Tag Archives: homemade

mom photographer, tortilla bowl-3a

Tortilla bowls

Tortillas are the “must have” in our house lately.

My husband likes quesadillas.

Our daughter can eat them just with peanut butter. She likes them a lot!

I like to use them in all kinds of wraps. So far, my favorite are spinach-strawberry wraps on homemade whole wheat tortillas.

My husband is not a big fan of the homemade ones so we still buy them for him.

Anyway, homemade or not we eat a lot of them.

Lately I’ve discovered tortilla bowls and the are a big hit in our home.

Whenever I make them our daughter tends to eat more of what’s inside, what I use to sneak more veggies in her.

They are super easy to make.

I use big muffin baking forms:

Not to torn the bottoms of the tortillas, very delicate I fold the tortillas inside the muffin form. 

Bake in 350 F for 10 minutes.

Fill with whatever you want.

Sometimes I make it just for my daughter so she has a funny bowl for her nuts to snack on. She loves it! And I have less dishes to wash ;)

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ewa samples, whole wheat blueberry marzipan pancakes-13

Marzipan and blueberries whole wheat pancakes with flax-seed meal

 

Back in the days my husband and I used to eat at iHop a lot. Almost every Saturday or Sunday we would go there for a breakfast and I would have a huge stack of pancakes, always a different flavor or whatever new they were having that time. 

One day while I was pregnant with our No. 2, as usual, we went to our local iHop for breakfast and we haven’t been there since. I have no idea if they have changed something or because of my pregnancy I was more sensitive but I hated the food there that day. On that day my love affair to their pancakes has vanished. For good!

Instead I’ve started making my own pancakes. For a while I had struggle finding a good, fluffy and flavorful batter.

Finally I found this recipe for buttermilk pancakes and I’ve used the batter for all kinds of pancakes since. It has never failed.

Ingredients:

dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour,

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda,

1 tsp. cinnamon,

4 tsp. turbinado sugar,

1/4 tsp. salt,

1/4 cup flax-seed meal,

wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (homemade works great)

2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted, cooled,

2 eggs,

garnish/filling

1/3 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup marzipan paste (homemade or store-bought)

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients and wet in two separate bowls. Then mix everything together and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake on hot skillet. Immediately top each pancake with a few blueberries and small pieces of marzipan paste. Fry until the top is bubbly. Flip over and fry for additional minute or until nice and brown. 

My husband eats them with maple syrup.

My daughter with strawberry jam or not… ;)

For me, with all the flavors going on just inside those pancakes, plain are all what I need.

The marzipan is such a nice addition. It just pops out when you eat those pancakes. Of course you need to like marzipan in order to enjoy them like I do. My husband being not the biggest fan of marzipan likes it hidden like that although he prefers banana-blueberry pancakes.

 


ewa samples, coconut milk-5

Homemade and fresh: Coconut Milk

Coconut milk, delicious, creamy and thick, that’s how I like it… with a hit of sweetness.

It’s been a while since I bought coconut or almond milk. I like to make my own and the way I like it. It’s not only cheaper but it’s made fresh and it taste better.

Normally I buy peeled coconut which I have to open on the top and scoop out the white soft part. I keep the coconut water for smoothies or soups.

It’s pretty hard work to open it but it’s really worth it.

Most recipes for homemade coconut milk call for:

3 cups of water

1 coconut (the white soft part)

Of course, this way the milk is less thick and you get more for your buck.

I normally use only:

2 cups water, filtered,

1 coconut,

1 Tbsp agave nectar

This way I get more thick milk (if I don’t strain it, it’s even thicker).

The white part after it’s scooped out needs to be washed.

Then blend everything together, add whatever sweetener you use and blend a little more.

Enjoy or store in the fridge for further use.

It stays fresh for up to 4 days in the fridge.

All the recipes I found online say that you need to strain it after blending. I do not do that and I LOVE IT that way. It’s really thick and creamy. Yumm!!!

I think that if you have Blendtec, Ninja or Vitamix kind of blender it does pretty good job in blending and you don’t need to strain it but it’s only my opinion.

I can drink it just as it is without anything else.

Have a wonderful Monday and stay thirsty, my friends :)

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ewa samples, coconut oil cocoa butter whipped lotion

Whipped coconut oil-cocoa butter body cream

Since the day I made my first cream from coconut oil I am in love in it. In coconut oil, I mean. It works wonderful and it smells pretty darn good, too.

Lately I run out of my last homemade body lotion and at the same time I run out of emulsifying wax as well, so I went without any lotion for a while.

Looking for an inspiration for a new homemade cosmetic I came across Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter. I instantly fell in love in this VERY SIMPLE recipe. So I’d decided to make it.  

