Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries and 29

Well, this is my Birthday week. It’s my last year in the 20’s and although I really don’t feel any different, I am looking forward to what this year will hold for me in all senses.
I have to be honest I am actually happy to be getting older. I feel sexier, healthier and definitely way more comfortable under my own skin than I think I have my whole life or at least since I was 15 when things were easy and simple.

I have gone through so much in the past 9 years I think I could write a book.
I’ll tell you the top 9 things that happened to me since I turned 20; seeing that I’m turning 29 I’ll put one down for each year in my 20’s.

  1. I got married 9 years ago to the most amazing person ever. Not only is he intelligent, handsome, courteous, thoughtful, humble, funny and understanding. He also makes me smile every single day, his faith in me and support are things that I can only thank God for. I know that I am lucky and I will strive forever to be the best wife/friend/woman I can possibly be for him but mainly because I need him in my life (so for me)!
  2. I moved to the States 9 years ago, leaving behind my roots and following my husband along with what ended up being an amazing experience allowing me to become cultured in all aspects of life all the while sharing my experiences with a wonderful man by my side. I started my whole life from scratch, moving from Georgia to Florida back to Georgia. In this time I found some amazing people that are still close friends, I had a wonderful job, and I became a US Citizen.
  3. I got to see alot of the US; New York, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Beverly Hills, LA, California, Savannah, Atalanta, Delaware, Annapolis, Charleston, Wilmington NC, Raleigh, All the Keys, Hilton Head SC, Tampa, St. Petersburg FL, Clearwater FL, Boston, St. Augustine. How lucky am I! All of which are unique and beautiful. I found something I love in each city.
  4. I learned a lot about health, from very Normal Eating to becoming a Vegetarian to Veganism, back to Normal Eating with a more wholesome, organic and biological aspect. I am thoroughly in awe about how much there is to discover in this aspect of life. Nutrition is a passion of mine.
  5. I was able to hang out in some of the best clubs in the USA with amazing DJs from Pete Tong, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Morillo, Deep Dish, Flosstradamus, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, etc….I also got to see Velvet Revolver play at Mansion in Miami; as well as (ok, hang on……) Hoobastank, remember “The Reason”, well I loved that song and they played in St. Petersburg, Dave Navaro again down in Miami, Bengi Madden with Paris Hilton (yeah back when they were dating), etc…
  6. I became a Yogi. I love Yoga the way it makes me feel is something out of this world. My favorites are Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. It really has strengthened my body. I also started with Pilates and find that the mixture between yoga and pilates is a fantastic combo. Not to mention that 6 month ago I started the Tracy Anderson Meta Program and this has been the best challenge became addiction, I can’t live without her 6 days a week. My Body looks better than ever.
  7. I wanted to go to an Island for some relax, sun and romance with my Husband. We did! Yes, it was Maroma in Cancun Mexico. What a paradise that was I mean the powder white sand, the massage in a cabana over the sea at sunset with only the sound of the waves, the lobster candlelight dinner with our own little cabana out in the middle of the sea, the bubble rose petal bath, the pool on our balcony overlooking the sea with champagne, the amazing fresh fish fished everyday and cooked to perfection, and all the romance that surrounded us the whole 7 days.
  8. We wanted to move to Italy and not save that on a bucket list, so we decided to sell all, quit our jobs and move to Italy. Has it been a journey, I mean coming back home and bringing back my amazing Husband has been a reward of a lifetime, challenging but rewarding. I love my country and it’s such a different experience to see it with him. We are taking full advantage of the farmers markets, fresh foods, wines and amazing cuisine. We went to Tuscany, Positano, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Verona, Rome just to name a few. Oh man, I’m falling in love with my country more and more.
  9. Oh, did I mention we went to Paris. Yeah, such a gorgeous country. Okay I know that this is a lot of countries, but if there is one thing I love (and Thank God my husband does too) is to travel, we really love to take trips and see things that we will be able to enjoy now that we are young. We are making the most of our lives. So that when we have kids we can sit back and relax. (or enjoy their craziness). Ha!

Now, back to the recipe of the day (or that I will eat for my Birthday). I think it’s perfect because you can maintain your summer figure without giving up on a delicious dessert and still reap the benefits and nutrients that your body actually needs from the Strawberries and Dark Chocolate. This is definitely a favorite of ours and also just so simple to make. I usually make about 250gr. and save them in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

250 gr. Strawberries, washed and patted dry

1 bar Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Parchment Baking Paper

Get a smaller pot fill with water only about a little over a quarter, place over medium heat bring to a boil. In the meantime get a smaller bowl (make sure it’s strong enough to withstand heat glass or ceramic should do the trick) that will be able to fit in the pot, get your chocolate bar and break it up placing inside of the bowl.

