Perfect meringues

I have to confess. When it comes to sweet treats my weakness is called meringues. I have this weakness since childhood. I have struggled then so many times to make them right and all of the times I was ending up with some sticky, brown on the surface meringues. They were tasty but they were all the time sticking to my teeth.
At a certain moment I simply gave up. Then, one day I manage to make them well. Here is the recipe.
Since then, I tried the exact same recipe many times and I simply couldn't get them the same. So I gave up again.
Few days ago, a friend of mine posted some incredible meringues. I couldn't resist and asked him for some tips and tricks. He kindly exposed all meringue secrets so I decided to give them another try.
They turned out to be PERFECT from the first trial. And I know now what was my mistake before.
It is a love and hate story between meringues and me. I am crazy about their taste but it kills me how much sugar they contain. So, every time I was making them I wanted to reduce the amount of sugar, and this was my biggest mistake. The sugar gives them the structure and I was destroying this. Sugar is a very unhealthy food but good meringue without the proper amount of sugar cannot exist. So it all resume to temptation... difficult to chose: incredible taste and all the unhealthy sugar inside or ... just nothing. I tried to stay far from them, as I couldn't make them right anyway, but now that I have finally found the recipe.... it will put me under even a bigger temptation :)

By all means, if you love meringue.... this is THE recipe I have looking for more than 30 years. Thank you Rick for sharing the secrets of this recipe with me.

Baked doughnuts

When my sandwich maker died, I chose to buy a more versatile snack-grill with interchangeable trays. You can cook waffles, doughnuts, biscuits, sandwiches, bread, meat or whatever you may think of. Of course this was just a caprice I did for myself but it turned to be very practical. No big trays to wash manually, just 2 small ones that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Overall it takes a bit more time to bake them all but I get such nice shapes that you can eat the food with your eyes.
I will not advertise the brand as you do not need such an extra kitchen device if you have a conventional oven.
I have already said that I like doughnuts very much. What I do not like at them is to be fried in oil. They are more tasty if fried but baked, they are more healthy. So I go for the healthiest version.

If you like, you may add some sourcream and jam and you get the famous desert called "Papanasi". I have done them before with a different recipe in another post, here.

But lets try these ones!

Lavender bath bombs

Last batch of bath bombs was a bit oily and my daughter was not very into it. It was then the time to try another recipe.
Two summers ago I have been into a such an amazing trip to Province in France. I have incredibly wonderful memories from there and only thinking back puts me in a dreaming phase.
I came back from there not only with memories but with 1kg of lavender essential oil. Yes, you read it well, 1 kg. I took it from a country farm, straight from the producer. Meantime I used it for relaxing moments although not at all during my pregnancy. At that time I was not having in my mind to do soaps or any homemade cosmetics but I bought it because I was loving the smell of lavender and because I was buying it almost from the field.
Now, the time has come to use it in my homemade products. Bath bombs were on the list, so here they come...

Adding soap colorant instead of food colorant gave a lighter color to the mixture. When using it in the water, it did not color the water that much. The smell from these bath bombs is persistent and so so relaxing. And yes, they fizz. Try it for your next relaxing hot bath!

Natural dishwasher tablets

I have done homemade dishwasher tablets before but they were not 100% natural. This time, here they are.
They smell incredibly nice and they leave the dishes in a brilliant state. What can you ask more from a dishwasher tablet?

Healthy teething biscuits

As a mother, I simply cannot understand how come that internet is full of teething biscuits that contain sugar, salt and other ingredients forbidden for small babies. On the other side, there are mothers not giving anything than vegetable purees to the kids until 2-3 years. Well, let's be reasonable and look at baby food recipes from the health perspective without exaggerating. 
Up until the first anniversary of your baby there are a lot of alternatives to replace a teaspoon of sugar or a pinch of salt. Fruits contains fructose, they are healthy and add a beautiful sweet taste to your baby food. Spices can replace salt and add taste to the food. Do not get yourself trapped in the idea that if you do not like a food your baby won't like it either. It's simple: no salt, no sugar for small babies.
Then, we are turning the world to give healthy food to our babies. But what about us? This recipe for biscuits is perfect for your child as soon as s/he has some teeth and for you as well. I ate these biscuits together with my little son and daughter and we have all enjoyed them.

