Crud.

Hey y’all!

I am sorry to say that I will not be able to keep my other blog (the one all about happiness) going for personal reasons. Mainly concerning time and school — I thought I could manage it but turns out, the project is bigger and more time consuming than expected; but, it will back one day, I promise!

I am sorry my dear readers! But do not fret, this one will still be going full throttle!

Here’s a recipe for a yummy dessert to cheer y’all up!

Toasted Almond-Butter Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
Directions:

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time.
Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in flavorings, coconut, and chopped almonds.
Beat egg whites at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup slivered almonds, if desired.

Enjoy!

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Pet peeves and sugary-crack!

Hey y’all!

As promised, I have some yummy recipes to share with you! They are super simple: one is a cinnamon-sugar pecan snack and the second is a recipe to make your own creme fraiche. Followed by my usual grinding gears rant.

First recipe is one perfect for beers with friends, a hot cup of tea or just as a delicious snack while watching your favorite flick. My friends call this sugared-crack, because they are so addicting! Make lots–they will go fast!

Cinnamon-Sugar Pecans:

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups raw pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon finely granulated salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil.

Pour the butter onto the lined sheet. In a large bowl, mix the egg whites, salt, sugar and cinnamon.

Add the pecan halves and toss until they are fully coated with the sugary goodness. Spread the pecans onto the baking sheet.

Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring the pecans every 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

*If you aren’t serving/eating the nuts right away, put them in an air-tight container and store in a cool dry place*

I love making desserts that use creme fraiche; but, honestly…it’s almost impossible to find and when I do, it’s quite pricey! A few months ago, my mom found a way to make this delicious cream herself. I tried it, loved it, and am now passing it off to you guys.

Creme Fraiche:

creme_fraiche.JPG

1 cup pasturized whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container.

Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick.

Stir well before covering and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Now, on to a rant of things that tick me off!

What really grinds my gears:

People who stare with a very slight smirk on their face. I get it, sometimes you sort of drift off into your own world and don’t realize it…but there are people out there that just stare with this almost sadistic looking smirk. It’s frickin eerie! I can’t tell if you are hiding bodies in your basement or just finished a taxidermy project. Either way I am creeped the F out.

People that interrupt. You see…it’s not like people are unaware of this, most people are, and when they do interrupt (due to excitement or grand idea..etc) they apologize. But then you have people who just assume its their right to talk and pretend they don’t notice you were in the middle of a sentence. Same goes for those wonderful individuals who talk endlessly and forget you also have something to say…then as soon as you open your mouth they’re on to another story. Makes me want to scream.

Not cleaning up after yourself. We aren’t 5, no one is forcing us to clean up our toys; but, please clean up after yourself when you come to my house! I hate when someone doesn’t even bother to ask “do you need a hand” after a dinner party (I will usually say I don’t but still, just be polite) or if you have someone over and they know you well enough to be able to simply get up and bring their cup to the kitchen when they finish their coffee or to put their plate in the sink…or fuck, even just clean up the crumbs on the side of the table they were sitting on. I don’t want to clean up your tissues either, we’re friends but…c’mon!

Showing up empty handed. I don’t expect expensive wine and a bundle of roses. However, I believe it’s common courtesy to bring something when you are invited to someone’s house for a gathering. It’s not polite to show up empty handed when the host has put so much effort into making a wonderful meal, setting up the house and later cleaning up after everyone. It’s just thoughtful to bring some sort of dessert, a bottle of something, a small bunch of field flowers, or perhaps even a gag gift. As long as you show you aren’t just there to eat the food and leave. I would never show up to someone’s place completely empty handed unless I am coming straight from school/work…even then I rather be 15 minutes late, but bring at least something to the table.

People who habitually need favors. I am in no shape or form refusing to help friends in need…but not when the person is your friend because they need something and they know you are nice enough to always come through. I had a friend like this once; she would always contact me for a favor and in between she would be gone doing her own thing. Then on a random day expect me to be available to “do her a favor” and if I wasn’t available at her whim she would get mad at me and call me a terrible friend.

