Sparkling

Food

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Got Milk?

dog, cute dog pics, got milk, Milk Ambassador

Can’t think of a more convincing Milk Ambassador

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4 Seemingly Healthy Foods With Lurking Dangers

Continuing from my last post where I’m working eating healthy, I managed to avoid the chips yesterday.
So right now it’s Chips Vs Me: 0/1 =)
YAY!

Here’s 4 foods often perceived as healthy foods but lurk with dangers.

1. Strawberries.

Ok don’t yell at me. I know they’re beautiful, juicy and yummy.
What’s there not to love about strawberries?
How can something so delicious be dangerous at all?

They are sprayed with insecticides and being without a skin layer that you can peel off, the strawberries absorb the pesticides sprayed on them.

In a study, there were 13 pesticides found on strawberries!
YIkes!

Sure they are yummy and attractive but there're layers of pesticides on them!

Sure they are yummy and attractive but there’re layers of pesticides on them!

Do: Organic Strawberries are probably safer. Buy those if your budget allows. But realize organic doesn’t mean it is pesticide free. It just means they use organice pesticides, which may be less dangerous.
Tip: If you want to eat regular strawberries, as a precaution, wash them and brush them gently with a mushroom brush. That may help to remove some of the pesticides on the surface. But it still doesn’t help remove the pesticides that have been absorbed.

2. Sprouts & Alfalfa

They need moist, warm environments to grow which provides the perfect condition for bacteria and germs to grow.
Added to the danger, is that manure is often used in growing sprouts and alfalfa.
Sprouts are considered one of the foods most likely to harbor pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
These bacteria will make you very sick. If it’s a severe strain, may even cause organ damage or be fatal.

Sprouts are most often responsible for food recalls.
They have been responsible for large-scale outbreaks of food poisoning in the past few years.
Retailers have found it difficult to ensure the safety of any given batch of sprouts.

The danger of sprouts are such a health problem that WalMart and Krogers have stopped selling Sprouts and Alfalfa.
Organic sprouts and alfalfa do not improve your chances and are just as likely to be contaminated.

In fact, half the reported contaminated batches were organically grown products.
Pregnant women, elderly, children and those with weak health should never eat sprouts or alfalfa.

Dos: Refrain from eating raw Sprouts or Alfalfa.
Tip: If you want to eat them, try cooking them to kill any bacteria that may be there.

3. Large Fishes – Swordfish, Tuna

Large fishes live longer and accumulate more mercury. Fishes like Tuna, Swordfish tend to have high  mercury levels. Tuna caught in the Atlantic contains more mercury than those caught in the Pacific.

Imported Swordfish often fished with unsustainable methods causing great environmental damage and other sea life to be killed in the process. As we know, In trying to catch Tuna, Dolphins often get caught and die as collateral damage. Add to that, the increasing popularity and rising demand for Tuna is now resulting in overfishing of Tuna and the Tuna stock is rapidly being depleted.

Many fish are contaminated with mercury and some are way more than tuna.
The general EPA advice is that pregnant and nursing mothers and small children should avoid Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish.  The FDA’s monitoring program run since 1990, indicates the mercury contamination in “fresh / frozen” tuna is around 0.38 mg / kg, 0.35 in canned albacore and 0.12 in canned light tuna. Swordfish comes in at 0.98 mg / kg, Tilefish with 1.45 mg / kg

For an average 160 lbs adult, the safely limit is 90 g / week (3 oz) of fresh/frozen tuna, half a can of albacore tuna, 1 1/2 cans of light tuna per week, 2.5 oz of Swordfish or 1.5 oz of Tilefish per week.  This excludes any other fish consumption. So basically this is ALL the fish intake that is safe to eat.

Choose fishes with lower mercury levels. Limit Tuna, Shark, Tilefish,

Choose fishes with lower mercury levels. Limit Tuna, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish,

Dos: Eat fish in moderation. For adults, keep mercury levels below the minimum reference dose of 0.1mg/ kg/day (or 0.045mg/lb/day) of body weight.
This means for an 160 lb/ 73 kg adult, keep it to 7.3mg per day.
Tip: Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Four of the most commonly eaten seafood low in mercury are shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

For further information, check out EPA’s health advice on mercury levels in fish.

4. White Chocolate

Pick chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa for more health benefits!
Pick chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa for more health benefits!

While cocoa beans contain antioxidants and many other health benefits.
White chocolate doesn’t contain much cocoa and most of it has been heavily processed that there isn’t much antioxidants left.
White chocolate is mostly flavoring, milk and sugar that makes up White Chocolate.

Besides, why pick white chocolate over milk or dark chocolate??
Milk and dark are much tastier!

Do/Tip: Eat chocolate with a higher cocoa level as it has more health benefits.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants and is good for the heart.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on chocolate alone for these health benefits.

Comfort Food is like Cocaine, Just not Fatal! Eating Healthy is Hard Work!

You see pictures of celebrities who look amazing, they talk about their healthy lifestyle.
You read about  their healthy eating habits to find tips and nuggets so you can live healthier.

It’s inspirational to proclaim “OK I’m going to eat and live healthy too!”

For me, it was a way of life of choosing to eat and live healthier.
I’m fully aware i’m not going to look anywhere close to Gwyneth Paltrow even if I succeed at living healthier.
Because she works out a minimum of 2 hours a day. That’s completely not happening for me.

Gwyneth looking amazing in a daring side sheer dress!

Gwyneth looking amazing in a daring side sheer dress!

For Gwyneth, her healthy eating means no red meat, no diary, no sugar, no white processed carbs.

Do you know HOW DIFFICULT that is when you live in the real world?
(or maybe have issues with self control…)
If you’re attempting to live healthier and finding it close to impossible, know that the rest of us mortals struggle with it too!
You’re not alone. Don’t feel bad because you can’t adhere to your healthy plan.

Celebrities have personal chefs who will conjure up yummy dishes with enough variety to accommodate these dietary limits.
You and I do not have a personal chef to buy the ingredients and whip up yummy meals daily based on such a restrictive diet.

