawyer …] until it’s on its last legs. And it was one of those situations when this recipe came about. I was hungry. I had cauliflower to use. Indian food sounded good so Cauliflower Chickpea Curry it was. Though you obviously know I’m not guaranteeing any authenticity with my recipes. Indian-inspired curry.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_2

Whenever I cook brown rice I immediately think of Lee. Why? Because some time last year she posted a delicious-looking recipe calling for it and I lamented the fact I was unable to locate short-grain brown rice [still living in the middle of nowhere then]. Imagine my delight – heureka! – when I finally found a bag back then. The obsession is back again at the moment and this curry just calls for brown rice as a side. Or your favourite grain, really. But bonus points for brown rice. And coconut chips that I only thought of adding post photo. Blogger fail. Oh well, that’s another confession on my part so we’d better fet onto the recipe now.


Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

  • 200 g cauliflower [2 cups, chopped into small florets]
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup chickpeas (125 g)
  • ¼ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4-1 tsp cumin seeds [I always use the larger amount]
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Coconut chips [not shredded coconut!] for topping
  • cooked [short-grain] brown rice to serve


  1. Start by sautéing the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. While it’s cooking mix the spices to keep at hand when ready. Add to the onion mixture and toast the spices for about two minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning them.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets, stir well to combine them with the onions and cover the pot. Let cook for around five minutes.
  4. Mix in the bok choy stems, stir and cover again for a minute. Add the chopped tomato, chickpeas and tomato sauce.
    Just before turning off the heat, stir in the bok choy leaves and let them wilt.
  5. To serve, plate with some the brown rice cooked/reheated with coconut milk/soy creamer and some coconut chips.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_4

Because I know everybody appreciates some quick and easy dishes I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.


Happiness-inducing today: An interesting conversation with a ‘colleague’ at the kids’ book club I’m currently assisting at.

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Your turn: Share a [kitchen] confession!

What is one vegetable you’re constantly buying too much of? Don’t pretend I was the only one doing it!


Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A creamy vegetable-packed vegan ‘cheese’ sauce with just a handful of ingredients but eat-by-the-spoonful-delicious flavour.

Sometimes going about something with no or low expectations is the best you can do. Or at least that’s what I can say about this recipe. It’s one of those dishes you prepare without much thinking. Just adding some of this, some of that, and, oh, hey, that tastes really good.  Do you like to surprise yourself while cooking? I do. Unfortunately, some of these dishes aren’t a real eye candy, either, though, as is the case here. But I’ve said it before and will say it again: taste beats appearance.

There are one million recipes for mac and cheese out there and probably at least half as many vegan variations. Don’t make me guess the number of either using pumpkin, too. The combination of cheesy taste and pumpkin was clearly meant to be.

Pumpkin gnocchi

So I didn’t reinvent the wheel here – and you wouldn’t want me to because … is not my forte.  but since it was seriously delicious and we agreed that blogging is mostly for y ourself I’ll be completely honest with you: When I post recipes it’s not selflessly. No. Rather, I’ve come to realize I’m the one benefitting most. In other words: my blog has become my personalized cookbook
Way back I used to print out recipes I enjoyed or jot down measurements of dishes I created on loose sheets. All stuffed into a practical not pretty blue folder. Do I really need to tell you what happened?  Well, first it got completely overstuffed and I lost overview. And then I lost the whole folder when moving years ago. Awesome.

Pumpkin Gnocchi_2

That’s where blogging comes in handy. My WIAWs are often a collection of others’ recipes and how I liked them so I’ve made one or the other dish more than once already. And when I can’t quite remember all ingredients in a meal I created I can look through my recipes. Which actually happens on the regular but who am I to complain? You could probably call my blog my external hard disk. That’s actually what I jokingly referred my notebooks to be years ago. How times changes. And tastes of humor…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

Mine were in fact double-pumpkin because I bought a package of organic pumpkin gnocchi at the store. If you have some extra time on hand and feel fancy you could obviously make your own gnocchi but I was happy to find these sketchy-ingredient-free storebought ones.

Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A serving of storebought gnocchi [I used 125 g/ 4.5 oz ]*
1 cup of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3/4 cup of butternut squash, chopped**
about 1/4 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk
3/4 to 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp onion powder***
a pinch of garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup green peas
Cherry tomatoes

Prepare the gnocchi according to package directions but when you drain it, reserve the cooking liquid.

Put the cauliflower and butternut squash into a small saucepan and add water until they’re just covered. Boil until soft. I usually just bring the water to a boil, then turn off the stove and let it cook for a few minutes.

Blend the vegetables with the remaining sauce ingredients. Put the sauce back onto the stove and let thicken a little.

Add the gnocchi, peas and cherry tomatoes to the sauce and heat through. Serve with a generous amount of parsley sprinkled on top or mixed in.


* This dish is gluten-free if using a gluten-free variety of gnocchi. A quick search brought up brands like DeLallo and Aurora for those of you living overseas.

* *You could sub another type of winter squash like kabocha.

**If you’re German you might be skeptical of the onion powder in the ingredient list. Or at least if – like me – you grew up clueless of its existence. But trust me it’s what makes this dish. Without it the sauce doesn’t have that ‘authentic’ [and in this case: delicious] boxed mix taste.

Maybe you already know I’m not one to claim authenticity on my recipes. Growing up in Germany I’ve never had either the infamous blue box nor the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese variety [unless ‘Nudeln mit Käsesauce’ is the same but just a less snazzy way of saying it]. But what I know for a fact is that it’s seriously good in its own right – and that’s all that matters to me.

Authentic or not I’m convinced a good recipe pleases everyone so I’m joining the celebrations of deliciousness via Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Happiness inducing today: Turning around a corner and squinting because of the sudden intensity of the sunlight. Followed by a huge smile on my face.

Stay in touch!

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Did you grow up eating the blue box? A homemade variety? Or mac ‘n’ cheese-less?

Were peas a typical childhood food for you? In which combinations? Clearly carrots, peas and the occasional kohlrabi [still not a fan], sometimes in a bechamel-type sauce were my mum’s favourite way of getting us to eat them. Usually alongside homemade ‘Frikadellen’ [think burgers but without the bun] and potatoes.

Cooling down with chili [Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing]

Summer’s bounty in a hearty satisfying speltberry salad accompanied by a fruity dressing with a spicy kick.

Maybe I need to reconsider my plans of moving to California one day. Because if me adapting [or failing at it] to the current heatwave is any indicator of how I’d do over there… oh well. You can get used to a lot, right? These past days, though, were quite a change – and a challenge – for me.

Apricot chili_salad

So what do you do in the heat? Or rather: what do you eat in the heat? Salad. Only: if you’ve been around for a while you know I’m the odd vegetarian who doesn’t like salad. Well, salad salads, at least. A pile of leafy greens with – at the worst – a vinegar-y or mustard-infused dressing? Very sweet of you to offer but thanks, I’ll pass on that one. For me, a salad needs to have that special something. It has to fill me up and not just because of its stomach-widening capacities of low-calorie vegetables but nutrient-dense ingredients like grains and beans. Actually, my kind of salads need to follow the formula for a balanced vegan meal: a grain, a green, a bean.

Speltberry salad IV

Adding some of the fresh apricots I’d gotten at the Farmers’ Market – that were on their last legs already thanks to the vendor handing me a bag of very soft ones, thankyourverymuch – was only natural. Because isn’t everybody on a mission to eat their body weight in all kinds of fresh produce during the short period it’s available? From what I heard apricot season is pretty short so I didn’t want to let it pass without eating my share – fear of missing out [on food]??! Given my penchant with the combination of chili and sweetness I couldn’t not add some chili/ red pepper flakes to the dressing. There’s no logical explanation for some decisions aside from gut instinct. And a good gut instinct it was here.


Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing2

 Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing [vegan + gluten-free option]

  • 1/4 cup speltberries* [see below for subs and gluten-free option]
  • 1 orange mini bell pepper or 1/4 a regular bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 leaves of pointed cabbage, sliced thinly
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a piece of ginger [about 1/2 tsp minced] – this made for a very pronounced ginger taste so feel free to use less
  • a splash of coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper



  • 3 ripe apricots [about 100 g], pitted
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Cook the speltberries according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the garlic in coconut oil. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for about two minutes, then add cabbage and ginger. Sauté until the cabbage is wilted.
  3. Add the coconut milk. Then mix in the tomatoes, speltberries and chickpeas to warm through.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. For the dressing blend the apricots and spices with about a tablespoon of water to reach a drizzly consistency.
  6. Serve the salad either warm or cold.