By that time I didn’t have KitchenAid just a simple electric hand mixer.

The recipe is simple. You pour a certain amount of coconut oil to a bowl and whip it until it looks like whipped cream.

So, the first time it took me about 30 minutes to finally give up on this project. I whipped and whipped and whipped and the consistency hadn’t changed almost at all. I thought the cocoa butter I added to the mixture was the main problem. I ended up with something that had the raw honey consistency. I used it all anyway.

A few days ago I decided to try it again. This time in my KitchenAid. I thought: “oh well, at least this time I don’t have to stand and hold it for so long. I’ll just turn in on and leave to do something else.”

And I did that.

I pour about 1/4 cup of coconut oil to the mixing bowl, turned the mixer on and went to play with my kids. After about 10 minutes It looked at it and there was almost no changes in the oil. I turned a little more white and it looked more thick.This time I’d decided not to give up so easily.

I turned the mixer off and put the bowl to the fridge for about 5 minutes. It was a really hot day when I was making it so I thought maybe the warm temperature at the house is the main problem why my oil doesn’t want to get thick.

After 5 minutes in the fridge I whipped it again for about 5 minutes. Turned it off and put it back to the fridge for 5 minutes. While the oil was in the fridge I melted 2 oz cocoa butter (over double boiler). When it melted I put it to the fridge to cool it down and I took the bowl with coconut oil out.

This time while whipping the consistency finally started to change and it got to the point where it looked like that:

And then I got very excited. FINALLY!!!

It smelled wonderful. Just like a coconut. The scent was so vivid and strong. Normally you can’t smell that coconut strong scent in regular coconut oil but when you whip it, oh… it’s just amazing. I love it!!!

At this point I took the cocoa butter from the fridge, it was cold but not hard, it had the consistency of honey, and I added it to the bowl with whipped coconut oil.

Then I added about 6 capsules of vitamin E and a few drops of grapefruit essential oil and whipped it for additional 5 minutes.

This is what I ended up with: smooth and silky whipped cream that smelled like coconut. 

The thing is that I do store it in the fridge and at this point it’s hardened. It didn’t stay soft and silky. I didn’t want to keep it in room temperature because I am afraid it will melt in this hot weather we’ve got here. 

Now it has the consistency more like a hard butter. It’s not REALLY hard but I need a spoon or a knife to scoop it out from the jar. Whenever I take a shower I take that jar with me so it gets softer in the moist and hot bathroom environment and after that it’s easier to scoop it out. 

It’s easy to apply on my body because as soon as it touches the skin it melts beautifully and it’s absorbs really good, too.

So far I think, I have found my second favorite recipe for body lotion :)

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ewa samples, whole wheat blueberry banana pancakes

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Breakfast – healthy and with love

I have never been big on gifts. For any occasion. B-day, Christmas, Women’s Day or Mother’s Day. Maybe because I grew up in a household where those things weren’t that important. My mom prefers to receive a living plant than a bunch of dead-in-a-few-days flowers. Maybe because of her I’m the same way.

But every single year no matter what we celebrated the most important thing was to be nice to the person who was celebrating her or his day.

A simple hug or a few words assuring that you remember.

So for those who still haven’t decide what to give to their mothers on Mother’s Day, I say: “make her a delicious breakfast to bed. and give her the day off”. She’ll appreciate it more than anything!

If it’s homemade and a little healthier than usual it’s even better.

Something like whole wheat buttermilk blueberry banana pancakes with turbinado sugar.

I assure you, that will make her day!

Recipe:

dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour,

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda,

4 tsp. turbinado sugar,

1/4 tsp. salt,

1/4 cup flaxseed meal,

wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (homemade will work great)*

2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted, cooled,

2 eggs,

fruit filling

1 cup fresh blueberries,

1 ripped banana, sliced

Directions:

In one bowl mix very well dry ingredients.

In second bowl mix very well wet ingredients.

Combine dry ingredients with wet. Do not overmix it. Now wait for at least 10 minutes for the batter to rest and let the baking soda and powder to start working its magic.

In the meantime heat the griddle on medium high. Melt about 1/4 Tbsp butter on it.

Sliced you banana so it’s ready to use.

When the griddle is ready spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter on it, more for bigger pancake.

Now sprinkle it with a few blueberries and sliced banana. (picture below does not show bananas because it’s from a different recipe, but you get the idea :) )

Wait until bubbles appear on the top and the batter doesn’t look runny anymore.

Flip on the other side and fried for another minute or until light brown.