I find the best way to eat healthy, is to prepare and cook fresh food.
That way, I know exactly what goes into the dish.
Every time I try to eat clean or healthy, even if it’s just for a day, I find it challenging and stressful to buy healthy food.
If I’m eating clean or healthy, that means it has to be cooked at that point, not pre-cooked or a frozen vegetarian meal.
That’s filled with chemicals which defeats the purpose.

If you work or  look after kids or family with plenty of things to get done throughout the day,
you’ll likely identify with me. We’re pressed for time!

Buying fresh ingredients all the time is time consuming.
Many times, by the time I’m done with the day, the supermarket is closed or
I’m way too tired to haul myself to get fresh food.
After a long day, you still have to cook and wash up. Which easily takes an hour.
And if you have kids or other people you need to take care of, you’ll be even more pressed for time.

Yesterday I was running multiple errands and I didn’t get done till 11pm.
I STILL hadn’t had dinner. I was starving, famished.

The easiest thing to do would have been to open a packet of instant noodles
(which I do enjoy the taste of, probably because of all the chemicals and MSG in there!)
and dump some frozen vegetables into it and call it a meal.

I decided I had to make the effort to eat healthy and put my intention to practice.
Eating healthy takes effort. It takes time. Healthy food doesn’t magically appear!

Chemical ladened instant noodles would not do!
So, I cooked. At 11pm at night.

I abhor eating late at night.
The smart thing to do if you have to eat that late, is to stick to vegetables and proteins and minimize carbs.
I had chicken meat frozen in the freezer, it would have taken too longer to thaw.
I needed to eat NOW.

Next best thing? Pasta. Sigh. Major CARBS!!
So I whipped up Mushroom cream pasta. *gulp*
At least it was vegetarian?

Mushroom Pasta at Midnight!

Mushroom Pasta at Midnight!

Totally sinful and not even as delicious as what I would have eaten at a restaurant.
By the time I was done cooking and washing up, it was midnight.
Yes, it took an hour to prep the food (dicing, chopping etc), cook, and wash dishes.

I finally ate at midnight.
If I had a personal chef and a huge kitchen well stocked with food,
I’m sure he could have cooked up  healthy grilled chicken or a salad.
Well, I don’t have either.

As the night wore on, I got the urge to snack.
My first instincts was Cheetos =)

I spoke sternly to my comforted-by-junk-food self.
“No junk food! Eat healthy!”
I got an apple and ate that.
Which should have been enough.
Except for many of us, part of the challenge in living healthier is changing our habits and leaving our comfort zone.

For many of us, eating is a comfort zone.
It bizarrely makes us feel safe, comforts us.
It makes us feel we can get through the paper or report we are having difficulty writing and is due tomorrow.
Cheetos, Sour Cream & Onion chips, Ice cream, desserts all make me happy.
If i’m working late into the night, feeling stressed,
opening a bag of cheddar chips inexplicably makes me feel safer, that I can get my work done.

Desserts make me feel better. Always!

Desserts make me feel better. Always!

Psychologists will tell you it has to do with the reward system wired in our brain such that when we eat junk food or engage in activities we are used to doing, our brain gets used to such behavior and releases dopamine.
Dopamine makes us happy.
If you use drugs like cocaine and weed, you brain releases dopamine too.
That’s what makes you remember how happy you felt and so you repeat the act.
Which means, Junk Food is like the Non-Fatal version of Deadly Drugs.

After I got done with the apple, I was still feeling twitchy.
I didn’t have the comfort dopamine rush of eating chips.

Still, I tried to resist.
I had some cheese puffs from the weekend. So I heated those up and ate them.
At least they were healthier than chips!

Soft Cheesey Cheese Puffs. MMMMMmmm

Soft Cheesey Cheese Puffs. MMMMMmmm

Right now, I’m still eying those chips sitting within arm’s reach from me.
Let me tell you how exhausting it is to eat healthy and resist the chips and all the temptations.
Cooking at 11pm, eating healthy snacks, resisting old familiar habits all require a lot of hard work in physical and mental effort.

Eating healthy sounds simple, it isn’t.
It takes A LOT of hard work and effort, especially at the beginning because it involves changing deep-seated habits.

I get very annoyed when people with domestic help, do not work, or are wealthy thump their noses down on the difficulty people with real, everyday lives have in developing a healthy lifestyle.
It greatly annoys me.

I had someone say dismissively,
“It’s easy to eat and live healthy, it’s just whether you want to!
If you don’t, blame yourself.”

People like her do not understand the reality of it.
It pisses me off when wealthy people who do not work tell me how easy it is to get something done.

When you have had a long day, sometimes you come back and it’s too tiring to cook a healthy meal.
If you go out to eat, try finding a dish that has minimal processed food, without pre-made items, or preservatives.
Chances are it’s all been processed in some factory at some point and they are cooking it with a massive amount of cheap oil and too much salt.

Eat at healthy organic, raw food restaurants every day?
Sounds great — if you can afford it.
A meal at such places will easily cost a min of $40 a meal.
That’s $1200 a month just for dinner per person.

The least expensive food options are generally sandwiches or pasta (filled with mayo and cheap filling).
Not exactly filled with healthy protein and vegetables.

Buy organic, sure. It costs a premium.
Cook a proper meal, that’ll be another hour.
When you are living in the real world with pressures and deadlines, who has much time to cook?

So if you’re trying to eat and live healthy, keep trying.
It’s a process for me. I fall off the bandwagon all the time.
Don’t stop trying!

Real life has its demands and financial resources are limited.
Do what you can.

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself for not being to eat healthy all the time.
If you have tips to eating and living healthy, share your tips with us!

My goal for today, a seemingly simple but tiring one. Avoid the Chips!

Here’s tips on how to keep fit in your 30s, 40s, 50s.
(If you’re in your teens or 20s, you’re incredibly fit, ENJOY LIFE!!!=))

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/20/health/fitness-any-age/index.html?sr=fb082013fitatanyage12p

Because Croissant doesn’t have enough butter …

I typed this post Twice. and when I saved it, it got deleted Completely! TWICE!

Arrrrrrrrgh

Here we go again!

I have a soft spot for croissant.
Especially freshly baked croissant with its unmistakable aroma and alluring call saying “Have me! I’m perfectly warm, flaky, and buttery!”

