Peppermint Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

When it comes to festive baking, there are two trains of thought. One is all about festive flavors: eggnog, peppermint and gingerbread. The other, is all about the colors, baking and icing in shades of green and red. If like me you can’t decide between flavors or colors, rest assured because these cookies utilize both!

 

Last Saturday, I attended a cookie exchange party hosted by my friend Katie. Can you believe that this was my first one? I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew enough about holiday gatherings to anticipate a lot of sugar cookies and gingerbread. Whatever I was going to make, it was going to have to stand out. I have a baking reputation to uphold so I couldn’t show up with just anything. I was definitely a little nervous showing up with my cookies (as I am anytime I bake something for an event – do other people get that too?) but these kiss cookies were a big hit so I didn’t have much to worry about

 

Peppermint is my go-to holiday flavor and since I had some candy cane kisses lying around I was inspired to go with the red and white theme! Side note: If you haven’t tried candy cane kisses, finish reading this post and then head straight to the nearest CVS to grab a bag of them. You’ll thank me later.

 

I always turn to red velvet around Valentine’s Day (because red, obviously) but they work just as well during the holidays as part of candy cane (ish) cookie! Add a little peppermint extract and voila, you’ve got a festive and delicious treat on your hands.

 

Some of you may be thinking at this point “Charlotte, you’ve been talking a big game about these kisses but we don’t even see them.” Fair point. Let me explain. Over the years, I’ve realized that eating cookies with kiss candies in them is an awkward experience. My solution? Adding the kisses to the cookies while the cookies are still very warm so I can melt them down and make them easier to eat! Genius right? If you want to leave the kisses intact, stick the cookies in the fridge for a few minutes after adding the candies to prevent melting.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (187g) flour
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (150g) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 dozen Hershey’s candy cane Kisses

Recipe (Adapted from a recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction)

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Once lighter in color, mix in the egg, followed by the milk, the peppermint extract and the
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Ultimate Packing List: Packing like a Pro

Packing can be overwhelming. Whether a weekend getaway, a business trip, or a music festival, travel is a fantastic activity; however, packing might bring you down—a solo trajectory when packing makes work easier. Check out our men’s ultimate packing list that will make you pack like an expert traveler.

Packing Tips Every Traveler Should Know

Before dwelling on what you should pack on your next trip, several fundamental packing strategies will save you a lot of time and energy when packing. If you use these strategies correctly, you will avoid heavy bags and save many bucks on additional luggage. Check out the basic packing rules.

#1. Don’t fold, roll. A tightly rolled cloth takes up less space than folded clothes. Travel experts will agree that folded clothes have deep wrinkles compare to rolling. Try this out.

#2. Having a packing list. An adage says, failing to plan planning to fail, begin packing preparations days or weeks before you travel day. Buy men’s bomber jacket green or travel backpacks or any other requirement in advance. Every day you will realize there is something you have not included. Some people who pack in a rush forget their expiry passports, which might cancel the entire trip on travel day.

#3. Understand the airlines’ baggage policy. Baggage fee policy is key to budgetary packing. Most airlines restrict a lot of luggage by charge costly fees. If it is not a necessity, leave it.

#4. Use the 3-1-1 rule. Transportation Security Administration’s TSA, 3-1-1 rule on luggage indicates clear the amount of foodstuff and liquids you are supposed to carry on board. Get familiar with the agency rules others; you risk being detained on the security line and confiscating your luggage.

#5. Never check in your essentials. Carry things like electronics, jewelry, credit cards, or passport to the plane. Should anything happen to them in the luggage section, you will have no one to blame. Ensure that, should your luggage get lost, you can continue with your stay.

Ultimate Packing List

Men’s Travel Clothing Checklist

Shoes: Have at least two pairs of shoes in total. A pair of casual shoes for night outs and a pair of official shoes if on a business trip. Don’t forget flip-flops if you plan to spend in a hostel. Don’t mistake putting your hiking boot in the backpack for travel hikers instead of hung then on the backpack. It saves you space.

Cardigan or a light jacket: A stylish men’s bomber jacket green will work fine when landing on a cold destination. It’s a lightweight multipurpose jacket for either cold or moderate weather conditions. You can use many lightweights and warm travel jackets for your travel.

Pants: Three or four pairs of pants would work well, depending on how long your plan to stay. Have loose travel clothes as well, especially when using a flight.

Socks/ underwear: Bring enough of these to carry you through the time of your stay. Socks and underwear take less space and are …

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Best Women’s Weight Loss Shakes for Meal Replacement

Weight Loss Shakes

The weight loss journey is not an easy process. Especially due to the hectic modern life’s pace, individuals have turned to unconvinced weight loss programs or diet plans.

