From brittle to cookie

This weekend was very long. I spent the last three days baking in the kitchen. It was exhausting!

This week’s assignment was baking chocolate chip cookies- from scratch. Sounds easy, right? Hah! Think again! I had to make them a few times before they were to my satisfaction and acceptable to submit to my chef instructor. So glad they turned out in the end. Baking is not my forte, but my hope is that I’ll improve my baking skills throughout this course. I want to be well-rounded in all areas of culinary arts.

There were a lot of emotions I encountered during this experience. Frustration, confusion, annoyance… Despite those feelings, there were also some positives that came out of this event. Gotta look for the silver linings in every event.

So, I’m two weeks into my pâtisserie course and I’m finally using my food scale. I’m familiarizing myself with the different measurements. Last week, we measured in ounces. This week, it’s all in grams. Measuring everything in grams was simple, thanks to the food scale. However, when the recipe stated 90g of eggs, I was very puzzled on how I would accurately measure that. 90g of eggs is basically like 1 tsp, LOL! That doesn’t sound accurate at all! Baking recipes always requires at least a couple of eggs. I took matters into my own hands and guesstimated. I tried adding just one egg to the dough mixture. I had to test the waters somehow…

Let me share the recipe and instructions before I talk about the end result of my first attempt at baking these cookies. This recipe yielded 20 (2 oz. size) cookies.

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 120g granulated sugar
  • 120g dark brown sugar
  • 4g Kosher salt
  • 90g eggs
  • 5g vanilla extract
  • 300g pastry flour
  • 4g baking soda
  • 300g chocolate chips
  • 120g chopped walnuts and macadamia nuts (or pecans)

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

2. Prepare a cutting board and chef knife to chop macadamia nuts.

3. Mise en place ingredients (basically, portion and measure ingredients so they are ready to go).

4. Prepare a stand mixer.

5. Cream butter and sugar until it is a sandpaper-like texture.

6. Add one egg at a time, as well as vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate into the mixture.

7. Prepare a second mixing bowl and sift dry ingredients.

8. Combine dry ingredients and combine the creamed mixture.

9. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

10. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

11. Use cookie dough scooper to scoop dough onto baking sheets.

12. Bake between 8-12 minutes.

13. Let cookies cool before serving.

This is what transpired from adding in one egg.

It’s a brittle!!! 😱 But it was darn good!

The first thought that came to mind was “they’re burnt!” No, they’re actually not. My cookies turned into a brittle, which was really crispy and delicious. The color is really dark because of the dark brown sugar. I really enjoyed it, but that’s not what we were going for this week, so I remade the assignment.

I spent a good amount of time reflecting on what I did incorrectly and pondered what I could do differently to change the outcome of my baked cookies. I had a deep feeling it was the eggs, that I didn’t add enough. I followed my gut and added another egg (two total) to the dough mixture during my second attempt. Thank goodness, it worked!

Now this is what I’m talking about!
Doesn’t this cookie look delicious? My mouth is watering!

Overall, baking is not as simple as cooking. Everything is precise and cannot be altered like cooking can. Further, you can’t always bake by taste, like with cooking. Once the baked dish is ruined, the entire process needs to be redone.

To conclude, here’s how cookies are made more crunchy and/or chewy.

Until next time… Thanks so much for reading, liking, commenting, and sharing. I appreciate all your support!

Take care,

FS x

Fourteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Dalgona Coffee

Merry Christmas! Wishing you all a safe, joyous, and peaceful holiday weekend. One week until 2021! Let the countdown for the new year begin.

Sharing the 14th fact the year has taught and reminded me:

14. Pending election results can cause a lot of stress and anxiety; hence, stress eating.

This year was an election year in the US. With all that’s happened in 2020, this election was also something to talk about- and stress about ,too. I’ve never been more in-tuned and involved during an election year than this year. It was another event that will go down in history. It was very nerve-wracking watching the presidential election results that felt like an eternity to finalize. I felt like I was constantly stress eating during that extremely long wait.

This year made me realize how important it is to do research on elective officials before casting my vote. I’ve lost trust in the government. It’s full of bureaucratic and undisclosed corruption. With a new president on the way for 2021, I hope they can restore trust back in the American people. I want to have faith and hope again that the government will truly make American wonderful and united again.

During Father’s Day weekend, I came across a popular Korean coffee drink called dalgona (see featured image) on The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. This drink became popular to make during the quarantine. It’s so simple to make. However, my version was super strong and rich! I think I may’ve used too much instant coffee.

The ingredients for dalgona Coffee, or whipped coffee:

  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Boiling water
  • Instant coffee

Mele Kalikimaka!

Be safe!