People who act like they’re in their own living room. Hey, I’m all for feeling comfortable..but if you take your shoes off, lean back and start burping with your hand down your pants while at a ballet performance I automatically label you as an uncultured prick. Or if that is too extreme for you, how about those people who attend events and act totally out of whack with the atmosphere: stuffing their faces, talking loudly, getting too drunk…etc. I sure we’ve all seen one example of living-room-John and living-room-Nancy.

People who think that they are the only one with correct background for understanding an issue. God is this one ever irritating! I don’t know how to explain this one, but I think everyone can tell what I mean. I am almost certain that each person has had the pleasure of knowing someone like this.

The “yes but” people.

When people refuse to be the decision maker about something trivial (place to eat, which movie to see, where to go for a walk…etc). If I asked you what you would like to do, don’t say “up to you” because, clearly I haven’t make a decision…otherwise I would of asked “do you want to accompany me to…” instead of asking what you want to do. Gr!

When people ask for advice but then don’t bother to follow through or do the exact opposite of the suggestion. Why in the fuck did you ask me then!?

People who no matter what relate to something you have done and try to “one up” you. And in the same group, the people who always have to be right and have the last word. Why…just why!?

People who once were nobody and then became someone and forgot you exist. I absolutely despise when someone does this. It’s so awful! I have had this happen with several people I knew. Someone is bored, doesn’t have many friends, is just starting to find their way in life and acts as though you are their very best friend. Then after a while you hear form them less and less and less, until one day you call to invite them to your birthday and they are “busy” that night and every other night you ask about.

People who talk down to you. This one really gets my blood boiling. I loathe when someone you were friends with starts feeling like they are better than you because of whatever reason they conjure up for themselves and after a few weeks of not seeing them, the next time you hang out, their tone is as if you are talking to your aunt Margaret who lives in a gated community in the heart of LA with a gold toilet and diamond studded cutlery. So completely terrible. I had someone I know give me a gift and say “here, it’s a gift card so you can now go buy some clothes you’ve wanted!”. I was shocked! I was even about to leave that card on the table and leave. Who are you to say that to me?! Just because I mentioned some items and didn’t buy them, doesn’t mean I can’t. I dress very well, thank you — at high end stores…without your help.

I could go on! But there needs to be some left for other posts hehe!

Have a good weekend/week everyone! See you next Thursday/Friday!

Leave me a comment with some of your pet peeves or any feedback in general! I would love to hear from my wonderful readers!

A bit of this and that

Hey y’all! To start things off, I’m going to include a really delicious French dessert that I love. It’s not normally a summer dessert but, I believe that if it tastes good it can be served anytime! Right?

Cherry Clafoutis
A dessert which is super rustic and pretty simple to make. Perfect for a night in, anytime of the time of year.

Ingredients:
Thick (double/heavy) cream 200 ml
Vanilla Bean 1
Milk 100 ml
Eggs 3
Caster Sugar 50 g
Plain (all-purpose) flour 70 g
Kirsch (fruit brandy) 1 tablespoon
Black Cherries 450 g
Icing Sugar for dusting

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Put the cream in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in two, scrape out the seeds and add the scraped seeds and bean to the cream. Heat gently for a few minutes, then remove from the heat, add the milk and cool. Strain the mixture, discarding the vanilla bean.

2. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and flour, then stir into the cream mixture. Add the kirsch and cherries and stir well.

3. Pour into a 23 cm (9 inch) round baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden on top.

4. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

***Make sure you pit the cherries or buy pitted ones already!! Otherwise your friends or you might get a really unpleasant surprise. ***

*even though this recipe is best made with fresh cherries in the summer time when they are truly luscious, I sometimes make it with frozen cherries, still turns out pretty amazing 🙂 *

Moving on!

lifequote

I have some tips for any of y’all planning to start anything (exercise, healthy habits, good study habits…etc.).

