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October 2016

National Chocolate Day: World’s 10 Weirdest Chocolates


October 28th is National Chocolate Day, so you have the perfect excuse to indulge in this sweet treat all you want. To really celebrate, we recommend getting adventurous and trying some new chocolate flavors we bet you never knew existed. If you’ve got the guts to try the weirdest chocolate bars from all over the world, here’s a useful guide to 10 of the most unusual flavors we found to start your culinary adventure.

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1. Have you ever heard of savory chocolate? It’s a delicious reality with the Sander’s Potato Chip Chocolate Bar. Milk chocolate packed with bits of potato chips might sound pretty weird, but the sweet and salty combination is surprisingly good and definitely worth trying on your journey of exploring new flavors.

2. Prefer something more unusual? No problem, Vosges Mo’s Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar is the perfect choice for those who love having chocolate for breakfast. Bits of hickory smoked bacon, Alderwood smoked salt, and 62% dark chocolate is a combo that’s as extraordinary as it is seductive – we’re thinking breakfast in bed. While this chocolate may sound totally off the wall, chocolate covered bacon has long been a weird and delicious treat found in the Southern US. If you like salty and sweet contrasts, this is a chocolate bar for you!

3. A great alternative to bacon & chocolate is The Hunger Games Beef Jerky & Smoked Mesquite Milk Bar from Wild Ophelia. This movie-inspired chocolate bar is sure be a fun and unusual gift to all the ‘Hunger Games’ lovers as well as those who prefer beef over bacon for breakfast.

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4. Want to baffle your taste buds even more? Try a Ramen Noodle Bar from Komforte Chockolates! Yes, there’s no mistake, dried ramen noodles in the chocolate give it a nice crunch, and make this bar a fun gift to remember those college days filled with a lot of Ramen noshing.

5. Are you one of those people who can’t live without Sriracha sauce? Then, the Sriracha Hot Sauce Spicy Chocolate Bar is made just for you! While for some the combination of garlic, chili, and chocolate is a little too much, for others it will definitely hit the spot and become a new go-to treat for their sweet & spicy cravings. If nothing else, this chocolate bar could serve as a fun and harmless prank to a friend that deserves it.

6. Sriracha wasn’t always the king of spice, there are those who will never forget the unique heat of wasabi. To sate their sweet teeth, the Lindt Company has come up with a Wasabi Dark Chocolate Bar. Move over sushi, this Japanese horseradish combined with 43% dark chocolate can blow your head off!

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7. Japan has plenty of interesting flavors to offer to any chocoholic. The Nestle company alone has introduced over 200 original flavors in Japan, earning Japanese chocolate its own special place on our list. Green colored Matcha Green Tea Kit Kat Bars, Zunda Kit Kats made from edamame, purple sweet potato Kit Kats, and smoky Gouda Cheese Kit Kats are just a few of the favorites on the local market. If you’re lucky, you can find some of these exotic flavors imported to your local Asian Market.

8. Another unique option that infuses Indian flavor is the Naga Bar from Vosges. Sweet curry powder and coconut flakes in a milk chocolate bar is definitely exotic enough to be worth trying.

9. There’s chocolate for everybody out there, even for smokers! Containing cigar leaves marinated in rum and cognac, Cigar Chocolate is made for nicotine and chocolate lovers alike.

10. Are these sweet treats not weird enough for you? Then you should consider trying ant-flavored Chocolate. But be warned this option is for the bravest and most adventurous. Containing real red fire ants, this chocolate is truly something worth experiencing in your life at least once, just like skydiving. What does it taste like? We’ll leave it up to you to find out!

There’s nothing wrong with more traditional flavors, but why not use today as a chance to expand your horizons? Get out there and explore new original flavors on National Chocolate Day, and let us know in the comments below about the most unusual chocolate you’ve ever tried.

Image #1 by LongitudeLatitude, Image #4 by stu_spivack, Image #6 by Austin Kirk, Image #7 by Lisa Pinehill, Image #8 by ChriZ TraX, Image #10 by Rick Hagerty.

Our 5 Favorite Fall DIY Projects

It’s time to break out sweaters and warm apple cider – fall is here and we couldn’t be more excited. When you feel that first crisp breeze in the air, you know for a fact that summer is gone and fall is here with its colorful leaves, best fashion, and long-awaited holidays.

