Saturday, August 23, 2014
Many recipes on my blog were inspired by my Kids, and this Mini Chocolate Muffins recipe (迷你巧克力鬆餅) is no exception. There was a breakfast event in my Baby Girl's class a while ago and someone brought mini chocolate chip muffins (the store-bought ones though). After my Baby Girl finished the mini muffin, she immediately asked me if I can make some for her when we get home. But she was very specific, she wanted a chocolate version with chocolate chips in them! "What a Little Foodie I have!?" was what I thought at that time.
I'm glad that she "challenged" me and inspired me to test out new recipes. These Mini Chocolate Muffins were some of the best muffins we've had. I don't usually prepare muffins for breakfast, especially not for the Kids. I prefer a savory breakfast 90% of the time (the occasional waffles and pancakes filled that 10%)! But these mini muffins were very tender, light and fluffy. Best of all, they were not overly sweet and in perfect mini sizes, a.k.a. perfect size for portion control! And they are definitely the perfect after school treats.
These Mini Chocolate Muffins also double the duty as afternoon pick-me-ups for Mommy and Daddy! With a mini chocolate muffin and a cup of latte, or espresso, I've got the energy to tackle the rest of the day! Boy, I truly miss my summer holidays! The picture below shows you the inside of these muffins and how light and airy they are.
And yup....all gone in just minutes. These are the perfect 1 or 2 biters, depending whose mouth you used as the measuring unit.
Interested to see how I made them? Follow me to my kitchen and check them out.
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake pans with paper liners.
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy.
3) Lower the speed to medium, add the egg, and then add the vanilla extract until incorporated.
4) Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when necessary.
5) In a separate bowl/measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, and coffee. Set aside.
6) In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
7) & 8) On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until use combined.
9) Gently fold in 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
10) With a small ice cream scoop (about a tablespoonful), divide the batter among the prepared mini cupcake pans.
11) Then, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top of the batter in the baking pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
12) Cool on wiring rack and enjoy.
As always, I used Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe, which made these chocolate muffins super dark and decadent. I love the deep and chocolate-y taste from this cocoa powder. These muffins are light and airy, yet, rich in chocolate aroma at the same time. Whether you serve them for breakfast or afternoon tea is totally up to you; and I hope you'll give this recipe a try! I guaranteed that they'll be a delicious one.
Tools and Props used in this post:
Wilton Mini Muffin Pan (Click here for product information)
Valrhona Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Click here for more information)
Daisy Mini Muffin Paper Liners (Click here for more information)
KitchenAid Stand Mixer (Click here for more information)
Red Vanilla Wave-y Espresso Cups and Saucers Set (Click here for product information)
White Porcelain Dessert Spoons (Click here to see similar products)
Small Bamboo Basket (Click here to see similar product)
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Are you having a great summer so far? The Kids and I are definitely having lots of fun! From play dates at the park, visiting the library, summer swimming camps, picking herbs and summer veggies in the garden, and last but not least, cooking and prepping food in the kitchen together! All are simple activities and we’re taking them all in and enjoying a relax time without the hectic schedules and pressure of homework, just yet! One of the recipes we made often is this Watermelon and Lime Popsicle. We love our watermelon in the summer and this is a great way to enjoy a healthy frozen treat.
Pretty much, this is a recipe inspired and created by my Little boy. He definitely loves the Zoku pop maker and we utilized it to the max! One day, he simply asked if we can try blending the watermelons and make them as popsicle!? Oh yes, of course Baby! It was one of the best Pops in a while. Besides just watermelon, I added some fresh lime juice to brightens up the flavor and they turned out to be amazing!
There are only a few ingredients in this pop, and let me reassure you, simplicity is the best! I added a thin slice of fresh lime before pouring in the watermelon puree to the pop maker for a little decoration and extra texture and tartness, but that’s totally optional. I hope you like today’s recipe. Wish you all a wonderful rest of the summer! Stay Cool!
Props and Tools used in this post:
Zoku Pop Maker (Please click here for more information)
Traditional Pop Molds (Please click here for more information)
Mini Colorful Spoons (Click here to see similar product)
Friday, August 8, 2014
As I was sorting and organizing the pictures we took from our vacation in France, I realized that we had many pictures and I wanted to share all of them with you. Okay, I know that’s just not quite realistic, so don’t be scared. I’ll try my best to keep to a limit. But there are many places where we visited on this trip that deserves the spot lights. The Galarie Lafayette was definitely one of them. So, this post is a quick guide and introduction to this fine Galarie, in Paris.