* alternatively, you could use wheatberries [one popular brand being ‘Ebly’], farro or simply short-grain brown rice [gluten-free option]

For once I actually didn’t reheat a dish like I usually do when I’m finished taking pictures of it. Instead, I kept it chilled with the chili kick because spicy food can help you stay cool on hot days. Bring on the chili peppers!

Speltberry salad

Rumors has it they serve some pretty good salads in California – and I don’t have any doubts there. So maybe that’s the trick to staying cool over there? One day I’ll know. One day…

In hopes like some chili to chill down, too, I’m sharing this with Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays and the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck

Happiness inducing today: Helping my sister by proof-reading a job application she’d written. I’m the odd person who actually enjoys tasks like that – and my family and friends know.

Stay in touch!

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What’s the formula for your favourite kind of salad?

Do you dream of moving to another country? California and several other states in the US are places I’d really like to live and work at least temporarily one day.

Are you dealing well with heat in general?



Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets [vegan & gluten-free]

Not your average nuggets: Crispy, slightly spicy vegan nuggets that rival the originals’ addictiveness minus unnecessary additives or deep-frying. Bye bye, McDonald’s!

Whenever my mum would allow me to get food from McDonald’s my order would be a small size of Chicken McNuggets – sans sauce. In light of that it’s surprising I had yet to recreate them in a veg-friendly way. Maybe it was because I’m not a huge fan of all those tofu mock meats. Who knew the solution was growing right on the field [or at least only a few kitchen steps away]?? Cauliflower for the win again. One of these days I’ll write an ode to this magically versatile wonder vegetable: couscous, pizza crust, mash, nuggets… Who knows the whole potential of this unsuspecting member of the crusciferous family?

Blumenkohlnuggets_cauliflower nuggets

Interestingly enough it was Juli bringing up the nugget issue for me again. Her recent decidedly not vegan plate of coconut-crusted chicken nuggets sparked a craving. Further proof that any blogger can show meal inspiration independent from their diet. So while my weekend wasn’t bad in other terms either, the most marvelous food part was this newfound snack favourite.

Cauliflower Nuggets_6

These are obviously not your average deep-fried and greasy nuggets.  However, what these have in common with their non-vegan contenders from the Golden Arches is the addictive potential. In fact, if I was you I’d make a double batch right away. That’s what I should have done because the first time I baked up a tray of these I wasn’t even able to get a proper picture. All of that ‘I wonder if they’re done already’ snacking? Well, there weren’t a lot of fully cooked bites left by the end of the baking time. Which just meant I had to whip up another pan the next day – the things I do for blogging …

Cauliflower Nuggets_1

Vegan Cauliflower Nuggets [gluten-free]

adapted from Foodie Fiasco

1 3/4 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces [175-200 g]

Dry mix:
1/4 cup chickpea flour [30 g]
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
1/8 cup unsweetened crispy/ popped amaranth [8-10 g; see note]*

salt and pepper to taste

Scant 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk [I used soy] [50 ml]
Pinch of smoked paprika powder
1 tbsp salsa

  1. Mix both the dry and wet ingredients in separate shallow bowls.
  2. Dip the cauliflower pieces into the milk. Then dip in the flour mixture and coat.
  3. Spread the auliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in one single layer.
  4. Bake for ten minutes, then flip the pieces.
  5. Bake for another ten minutes to brown all around.
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven. Dip the cauliflower into the remaining milk and return to the oven for five more minutes.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

* If you can’t find this in stores here’s a tutorial on how to easily make popped amaranth at home.

Caulflower Nuggets_8

If it’s any indication for how much I like these I bought another head when there was still half of the first left Saturday night. Because you never know of any upcoming cauliflower shortages, right?!

In hopes others will save some chicken by eating cauliflower nuggets, too, I’m sharing these with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Recipes and Tasty Tuesdays.