I walked into a new cafe this morning and the lovely smell of baking croissant hit me the moment I opened the door.
It was a little expensive for factory dough croissant (the kind that comes in a slab and you pinch it out and roll it and leave it in the oven to bake.)
But the aroma was too much for me. I HAD to have a croissant.

I pointed out to the girl the single croissant sitting on the baking tray she just took out from the oven.
It was calling out my name.

I was surprised by what I got ….

Because there ISN'T enough butter in croissant. They thought my heart needed MORE butter...

Because there ISN’T enough butter in croissant. They thought my heart needed MORE butter…

There’s PLENTY of butter that goes into croissant, which is why it’s fragrant, flaky, and buttery.
So, to serve it was butter is like being served Cream of Mushroom soup with a side cup of Full Cream just in case there isn’t enough cream in the soup…

For 3 seconds, my good and evil self debated whether I should do the right thing and return the butter.

But, salted butter… Oh! Another weak spot…. Yes, I have many many weak spots….

Unfortunately for my arteries, My evil self won and I spread the salted butter onto the warm, crisp, flaky croissant.

4 bites later, the croissant was gone, half the salted butter was used and I was a happy (but guilty and fatter) person.

But to start the day with croissant? Oh such joy!

I hope everyone’s having something good to kick start your day. Share what it is that makes you happy to start your day with!

Let me cook for you, my dear…

While watching TV…
Me: Hmm. I kind of miss being able to cook for a boyfriend…

Friend: Yeah. You mean you miss being able to cook at all…

Me: I cook!…. every now and then…

Friend: Sure. Of course you do. You cook and it’s a good outcome when no pots get burned and no fires engulf the kitchen…

Me: I’ve never burned a house down from cooking!

Friend: Great. It’s better if you don’t cook. And it’s not like you’d cook for a guy. HOW many times have you attempted to poison a boyfriend that way?

Me: I like the idea of having a boyfriend that I could hypothetically cook for… it’s sweet and romantic… and I didn’t poison any boyfriends!!

Well, there was that once I offered to cook for a guy I liked… except that it was really more of a threat…
I told him how I screwed up Carbonara a bunch of times and it ended up as soggy scrambled eggs in pasta.

Even i can't bear to eat my failed Carbonara

Even i can’t bear to eat my failed Carbonara

And after telling that story, I offered to cook him dinner…. It worked brilliantly.
He kept saying no. So i didn’t have to cook in the end. Which I didn’t want to anyway. I just wanted to offer and make sure my offer wasn’t taken up. Thank god he wasn’t suicidal.

That was quite amusing I must say. I still chuckle when i think of that. Brilliant me.

The No Carb Diet Update…

(This kind of continues from yesterday’s diet story…)
I’m sure you’re all dying to hear the update on whether yesterday was truly a No Carb day….

We’ll save that for the last, because that’s what soaps/drama serials do… they save it for the next episode…

I just realized that whenever I decide to go on a diet, I set the limits of the diet (No Carbs, No Diary, No Alcohol, etc etc)
However, there’s something even more interesting I just realized today.
When I go on a diet, my head interprets it as “Warning: DON’T EAT!!!”
So while most normal people abstain from foods they are not suppose to eat, I on the other hand, try to abstain from eating completely. Other than coffee or tea – which just makes matters worse because you get dehydrated.
In my defense, I suppose simply Not eating at all produces faster results…
Well, that’s until you (or I) feel faint or get stomach pains… Which I get pretty often.
If you want a clue why, see above.

So today has started out this way… me trying not to eat till it hit me that I tend to do this when I’m on a diet.

Which means when i’m on a diet, it’s not really a diet, it’s more accurately described as “Unconscious Self Starvation”. (Don’t worry, I’m not in danger. *try* being the key word.
It never lasts long enough. After a few hours, I succumb to carbs, snacks, something unhealthy…)

As for the big question, was yesterday a No Carbs day?
YES!!! It Was!!! YAY!!!

ps: Unless you count the remaining buttery cookies I shoved into my mouth just before I went to sleep…
well, even if you count that, technically the day was carb free… We just ran off the cliff at night before bedtime.

if any of you are psychologists, feel free to analyze me… I need help. LOTS of help. Thank you in advance

Failed Diet, Carb Withdrawal and Why I Won’t Try Coke (the white kind…)

While I’ve been very silent (i.e., more silent than just silent), I’ve gotten A LOT of insights…
I have 2 weddings this week and I wanted to look my best in my slinky dress.
This started the 3 week goal of going to the gym twice a week (I’ve been once. where I felt faint after 30 mins)
And the no carb diet which I’ve failed miserably at – it went down faster than the speed of light.

But let me share my insights….

First, I got a glimpse of what it must be like to be a POW or innocent villager trapped in a jungle to avoid being tortured by invading troops and living without much food.

Hunger, although a self imposed state for me, makes you jittery, restless, and gives you terrible nightmares.
I cannot imagine what cocaine withdrawal must be like because Carb withdrawal is bad. Really bad.

Carbs were all I could think of – a huge plate of pasta constantly projected in the cinematic screen of my mind.

Batali Bolognese

Mario Batali makes my fav pasta. This is his Bolognese. It got me at hello

The pasta dishes flashed like a slide show: classic spaghetti bolognese with homemade tomato sauce stewed for hours finished with fresh basil and grated mozzarella cheese,
next: smooth carbonara fettucini weave with stir fried brown onions, sweet peas, sliced mushrooms and generous, crispy bacon
next: meaty mac & cheese baked in triple cheese and white wine with chicken and mushrooms and the perfect browned melted cheese top

You get the idea…

This entire slide show looped in my head while I curled up in a chair like an addict without carbs.

I couldn’t concentrate, went from computer to kitchen to fix tea, took a shower, back to the laptop, pacing the floor…

I was a complete grouch; I grunted, I snapped. I tried to the show the fangs which I did not have to get people to stop talking to me because it was all noise in my head. Unnecessary noise that I did not need!

I got headaches, I spent afternoons on the couch my head hurting from the torture of the carb slideshow, from being underfed.

and then, after putting myself through this for 3/4 of the day, I’d decide: This is TOO MUCH TO BEAR!!!
I’d locate the nearest plate of spaghetti and promptly gorge it all down with a satisfied glee like a Cheshire cat and curl up on the chair with total delight.

