S’mores cake

Hey pixels!! I’m going to a picnic today! This evening we’re going to have a picnic near the beach. A picnic at night is always fun. There is an area with tables and benches that you can use, so you just have to prepare some good food and go there.

S'mores cake

 

In my town it’s forbidden to make campfires, so a more traditional way to eat s’mores is complicated… But, when I found that s’mores cakes do exist, I couldn’t be happier. I love making cakes, so I ran to the supermarket to buy some ingredients (I didn’t had heavy cream, guilty) and I went back home to make the cake.

I’m bringing my cake to the picnic tonight. I hope that everyone will enjoy it!! It’s been my first time making this cake. But not going to this kind of picnic. Temperatures are so high lately that being near the sea, feeling a nice breeze and the smell of the sea salt is incredibly awesome. I usually go with my family. We eat and chat about our lifes and plans. I love it!!

S'mores cake piece

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5-6 tablespoons butter

Chocolate dough:

  • 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

for topping:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 90g sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Melt butter and mix in graham crumbs. Mix until moistened. Spray a round mold with non-stick spray and press graham crust into it.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Add to the mold. Place mold in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30′, or until cake is set.

While baking the cake, make the meringue. Pour it all over your baked cake. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown meringue for about 2-3′. Do not take your eyes off the cake! Serve immediately.

Do you like s’mores, my happy pixels? How do you eat them?  Do you go camping? Picnics? Anyone? I hope you’re having a wonderful Summer!! Please, feel free to leave a comment.

July highlights, 2017

Hey pixels!! July is over, you know. So I’m starting a new monthly section, where I’ll share with you my best Instagram pics and the things I’ve done during the last month. Now we’re talking, of course, about July.

I have more pictures than the ones I’ve posted on Instagram. But you’ll find most of them there.

Things I’ve done:

I watched le tour of France. Of course. Life wouldn’t be the same without watching le tour. (Guess who won: my favourite cyclist!!!)

I’ve been playing lots of board games. I use to play with my two cousins. This month: TIME stories and Legends of Andor

I’ve started writing my first book!!! I’ve already written about 12.000 words!! One of my life goals is to write a book, and now I’m doing it!! (More details soon)

Writing my first book

I’ve been going to the beach after work. Not every day, just a couple of times every week. I guess it’s great to have a beach at the end of my street. Not the best beach ever, but good enough.

I bought plane tickets and booked a hotel for my Summer trip. I haven’t travelled for a while and now I need this little holiday more than ever. Looking forward to it!!

I went to the local cinema festival. It’s just a week with films being played on different open air scenarios, like a square or the market. I went there several nights, and I should say that I enjoyed all the films (well, not the last one, it was a bit boring for me)

And that’s all!! My July highlights. What do you think about them, my happy pixels? How was your July? Are you enjoying this Summer? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Rice & Veggies Salad

Hey pixels!! Yesterday was the first day of August. This means that the first seven months of 2017 are gone… How have you spent them? Did you had fun?

rice & veggies salad

Now I’m writing from my favourite café, listening to good music and having a coffee with milk. Watching occasionally at their tv. And enjoying their air conditioned, we’ve had even higher temperatures over the past days (and today): 38ºC. Too much for me… I would like to have a house on a colder country to spent Summers there…

cooking the veggies

But I don’t have enough money for that, so I’m just making cold salads and dishes and eating lots of ice cream. One of my cold recipes is this rice salad full of veggies. Yummy!! (Note: now there is cycling on TV, so it’s harder to concentrate on writing this post).

rice & veggies salad 3

Actually this salad is yummy cold or warm, so it’s up to you!! You can choose your favourite salad dressing. Or not, the salad flavour itself is good enough, you’ll enjoy it with just a few drops of raw olive oil on top. Enjoy it, my happy pixels!!

rice & veggies salad 2

Ingredients (serve 3):

  • 1 1/2 cups rice/brown rice
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 jar red pepper slices
  • optional: your favourite salad dressing
  • salt, olive oil

Directions:

Cook rice.

While rice is boiling, cook pepper slices in olive oil for 5-6′. Add mushrooms and cook 5-6′. Add fresh spinach and cook just 2-3′.

