Monthly Archives: April 2014

81flfZcV24L._SL1500_

My 4 Favorite Easter Chocolates

My 4 Favorite Easter Chocolates


#1 The Cadbury Creme Egg

Ooey, gooey delicious especially when chilled ever so slightly

515istFIqDL._SX300_

#2  The Chocolate Easter bunny

And yes, I do eat the ears first.

81flfZcV24L._SL1500_

#3  Whoppers’ Mini Robin Eggs

Crack open the box and pop some whoppers into your mouth.  Its so easy and so dangerous.

51MLqrBxLLL

 

 

 #4 The Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg

Yes, this is a HUGE bag but I have never been able to eat just one.

51BSM6KXIDL

 

 

 

Now its your turn . . . what are your favorites?  Anything I am missing from this list?

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


1956747_10153891515195506_671550188_o

Nikki and her Star Wars treats

Nikki and her Star Wars treats


1. In a sentence or two, could you tell us what you do? 

There are two halves to my business. The first is making custom cakes and cupcakes for local customers and the second is my Etsy store where I ship things like chocolates, cookies, and cake pops all over the world for people to enjoy. I love having the opportunity to branch out and have people enjoying my work from all over the world.

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/nikkistreats

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nikkibelleperchecakes

1622455_686636131382729_1711775176_o
2. What inspired you to create (your etsy shop or specific chocolate-related product)?
I think my most popular sellers, the Star Wars chocolates, are really what inspired me to start my Etsy store. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make them as well as other geeky themed treats. After I found the best ways to ship my products my Etsy store was born and I never looked back. It has done nothing but grow and amaze me since then!
sw       batman choc
3. What is your first chocolate memory?
I honestly can’t recall anything specific but I have always been a huge sweets junky! For as long I can remember I have been trying to get my hands on all the chocolate and sweets that I can at any given time!  (we can all relate to that!)

4. What’s your favorite part of your chocolate business?

The fan photos and happy stories from customers! Seeing kids enjoying their treats, or the smile of someone who received them as a gift always brightens my day!
sw2

5. What’s a typical workday like for you?
Often when I work it’s for very long hours as I like to make my products as close to shipping/delivery dates as possible. Many times I work through the night just so that I can ship products out early the next morning. Its important to me that my customers are getting the freshest possible treats from me!

6. What books or magazines are you currently reading?

I always have a large stack of cake related books and magazines to get around to. I love looking and reading about other peoples creative passions and edible works of art! However in my personal life I am also a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk books.

7. What is your favorite tool or gadget for your business (baking or business related)? 

My 7qt KitchenAid mixer and Agbay cake leveler are by far my most beloved baking related tools! I don’t know how I ever got along without them!

rainbow ruffle cut cake
8. What are you currently working on? Anything new that we should look out for?
I am hoping to have quiet a few new things released to my Etsy store very soon including Mockingjay chocolate lollipops, Boba Fett/upgraded Star Wars gift sets, and Children’s party dessert packs which include things like custom cupcake toppers, chocolates, and other treats in the theme of your choice!


Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 8.56.00 AM

Chocolate Cat Toys

Chocolate Cat Toys


Hey you super awesome Chocoholics!

In today’s episode, we’ll meet the creator behind Fido the Cat and her visually appealing chocolate cat toys. Take a close up look at what’s inside this unique chocolate interview!

Love & Chocolate,

Becca

 

1. In a sentence or two, could you tell us what you do?
Fido the Cat is a place where you can find handcrafted “food” and “whimsical” catnip cat toys.
When I create “food” toys, I make them look as realistic as possible. Creating “fun/novelty” toys, like Frosty the Snowman, I try to make them whimsical. Each cat toy is designed and individually handmade by me.

You can find her adorable shop right here

dnt_choco_8381pp_800x525px_wb

2. What inspired you to create these toys and this shop on Etsy?
Ten years ago, a brown, black, and white tabby cat named Fido popped into my life. Just for fun, I made cat toys in shapes of sushi rolls for our friends as gifts for the holidays. I was surprised to hear how much everyone liked the gifts. Mostly they told me, I should start my own business. Fido the Cat was created.

I saw an ad for donuts and I bet Fido never had a really delicious chocolate donut, so I decided to create one just for him. Fido passed in January 2013. He was my muse.

donuts_2759_800x600px_wb

 

3. What is your first chocolate memory?
The Whopper, malted milk balls covered with chocolate. One individually wrapped Whopper at the local penny candy store cost of course, 1 Penny. A Quarter… well that’s lot of chocolates.  (we like hearing that!)

