DIY Candle Advent Calendar

Hey friends,

Today it’s time to officially start the (pre-) Christmas madness here on the blog! While preparing for Christmas we make ourselves comfortable & gradually get everything in order for the festivities. I’m sure it’s similar for many of you as well, and for me advent calendars haven always been an important part of this special time – even at the age of 27 I definitely do not feel too old for it, after all, there are so many great calendars to buy (like the wine advent calendar got myself as a treat)  ♥.

Self-made calendars are also a big thing for me – Mr. Zebra can look forward to 24 small surprises, picked just for him. And to round things off, I have prepared this small, very minimalistic calendar
for our apartment, which should help us to celebrate the time we spend together, getting cosy on the couch. For as nice as the little presents behind the doors of an advent calendar are, time together is the most precious thing we can give all year but especially in the run up to Christmas. The advent calendar consists of 24 small, simple white candles, numbered from 1-24  and this way turns into a very relaxed Christmas countdown – I’ll show you how it’s done:

DIY Candle Advent Calendar

Yield: 1 advent calendar
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Let's celebrate the holiday season in a relaxed way: candle by candle Christmas will come a bit closer!

Materials

  • 24 small candles
  • 1 waterproof pen
  • 1 nice jar or small vase
  • 1 candle holder

Instructions

  1. Lay the 24 candles in front of you and carefully label with the pen with numbers 1-24.
  2. TIP: For a consistent placement, it is best to lay a 'comparison candle' next to the new candle to determine the correct position for the next number.
  3. Let the writing dry and then place in a nice container. Decorate it nicely together with the candle holder and your advent calendar is ready!

I hope you like the reduced, clean style of this advent calendar as much as I do and maybe you even get a chance to recreate it last minute! If so, please show me pictures of your version ♥

Stay sweet & HAPPY CRAFTING!

xx Kristin

Advertisements

Rice with Mushrooms & Brussel Sprouts

Hey friends,

where did the year go? I can’t believe it’s end of November already! This also means that right now, basically everything revolves around Christmas in our house. Between preparing the advent calendar for Mr. Zebra, all of my christmas-y projects for the blog and trying to organise my presents for this year, there is hardly any time left to do non Christmas related things. So even just watching a scary movie or cleaning the bathroom feels like a welcome escape. Do you know that feeling?

That’s why I decided to keep things autumnal for a wee bit longer – there’s still plenty of time for winter, Christmas & Co in the coming weeks, I promise! But one thing you really shouldn’t miss is this delicious rice dish with wild rice, brussel sprouts and mushrooms: Easy, vegetarian & so yummy ♥

Rice with Mushrooms & Brussel Sprouts

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Fast, simple & vegetarian: Delicious wild rice with brussel sprouts and mushrooms tastes so great - you won't miss the meat at all!

Ingredients

  • 500 g rice mix with wild rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 300 g brown mushrooms
  • 300 g brussel sprouts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 ml vegetable broth
  • 50 g grated Parmesan
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

Cook the rice in salted boiling water according to package instructions then drain and set aside.

Peel garlic and cut into thin slices. Clean mushrooms and quarter them. Wash the brussel sprouts, remove the stalk and slice them thinly.

Heat up 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, sauté the garlic for two minutes and remove it from the pan. Then add sliced brussel sprouts and mushrooms and fry for 5-10 minutes.

Add the cooked rice and garlic and stir well. Mix in the olive oil, broth and grated parmesan, season to taste and serve.

Do you also try to incorporate at least a few veggie days a week into your meal plan or are you maybe vegetarian all together? It would make me very happy hear about your favourite recipes ♥

Stay sweet & HAPPY COOKING!

xx Kristin

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Hi friends,

a few days ago I caught myself humming (very) loudly while being in the office, surrounded by my colleagues. Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds away… I had an incrediblly stubborn earworm. On my way to where the air is sweet… And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get rid of it. Can you tell me how to get … And I bet, meanwhile, you’re singing too, because we all wann know how to get to Sesame Street! 😂

That’s what I was singing under my breath all day long and I think my colleagues didn’t find it very amusing after a while. But there are just so many wonderful childhood memories connected with this song: Big Bird, Grover, Elmo & the Count von count ♥ And of course, the Cookie Monster! C is for cookie … and that brings us to todays recipe, cookies! More specifically really nice cookies with white chocolate and salted macadamia nuts. That mix of sweet and salty turns them into something very special – try it for yourself!