Drain rice and mix it with the cooked veggies. Serve in bowls. Pour a bit of your favourite salad dressing, if using. If you want it colder, store in your fridge for at least 30′.

This salad can be stored in a closed container in your fridge for one day. Or you can bring it to your next beach picnic if you have a cooler.

How are temperatures where do you live, my happy pixels? How your Summer is going? Are you having fun? I hope so. Please, feel free to leave a comment.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini & Cherry Tomatos Quiche

Hey pixels!! It’s been a long time since our last quiche. Last week I went to a barbeque and someone brought a zucchini quiche. I thought it was yummy and I asked for the recipe. So, here it is, my happy pixels!! Now I want to share it with you!!

Zucchini quiche

Zucchinis have a wonderful flavour, and combined with a bit of cheese, eggs and cream they just even yummier. I use a soy based cream for this kind of  recipes, because I love how it tastes, and because it’s a bit healthier than the dairy cream.

zucchini quiche 2

The original recipe was crustless, but I add a crust to mine. I like the contrast of a crispy crust and the tenderness of the quiche. The same way I add some cherry tomatos to the original recipe. I did not bake mine, but you can bake them perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 store bought quiche crust
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 200ml soy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 100gr cup grated cheese (use your favourite one)
  • 6-7 cherry tomatos, halved

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180⁰C.  Grease a 20cm round mold. Pour crust and make a few hole using a fork. Set aside.

Put zucchini, soy cream, eggs, flour and cheese into a bowl and mix to combine.

Pour into the mold.

Bake for 40-45′, or until set and golden brown. It will be ready when a fork comes out clean.

Serve in pieces with the halved cherry tomatos on top. I prefer to eat the tomatos raw, but you can bake them, too.

Note: it’s better if you eat all the quiche the same day.

Do you like quiches, my happy pixels? Do you have a favourite one? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Productivity: Why you should always carry a notebook

Hey pixels!! This post is all about notebooks! I always carry a notebook with me, whenever I go: to take a coffee, to the cinema, while travelling… Lots of creative people do the same. Probably my life is different than their lifes, but I still carry my notebook always.

notebooks

I love notebooks and stationery. It always has happened to me: I can spent hours  looking at notebooks and cute pencils at a shop, even if I’m not buying anything… This post is not sponsored, and it’s not about the kind of notebook you should buy. It’s not that at all. I just wanted to talk to you about why I carry a notebook and all the benefits my notebooks have had for me. I wanted to share that with you, my happy pixels, just in case I could help someone to start carrying a notebook.

notebook

Why you should carry a notebook

Ideas can emerge anytime. I don’t know about you, my happy pixels, but if I have an idea when I’m not at home and I don’t write about this idea, even a few words, probably I’ll forget about it. This is the main reason to carry a notebook: you’ll never forget your great ideas again. You’ll be able to work on them whenever you are.

You could write about your ideas using a phone app, I know; but writing on paper it’s a way to keep your cognitives abilities running smoothly and a good way to absorb more information. You just remember better what you’ve written if it’s written by hand.

notebooks 2

 

A notebook has no restrictions. A productivity app has its limits. A blank paper allows you to show your creativity in an unlimited way. Actually your imagination is the only limit. Be creative, my happy pixels!!

It’s more difficult to get distracted when you work on your notebook. A sheet of paper has no notifications when you receive a mail or a like on Instagram. It’s hard to concentrate if you’re constantly receiving messages that require your attention.

notebook 3

A notebook is everything: an agenda, a place for doodling, a space to write your lists or your future novel. It can be a gratitude journal, a place where you copy your favourite motivational quotes, a place where you write a new recipe… Or you can print and glue nice pictures to its pages. Creativity has no end, you’ll have even more if you use it.

And this is why I always carry a notebook, my happy pixels. I love doodling and writing, and I use my smarphone just to take or edit pictures. I don’t know if this works for you, but why not giving notebooks a chance?

Do you carry a notebook with you, my happy pixels? Do you have another way to write about your ideas? Please, feel free to leave us a comment.

