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4 Dark Chocolate Recipes

Can’t get enough of dark chocolate? Here are different ways to enjoy them with your family.

No-Egg Black Forest Cake

Ingredients: 1 chocolate sponge cake, 4 cups beaten whipped cream, 16 pieces halved cherries, ¾ cup water, ½ cup sugar, 1 ¼ cups chocolate curls, and 10 whole cherries

Preparation: Make a sugar syrup by combining water and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and cool. Meanwhile, slice the sponge cake into 3 equal horizontal layers. Take the bottommost layer and soak it with 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup. Next, spread 1 cup beaten whipped cream using a spatula and arrange half the halved cherries on it. Repeat the process for the second layer.

Place the topmost layer and soak it with the remaining syrup, spread remaining whipped cream on top and cover all the sides of the cake including the second and bottom layers. Sprinkle ¾ cup chocolate curls on top and distribute ½ cup of the curls on the sides of the cake. Place the whole cherries on top. Refrigerate until cooled before serving.

Cola Chocolate Ice Cream Float

Ingredients: 2 cups chilled Coca-Cola, ½ cup chocolate ice cream, and 2 scoops chocolate ice cream for toppings

Preparation: In a blender, combine, Coca-Cola and ½ cup chocolate ice cream until smooth. Serve immediately in tall glasses with a topping of chocolate ice cream.

Mango Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients: 1 ½ cups whipped cream, ¼ cup mango puree, 1 7-inch chocolate sponge cake, and 1 cup sugar syrup

Cake Toppings: 1 cup whipped cream, 3 tablespoons mangoes, and ¼ cup chocolate vermicelli

Preparation: To make the cake, whisk ¼ whipped cream with mango puree until smooth then set aside. Meanwhile, divide the chocolate sponge cake into 2 horizontal halves. Soak the bottom layer with ½ sugar syrup then spread the mango-cream mixture on top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Repeat the same process for the other half of the cake and refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, run a pastry comb on the sides of the cake. Fill a piping bag with 1 cup whipped cream and make borders for the cake. Next, fill a piping bag with chocolate vermicelli and make swirls around the cake. Once you’re done decorating, garnish cake with chopped mangoes.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Ingredients: 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup butter and additional 2 tablespoons butter, and powdered sugar

Preparation: Grease ramekins of custard cups with 2 tablespoons butter then arrange them in a baking pan. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, combine ¾ cup butter with bittersweet chocolate until the chocolate has melted. Stir continuously then set aside to cool. In a bowl, beat eggs with granulated sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla using a mixer on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes.

Once thick and yellowish in color, gradually fold in 1/3 of the chocolate mixture. Next, fold the remaining chocolate mixture and flour gradually until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins or cups. Bake for 12 minutes at 425°F. Cook for 3 minutes then loosen the cakes from the sides and invert into plates. Sift powdered sugar on top before serving.


Healthy Whole Grains You Should Include in Your Diet

Most dietitians consider whole wheat food healthier than refined grains because all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are intact in the germ, bran, and endosperm of the kernels.

Examples of whole grain food include bread, pasta, cereals, grain snacks, and flours. For a healthy diet, doctors recommend that at least a half of your daily grain consumption is made up of 100% whole grains.

These are the ingredients you need to find on the labels to make sure that the whole wheat food you’re eating is the real deal.

Wheat is high in gluten and is usually made into pasta and bread.

Brown Rice, as well as red, purple, and black rice, are considered whole grain because the germ and bran have not been removed. They can be easily digested even by infants and are also gluten-free.

Rye, sometimes labeled rye berries, contains a high level of fiber in both its bran and endosperm, that is why it has a low glycemic index level.

Amaranth is known for its high protein content and gluten-free characteristics.

Freekeh, also known as durum, farik or frikeh, is harvested while still young, then rubbed and roasted to make it easier to cook.

Barley is among the oldest cultivated grains and can adapt to any climate. It’s rich in fiber, copper, manganese, and selenium, but is difficult to prepare and is slow-cooking.

Buckwheat isn’t a grain, but a rhubarb, so it’s ideal for gluten-free diets. It can adapt to poor soils and is a hardy plant resistant to most pests.

Einkorn is the oldest known wheat variety and is high in protein, potassium, beta-carotene, and phosphorus.

Bulgur is easy to cook, because it’s the result of wheat kernels that have been cleaned, dried, boiled, and ground.

Quinoa isn’t a grain, but is related to beets and Swiss chard. It’s commonly found in salads and cereals and is rich in essential amino acids.

Farro or Emmer is another ancient wheat and is the main ingredient for the semolina flour.

