Summer Salad In A Jar

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It’s Summer and we are in 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 has been good for you, but I hope even more that 2017 will be an amazing year with lots of opportunities for you to strive on, lots of love, happiness and that everyone will be in the best of health!

To start the year on the right note, I decided to change the way we eat, and steer it towards eating as healthy as possible! So when Croud Australia contacted me to send me a WW Freshbox that’s completely vegetarian by the Aussie Farmers Direct, I couldn’t say no!

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 It’s a box filled with fresh vegetables and beautiful produce! What’s great about each box is they come with recipes that you could follow too! How easy is that? I love the convenience!

When I saw what I had in my box ( 3 meals for 2 people, $64) a few ingredients jumped out at me and I really wanted to make a vibrant salad that we would be able to even have it on the go and with a salad “dressing” that would be exciting for the taste buds too.

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So I decided to make a kale & basil toasted walnut pesto and it absolutely binds all the ingredients together! The perfect dressing (and healthy too with a superfood in it!) for the salad and if you have people you’re making for that loves and needs meat (like the mr), you could easily grill some meat and pop it on as well! It’s a really versatile recipe, and you can add your favourite ingredients too!

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Don’t you just love the colour? It tastes absolutely amazing too!

So here’s the recipe for the perfect Summer salad!

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Summer Salad in A Jar (An original Food Made With Love recipe)

For the kale & toasted walnut pesto:

40g toasted walnut

80g kale leaves, stem removed

35g basil leaves

2 large garlic cloves

80g grated parmesan

1 tsp salt

150ml olive oil

Steps:

  1. Add the kale, basil, garlic cloves and salt in a food processor and pulse for 10 to 12 times, till you get a fine chop.
  2. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl. Scrap the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the walnuts, garlic cloves & parmesan, continue to pulse until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

Note: I used this as a dressing for my salad, but you could use this in your pastas, or coat it with some grilled chicken!

For the salad:

350g butternut pumpkin, cut into cubes

1 red capsicum, sliced length-wise

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1 large handful of rocket leaves

1 large handful of baby spinach leaves

30g Greek style feta, crumbled

3 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt, and extra for seasoning

ground black pepper

2 tbs olive oil

Steps :

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line the baking tray with some aluminium foil, drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil, and place the butternut pumpkin and red capsicum onto the tray. Season the butternut pumpkin with the smoked paprika and season with some salt. Bake for 20 mins or until the pumpkin is tender. Set aside to let it cool down.img_1784-1
  2. In a small nonstick pan, heat 1 tbs of oil over medium heat. Add ground coriander, cumin & salt, and cook for a minute. Remember to keep stirring, so that it doesn’t burn. Add the drained chickpeas and stir for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and the chickpeas are well coated with the spices. Set aside.
  3. To plate : In a large jar, place the rocket and baby spinach leaves into the base. Add the butternut pumpkin and the red capsicum then sprinkle with the crumbled greek feta. Top with the spiced chickpeas and finally the kale & toasted walnut pesto.
  4. You could shake it gently to coat the contents with the pesto dressing, or if you have access to a plate, pour it out and mix it gently. Enjoy on its own or with some grilled meats!

           ENJOY!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

xx

PS: Thank you Croud and Aussie Farmers Direct for this opportunity to try and love the Freshbox! Will be trying some of the recipes that are on the website too! Stay tuned, more recipes to come!

Savoury Oats with a Twist!

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I’ve got a new obsession. Savoury oats! All along, I’ve been having my oats with honey, fruits and even with the addition of Milo (OMG it’s super good haha) but I’ve been trying to see if there are other ways to cook oats and make the little man like it as well!

So i found the recipe from Martha Stewart and I just had to try it out. It had the ingredients that Lochlan loved – cheese & egg – so it must be a winner, right? RIGHT! hehe He absolutely loved it and could finish it all. Of course, his egg was cooked through and I kept mine runny, cause it adds a sauce to the oats, and it’s just absolutely delicious!

Savoury oats

So using Martha Stewart’s recipe as the base, I did added more savoury ingredients that I thought would pump it up! And this morning, I made a winner. With the addition of crispy bacon bits! I mean, how can I not? Bacon makes everything yummier right? ABSOLUTELY! hehe

So here’s the recipe for my favourite version of the savoury oats. You can pretty much add your favourite ingredients and it would taste yummy! hehe

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Savoury Oats with Sunnyside Up, Bacon & Cheese (Adapted from Martha Stewart, Recipe for 2 adults, 1 toddler)

1 cup quick oats (I used Macro Quick Oats)

3-4 large eggs (depends on how many eggs each person eats)

3-4 tbs shredded cheddar cheese

1-2 slices of bacon, chopped finely

1-2 tbs chopped chives

1-2 tbs fried scallions

Maggi seasoning (Optional, for adults)

Tamari (Optional, for toddlers)

Steps :

1) In a medium size pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quick oats and simmer till oats are tender, about 5 minutes.