Till the guilt set in. I’d freak out at all the carbs I was NOT suppose to eat. I’d feel like a total failure: out of control and unable to do something as simple as abstain from carbs. WHAT kind of person can’t even abstain from carbs?!?! AND can’t get to the gym twice a week for just 3 weeks?!?!
Well, Me, of course. (and maybe you? tell me I’m not alone….)

So if this was what carb withdrawal felt like, I have no idea how bad cocaine withdrawal must be. It must feel like the world is ending. (Incidentally, while the Mayans predicted the end in a few days, I think it’s a total mistake. In the meanwhile, for good measure, please go out and eat more of the food you like. Just in case the world does end. Which I’m sure is totally false and a conspiracy rumor created by Duracell and canned food companies)

So on that note, I will not be trying coke anytime cos it would suck to go through coke withdrawal.
And we all know, all good things must come to an end: the coke supply will eventually run out.
Either because your dealer gets shot, you get arrested, or you simply run out of  cash.
Drinking champagne is a safer habit, less expensive, less painful and far more glamorous.
That’s my advice if you’re thinking of trying coke.

Back to the diet, the original point in case we’ve all forgotten.
Yesterday, I decided I was actually going to have NO CARBS dammit!
It was good – until someone innocently put a box of freshly baked cookies in front of me.
That was the end of no carbs. (yes cookies count as carbs….)
I stuffed my face with half a box of cookies…
In my friend’s defense, he did not know I was on a no carb diet.

Today, I woke up and told myself “TODAY WILL be carb free!!”
I went many tads too far and pretty much didn’t eat anything from the time I woke up.
I felt faint.
I was busy running errands and finally had a break for food and got a bowl of soup.
After soup, I felt better.
Insight: starving yourself can make you feel faint. #obvious insights
Huh. Who knew!!

My proud moment today? I walked past caramel popcorn…
I flipped through the manual of No Carbs diet to find an exclusion clause for caramel popcorn.
No such exclusion. Damn.
I walked away from caramel popcorn like a demure young lady.
I’m so proud of myself. Just imagine the thing I do everyday if I’m proud of this small act….

So, that’s my unsuccessful diet and carb withdrawal experience.
The last wedding is on Friday. I’m hoping to wear a bandage dress. I’m not sure how that will go…
Let’s see if I manage to go carb free for the next few days.
but OMG, I’m totally devouring a plate of pasta after Friday…

Holiday Cookie Ideas!

Background: Glittering Lemon Cookies       Front Clockwise fr Top: Orange Cardamon Cookies, Double Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, Rugelach, Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s the Holiday Season and it puts me in the mood for all things bright, glittering and sweet.

I have a sweet tooth. yes. If that hasn’t been evident…

I was brainstorming cookie recipes with a friend to find some more interesting cookies to make for the holiday season besides the oldie but goodie Chocolate Chip Cookie and came across a few that were just too pretty like the Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookie in the background of the pic!

Orange Cardamon cookies are elegant and light with a tad of difference. I would probably add orange zest and rose petals to it for a contrasting sweet smell and flavor. These would be great for a dinner party or simple but elegant night in with friends.

The Double Chocolate Sandwich Cookies will be a hit with kids and adults alike and can be personalized and decorated with sugar decorations, chocolate sprinkles or silver sugar balls!

Here are some ideas to add to your cookie season!

Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookie

Ingredients:

For cookies:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • White or colored sanding sugars

For Filling:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  • Beat together butter and confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in zest and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms.
  • Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape if necessary and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled.
  • Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.
  • Form and bake more cookies on second baking sheet.

Make filling and sandwich cookies:

  • Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off a corner.
  • Turn over half of cookies and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling on flat side of each. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.
  • Cookies keep in a metal cookie tin at room temperature 4 days.

    Orange Cardamon Cookies

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • Makes 18 – 24 cookies using a 3-inch round or 2 3/4-inch square cookie cutter
      Garnish with sugar icing, decorative sugar, piping. Using a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip results in cleaner lines of icing.

    Make dough:

    • Whisk together flour, zest, cardamom, and salt.
    • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Quarter dough and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped separately in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.Dough can be chilled up to 2 days.

    Cut and bake cookies:

    • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
    • Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
    • Cut out as many cookies as possible with cookie cutter (chill dough again if necessary), reserving and chilling scraps. Transfer cookies to a parchment- lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.
    • Bake until edges are golden-brown, 9 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto a rack to cool completely.
    • Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once) on cooled freshly lined baking sheets.
    • If icing cookies and coloring icing, transfer small batches to small bowls, 1 for each color, and tint with food coloring. Spoon each color of icing into separate sealable bags, pressing out excess air, and snip an 1/8-inch opening in 1 bottom corner of each bag. Pipe icing onto a plate to test consistency. If too thick, thin a small batch with a few drops of orange juice.
    • Decoratively pipe icing onto cookies, then sprinkle with decorative sugar (if using) and let dry completely, about 1 hour (depending on humidity).
    • Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment if iced, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

    Double Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

    Ingrdients:
    For dough

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    For ganache

    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 3/4 lb fine-quality white chocolate, melted
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    Makes 40 cookies using a 1 3/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter

    Instructions:
    Make dough:

    • Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
    • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
    • Dough can be chilled up to 2 days.

    Make ganache while dough chills:

    • Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then stir into melted chocolate. Stir in butter and vanilla until smooth. Cover surface with parchment paper and chill, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 30 minutes.
    • Ganache can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, its surface covered with parchment. Bring to room temperature, then beat with mixer before using.

    Cut and bake cookies:

    • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
    • Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 14- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and freeze until dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
    • Cut out as many rounds as possible from first chilled square with cutter, reserving and chilling scraps, then quickly transfer cookies to a buttered baking sheet, arranging them 1/2 inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft, return to freezer until firm.)
    • Sprinkle half of cookies with decorative sugar (if using), then bake cookies until baked through and slightly puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on sheet on rack 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool).
    • Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once).

