What I Loved This Week | Week 42

What I Loved This Week | Week 42 | http://BananaBloom.com

This is a new weekly feature post series called “What I Loved This Week”. Each week, I’ll share a little roundup of whatever I’ve come across that I’ve either liked, or that’s stirred up some emotion in me.

What I Loved This Week | Week 42 | http://BananaBloom.com

I don’t think I’ve seen sunshine here in Stockholm for about two weeks now. There’s this perpetual grey blanket over the city and today I woke up to icy winds and pouring rain. Brr.

Good thing there’s friends to provide sunshine when the weather refuses to. Just like last weekend, this Saturday I met up with two dear friends of mine and just like that, six hours of catching up passed without us even noticing!

On Wednesday this week, I did my first Christmas baking of the year! Yup, you read that right. It was at an event with organic wholesaler Urtekram where we got to bake all kinds of Christmas goodies. More about that in a later post though.

Now, let’s get to this week’s roundup.

What I Loved This Week

The reads

Looking for a Halloween costume for this year’s party? Studio DIY have so many fun costume ideas, I love their never ending creativity.

This isn’t a read, but a great listen. The podcast Invisibilia have an absolutely fascinating episode called “Mirror Touch” about a woman named Amanda who can physically feel what other people are feeling. I listened to it ages ago but want to listen to it again, it’s super interesting!

Is this pantry dreamy or what? *heart eyes*

How to teach kids to love and respect their bodies.

The food stuff

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake. How beautiful is that cake?

I’ve been really inspired to do stuff with pumpkin lately, especially cutting into wedges and roasting in the oven. Perhaps for a quick crispy tofu and squash autumn bowl. Or maybe pumpkin seed pesto pasta with caramelized delicata squash.

I love the things they come up with on Hot For Food blog, like mashed potato waffles – what even?

How cute are these mini apple pie cakes!?

The random thoughts

I tried making a cheesecake using Oatly’s cream cheese for the first time last weekend and it came out perfect! I love experimenting and switching up ingredients, especially when it works!

Totally accurate joke my boyfriend told me the other day: What do Donald Trump and pumpkins have in common? They’re both orange, and should be thrown out in November.

Are you getting dressed up and celebrating Halloween?

What’s the best thing you’ve come across online or elsewhere this week?

Caramel Apple Cheesecake and The Impact a Friend Can Have

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

Sometimes six hours of talking to a best friend over caramel apple cheesecake and multiple cups of coffee makes all the difference.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

I’ve been in a pretty down mood these past couple of weeks.

And like most people, I don’t particularly like feeling sad. So I’ve tried to do things to shift my focus, you know, get my mind off things.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

I’ve baked, gone for walks, Netflixed, read books and blogs and articles, scrolled through my social media feeds too many times, written journals and blog posts, cleaned the entire apartment (including the windows), watched cats getting scared of cucumbers, and talked to my therapist.

But what finally made a difference was spending some time with a good friend.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

On Saturday afternoon I had a very dear friend of mine over for coffee. Life has been in the way for both of us lately, so I hadn’t seen her in over a year. But she’s one of those friends who, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, we dive right into conversation like it was yesterday.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

Our afternoon coffee flowed into a spontaneous dinner at the Indian place across the street, and six hours later we hugged each other goodbye and I thought how beautiful it is that sometimes talking to a best friend over a slice of caramel apple cheesecake and multiple cups of coffee can make all the difference.

As for the cheesecake, that was a success too.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

2 cups digestive crackers, or similar
1/3 cup melted butter (for example vegan butter)

16 ounces | 450 grams cream cheese (I used Oatly cream cheese)
1/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 peeled apples, thinly sliced

1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted butter
Caramel sauce for drizzling (I used Hey Boo coconut caramel sauce).


  1. Preheat oven 350 F | 180 C.
  2. Process the digestive cookies in a food processor until you get fine crumbs, add the melted butter and mix together, then press into the bottom of a round spring form pan (about 8 inches | 23 cm in diameter).
  3. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the cream cheese filling until smooth.
  5. Prepare the crumble topping by mixing together all the ingredients, you might want to use your hands to mix this part.
  6. Pour the cream cheese filling over the crust in the pan and spread into an even layer. Evenly distribute the thinly sliced apple over it, and finally sprinkle the crumble on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely and then store in the fridge up until serving. Take the cake out about 10-15 minutes before serving, unless you like your cheesecake fridge cold.


Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

Caramel Apple Cheesecake | http://BananaBloom.com

What I Loved This Week | Oct. 16, 2016

What I Loved This Week | Oct. 16, 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

I want to start this new weekly feature post series called “What I Loved This Week”. My idea is that I’ll share a little roundup of whatever I’ve come across that I’ve either liked, or that’s stirred up some emotion in me.

What I Loved This Week | Oct. 16, 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Hope you’ve had a great week! Mine started out pretty lousy with a bad cold resulting in a couple of sleepless nights, and a whole lot of restlessness. I always feel the worst about myself when I’m knocked out by a cold or other illness that forces me to be “lazy” for a couple of days.