2) While thats cooking, heat a frying pan and fry the bacon bits till crispy. Pour onto a kitchen towel to absorb the oil. Then using the same pan, fry the eggs on a low heat, till all the egg whites are cooked, leaving the yolk runny. For toddlers, flip the egg and cook the yolk through.

3) To serve : Pour the oats into 3 bowls, top with the shredded cheese, then sprinkle some bacon. Top with the sunny side up egg and season with a few drops of maggi seasoning/ tamari. Then sprinkle a bit more bacon, chopped chives and fried scallions. ENJOY!

Savoury oats with runny yolk egg

Let me know what your favourite combinations are! Would definitely like to give them a go (:

Remember to always bake and cook with love! Till the next post, xx!

Banana Cake with Oats & Chia Seeds

Banana Cake with Oats & Chia Seeds

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you would know how much of a banana cake/bread fan I am. I love everything about it. I love to bake it, I love to eat it and I definitely love the smell of it. Just something about the soft, moist cake that is yummy to eat whether its hot out of the oven, or after it’s been sitting on the table for a while.

Plus, who could resist having one after it’s aroma filling the whole house? Just makes me smile thinking about it! So to this date, my favourite banana cake/bread recipe is the one with the nutella swirls. Because honestly, banana and nutella, match made in heaven! But having a toddler, I am always in search of recipes that include healthier ingredients, which would give us a more nutritious result!

So when I saw this recipe on The Domestic Goddess Wannabe, I knew I had to give it a shot and see what he thinks about it. And the result? Lochlan LOVED it! He kept coming back for me and when I gave him a piece to hold, he held on to it tightly, taking the smallest bites, so he could enjoy it for a longer time. YAY!

And I mean, I super love his chubby chub hands! hehe

This cake totally reminded me of the old school banana cakes I had when I was a kid. It was soft, moist and the flavour of the banana was the right level of intensity – STRONG. hehe Just the way I love it!

Banana Cake with Oats & Chia Seeds (Closely adapted from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe)

2 large overripe bananas, mashed

1 egg

120g unsalted butter, melted (You could use olive oil)

3/4 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 cup plain flour

80g caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/8 cup chia seeds

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Spray a mini loaves tin with olive oil spray to make sure it’s well coated.

2) In a bowl, add the mashed bananas, soy milk, the egg, vanilla bean paste and melted butter. Mix till well combined.

3) In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats and chia seeds. Using a whisk, mix till the ingredients are well combined.

4) Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir till just incorporated. Careful not to over mix, as you don’t want a tough cake!

5) Fill the mini loaves till 3/4 full and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins (checking at 15 minutes with a toothpick, if it comes out dry means it’s done!). Cool it in the tin for 5 mins before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

Enjoy as is or with a hot cup of tea/coffee (or milk for the little kiddos)!

Remember to always bake or cook with love! Have a great week ahead, xx

Ratatouille & A Good Food and Wine Tickets Giveaway!

Ratatouille

I’ve always wanted to give this a try. Ever since I watched the little rat who could cook this dish perfectly in Ratatouille! The vibrant colours just catches my eye instantly, and I think it’s such a celebratory dish – A celebration of colours!

Also, it was my brother’s birthday and I just wanted to cook him something special! Of course, I didn’t only cook him one dish, I made 4! haha This dish pairs perfectly with seafood, so I made some white wine and cream mussels, homemade garlic bread and mushroom risotto! Mmmm!

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mushroom risotto

Don’t you love just cooking for people you love? It’s seriously something I love to do. And seeing their reaction when they take the first bite, it’s worth all the time and effort!

Ratatouille

Making the ratatouille was so much fun! One reason was that I got to play with the mandolin. Slicing those vegetables into the same thickness couldn’t be any easier! Fastest prep ever! haha So if you would like to impress your guest the next time u cook for them, I highly recommend making them ratatouille! My family loved how it looked, and enjoyed every single bite!