Have a marvelous Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Listening to good music on a walk outside in the sunshine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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If you had to write an ode to cauliflower or any other vegetable: what would it look like?

What was or is your typical order at McDonald’s?

Have you ever recreated any former fast food favourites [yes to unintentional alliteration!]?




Neapolitan Oatmeal Parfait [vegan]

Crunchy and creamy, sweet and tart, fruity and chocolatey – a perfect mix of textures and flavours creating a refreshing summer breakfast or snack.

Neapolitan parfait_2

Parfait says it already: it’s perfect. In this breakfast it’s the combination of complementing flavours [refreshing fruit, tangy yogurt, deep dark cocoa] and textures [crunchy amaranth – creamy oatmeal] that makes it an all-around taste experience.

Neapolitan parfait_spoon

Let me start out by stating this: you don’t want to be my roommate. No, not because I left all my dirty dishes in the sink out of pure laziness of transferring them to the dishwasher [why??]. Or because I was that person who decides to re-schedule their household tasks from today to whenever [which means I’ll end up doing them]. And no, stealing some granola doesn’t count as one of my vices.

What I’m actually getting at: if you’d lived with me [at least after I started blogging and started taking dozens of pictures of food] you’d have experienced me blurring the lines between mine and yours.  Rummaging through the cupboards – filled mostly with my dishes – yet occasionally deciding yours were better for my pictures. Case in point again here: why in the world don’t I own a parfait-perfect glass? Answer: Simply because I’d never intended to have a parfait before.

Neapolitan parfait_5

Now that I know how easy they are [plus fancy to look at and we’re eating with our eyes, too, after all] I’ll have to look into getting some of my own. Yes, you could always just mix everything in a bowl but let’s face it: arranging the ingredients beautifully is one of the best parts of the parfait experience. Actually, the best part is eating it.

Neapolitan parfait_sprinkle

Proof that I can’t even stick with my own recipe ideas is the donut peach in this one though it’s nowhere to be found in classic Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches. They’re one of my favourite summer fruit – all kinds of berries aside – and with a case of perfectly ripe ones sitting on my counter I simply had to add some. If you can get your hands on them I higly recommend you include it here because its juicy fresh taste brought yet another texture and flavour to the whole dish.

Neapolitan parfait_8

And to share another secret about the behind the scenes of these pictures: I ‘borrowed’ some of my roommates strawberries for the pictures. At least I didn’t eat them. Now who wants to move in with me??? I might even share some of the fruit of my kitchen experimentation…

Neapolitan parfait_4

Neapolitan Oatmeal Parfait [vegan and gluten-free*]

  • 1/3  cup of quick oats*
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of water, non-dairy milk [I used soy] or a mix
  • sweetener to taste [I used about four to five drops of vanilla stevia]
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla [if not using vanilla stevia]
  •  1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1 tsp of dark cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of puffed/ crispy amaranth
  • fresh donut peach, chopped


  1. Start by preparing your oatmeal by cooking it in milk or water with a pinch of salt. Stir in stevia or sweetener of choice as well as some of the amaranth and set aside to let cool slightly.
  2. Pour the yogurt into a tall jar.
  3. Mash half of the strawberries and stir into half of the oatmeal portion. Fold in the remaining chopped strawberries.
  4. Mix cocoa into the remaining oatmeal.
  5. Start assembly by pouring the yogurt into your jar. Add the strawberry oatmeal.
  6. Sprinkle some amaranth on top before adding the cocoa oatmeal.
  7. Top with chunks of peach. Sprinkle the remaining amaranth on top and serve!


*use certified gluten-free oats if needed.

Linking up with Laura, Kierston, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Naturally Sweet Tuesday, Gluten-free WednesdaysGluten-Free & DIY Tuesdays and The Weekend re-Treat Link Party.

Neapolitan parfait 9

Happiness inducing today: Picking up a good new book from the library.

Stay in touch!

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Any roommate applications ;)?

Are/ were you a good roommate?

If you’ve had breakfast parfaits before: what did you add?

What are some of your favourite non-berry summer fruits? I didn’t discover donut peaches until about two years ago and now don’t want to miss out on them anymore.