Corn is a cheaper and healthier substitute to rice, plus it’s rich in fiber and antioxidants.

Kañiwa is rich in protein and has complete amino acids. It’s also much easier to prepare than its cousin quinoa.

Millet, which includes foxtail, pearl, proso, finger or ragi, and fonio, can be used in various dishes and even beverages. It’s also gluten-free and high in antioxidants and proteins.

Oats can be processed and not lose both its germ and bran, so oat flour and oats are still whole grain food. They contain beta-glucan and avenanthramides.

Sorghum or Milo can be used for flour, beer, popcorn, porridge, and baked food. It’s gluten-free and an ideal whole grain substitute for individuals who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease.

Teff is easy to grow and has a high iron and calcium content.

Spelt has higher protein content than most wheat, but is rarely cultivated commercially.

Triticale is a hybrid of rye and durum wheat recommended to consumers who like organic food.


6 Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes

Nothing beats delicious fresh fruits for dessert, which is why you should treat yourself to these guilt-free fruit salad recipes.

Ambrosia Salad

Ingredients: 15 ounces drained canned mandarin oranges, 1 ½ cups cool whip, ½ cup sour cream, 1 cup shredded coconut, ¾ cup toasted pecans, ¾ cup stemmed and drained maraschino cherries, 1 cup chopped pineapple, and 3 cups mini marshmallows

Preparation: In a bowl, fold sour cream and cool whip, then gradually add pineapple, oranges, shredded coconut, cherries, marshmallows, and pecans. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Fruit Compote

Ingredients: 12 ounces strawberry, ½ ounce blanched almonds, 2 teaspoons sugar, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, 2 pears, and 1 orange

Preparation: In a saucepan over medium heat, stir in orange juice, almond extract, sugar, and pears. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until the pears are soft, then remove from heat. Add strawberries then transfer to a lidded container. Refrigerate for 1 ½ hours. When serving, divide among glasses and garnish with almonds.

Filipino-Style Fruit Salad

Ingredients: 4 cups shredded young coconut, 30 ounces drained cannned fuirt cocktail, 1 cup drained pineapple tidbits, 15 ounces drained canned sweet corn kernels, 12 ounces drained kaong, 12 ounces drained nata de coco, 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, and 14 ounces cream

Preparation: In a bowl, stir in fruit cocktail, shredded coconut, pineapple, and corn kernels. Gradually, stir in kaong, nata de coco, cream, and condensed milk. Chill while covered for at least 2 hours before serving.

Winter Fruit Salad

Ingredients: 8 peeled and segmented mandarin oranges, 4 apples, 4 ripe kiwis, 4 bananas, 1 ½ cups pomegranate arils, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey

Preparation: To make the dressing, whisk sugar and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Gradually stir in vegetable and olive oils, honey, and poppy seeds. In a separate bowl, toss oranges, apples, kiwis, bananas, and pomegranate arils. Pour and toss dressing with he mixed fruits before serving.

Berry Cheesecake Salad

Ingredients: 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 8 ounces cool whip, ½ cup sugar, 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup blackberries, and 3 cups strawberries

Preparation: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, the fold in cool whip. Gradually add blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Grape Fruit Salad

Ingredients: 2 pounds seedless red grapes, 1 pound seedless green grapes, 2 tablespoons honey, 2/3 cup sour cream, 6 ounces Neufchatel cheese, 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¾ cup pecans, and 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Preparation: In a bowl, whip Neufchatel cheese with an mixer until fluffy and smooth. Gradually add sour cream, granulated sugar, honey, and vanilla until combined. In another bowl, toss green and red grapes and ½ cup pecans. Pour and toss mixture until coated then serve with sprinkled brown sugar and remaining pecans.


3 Alternative Recipes to Your Regular Lasagna

Can’t get enough of lasagna? Here three fun and unique ways to make your favorite pasta recipe.

Taco Lasagna

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, 2/3 cup water, ½ cup green pepper, ½ cup onion, 15 ounces rinsed and drained black beans, 15 ounces undrained Mexican tomatoes, 6 flour tortillas, 16 ounces refried beans, 1 envelope taco seasoning, and 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preparation: In a skillet, cook beef, onion, and green pepper. Drain excess liquid then add taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil then simmer while uncovered for 2 minutes before stirring in tomatoes and black beans.

Simmer again for another 10 minutes. Prepare the baking dish by placing tortillas at the bottom then spreading half the beef mixture and refried beans. Layer with a cup of cheese on top. Fill the next layers in the same sequence. Bake while covered for 25 to 30 minutes in 350°F.

