Thursday, December 31, 2015

Enlighten Yourself, my gifts for the holidays

I only gave two gifts to myself this holiday season. I don't count of course the unlimited investments I  make monthly for my education, travels, professional development and some fashion items of course!

Two gifts  that I love and are pretty and precious:

My new Moka Bialetti in red color for even better espressos, Americanos and cappuccinos:

and the newly discovered Mini Buddha Board to master the art of letting go...

I recommend them both for those who want to try something new and inspiring -in red- this year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas cookie baking

Making cookies for Christmas is the quintessential activity for both kids and adult alike.  Many make their own dough but I opted for the Krusteaz cookie easy-to-make mixes, specially made for the holiday season.

I picked the Krusteaz Gingerbread Mix and the Snickerdoodle Mix both very popular.

The recipe is super easy to make. For the Gingerbread Cookies:


1 Egg
6 Tablespoons of butter, softened


Preheat oven to 350F. 

Stir together egg, butter and the Krusteaz Gingerbread Cookie.

Mix until dough forms, hand kneading if necessary. Dough may be sticky. For easier handling, you and cover and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut to desired shapes with a floured cookie cutter (small or big, is your choice). Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Cool cookies 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Decorate cookies as desired.


1.     1 package Krusteaz Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix (1 pouch each cookie mix and cinnamon-sugar topping)
2.     ½ cup butter, softened
3.     1 egg
4.     I tablespoon cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, stir together Krusteaz Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix, the cocoa powder, butter and egg until dough forms. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, place the cinnamon-sugar. For each cookie, scoop 1 rounded tablespoon dough and place in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Roll dough gently into balls, coating thoroughly with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cookies should have a brown-ish color from the cocoa powder.

Gift your cookies

Instead of buying a packaged box with commercial brands, you can offer your freshly baked cookies as a gift to family and friends.

Some creative ideas for packaging:

1.     The simplest way is to put the cookies in a cellophane bag and just wrap-up with a ribbon. Alternatively,  place the cookies in a cellophane bag and just add the decorative cardstock paper

2.     Place cookies in mason jars for a nostalgic look. Add a ribbon to make it even nicer

3.     Many like old-fashioned pastry store boxes with pale colors. Just place cookies in the box and wrap-up or just add your decorations

4.     To give a seasonal look, buy wrapping paper that represents the holiday season or something similar that you like

5.     I like old, cookie “vintage” tins. You can find them in thrift shops and occasionally in modern kitchenware stores as a comebacks.


I have a giveaway for the most innovative Christmas cookies decorations. Reply to the post with description and photo. Open to all, including kids. You will get Krusteaz cookie mixes and some other goodies! You must be based in the USA. Last day is 12.31.2015 at midnight PST.
For a free coupon, click here:

Disclose: This post was sponsored by Krusteaz.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Ubiquitous Maple Syrup and some Notable Maple Syrup Products -

The last few years, Maple syrup is found everywhere: in breakfast cereals, energy bars and even sausages. You can also find maple syrup flavored yogurts, chocolate, potato chips, cakes and cookies that have a hint or large portions of it. It seems that maple syrup has become ubiquitous.  I will discuss its healthy benefits in a different article (and that it won't mention the maple glazed bacon doughnuts).

Today, I will present some notable products made with maple syrup in different shapes or forms.
Creams, flakes and cubes
Tonewood company features luxurious items including Maple Cream, Maple Flakes and gift sets of Maple Cube and Grater for the holiday season
Tonewood: Maple Cream

Tonewood: Maple Flakes

Great packaging and flavors  made from a company that values sustainability in Vermont
Tonewood: Maple Cube and Grater
Pearls and Fleur de Sel
From Quebec, the largest maple syrup producer in the world you can find one-of-a-kind products.
The company offers a variety of maple butters, maple and tea fleur de sel, and the not found elsewhere vinegar maple pearls that can give your salad not only a different flavor but also a different look! -pearls of maple vinegar

maple and tea infused fleur de sel
Simple Gum launched its natural gums selection earlier this year and the maple flavored gum is now available
Lake Champlain Chocolates offer a maple leaf chocolate bag blending nicely cocoa beans with hints of maple syrup

The Noble Handcrafted Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak 03 Vinegar is  Spanish sherry vinegar aged at the same Bourbon barrels as the Noble maple syrup and contains Medium Amber grade maple syrup 
The Canadian Maple Rye Whiskey is available in certain US States -a great way to give your cocktails a makeover!