So, to start of I will start by saying the first thing you must do for anything you are trying to achieve — be it good grades, a fitness goal, or forming a positive habit — is you must set out a specific short term goal. Long term goals are lovely and a great help in keeping your eye on the prize; however, they are not at all useful in day-to-day aspects of achieving that goal. We mostly taper off after the first couple weeks; first week you are super energized and excited about something- you have it all figured out and then it slowly tapers off from there. It isn’t easy to keep on track with a goal so far away (such as wanting a GPA of 4.0 at the end of the semester). It’s misleading and a false sense of realism to think that you can just set your goals so far in advance and actually get to them and not taper off or lose motivation as time goes by. I am well aware that there are people who maybe can easily say “I want to run a marathon” and 6 months later…there they are, running. Those people are rare. Most of us need some sort of constant jolt and push until we get into a rhythm and build a good habit or learn to motivate ourselves without those little nudges. A simple example of this would be for me…I want to get an A in all of my courses this semester. If that is my only aim for the entire semester, heck I doubt I would even make it to half the classes on a crappy day, but it isn’t. I make daily goals for myself. This may seems a little excessive but trust me, when you are working from 3% good study habits…daily min-goals are perfect. Today my tasks were to write a short outline of my essay and email my prof, then finish chapter 2 of my math textbook exercises. I did all of those things and still had time for myself. Planning is a wonderful thing! It also helps keep yourself organized because if you aren’t setting daily milestones then your bigger ambitions will fade out due to distractions and laziness (hey, it’s human nature, no shame there) and consequently never be realized. How can someone jump from nothing to having it all? They can’t. So, in order to keep yourself motivated and your passion for the aim fired up at all times, without flickering out, just give yourself daily pushes. Reward yourself for a job well done with something pleasant. I personally like to reward all my good exams with my favorite fro-yo. It’s not hard, just takes perseverance.

Once you have this all figured out and get into a grove, you’re golden. What happens after you learn to set daily tasks for yourself to check off, you’ll feel accomplished and happy. Next step is to wake up and do it all over again! There is nothing else to  start on the road to successfully accomplishing an aspiration. So, really there are two steps in the beginning process: plan/set short term goals, rinse and repeat. That is all!

Along we move!

What grinds my gears- part 2:

1. When someone called you and you missed their call by a second, you call back and they don’t answer. How!? You JUST called me….what, did you drop the phone and run away once I didn’t pick up? Honestly…annoying!

2. People who park crooked. Can you please explain why you took up 1.5 parking spots with a tiny car?! I understand if someone with a big truck or trailer does this, they simply can’t do it any other way. But if you are driving a Toyota Corolla and end up taking up almost 2 spaces or parking crooked (so that when I park next to you I can’t open my door) I think you are a moron or a jackass. Only two options there.

3. Stopping in the middle of the speed-up lane entering a highway. OMG. I have been so frickin close to crashing because of those idiots! Just the other week I was driving to the US with my dad and this imbecile stops right smack in the middle and there are 5 cars behind him (including me) going at 80 km/h. NOT a good call, bud. Why in the fuck would you need to do that?! If it’s an emergency pull the F over and don’t cause a 10 car pile-up. Unless you died behind your wheel, you are fully capable of pulling to the side of the road or waiting until you hit a turn off point in order to stop. Frick on a stick, this one really pissed me off.

4.  The use of the word “dear”. It’s fine when it’s in context of an e-mail, or an ancient grandmother says it…but not when it’s someone my age or actually any age that isn’t past 80 who says that to me. I just wanna smack ’em in the face with a glove. Seriously, it sounds so douchey/bitchy. “Can you be a dear and…”/ “No, dear…”. Maybe most people don’t mean to sound like they are talking down to me, but it really does feel like it.

5. Talking loudly about “important” stuff. I hate when people try to look all important and purposely talk loud or just above normal voice levels to seem like a big shot. Especially when they are talking normally then all of a sudden their voice level goes up and you hear “yeah, that meeting really went well. Thank you for bringing me the paperwork, I will look over that guy’s resume….” and then tapers off to normal levels. I can almost hear the second part of that being “yes, boss I will organize it according to alphabetical order…yes of course I will have it done by Monday, thank you.” Haha. Just pathetic.

