Relaxing blue bath bombs

I continue the serie of natural cosmetics with another recipe for bath bombs. This time, with another special essential oil. The ylang ylang essential oil is well known for being antidepressant, relaxing, sedative and aphrodisiac. What else can work better for a evening bath after a tiring cold day of autumn?

Have a warm bath using these bath bombs and you'll relax and sleep like a baby.

Elsa doll cake

 I knew this moment would come one day. I have avoided Elsa when my daughter made 3 years, I have skipped making myself a cake at 4 years but when my daughter had its 5th anniversary there was no escape. She had her dress ready since last year. She had everything prepared to be the frozen princess for one day.  My task was, of course to make her cake... you can imagine what... Elsa doll cake.
My hold in doing this cake was just because this princess is so much in fashion nowadays between the little girls. It is everywhere and everybody knows her. But well, what a mother doesn't do for her daughter... so here it was, my daughter dressed in frozen princess and with a similar cake.
It took me some time to make researches about how to do the Elsa doll cake. It took me even more to really make it, but at the end of the day, when the party was over and the cake was gone eaten, my daughter came closer to me, she gave me a hug and a kiss and she told me with a sweet voice: "Thank you , mummy". What more satisfaction a mother can have?

Lemon Eucalyptus scented hand soap

I continue my journey in the "soap land" with a hand soap.
I cannot forget my grandmother, who was living in the countryside, how she was managing everything in her household. Everything was natural, everything was homemade, everything was recycled and there was almost no garbage left. Of course, the world evolved since then, new technologies appeared and they came with good things but also bad things. Sometimes, when advanced or over processed things hurt you, it is inevitable that you are thinking to go back to the basics and you're recalling how our ancestors were doing those things.
One of the things that my grandmother was doing regularly was soap. She was making big batches so she had enough for an year. There were big blocks of soap as I remember them, cubes of maybe 15-20cm wide. Small pieces were used for washing hands, while the big cubes were meant for washing clothes. How can I forget the big wood trough, cut from a tree trunk, that was serving for making a bath or for washing clothes outside during the summer. And that smell of basic homemade soap she was using is still with me today.
She was doing the soap from lard... only lard as oil. At that time there was no fancy oil available. In Romania there is a tradition that for Christmas a pig is sacrificed. Nothing was thrown away from the pig, not even the greasy lard. I also recall that poor families were passing the winter eating only lard on a slice of bread. Others, like my grandmother, were using it for making soap. Nowadays, I hear many people staying as far as possible from lard. If you want to go on the vegetarian side, I can understand that. However, our ancestors proved lard to be very effective in soap so, it would be difficult to convince me that it is not a good option.

For this particular soap, I have 2 main basic ingredients and some fancy ingredients to adjust and improve the properties of the soap. Lard and sunflower oil were the basic ones. The fancy ones are castor oil, almond oil, coconut oil, palm oil. Maybe in other areas these oils are not so fancy, but for me they are. Ah, and by the way, do not hit me for the palm oil ... I bought one made from sustainable agriculture.
Just for fun, I have added some food coloring. It is totally optional.
As for scent,  I picked a combination of essential oils that was (funny) effective as insect repellent. This gave to the soap a strong citrus smell and I simply love it!

Sour cherry popsicles

This is that kind of recipe that can be made from one single ingredient. I made it however from 2 because I found the sour cherries being too sour this year. So, I added a some sugar.

Pink lemon bath bombs

Some time ago I have received from a friend a pink fizzy salt for children's bath. My daughter was extremely delighted with it and she asked for more. The problem was that the salt has been brought from Germany and asking my friend to provide me more was a bit too complicated. But why not to do them myself, from healthy ingredients? Anyway, for my daughter anything that mattered was to be pink and to make a fisssss.
Making them was also an enjoyable activity with my daughter who was more than excited to contribute. After that, the difficult part was to be patient until it was the time for bath.

Grilled pepper and mascarpone soup

I would rarely do a soup out of grilled peppers and this is not because I do not like it but because the grilled pepper would not survive, being eaten first in a recipe like Roasted pepper salad.
When I was in Romania I brought some frozen homemade grilled peppers. As they were a lot, I picked a soup recipe with grilled peppers that I would not do myself from the start. It was then the perfect occasion to try it.