    Assemble sandwich cookies:

    • Beat ganache with an electric mixer at high speed just until light and fluffy. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag (snip off 1/8 to 1/4 inch from 1 corner with scissors). Pipe ganache onto flat sides of plain cookies, then top with sugared cookies to make sandwiches. Chill, layered between sheets of parchment, in an airtight container until filling is set, at least 1 hour.
    • Sandwiched cookies keep, chilled, 4 days.

    recipes by gourmet.com

Grown Up, Elegant Hostess Cup Cake Recipe!

So, the arbitration between Hostess and the Labor Union failed.
Hostess is proceeding with selling itself. It’s a very viable business, just the Union and labor cost that is sticky. So if the next owner can work that out, they have themselves an established business that is profitable.
In the meanwhile, we’ll all have to make our own Hostess Cup cakes…
I posted a previous version with the original marshmallow creme filling.

If you want to cut down the work, I was in the grocery store and saw pre-made Kraft Marshmallow Creme!
You can try to find something similar in your grocery store. Although I do like to make everything fresh when I actually get to baking!

Kraft Marshmallow Creme Filling!

Here is a more elegant, grown up version of the Hostess cup cakes with White Chocolate Filling!
How adult like! You can also try improvements using dark chocolate and adding orange zest or alcohol to the cupcake mix 😉 I did say it was an adult cupcake =)

Try it!

Chocolate Cupcake with White Chocolate Mousse Filling

ELEGANT HOSTESS CUPCAKE

Ingredients
White Chocolate Mousse:

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

7 ounces white chocolate, melted

½ cup heavy cream

Devils Food Cake:

3 cups granulated sugar

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups cocoa powder

4 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1½ cups buttermilk

1½ cups strong brewed coffee, warm

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ tablespoons butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze:

½ cup heavy cream

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1½ teaspoons butter

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons white chocolate, melted

Directions:

1. Make mousse: Place yolks, eggs and sugar in a bowl over a double boiler and whisk until warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Remove from double boiler and whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Drizzle melted chocolate into egg mixture, whisking vigorously until incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk cream to stiff peaks. Fold into egg-chocolate mixture and place in a piping bag fitted with a large tip. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa into a bowl. In another bowl whisk together eggs, yolks, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking. Add butter and stir until just combined.

3. Spray a 12-cup nonstick cupcake pan with cooking spray. Fill each cup halfway with batter. Bake until cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling and glazing.

4. Make glaze: In a small pot, bring cream to a simmer. Place bittersweet chocolate, butter and salt in a bowl. Pour simmering cream into the bowl and let sit 1 minute. Whisk until smooth.

5. Assemble cupcakes: Working with one at a time, remove cupcakes from pan. Insert the piping tip into the top center of each cupcake and pipe in white chocolate until full. Wipe any excess off top of cupcake.

6. Dip tops of cupcakes in glaze. Shake upside down to remove excess. Allow glaze to set 10 minutes. Place warm white chocolate in a piping bag with a narrow tip and pipe a line of loops across top of each cupcake.

As made by pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac  of Washington, D.C., restaurant Birch & Barley.

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HOSTESS CUPCAKE 2.0

White Chocolate Mousse:

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

7 ounces white chocolate, melted

½ cup heavy cream

Devils Food Cake:

3 cups granulated sugar

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups cocoa powder

4 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1½ cups buttermilk

1½ cups strong brewed coffee, warm

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ tablespoons butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze:

½ cup heavy cream

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1½ teaspoons butter

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons white chocolate, melted

WHAT TO DO:

1. Make mousse: Place yolks, eggs and sugar in a bowl over a double boiler and whisk until warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Remove from double boiler and whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Drizzle melted chocolate into egg mixture, whisking vigorously until incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk cream to stiff peaks. Fold into egg-chocolate mixture and place in a piping bag fitted with a large tip. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa into a bowl. In another bowl whisk together eggs, yolks, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking. Add butter and stir until just combined.

3. Spray a 12-cup nonstick cupcake pan with cooking spray. Fill each cup halfway with batter. Bake until cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling and glazing.

4. Make glaze: In a small pot, bring cream to a simmer. Place bittersweet chocolate, butter and salt in a bowl. Pour simmering cream into the bowl and let sit 1 minute. Whisk until smooth.

5. Assemble cupcakes: Working with one at a time, remove cupcakes from pan. Insert the piping tip into the top center of each cupcake and pipe in white chocolate until full. Wipe any excess off top of cupcake.

6. Dip tops of cupcakes in glaze. Shake upside down to remove excess. Allow glaze to set 10 minutes. Place warm white chocolate in a piping bag with a narrow tip and pipe a line of loops across top of each cupcake.

Thanksgiving Vegan Blueberry Pie Pics… Proof of Kitchen Mishaps!

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Any stories to share?

Continuing from Kitchen Adventures! (or Mishaps…)

Here are the vegan pie pics! To prove I’m not making this up! (yes because I’m sure people are keen to show what disasters they are in the kitchen….)

And I decided to watermark this photo in case anyone tries to steal it and pass of this wonderful pie work as their own!! Cos that’s what people do!!! You want to show off your burnt pie?? GO bake your OWN!

This is Mine!! Burnt & Proud of it!!! Actually, not really. I imagined my pie coming out a perfect brown that would be the start of glorious baking blogging. Definitely not.

Burnt Pie! Baking with NO Temperature Dial!

In any case, the pie was delicious! I made a vegan pie with 2 punnets of fresh blueberries! I hate commercial over-sugary fillings. If I bake something, I’ll do everything from scratch! The dough and filling here are all 100% home made =)

100% home made vegan blueberry pie!! YUM! (Minus burns…)

Sorry the pics are late. I know it feels like Thanksgiving was last month already! Er, I think I got put to sleep by the food!

Recipe if you want to try your hand and hope yours comes out better than mine =)

Vegan Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 olive oil (or any oil you like)
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Filling:

  • 2 punnets fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

For crust:
Sift flour into large bowl. Add sugar, and salt. Blend flour, sugar, salt. Slowly pour olive oil and mix with dry ingredients until a lump forms. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and knead into dough till dough still holds but is not dry. If you knead it and cracks appear, add more water. Divide dough into 2 balls. Flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. The dough should rise/expand slightly.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
When making the pie, let the dough cool down and soften slightly before rolling out.