Photos source: Unsplash

Vichyssoise

Hey pixels!! Today we’re having another post about a cool soup. The last one was our red pepper soup. I’m posting too many soup recipes?? I don’t know, my happy pixels. I just can say that I love soup, and I can’t stop eating it just because it’s Summer….

vichyssoise

This is a classic recipe, famous worldwide. My version is not exactly like the traditional one: it’s lighter and vegetarian/vegan. The only difference is to use whole milk or soy cream. This is up to you: just choose between this two options. If you don’t eat dairy choose the soy cream.

vichyssoise 2

I love this recipe. It has a nice taste and a soft texture. I think it’s amazing. A great starter. Today I ate it for lunch, and after that I ate a vegan burger. A yummy and inexpensive lunch. How was your lunch, my happy friends?

vichyssoise 3

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 2 large potatos, peeled and cubed
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup whole milk/soy cream for a vegan version
  • olive oil, salt
  • bread croutons to garnish

Directions:

Cook onion in olive oil for about 5-6′. Add leeks and cook 3-4′ more. Add potatos and continue cooking 3-4′.

Pour stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30′, until potatos are tender. Blend until smooth. Add the milk/cream and cook about 5′, so it thickens a little.

Remove from heat and allow to cool at least one hour before serving. Garnish with some bread croutons. If you want your soup colder, you can make it the day before or just a few hours before eating. But I think it’s better if it’s still a bit warm.

Do you like Vichyssoise, my happy pixels? Do you make it at home? Are you going to try this recipe? Please, let me know in the coments below.

 

Benefits of travelling alone

Hey pixels!! As you may know, I love travelling. It’s one of my favourite activities!! Travelling has lots of benefits:  learning new stuff, discovering a new place, meeting new people, etc. Usually we tend to travel with other people; lots of people tend to think that travelling alone is boring or less exciting. Well, this is not true at all: travelling alone has its own benefits, too.

JAMESHOLEPHOTO.COM

I traveled solo to Berlin a couple of years ago, and the experience was amazing. Next month I’m travelling solo again. This is why I’m writing this post: to share with you the tips I learned during my first solo trip (21 days). I should say that it was not boring at all. I took some German classes, I met people from around the world during my classes, I did some activities, I went to museums and visit a couple of small cities near Berlin…. Now I’m going to have less time, just 7 days, but I’m planning to get the most of them.

I’ll tell you more details about my trip activities, my happy pixels. I’m planning a post series about them. This will be in a month. My destination is Andorra, just in case I had not mentioned yet…

Travelling alone: benefits 

You learn to be alone. Alone time is healthy, but we rarely appreciate it. We are always surrounded by people, noise and our daily problems. Being alone in another place is, for me, the fastest way to forget all my problems and concentrate just in enjoying my trip.

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Freedom to choose all the activities. I mean that you choose everything. The place you’re travelling, the hotel, where do you want to eat, the daily activities… Actually one of the reasons I’ve chosen Andorra is this one. I went there with 2 friends many years ago, and I had to negociate everything, because they had another idea of how the trip had to be. Now I want to repeat this trip my own way, just doing the things I really want to do.

It’s cheaper because of the previous reason. You simply can adjust your budget going to cheap places or chosing the free museum. That will mean you are saving money for your next adventure!!

It will boost your confidence. Being able to make everything it has to be done on your own is a great source of satisfaction. The experience of travelling alone will challenge your limits and ability to cope with obstacles on the way which will make you a stronger person. You’ll realize that you can do everything you want. I feel extra motivated when I come back home after a travel, always.

A photo by David Marcu. unsplash.com/photos/VfUN94cUy4o

 

You’ll apreciate better the destination. You don’t get distracted by your usual travel mates, so you can concentrate your efforts in looking what’s going on and taking pictures of it. Forget your selfie stick at home: better take pictures of a beautiful building or landscape. It does not matter if you’re not on every picture you take, and this little step will be a giant one on improving your observation skills.

You’ll have time to do more things. When I travel solo I tend to get up and start my day earlier. That’s because I don’t like to go out at night, so I have dinner and go to bed early. But this way I have more hours to make daily activities, and trust me, my happy pixels, I use all of them.

And last, but not least, there is something liberating about travelling to a place where no one knows who you are. I feel free to be myself.

Do you travel solo, my happy pixels? Are you planning a Summer trip? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Photos source: Unsplash