The taste of grilled peppers is persistent in the soup and this makes this soup a very special one. It is a rich tasty soup and the combination with mascarpone and basil makes it outstanding.

Charcoal red clay soap

I know, this is not for eating. This is a new challenge I've got as my best friend inspired me to try it. Knowing myself having too many passions I was somehow afraid to try a new one :) :) :) and after some years resisting and being only the user of my friend's soaps, she convinced me so I tried to do it myself. Thanks a lot G. for teaching me how to make soap and for introducing me to the world of natural homemade cosmetics. I never thought of finding so much fun in making your own soap and cosmetics...
I won't start now making a new blog with how to make soap as I am just a beginner in this area and, as I said before, I have other deep passions to follow. However, from time to time, I'll share here the photos of my trials and the recipe I used. For how to make soap or cosmetics, the internet is full of guides and I suggest that if you want to try, give a simple search or start reading sites like and look for videos instructing how to do it.

This is my very first soap I ever made. It has a nice combination of oils and 2 great ingredients: red clay and activated charcoal. I made it with the idea of creating a facial soap but it is for sure very good for hands and body washing.

Basic country bread (version 2)

There is a love and hate story with this bread. And maybe this is what makes it exceptional. I love the taste, I love how it grows, I love its texture, I love how it sings, I love how it opens its ears, I love its colour, I love everything about this bread except what I hate for it... and that is working with its dough. It is so so difficult to preshape and shape such a wet dough. It is more like a running dough that sticks to everything: the board, the cutter, the hands. When you face this, the only way is to add more flour at the preshape phase in order to get rid of the whole mess.
Remembering the experiences, I have added 50g of flour more straight from the start. This made wonders later in the preshaping phase.
Other changes I made for this version were totally unintentional. The schedule was a complete challenge to fit in the program of the baking day, so I handled the bread phases only between other things.
The unexpected impressive result made me wonder what have I changed so much to make it so better.
Basically, we have the same recipe as for Basic country bread with few differences. Practically, even if the taste is as great as before, the aspect is much improved. Here it is:

Sourdough brioche

After a lot of days during this summer being away from my oven, I was so happy to come back to my sourdough baked breads. During this time, I have tasted a lot of breads bought from supermarkets, restaurants, local shops, from the most cheapest ones to the most fancy ones made with sourdough... or at least labeled like that. I couldn't find even one bread to say it was OK. What a disappointment... and you realize this only when you know what a good bread means.
This is a brioche recipe. Brioche might look sweet or maybe you think it is a kind of cake, but it isn't. It is very common that this kind of bread contains milk and/or butter. It might also contain sugar... well not in my case.
I have to be honest and recognise that this is not my type of bread, but I made it with a purpose: sandwich bread.  My daughter started the school and I wanted to make some sandwiches for her. It is true that for sandwiches what was annoying me when putting the bread in the sandwich maker was the shape. To get the shape you don't necessarily have to bake a brioche, it can be any kind of bread. However, I wanted to retry a brioche recipe (maybe to reconfirm to myself) and ... the bread was fine but.. simply not for my taste. The milk in bread makes it sweet and change totally the flavour of the classic bread. It is not bad, but it is just not the type of bread I prefer.

Sour cherry chocolate cake

I am so proud to make this cake for a very special occasion. My son just celebrated 4 months of life or 123 days. My daughter was the one selecting a chocolate cake for his celebration and she was so happy to blow the candle for him.
With such emotional moments, my small chocolate cake was a perfect choice. Also my husband was delighted to see his favourite fruits inside this cake.

When on top of the ingredients list you add passion and love, the experience of making an anniversary cake turns out to be a magical one.
Of course you can make this cake with fresh sour cherries but when their season is off you can chose to use defrosted. Or maybe you can extract them from compote.

As this cake is heavy enough because of the butter cream, I have kept the sugar at the minimum. Anyway, the chocolate contained enough sugar to make the cake sweet.

Enjoy !