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Yield: makes about 18
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Sweet, salty & pure magic - these cookies with White Chocolate & macadamia will make your tastebuds sing!

Ingredients

  • 230 g softened butter
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 g custard powder 'cream' or 'white chocolate' flavour
  • 2 eggs
  • some vanilla extract
  • 290 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200 g white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
  • 130 g salted macadamia nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar for about 2 minutes until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and stir well.
  3. In a second bowl, combine the flour, custard powder, baking soda and salt, then add it to the egg mixture stir until everything is combined. Fold in the white chocolate and nuts, then scoop out about one tablespoon of dough, shape into balls, place on the parchment paper (with sufficient space in between) and press them down lightly.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let them cool completely and serve!

These cookies convinced my slightly annoyed colleagues to like me again – I always knew it, cookies are the best bribe! How do you make your loved ones happy when you have misbehaved?

Stay sweet & HAPPY BAKING!

xx Kristin

Double Potato Soup

Hi friends,

there are two things that happen automatically when the temperatures drop outside – number one: My apartment will be turned into some sort of cave (with the help of all the candles and blankets I can find) to make cuddly retreat that would convince even the grumpiest bear to go into hibernation right away. And number two: I find myself cooking one soup after the other!

Usually completely without a recipe, just using everything that I have and hand or spot while buying my groceries. Every now and then though I feel like making something special and give it a few more thoughts or seach for inspiration before heating up the stove… that’s what I did this time and it turned out great ♥

I know, potato soup sounds totally unattractive and so boring, but using two different types of potato as well as yoghurt and cheese makes the soup creamy yet hearty – you have to try it for yourself!

Double Potato Soup

Double Potato Soup

Yield: serves 3-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Not just one but two types of potato turn this soup into an autumnal highlight!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 30 g flour
  • 800 ml vegetable broth
  • 200 ml cream
  • 400 g potatoes
  • 400 g sweet potatoes
  • 100 g grated cheese (for example Cheddar or Gouda)
  • 150 g Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the vegetables, then cut the (sweet) potatoes into bite small cubes, chop the onions finely and mince the garlic.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onions for 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last minute. Dust with flour, stir well and pour in the broth.
  3. Add (sweet) potato cubes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Then add cream, Greek yogurt, grated cheese and the spices and stir until mixed well. Season to taste and serve!

That’s the way a perfect soup should be for me! So I’m sure we’ll have this dish quite often this winter – maybe it will be the same for you?

Stay sweet & HAPPY COOKING!

xx Kristin

Onion Tarte Tatin

Hey friends,

When I was a little girl, I followed my grandfather at every turn. Like a little, knee-high shadow. Whether he was feeding pigeons, plucking weeds or sweeped the road – I’ve always been around to watch. Once it was something to things from the garden, I was sometimes even allowed to help: Pull on the carrot greens to see if something is growing underneath, pick strawberries and eat them at the spot and I take part in the onion harvest. However, I’ve never really understood what onions should be good for and what you can do with them.

Oh, how times are changing! By now, I’m well aware of how great and versatile onions are and definitely couldn’t imagine my kitchen without them. That’s why onions, or more precisely shallots, are the main attraction in this recipe! Slowly braised, coated with thick and sweet basalmico and baked with crunchy puff pastry. More ingredients are not needed for my kind of kitchen happiness ❤

Onion Tarte Tatin

Onion Tarte Tatin

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A savoury twist on the beloved french classic - très bien!

Ingredients

  • 300 g shallots
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp dark Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tspbrown sugar
  • 1 pack puff pastry (store-bought)

Instructions

  1. Peel and halve the shallots. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan over low heat. Carefully add the onion halves, salt & pepper, cover with lid and braise for about 5 minutes. Then stir them and fry a bit further.
  2. Meanwhile grease a round baking dish and preheat the oven to 180° C. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to the onions and simmer until it thickens.
  3. Now transfer the onions into the casserole dish and spread flat. Cover with the puff pastry (trim if necessary) and tuck it in neatly. Bake for about 20 minutes until the puff pastry has risen nicely.
  4. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then turn it oven onto a large plate and serve!

Mmmhh, can you smell that lovely scent? And do you also have childhood memories like this one that have been kept in your head for one reason or another?