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna

Ingredients: 10 ounces squeeze-dried spinach, 1 pound Italian sausage, ½ cup water, 24 ounces spaghetti sauce, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded part -skim mozzarella, 9 no-cook lasagna noodles, and grated parmesan

Preparation: Cook the sausage first in a skillet then drain excess liquid before stirring in water, spaghetti sauce, salt, and Italian seasoning. Spread a cup of mixture in a greased slow-cooker, then layer with the lasagna noodles.

In a bowl, mix spinach, ricotta, and 1 cup mozzarella. Layer some of this spinach-cheese mixture on top of the sauce. Repeat the layers then sprinkle with cheese on top. Cook for 3 to 4 hours then serve with parmesan cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Ingredients: 1 ½ pounds ground chicken, 12 ounces Buffalo wing sauce, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 onion, 1 grated carrot, 1 celery rib, 2 garlic cloves, 15 ounces drained diced tomatoes, ½ cup water, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 9 lasagna noodles, 1 ¾ cups crumbled blue cheese, 1 lightly beaten egg, ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, 3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, and 2 cups shredded white cheddar

Preparation: Cook chicken, carrot, onion, and celery until the meat is no longer pink, then add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes before stirring in Buffalo wing sauce, tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 1 hour while cooking the noodles separately.

In a small bowl, prepare a mixture of egg, parsley, ricotta, and ¾ cup blue cheese while preheating the oven to 350°F. Layer the baking dish with sauce, lasagna noodles, sauce, ricotta mixture, mozzarella, cheddar, and blue cheese in the same sequence. Bake while covered for 20 minutes, then bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.


25 Edible Flowers You Need to Know About

There are nearly 50 types of edible flowers that you can eat, but the best part is that you can also grow them in your backyard. Here are some of the edible flowers you might want to try in your recipes.

  1. Arugula Blossoms taste lighter than the arugula leaves and can be used for dishes like scrambled eggs and pesto.
  2. Basil Blossoms can be used for making tea and usually has a lighter taste than the basil leaves. They can also be made into vinegar and oil.
  3. Marigold or Calendula can be dried and used for omelet, bread, and casseroles as a better and cheaper substitute for saffron.
  4. Anise Hyssop can be used to make tea or as an ingredient for pie, ice cream, and salad
  5. Carnation or Dianthus can be steeped in wine or made into candies and edible cake decorations. Did you also know that carnation is used to make chartreuse?

  1. Chamomile flowers are steeped to make tea, but they’re also good for cocktails, scallops, spring salad, and ice cream.
  2. Chicory buds or petals are usually pickled and are known for the slight bitter taste.
  3. Chrysanthemum is blanched and used in salads, but they can also be used as seasoning and stir-fry ingredient.
  4. Clover has medicinal qualities that make it an ideal ingredient to make tea. They also make great addition to salads.
  5. Dandelion can be consumed raw as long as you pick those flowers growing closest to the ground. Some can be steamed to make salads or made into wine.

  1. Fuchsia are used mainly as garnish for food because of the slight acidic taste.
  2. Gladiolus can be substituted for lettuce and will complement savory or sweet mousse and spread. Gladiolus can be cooked, too, or tossed in salads.
  3. Hibiscus is dried to make tea or tossed as a garnish in salads.
  4. Impatiens are known for their slightly sweet taste which make them ideal for garnishing drinks and salads.
  5. Jasmine flowers are used to add aroma to tea.

  1. Lavender is sweet and has slightly citrus notes, which make them ideal as garnishing for cakes, ice cream, champagne, stews, custards, and flans.
  2. Lemon Verbena is steeped to make tea, but the flowers can also be used to make flavored flan and custard.
  3. Lilac has a slightly bitter taste which make then ideal for salads.
  4. Nasturtium is one of the most common edible flowers you can buy in the market and may be used for dishes with cheese. They are also popular as salads, sandwiches, and appetizers.
  5. Pansy, especially the petals, have a mild taste which make them ideal as toppings for fruit salads, desserts, and soups.

  1. Radish flowers have a slightly spicy flavor and are used for salads and sautéed recipes.
  2. Rose petals can be used to make a variety of desserts, jellies, syrups, spreads, and flavored butters.
  3. Rosemary Flowers are milder than the leaves, that is why they are used as substitute to make subtle flavors for seafood, Mediterranean meat dishes, and dressings.
  4. Squash or Pumpkin Flowers taste just like squash or pumpkin. The blossoms can be substitutes for the squash or pumpkin dishes.
  5. Violets are known for their sweet scent. They can be used as toppings for desserts and cold drinks or as decorations for cakes.

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