Well, my lovely readers and loyal followers, that is all for me tonight! Have a good weekend and I will be back sometime next weekend; not quite sure which day since Thursday is my birthday and I am not certain what will be going on during the weekend. So, to be safe, check back on Sunday, a new post should be up!

Sunday Mom Day

Hey y’all! ‘

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms out there! However the biggest happy Mother’s Day goes to the most wonderful and beautiful one of them all! Thank you for all your unconditional love, care and support, love you mom!

beautiful-bouquet-with-roses-background

Today is a good day, I spent it with my extraordinary mom who my dad and I took to dinner (which I just got home from). I am stuffed! Though, I am still going to get some green tea ice cream as a palate pleaser-how can I not? It’s my favorite!

The only crappy part of today was when I had to do English assignments…in fact, last night as well. It was so drab, my poor brain was crying for something stimulating or at least less tedious…but anyways  back to mother’s day!

The things I did to celebrate mother’s day over the years: taking mom to brunch, taking mom to dinner, buying a giant bouquet of flowers and cooking a dinner, buying mom Swarovski crystal earnings. I also tend to bake a lot for Mother’s Day…last year I made a raspberry mousse cheese cake. The cake came about by accident, I didn’t mean to make a mousse but some stuff went a bit wonky and it it turned out pretty delicious, my mom asked me to write down exactly how I did it so I wouldn’t forget and could replicate it haha. The shortage of currency made it difficult to do more creative things this year…which meant no big flower bouquets and no Swarovski…but we still had a lovely dinner and great family time!

Monday is coming up tomorrow…this week is going to be awful weather…all rain and cold. I have a psych exam on Wednesday so tomorrow and the day after will be dedicated to mathematics and psychology. Woop-dee-woop! Speaking of school work, you know where I would really like to go on vacation? Hawaii!! It has been my dream destination for a get-away for years, and I went everywhere else but there! For some reason things just worked out that way haha, I am hoping my next trip will be Hawaii…the coconut mojitos, sitting with my ass in the sand sipping a cool drink and soaking up the sunshine, then going for a swim in the glistening warm water. Sigh…I might never want to leave.

To leave on a yummy note, here is a recipe for a satisfying and super scrumptious Monday breakfast idea:

Ingredients:

2 large eggs
Cheese of your choice (I like feta)
Hash brown potatoes
Pimento peppers (finely chopped)
Italian sausage (diced into small pieces)
Olives
Caramelized onions
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Sundried tomatoes

Directions:

1. Melt butter and brush the inside of the baking dishes (or dish, if you are making one).

2. Layer the ingredients with sausage and hash browns at the bottom: reserving the eggs and cheese for the top -the rest of the order doesn’t matter. crack the eggs onto the ingredients already in the dish and sprinkle with cheese.

3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Time varies depending on the oven…but in mine, once the oven is preheated it takes about 40 minutes to cook.

I wish you all a fantastic week filled with good times and pleasant experiences. See y’all next Thursday/Friday!

Week 1: Complete

Hey y’all!

So, week one of my semester has come to an end! I have to say, it’s much less painful than expected! Now, don’t get me wrong here…I am loaded with homework and responsibilities (one of my classes has 6 exams during the semester), however, it’s great!

I have 3 classes this semester and all of my professors are pretty good…except there is one professor in particular who is amazing; I think he is such a great person and a phenomenal teacher-he really wants to see you succeed, in fact, I would say he is my favorite professor since I started college. His daughter is in medical school, actually, and he gave me some pointers and tips on getting accepted as well as some good insight on what to expect. I have a lot of work to do and my grades have to be impeccable, but the reward is totally worth the effort!