Stay sweet & HAPPY COOKING!

xx Kristin

Cookie Dough Bones for Halloween

Hey friends,

Halloween is coming up this week and just like every year I’m in two minds. On the one hand, being rational, I think the whole deal is very overrated and it’s nothing to be excited about. But on the other hand I kinda like it. It’s just one of those occasions when you can be crazy and creative and overall just different than usual. And if I had to choose between Halloween or German Carnival, Halloween would definitely win!

The big problem right now: There is so sooo much to do at the moment that I don’t even have time for such things. In theory and if I’m being a rational thinking adult. In reality, I had a super cute – uhhhhm scary – recipe idea, that I simply needed to make. There was no other way. But see for yourself…

Cookie Dough Bones

Cookie Dough Bones

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

So sweet, so scary - they will be the star of every Halloween party!

Ingredients

  • 75 g butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 25 g brown sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 35 ml milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 125 g flour
  • 40 g mini chocolate chips
  • pretzel sticks
  • 300 g white chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, milk, salt and flour to make the cookie dough, then fold in the chocolate.
  2. Take a piece of cookie dough, flatten it and wrap it around a pretzel stick.
  3. Make 4 little balls of dough and attach 2 at each end. Repeat the process until all the cookie dough is used up, then put everything in the fridge for half an hour to set.
  4. In the meantime, roughly chop the white chocolate and melt together with the coconut oil.
  5. Now remove the bones from the refrigerator and even out any remaining bumps. Use a fork to dip them into the melted chocolate and cover them evenly. Drain excess chocolate and place on a smooth surface.
  6. Let it set in the fridge for a further 30 minutes, then if necessary, shave off small chocolate drips with a knife or vegetable peeler and serve!

How do you ‘celebrate’ Halloween? Do you dress up & if yes, what are you going to be?

Stay sweet & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

xx Kristin

DIY Bathbombs

Hey friends,

I’m not sure if I told you before but my boyfriend loooooves to bathe. I actually think he might turn into a merman soon. While I – mostly due to a lack of time – hop into the tub once every six months (at most!), he enjoys his bath several times a week.

He’s also a big fan of bath products that add a pop of colour, smell nice and nourish the skin. Unfortunately, such products are often quite expensive and especially if one bathes as regularly as he does, the cost will soon add up. That’s why I’ve been making bath bombs for him for a few years now: not only is it possible for him to save money, I can also customise each bomb to whatever smell or colour he wants. I can also buy the ingredients in larger quantities and thus produce these bespoke bath bombs again and again.

And besides all that practical stuff, I really enjoy making them! It’s a bit like using a science kit: you get to weigh the different powders, mix them, then gently colour them before finally adding the scents – it’s pretty cool. That’s why every time I see his collection decrease I change the recipe a little, try new ingredients and mixing ratios. Get creative! But I think with this composition I hit the mark. Anyway, Mr. Zebra was really excited and ordered a second batch asap. That sounds like a direct hit!

Badebomben-1Badebomben-3Badebomben-5Badebomben-7Badebomben-9

DIY bath bombs

DIY bath bombs

Yield: 4 bath bombs
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Fun to make and a great gift for your loved ones!

Materials

  • 200 g baking soda
  • 100 g epsom salt
  • 100 g citric acid
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 50 g SLSA
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • food colouring
  • essential oils
  • biodegradable glitter

Tools

  • a bowl
  • spherical molds

Instructions

  1. Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl. ATTENTION: stir in the SLSA really carefully, preferably in a well-ventilated room, because the dust can irritate your respiratory system!
  2. Melt the coconut oil, add to the dry ingredients and mix well until it has a sandy consistency.
  3. Add a few drops of essential oil, colour it to your desired shade and mix in the glitter.
  4. Fill each half of a bath bomb mold, gently pack and overfill each half then press firmly together to create each bath bomb. Give a slight twist and carefully remove the mold. Leave to dry for at least 24 hours and then the bath bombs are ready for use!

Badebomben-2Badebomben-4Badebomben-6Badebomben-8Badebomben-10

Have you ever made bath bombs yourself? Do you have some more tips & tricks for me? And what are your favourite scents for bathing?

Stay sweet & HAPPY CRAFTING!

xx Kristin

Autumnal Sangria

Hey friends,

I am an autumn child through and through but *damn* it got really cold real fast. Last morning when I left the house for work I quite literally froze for a few seconds debating in my head wheather I should run back upstairs and change into warmer clothes or not. The fact that I was already quite late won and so I sprinted into my car and immediately turned on the heating.