FS x

Thirteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Me + Fruit/Veggie Smoothie

Merry Christmas Eve!! Let’s start the holiday celebration! Please be safe. The thirteenth thing that 2020 has taught and reminded me is:

13. To continually advocate and fight for social justice and equality.

The song, “Fight Song,” by Rachel Platten, immediately comes to mind. This year revealed how divided the US is and how our nation is in desperate need of change towards unification. It breaks my heart that while we should be uniting as one, we are tearing each other apart. We’ve got some ways to go towards fighting for social justice and equality in this world. I believe it can be achieved one day soon if we all work together, with an open mind and heart. My hope and prayer is that with the new government inaugurated in the new year, our nation will be led to move in the right direction- towards more peace, harmony, laughter, and love. My wish is that we come together as one, supporting, encouraging, and loving one another. Treating one another as our equal; with fairness. Practicing non-judgment and non-discrimination. Prayers for our nation and rest of the world for deep healing.

This summer, I was on a roll with making various smoothies. The featured image has broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, and papaya. I added chia seeds, almond milk, and honey. It was the first time I added vegetables to my smoothies. It was very refreshing.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas Eve. Be safe; wear your mask and keep your distance.

FS x

Twelve of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Red Wine

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! It’s been a very hectic week. Looking forward to some downtime and a long weekend ahead.

The twelfth fact that the year has taught and reminded me is:

12. To be grateful for the advanced and instant technology we have to communicate with one another today.

Technology has come a long way over the last few decades. It has advanced greatly and quickly in the last 10 years. Thinking about the first generation iPhone that launched in 2008 seems like ages ago. That device is considered “old school” in 2020. We wouldn’t even have the patience to operate that phone today. Every year, the speed of our gadgets and the internet gets faster and faster. Instant speed can’t come fast enough. Much thanks to the tech geniuses who constantly perfect our technology devices.

During this challenging year, I’ve relied much more on technology to communicate with others. I am truly so thankful for the wonderful access to these God-sent devices, apps, programs, and services. Without them, life would be less entertaining and communication would be much slower. I still enjoy “snail mail” letters. However, we live in a techology fast-pace world, where it’s so hard to imagine life without these grand, advanced gadgets. They make life easier to navigate in a lot of situations.

I find it amazing that drinking red wine offers so many health benefits. On the flip side, I’ve learned that too much consumption of wine can cause cancer and cognitive impairment due to too much alcohol consumption. Everything in moderation…

I love a good Pinot Noir or Shiraz. I also love the Stella Rosa red wines- the original Rosso, Black, and Red. They have a sweetness and carbonation, which makes the wine so yummy.

Cheers! Will be back tomorrow on Christmas Eve.

Happy Wednesday!

FS x

Nine of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Margaritas

We’ve got five days left till Christmas. It’s coming and coming fast! I managed to finish my holiday shopping yesterday. What a relief! What’s left is the wrapping and more holiday baking. I hope you all are keeping safe and healthy, as the pandemic is still greatly present in this world. Keep your distance, make good hygiene part of your lifestyle, and wear your masks. We are going to conquer this together!

Today, I’m sharing the ninth fact that the year has taught and reminded me:

9. To be mindful and open to change and possibilities.

2020 was a year to fully incorporate mindfulness and openness as change was and is still so prevalent in our world. Life has been very unpredictable and uncertain for many, if not, all of us. Feelings of daily ambiguity has never come to the forefront of my mind until this year. Before the chaos began, I never gave it a second thought. In a way, it felt like I lived my life blindly, though I was clearly aware of things happening before me. I can’t quite explain it, but all I know is that 2020 was a very unique year, where different feelings I’ve never encountered, were felt and made aware in my conscious that would change my life. This year alone, I’ve seen countless times where things constantly changed. Not only daily, but sometimes within hours of the same day. Change does not always come easy to people. Many people I know don’t like change. They have a hard time adjusting, including myself at times. With so many changes that occurred within 2020, I had to ready my mind and heart to be accepting of whatever changes came and are still to come my way.

This year was not all angst. I found light, too. A beacon of hope for potential possibilities in my life. A lot of ideas, thinking, reflection, pondering… Good moments. Inspiring and motivating junctures. Change is not always unpleasant. I’m grateful for the good changes.

Mindfulness has such awesome benefits. This article describes what mindfulness is and its health benefits: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/. I have been trying to practice mindfulness regularly because I want to reap the positive benefits of this practice. Who wants to live their lives miserable and stressed?

Let’s talk margaritas. Blended peach margaritas. Yum! It was so good and very simple to make. All the ingredients listed you add accordingly to your taste buds and preferences.

Ingredients:

  • Tequila
  • Triple sec
  • Lemon juice
  • Peach slices/cubes
  • Salt
  • Ice

Cheers to the week of Christmas! Be safe! Until next time.

Happy Sunday!

FS

Five of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Hot Cocoa

We are midway through December, ya’ll! The days continue to fly by! Despite all that’s happening, this has been my busiest holiday season yet! Unbelievable!

We’re on the fifth fact that the year has taught and reminded me.

5. The never-ending need to self-care.

The term, self-care, was introduced to me when I was in my Masters of Social Work (MSW) program. Since then, the word has become a staple in my life. This year, more than ever, self-care has been endlessly spoken and practiced, not only in my life, but in my friends’ lives, too. I make it an appoint to frequently incorporate self-care. It’s so important to nourish the mind, body, and soul with lots of love and self-care. We need to take care of ourselves. If we don’t, how can we be of assistance to others? Always remember that self-care is NOT selfish.

