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Fig Cheesecake

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cheesecake_figvia Cinco Quartos de Laranja


  • 150g of carob cookies
  • 50g of ground almonds with skin on
  • 70g of butter (room temperature)
  • 1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 100ml of cold cream
  • 1 tbs of sugar
  • 2 + 2 tbs of fig jam (fig jam with walnuts was used)
  • 2 gelatin sheets


  1. Crumble cookies and mix them with the ground almonds and butter.
  2. Line the bottom of a pan (preferably with a removable bottom) with the mixture of cookies, butter and almonds.
  3. Soak the gelatin sheets. Drain. Place the gelatin in a bowl and put it in the microwave to dissolve.
  4. Whisk the cream with the sugar until firm.
  5. Fold the cream in with the cheese and gelatin.  Add two tablespoons of the fig jam and mix well.
  6. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the pan (on top of the cookie mixture).
  7. Refrigerate for approximately three hours before serving.
  8. When ready to serve, remove the pan but keep the bottom, and spread the fig jam on top.


The BEST Sugar Cookies & Easy Icing

Posted on

frosted+sugar+cookiesMakes 5 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  6. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.
  8. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  9. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven.
  10. Cool completely.


For a dozen cookies

  • 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • assorted food coloring


  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth.
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  3. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity.
  4. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.



Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread


I have discovered the end all and be all of informative nutrition blogs, Maria Mind Body Health!  There is basically no recipe that can’t be Maria “healthified”.  

Healthified” PUMPKIN BREAD

  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Swerve (OR 1 cup Erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh OR canned pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. Mix butter, sweetener, eggs and pumpkin until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Grease and pour into a bread pan. 
  5. Bake 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (you may want to loosely cover with tinfoil so the outside doesn’t brown too much).
  6. Top with glaze

Makes 16 servings


  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup confectioner Swerve (or powdered erythritol)

Mix ingredients and spoon over Pumpkin Bread.

Pumpkin Season

Pumpking Everything

  1. Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings 
  2. Jack-O-Pumpkin Breakfast Sandwich
  3. Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting 
  4. Pumpkin Bread 

51 Fastest Fat Burners

via Health

 Photo of Nike Women “Make Yourself,” ad By Annie Liebovitz featuring seven elite female athletes from across the world—Hope Solo (US, soccer), Li Na (China, tennis), Maria Sharapova (Russia, tennis), Allyson Felix (US, track & field), Laura Enever (Australia, surfing), Sofia Boutella (Algeria, dance), Perri Shakes-Drayton (UK, track & field).


Work harder not longer and double the benefits.

1. Catch the running bug

Why?  Because you’ll continue to burn fat after your jog that’s why.  People who run for at least four hours a week melt more calories than non-runners, even when they’re not running.  It’s a no brainer.

2. Crank it up early

Working out harder during the first half of your workout and taking it easier during the second burns up to 23 percent more fat than doing the opposite.

3 & 4. Go hard (or go home) — and make it quick

Staying at 80 percent of your max heart rate for 40 minutes can amp your metabolism for 19 hours afterward, research published in Obesity notes. And doing a shorter workout at 75 percent of your max aerobic capacity will give you a greater metabolic boost than sweating longer at 50 percent.

5 to 7. Lift dumbbells … slowly

More muscle equals mega metabolism boost.  We’re not talking Schwarzenegger muscles here, more Gwyneth Paltrow and Kelly Ripa physiques.  Strength training can help you trim major fat, research reveals — and doing super-slow (versus normal speed) reps increases strength by 50 percent.  The slower you do it the more you will naturally focus on form and technique which is another reason why using dumbbells activates more muscle fibers than using machines.

8. Speed up, slow down

Alternating bouts of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio has been shown to torch pounds.  In and out of the bedroom.

9. Put on weight (literally)

Wearing a weighted vest (about 10 percent of your body weight) while walking can boost your calorie burn by 8 percent.

10. Download Rihanna, not Brahms

Listening to up-tempo songs actually makes you run faster and harder than listening to slower-paced music, British scientists say.  So does common sense.

11. Let kettle bells ring

Not only does working out with kettle bells build muscle, but doing it for 20 minutes burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same amount of time.  Don’t replace running with kettle bells, add to it!

12. Keep it up

As few as 80 minutes a week of aerobic or weight training helps keep you from regaining belly fat after losing weight, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Maintenance is key.

