Happy Halloween to All Our Readers !

Published October 31, 2016 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs


Some Halloween traditions can be traced back to the ancient Celts and their belief that spirits of the deceased were able to wander the Earth during Samhain.

Treats were laid out to appease the spirits, and costumes were worn so the living would blend in with the departed.

If you encounter spiders in your house on Halloween, don’t kill them, they are deceased loved ones watching over you.

Children who are born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second sight.

Black cats are considered good luck in Ireland, Scotland and England. In the U.S., black cats are a symbol of bad luck.

Never wear clothes or jewelry belonging to a deceased person on Halloween. Roaming spirits will chase after you !

If you must pass a graveyard, turn your pockets inside out to make sure you don’t bring a ghost home in your pocket.

Legend has it…

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds

Published March 4, 2016 by Ch'kara

This recipe sounds yummmm.  It comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

A chocolate treat to feel good about!

How to make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds-- a chocolate treat to feel good about! sallysbakingaddiction.com

New post up in my photography section today! Warning: it’s exploding with summer. And for this new post? Well, I’m really, really excited about this “recipe.”

For many reasons!

(1) Chocolate.

(2) It’s DARK chocolate. ♥

(3) Simple. 4 ingredients.

(4) Wholesome and healthy. Well, compared to skillet brownies at least.

(5) Sweet and salty! Sweet and salty!

These were inspired by a carton of Trader Joes sea salt & turbinado sugar chocolate almonds that Marie brought with her when she visited. Aka the snack I COULD NOT STOP EATING. Have you ever tried them before? If so, you know the struggle.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds

Turns out, making them at home is cheaper. Don’t know if that is a wonderful or terrible (dangerous) thing. Oh, and homemade always tastes better than store-bought. Case in point.

The number one ingredient is, duh, almonds. Since there are so little ingredients in this snack, make sure you’re using high quality. The almonds? Diamond of California. No ifs, ands, or buts. Fresh, unsalted, nutrient-dense whole almonds. Doesn’t get much healthier than that! And now, the chocolate.

How to make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds-- a chocolate treat to feel good about! sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’d like to take a dip in there myself!

Whoaaa. That sounded really awkward. You know what I mean.

How to make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds-- a chocolate treat to feel good about! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Remember, quality ingredients are key. Use pure chocolate (not chocolate chips). I opted for bittersweet chocolate, but semi-sweet works just as well. If sweeter chocolate is more your style, milk or even white chocolate works too.

A helpful tool = this 3-piece dipping tool set. These inexpensive tools will be your lifesaver when you begin making Sally’s Candy Addiction recipes next month! I use the 3-pronged tool for these to help lift the almonds out of the chocolate pool and shake off as much excess chocolate as I can. It helped me separate the almonds so I wasn’t left with chocolate almond clusters– rather, individual chocolate almonds.

The finishing touch is a sprinkle of sea salt and turbinado sugar (I use Sugar In The Raw). Any coarse sugar works! I loooooove the added crunch the sugar gives and the flavor balance of the sea salt. The nuts are wonderful simply coated in chocolate, but the light sprinkle of sugar & salt turns them up about 10 notches.

How to make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds-- a chocolate treat to feel good about! sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds-- a chocolate treat to feel good about! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Only 4 simple, convenient ingredients transformed into something extraordinary. And within minutes too! Plus, they’re a good source of protein, energy, and let’s not forget all that glorious sweet and salty crunch. Mmm. Seriously, make these today.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! ♥

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds

Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Print Recipe

A chocolate treat to feel good about!


  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet high quality chocolate
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Diamond of California whole almonds (raw and unsalted)
  • sea salt
  • turbinado sugar (or any coarse/raw sugar)



  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can temper the chocolate. If tempering, do not store finished nuts in the refrigerator.
  3. Stir the almonds into the chocolate, making sure to coat each one. Using a dipping tool or a fork, lift the almonds out of the chocolate one by one or only a couple at a time (you don’t want them all sticking together!), gently tap the tool/fork against the side of the bowl to release excess chocolate, and place onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining almonds.
  4. Sprinkle almonds with a little sea salt and turbinado sugar, then allow chocolate to completely set. I placed the baking sheet in the refrigerator to speed it up!
  5. Store chocolate covered almonds in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Additional Notes:

For extra flavor, try toasting the almonds first! Simply spread them out onto a large baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Allow to slightly cool before coating with chocolate.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Moroccan Mango Chicken

Published September 8, 2015 by Ch'kara

Last night I made Moroccan Mango Chicken and YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Moroccan Mango Chicken

Mango Moroccan Chicken



3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 onions cut into quarters

4-6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon Garam Masala

2 dried cayenne peppers, crushed (or ground cayenne)

1 tomato cut into quarters

2 mangoes, coarsely chopped (or a tin of mangoes, drained and chopped)

1 – 300g tin coconut milk

3-4 skinless chicken breasts, roughly diced

Sweet potato (optional) cut in chunks and pre-cooked


If you have a tagine cook in that otherwise in a large flameproof dish heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is soft. Stir in Garam Masala Spice and cayenne.