Those temperatures almost leave you with no other choice than to warm yourself from the inside. Yes sure – tea, hot chocolate and Co. do that job very well but there’s another exiciting way! Try this autumnal sangria recipe for a change: seasonal fruit, smooth red wine and a hint of cinnamon… the perfect way to relax after work.

Autumnal Sangria

Autumnal Sangria

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Who says sangria is only for summer? This version with seasonal fruit and autumnal flavours is just as tasty & so easy make!

Ingredients

  • 150 g pomegranate seeds
  • 150 g blackberries
  • 1 apple
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 160 ml Calvados
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine (z.B. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Malbec)
  • 100 ml clear apple juice
  • 200 ml cold still water (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash blackberries and apple, then remove the core from the apple and slice thinly.
  2. Put both together with the pomegranate seeds and cinnamon stick into a big tumbler or jug (holding about 2 l). Then add Calvados and red wine and mix well. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  3. Top with cold apple juice and - depending on how strong you want the drink to be - some ice cold water. Mix well, pour into cups and serve!

Tipsy fruit, some sweetness & a big batch of autumn feeling… sounds like a perfect autumn night to me. What’s your favourite way to end the day?

Stay sweet & HAPPY MIXING!

xx Kristin

Savoury Profiteroles with Camembert Creme

Hi everyone,

each of us has at least one. This one culinary nemesis. This one dish that, no matter how many times you try, it just doesn’t want to work. Or maybe this one recipe that sounds so complicated that you do not even dare to make it. Oh yes, we’ve all been there.

My personal enemies are poached eggs. I love love love them, but never get it right – at least not without cheating (aka cooking them in cling film). Another one of those recipes that many people struggle with is choux pastry. Even my mom avoids making it, mostly because she’s scared that “something could go wrong”.

I must confess that I have never been afraid of choux pastry. And maybe that’s exactly the right approach: Do not overthink it, that’s when it will work best. So far, it has never let me down *touch wood* and I find it easier to make than many other recipes. So if you are still skeptical, just go ahead and try it! These incredibly delicious, cheesy Profiteroles with Camembert Filling are waiting for you as a reward!

Savoury Profiteroles with Camembert Creme

Savoury Profiteroles with Camembert Creme

Yield: makes 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Airy, creamy - and this time savoury! Surprise your guests with these cheesy profiteroles!

Ingredients

  • 100 ml of water
  • 40 g of butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 80 g of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g of grated cheese e.g. Emmentaler or Gouda
  • 200 g Camembert
  • 100 g of butter
  • 50-100 ml of cream
  • Salt, pepper, fresh herbs pepper, fresh herbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200° C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. For the choux pastry, bring the water, butter and salt in a saucepan to the boil. Add flour in one swing and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the dough forms into a ball and comes away from the bottom of the pot. Remove the pan from the heat and place the dough ball in a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and stir with a hand mixer until a shiny sticky batter forms.
  3. Use 2 teaspoons to put small balls of batter onto the baking sheet (make sure you leave enough space in between for them to rise), sprinkle the tops with grated cheese and then bake for 20 minutes. Once removed from the oven slice them open right away – either with a sharp knife or a clean pair of kitchen scissors, then let them cool completely.
  4. For the filling, cut Camembert and butter into small chunks and put it in a bowl. Add the cream and purée until it’s creamy, adding more cream depending on the desired consistency, then season to taste. Fill the cooled profiteroles with it and serve!

While I was editing the pictures earlier I noticed how awesome it would taste if you would add a wee dab of red currant jam along with with the Camembert Creme ❤ I think I should return to the kitchen immediately! 😍

Stay sweet & HAPPY BAKING!

xx Kristin

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Hey guys,

last week in Italy still felt really summery but now it seems like autumn has reached Germany and caught up with me. It’s nice and golden autumn weather but nevertheless quite chilly in the mornings and at night. And can I tell you a secret? I LOVE IT! It’s such an amazing feeling to cosy up inside & just get comfortable with some candles and a good book.

Traditionally autumn time also means it’s the season for soups but I just don’t quite feel like that yet. So the pumpkin soup has to wait for a wee bit longer – instead I’m turning the orange veg into cinnamon-y and sweet yeast rolls. The smell, the colour and obviously the taste is so wonderful – you have to try it!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:9]

Did you bake with pumpkin before or do you prefer to make savoury dishes with it?

Stay sweet & HAPPY BAKING!

xx Kristin