13. Add poles

No not those poles.  Use Nordic poles while you walk, and you’ll burn 20 percent more calories, says research from The Cooper Institute in Dallas.  

14 & 15. Lift first, nix the rest

Doing strength training before cardio can torch more fat than cardio alone. And if you do one move after another without pausing, “you’ll see more gains in strength and muscle mass,” says Dr. Pierre Manfroy, M.D., consultant for the book “100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism.”

16. Add pounds.

Lift heavier weights for fewer reps to make your workout more intense — and burn more fat — Manfroy says.

17. Try aromatherapy

Exercisers who inhaled strawberry and buttered-popcorn scents torched more calories than those who sniffed neutral odors, according to research from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.

18. Box yourself in

Wii boxing knocks out nearly twice as many calories as some other games, like Wii golf.

19. Kick it

Playing soccer not only torches more fat and builds more muscle than jogging, but it feels less tiring, Danish research reveals.  Anything involving play will feel less tiring and way more fun.

20. Stay in shape

Fit people have more fat-burning metabolites in their blood than couch potatoes do, scientists say.


22. Get more protein

Eating a protein-packed breakfast and lunch helps you burn more post-meal fat than if you eat lower-protein meals, according to Australian research.

23 & 24. Guzzle green tea — or coffee

Downing five 5-ounce cups of green tea a day boosts metabolism, says Lyssie Lakatos, R.D., author of “Fire Up Your Metabolism.” Two cups of coffee will also do the trick, one study shows.  Some people may suffer nausea and vomiting from drinking too much green tea, pace yourself.

25. Have an omelet

Eating two eggs for breakfast while dieting will help you trim more weight and body fat than if you ate the same amount of calories noshing on a bagel.  If you must have a bagel, eat half and make it whole grain.

26. Stay above 1,200 calories… 

”The average woman’s body goes into starvation mode if she eats fewer than 1,200 calories a day,” says Eric Berg, author of “The 7 Principles of Fat Burning.” “That’s stress, and stress hormones create more belly fat.”

27. … and cut calories gradually

If you diet, don’t trim more than 250 calories a day. Cutting calories too quickly slows your metabolism down, Dr. Manfroy says.

28 to 33. Munch on these

Almonds, cherries, yogurt, grapefruit, whole grains, and spicy foods have all been shown to torch fat.  Be careful with yogurt as many of the low fat varieties are laden with sugar, defeating the purpose.

34. Fuel up right

Eating a low-glycemic-index breakfast (such as muesli and peaches) will help you burn more fat during a subsequent workout than eating a high-glycemic-index meal (like waffles), researchers from the University of Nottingham reveal.

35. Think before you drink

Sipping as few as 90 calories’ worth of vodka can slow your metabolism by 73 percent, one study shows.  Though a drink or two may lower your stress so moderation beats abstinence.

36. Graze

Women who go without eating for long periods are more likely to have higher body-fat percentages than women who nosh more regularly, one study notes.  Grazing does not mean eating sugar and junk food.  Especially sipping a few specialty coffees per day.

37. Dine like a Greek

Eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fat (think olive oil, avocados) can help trim both weight and fat.

38. Stop gorging

Your body can only handle so much food at a time, so stick to 600 calories or less per meal to maximize fat-burning, says Leslie Cooper, co-author of “Flip the Switch: Proven Strategies to Fuel Your Metabolism and Burn Fat 24 Hours a Day.”  Eating too much at any given time will make you feel sluggish physically and mentally.

39. Skip juice

Reaching for an apple instead of apple juice is not only better calorie-wise, but it’ll also do a better job of boosting your metabolism, Dr. Manfroy explains.  Juicing gets rid of most of the pulp which is where all the fiber is.


41 & 42. Get C and D

Vitamin C can help you burn more fat, and D may help you lose fat, research notes. Aim for 400 to 500 mg of C and 800 mg of D a day.

43 & 44. Walk more (in denim)

Researchers found that fitness-friendly offices (think treadmill desks, mobile headsets) helped people trim pounds and fat, as did wearing jeans to work, since dressing casual encourages you to move more. Wear comfy clothes when you can, pace while on the phone, and stand while chatting with co-workers.  Whenever possible, take the stairs!

45. Add fish oil (And work out)

Taking 6 grams of fish oil per day and hitting the gym three times a week can help nix body fat, an Australian study reveals.  Though I’d rather just eat more (wild, organic) fish instead.