Ratatouille

Ratatouille (Adapted from The Walsh Cookbook)

Ingredients : 

1 medium green zucchini

1 medium yellow zucchini

1 eggplant (preferably the thin ones)

1 red capsicum

1 yellow/green capsicum

3 tomatoes

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 can of tomato puree

1 tsp red chilli flakes

1 tsp italian herbs/ mixed herbs

1 tsp salt

2 tbs olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Try to get the vegetables around the same size, so that they would look neater in your dish! Slice all the vegetables using a mandolin and set aside.

2) Heat a cast iron pot (or any pot that can be used in an oven) over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté till fragrant, careful not to burn them, as they will have a bitter after taste. Add in the tomato puree, salt, herbs & chilli flakes, and allow it to simmer for 5 mins.

3) Carefully arrange the vegetables, alternating the slices of zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and tomato. Continue laying them till you fill your dish and cover with a baking paper to allow it to steam and cook, keeping all the juices in. Bake for 45 mins.

Covered with baking paper

4) Remove the baking paper and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and serve!

How easy is that? And I can promise you that everyone will definitely enjoy this! So definitely give it a try when you can!

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Okie. So now… time for the GIVEAWAY!

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So everyone knows the one event I look forward to every year is no doubt the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show. Endless food & wine, beautiful produce and you get to meet your favourite chefs!

Good Food Theatre

This year, I am lucky enough to be given 2 double passes to giveaway to my readers! Whoopeedoo! What’s more exciting is that this year, Ainsley Harriott will be there for all 4 days of the show (5-8 June), along with Miguel Maestre & Alastair McLeod! So you definitely don’t want to miss the show this year! I can still remember when the Mr bought me tickets to a Private Dining session with Manu Feildel 3 years ago! Definitely a dream come true and an experience I will never forget!

How do you win those tickets? Easy!

  • Leave a comment and share with me the favourite dish you love to cook for your loved ones for a special occasion!
  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents! (Sorry international readers!)
  • Please join me on my journey! Follow me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! Let me know once you have followed me!
  • You may re-enter daily! One entry a day! (Oh yeah!)
  • Winners will be announced on the 29th of April, 10pm.
  • Winners will be picked via random.org and notified on this blog post and via email.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

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WINNERS!

Congratulations to Good Food Good Karma and Ross! Here’s what they said :


Comment Number 8 Winner 1 - Number 8

Comment number 6 Winner 2 - Number 6

Salmon and roast! Two delicious things I too would cook for loved ones at a special occasion! Congrats again and I will be in contact with you soon, through email! Thanks everyone for participating!

Disclaimer : The tickets were given in compliments of Red Agency and I wasn’t paid to run this giveaway. 

Salmon En Papillote

Salmon En Papillote

Cooking. Definitely something I find joy in. Something I love. No matter how tired or long the day is, I always look forward to being in the kitchen. Be it something I’ve cooked many times before, or trying out a new recipe, it always makes a sweet end to my day. Not to mention the smile on the Mr’s face after eating it. Just can’t get any better than this!

Taylors Clare Valley Gewurtztraminer 2011

It’s the time of the month again when Taylors Wines has so generously given me two bottles of wine to taste and come up with a recipe that includes it as well as be perfect to pair with! This month, I decided to choose one that I never had much experience with – The Taylors Estate 2011 Clare Valley Gewürztraminer! This wine is light and crisp, with citrusy notes so I only had one protein in mind for it. FISH!

Salmon en papillote with pan fried jerusalam artichokes

There was one way that I’ve been wanting to try out ever since I’ve had it a few years back. En papillote is a method of cooking where food is put in a folded parchment paper in a shape of a pouch or parcel, and then baked! This method is perfect for fish, cause it keeps its moisture while steaming in the pouch. hehe I was taught this method by the talented chefs from Cookyn Inc, when they came to my place to do a private dinner party for my brother’s birthday! Amazing! So big thank you to them!

perfectly cooked salmon

This method doesn’t take long for the fish to be cooked, and the only time consuming step is the preparation of the ingredients. But once that is done, you get a beautifully cooked fish on your plate within 15 minutes! Of course, that depends on the thickness of your protein. hehe So definitely give this method a try, I’m sure you will love it as much as we did!

Salmon en papillote

Salmon En Papillote (Adapted from Cookyn Inc, serves 4)

Ingredients prepped

4 fillets of salmon, cut into 2 inches in width and skin removed & reserved

1 chorizo, cut into cubes

1/2 green capsicum, cubed

1/2 yellow capsicum, cubed

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

4 tbs of Gewürztraminer (or any white wine, you could use champagne too if you feel generous!)