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s roundup.

What I Loved This Week

The reads

The article Please Don’t Call Me Pretty – I’m Just Sick and Skinny by Jacqueline Raposo touches on a subject that hits close to home. She talks about the compliments and comments that come from losing weight (whether it’s deliberate, or due to a chronic illness), and how those comments can come to have a longterm effect on how we perceive ourselves and our self-worth.

The 10 Best Things Gluten Free People Can’t Eat by Chris Stang. I’ll admit I’ve been an easy target for the whole “gluten free”-craze of late. This is one of the things that is so difficult with eating disorders, we’re bombarded with information about right and wrong foods, and with food and health anxiety it’s hard not to succumb to all these health claims. So, it’s nice when people like Chris Stang point out the ridiculousness of it all.

I’m sharing Anya Barca-Hall’s story: One Year Later – When Healthier is Still Unhealthy, because I can relate so much to it. She speaks about her struggles with eating disorders, how easy it is to relapse, and how it can happen very much subconsciously.

I was relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one who felt triggered by Trump’s behaviour at the second debate night. I was watching some summary of the debate the morning after and had to turn it off because Trump’s threatening lingering behind Hillary whenever she would have the mic made me feel sick.

The food stuff

I’ve been thinking I need to challenge myself and have pancakes for breakfast (or lunch) some day soon. These fluffy vegan pancakes look like the perfect candidate.

I made these pumpkin spice muffins (though with my own twist on them, of course) last weekend, as you may have seen on Instagram. They were freakishly delicious, but I’ll admit I struggled to enjoy them without feeling guilty. P.S. I’ve become so obsessed with pumpkin spice everything because it’s all over my social media feeds.

Speaking of pumpkin spice, here’s another take on the pumpkin spice muffin, with a crumble topping. I have seen at least five recipes for pumpkin spice muffins/cupcakes this week.

Okay, one last pumpkin thing and then I’ll stop (maybe). Because, pumpkin ravioli.

The random thoughts

I want to go to New York City again. Tom and I went in November three years ago and ever since, I get all nostalgic about it around this time of year and want to go back.

I follow some Christmas blogs. Yes, it’s a thing. In about mid September the Holiday bloggers start pumping out content and when they do, I can’t keep that cosy Christmas feeling from creeping in on me. Is it too early to start baking Christmas treats?

I watched all of The Affair on Netflix this week while I was in bed with a cold. I never really got into it when I tried before. And now? Well, I wouldn’t say it was great, but it definitely grew on me.

What’s the best thing you’ve come across online or elsewhere this week?

Who Taught You How to Hate Yourself

Who Taught You How to Hate Yourself | http://BananaBloom.com

It’s Easter weekend and I’ve just taken a bite of a coconut macaron that my aunt has baked for the occasion. “You look like a fat chipmunk”, he says. “Watch out, if you keep eating so many cookies you’re going to get fat”. Who taught you how to hate yourself?

Who Taught You How to Hate Yourself | http://BananaBloom.com

I stand in front of the mirror for too long every day. Staring at myself from different angles. Scrutinising every little inch of fat on my body, how my thighs move and jiggle, how my stomach rolls when I bend over, my double chin, my puffy cheeks, my flabby arms, and my non-existent abs. How will I ever learn to accept and live with this body? How will I ever feel like this is okay and not something that I have to constantly work at trying to fix?

We’re all brought into this world as equals, blank slates. As kids, we don’t worry about what clothes we wear, how our hair looks, what or if we should eat, and we don’t notice if our stomach creases when we sit down.

Somewhere in those years of growing into teenagers and adults, we become aware of – and burdened with – the notion that we are flawed. We learn that we are supposed to look a certain way, eat a certain way, and be a certain way to fit in. To be okay. To be enough. And because this outline of a perfect being is increasingly unrealistic and unattainable, we come to hate ourselves for our failure to fulfil these demands.

I learned early on from magazines, tv shows, and supermodels what an ideal body looks like. What success, fame, happiness, and attention looks like. I tuned into the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show every year to gawk at the perfect bodies and dream of one day looking like that.

It took nothing more than a quick look in the mirror to conclude that I did not appear to be what society labeled as beauty.

In my early teens, before I developed an eating disorder, I had notebooks hidden away, scribbled full of calorie calculations, food and exercise plans, and magazine cut outs of stick thin models I wanted nothing more than to look just like. But it wasn’t until I started getting comments from other people that learned that not being as thin as those Victoria’s Secret models wasn’t okay.

In my teens (and less than a year before I developed my eating disorder), I was dating a guy who would unfailingly comment on every “hot girl” he saw. “Oh wow, did you see that girl?” he’d say to me, as he turned around to have a second look at the stick-thin blonde with big boobs who’d just passed us by. As if he was having a banter with one of his dudes. He’d do the same with overweight people, only instead commenting on how disgusted he was by them. When we went out to eat he’d suggest I order the children’s size portion, and when he ordered take away pizza for himself for dinner, he’d order a salad for me.