46. Work the day shift

Keeping nontraditional hours lowers levels of hormones that trigger satiety, increases blood glucose and insulin levels, and raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which can drive you to eat more), scientists say.  Our neurons need the proper shut down time to regenerate and sleeping during day hours is just not the same.

47. Nix the boob tube

Cut your TV time in half, and you’ll burn more calories each day, research from the University of Vermont suggests.  Probably because not watching TV will make you do all the things you say you don’t have time to do.

48. Go mental

People who visualized themselves training a specific muscle boosted the strength in that muscle group, researchers found.  Visualization helps you focus on balance and proper form.  It’s all about technique.

49. Eat a smaller dinner

Your body may not digest food — and burn fat — as efficiently if you down a huge meal right before bedtime, especially because your metabolism is slower while you sleep, Dr. Manfroy says.  Eating before bed can also cause heart burn and indigestion.  Heart burn can become chronic which is much worse than extra weight.  Try eating at least three hours before bedtime.

50. Jump-start your morning

Wake up your metabolism — and get fat-burning started — by doing some sort of exercise within the first few hours of being awake, Cooper suggests.  You’ll be more likely to stay motivated and stay moving if you start early in your day.

51. Get your snooze on

Sleep for a solid eight hours instead of five, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and you’ll lose more fat.  Just remember that too much sleep is as detrimental as too little.  Sweet dreams!

4 Tips For Baking Better Cakes

Posted on

cake_tipsvia Saveur


All-purpose flour isn’t really made for every purpose (much like all weather tires).  For the best results when baking a cake, you need to use cake flour, a finely milled and typically bleached variety of flour made from soft winter wheat.  With a lower content of gluten-producing proteins than in all-purpose flour, cake flour yields baked goods with a fine, soft texture.  Although cake flour is readily available at grocery stores, in a pinch, you can substitute three-quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour mixed with two tablespoons of cornstarch for each cup of cake flour called for in the recipe.


The key to a smooth batter is making sure the milk, butter, and eggs are at room temperature when you mix them into a cake batter. Chilled eggs and milk can harden softened butter when they’re mixed in, resulting in a curdled appearance.  Whereas butter and milk can be microwaved to soften — a shortcut that works but is not ideal due to the risk of overheating — you can’t microwave the eggs without cooking them.  Ideally, you should leave the eggs out overnight so that they can come to room temperature naturally (if you are pressed for time, you can quickly warm up refrigerated eggs by placing them in a bowl of warm tap water).  The cold eggs will cool the water right away, so drain the bowl and refill it with more warm tap water.  Let the eggs sit in the water for about five minutes so that they reach the proper temperature before adding to the batter. 


When it comes time to mix the ingredients, a bit of counter-intuition helps: Most home bakers learn not to beat their batter in order to prevent the formation of gluten, which leads to a tougher crumb. While this may be a concern when using all-purpose flour, cake batter is less prone to gluten production.  And beating a cake batter for a short period of time actually helps smooth and aerate it.  Once the batter is just mixed, beat it on high speed for five seconds.  You will notice that it immediately transforms into a smooth emulsion, ensuring that the ingredients are evenly dispersed.


Finally, most bakers dread the random air bubble that wreaks havoc on a sliced cake’s appearance.  But this type of aesthetic imperfection can be avoided by dropping the pan on a countertop to burst any air bubbles.  Once you pour your batter into the pan, smooth its top with a rubber spatula.  Next, drop the pan from the height of about a foot onto countertop.  The impact of the fall will force large air bubbles out and settle the batter into the pan, producing a more even shape.  Only do this for cakes leavened with baking soda or baking powder, however; egg foam cakes, like genoise, need their air bubbles in order to rise.

Frappin’ Good

Posted on

via Squawk Fox

Homemade Frappuccino Recipe

STEP ONE: Gather necessary ingredients.

make a frappuccino

Frappuccino ingredients: makes 2.5 cups (590 mL)

starbucks coffee

If you don’t own an espresso machine, use a bag of Starbucks Pike Place roast to best mimic the Frappuccino recipe.  Brewed strongly, I think these beans do the trick.

STEP TWO: Toss your Frapptastic ingredients into a mixer and blend.

starbucks recipes

STEP THREE: Pour Frapp in a cup. Use an authentic Starbucks cup to fool your friends. Sneaky, I know.

starbucks frappuccino

starbucks frappuccino recipe


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