Salt & pepper, to season

1 packet of brown shimeiji mushrooms, washed and separated

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbs olive oil

2 tbs unsalted butter

thinly sliced lemon

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper (about 30 cm long) and lay them on a flat surface. Then place 3 slices of lemon on the paper without any overlap.

lemon on parchment paper

My paper is fluted and it can be easily done by folding your parchment into a square and then folding it into half diagonally again and again until it gets too small to do so. Then flatten it out before placing the lemon slices.

2) Place the slice of fish on top the of lemon, then add a tbs of chorizo, yellow capsicum and green capsicum.

All ready to be folded

3) Bring the two ends of the paper together and fold it over twice and scrunch them together so they do not unfold. Do the same for one side of the pouch, leaving the other side open.

One side of the pouch left open

4) Carefully pour 1 tbs of Gewürztraminer into each pouch. Then fold the rest of the pouch to seal all the ingredients in. Place the pouches onto a baking tray and bake it in the preheated oven for 17 minutes.

5) While the fish is cooking, heat up a small frying pan and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic till it’s fragrant, careful not to burn them as it will turn bitter. Add the mushrooms and fry till tender. Add the butter and allow it to coat the mushrooms well. Keep it warm until ready to be served.

6) In another frying pan, heat it up on medium heat and place the salmon skin in the pan. Fry both sides till it’s crispy and golden, place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.

crispy salmon skin

7) To serve : Open the parchment paper, and place the sautéed mushrooms on the fish and top it with a piece of crispy salmon skin. Serve it with your favourite side (I had butter sautéed Jerusalem artichokes with pine nuts) and a glass of Gewürztraminer!

Salmon en papillote - served

Enjoy! (:

Just for fun, I’ve made a short video of the steps from start to finish! Sorry about the background noise but I hope it helps in clarifying how it is done! (:

Thank you Taylors Wines once again for the beautiful Gewürztraminer! It was delicious and definitely one that I can see myself having with my seafood! hehe Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and remember to always cook and bake with love! Till then, xx !

Famish’d : Salads and More !

Famish'd

Due to work, it’s almost impossible to have lunch anywhere besides the staff room haha. Thankfully it was the holidays when the newly opened Famish’d celebrated their opening! I couldn’t wait to head down for lunch as I’ve always wanted to try their salads! Their first store was just behind the Mr’s work place, so I used to meet him for coffees and cakes when I get to head down to the city.  So I was super excited when I received the invite!

Famish'd interior

Beautiful interior, neon signs that pop, warm and friendly staffs. Everything that you would love and look forward to for your mid day delight! And although they specialise in salads (a huge range!), they do hearty soups as well as spuds (both potatoes and sweet potato for a healthier option).

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There is definitely something for everyone! I know many of you would be thinking – how can a bowl of salad be filling? Trust me, their salads are HUGE and you definitely will be filled by the time you finish.

St Ali's coffee beans

Of course, you can’t skip having a cup of St Ali’s coffee as well while you’re there! Beautiful, robust flavours, definitely a pick-me-up when you need one!

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And still my favourite part of their coffee – the chocolate chip meringue!

chocolate chip meringue

It’s really quite magical. Every bite feels like you’re eating a teaspoon full of chocolate chips! Comes with every coffee, dining in or taking it away!

Salad bar

So let’s begin our salad adventure shall we? Since Daisy was there too, we decided to divide and conquer : I was going to choose the salad and she was going to choose the sweet potato spud !  You are allowed to choose the base of either a selection of fresh salad leaves, or their famish’d favourite salads that changes everyday! They also have a huge selection of ingredients to mix into your salad and you are allowed to choose up to 5 different ones!

Explaining how to design our own salads

Don’t worry if it’s your first time at Famish’d cause you would be well taken care of! Everyone working at Famish’d is friendly and is more than happy to explain to you how to design your own salads and spuds! Every one in the Famish’d family works together so well, it’s just amazing! They don’t have specific jobs, they just do anything that is presented infront of them! Like one big happy and loving family! Love it!

Making my salad

When it was my turn to design my own salad, I have to admit, I was like a kid in a lolly store. haha So many fresh and vibrant ingredients to choose from, I almost wanted more than 5!

my salad

My colourful salad! After selecting what you want, you can choose from an extensive range of home-made dressing! All the dressing is made by the owner, Georgia, herself! AMAZING!