I found this chart listing the different types of self-care. The list is quite extensive. There are so many ways to take care of oneself. Make your list or lists and take action! Ready? GO!

Onto some holiday hot chocolate making (featured image). I’ve always wanted to make my own hot cocoa from scratch and I finally did. I also added some booze to spike the drink up! Peppermint schnapps is DA BOMB! Whoop whoop! Here are the ingredients I used to make this rich and fabulous drink:

  • 72% dark chocolate bar
  • 1 carton of almond and coconut milk creamer
  • 1 can of lite coconut milk
  • Peppermint schnapps
  • 1 drop dōTERRA peppermint essential oil

Cheers!

FS x

Vday at Merriman’s

I hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Mine was wonderful!!!! I’m excited to share the delicious food we had on this Day of Love and Hearts!!!

It was an exciting Vday. I got to try Merriman’s at Ward Village with my gal pal. This is sister restaurants of Monkeypod Kitchen and Moku Kitchen. They also have a Merriman’s on every major island: O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawaii Island. How cool is that?!

We were stoked to try the food. We went all-out! Take a look…

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This Maui onion soup was unbelievable! So good! I can’t even tell you. I’m normally not a fan on onion soup, but this was excellent!

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Tako country bread- escargot style. Oh man! This was so good! It felt like I was eating real escargot, but it was tako- aka octopus. The bread that came with this dish was to-die-for!

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I’m a sucker for trying kimchi wherever I go. This was super tasty!

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I had to try the Keahole lobster pot pie. Excellent! It felt like I was eating a chowder. Sprinkling that lemon juice make it much more tangy!

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This is the Waialua chocolate purse. Wow! Doesn’t that “purse” look like paper? It’s edible! There’s a rich, rich, rich chocolate cake inside. Wow!

We enjoyed ourselves and would definitely return to try more food. I’m excited!

Merriman’s opens for both lunch and dinner. Be sure to also check out their sister restaurants. I’ve been to both and the food is awesome!

Merriman’s
Ward Village
1108 Auahi St.
Honolulu, 96814
https://www.merrimanshawaii.com/

 

The cheapest meal deal thus far!

Happy Travel Tuesday!

I came across a Turkish restaurant in Ikebukuro, Japan called Turkuaz. I was so excited that I came across it; it was a hole-in-the-wall. I had to eat there! I love Turkish food. All thanks to my trip to Turkey in 2010. Oh, the wonderful memories and experience.

How sweet is this deal? It was ¥900, which is approximately $8.39 USD or so. It comes with soup, salad, the main dish, and tea. I ordered the spicy beef and lamb set. Where can you find that kind of deal?! Especially in Hawaii? I love how the meals in Japan are reasonable and filling, too. Not to mention, delicious.

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Turkuaz is located outside of the West gate exit of the Ikebukuro train station.

https://gurunavi.com/en/gdbt900/rst/?__ngt__=TT0e3212595008ac1e4ae4c1PXDqjK-duAYSSH0zpKDQlG

Over the hills on this Good Friday

It’s Easter weekend. Happy Good Friday!

My friend and I had lunch at Vegan Hills Hawaii in Kaimuki. Every week, I would pass by the restaurant on my way to yoga, and was always curious to try their food. Even though I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, I’m always up to trying different foods and exploring a different lifestyle, if you know what I mean.

Well, I finally tried the place. We loved it. Especially my friend, since she is vegetarian. She ended up going back the next day.

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We ordered the hot and cold versions of organic raspberry and peach teas- with agave. I had the iced tea. Yum! I love how they use metal straws. We should do away with paper and plastic straws- for our environment’s sake.

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I ordered The ‘Lox on country bread, instead of the sesame bagel that it usually comes with. The dish also includes: organic tofu ricotta, original salmon-like pate, organic lemon, capers, and dill.

Their food was awesome! I think the “salmon” was carrots. I also ordered potatoes with Parmesan cheese. I would love to go back to try more dishes! Their breakfast menu looks interesting.

Vegan Hills Hawaii
3585 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
http://veganhills-hi.com/

Have a blessed Easter weekend!

 

 

Cheers to a Chilean wine!

It’s Wine Wednesday!

When I went on my South American cruise in 2014 with my travel gang, we went to the Concha y Toro winery in Santiago, Chile. I bought the Shiraz Rosé blend wine from their collection. It was pretty good. I liked the combination of red and rosé.

I’ve attached some pictures of their beautiful winery campus. It was serene and peaceful. I would love to go back one day.

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This winery was beautiful and HUGE!

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So serene. This reminded me of my old college campus in California. Like a walk in the park.

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https://www.conchaytoro.com/?lang=en_us

Av. Nueva Tajamar 481, Torre Norte, P 15, Las Condes, Santiago de Chile