Making the Pie: (Don’t worry about the filling, it’ll bake together)
Preheat oven to 425F for 30 mins.

Pie Base–
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 10 – 11 inch round. Transfer to 9-inch pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes till slightly brown. Take out of oven

Filling–
Pour blueberries on crust base, sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon sugar all over blueberries.
Put in to bake with a foil sheet lightly covering the pie or cover the edges with foil collar. Bake till blueberries soften. Approximately 30-45 minutes.

Pie Top–
Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 11-inch round.
Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal.
Bake till golden brown. Approximately 10-15 minutes.

Take out and let cool before serving.
Enjoy!

Kitchen Advice

Kitchen Advice:
1. Do not take a nap while cooking/baking
2. Do not surf the ‘net while cooking/baking. A 1 minute video will lead to 30 videos…
3. Do not write your blog while you are baking something in an oven you are using for the first time.
*runs off to check on pie*

And how do you think I know this… 😉

Kitchen Adventures! (or Mishaps…)

Along with Thanksgiving comes Sparkalicious Kitchen Madness over here.
Like Kitchen Stadium in Iron Chef except A LOT more chaotic and totally homey.
So far here’s what went down in Sparkalicious Kitchen Madness:

  • I eyed the pie dough recipe suspiciously like a boyfriend who’s entered the door reeking of alcohol with lipstick marks on his neck.
    I asked the recipe calmly “Are you SURE? At FIVE tablespoons of water? That sounds like a lot of water to me…”
  • In another great moment, I lost count of the number of tablespoons of water I’d thrown into the mix… Brilliant.
    I was like “Hmmm was that the fourth or fifth tablespoon?” Pretty ironic considering I was all concerned about the recipe calling for too much water.
  • You know what dough? (HA HA! I can’t resist!) The recipe was right. The dough was too dry and cracky with only 3-4 tablespoons of water.
  • While leaving the dough to chill out in the fridge with the wine and fruits, I happily went to preheat my oven.
    The recipe calls for 425F preheat. GUESS what I discovered? My oven only goes to 250F. cue sound effect. Great. (I recently moved so this is the first time I’m baking)
    update 830am EST:
  • You think that’s bad? (I think that’s bad. I shocked myself!)  10 mins later, I discovered the dial I *think* gives me 250F max is really the timer… Wait for it.
    There is NO temperature dial. It only goes from 1-10.
    Now you can applause for me.
  • So, what do I choose? I chose 10 (the highest setting) to bake the pie base. (Thought Process: clearly this oven isn’t meant for baking, clearly it’s not very strong and a 10 will probably only heat a sandwich…) It was suppose to bake for 15 mins. I came here to write this blog… 10 mins later, I smelled something strange…. The crust edges are slightly burnt.
  • Moral of the story : (because there always is one).
    1. Trust the recipe. Which i’m sure really means trust life, trust the guy, trust the driver , trust (fill in the blanks as relevant to you).
    2. Check the temperature settings before you proceed. Check someone’s mood and emotional range before you try anything like telling your girlfriend you have 3 kids by 3 different women.
    update 830am EST:
    3. Do not write your blog while you are baking something in an oven you are using for the first time.
    *runs off to check on pie*

Revelation: I may have found my blogging niche … unintended disasters and tragedies in the kitchen…. What do you think?

(To be continued….)
Continued… Pics & Proof

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m madly baking!

HAPPY THanksgiving!!!


Wooo I’m so excited!!! The kitchen is in madness and I’m madly baking for Thanksgiving.

I ‘ve been looking forward to it for months. It’s the one time I make it a point to bake from scratch with fresh fruits and ingredients.

I’ll post pictures once they are done. But I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday, stay safe, be well and ENJOY!!!

 

Eat Tofu!! Tofu could improve your sex life!!

Ok, so this article says tofu could improve my, yours, everyone’s sex life.

YIPPEE!!!

I’d rush to stock up and be a tofu-tarian except, I”m not.

Unless i’m suppose to have sex with tofu, it’s not going to help.
if it increases my sex drive, it’ll just make me more frustrated.
THe thing about sex is having someone else is a requirement. That’s hard. (unclear if pun is intended…)

SO Forget about the tofu. and I hope by sharing this, those of you with sex lives, will go try some tofu.

Enjoy! (pun totally intended)

http://news.discovery.com/human/eating-tofu-could-improve-your-sex-life-121120.html

photo credit: Chris 73 Wikimedia

PSA for this Holiday Week

For this holiday week of Thanksgiving, I’d like to remind all of you of the importance of enjoying Thanksgiving, being merry, having a feast and keeping in good health.

Which brings me to this very important reminder that red wine, white wine, and all hard liquors are good for your health. –wink– (*when taken in moderation, provided you do not have a messy history with alcohol or addictions)

Drinks are such a difficult decision

The doctor tells it himself….  So have a great thanksgiving with a few drinks!* I’m counting down!!!

“While red wine has a (well-deserved) health halo, the truth is that other forms of alcohol, including white wine and liquor, are also associated with a lower riskhttps://sparkaliciouswit.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php of heart disease, Davis says: “Scientists haven’t shown that drinking red wine is better than other forms of alcohol in these long term cohort studies.”

But remember you can only reap those benefits in moderation — that means no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two for men. Beyond that, the risks outweigh any benefits.”

You wanna read more? Go here (it’s not terribly exciting but just in case you thought I made that up…)

note: uh oh. crap. I realized the doctor is a phd doctor journalist. vs. a medical doctor…. I’m working on finding supporting evidence… in the meanwhile, just leave that point out when you repeat the quote to whoever it is you’re trying to convince….

My Grocery Shopping List

 

  • Whiskey (but drinking it straight means it takes forever to finish the bottle!). I like it but not exactly a connoisseur so I’m still trying to figure out which to buy.
  • Kahlua – I had a crazy (and young) bartender the other night. His idea of cocktails was mixing a lot of multiple liquors with just a tiny bit of soda/juice. Who knew Kahlua, Coke & Lime tasted so good? I’m prescribing it for all headaches from now!
  • I’ll build the grocery list as I go along. That’s it for now =) It’s MY kind of grocery list!!!

