I studied abroad in 2008 in Rome, Italy and I came back with an addiction. Nothing terrible mind you! In supermarkets, shops and cafes across Europe and Australia there exists a brand of candy known as Kinder.

Kinder is a brand owned by the Ferrero group, which also sells Nutella, Ferrero Roche, and Tic Tacs. I also love Nutella, but I can buy that in the United States at any grocery store. I am talking about the best Ferrero/Kinder product in the wide world: Happy Hippos!

This is a photo from the web of two Happy Hippo Candies in Chocolate and Milk flavors.

Happy Hippos are probably the most amazing candies ever. It is basically a wafer filled with either chocolate or milk flavoring and then sprinkles are added on the outside. The inside of the chocolate one tastes like chocolate and the milk version tastes like cream and hazelnut. My little brother came to love them when he visited me:

If this candy catches your eye, you can order it from Amazon by the case:

Otherwise, enjoy my photos and the commercial at the top of the post!


I first fell in love with coffee at age 15, as a hormonal teenager who could never get herself up in the morning for school. Sure, it started slowly, a cup or so a few times a week. Then I was introduced to a little something I like to call iced coffee. Not just any iced coffee, but French Vanilla iced coffee from the Mecca of all New England coffee shops, Dunkin Donuts.

In New England, iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts is literally a religion. Every morning, the faithful will wait in long drive thru lines, sometimes for more than fifteen minutes, to worship at the altar of coffee. Whether they like it black, cream and sugar, blueberry flavored, iced or hot, and maybe even with an espresso shot, they will come back each day to pay more than $2 for a medium size cup. I will drink iced coffee year round, because of the convenience and familiar taste it offers my palate. Most of my days are not complete without at least one cup of coffee, and many would say this is an addiction. I embrace this addiction and welcome it with open arms. How else would I make it through a morning where I would rather be sleeping?

So my obsession continues and coffee will always be a part of my daily routine. Drive thru workers become familiar faces, and I usually know exactly what my order costs. I often am consoled by the fact that I can go anywhere in New England (I exclude the rest of the United States in this claim) and get the same quality of iced coffee. Once in Virginia on vacation, I got an iced coffee that basically was hot coffee poured into a cup of ice. The true ice coffee lover should know that iced coffee is cold brewed by Dunkin Donuts, meaning that it was never hot in the first place.

Maybe you love coffee too and relate to what I am saying in this post. Share your own coffee love story.

Last week at work, I suddenly had a wish to bake something delicious. So I scoured the internet for recipes of wonderful baked goods until I decided on the mother lode of all fattening foods, the red velvet cupcake. My best friend made them last year and I became hooked on them.

Red velvet cake is most likely the most fattening baked confection that you will ever eat in your entire lifetime. It combines massive amounts of butter, sugar and other ingredients not on a diet list to make your mouth water and your stomach feel like you ate a walrus. The real cake is fattening as it stands, but the most decadent part of the cupcakes is the cream cheese frosting, which uses an entire pound of cream cheese, two sticks of butter and four cups of sugar to make.

The recipe I chose comes from the cookbook of the famous American cook Paula Deen, who specializes in South home cooking. I will enclose the recipe in this post, if it so moves you to make these mouth-watering treats!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low-speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Cook’s Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

(Courtesy Food Network)

What’s your favorite type of cake?