Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My weekend has mainly been spent...

(inspired by Loveaudrey)

- missing blogging!
- learning that our plans for moving back to Europe hadn't worked out for now, which also means we can settle down a bit more here in the US
- saying goodbye to my mother and sisters-in-law, who stayed with us for the past three weeks
- frantically cleaning up the house for a visit from our Zurich friends
- enjoying a Mocha followed by Cappuccino a couple of hours later to make up for the lost sleep
- exploring Seattle's Queen Anne bathed in sunshine while looking for Kerry Park, which we didn't finally go to
- discovering that making animal noises while playing dice definitely helps your luck
- being glad to have our bedroom back again
- making a huge batch of buckwheat pancakes with fruit for breakfast
- realizing my fitness level noticeably went up compared to 2 months ago when climbing Mount Tiger
- saying goodbye to our Zurich friends
- going out for a yummy Thai dinner with delicious fried rice
- going out again to meet a friend for another Mocha
- going to bed early

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bioelements skincare routine: Week 4

It's over a month now that I've been using my Bioelements skincare routine; that's some commitment, no?

My skin continues to be hydrated, non-irritated and feeling comfortable. However, these past two weeks I've been struggling a bit with some breakouts: a couple of cystic ones and lots of tiny bumps on my forehead. I know these might be hormonal or stress-related, so I'm not blaming my routine; I'm also aware that with my skin type will probably never be completely breakout-free. To combat these, I've been applying La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which I reviewed here, on my problem areas and All Things Pure moisturizer on the rest of my face, and I think I'm on the mend (fingers crossed).

On the positive note, I've definitely noticed a reduction in post-acne scars on my cheeks, which makes me very happy! They seem more shallow and even in tone. I've also been getting less and less of clogged pores which manifest themselves as small bumps under the skin's surface, so that my face feels much smoother right now. I've also observed how healthy and glowy my skin looks in the mornings; there's no irritation, no puffiness, no dry patches, just well-rested, plump face ready for make-up application.

My favorite steps in the routine these past two weeks have been All Things Pure clay-based cleanser and Calmitude toner; they just feel so refreshing in hot weather! I'm worried they'll be running out the fastest. I've also started really enjoying using the Restorative Clay mask while I'm soaking in the bath, it gives me such a luxurious spa feeling.

That's it for now! I'll be reporting back one last time in another month. I'm quite surprised how easy it's become to stick to the same routine every day! Do you follow your skincare routine religiously or do you enjoy trying different products all the time? xxx

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vegan Blueberry Chocolate Cake

I figured it'd be nice to start August with something scrumptious...

Here's the Blueberry Chocolate Cake I made for the weekend, following Angela's recipe (check out her blog, Oh She Glows, for some amazing vegan recipes!), and I have to say, and I'm writing it on Monday, that between me and my husband we have managed to polish it off entirely in those two days. We went on a hike on Saturday which was quite an exhausting climb to the top, and Mr kept turning to me, flashing a big grin and saying 'There's Chocolate Cake waiting at home! My Chocolate Cake!', and he's not even a fan of desserts. I think you couldn't get a better recommendation.


  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Chocolate glaze (1/2 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted in micro for 30 seconds or so)
  • Blueberries, for garnish
  • Unsweet. shredded coconut, for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, mix spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chia (or flax), and sea salt. Set aside. In a blender, combine water, 1/2 cup blueberries, and balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth, for about 60 seconds. Add the maple syrup and the blueberry mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until completely mixed, being careful not to overmix. Pour into an oiled 9-inch round cake pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes. Prepare the chocolate glaze by taking a small bowl and adding the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Heat in micro on high for about 30 seconds. Stir to get all the clumps out and immediately pour onto cake, spreading evenly with a spoon. Top with blueberries and coconut.

(recipe taken from Oh She Glows)

I subbed half of the maple syrup with 4 table spoons of icing sugar, and sprinkled icing sugar instead of coconut on top - I waited however for the glaze to set in the fridge beforehand, otherwise the sugar would've just melted into chocolate, and I like the contrast between the dark chocolate and snowy sugar. I also added a table spoon of roasted carob powder to the dry mixture, just for the heck of it.

It's very quick and easy and if you like dense, chocolatey, not-too-sweet cakes, you'll love this one. We've become very fond of vegan cake in the house; for the past two weeks I've also been trying different muffin recipes, and they make a great mid-morning/ mid-afternoon snack, nutritious, delicious and portable.

What have you been baking lately? xxx