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.


The Best Horror Podcasts to Listen to Today

Listening to podcasts is simply one of the many ways you can entertain yourself while spending most of your time at home. Now, we all know that quarantining ourselves and limiting contact with other people is important to contain the spread of COVID-19. So, we have to find ways to keep our life at home fun! If you like listening to podcasts and want a little extra spice and scare, here are some great horror podcasts!

The NoSleep Podcast

First off, let’s start with one of the most popular which is the NoSleep Podcast. It’s become one of the most well-known horror podcasts because it’s born from the subreddit of the same name. With above 300 episodes already and about 5 stories per episode, you’ll have the option of binge-listening or just listening to it in the background while doing your work. Additionally, each story is told in the first person. So, as a listener, you can really immerse yourself (if that’s a good thing).

The Dark Verse

The Dark Verse is another great podcast to listen to, mainly because of its vibe and simplicity. For one, they create a great vibe because of the signature vocal filter added to the narrator’s voice. This horror podcast also already has above a hundred episodes. The great thing about The Dark Verse is that it already has something like its own universe of fantastical and metaphysical horrors. Each story also leaves you with something to think about, which is always a bonus!

Knifepoint Horror

Speaking of simplicity, Knifepoint Horror is another podcast that’s popularly known for exactly that! In fact, it really does fit the definition of simplicity. There are no sudden bursts of background music to fill in the silences and it also only relies on only one speaker. It’s very stripped down and that really adds to the creepy atmosphere of each story. There are about 50 episodes already so you can binge if you want.

Video Palace

All the podcasts we’ve mentioned so far have a lot of episodes. But if you’re hoping for something short yet still intense, Video Palace might just be the one for you. It starts when the main character finds a strange white VHS tape. Then, he and his girlfriend fall into a life of occult mystery! We’ll stop the tease there. This podcast runs for 10 episodes and the quality of each is enhanced because of the intervention of real-life horror writers and filmmakers!

Limetown

Limetown is known for having one of the best production values among horror podcasts. It features the story of a fictional radio host trying to figure out the mystery of several people vanishing from their town. The storytelling is superb and the whole ambiance they’ve created really makes the podcast worth listening to.


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.


How to Clean and Store Wigs for Cosplay

When you’re a cosplayer, it’s essential to keep several various styles, length, and color of wigs in your collection. However, storing synthetic or human hair wigs need careful attention to make them last longer.

Here are some tips on how to clean and store your wigs for cosplay.

Keep your wigs away from direct heat and sunlight. Do not use it when you’re in the pool, at the beach or in a sauna.
Designate areas for wig storage. They should have a storage box, drawer or cabinet of their own apart from your clothes, accessories, and armor for cosplay.

Before storing your wigs, they have to be brushed. Make sure that the wig is not damp or has styling product residue before storing it away. Wigs should be brushed with a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles before washing.

When combing, use one hand to hold up the wig, and another hand to hold the comb. Start from the ends to the base when combing to avoid damaging the wig.

Wigs that need to be stored for a long time should be folded in half from ear to ear and parted in the center. If it does not have a center parting, place tissue paper on the crown so that it does not lose its shape. Then place the wig in its original packaging or wig cap.

Wigs that are used on a regular basis should be kept on a wig stand or a mannequin. You can display some of your wigs, but make sure that you inspect them for dirt or damage.

When traveling, wigs should be stored in a container separate from the other items or you could buy a customized wig box and a foldable wig stand for such purposes.

Do not use hot water when washing your wigs. Soak the wig for 3 to 5 minutes in cool water with a teaspoonful of wig shampoo. Do not rub or swish the wig, instead, swirl the wig around the soapy water after soaking. Then run clean water on your wig under the tap to remove the excess shampoo. Finally, wrap it in a towel and gently press to remove the excess water. Let it dry naturally.

You can use a leave-on conditioner on the wig after washing to make it look shiny, but do not comb or style your wig yet while it’s still wet. Others don’t recommend soaking it in soapy water because it can cause tangles. Instead, you can wash the wig under running water.

Synthetic wigs should be washed after every 15 to 20 wears using a synthetic wig shampoo. Remember that synthetic hair has different care requirements from human hair, so you should always use the correct product.

Do not use your regular hair products on human hair wigs. It should be washed every 7 to 14 wears, but if you feel that it’s not necessary, then refrain from washing it, because it shortens its lifespan.