 

Do not expect to take home “your supposed portion” of a meal after announcing you’d like a break.

I love how Domestic Diva dives straight into the Lasagna Recipe. I would have stuck on the point of “HE’s breaking up with me?!?! We weren’t even together!! Wait, there’s no WE!
I’m gonna sit here and eat that delicious farmers market lasagna (one of my favorites by the way) while he can stare in growing hunger!!

…and He’s breaking up with me???
I (capital 80 pt font) was planning on breaking up with him! I was sparing his feelings!!

Yeah, and it’s not even me. See how ruffled i get? I might be prettier ruffled if I had a beautiful shiny plumage with shimmering green and blue feathers — just like a peacock.

domestic diva, M.D.

There is such a thing as a stupid request.

I was casually dating a guy. He was the sort of guy that was nice enough, but not really my type overall as I was quickly realizing. You know the guys that it would be better to have just been friends as opposed to date? He fell into that category…hence the “casually dating”. I was planning on ending it myself, but I knew he was really stressed with work (so I was barely seeing him anyway) so I figured I’d wait at least a little bit to not add to the stress.

One day, he came over to my house for dinner. I had just made an amazing lasagna with wild mushrooms from my local farmer’s market. I couldn’t wait to eat it.

I didn’t realize there was going to be a slight delay.

He walked in, sat down on…

View original post 616 more words

Your Very Own Homemade Hostess Cupcakes!

I posted about Hostess shutting down its business .

But fear not! If you loved their creme filled chocolate cupcakes (like I do!), try this recipe!

Deliciously Yummy: Chocolatey Goodness Cures Everything!!!

There’s a heartwarming story from a blogger who makes this for her father who has some memory problems. It cheers him up and of course makes her happy too. You can read their story here

I’m going to bake a batch soon, this week on Black Friday possibly! I will post pics!
Try it and I’d love to see your pics and know how you felt about the recipe!

CUPCAKES

  • 1¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

FILLING

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla exrtact
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme

GANACHE

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

ICING

  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla

Directions
Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.
Spray muffin tins (18-20 muffins) with non-stick bakers spray (or line with paper liners).

THE CUPCAKES: Place the sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.
Pour the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl.
Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Place the chocolate mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and add the eggs, beating on medium speed until well combined, then mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Fill each muffin about ½ way (about ¼ cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. The cupcakes will sink in the middle slightly. Cool in the pans for 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, work on making the filling.

FILLING: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in ½ cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 Tbsp. heavy cream and beat until smooth. Alternating between batches, beat in the remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream. Beat in the marshmallow creme. Refrigerate until ready to use.

GANACHE. Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Add 2 tsp. vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

FILL THE CUPCAKES: Put the cream filling into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). It’s OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.

FROST THE CUPCAKES: When the ganache has cooled enough to work with, spoon 1 Tbsp. of ganache onto each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

PREPARE THE ICING: Using a mixer, beat the remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, ¼ teaspoon vanilla, milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip. Pipe the trademark curly-q’s onto the cupcakes to decorate. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.

Eat and Enjoy!

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe! Leave me a comment!
Chocolatey Kisses!

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

Twinkies & Cupcakes Mania Hits! Hostess Closes Down the Party

I’m quite shocked and saddened at the news that Hostess will be closing and liquidating its business.
Yup that’s the company behind Twinkies and my favorite Creme Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

My advice: go out there, grab whatever Hostess products are still on the shelf and savor every bite or…

Freeze it in your freezer and list it on ebay for a nice profit when some desperate Twinkie addict suffers from withdrawal. (But remember to come back and finish reading this post =))

Twinkies & Cupcakes Mania has definitely hit. The race to stock up is well underway!
http://www.cnbc.com/id/49825581/

As a kid, I loved these chocolate cupcakes with soft light creme in the middle and a chocolatey think frosting on top! Honestly, I continued to love it and eat it (regularly) even as an adult. These chocolate cupcakes often served as my lunch while I was in college rushing between classes.

So, I’m sad that a company like Hostess which is very much a producer of iconic American snacks has found itself at a dead end and decided to close down. What we will fry at the summer fairs if Twinkies are eliminated from our cultural lexicon???

More seriously though, Hostess has many established brands, good distribution and addicted consumers.  It makes no sense they have to close. This SHOULD be a viable business, what more do you want in a Company? (though I’ve read about the Unions vs. Management vs. Hedge Funds saga).

Besides losing these popular foods that many of us love and assume as part of our everyday snack staples, I’m saddened by the loss of jobs that will result. It is a sad ending and I hope those impacted will find other options or get retained by the new buyers.

So GO get your last bite of whatever Hostess product you can get your hands on!!! and share it!

update: 20 Nov 2012 — Ok maybe the sweet rush party will continue after all… the bankruptcy judge has asked Hostess and the Unions to mediate (have coffee and talk) to try to keep the company going. Judge thought it made no sense that a company with established brands should have to close down. i’m glad the judge did that. I hope they can come to an agreement. That way, the jobs will be saved and we can have our cake and eat it too!! (i can’t resist…)

Williams Sonoma rage grows…

Williams Sonoma has clearly frustrated this poor guy…

His rage grows clearly throughout the article … and thankfully for us, it’s hilarious!

He has inspired my friend to be an Artisanal Meth artist…

My Favorites:

On Trappist Monks Fruitcake: “Supply is limited. Apparently, the market for $40 Ozark fruitcake is ENORMOUS. White women from Bridgehampton ALL THE WAY to Westhampton rely on the monks to deliver their holiday fruitcake every year. Ina Garten’s ADORABLE HUSBAND JEFFREY WHO MAKES A LOT OF MONEY loves the sight of a fine white-trash-monk fruitcake any time he comes home.”

On a Waffle Batter Dispenser: “How about a spoon? How about you use a fucking spoon to dole out your waffle batter?”

On a Rustic Chicken Coop: “honestly, if you’re buying a goddamn chicken coop from a catalog, why NOT spring for the painted chicken? It was hand painted in an urban garden workshop, people. You CANNOT say you are a true farm-to-table household unless you have a coop to call your own.”