Once the water is boiling lower heat to a minimum and place the bowl with the chocolate inside give it a few minutes and you will see that the chocolate will start to melt, stir gently with a spoon and when it’s completely melted you may turn off heat.

Prepare a flat dish with the parchment paper laid out on top of it and now grab your strawberries, dip one by one and lay gently onto the parchment paper. Place the strawberries in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes then eat. Or leave them in the fridge until ready to eat. Simple.

The method I used to melt the chocolate is called Bain-Marie you can learn more here

NewYork Style Yogurt Cheesecake

This one is dedicated to my beautiful little sister, which just so happens like many of us to love cheesecake. She has never been to New York or to the USA for that matter but she just loves cheesecake, now of course the Italian style cheesecake is very different from the traditional and delicious New York style cheesecake and although the Italian one is pretty darn good, nothing beats the New York Cheesecake.

My sister being a huge sweet tooth, something that you (mythinreaders) know that I am not, requested a cheesecake for her birthday so I decided anyways that I would go on a huge endeavor and try to replicate this delicious American dessert (which by the way I do love myself). It was her birthday this past week so I made her the Cheesecake, she loves the crust so I made the crust as high as the cake with fresh strawberries as the topping. I made my own strawberry sauce from scratch and it was simple, delicious and fast. I am sure that you will love it. I also found here in Italy Philadelphia cream cheese made of yogurt so I decided to use that but you can use the regular version I am sure it will taste just as good. Just make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.

This is an always welcome dessert in my household, it is also my husband’s favorite; his Mom always makes sure that during the holidays he finds the mini versions. Those are perfect because they keep you from eating too much of it, it’s fantastic for portion control, also because cheesecake is so good that you could honestly just continue eating it.
I think Cheesecake is most everyone’s favorite however; and a fantastic treat. So why not share it with everyone out there. I hope that you enjoy if and don’t be afraid of making it; it’s not as hard as it seems and really is worth it. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

3 cups of crushed graham crackers

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling:

4-8oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese

8oz. Sour cream

4 eggs

½ tbsp. Lemon zest

1 cup Sugar

1 tbsp. Vanilla

2 tbsp. Flour

For the Sauce:

1 cup Strawberries, Fresh pureed

2 tbsp Sugar

2 tbsp powdered Sugar

2 tbsp. Cointreau, optional

Top off with fresh cut Strawberries

 

Preheat oven at 550° F.  In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the crust well and pour in a medium spring-form pan, press the cookie crust down evenly on to the bottom and up the sides of the pan. When it is all set put in the oven and allow to bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.

In the meantime in a bowl or mixer bowl add your cream cheese, sugar, zest and vanilla, beat until softened and then add your sour cream and flour and do the same. Now add your eggs in one by one and mix well, don’t overbeat. Once all your ingredients are perfectly incorporated pour in the prepared crust and bake at 550° for 10 minutes, then lower immediately to 200° and bake for 40 minutes or when the center is only slightly wobbly when shaken.

Remove from the over and allow to cool for at least 3 hours outside of fridge and then allowing to chill in the fridge for about 6-8 hours or even overnight.

Put all your ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil set aside and let cool.

Pour over the cake evenly, layer your strawberries sliced in half over the cake and serve. Delicious!!!

Grapefruit Yogurt Pound Cake

As you (mythinreaders) may know I love home-baked cakes all natural with no frosting whatsoever of any sort. I don’t know why; but there is just something about frosting on my cakes or dessert that completely turns me off. I love to have a delicious moist cake and that’s it.

I am no big sweet tooth; the thing that I crave regarding sweets (if ever) is a good homemade cake (no frosting) or a plain cheesecake with strawberries. Oh let’s not forget a cinnamon roll is great too!!

However, when I do have dessert I like it as healthy as possible. You can substitute just about anything and still have a delicious dessert, I have never had a healthier version of a dessert that I thought tasted nasty or wasn’t worth eating. Then again maybe I’ve just been lucky. HA!

In this recipe I use non-fat natural yogurt, I love grapefruit so I used that for zest instead of lemon (although you can use lemon because it tastes just as good). I used extra virgin olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil, and last but not least I used kosher salt.  I also always in everything I bake if eggs are needed I use cage-free natural eggs.

I made this cake accompanied by fresh cut strawberries and powdered sugar for Easter, seeing that this is the season of strawberries. This was a great and fresh end to a wonderful Easter lunch. I hope that you all had a wonderful day and please enjoy!!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of Flour

2 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Sea salt

1 cup Non-fat plain yogurt

1 cup Sugar

3 Cage-free Eggs

Grapefruit zest, of 1 grapefruit

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 cup Olive oil

Preheat the oven at 350°. Butter and flour a loaf pan.

Mix all dry ingredients flour, baking powder, salt. In another bowl mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, olive oil and vanilla.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour into the pan evenly and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Sift powdered sugar on top and serve with strawberries.