Biscoff Snickerdoodle Cookie Explosion Cheesecake

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Biscoff Snickerdoodle Cookie Explosion Cheesecake

Biscoff Snickerdoodle Cookie Explosion Cheesecake! Because why not combine three awesome things? Perfection!

But… it doesn’t taste like a snickerdoodle cookie, it tastes like a cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and cinnamon sugar. 

That’s what I kept saying as I tried recipe after recipe claiming to be the best snickerdoodle cheesecake all over Pinterest. I get it, a snickerdoodle is basically a plain cookie with a slight tang from the cream of tarter and that cinnamon sugar punch on the outside, so how can you really achieve that in a cheesecake?

A slice of biscoff snickerdoodle cheesecake on a white dessert plate. There is a dollop of whipped cream on the plate next to the cheesecake. The creamy cheesecake has a cinnamon sugar snickerdoodle topping.

Well, you play around a lot and end up with this beauty, Biscoff Snickerdoodle Cookie Explosion Cheesecake. Because why not take a simple cheesecake and make EXTRAORDINARY?! It’s like a cheesecake and Biscoff snickerdoodle exploded in your mouth.

We needed something to really bring that cinnamon sugar cookie taste so we scratched the mere dredging of cinnamon sugar all over the top and went for a streusel instead. Instant cookie oomph. 

A slice of biscoff snickerdoodle cheese cake on a white dessert plate. The cheesecake has a snickerdoodle, cinnamony topping.Read more

Fresh Blueberry Frosting

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Fresh Blueberry Frosting is a light and creamy frosting, whipped into fluffy blueberry loveliness. A dollop of this frosting is sweet heaven on a cupcake. On a spoon, on a cracker, or on an actual cake this blueberry buttercream frosting is irresistible.

fresh blueberry frosting on white cupcakes on platter

I’ve been making Fresh Strawberry Frosting for several years now and it’s easily the most requested frosting I make. However, blueberries were on sale a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t resist playing with my recipe and switching it up to make a blueberry buttercream frosting.

I’m a blueberry lover for life and I suspected we’d love this new frosting as much or maybe even more than the strawberry version. As it turned out, I was right. I topped this Gluten Free White Cake (baked into cupcakes this time) with the blueberry frosting.

My helper had a lot of fun swirling the topping onto each cupcake. If you haven’t watched his little hands help with the frosting, it’s a fun watch. (Says the mama who knows that he’ll be a teenager in a couple of weeks.)

I probably don’t even need to mention it, but this frosting is also lovely spread on graham crackers. This is a taste test requirement every time we have frosting in the house.

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that I have made this frosting more than a few times without a cake to put it on. There’s no shame in my frosting game.

cupcake with blueberry frosting

Kitchen Tip: I use this mixer, these cheap

The six pillars of healthy work-life balance

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Good work-life balance can sometimes feel elusive and unattainable, so we’re breaking it down into its six key pillars

The six pillars of healthy work-life balance

Poor work-life balance can snatch life’s joyous moments away from us, and be detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing. But levelling it out isn’t usually straightforward. Here, with the help of Dr Kirstie Fleetwood Meade, we’ve identified six key pillars of work-life balance on which to lay your new foundation.

Your ‘why’

It’s pretty impossible to set off on any journey if you don’t know where you’re heading, which is why working out what you’re seeking should be your first step.

“Spend some time visualising what an ‘ideal’ work-life balance would look like to you,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “It may be that this visualisation seems really out of reach right now. If it currently feels like it’s a three out of 10 in terms of how aligned you are with this ideal, how could you nudge it up to a four? Focusing on the little steps can make this seem more achievable.

“Next, ask yourself why it’s important to you. If it’s to feel less stressed, why? Does it allow you to be more present with your family? The clearer you are in your ‘why’, the easier it will be to say ‘yes’ to the things that lead you closer to it and ‘no’ to the things that don’t.”

Your values and priorities

Once you’ve explored your ‘why’, Dr Fleetwood Meade recommends shifting your focus to your key values. These are the beliefs that help guide us to live a life that is meaningful to us, she explains.

“Being crystal clear on your values makes decision-making around work-life balance easier,” she continues. “Some example values are: adventure, curiosity, power, fitness, freedom, fun, compassion, self-development, connection, love, equality – but there are many, many more.”

What role do your values currently play in your life, and what would a better work-life balance do for your values?