Weight loss shakes for women for meal replacements, accompanied by exercise and diet, offer an effective, alternative solution to weight management and weight loss.

The aids are based on the suitability of meal replacement shakes, their capacity to please hunger, and also giving nutrients that our body requirements every day.

As soon as it comes to weight loss and dieting, many individuals choose to go for low fat, low protein, and high carb diet plan. But they did not know that protein is essentially the most substantial macronutrient.

Protein shakes produce an ideal means to get further protein in our diet plan, whereby growth can assist suppress hunger and keep us fuller for a long time – meaning you consume fewer snacks.

Not just this, but growing your protein consumption can act to upsurge your metabolism and also promote fat burning procedures when united with a decent training routine(soure: https://www.fitness-china.com/).

We have got a variety of protein shakes that comprise higher levels of protein as well as several healthy elements – with a negligible fat, lactose, and carbohydrate content.

What to Look for in The Best Meal Replacement Shakes

 Weight Loss Shakes

You must aim to intake roughly 325 calories to 400 calories, 15 g protein to 25 g protein, 10 g fat to 13 g fat (healthy unsaturated), and 5 grams of fiber. Or else, you may feel starving way before the time of your subsequent meal.

In case you decided to include meal replacement shakes in your diet for weight loss, then you should check the below elements in your meal replacement shake before buying it.

Ingredients of the Meal Replacement Shake:

Before you purchase a protein shake for weight loss, ensure you read the label of ingredients. Check for flavors, colors, and artificial sugars.

Similarly, keep your eye open for unacquainted ingredients in it. Take a look at the total amount of protein and added sugar.

Dietary Restrictions:

While choosing the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss, you have to take into account any food sensitivities or dietary restrictions you might have.

There are meal replacement shakes to put up most diets, together with gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and also vegan options, in addition, those that do not have artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

In case you have any queries about including meal replacement shakes in your diet plan, talk to your registered dietitian or a doctor.

Taste:

You do not have to sacrifice flavor for nourishment just to acquire a few additional grams of protein in your diet plan. Several organic plant-based protein shakes for meal replacement come with natural sweeteners or are unflavored that do not leave any chemical taste afterward.

Top Weight Loss Shakes for Women

Weight Loss Shakes 

Protein powders or shakes have long appealed to individuals who wish to become stronger and build muscle. But do you …

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ULTIMATE PACKING LIST FOR ANY TRAVEL DESTINATION

If you are planning to travel, or if you just love packing bags and going on a trip, then this list is for you. The packing list that we have compiled includes everything that you will need. We’ve put together a checklist of important things to pack when traveling overseas.

 

These items cover different weather conditions while also keeping your luggage weight to a minimum. Not only for your trip overseas but also useful when you travel within the country as well.

 

While packing, just remember it’s not necessary to pack all of these items in one bag. You can distribute them among your luggage and keep the weight even. Some people like to dress light, with just enough clothes and toiletries for the trip. While others prefer to be prepared for any weather conditions and pack heavy, you can decide what is more important: Weight or Comfort/Safety?

 

You’ll find these and many more items on our comprehensive checklist. We’ve organized everything into three distinct categories: Essentials and Outdoor Gear and Toiletries. At the same time, do not forget to purchase fashionable Apple watch 6 bands to secure your Apple watch wherever you go.

PACKING LIST FOR TRAVEL

Essentials:

 

Clothing – The first category includes clothing essentials for any trip. Keep in mind that you will be packing for different weather conditions and keep the weight in mind as well. There are also other items such as footwear, accessories, and outerwear.

 

1) Casual Clothing – These are the clothes that you would wear on any normal day at home or at work. You can pick whatever outfit makes you feel good but just remember that you won’t be able to bring everything with you. You can choose your favorite t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers or shorts and sandals if it makes you feel comfortable. But only pack the things that will make you comfortable for your trip.

 

2) Travel Clothing – You want clothing that is comfortable enough but also lightweight so it doesn’t add extra weight to your luggage. This usually depends on the destination but you always want to blend in when you travel. If it’s summer, pick lightweight cotton and shorts because let’s face it, they are easier than jeans and long-sleeved shirts. And if it’s winter, consider bringing clothing that is warm enough but still made of lightweight materials.

 

3) A Couple Of Pairs Of Different Shoes – I’m a big fan of having one versatile pair of shoes that can be worn in all kinds of climates and conditions. For example, bring one pair of sandals that are closed-toe, sturdy enough to walk around the city but also waterproof if it rains. And then if you are traveling to a cold climate, bring one pair of durable sneakers. They are comfortable enough to walk in but also have thick soles so your feet stay warm.

