Yogurt and chocolate biscuits

I have found this recipe in a book that has almost the age of my mother. As usually, I couldn't resist to adapt it with the available ingredients. My daughter was delighted to cut all the biscuits and of course ... to eat a big part of them :)

Homemade dishwasher tablets

This version of dishwasher tablets is not 100% natural but for sure it reduces the amount of items you need to buy for cleaning. It reduces also the amount of packaging  (as generally each tablet is packed separately) made usually from plastic that you throw away.
Although I know another recipe that is totally natural, I am going for this one for the moment as I still have in my pantry some liquid dishwasher. But once is gone... I remove also the liquid dishwasher from my shopping list. Until then, let's cut just the bought dishwasher tablets from the list.

In a dishwashing machine you usually need 3 items: a dishwasher tablet/detergent, some rinsing liquid and a dishwasher salt. All these 3, you can find as separate products in a supermarket but what if I tell you that you need none of them to buy? For the dishwasher tablets, you find the recipe below. For the rinsing liquid, for sure you have already a miracle product in your kitchen called vinegar. The vinegar also replaces the dishwasher salt that was there just for the purpose of softening the water and to reduce the spots left by the hard water on your dishes. More, the citric acid found in this dishwasher tablets recipe is even more powerful in softening the water than vinegar. So now, tell me, for what reason should I buy 3 extra products full of chemicals?
I assure you that at the end of the washing cycle the dishes are sparkling and you can find no difference between this handmade dishwasher tablet and one bought from the supermarket. If you do not believe me, just try.
Make also a simple calculation, and you'll find out that this homemade dishwasher tablet helps you to keep your money in your wallet as it cost at least 3-4  times less than the one you can buy in the supermarket.

Goji nutty muffins

This is the perfect example of starting with a recipe and arriving to something different. It is not that I like to change things in recipes but most of the time I improvise with the ingredients I have at hand. These muffins were suppose to be with walnuts and dates but I didn't have enough walnuts and any dates. So let's change... replace walnuts with other dried fruits and the dates with goji. Then, the recipe was asking for milk cream but I didn't have at all, so I replaced it with mascarpone and milk. Sugar...was cut almost in half. And so on... this is how I customize my recipe unintentionally but in a practical way. It is a risk, as you can end up with a failure but you can also arrive to something more interesting. This is actually the case with this muffin recipe. I bet that all these changes made a better result than the original recipe.

Natural and healthy shampoo solid bar

First time when I heard about a homemade natural shampoo solid bar I was a bit sceptical although the idea of using something natural was tempting me a lot. I remembered my grandparents who were using only soap for washing their hair. During those times, there was no fancy shampoo so they were using the only soap that they could make themselves.
Nowadays, if you want to change your shampoo you'll probably spend a quarter of an hour in front of a supermarket shelf reading the titles on the labels from all the bottles. And that without turning the bottles to read the tricky list of ingredients. You'll find shampoo for greasy hair, dry hair, normal hair, dyed hair, curly hair, rebel hair, anti dandruff, shiny hair, for women, for men, for volume, for fine hair, for growing hair and so on. Which one should you buy? And what if you want a shampoo for women, for greasy hair, anti dandruff, for fine dyed hair in the same time? Should you buy more bottles and mix them or should you pick which characteristic is more important? And which one is more healthy for your hair? Difficult decision and you probably do what I used to do ... just pick one and try.
Over the years I tried so many brands, from the cheapest ones to the most expensive ones and lately I remained to one that my husband also has found acceptable as was not making dandruff. Most of the brands I tried, after few washes (if not from the start) they were leaving the scalp dried and soon it was creating dandruff. The problem with shampoo is that you have to change it from time to time otherwise becomes ineffective.
But when I started making my own soap I arrived immediately studying about shampoo solid bar recipes. There is no difference between making a soap and a solid shampoo if you are looking at the process. The only difference is the ingredients that are giving specific properties. Specific essential oils like tea tree, peppermint or rosemary increase a lot the health of your hair. Vitamin E as well, and the mixture of these amazing oils comes to complete a healthy recipe for both your hair and scalp.

The biggest advantage of a natural shampoo is that it does not clean your good oils of your scalp as most of commercial shampoos are doing. You need those oils to grow and maintain a healthy hair and avoid your scalp to dry. There will be then no dandruff to appear. That creates a perfect environment to grow a healthy hair.
When using a shampoo solid bar you absolutely need a conditioner because of the difference between the PH of your skin and the one given by the shampoo. You can buy a conditioner from the supermarket or you can easily make one from 1 cup of water mixed with 3 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This conditioner will unclutter you hair and give a soft and easy touch. It is also very healthy for your hair.

People are getting a variety of opinions about solid shampoo. There are ones who love them but there are ones who simply don't go along. Before using it I was wondering if for me it will work or not. I tried before to use soap instead of shampoo and I ended up having a greasy hair right after washing or having a heavy hair. The secret is of course in which ingredients are used. But I created my own recipe that I must confess that I love. I was simply impressed with its result. My hair is not greasy after washing, it brings volume, it is making my hair to shine and it is not making my hair heavy and cluttered. Another good thing is, you do not have to change it from time to time as with the harsh washing commercial shampoos.

There is another thing that you should know about changing to a natural shampoo solid bar. Do not have an opinion just after one wash. Give it a chance for 3 weeks to 1 month so that the remains of your previous shampoo are gone. If you do not like it, stop and look for another natural recipe, maybe more adapted to your hair type. For me, this one is making miracles and I have no intention to change it.

Chocolate cracked macarons

As funny as it sounds, I made this recipe almost by mistake. I was looking for a biscuit recipe, I looked at the photo in the magazine and I said that's it. I prepared my ingredients, and let's go. When checking the sugar... 200g was way too much from what I would like in a biscuit recipe. So, when my eyes read the title... I was doing macarons. Don't get me wrong... I love macarons but in the same time I hate them as they have so much sugar and unfortunately for them you cannot reduce the amount of sugar as it is needed for a good structure. Well.. that's it... let's continue then with the recipe. I made them, they dried well and cracked in the oven exactly as the recipe was mentioning.
The big surprise... my daughter was in love with them and you can easily guess why :D.
I tasted them, they are crunchy and perfect near a cup of tea or coffee.

Autumn pumpkin soup with lard

I don't think I ate pumpkin soup before arriving to Belgium. It was simply not very common in my family and probably in Romania either. We were eating instead big slices of roasted pumpkins. Their taste and sweetness was enough to not feel the need of adding more sugar. At least these are my childhood memories. Nowadays I have difficulties finding tasty pumpkins in both countries. Even cooked in a fire wood oven they taste like cucumbers. Sorry but this is the bare truth. Sometimes, I am lucky and I find a tasty one and then there is fight on it in my family.
Tasty or not, it is a matter of preferences. However, they can be turned into other dishes like soup. Their benefits to a healthy lifestyle cannot be ignored. It is said that pumpkin improves your vision,  your heart and your sleep. They are rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. So, if the taste doesn't convince you, maybe their nutritional values.

Let's do a pumpkin soup that has been assorted with smoke lard and fresh cream. If you prefer the vegetarian option, ignore these 2 and enjoy it as it is.

Quick apple tart

It is autumn, so by default it is time for an apple tart. This is a variation of an old recipe of mine called Alsatian apple tart. It couldn't be less tasty and delicious than the previous one. What I like about this tart is that is extremely quick for a great result.
I made this cake for a visit we pay to some friends of mine. It was served with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Mmmm mniam mniam. Should I mention that it was gone in one shot?