4. What’s your favorite part of your  business?
Receiving the pictures and videos sent from customers. The joy the kitties express is priceless. I can’t stop smiling! You be the judge…
Pictures from Facebook

 Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 7.24.04 PM

It’s great that customers share their most funny Fido the Cat stories with me, like…
From Stamford, CT…
“Back again to order another oreo cookie toy and try the poptart. Minty loves to slip and slide on our tile floor and play soccer with the oreo. So for Storm, It often goes under the refrig. So buying another one for a back up. The candy corn is still a favorite too and bet Storm and Minty will both love the poptart.”

5. What’s a typical workday like for you?
It’s different everyday. I may spend the day on the sewing machine putting sprinkles on the donuts. An idea may spark and I am by the cutting table making a mess or spend hours in a fabric store.

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list

6. What books or magazines are you currently reading?
Stacks and stacks of food magazines are within hands reach. Some may say I have a problem.

7. What is your favorite tool or gadget for your business (baking or business related)?
I cut many circles. OLFA Rotary Circle Cutter is a great tool for the task. I also have a few different Rotary Cutters in different sizes.

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 7.24.59 PM

8. What are you currently working on? Anything new that we should look out for?
I am working on some sweets. Our friends Sammi, Zoe and their Mom volunteered to be the team to help regularly test cat toy concepts. It’s fun to see their feedbacks. Sammi and Zoe’s paw of approval is what I’m always looking for.

 

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list

 

P.S.  Want your own stash of chocolate?  Of course you do you chocolate lover


Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 4.34.01 PM

Salted Double Chocolate Muffins

Salted Double Chocolate Muffins


A beautifully puffy, lightly glazed rich chocolate muffin with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt from Pinch of Yum

 

 

chocolatemuffin

Find the recipe here and make it in your kitchen, yum!

 

P.S.  Need your own stash of chocolate?  Go here or here

P.P.S. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list


Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 11.50.47 AM

Nicaragua series 1 of 5: The 3 Best Coffee Shops in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

The 3 Best Coffee Shops in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


As a digital nomad, I live and die by the coffee shop.  I need coffee and I need wifi for the sites that I run so that’s my number one priority when checking out a cafe.  Let me know below your favorite places to get coffee in San Juan Del Sur.

1. Barrio Cafe

Smack dab in the middle of town you will find this friendly spot open from very early to very late.  They serve coffees, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and yummy Nutella drinks.  What I really love is the ambience here, some saucy jazz music on in the background + great seating options.  You have your typical tables to choose from in the back, a bar overlooking the town that you can comfortably sit at solo or couches sunken down upon entry into the cafe.

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 10.34.55 AM

They have pretty good wifi, sometimes the wifi works best at the tables rather than the perimeter of the restaurant.  Just like any wifi somedays its better than others.  The other thing to I loved about Barrio is that they have a generator!!!!  For me, it was a miracle as I run my business mostly from my laptop.  No electricity, no wifi, no business for me.  Barrio was an oasis in the desert because of this reason.  Bring money here (all 3 cafes here run on American prices, no joke)

 

 

photo-46

Nutella Iced Drink

 Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 12.06.10 PM

 

 

2.  El Gato Negro

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 12.22.01 PM

This cafe is just one block inland from the Iguana and down the street from Barrio Cafe.

It is the quintessential coffee shop and for this I love it!  For those of you who remember watching the show, Friends.  This is Nicaragua’s “Central Perk”, great ambience, indoor/outdoor seating, tables, couches, pillows on the floor to sit on and of course a bar to pull a stool up to. You’ll always see someone you know here (think Cheers) and if you don’t know anyone, its a perfect place to meet your next pal/wingman/wingwoman/expat and total insider scoop.

I think what makes it super cozy are the books that are stacked floor to ceiling surrounding the cafe.  Super cozy.  Now, if you are a digital nomad like myself, your life depends on wifi (not just liking stuff on Facebook contrary to what the menu states about customers wifi usage) . . . I believe they share wifi with a couple other businesses.  It is the least dependable wifi I found in the entire town.  Super frustrating, especially after I would place an order for coffee and food and then I would sit there getting nothing accomplished for my business.  It sucked for me!  The silver lining, the food, smoothies, and coffee are delicious.  Maybe even divine.

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 11.41.43 AM

 

 

3.  Mediterraneo Cafe

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 11.56.18 AM

 

 

First things first . . . . the best damn cup of coffee in the city.  Let me repeat.  If you are desperate for a real cup of coffee, this is the only place in town that you will get it. You’ll pay about $2 for it plus an additional $2 for every refill.  But, I’m a girl who not only appreciates a good cup of coffee but I also need a good cup of coffee.