 

4) Outerwear – Outerwear is really just another name for anything that you wear on top of …

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To Stretch Bar or Not to Stretch Bar

Time to talk about stretch bars. And no, this isn’t some strange workout fad I’m trying to get y’all into for 2018. I’m talking about the contraptions that we use to hold our needlepoint projects in place!

Stretch-Bar

What are stretch bars?
Stretch bars are literally bars, usually made of wood or plastic, that hold your needlepoint canvas in place while you’re stitching. Sounds useful right? It is!

I have a few sizes of wooden stretch bars that many of my canvases fit on to. I can break them down and store them when I’m not using them.

Stretch Bar

Do I really need to use them?
Yes….and no. Honestly it’s going to depend on the type of project you are doing. For example, I stitch belts on a fairly regular basis. Just last month I wrapped up this shark-eating-a-fish belt for my middle brother. Thin projects like belts don’t need stretch bars because if they do get pulled out of shape, they’ll be added to leather and fixed at that point.

When working a larger canvas however, having stretch bars to hold it in place can be so helpful to prevent the project from getting stretched out. Not sure you need them? Think about the needlepoint bag I made for my mom. It was a square canvas that once stitched, was supposed to fit perfectly on the pocket of a canvas bag. I forgot to use stretch bars so the canvas wasn’t a rectangle at all by the end. It could have been worse but I will always know when I look at it that it is slightly diagonal. And now I suppose so will all of you.

Stretch Bar

How do I use stretch bars?
Alright, so I’ve convinced you that you need stretch bars. Now what? Find a size that works for your canvas! If you’re going to sketch designs, I would recommend doing it before putting the canvas on bars. I often use mugs for example, to outline Christmas ornaments. I do this on a flat surface before adding the canvas to stretch bars.

Stretch Bar

When you’re ready to mount the canvas, connect the four corners of the stretch bars. Many are made in such a way so that they easily fit securely together. Align the canvas on the bars and use metal tacks to secure it. Don’t do one side at a time. To ensure that it stays even on the bars, start with the four corners and then do one tack per side, making your way around until you feel like your canvas is secure.

When you’re done with your canvas, all you need to do is remove the tacks, put away the stretch bars and get your project finished!…

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How to Create A Unique Bathroom Experience

A bathroom is a place where many of us spend most of our free time. For some, it’s a relaxing space to take care of personal hygiene, and for others, the bathroom is another room in which they go about their daily lives. The one thing that unites all people who use this room: we all want to enjoy an enjoyable and unique experience. Read below for tips on how you can create your own custom bathroom experience using a bathroom shower faucet set while doing what you love most, taking care of business.

  1. Standalone Platform Bathtub

If you have a standalone platform bathtub, you can install a bathroom shower faucet. Many people think they do not have to purchase bathroom shower faucets. This is because there’s already one included with their bathroom. However, this is no longer an excuse since these days, bathroom shower stalls are being manufactured without all the components.

Nowadays, people expect bathrooms to have extra features other than just being able to take a simple shower. For example, many bathrooms include modern features such as benches and shelves to place your towels or monitor while taking your showers. This means that if you want these modern features in your bathroom, you must install bathroom shower faucets.

  1. Fancy Faucet Design

Bathroom shower faucets come in different designs and styles that provide added beauty to your bathroom’s décor. Although people primarily use them for showers, they can also enhance the look of your bathroom if you choose the right design and style. So, if you want a fancy bathroom with an equally fancy bathroom shower stall, you need to purchase bathroom shower faucets capable of enhancing these features.

  1. Bathtub and Shower Combination

Some bathrooms feature a combination of bathtubs and shower stalls. If such is the case, you can install a bathroom shower faucet. This will ensure that water will not seep into other areas within your bathroom.

Bathroom Experience

  1. Contemporary Bathroom Décor

Some bathroom owners want their bathroom to have a contemporary look, so they often include bathroom shower faucets in bathroom décor. If you prefer your bathroom to have modern features like benches or shelves, you need to choose bathroom shower faucets with these modern design elements. This way, your bathroom will look completer and more well-designed than ever before.

  1. Small Size Shower Stall

If you own one of those small-sized bathrooms, choosing bathroom shower faucets designed specifically for smaller bathrooms would be the best option. This is because they purposely made these fixtures for spaces of this size. Bathroom shower faucets for small-sized bathrooms typically have a simple design that can complement any bathroom décor.