From pumpkin carving to hiking trips, there are so many reasons to take advantage of this time of year. Here are 5 things to do this season that will bring out the fall lover in you.

Glass vase

1. Setting the season with natural vases

Nothing sets the mood for a room quite like flowers. To give your arrangements double the impact, try using a natural vase.  You can bring fall into your home by using pumpkins, gourds, and squash as containers to bring added fall flair to your flower arrangements.  With a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, these seasonal delights are a decorator’s dream.

Simply cut a hole big enough to fit a couple of florist tubes, insert flower stems and enjoy a unique bud vase. Small pumpkins can be carved to use as fun votive candle holders, or take out the candle and use it as a “vase” for a short stem flower arrangement.  As an added bonus, youE can use the insides of the pumpkins or gourds you clean out to create delicious pies, mash, and roasted seeds!

Walnut photo holder

2. Walnut photo holder

Your family photos and cards will get a seasonal lift with easy-to-make walnut photo holders, made of real walnuts! First, find large nuts with the flattest bottoms, test them out to make sure they can stand up on their own.

Take one nut at a time, and drill a small hole in the top of it – opposite the flat end. Make sure the hole you drill will hold a piece of 18-gauge wire.

Measure approximately 6 inches of your 18-gauge wire. To create a loop in the wire that will eventually hold photos, wrap ONE end of the wire completely around a wide marker – do this twice, so you create two circles next to each other at the end of the wire. Remove the marker, and pinch the loops together.

Insert the straight end of the wire into hole you drilled into your nut earlier; you may even wish to add a drop of epoxy or super glue into the hole to keep your wire more stable. Slip a photo or card between the loops and enjoy your new, original photo frame.

Want to get even more creative? Decorating your new photo holders with glitter will create a whole new festive look. To create different designs, cover certain areas of the walnut with masking tape; when you use glitter, only the exposed areas will twinkle.

Apply craft glue on the un-taped areas, and dip the walnut into a dish with glitter until fully coated. Set aside, and allow them to dry for at least 2 hours (or overnight). After the walnuts have dried, shake off any loose glitter and remove the masking tape. For more sparkle, reapply glue and glitter prior to removing the masking tape as many times as you want.


3. Dry Leaves Art

What fall decoration would be complete without stunning colored leaves? Tons of craft projects with dry leaves are very popular during fall, and with such a beautiful array of seasonal colors it’s easy to see why. There are plenty of ideas out there for both grown-ups and kids on what you can do with dry leaves but how do you actually dry them to start with? The simplest method (our favorite) is pressing the leaves flat to dry. This process might be a little slow (it takes about 2 weeks) but it’s very simple and will never fail.

Open a large book (something like an encyclopedia), place a paper towel on one of the pages, then place a leaf or several smaller leaves on top, making sure they don’t overlap. Cover the leaves with another paper towel and close the book. Lay it flat somewhere out of the way, with a stack of books or stable heavy objects on top. Then just wait.

When you’re drying multiple leaves in the same book, leave at least 1/8 inch (3 mm) of pages between each sheet to provide enough weight for all of them. Use additional layers of paper towels if the leaves are damp to avoid staining the book’s pages. Check your leaves once a week to see if they are dry, and change the paper towels if they feel damp.

Once your leaves are dry you can start your craft projects by creating a simple leaf card. Add the dry leaves to construction paper to create unique greeting cards. Or, use glue and glitter to put your guests’ name straight onto the leaves for a fun way to set up a seating arrangement at a dinner party.


4. Pumpkinize Your Body

Winter, spring, summer, pumpkin…Did you know this popular fruit has its own season? As soon as September rolls around, the stores and our tables are overflowing with all things pumpkin, a seasonal delight you don’t want to miss. From lattes to ales, pies to waffles, everything gets a delicious pumpkin makeover. Since there are tons of delicious recipes on how to cook pumpkin, we’d like to share a rather interesting recipe for how you can use this squash in your daily beauty routine.

Next time you have a some pumpkin puree leftovers, don’t throw it away, instead use it to make an easy body scrub full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and natural enzymes that will help you to remove dead skin cells and get ready for winter. Treat your body to some pumpkin delight and it will thank you later for sure.

Pumpkin-Sugar Body Scrub

1 cup coarse raw sugar

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin will do too)

1 tsp honey

1 Tbsp. almond or olive oil


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Add more or less sugar and oil based on personal preferences.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  3. Apply 2-3 times a week and enjoy rejuvenated skin.