Now, I started a schedule and so far have been good at keeping to it! I have modified it a bit to adjust to some days and times to better fit my needs and learning pace. I realized I like to do the homework after each class (as soon as possible on the day it was assigned) because that way I really cement the new material in my head; it works with your long-term memory (it also lessens the chance of you forgetting to do the assignment) because if you only cram for exams while doing minimal work during your semester that works with your short-term memory…then you forget everything you crammed for 2 days after the exam, you also will probably do poorly on the exams and future courses since you won’t remember much. So…basically: review notes after each class and do homework/study the day it was assigned to do better in your course & retain the knowledge for future related classes.

My classmates are decent, I haven’t met any cute guys yet though haha! Joking, my main focus is the work, not the guys. In fact, my first exam is on next Wednesday (the 15th) and my first (short) paper is due on Tuesday, several pages of math to do and a good amount of reading. It’s also mother’s day this Sunday and I promised to spend Saturday, so it’ll be quite the busy weekend!

All in all this week has been good, I can kind of see how the courses are, I can see the teaching style of my professors and I can also tell how heavy the work load is. Time to buckle down and work hard!

To perk up my mood after school I dig into green tea ice cream (moderate amounts, though sometimes I get carried away hehe) ! My best friend was kind and generous enough to give me a carton of it!

If y’all need a pick-me-up, here’s a recipe for a little somethin’ somethin’! This recipe is also perfect for mother’s day!

Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake: 

Ingredients:
1 cup cake flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Strawberries and fresh whipped cream, for serving
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour and salt in a sieve set over a bowl; sift into bowl and set aside. With a mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Continue to beat, gradually adding sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to combine.

Gently transfer egg-white mixture to a large, wide bowl. In four batches, using the sieve again, sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture. While turning the bowl, use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture by cutting down the center and coming up the sides. Gently spoon batter into an ungreased bundt cake pan; smooth top. Gently tap the pan on your counter to release air bubbles.

Bake until cake is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan; let cool in pan, 1 hour. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and around the tube to release cake. Use knife to release cake from bottom of pan, and remove  onto a serving plate.

Slice and top each slice with whipped cream and a few sliced strawberries. Simple, delicious, and oh so satisfying.

*Recipe taken from Martha Stewart 

Enjoy the weekend y’all! I’m off to hang out with my family and have some tea! I’ll be back during the weekend with another post, so check back soon!

Sexy Chicken

Hey y’all!

I had a lovely day yesterday followed by a wonderful evening of self pampering! Everyone knows I love my fried chicken, I really do but…I was texting with a friend yesterday and I mentioned that I marinate my chicken in a “sexy sauce”, it’s always delicious, people love it. So I decided to make today’s post dedicated to said the “sexy sauce”.

Sexy Marinade:

Ingredients:

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 shallot, minced
1/4 Cup grape seed oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, big enough to fit your chicken pieces. I suggest you run the ingredients through a blender or use an immersion blender to combine them well, which I normally do.

2. Plop your chicken pieces into the marinade and make sure you rub that sexy sauce really well into your chicken. Don’t be shy.

3. Leave the chicken in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the chicken in the marinade for 2-3 hours, turning every 30 minutes or so to keep every inch of the chicken coated well.

4. Cook on grill/on a pan/in the oven. This chicken is done.

*For those of you who swear by zip-lock bags as your marinading friends just go ahead and skip the bowl, doesn’t matter where your chicken soaks up the sexy…just as long as it does*

Chick Habits

Hey y’all!

H’okay dear readers! This is my list of things I am looking forward to this spring/summer, the said list will be followed by my favorite summer drink recipes:

Things I am looking forward to:

School: yes, you all know this one.

Sunshine: I am craving warm weather and nice sunny days!

My Birthday: Oh hush your face, everyone likes their own birthday. Why wouldn’t you? A day you get away with almost anything, get treated extra nice and get cake!? Yeah! I am looking forward to that.

Getting back in shape: No, this isn’t some stupid new years resolution …I just want my summer badonkadonk back.

Sweet tea with a dash of bourbon: Summer days on my patio with a tall glass of happy juice, of course that’s not going to happen too often; after all, I need to keep my brain study ready!

Picnics: I’m pretty sure people don’t do much of this anymore but I love it! Some light snacks and a pitcher of a delicious drink, my camera and some music.