  1. Hands-Free Faucet

In the past, bathroom owners could not enjoy hands-free bathroom shower valves. These types of bathroom fixtures only became available during the last ten years. But they’re packed with a wide range of features that other bathroom shower faucets do not have. For instance, some bathroom shower valves even complete the look of your bathroom by including all modern …

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RED WINE EGGLESS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Okay wine lovers, let’s talk about the best way to use up the last drop in your red wine bottle: red wine eggless chocolate mousse!

 

It’s no secret that I’m a BIG fan of chocolate mousse. And look, I know that there is debate around whether something this simple is even mousse at all. The purists will insist that it isn’t but honestly, sometimes it’s okay to take a little shortcut when it tastes this good. If you’d be more comfortable calling it a red wine whipped chocolate treat, you do that but I’m gonna categorize this one as an ‘eggless chocolate mousse’.

Red-Wine-Eggless-Chocolate-Mousse

These past few weeks, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on my couch. This is largely due to the fact that all the Bachelor Nation shows are my guilty pleasure. That being said, even I’m starting to struggle with 2 hours of Arie’s season of the Bachelor on Monday followed by 2 hours on Tuesday and 2 hours on Thursday of Bachelor Winter Games. It’s probably a good thing that all of these shows are wrapping up soon so I can go back to watching re-runs of The Office.

Is there anything more perfect that indulging in chocolate and wine while watching The Bachelor? Nope! I taste-tested a few varieties of this red wine eggless chocolate mousse so that I could have the perfect version ready to go for a week of watching people try to find on love on reality TV. And also the real Olympics. I’ll never be done watching those.

Red-Wine-Eggless-Chocolate-Mousse

I don’t usually drink red wine but I’ll make exceptions if it’s the ‘89 Chateau Margaux that my dad bought to celebrate my birthday, or if it’s in chocolate. We haven’t gotten into the birth wine yet so for now i’ll settle for chocolate! If you’ve got a partial bottle that is open or if you are looking for an excuse to open up a new bottle, this is it. I went with a pinot noir but you can swap in your favorite red as long as it isn’t too sweet!

Red-Wine-Eggless-Chocolate-Mousse

Because this eggless chocolate mousse only has three ingredients, it is super easy to make! Two things you’ll want to think about while making it to ensure a successful mousse:

  • Let the chocolate and wine mixture cool before adding in the whipped cream. If it’s too hot, it will melt the cream and the wonderful, airy whipped cream you just made will fall flat. One of the ways you can cool it down is to transfer it to a bowl that isn’t the metal one you used in the double boiler. Make the whipped cream once the red wine and chocolate mixture is sitting on the counter in the new bowl. That should allow enough time for it to cool.
  • Once you start to fold the heavy cream into the chocolate mixture, start by folding in ¼ of it, then follow with the rest. As you fold, gently form a
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CHEESECAKE-STUFFED MINT OREOS

I know I’m supposed to love all of my recipes equally but these cheesecake-stuffed mint Oreos are actually one of my all time favorites.

I flew to New York at 6am last Friday, which completely threw off my daily life (and blog) routine. And y’all know how important my routine is to me. Anyone else have those days where their to-do list is set but when it comes to actually ticking boxes and completing items it seems to only get longer while the days get shorter? Yeah, that was me last Monday – Thursday.

Needless to say this post didn’t go up when it was supposed to but not to worry, these cheesecake-stuffed mint Oreos were at least able to make the trip with me.

I was visiting my youngest brother this past weekend and he LOVES Oreos so I knew that whatever I brought had to be something featuring his favorite cookie. He also loves mint so these were a no-brained.

If the photos aren’t enough of a hint, let me warn you that these stuffed Oreos are huge. I like to store them in the fridge because of the cream cheese but you’ll want to let them soften up a little by taking them out of the fridge before you bite into them. That thick layer of chocolate will be tough to break.

Ready to dig into these sweet and refreshing treats? The crunchy chocolate exterior and extra creamy minty center are the perfect pairing. It’s exactly what your day needed.

CHEESECAKE

Ingredients

1 package of Mint Oreos
4 ounces of cream cheese
1 ½ cups of icing sugar
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Pulse 5 Oreos in a food processor until fine. Add in the cream cheese, icing sugar and the insides of 10 Oreos (carefully separate the tops from the bottoms, save the cookie parts for later) pulse to combine. Once combined, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When ready to stuff the Oreos, take one tablespoon of cream cheese filling and roll it into a ball. Place on one cookie and press second cookie gently on top to secure it. Repeat until all the cookies are filled.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the semi sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about two minutes, or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip the now stuffed Oreos into the chocolate to cover the entire cookie in chocolate. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Once done, refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.…

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How To Use Food To Personalize Your Wedding

Everyone I follow on Instagram seems to be attending weddings nonstop so I think it’s safe to say that there are lots of weddings happening on any given weekend. In this sea of weddings, it can seem daunting to stray from the cookie cutter wedding mold and have yours reflect you and your partner. Don’t panic though because it’s easier than you think! Since my wedding was just over a month ago, I thought now would be a great time to share my tips on how to use food to personalize your wedding.