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 11.52.31 AM

It should come as no surprise that you will find a lovely Italian couple behind these culinary treasures.

Digital Nomad Life in Action

Digital Nomad Life in Action

You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner (they are open from 8 – 5, closed on Monday, they might be closed on Sunday too . . . can’t remember).

 

 

Here are a few of their treats:

 

Nicaragua cafes

The Triple Chocolate Brownie (**Americans: please note this is European size)

 

photo-48

Iced Chocolate Drink

photo-49

Nutella Crepe

How to find this diamond in the rough?  Go one block inland from Barrio Cafe towards the market.

At the intersection, go left.  It will be about 20 seconds away on the left side almost across from the market.  Try everything there, especially their yummy lunches and desserts.  Its run by a sweet couple who have put their heart into it  =)

Carpe Diem!

Becca

 

 

P.S.  Wanna bring some Nutella with you, go here

P.P.S.  Get your scoop of chocolate here
Click here to subscribe to my mailing list 

P.P.P.S.  If you are in San Juan del Sur looking for just coffee (and cheap coffee) then go to the market at the center of town.  You can get a coffee to go with milk (cafe a llevar) for about 15 – 20 cordobas ($1).  And Americans, note that there is really not such a thing as coffee with half & half when traveling to most places abroad, for me, I just order Un cafe negro con leche separado (Plain coffee with milk to add in separately).  Its the closest to how I drink it back home. You can find your dollar stretch here which is why I wrote this article on retirement in Nicaragua    


 

Frauke van Beusekom (2)

Frauke van Beusekom & her Amazing Chocolate Eggnog Pie

1. In a sentence or two, could you tell us what you do? 

I sell easy-to-bake recipes in my Etsy shop called OrangeBaker

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 12.49.14 PM

2. What inspired you to create these delicious baked items and shop?

I love to bake. I have spent many hours in my tiny kitchen making cupcakes, pies and cookies. Every time I try to create an even better product and every time I would write the recipe down on paper. Last year, when trying to find a recently made recipe for pizza, I was fed up with going through so many tiny sticky notes I decided that I should organize all my recipes in my computer, with pictures, so I could remember & find them. 

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 12.40.22 PM

Photo Credit: 88forever

When I was browsing on Etsy, looking at all the yummy things people were selling, I found out that there are loads of people actually selling their baked goods, but not recipes. So, with my growing stack of organized recipes, I decided to give it a try. And I have been selling recipes on Etsy for about 9 months now!

 

Once in a while I actually sell my baked goods as well  but only here in The Netherlands, and (up to now) only for friends and family. They love them and that is what counts to me, to share yummy things and make somebody’s day a bit better.

 

 

3. What is your first chocolate memory?

When visiting my grandparents, just before we would leave again, my grandmother (oma as we call her in Dutch) would open up a kitchen cabinet filled with candy.  My brother and I could choose one thing and I would always pick a koetjesreep, a small chocolate bar with a cow on the wrapper.

Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 10.27.31 PM

4. What’s your favorite part of your chocolate business?

When a new recipe bubbles in my mind I start to wrestle with it; “what if I try this.” or “Does this work better?” or “It need less of this and more of this.” Then, after making it several times, I love when it finally turns out the way I was imagining it. That’s when I feel ready to share it in my shop.

5. What’s a typical workday like for you?

I have a fulltime day job working for two different companies. I do the baking in the evenings and in the weekends. Sometimes I take a day off from my ‘normal’ work and spend the whole day baking.

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 12.43.36 PM

Photo Credit: Alihoppa

6. What books or magazines are you currently reading?

I love searching the internet for new blogs about food, especially sugar-free and healthy products. I recently found a e-cookbook by voedzo.nl which is filled with wheat-, dairy- and sugar-free baked recipes. But I also love all cookbooks by Nigella Lawson and Paul Hollywood. It’s also essential to have a good basic bake book like the one by James Peterson

7. What is your favorite tool or gadget for your business (baking or business related)?

Have good, easy to work with tools is essential. I recently bought a new tray, the old one (which came with the oven) didn’t have an even bottom and so all my cookies would spread into weird shapes because of the trench in my tray. My next big thing I want to buy is a proper food processor. I still mix everything by hand or hand mixer.

Frauke van Beusekom

This is Frauke’s amazing pie!!!

8. What are you currently working on? Anything new that we should look out for?

I am working on some healthier snack options like whole-wheat & sugar free pizza. But my summer vibes are starting to arise, so I am coming up with lovely, fruity and chocolate combinations for cakes and pies. 

 

Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 3.40.12 PM

 

 

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list