Outdoor Studying: Love to study outdoors on hot weekends.

Barbecues: Succulent, flavor packed grilled meat…on a stick or a plate. A glass of a little somethin’ somethin’ and some corn on the cob. Need I say more?

Summer in general. Let my hair down, get me some of that laid on back. Take a drive out to some field to watch the stars, build a bonfire, have a get together out in my back yard. It’s a perfect kind of life.

Drinks

Drinks-4

Pink Bubbles: champagne and lychee juice. Mix to your own tastes.

Coconut Mojito:

12 mint leaves
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces coconut rum
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1 ounce cream of coconut from a well-shaken can
Ice
1 to 2 ounces chilled club soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint with the lime juice. Add the rum, Simple Syrup, cream of coconut and ice and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and top with the club soda.

Ultimate Sangria: 

3 pears, sliced
3 oranges, sliced
6 Granny Smith apples, sliced
24 canned lychees, drained
1 1/2 pineapples, peeled and cut into large chunks
One 750-milliliter bottle vodka
One 750-milliliter bottle Sauvignon Blanc or other dry, citrusy white wine
1/2 cup peach schnapps

In an airtight container or large bowl covered with plastic wrap, combine all of the ingredients except the ice and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Strain the mixture into a punch bowl, discarding all of the fruit except for the lychees. Add enough ice to chill the sangria to serving temperature.

Guavacolada: 

1 1/4 oz dark rum
3 oz guava juice
1 oz coconut cream

Pour the rum, guava juice and coconut cream into a blender with one cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Serve with funky straw.

Safe sex on the beach: 

peach nectar, grapefruit juice, pear nectar, coconut water blended with crushed ice.

Equal parts of all, throw into blender and blend until smooth.

Coco-Banana-Cabana: 

1 1/2 oz coconut milk
3/4 oz cream
2 oz pineapple juice
1 banana

Blend in a blender with a bit of crushed ice until all ingredients come together and form a smoothie-type consistency.

pineapplepretty

The Fizz:

3 cups unsweetened apricot juice
3 cups ginger ale
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine apricot juice, ginger ale, and lemon juice; stir well, and pour into individual glasses.

And to top it all off here are the last two most interesting non-alcoholic summer spritzers:

Green Tea Spritzer:

1/4 ounce good quality Chinese green tea leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses, without any added sweeteners
3/4 cup ginger syrup
Mint, to garnish
Lemon slices, to garnish

Place the tea leaves in a large bowl. Heat 3 1/2 cups of water to about 170°F. (Or bring to a boil, then let cool for 5 minutes.) Pour the hot water over the green tea leaves and steep the tea for 5 minutes. Strain the tea, keeping the liquid and discarding the leaves.

Stir in the lemon juice, pomegranate syrup and ginger syrup. Add 8 cups of cold water. Stir. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

for the ginger syrup:

1/2 pound fresh ginger root, skin on
3 cups white sugar
2 cups water

Cut the ginger into knuckle-sized pieces. Buzz the ginger in a food processor or chopper until it is fine and stringy, like rough wood chips.

Add the sugar and water to a large saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer just until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the chopped ginger. Let the pot cool on the stove, then put it in the fridge to steep overnight.

The next day, strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve at least twice, to remove the finer bits of ginger. Discard the ginger. Pour the syrup into a bottle or closed container and refrigerate. This syrup will keep for several weeks at least, as long as it is refrigerated.

Elderflower and Blackberry Spritzer:

1 liter soda water, chilled
1/2 cup elderberry flower syrup, chilled
Juice of 1 lime
About 1/3 cup blackberries, washed
1/4 mint leaves

Whisk the soda water and elderberry flower syrup with the lime. Stir in the blackberries and muddled mint leaves and serve immediately.

Muffins

Hey’all!