Add tomato, mangoes and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Add chicken and stir to combine everything. If adding sweet potato add now. Cover with lid and let simmer for about 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir through.

Serve with rice.

This recipe is quite spicy if you want it less then use less cayenne.

Serves 3-4

Twin Chocolate and Hazelnut Slice

Published July 13, 2015 by Ch'kara

Here is a really yummmmmy chocolate slice.  Really easy to make and decadent to eat.

Twin Chocolate and Hazelnut Slice

 2015-07-13 05.38.09

Preparation Time: 15 mins plus 45 mins chilling

Cooking Time: 10 mins                                Serves: 16


Cooking oil spray, to grease

250g Shortbread biscuits

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

100grams unsalted butter, melted

400grams dark chocolate (70%) cocoa, finely chopped

275mls pure cream

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, roughly chopped

100grams milk chocolate (40% cocoa) finely chopped


Grease a spring form (loose bottom) tin with cooking spray.

Put biscuits in a large zip-lock bag and crush with a rolling pin until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cocoa and melted butter. Press into bottom of tin and chill until firm.

Meanwhile, put dark chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until half melted. (or melt in microwave) When half melted set aside.

Pour 200ml of the cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add to dark chocolate whisking until smooth. Whisk the mixture until thick and aerated. Fold in ¾ cup of the hazelnuts, then spoon onto biscuit base and smooth surface. Chill until firm.

Heat remaining cream in a small saucepan. Once boiling, remove from heat and whisk in milk chocolate until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in fridge for ten minutes or until slightly thick and spreadable. Spread chocolate mixture over slice and scatter with remaining hazelnuts. Chill for at least 10 minutes until set.

Serve with cream or icecream.


The recipe called for a 30 x 8 cm rectangular loose-bottom fluted tart tin, but I couldn’t find one so used this one and it worked fine.

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 I always do a blessing on whatever I am making, I did this one once I had finished.

General Ingredient Blessing

Put your hands over the ingredients of any dish. Envision pure light entering the ingredients. Circle palms five times over the ingredients and say:

From the East, the air brings wisdom

From the South, the fire brings creation

From the West, the water brings love

From the North, the earth bring stability

From the Center, Spirit brings blessings

Tap the counter three times and say:

The love is sealed

Piña Colada Smoothie With Flavoured Spirulina

Published June 29, 2015 by Ch'kara

This is reblogged from Eat Drink Paleo and though it was yumm so, here it is.  I may add some rum to it if I try it in the afternoon.

Piña Colada Smoothie With Flavoured Spirulina


Piña colada is one of those cocktails that we hate to admit we like, even the boys. Yes, it’s kitsch and slightly juvenile but we love the way this coconut pineapple thirst-quencher tastes of summer and beach holidays. I wanted to bring some its tropical paradise qualities into my morning so I decided to make an alcohol-free version with the added bonus of some green superfoods. Behold my paleo-friendly, spirulina enriched, virgin piña colada smoothie!!!

As well as using frozen bananas, pineapple and coconut cream, I wanted to inject this drinks with a few extra nutrients and add some green superfood powder. I’m a fan of spirulina powder as it’s super rich in antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients, but I have to say that it can often ruin a perfectly delicious smoothie with its grassy marine flavor (a little goes a long way and I am usually happy to put up with the flavor to get the extra benefits). However, this time I was using a different type of Natural Tropical Flavoured Spirulina powder from Nature’s Way and for the first time ever (yes, I have tried a few spirulina powders in the past), it actually mixed in seamlessly with my smoothie, and even complimented my cleverly chosen flavours.

This particular flavoured spirulina powder is naturally flavoured with pineapple and slightly sweetened with stevia, which means no added sugar or preservatives and the overall flavor of the powder is much milder and more pleasant. The colour is still vivid forest green but I like that.

I also tried this powder in a couple of other shakes and it works well with berries and cacao as well, you could simply mix it with water.Of course, you can use regular spirulina powder if you can’t find Nature’s Way Superfoods version in your area (in Australia it’s available form Woolworths and Health 365). The smoothie will also work well with wheatgrass or other mixed superfood powders, or you can add some spinach leaves.

You can serve this as a drinking smoothie in glasses or in a bowl with added nuts, coconut flakes, bee pollen etc. I hear smoothie bowls are all the rage at the moment. Enjoy as part of your breakfast or as a treat. AND, if you own a powerful blender like Vitamix, you can try freezing both bananas and pineapple and making this into a creamy ice-cream dessert. Trying that next!