Pumpkin Latte

5. Pumpkin Latte Mix In a Jar

Fall is rich not only with crafts, but also with amazing seasonal recipes. These days it’s become a time to visit Starbucks more often to treat ourselves to a cup of warm latte. But what if you could make a delicious latte yourself, in a matter of minutes, and in the comfort of your own home?

Save yourself a lot of time and money with this tasty Pumpkin Latte Mix; you can keep it in a tightly sealed mason jar for up to 6 months in your pantry. Just add hot water every time you feel like drinking something warm and delicious.

Pumpkin Latte Dry Mix

You will need:

  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee granules
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant pumpkin or vanilla pudding mix
  • 1  tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (or ½ Tbsp. if you are using pumpkin instant pudding mix)

Step 1

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until it turns into fine powder. Place the mix into a glass jar and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Step 2

For 1 cup of hot latte: dissolve 2-3 Tbsp. dry mix in hot water and stir well. Garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows, or a cinnamon stick if desired.

Did you find any of these tips useful? Did we miss your fall favorite? Make sure to let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share these ideas with your friends and family; crafts are always more fun with a helping hand!

Image #1 by Jodimichelle
Image #4 by beccapie
Image #5 by Randy Heinitz

Popular Russian Desserts for National Dessert Day

October 14th is National Dessert Day! It’s the perfect time to indulge in your favorite sweet treats completely guilt-free. We’re here to help you celebrate by sharing some of our favorite Russian desserts. There were a lot to choose from, but we know you’re going to love these two traditional Russian desserts that are wonderfully simple, original, and sure to become your go-to fall recipes.

Let’s start with Sugared Cranberries. Legend has it that the cranberry is a fruit native to Russia, and brought to Europe in the 12th century by Russian merchants. It was called a “healing berry” for its numerous healthy properties. This little berry is full of B vitamins, vitamin K1, vitamin C (equal to lemons, oranges and apples), potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus just to name a few; it strengthens the immune system and prevents many diseases.

If you’ve never tried sugared cranberries before, you’re in for a treat! They are a blend of sweet-tart yumminess that bursts in your mouth. Not only are they a very addictive snack, they’re also a perfect garnish for many holiday recipes. Prepare a whole bunch at once and you’ll always have a healthy, delicious snack on hand ready to pull out anytime. Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s so much easier and faster than the American version, it is sure to become your favorite!

What you’ll need:

2 cup Cranberries
2 Egg Whites
2 cup Powdered Sugar

Step 1
Wash cranberries and air dry. Place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl.

Step 2
Working in batches, dip cranberries in beaten egg whites, then roll in sugar until well coated. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet (or other flat surface) and let dry for at least 1 hour. Store in a bowl or a mason jar.

Fresh red apples

Stuffed Baked Apples

Baked apples are one of the simplest, healthiest, and most delicious treats for the whole family. Perfect during fall apple season, this dessert will become a real hit on your holiday table, and it’s easy enough to become a day-to-day staple. Anytime you’re craving for a sweet, low-calorie treat that is easy to make at home remember this authentic Russian recipe. This stuffed baked goodness will have you swooning from its taste and smell every time you take it out of the oven!

What you’ll need:

6 Apples (Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathan, Gala, etc)
6 Teaspoons Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Water
Nuts and dried fruits (optional)

Step 1
Wash and dry the apples. Using a paring knife or melon baller, cut out holes for stuffing (about 1 inch wide), leaving the bottom intact. First, cut out the stem area and then scoop out the seeds.

Step 2
Mix the honey, cinnamon, and – if you want – nuts and dried fruits.

Step 3
Stuff the apples with the honey mix and top each one with a pat of butter (about ½ tablespoon).

Step 4
Arrange the apples on a baking dish and pour 4 tablespoons of hot water (about ½ inch) into the bottom of the baking dish.

Step 5
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked through and tender. When done, remove the apples from the oven and baste with the juices from the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon or powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy on a cold day with a cup of hot tea, or with a side of vanilla ice cream and a glass of wine.

Want to try other authentic Russian recipes? Stay tuned! Or if you know of a sweet fall treat you know will be a favorite please leave a link or directions in the comments below. We’re sure you’ll agree that you can never have too many options in your dessert menu.

Image #1 by Tim Pierce

Image #2 by Meal Makeover Moms

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