Garnish with the leftover fruits, maple syrup, honey, jam, icing sugar or whipped cream… . Whatever is your mother’s favorite topping :) 

I do like mine plain served with black coffee.

All-purpose flour will work if you do not have whole wheat pastry flour. You can use regular white or brown sugar in place of turbinado sugar.

I used to make them without that healthy twist before and they looked like that: 

* Homemade buttermilk:

you’ll need milk and fresh lemon juice. For each cup of milk you need 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. So for this recipe you need:

1 1/2 cup of milk

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (2 Tbsp. are fine, too)

Pour the lemon juice into the milk. VERY GENTLY stir just one time. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before using.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

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ewa samples, homemade kisiel header

Homemade “Kisiel”

Sometime in the past I wrote a post about kisiel. The one that I had was a powdered kisiel I got from our Polish store.

To make it you just need to add the powder to a boiling water and voila! I found it in our Polish store but I’ve never bought it again since.

What’s kisiel?!

It’s a European dessert. Its consistency is like a thick syrup. Often made from kompot - at least in our family we used to use it to make kisiel. Sometimes it’s made from fruit juice. To get the thick consistency, in Poland, we use potato starch (flour). Corn starch is very rarely used in cooking in Poland. Instead of those two, lately I discovered that arrowroot is the best to use.

If there is no kompot  or fruit juice kisiel can be made with water, sugar and fresh fruits. I’ve never tried to make it using frozen fruits but I think it might work, as well.

The one that you can get from the store doesn’t have any fruits in it. Just like a pudding it’s a flavored powder, nothing else. These days they make those weird flavors that have nothing to do with fruits. The last time I had one was “cola” (coca-cola) and it was terrible!!! 

Homemade it’s a totally different story. To make it you can get creative as much as you want, but stay with the fruits only ;)

For example a few days ago I made a bueberry-pear-apple kisiel from fresh fruits.

It was delicious. 

Have you seen “Julie and Julia”?! I love love love this movie!!!

It might be serve cold or hot. I prefer to eat kisiel hot. The same is with pudding. I think that serving those two desserts cold is a sin against taste buds. Seriously!!! I’m getting angry just thinking about it.

Anyway, many recipes that you will find on Internet call for huge amounts of sugar. It’s really not that necessary if you use fresh fruits. The fruits will give it the natural sweetness and, at the end you could serve it with a whipped cream. 

This is my recipe

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup apple (I always use granny smith), peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 cup pear, peeled and chopped into small pieces

3 cups cold water (divided into 2 1/2 and 1/2)

3 TBSP. sugar (or more if needed)

3 tsp. corn starch (or arrowroot or potato starch)

Cook chopped apple and pear in sugar and 2 1/2 cup of water for about 5 minutes – until the fruits are soft but not mushy. Add blueberries and cook another 3 minutes stirring often. In the remaining 1/2 cold water dissolve the corn starch (or whatever starch you’re using). Mix it with the fruit-sugar mixture. Stir until it thickens.

Done! :)

As I said, you can serve it cold, hot or slightly warm.

In my opinion the dessert tastes the best on the next day. You can store it in fridge for a few days. Whenever you’re ready to eat it just heat it up again (or not) and enjoy.

If it’s not sweet enough you can always add sugar.

If the consistency is not thick enough for you add more starch (first dissolve it in a tiny bit of cold water). I remember my mom used to make it almost like water. She would add almost no starch. She liked to drink it from a cup like it was a tea. I like mine somehow thick but not too thick.

… at the end enjoy watching your kids gobbling it up!!!

 


Homemade Granola with Lemon and Orange zest

Yesterday I talked about my oatmeal homemade body lotion. Today it’s granola. Homemade as well. It’s oatmeal week. I think I need to bake some oatmeal cookies tomorrow :)

Every time I go to the store granola is one of the most expensive cereals in the grocery store. If I look at the organic variety… hm… those are definitely not at my budget range.

If you don’t regularly buy granola, making it from scratch isn’t the cheapest and most efficient thing to do but if you do… well… it is definitely a thing you could safe a few extra bucks on.

I know that this reason is not always the biggest one as many people still can afford buying as much granola as they want.

Making it from scratch gives you the freedom of making it the way you like it with the ingredients you like and I think, that’s a really good reason to start making it at home.

Like orange zest (LIKE ME!) ? Grate some and use it for your granola. Like it very sweet? Add an extra table-spoon of brown sugar or honey.

One of the most important reason for me to make my own granola is the list of ingredients listed on the commercial made boxes. Yes, I am a label reader. That’s why, for example, I have never bought bread crumbs. I simply bake a french bread and after three days I blend it, put it in a glass jar and store in the fridge. Works perfect!