PICK YOUR FAVORITE FOODS
This one seems obvious but it has to be said because the important part of this is compromise. I love mashed potatoes, but my husband is not a fan. Since mashed potatoes are such a classic wedding food, I assumed those would be a given but once we started hashing out the menu, we realized we were going to need to find another starch that we BOTH loved. Luckily we both love patatas bravas so we came to a consensus fairly quickly. On the potatoes at least!

Colin’s only request for the menu was to have lots of meat, something we actually both enjoy eating. My request was for lots of sweets (obviously). In addition to the lamb kofka, the cod in chermoula sauce and the peri-peri chicken, our guests were served a selection of tiny sweet treats on our dessert bar as well as a selection of fun ice cream flavors and toppings at our sundae bar. If you asked our friends two types of food that perfectly summed up my husband and I, meat and dessert would definitely be at the top of their list so it was pretty perfect.

Too often the bride and groom don’t have time to eat at their own wedding but I made sure to eat lots. Seriously, lots. My husband and I both made sure to load up on the cocktail hour bites we carefully picked out (there was no way we were not going to get our hands on those mac and cheese balls). I was even the first in line when the late night food truck opened its window! Pick foods you both love and make sure you designate someone to keep an eye on you and make sure you eat.

Food To Personalize Wedding

INCORPORATE YOUR CULTURAL HERITAGE
This will probably be more subtle than you think but nods to your culture through food is a nice way to pay homage to where you and your partner come from. I grew up in Quebec so it was really important to me to have poutine at the wedding. Similarly, my family has been based in South Africa for over a decade so the peri-peri chicken was a nod to that.

Don’t worry about having an entire menu dedicated to your heritage, but think about elements that you can pull in here and there. Sometimes they’ll be so subtle people won’t even notice! Our wedding cake is a …

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Candle-Making: A Must-Do in Charleston

I don’t usually do travel posts on the blog, unless of course it involves seeking inspiration through food travels. When I took a candle-making class at Candlefish this past week however, I knew I had to share my experience!

One of my college roommates relocated to Charleston after we graduated and while I don’t make it to visit her as much as I should, when I do visit she makes sure to pack our time full of delicious food and fun activities. That’s the perk of surrounding myself with equally crafty and curious friends who love to get to know their cities, I always know I’m in for a good time when I visit!

The store is filled with lots of delicious smelling candles from Candlefish’s sister companies

Candle-Making

If you are heading to Charleston in the future, make sure to check if Candlefish’s classes! Whether you’re on a date, hanging out with friends or celebrating a bachelorette, you’re in for a good time. I would know because I saw all of those around the table.

Now that I’ve gotten my hard sell out of the way, let’s dig into what made my candle-making so memorable (besides the wonderful company of course – Thanks Morgan!).

In case you haven’t noticed from the photos in this post, the Candlefish space is BEAUTIFUL. Everything was light and bright and it was filled with more candles and prints than one should ever buy in one sitting. Don’t worry, I tried.

The store’s centerpiece is its library of one hundred carefully curated scents. And that’s where our class began. Before we crafted our candles we had to pick our scents! We got to make two candles each with the same scent so Morgan and I each picked one that the other liked so that we could swap candles once they were set. With one hundred options to pick from, it’s no wonder we ended up picking two different candle scents! I went with No. 4, a woodsy scent full of eucalyptus, fir balsam and woodland pine while Morgan went with watery and fresh No. 9, full of stone fruit, rose, moss.

Once we the scents were selected, we put our measuring skills to the test. Thank goodness I use my scale on a regular basis for my baking so I poured like a champ. I know it wasn’t a pouring competition but the ratio of essential oils to candle wax is important to stick to. Go too far one way and the candle won’t smell. Go too far the other way and it won’t burn.

It takes the candles a few hours to solidify so we had to wait until the next morning to come back and collect them. Since I overpacked for my 48 hour trip, I actually had them mail my candles back to me, along with a few other goodies I picked up in the store. Needless to say I’m anxious for them to arrive next week so I can start enjoying …

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