Piña Colada Smoothie With Spirulina

Irena Macri
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 2
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
  • 6 pineapple slices + short bamboo skewers (I cut my longer ones to make them shorter)
  • ½ teaspoon of coconut oil for frying
  • 1 large banana, diced and frozen
  • ⅔ cup diced ripe pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina powder (I used Nature’s Ways SuperfoodsTropically Flavoured Spirulina)
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • couple of ice-cubes
  • coconut flakes, nuts, and seeds for garnish
  1. Pierce pineapple slices onto two skewers and pan fry in coconut oil over medium-high heat (about two minutes on each side, until golden grill marks appear). Set aside.
  2. Add the frozen banana, pineapple chunks, coconut cream, flavoured spirulina powder and lime juice to a blender or a food processor. If making as a drinking smoothie, add ¼ cup of water or coconut water to make it thinner, otherwise process until smooth and thick. Add the ice-cubes if you like it colder and thicker, and whiz a few more times until the ice is incorporated. Serve in glasses or bowls, as you wish. Garnish with some toasted coconut flakes or a handful of nuts and seeds and grilled pineapple skewers.

More with Nature’s Way Superfood powdersI have also tested and played around with other superfood powders from Nature’s Way Superfoods. You can check out my chia and coconut bircher porridge, in which I used their Super Greens + Wild Reds powder, or my nut-free chocolate and strawberry muffins with their Super Greens + Cacao powder.


You can also serve this as a smoothie bowl topped with extra nuts and seeds.

May Recipes

Published May 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

vinegar and chili peppers in jar

Herb Vinegars

Tarragon and Red Wine Vinegar

20 fresh tarragon leaves

10 juniper berries

2 cups red wine vinegar

Place tarragon and berries in a clean 16 ounce glass jar. Slowly pour in the vinegar, cap the jar and store it in a cool dark place. Allow the flavors to mellow a few days before using.

Rice Vinegar With Coriander

4 thin slices of galangal

2 cloves of garlic

20 fresh coriander leaves

2 cups rice wine vinegar

Place herbs and vinegar in a clean 16 ounce glass jar. Cap the jar and store in a cool dark place. Use within a month.

Red Chili Vinegar

Using a sturdy wooden skewer, poke several holes in 2 whole chilies. Place the chilies in a clean glass jar and slowly pour in 2 cups of white wine vinegar. Cap the jar and store in a cool dark place. This vinegar will remain…

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Tips on Cooking With Herbs

Published May 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs


When using herbs in salad dressings, allow the flavors to mellow ten minutes before serving.

Work the flavors of herbs into meat, poultry, and fish by rubbing the herbs with your hands before cooking. The warmth of your hands will release the herbal oils.

Bouquets of fresh herbs can be placed in jars or glasses filled with an inch or two of water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Use within a week.

Add a bay leaf to the water when cooking beans, lentils, rice or other grains.

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to tomato sauce. Cinnamon brings out the sweetness and removes the bitter taste of canned tomato sauce and paste.

To chop fresh herbs quickly, place them in a glass measuring cup, insert scissors or kitchen shears and snip away.

Roasting garlic gives it a nutty flavor. Bake on a foil lined pan at 350 for about 15…

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Prosciutto and Pesto Roll Ups

Published April 21, 2015 by Ch'kara

This is a great recipe that is always popular when you have guests over.  I always use “chilli pesto” because we are chilli fiends.  You can use regular pesto but I found it a bit bland.  You can add anything to give it some Ooomph if you don’t like chilli.

2015-04-17 11.46.29

Prosciutto and Pesto Roll Ups

Preheat oven to 200c


Frozen puff pastry sheets

Jar of pesto (I use chilli pesto)

Packet prosciutto (about six slices)

Grated parmesan


Partly thaw three sheets of Frozen Puff pastry and spread with pesto (I use chilli pesto)

Lay two slices of prosciutto on each and sprinkle grated parmesan over them.

Roll up firmly, cut into 3cm thick slices and place cut side up onto a baking paper lined tray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crisp.

When cooled keep in an air tight container. Although I make these when guests are coming and they are so popular they never quite make it to the container.

2015-04-17 11.22.40

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Easy Herbal Recipes

Published April 12, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

Basil: Create an easy pesto sauce by combining: 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons of walnuts, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic. Puree in a food processor. If too thick, add a bit more oil. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage. Use pesto in pasta dishes, rice, vegetables or toss with cooked, cubed eggplant. Chop basil and add to ice cube trays, pour water over fresh chopped basil and freeze. Keep frozen cubes in a zip lock bag or air tight container. Fresh-frozen basil- always ready to spice up a dish. Basil is good for you as well. Loaded with anti-oxidants. Enjoy basil raw, or chopped and sprinkled on a homemade pizza before baking.

Cilantro: Snip a few leaves into salads, stir into tartar sauce or chili-sauce. Delicious in Mexican dishes, add…

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Oceans Of Ink

Living vicariously through words. Diving deep into the magical & mythical through stories, articles & poetry

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