Wednesday February 25

Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for. – Unknown

This is definitely something I should do… stop rushing through life. I run almost every day. For the train, for the tram or a bus, I don’t walk, I run. The faster the better. The time you spend going from one place to another is a waste of time.

That’s the way I think.

And sometimes when I think about this, I tell myself that everything’s fine even when I’m not in a hurry all the time. But when I’ll be going to the train station tomorrow morning, I will be walking fast again as if I’m late, even when if I’m not.

Maybe I’ll regret this one day. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know. Should I try changing this?

Lots of love,
Laura

Once-She-Stopped-Rushing-Through-Life

Easy and delicious dinner idea!

Yesterday I made dinner for my sister and I. I looked up some recipes on the internet but nothing “popped” so I decided to just prepare something with the ingredients I found in the refrigerator.

And this is what we had:

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I decided to make steak accompanied by guacamole, vegetables and some bread.

To make the guacamole you need the following:
– 2 avocados
– 1 tomato
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– pepper and salt
– 1/2 or 1 clove of garlic (depending on what you like)

Peel the avocados and cut them in big pieces, do the same for the garlic. Also cut the tomato and put everything in a blender. You can add as much lemon juice, pepper and salt as you want! If you put the avocado pit in the guacamole it will keep its beautiful green color.

Meanwhile my sister cut the eggplant, the red and the sweet pepper and baked them. You can bake them in baking butter, olive oil, or a combination of both. I added salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

While the vegetables were baking, I sliced the cucumber with a mandoline and cut the rest of the tomatoes in small pieces and just added some pepper and salt.

The last thing to do is baking the steak. I kind of suck at baking meat. I like it ‘saignant’ but I was never able to bake it as I want to but… yesterday I watched it closely and I think it was baked quite well!

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And dinner is ready to be served!

Lots of love,
Laura

Paintings

This week was Carnival Holiday and my nephew stayed with me the whole week. We did some fun stuff. We went to the movies, to a museum, played games and we painted!

We wanted to try bubble painting, like shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVOCt5b1sPM

For some reason it didn’t work out and we just started painting normally.

I have to admit that my nephew wasn’t too creative and I didn’t want to help him generate ideas because I wanted it to be totally his own creation. Eventually he decided he wanted to paint a piraña. I told him to draw it first with a pencil and when he didn’t know how to draw the fins he just used google.

He also made a second painting. This time he chose to paint his chicken, called Gertrude.

Meanwhile I painted an owl. Remember the finoil owl I made? I liked the little owl so much, I decided to paint it. I started by drawing the owl on the canvas. I used seven colors. I mixed red and white to get two kinds of pink. For the nose and the circles around the eyes I used light brown, orange and white. For the branch I mixed light brown and white and for the colors at the back I used a combination of blue with white, green, yellow with white, and red with dark blue.

You can see the result below, what do you think?

Lots of love,
Laura

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Wednesday February 18

A man is not old until regrets take place of dreams. – John Barrymore

I found this quote and liked it immediately. In a time where signs of being old are rejected, where people are afraid of getting old… With age comes more life experiences, and learnings. Every age has its blessings and curses.

I like how he says age doesn’t matter. You can be old already in your twenties and still young in your seventies. It’s your own choice. Never give up dreaming. Even if you know it’s just a dream and it probably won’t ever come true, don’t stop dreaming. And your dreams will most likely change over the years. ‘Cause even when age doesn’t matter, you don’t wish for the same things at age seven and 33.

To keep dreaming is not equal to not being happy with what you have. You can be happy and still want to fulfill some dreams, achieve something, set the bar higher. Your dreams can give the motivation to not give up and to keep going, to strive for what you really want, whatever it is.

So keep dreaming…

Lots of love,
Laura

a-man-is-not-old-until-regrets-take-the-place-of-dreams

Coffee’licious

Today I went eating lunch at Coffee’licious in Brussels. If you don’t know it’s there, you’ll just walk by. But you really shouldn’t because I ate the best cupcake ever!! It’s quite small, but the interior is fun and the food is even better.

You order downstairs, then you can settle down upstairs.

We ordered a home made green tea lemonade, a ‘Di Modena’ bagel, it was a bagel with sesame seads, cream cheese, mozzarella, dried tomatoes, rucola and balsamic cream, and a ‘Tangerino’ panini, which was with minced meat, cheddar, grilled onion, andalouse sauce and pickles. We were both very happy with our choice, since both were very tasty! We also got some pepper soup, which was delicious.