Healthy biscuits for babies and perfectly good and tasty for you too. Let's see ...

Multigrain toast bread

With this cold and rainy weather, as much as I like doing bread in the wood fire oven it becomes a bit difficult to make it every weekend. This is how, today I said I am going back to the conventional oven this time.
Also due to the lack of time, I chose a yeast based bread and added an extra sourdough that was meant to be discarded.

Uh... it was so quick and so easy to do it. No bannetons were needed, the loaves were put straight into the pans after the first fermentation. However with all these advantages, I find that the sourdough bread is always superior.

I went back looking for my pans as lately, I discovered that my daughter likes very much sandwiches that I make in the sandwich maker. As my bread slices coming generally from rustic breads are not having the nice squared shapes that suits best the sandwiches, preparing them in the sandwich maker was always a challenge. And you probably know, for kids is so important that the sandwiches look so much with the ones seen on commercials, photos or simply colleagues or friends.
As the problem was only about the shape, I had to adapt and make my breads more squared. This was simply achieved by using some classic cake pans. So here they are, not perfectly square but almost.

Merry Christmas !

Aloe vera soap

Uhhh, another soap with adventures but what a lovely result!
I made this soap on Sunday when outside was snowing. I prepared the oil mixture in advance and let it cool to room temperature. I took my lye and iced aloe vera and milk outside in the greenhouse to avoid smells going all around my house. As you can imagine, the temperature outside was close to 0ÂșC. In these conditions, the lye mixture didn't warm too much so when I brought it back inside the house it was cooler than the oils. As I was under the time pressure I couldn't wait longer and mix them together. I was surprised to see that the soap mixture started to harden to reach a false trace. I continued to blend until all the oils were incorporated. The mixture arrived in the end to be quite thick but it was OK to pour it into the mold. Lovely color, lovely texture and nice swirls in the middle. But ooops...I left something behind...the essential oils. No, No, No way to let my soap without a scent so no matter what was about to happen I poured the essential oils on top and mix them in the soap with a thin stick. Uuuuuh luckily...they were absorbed and mixed into the soap. I was almost about to fail... what a beginner mistake ! But in the end what does matter is the result.
The essential oils were well absorbed, the soap looked good, smelled nice and in the end everything was great.

Pumpkin soap

I had in mind to do a pumpkin soap for more than a month ago.  I weighted and saved the pumpkin puree in the freezer and waited to spare 1 hour of my time to actually do it. It took one month to find this time until I said it shouldn't wait for longer.
Well, I prepared everything and launched myself in actually doing it. Everything went smoothly, the preparation of the lye, the mix of the oils, the essential oils and one of the coloring. As the uncolored part was not that orange, I wanted to add some more food coloring to reach a pumpkin color. Just when I added the color and turned on the blender to mix it, my blender decided to reach its end life. The soap was enough thick and adding this jelly yellow color was a bad choice. I've tried without success to mix manually the color, you can still see some concentrated spots of color.
Finally I gave it up and let it like that. The result is this soap with spots of yellow-orange color that was not mixed. Not totally a disaster but that's it, I couldn't do it better.

What I liked with this soap is that it maintained a nice blue color and didn't turn to green after saponification.
The light scent of cloves makes the soap lovely to use it for washing your hands regardless the nonuniform yellow color.

Tartine durum bread

With the crazy schedule that I had in the last time I simply forgot that I made this bread almost 1 month ago and I simply didn't have the time to publish it. So finally, here it is.

I have tried a lot of recipes lately but this one was outstanding. I made 2 loaves of this bread, one was eaten immediately and the second one I put it in the freezer. It is not such a big surprise to tell you that even the frozen one was eaten from a glance. And this, not because we were that hungry but because this bread is a jewelry. Its white crumb and dark crust are contrasting in a beautiful way adding to the impressive taste and texture also a pleasure to look at it first before taking any bite. Let's see the recipe...