With my confidence already scarred from my then boyfriend’s comments, little hints were piled on from other people in my life too. Over Easter that year, we visited family abroad. For the duration of the Easter weekend my uncle would tirelessly comment on everything I was eating. He’d tell me I should cut back on the sweets, watch what I was eating, not have so many cookies.

Or else I’d get fat.

He even took the liberty of calling me a “fat chipmunk” as I bit into one of my favourite coconut macaroons that my aunt had baked for the occasion.

And then there was the comment from a close friend when I’d lost so much weight from eating nothing and exercising for hours every day. I had confided in her when I, for the first time, felt like my “dieting” was out of my control. Her only response to my weight loss confession both surprised and hurt me: “Yeah, I’ve noticed, how did you do it?”

She wasn’t concerned. She was curious, and excited, to learn how to do the same.

And of course the aforementioned boyfriend commented on my weight loss with compliments as well, “The long walks are paying off, keep it up, you’re looking amazing”.

My behaviour was being encouraged by the people around me. I felt miserable and wanted to find an end to this diet nightmare, but how could I stop when everyone was cheering me on, telling me this was a good thing, the right thing to do?

When my body eventually had enough of the starvation, I fell into a binging and restricting pattern. I would cave and eat what I considered to be a lot of food, and then feel painfully guilty and ashamed about it. To counteract my failures and forbidden behaviour, I would spend the following days starving myself. This of course became a vicious – and never ending – circle. And despite my starving, I wasn’t able to prevent myself from gaining weight. My irregular eating patterns wreaked such havoc and caused such confusion to my body that it would hold onto whatever food I did give it, causing me to gain weight.

To this day, gaining weight feels like the ultimate failure to me. The slightest weight gain or change in how my body looks or feels and I feel extremely ashamed of myself and my body.

And how could I not? For years people have complimented me for being so determined and for having such discipline with my assumed healthy eating and exercise. How then, can I not feel guilt and shame, and the constant need to fix this broken body? How can I not keep feeling this taught and learned self hate?

I find this topic very interesting – the notion that we are taught to dislike different aspects of our bodies or ourselves. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments, or email me.

Who taught you how to hate yourself?

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016: A Recap

Baking & Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

This past weekend, pastry chefs and chocolatiers from all over Sweden gathered for the annual four day Baking and Chocolate Festival (Bak- & Chokladfestivalen) in Stockholm.

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

There’s no denying the massive interest for baking and chocolate in Sweden.

By 10.45am on Thursday, just fifteen minutes before the festival was scheduled to open, a huge crowd had gathered outside, impatiently waiting to be released into the hall. The joint feeling of excitement was evident. Everyone was eyeing each other like at the starting line of a race, eager to get their hands on treats, and generous amounts of samples.

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

The Baking and Chocolate Festival is a form of expo for baking enthusiast and chocolate lovers alike.

Obviously, I couldn’t miss it.

A huge hall is filled with the sweet scent of chocolate and cakes. There’s vendors selling delicate truffles, cake artists showing off their intricate decorating skills, truffle making and cupcake baking stations, and of course the annual pastry chef of the year competition. There was also a new exhibition of sorts this year called “From Bean to Bar” allowing onlookers to experience the process of chocolate making, from the cocoa bean all the way to the final product – the chocolate bar.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good the festival was. It’s like a party of inspiration and there’s so much to look at, sample, and purchase that it’s borderline overwhelming.

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Perhaps I also enjoyed this event more than similar events before, because I wasn’t riddled with as much anxiety as I usually am. I pep-talked myself beforehand about allowing myself to sample what I pleased, without feeling guilt, and I did. Sample that is.

Granted, I didn’t end up sampling much (especially if compared to some of the double and triple dippers I saw). But thanks to having eaten a proper breakfast, I wasn’t starving, so my choices were based on my tastebuds, and not on my hunger.

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.com

I decided to purchase a couple of goodies that piqued my interest, to take home for my boyfriend and I to sample in the evening. And as baking research, of course. I want to make my own version of some of these!

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.comOn the left, clockwise from top left: white chocolate passion fruit truffle, liquorice sea salt truffle, apple liquor truffle, and vegan dark chocolate truffle from Cake Cowboy (they were okay, not my favourite). On the right, clockwise from top left: virgin mojito truffles, salted caramel truffle, and butterscotch truffle by Chocolatte (these truffles were insanely good).

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.comSandwich cookies by cake artist Liv Sandberg. On the left, chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with chocolate chip cookie dough, and brownie cookies sandwiched with salted caramel pecan frosting. Crazy good. A similar type of cookie is definitely up on my baking to do list!

Baking and Chocolate Festival 2016 | http://BananaBloom.comLiquorice stones, the pink were slightly harder in the middle (almost broke my teeth on some of them), and the black had a chocolate coating. They were okay, but not a favourite.

My only regret? That I didn’t get some of that glitter dust for decorating my own baking.

Oh well, next time.