Your barriers or derailers

“Changing habits, making decisions, and saying no can all be emotionally draining,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “Which makes it all the more important to be able to pre-empt your likely ‘derailers’ – the things that will throw your work-life balance off track, or get in the way.”

Spend some time thinking about what exactly these might be for you, and consider how you can address them, plan for them, and get support with them.

Your worth and your infallibility

“It’s so important to look after ourselves just as well as we look after others, but if that’s challenging for you, I often reference the classic ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “In my therapy work, I’m also a big fan of the idea of the ‘both/and’ – the idea that two things that may seem opposing can actually be true at the same time. Often we get sucked into black-and-white thinking – e.g. if I am the best colleague I can be, that means I need to be always ‘on

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

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Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This is spinach salad at its very best! With crunchy bacon and fabulous homemade salad dressing, this salad gets devoured every time I make it!

This is a perfect holiday (and every other day of the year) salad. I don’t even know where to begin with this spinach salad. When you read what the ingredients are you might think…”what’s so special about this?”, but the combination of the salty bacon with the creamy cottage cheese and flavorful swiss cheese just rocks the taste buds in all the right ways.

a photo of a large glass bowl full of a fresh spinach salad topped with thinly sliced red onions, cottage cheese, crispy bacon bits and shredded swiss cheese.

 

Every time I make this recipe I make a whole boat load, and every single time I have brought it to an event the whole boat load is gone. One of the best things about this salad is that it is perfect for holiday dinners and get-togethers simply because it doesn’t require any produce that could be out of season and the ingredients list is short and simple. You can eat this beauty ALL YEAR LONG! It’s seriously so good!

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Make it, eat it, enjoy it…and you can thank me later. In fact, add it to your Thanksgiving menu right now because I am for sure!

a photo of a large glass bowl full of fresh spinach salad topped with thinly sliced red onions, cottage cheese, bacon, swiss cheese and a homemade poppy seed dressing.Read more

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

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A wellbeing ritual favoured by the Victorians might just be the answer to our 21st-century ‘nervous ailments’...

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

I daydream, sometimes, about the sea. It’s not far from my house, but always feels like it’s somewhere foreign and exhilarating whenever I act on the urge to hear the waves crashing. Just being able to see the horizon, and take in the shifting shades of blue, grey, and green, brings me a calmness. It restores me, even if for just a few moments before the children’s demands for ice cream, chips, or a toilet visit bring me back to reality.

A close friend and I donned every layer we owned and wrapped our young daughters up to collect pebbles on the beach all through last winter. We couldn’t feel our noses or toes in the bitter, salty air, but we breathed it in and came back to our cars with burning cheeks, tired babies, and soaring souls. School and work have kicked in now, and so our trips are sporadic. But we reminisce and talk about why we needed it at that time. As my friend said: “I wanted to be witness to something that was bigger than me – the sea – and to gain perspective after an overwhelming period of our lives.”

The restorative virtues of the seaside have been praised for years, even before the mid-1800s when the first trains trundled from smoky London to the open horizons and pebbly beaches at Brighton. It was a whole century before this that the concept of moving from one place to another for your health had started gaining traction in Europe, where a ‘change of air’ was prescribed for patients suffering from ‘nervous ailments’.

By the Victorian era, the idea was widely accepted, and different locations gained favour for the treatment of different illnesses. These were both physical and mental maladies, including the illnesses collectively called consumption, of which tuberculosis was one of the most deadly. Trips to the Alps, though, for its clean, crisp air would only have been possible for the wealthy few.

There were, however, people trying to open up green spaces for everyone, as understanding deepened about the spread of diseases. Helen Antrobus is the assistant national curator for cultural landscapes at the National Trust. She explains: “It was generally understood that coal and smoke-filled air could be damaging to the lungs, and in the mid-19th century the belief that water-borne diseases, like cholera, were air-borne still prevailed. You can understand, then, why accessing clean air was so important. For the rich, accessing new climates abroad for health benefits was easily attainable, but not so much for those working and living in dire conditions.”

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

The Public Parks movement – which regulated holidays for workers and cheap railways – as well as the work of Octavia Hill and the other co-founders of the National Trust, gave people access to green spaces, both nearby and beyond. Helen adds that Octavia Hill advocated for pockets of green space, playgrounds for her tenants, and outdoor ‘living rooms’ for the urban poor.

This was a time when factories belched pollution above cramped, cobbled streets, and so a ‘change of air’ for the majority meant seeking out

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