There is plenty of homemade granola recipes to try on Internet.

When I made it for the first time I used article from USA Weekend. It gave me the basic information about making it at home.

For the granola I made yesterday I didn’t have to buy anything. I had every single ingredient at the house already. We always have raisins and some mix trail for snacking. Brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, oats and fruits are “must have” in this household. The peanuts I used were from my mix trail. I simply sorted out the nuts from the rest of the mix trail.

  • 2.5 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup peanuts mixed with some almonds (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • fresh squeezed juice from half of lemon
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon and orange zest
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of raisins

Directions:

Prepare the orange and lemon zest. Crush peanuts.

In small pot over low heat mix the coconut oil, honey, water, lemon juice, zests.

Mix the oats with brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the wet mixture over it and mix it all really well.

Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. I line my with aluminum foil and spray it with baking spray.

Bake it in 275 F for 30 minutes ( 40 minutes if you want it more crunchy).  10 or 15 minutes before it’s done add raisins. Put it back to the oven.

Enjoy your tea while your granola is cooling down after done baking.

Store it in an airtight container.

I eat my granola only with plain yogurt. It’s so tasty you actually won’t need any additional flavors. I love the fresh taste of orange and lemon zest in it. Thanks to those two ingredients it smells amazing, too. Definitely one of the best granola I’ve ever made :)

It's a Keeper Beyond The Picket Fencefingerprints on the fridge

Cocoa Butter Coffee Lotion with a hint of grapefruit juice

Doesn’t that sound great!?!?!? :)

It feels even better!

I got very happy when I saw on Rebbeca’s Soap Deli News that she is talking about my coffee body lotion. Thanks a lot! It made me even happier when I saw my crochet camera strap cover being featured at J&M Eye Candy.

Back to my coffee lotion.

I just ran out of it and yesterday I made new jar. This time with cocoa butter and grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed) !

To those who made it, or want to try to make it – forget about my previous recipes, because I just made THE BEST COFFEE COCOA BUTTER (with grapefruit juice) body lotion EVER!!!!!!

Actually, I almost didn’t make it, or should say I almost failed to make it. It was my first time I was making lotion with cocoa butter. It didn’t want to thicken. I had to fix it and come up with new measurements. Now, proudly I can share it with you.

The directions along with the basic recipe how to make it step by step is here.

Yesterday I made a few changes that made all the difference. I added:

  • 3 tbs of cocoa butter and I melted it all together with e. wax and almond oil over double bath,
  • instead of using 1 1/2 cup of coffee I used 1 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (NO, THIS LOTION IS NOT STICKY because of that juice. It’s perfectly smooth and very creamy! )
  • I added the juice to the mixture after it cooled down a little, all together with vitamin E, and essential/fragrance oils (grapefruit essential oil and amber rose fragrance)

This lotion is AMAZING! After you use it you won’t need any perfumes! Seriously. It smells a little bit like coffee (not too much though) but the cocoa butter added delicate sweet scent to it, and it’s much better than my previous lotions. My skin is soooooo soft!

WHY GRAPEFRUIT JUICE?

Grapefruits are high in the carotenoid phytonutrient lycopene. Lycopene provides your skin with strong antioxidant protection against environmental damage. Lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals among the common dietary carotenoids. Lycopene also strengthens skin and helps to prevent wrinkles by enhancing its ability to produce collagen and reducing DNA damage.
Raw grapefruit contains the skin-cleansing enzyme, bromelain. This enzyme is found in the peel. Try rubbing the inside of the peel against your face as a cleanser. Bromelain also helps to reduce inflammation. Rubbing the peel over itchy inflamed skin, psoriasis or mosquito bites can help to alleviate the itching. Grapefruit drops are also available that will provide the same benefits when applied to your skin.
Grapefruit stimulates the circulation, tightens the skin and diminishes the cellulite.
WHY COFFEE?
One of the most beneficial ingredients in coffee is its caffeine. Just as drinking coffee wakes up your nervous system, it has also been shown to “wake up” the skin. Many anti-aging creams and moisturizers contain caffeine as an active ingredient for its anti-inflammatory qualities. Researchers at the Seoul National University reported in a 1981 study that caffeine reduces inflammation almost as well as aspirin. Coffee has also been added to many body scrubs to diminish the appearance of cellulite. In a 2007 study at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, researchers reported that topical creams containing caffeine decreased hip diameter in almost 70 percent of the subjects over one month.

Overall, use of skin care products containing caffeine will reduce and prevent inflammation and redness, leaving you with a beautiful, even skin tone.

:)
WHY COCOA BUTTER?