The Chocolate Sampler: “OH HOLY FUCK THAT SOUNDS GOOD. Look at the picture of all those items stacked on top of each other. I bet it took the food stylist four hours to get the caramel to drip just so. This catalog does nothing but give me pantry envy. All I have in my pantry is flour and gum. I don’t even HAVE a pantry. I have a cabinet. Rich people have pantries. Rich people have entire food closets lined with whammies and biscuits and emergency rimming sugar GOD I HATE RICH PEOPLE SO MUCH.”


Read Drew’s raging commentary on Williams Sonoma’s catalogue in it’s full entirety…

And Why I Bake A Lot Less…

I like baking and I LOVE desserts! =)

I used to bake often but in the last five years, I hardly bake for 2 reasons.

1. I hate cleaning up the slick, buttery mixing bowls, whisks, and tools
2. Reading the recipe and seeing the mountains of butter, sugar and cream in it makes me lose my appetite

So, I like Sticky Toffee pudding but I’ve never made it. Having had a Sticky Toffee Cupcake, I contemplated baking a Sticky Toffee pudding for Thanksgiving in addition to my pie.

I googled the recipe and the pudding and sauce had A LOT of butter sugar and cream and made me go Ewwww

I try to regulate the amount of sugar, butter and cream I take given that my metabolism is slowing down with each passing year and my body seems to think I need to store more fat. =P

When I think of how much sugar is in a brownie or cake, I just can’t eat it.
However the value of denial is that I’ll eat some other dessert that I’ve bought outside because I did not have to see the bowls of sugar that went into the dessert.

Yes. Total denial.

Sugar is bad. Sugar  aggravates acne, causes your skin to age faster by breaking down your collagen and elastin fast. Collagen and elastin makes your skin firm and taut.So more rapid degeneration of collagen and elastin will make your skin drier and lines and wrinkles appear faster and deeper. Sugar also increases the likelihood of cellulite.

So not a good thing AT ALL if you’re concerned about your skin and preserving your youth.

The process of sugar breaking down your connective tissue is called Gylcation and forms AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) if you want to research this further.

When I was younger, I was NOT aware of the negative impact of sugar on my skin and aging  and I ate a lot of sugary foods including desserts, ice cream, boxes of Oreos (OMG!!!) and too much sweet food and junk food in general. I wish I ate less of all that crap!

Additionally, sugar can also cause inflammation in your body (which you may not know about), lead to medical problems and most obviously, diabetes.

So yup. That’s why I bake less these days (although I still eat a lot of dessert!) and a good note to watch your sugar intake =)

Wishing you youthful skin always =)

Sticky Toffee Cupcake

It took me 5 attempted visits to a local cupcake shop to find them because they are in a tiny lane that isn’t easy to find.I made that many attempts because they supposedly use pure buttercream and are fashioned after NYC style cupcakes, which i miss terribly!

I love my cupcake frosting buttery and creamy, full of flavor so I had high hopes on these.

I finally found them and took back 2 cuties: a carrot cake with cream cheese cupcake and a sticky toffee cupcake.

The Sticky Toffee Cupcake was much better than the carrot cake cupcake. However, the frosting was both too sugary and not buttery enough for me.

I quite like Sticky Toffee Pudding and the rich, sweet caramelish sauce. All the better with vanilla ice cream! It’s a typical UK dessert and I’ve had it a few times but never made it myself.

Which got me to thinking, Hmmmm maybe I can make sticky toffee pudding in addition to pie for Thanksgiving dinner!!

I googled the recipe. Problem one: it requires dates. I do not have easy access to dates. and it requires me to blend the dates. Not happening. I do not have a full force blender. So too bad, I’m nixing it.

My biggest problem with baking? Read on ….

Thanksgiving — There will be pie!

We’re 11 days away to thanksgiving! Excited?

It’s an American traditional holiday for family and close friends to get together and give thanks over a huge meal that traditionally involves Turkey, Sweet Potatoe, Pumpkin and Pie (possibly together as pumpkin pie).

I just think it’s a good time to be thankful for what we have (rather than moan about the things we do not have) and I usually take this time to thank my friends who have been there for me. Friendship is very dear to me, especially friends who are there for me through the tough times.

If not, it’s just a great reason to EAT! =)

It’s a small affair so I try to keep it simple. I couldn’t get to thanksgiving last year due to a family emergency but this year I’m planning on cooking it. I’ve been pondering on my Thanksgiving menu.

I’m thinking of Cheese Puffs for appetizers (not very traditional but I’ve been craving them!). I first had these at Eleven Madison in NYC years ago. They are deliciously cheesy and light and the trick is to serve them hot. My friends and I had so many of them and they were just delicious! I’m still trying to think of sides but there will definitely be pie! Pie — from scratch! Crust, filling and everything!  It’ll be a berry pie — my favorite! As much as I love apple, pecan, pumpkin and most other pies, berry pies are my favorite by far.

Any great easy to make tasty ideas for sides? What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?

Brownie Carvings — at 1030pm

Mmmm I can just imagine these babies… warm, freshly baked brownies, the smell of chocolate lingering in the air that leads me to them. Cold vanilla bean ice cream with generous hot fudge and warm caramel sauce drizzled. Ah! Heaven!

If only I could get my hands on these!

ps: it’s 1030pm at night. Nothing’s open.

Finally getting started! YAY!

Hi! I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a long time, probably 5 years to be more exact.

A really good friend had been telling me over the years to “Just GET to it already!! It’s not that hard to blog!”

So I tried with another platform and I would forget about it for months. Not a good way to get readers.
When I switched to wordpress, the technological skills required to use widgets and figuring out placement  was exhausting! AHH!

I just never got to it – you know how it is when you mean to get to something and it somehow falls through the cracks? yeah, this is one of them, like the way I mean to fix the broken plate I dragged back from my trip to Turkey, sell my extra stuff on eBay, and uh, lots of other things…

So here we are finally! YAY! I hope you have fun reading as I share my stories and I’d love to hear yours too!
Please bear with me and the page as I try to get it into the format I want and take time to figure out basic stuff like “Uhrm, wait, you mean readers can’t comment cause I need to put in a comment widget?!?”

I’ll get better — I hope. *gulp*

Hugs and love! (maybe you guys should be sending those to me. I need it!)

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