All tossed and ready to be enjoyed

My salad had pumpkin, chickpeas, corn, artichokes and roasted capsicum! I asked what dressing is recommended and mine has a mix of dijon balsamic and mayo! They do have other dressings for the more adventurous ! I am actually regretting not trying them! Have to head back to try! hehe

My salad and Daisy's sweet potato spud

The portion was huge and I had to take away half of mine home! A slice of bread is also given to mop up any of the delicious dressing left!

Daisy's sweet potato spud

Daisy did equally well with her choices for her sweet potato spud! She had cheese (of course, a must with spuds!), mushrooms, corn, bacon, spring onion and salsa! It was so amazing! I’m definitely gonna have this in my next visit!

Sweet potato spud

Hidden under all the delicious ingredients is a roasted sweet potato spud! So tender and super sweet! Not sure about you, but I prefer sweet potatoes to potatoes anytime! hehe Somehow, it feels healthier! hehe

Sweets by Sweet By Nature

Next to the salad bar sits a beautiful array of cakes and slices! It’s supplied by Sweet By Nature and how good does everything look? After being good and having a healthy lunch, it’s surely okay to have something naughty (and delicious) for dessert right? hehe DEFINITELY! Miss D will agree with me for sure! And of course, we got to try one of each they have!

Sweets

When this board arrived infront of us, wide smiles appeared on our faces almost naturally. haha How good does that look? Don’t you just want to dive into it and just take a bite of everything? We did. haha

Dessert

The orange poppyseed cake is still my favourite! And the rocky road was really rich and decadent! Only needed a small bite to make you feel happy and contented!

By no means am I a healthy eater, but I do enjoy having a healthy meal once in a while. This is definitely a place to come to if you are on a health fix too! You can create your own salads and spuds to your liking and I can vouch that you will love every mouthful of it! So if you’re around the city or you work in the city, head down to Famish’d for lunch and I’m sure you won’t regret it! Have a sweet (or two) while you’re there too! hehe

Famish'd Salads & Stuff on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer : I was invited by Famish’d as guests to have lunch. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. 

Gingery & Coconutty Granola

Gingery & coconutty granola

You and I both know I absolutely love brunch. But during the week, it’s impossible to have brunch due to work and more often than not, I end up having a slice of toast with either peanut butter or vegemite and out of the door I went! But I really wanted to have something healthy and good in the morning to keep me full for most of the morning before lunch so I decided to make my own granola to go with yogurt! Mmmm (:

Granola with greek yogurt

I also wanted to try using something I’ve never used before, but has been on my mind for a while now – Molasses. A dark and viscous by-product of the refining of sugar cane. The health benefit of molasses is its high mineral content. It’s wheat, dairy, lactose, gluten and yeast free! It smells and tastes quite similar to gula melaka hehe I like it!

Molasses

It’s not as sweet as honey, but still makes the granola yummy! (: Had to take that risk, but so glad I did. hehe I tried baking a cake with it, but I think I probably used too much and the taste over took the whole cake, so I’m sticking to sugar for my cakes. haha Or honey! But for granola, it was perfect! hehe

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The best thing about this recipe? You could pretty much add what you love and it will still work! hehe I ransacked my whole pantry and took out everything I wanted and tossed it in the mix!  There were a few things I really wanted in my granola this time : toasted coconut and crystalised ginger! It was a combination I came across at the awesome Borough Market in London during my recent trip! hehe So here we go! (:

Gingery & Coconutty Granola (A Food Made With Love original recipe)

1 cup shredded coconut (toasted till brown, set aside)

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 pistachios, roughly chopped

1/2 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs molasses

1 cup raisins

1 cup goji berries

shredded coconut (before toasting)

Toasted shredded coconut

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. In a large bowl, place the rolled oats, mixed nuts and cinnamon. Give it a good toss to so that they are well combined.

2) In a small pot, heat the olive oil and molasses on low heat till smooth. Drizzle over the oats mixture and mix till well combined.

3) Pour the mixture on a line tray and bake for about 35-40 mins, stirring every 10 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Pour it back into the large bowl, and mix in the raisins and goji berries. Once the mixture is completely cooled, stir in the toasted coconut.

Gingery & coconutty granola

Enjoy on its own (it makes a great snack!) or with your favourite yogurt! (:

Food Made With Love Watermark 3 Black

PS: Did you notice the new logo for Food Made With Love? hehe Hope you guys like it and I just want to thank you for your continuous support and love for my posts! I won’t be here if not for you all, so thank you heaps! x

Have a great week ahead! Till the next post, remember to always cook and bake with love!