Those who had or have used PALMER’s cocoa butter formula know how good it is for you skin. Especially when you’re pregnant, or after being pregnant. It has many more benefits.

If you want to read about cocoa butter more go here, or here, and great info here.

Yesterday I went even further using my coffee. Instead of throwing out those used coffee grounds I made coffee sugar body scrub.

My recipe calls for:

whatever coffee grounds you’ve got left (in this case it was about 3/4 cup),

about 3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice (you can add olive oil instead)

This body scrub is very messy!!!

Used coffee filter went straight to my husband’s worm’s. YES, he keeps worms on our patio. It looks pretty gross. Mh… tell me more about it but, despite that look it’s nothing more than our food waste, coffee grounds, used tea bags, dirt from vacuum cleaner and shredded paper. The dark brownish matter is the soil… almost ready to be used. Few more weeks and we will be using it in our pots :)

This time I went totally green making this lotion  :) I’m happy about that!  As well, my husband should be proud of me that I take such a good care of his worms.  We used to fight about a few things that go along with having your own worm composting set up. A few months ago we compromised to a few things and it works since. It works really good! I feed his worms, he takes care of the rest of it. He acutally takes a very good care of it.

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Dinner in 11 pictures…

… or in 14 if you counted the double ones and the gif ;-)

Today I want to share with you one recipe that I think its’ worth to share.

Tortilla Lasagna

For my dish I use 4 tortillas, and 8×8 glass baking dish. 2 tortillas on the bottom, and two as a second layer.

For bigger dish use as many tortillas as you need to cover the bottom completely and double the ingredients.

For my size of this dish I use 2 cups shred cheese:

1 cup mild cheddar cheese,

1 cup jack cheese,

1 green zucchini (or yellow, or mix of both). I had only the green one.

1/2 purple onion (big one)

or

1 small

1 tablespoon olive oil… Fry it for about 15 minutes.

(click on the photo above)

Add

1 cup broccoli

1 cup salsa

Mix it well, and simmer on the very low heat for additional 5 to 10 minutes.

While you cooking your veggies fry one chicken breast in a second pan.

When the chicken is done add it to the veggie-salsa pan, mix it well.

 

Pour half of that mixture on the top of the first layer of tortillas

Cover it with half of the shredded cheese. I added some green peas and corn, but it’s because I really like those, and I cook almost everything with green peas and corn ;-)

and… second layer

 

plus veggie-salsa and cheese layers with a few tablespoons of extra salsa spread on top.

Bake uncovered in 400 F for 40 minutes.

Eat and enjoy :-)

It’s one of my favorite dishes. It’s good with the chicken but if you’re not a big fan of meat it’s a great vegetarian dish as well… (just skip the meat).

Lots of me to bake delicious peanut butter cookies

I’m not sure how it started, but I did it…

- Self portrait of me in action…

Everyday action…

Baking cookies…

I think I prefere baking over cooking.

The Daily Wyatt

… sometimes I feel that it would be so great to have a few more me to do everything at once and have some extra time for …hmm… for actually nothing… just ME time, or maybe reading book time… Wouldn’t that be awesome!!!


And that’s what I was making:

and the recipe if you interested to try:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (if you use salted butter than skip the salt I’m talking about later)

3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, doesn’t matter)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (if you used salted butter, skip this)

COATING

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

GARNISH

Oryginall recipe call for unwrapped milk chocolate Kisses – I changed it for

Strawberry preserve

DIRECTIONS:

The oryginal recipe I’ve got calls for parchment papare on your baking sheets. I didn’t use it, and those cookies where just fine withouth.

In the bowl beat the butter. Add the peanutt butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Beat in the milk. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Cover and chill the batter for about an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls.

I skiped the waiting time, and the dough was perfectly fine to roll balls from it.

Roll the batter into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball into the sugar placed earlier in the shallow bowl or on the plate.

Placed the balls on the baking sheets. With your finger make a small hole inside each ball. With a spoon drop inside a small amount of the strawberry preserve.

Bake the cookies in 375 F for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.

If you want to use the milk chocolte Kisses instead of the preserve, just make a very small hole inside each ball, and bake it that way. Immidiately after removing the cookies from the oven, place a chocolate Kisses in the hole in the center.

Cool completely in a wire rack.

I made 35 cookies from this recipe. Very yummy cookies. :-)

They are not very sweet, and the peanut butter flavor is not overpowering what I really like about this cookies. I made a few without the preserve inside (and without the kisses), just round balls… and my husband likes it better. I like it with the preserve MUCH better :-)

ah… and I would have forgotten. Today is:

This was my oryginal shoot

and this is my edit which I’m not happy with :-(

But I just don’t have the time to play with it more.