Even the restroom is cool!

After lunch I desperately wanted a dessert but my stomach didn’t want me to… So I took a cupcake on the go! I wanted a bueno cupcake but the owner, who was by the way very nice, recommended the oreo one. And he was totally right! I will certainly go back for another one, and maybe for a milkshake too ;-)

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Coffee’licious is located in the heart of Brussels, a street away from our beautiful Grand Place. So if you are in Brussels I really recommend a city walk, after which you can relax at this place.

Have fun!!

Lots of love,
Laura


Coffee’licious Brussels
Kaasmarkt 13
1000 Brussels

https://www.facebook.com/coffeeliciousbrussels?fref=ts

Wednesday February 11

You don’t marry someone you can live with – you marry the person who you cannot live without. – Unknown

Valentines day is coming closer, so this week’s quote is about… love. How unexpected!! I’m actually not such a Valentine fan, but I love giving presents and if I had the time (and money) I would give presents to all the people I love!
And I secretly also love receiving presents ;-)

Today’s quote is not really up to date anymore. It’s 2015! And so many people love each other, share their lives together, get babies,… without getting married.  So I prefer “You don’t love someone you can live with – you love the person who you cannot live without.”

I chose this quote, simply because I believe it’s true. I’m not going to say anything more about it, because I don’t want to send your thoughts in a certain direction. I’d really like you to share your thoughts below, about this quote, or about Valentines day, or love in general.

And for everyone who’s in a loving relationship, and for everyone who’s a happy single, I wish you already a happy Valentines day, it’s a great excuse to eat more chocolate ;-)

Lots of love,
Laura

Untitled

Macarons with Nutella ganache

Tomorrow is thé day, World Nutella day! And here is my last, but certainly not least, recipe. If I have to choose between the four recipes I made, it is this one I prefer! The original recipe had chocolate macarons, not just a chocolate ganache, but I already have a very good macarons recipe, so I chose to just use mine.

This is what you need for 20 macarons:
– 155 gr of powdered sugar
– 95 gr of almond meal
– 75 gr of egg white (+/- 2 eggs)
– 45 gr of sugar
– optional: food coloring

For the ganache:
– 60 ml of cream
– 30 gr of dark chocolate
–  a big tablespoon of Nutella

DSC03890Sieve the powdered sugar and the almond meal. Next, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl, add the sugar and continue beating.

First, preheat the oven to 150°C. Mix the beaten egg whites with the powdered sugar and the almond meal by using a spoonula. Do this very carefully. Now you can add some food coloring if you want to.

As you may already know, I’m so clumsy using a piping bag, so I used a teaspoon to make little circles on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. And bake them for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven.

Now, it’s time to make the ganache. Heat the cream and pour the warm cream over the Nutella and the chocolate. Whisk with a fork until the ganache is smooth. Let is cool down in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes until it thickens.

Now, beat the ganache with an electric mixer until it lightens in color and becomes like a mousse.

Pair up macarons of the same size and spoon some ganache on one side of a cookie and place the other one on top of it.

Now, taste the deliciousness!

If you want to make something tomorrow for World Nutella Day, don’t hesitate to try out one of my recipes.

Lots of love,
Laura

Wednesday February 4

Stop playing seriously and seriously play.

Do you know the tea brand Yogi Tea? They sell organic tea and really care about the environment. The flavours I already tasted, classic (with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper), ginger lemon, and mint lemon were very good!

But that’s not the only reason I like this tea. There’s a quote attached to every tea bag! And I found today’s quote in my tea this morning.

It made me think about how we live our life. Do we laugh enough? I think it’s very important to laugh. I laugh a lot, even with myself. Laughing is essential to relativize what happens in your life, in the world.

We go to school and want good grades. We start a job and want to achieve good results. But what if you fall? Does it get you down? Like the lyrics of Chumbawamba’s ‘Tubthumping’:

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down

So even if you fall, literally or figuratively, take a good laugh at yourself and continue.

But while continuing, do not forget to laugh and don’t be so serious about everything, don’t make a big deal out of small things. You will be happier,
I promise ;-)

Lots of love,
Laura

http://www.yogitea.com/en/

Nutella Cheesecake brownies

Nutella recipe number three is ready! :-D
It’s a little “heavy”, but sooo goood!