I finally clicked the check-out button on my online shopping order! Haha I usually go online and look at stuff I want to buy, add to shopping cart and realize it’s expensive, close the window and sigh. But today, I went to Victoria’s Secret online and bought myself some stuff! And this weekend I am going to treat my best friends and parents to a batch of dolce de leche cupcakes with a chocolate glaze as part of my tea service (yes, that happens in this house). In fact let me tell you how this weekend will play out:

Schedule:

Meet friend

Go to salon

Go buy tea from tea shop (undecided on which)

Shop for groceries

Bake and serve tea

Menu:

Muffins

Assortment of Fresh Fruit

Marmalade and whipped butter

Hot bread rolls/croissants

Mini sandwiches with smoked cheese smoked salmon cream cheese

So, today turned out well, this weekend will be awesome and to add to all of this schools starting soon! I am stoked for all this!

Let me share the recipe for the muffins I shall be making:

Tres Leches Coconut Muffin with Dulce de Leche Buttercream:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup lightly toasted flaked coconut (Mounds or Angel Flake brand)
Dulce de Leche Buttercream:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed; add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until all the yellow disappears. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.

Fill standard paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet to cool.

While cupcakes are still warm, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Using a meat injector needle, inject each cupcake in several different spots with about 1/2 to 3/4-ounce of the mixture. Or, poke several holes in the top of each of the cupcakes with a 1/4-inch wooden skewer. Pour the milk mixture over each cupcake while they are still warm, filling each hole. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before icing.

For the Buttercream:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. To make the dulce de leche, pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate and cover with foil. Place in a larger roasting pan where pie plate can sit flat. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to a depth of about halfway up the pie plate. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Stir until smooth.

Place egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in the water first, then the dulce de leche and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the dulce de leche mixture into the 2 egg yolks. Stir in the vanilla. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Beat the butter on high speed in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled dulce de leche mixture. Beat in the 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable.

Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of dulce de leche buttercream. Refrigerate any remaining buttercream for another use. Sprinkle each cupcake with toasted coconut.

Pens and Needles

Hello y’all!

What an awful sleep I got last night, gosh darn it. Second night in a row. Fist it was a car alarm then it was a bad dream. I think the dream stressed me out more so than the car alarm because it was to do with my future studies…I am nervous/anxious enough as it is having to go into the pre-medical studies program knowing that if I get lower than 80% average for any semester my application for Medical School will be chucked in the recycling bin. This dream only added to my fears of going through so much hard work only to fail at the very end. Good job brain!

On another note, I found a way to have a really healthy breakfast that requires almost no time to make and gives you enough energy to last well into the day. I think this will be my go-to breakfast this semester! This breakfast consists of 2 raw medium carrots -grated (on the fine side of the grater) and sprinkled with sugar, 1 cup of Greek honey yogurt, bowl of instant oatmeal, cup of tea/juice/coffee. You may think that eating carrots and sugar together is well beyond weird, but trust me if you try it you’ll like it…it’s such a refreshing and pleasant feel on the pallet and loaded with vitamin A. Granted, instant oatmeal isn’t the best but if you are a student rushing to class or simply short on time this is a perfect solution to get some fiber in your diet. The Greek yogurt is great for your digestive tract due to being full of probiotic bacteria. Honestly, after eating this for breakfast I realized I lasted almost until 2 pm without being hungry; I ate the breakfast at 9…so that’s pretty great! If you want even more of a boost added to your breakfast you can include a fruit smoothie made of fruits such as bananas for potassium and berries like  blue berries for antioxidants. Or, if you are short on time just toss the fruit/berries in your Greek yogurt for a quicker way to grab more nutrients.

Back to the first point I am feeling pins and needles all over just thinking about the excitement and the worries. On one hand I look around and see these pre-med students plowing through their work load and straining their brain to get the grade they need and I automatically think…shit, do I really want it bad enough to push myself into this kind of state? Then, I picture myself doing something else, going to school for something less intimidating and working at a different job; which leads to the conclusion that…yes, I do want it bad enough. So at the end of the day, no matter how hard it is going to get and how much I am going to cuss myself out for starting this road while I am stuck at home with a textbook almost every night, at the end of it I know I will be incredibly proud of myself for sticking to my calling and following through with my dream. Regardless of how much time it takes, how much stress I go through and, no matter how intense my life will be for the next little while…at the end, I’ll be who I always felt I was meant to be. That’s what matters. I know I have the best family and friends I could ever wish for. I cherish my parents, they are amazing beyond words and with their support and my good friends I know I will be able to get through anything.