Home Items That You’re Better Off Throwing Away

Like it or not, there are everyday home items that you’re not supposed to keep for weeks or months, because they can cause health problems later.

Some of these might seem harmless and you might not have experienced any consequences for keeping them, but the accumulation of harmful chemicals and continuous exposure to these will surely take their toll.

Dish Sponge – This should be replaced every month because it’s a breeding ground for bacteria even if you make sure to dry it after every use.

Spices – If you think spices don’t expire, then you’re gravely mistaken. You can only keep them for a few years even if they are preserved and stored well. Whole spices can only last for two years, seeds for three years, ground spices one year, and ground roots two years.

Expired Makeup – When was the last time you checked the expiration date of your cosmetics? Don’t hesitate to throw them away if they’re expired just because they’re expensive.

Old Socks – Socks are affordable, so why keep them for years if they have holes, are frayed or loose?

Old Underwear – Maybe you need to buy new underwear if you haven’t shopped for a new set in years. Check your undies for holes, frayed fabric, loose bands, and stains or discoloration.

Toothbrush – You need to replace your toothbrush once every four months. They can be a breeding ground for germs like your kitchen sponge.

Dish Towels – Throw away your dish towels after a year of use or if they are too worn out to use. If you wash and dry them right after use, they can last longer than 12 months.

Towels – The same goes for the towels you use on your body. Make sure to wash your bath towels weekly and replace them if they are worn out or stained.

Pillows – You need to say goodbye to your pillows if you have been using them for since your teenage years. Replace them with high-quality foam pillows and change the pillowcases regularly.

Wire Hangers – Even if they look sturdier than plastic and wooden hangers, they will eventually leave stains on your clothes if they get rusty.

Air Filters – When was the last time you had your air conditioner serviced? If you don’t clean the air filter regularly, then it’s time to replace them. Ideally, air filters should be cleaned monthly to extend its lifespan.

Potpourri – Do you keep these cute bottled scents in your bathroom or one of your bedrooms? It’s time to dump them if they have been in your home for years, because they will only attract dirt and dust.

Water Filters – Do you use water dispensers at home? You should check if your water filters have been replaced recently. Experts recommend that you buy a new one once every six months.

Plastic Containers – Do you keep plastic food containers and bottles because you might need them in the future? You might want to check them for stains or odors. The materials in the plastic when exposed to the elements can stick to your food and become a health hazard.


Causes of and Treatments for Bow Legs and Knock Knees

Most people with these conditions have had them since birth, but there are solutions that could remedy the odd leg curvature.

What are Bow Legs?

A person has bow legs, or genu varum, if the ankles touch and the knees are far apart when in an upright position. You might see this condition in most babies, but this is normal because of their position in the womb.

Luckily, most children’s bow legs are corrected by the time they reach the age of 3, but this can be a problem if it persists until the child is 8 years old. Unfortunately, if no intervention is done, the child will likely have bow legs for the rest of his/her life.

So, what causes bow legs? If the condition is persistent into late childhood, it might have been caused by obesity, Blount’s diseases, vitamin D deficiency or rickets, and other rare genetic disorders.

What are Knock Knees?

To determine if you have knock knees, stand straight in front of a mirror and observe if your knees touch but your ankles don’t. Usually, people with this condition also have an awkward walking gait, especially among children aged 2 or 3 years. The condition, also called genu valgum, can become severe as the child grows older and can even be a symptom of a bone disorder if it is not corrected by the time the child reaches 8 years.

So, what causes knock knees? Among very young children, knock knees can help maintain balance while they’re still trying to learn how to walk, but it can become a problem if the condition worsens because of bone disease, rickets, bone infection, injury to the shinbone, and obesity.

What are the Remedies?

Bow legs are not treated unless it causes a severe curve in the person’s legs, making it difficult to walk. Surgical procedures might be recommended to correct the curvature; such as tibial osteotomy, which involves the cutting of the part of the shinbone and attaching a frame outside the legs; or a guided growth treatment, which stops the growth on one side of the shinbone to let the abnormal part grow healthier.

Some doctors in Singapore might not approve of braces and corrective shoes for children because these can interfere with the child’s bone development. Knock knees among children are usually corrected by the time they reach puberty, unless there is a more serious underlying cause that must be treated.

In most cases, knock knees do not need treatment unless it causes difficulty in walking, arthritis, and lowers the self-esteem of the individual because of its appearance. For severe cases, knee braces may be worn until the age of 7 years, while surgery is recommended if the condition is not corrected after late childhood.


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