This is what you need to make this delicious brownie:

For the brownie:
– 2 eggs
– 110 gr of brown sugar
– 60 gr of softened butter
– 50 gr of cocoa powder
– 115 gr of Nutella
– 25 gr of self-rising flour

For the cheesecake layer:
– 115 gr of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
– 115 gr of Nutella
– 50 gr of sugar
– 1 egg

First preheat the oven to 175°C. Then, cream the softened butter and brown sugar together in a bowl, add the Nutella and the eggs, and mix well.

Sieve and add the flour and the cocoa powder and keep mixing until well incorporated. I have to admit that I am not a great fan of cocoa powder, I prefer to melt real chocolate. So the next time I make this, I would use for about 80 to 100 grams of dark chocolate.

Now, in a separate bowl beat together all the ingredients for the cheesecake layer.

Cover a baking dish with parchment paper and pour the brownie dough in. Cover the dough with the cheesecake layer. Do this carefully by first spooning drops of it over the brownie.

Bake it in the oven for about 50 minutes to one hour. I let it bake too long. It was still ‘wet’ inside, so I thought it wasn’t ready yet, but now my brownie is a little dry. So even if it’s still a little wet, it is fine!

Let it cool completely before cutting and eating the brownie. I really like it because the cheesecake layer adds kind of a smooth taste.

You should really try it, bon appétit!

Lots of love,
Laura

Nutella Star Bread

I can present to you my second Nutella recipe: Nutella star bread.
You might have encountered it yet on the internet an I tried it out to share my experiences with you.
It is not very difficult to make, but it takes some time and afterwards my kitchen was quite dirty! I had to clean op flour in all the little spaces.

When the bread came out of the oven I was really impressed, thinking ‘Noooo, I didn’t make that!!’
And then it was time to taste! I was really excited, since it looked so good but… I didn’t like it. My mom thought it was okay, but I thought the dough wasn’t sweet enough and the taste of the yeast was too pronounced. To solve the first problem, you could just add more sugar. But I don’t know what to do about the second problem. Did I use too much yeast? I don’t know. I followed a recipe I found on the internet. Does anyone have tips?

If you would like to try it anyway. Here are the ingredients:
– 450 gr of flour
– a bowl of flour for sprinkling
– 180 ml of milk
– 2 egg yolks (use egg whites for brushing the bread)
– 8 gr of active dry yeast
– 30 gr of butter
– 70 gr of sugar (I would add 100 gr more)
– pinch of salt
– Big Nutella jar!

DSC03805First, pour milk into a saucepan and heat it to 30 C°. When the milk is warm, add yeast, a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon flour and dissolve all ingredients. Let it sit for 15 minutes to activate.

Sieve the rest of the flour above a big bowl, add sugar, salt, two egg yolks, and butter. At last, add the milk mixture and mix with a wooden spoon.

Then knead the dough for about seven minutes until it’s smooth and just a little bit sticky. Then put your dough back in the bowl, cover with a linen cloth, and set it in a warm place. Let it rise for around 40 minutes, it should double its size.

When the dough is almost ready, you can turn on an oven and preheat it to 180°C, and put your Nutella jar into a bowl with hot water.

When the 40 minutes have passed, place your dough on a lightly floured surface. Remember to keep some flour for sprinkling at hand. Knead a little more and divide into four equal parts.

Roll the first of four parts into a circle. The dough should be 2-3 mm thick. Place the dough circle on a piece of baking paper (I forgot this step, but with the help of my lovely mother and sister I managed to do it at the end). Now, take the bottom of a springform pan and mark it off on the first layer and cover the marked area with a thin layer of chocolate spread.

Roll another layer of dough, place it on the previous one and mark off again . Then, put the chocolate spread on the marked area. Repeat the procedure with the next layer. Put the last layer on the previous ones and cover it again with the bottom of the pan. Cut excess dough off with a knife.

Next, use a glass to mark the center of the bread. Divide the cake into quarters. Start cutting from the marked circle and leave the center intact! Then, divide every quarter into four parts. At the end you should have 16 parts.

Take two parts of the bread in both hands and delicately twist them in opposite directions, so not towards each other, and twist them twice. Repeat with all pairs to form a star. Twist the ends of each arm underneath to create a round shape.

Brush egg white on it and bake in the oven for around 15 to 20 minutes. For the first 10 minutes use only lower heater, then turn on the upper one too.

DSC03848And it should be ready. If you try it, let me know how it worked out!

Lots of love,
Laura