Okay, enough rambling sappy life lectures and epiphany babble from me haha!

Back to the yee-haws and sweet tea!

Speaking of sweet tea, I know some people might be curious what the traditional way to make it is. I’ve been asked before and it’s super simple!

Sweet Tea:

3 cups water
8-10 regular-size tea bags  (I use earl grey because I like that flavor best, but any black tea is fine)
1 cup sugar
3 cups cold water
Ice cubes

Method:

1. Add sugar to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil; remove from heat, give a quick stir. Add tea bags and let them steep for about 20-30 minutes and then toss the tea bags out.

2. In a large pitcher, combine the steeped tea with cold/room temp. water and stir to mix it well. First pour the tea syrup in then follow with the water.

3.  To Serve: use a glass (I prefer tall glasses) – if you want to add some subtle flavor to your tea toss in a slice of lemon and/or a sprig of mint.

*In order to not make murky tea: use room temperature filtered water (bottled works fine too) & add the ice the glass and pour the tea over the ice instead of the other way around.

4. Lay in your backyard with a magazine or a good book, sunglasses and your glass of cool sweet tea.

Givin’ Out My “Secret” Recipe

Hey y’all!

I make a seriously good meat pie, or so I’m told. People have asked for my “secret” and I keep saying that there’s no secret at all. They tut and walk away thinkin’ I’m fooling them just to not say, but honestly everyone…there is no secrets to this recipe…maybe just love? Ha-ha-ha! I came up with this recipe one night while hiding from trick-or-treaters. So, I am giving my recipe away online, yes people…it’s really happening…the big “secret” is revealed…if only it was as exciting as I am making it sound ha-ha! It’s just a damn open faced, lazy woman’s meat pie! Oh and a disclaimer, I am not adding any measurements to it because I don’t use measurements for this pie, I just make enough to fill the pie shell and season according to taste…but don’t taste the raw meat, combine the seasoning in a dish first and taste it.

The Open Faced Meat Pie:

Ingredients:

Ground beef (or any meat you like, really)

Pie Shell (I use home-made but store bought works perfectly fine)

Brie cheese

Canned corn

Red Bell Pepper, chopped evently (I make them about 1/2 an inch)

Red Onion, minced

Garlic Powder

Black Pepper

Cumin

Soy Sauce (rule of thumb: About a tablespoon/tablespoon and a half per pound of meat)

Thyme (I have the powdered dry stuff)

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

Sesame Oil

Dash of Sriracha Hot Sauce (a little bit goes a long way with this)

Pinch of Salt

 

Method:

1.  Heat skillet to medium-high heat with some sesame oil and cook the onion, red belle pepper until the water is fully cooked out and they have become soft. Take them off the pan into a bowl.

2. Mix together the ground beef, black pepper, sriracha, salt, soy sauce, thyme, cumin, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Combine it well, then toss onto a hot skillet and cook until the meat produces a lot of juice/water and looks cooked through, but don’t let it brown.

3. Take the pan off the heat and scoop the meat out of the pan (use a slotted spoon to not catch any of the water with the meat) and toss it into big bowl. Add the cooked vegetables to the meat and the canned corn (drained), mix ingredients together very well.

4. Take the pie shell, poke it carefully with a fork several times then layer the bottom with slices of brie cheese, enough to cover the entire bottom of the shell, but save several slices for the top of the pie as well.

5. Pour the meat mixture over the cheese and simply toss the brie slices on top.

6. Bake at 350 *C for about 40 minutes. Or until cheese has fully melted and pie crust has turned a light golden color.

7. Slice it up and enjoy!

 

 

See…no secrets! hehe. 😉