During our trip, there were a few days that my Hubby was working hard in the greater Paris area (oh yeah, it was a combination of business and vacation trip for him). I was left alone to plan my own activities. Of course I did what l do best, shopping and eating! So, I took the subway train and headed to the Galarie Lafayette by myself. There are several Galaries Lafayette and I visited the one in Paris, Haussmann. The Galarie Lafayette in Paris Haussmann consists of three different buildings. One dedicated to women and kids, one for men, and one for the home. The picture above is part of the ceiling of the mall in the main building for the ladies. Isn’t it gorgeous?
This picture above was taken on the third floor of the galarie looking down at the cosmetic counters. You can pretty much find all the luxury brand names here.
For fashion and accessories, this galarie really is a one stop shop. During our visit, it happened to be the semi-annual sale in Paris (from end of June through end of July) and many products were ranging from 30% up to 50% off. Talk about perfect timing!
Of course, my favorite Pierre Herme has a couple of counters inside the galaries so you can line up and grab a quick bite.
Another famous bakery, Angelina, is also available here. Besides the outside boutique where you can order to-go, there’s also a restaurant and tearoom where you can sit down, relax, and enjoy a fancy lunch or afternoon tea.
I grabbed a chocolate macaron and a container of their famous hot cocoa powder from the boutique and headed to explore the rest of the galaries. One of the floor was dedicated to toys (see picture below)! Boy oh boy, the size of the floor is easily a whole Toy R Us moved inside the building! As I finished checking out the main building. I headed to the Lafayette Gourmet! It was a foodie’s paradise!
Lafayette Gourmet occupies an approximately 32,000 square feet in area. You can pretty much find all the gourmet ingredients, from foie gras, truffles, to farm fresh fresh produce, specialty meat and fresh seafood here, etc.
I had a delicious late lunch sitting at one of the bars that involved some Iberian Pata Negra ham, a small salad, a glass of red wine, fresh tomato sauce, mashed potato, and baguette. (Check out my Instagram picture below)
The whole hams were hanging just a few feet away above my head while I was having lunch. The aroma was intoxicating! Made me want to take the whole leg home….almost, if I don’t have to worry about the luggage weight limit! Yes, I worry about the luggage being over-weight, more than going through the U.S. Custom! hahaha….
Oh…and check out this giant Nutella!
Seeing all these wonderful ingredients made me want to take them all home and cook a feast! It’s probably the first time that I wished I had a kitchen with me as I travel!
You can also find a fishmongers with live fish tank, oyster bar, seafood platters, etc.
Check out this huge prawn! And I thought everything is big in the U.S.A.!? I say we have a tough competitor!
This corner (see picture below) is dedicated to coffee. Someone was there to answer any question you have about their coffee, too.
You can also find everyday ingredients, chocolates, gifts, baking supplies, etc.
And check out the spice counter below.
Mixed herbs and spices, any one?
They also have different type of salt and flavored salt.
…and some gourmet tea leaves as well.
This whole area is for wines (see picture below). I feel like I can totally move and live in Paris!
I skipped the men’s department and headed to the Lafayette Home across the street. You can find kitchen appliances, cookware, electronic, and beddings here.
And my favorite kitchen tools and dinnerware section! Oh my! Can I take the whole department home with me?
This pretty much sums up my experience at Galeries Lafayette in Paris Haussmann. It’s a wonderful one stop shop for anything you need. I hope you enjoy today’s post and information. Please stay tuned for more travel guide and France inspired recipes.
For more information about Galaries Lafayette, please click here to their website.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
I shared the above picture on Instagram while I was in France. Yes, I was well-fed during my travel! My Hubby surely knows how to keep me happy! ha! I’m glad to report, most of my breakfasts were included as part of the hotel accommodations (some with extra fees, of course). They were mostly all you can eat and the selections includes a wide varieties of choices and my picture above only shows part of my breakfast. Yup, I usually went back for seconds (for fruit or yogurt), including my espresso doublé (double espresso)!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (I probably said it like 432,856 times in the past)! A well balanced breakfast will fuel your body with nutrient and energies you need to start the day right. Well, at least that’s what we aimed for, right? I surely missed my French breakfast…. actually, I missed all the lunches, snacks, and dinners as well! But let’s tackle them one at a time. Here's how I made the fluffiest and most tender French Herbs Scrambled Eggs you’ll ever tried! Follow me to the kitchen!
1) In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt together with a fork, until well combined. Preheat an 8-inch nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl in the pan until butter is melted.
2) Pour in the egg mixture and let it cook for a few seconds.
3) With a heat proof rubber spatula, gently stir the egg mixture and then swirl the eggs in the pan to make a nice round appearance.
4) Sprinkle in the fresh herbs.
5) Gently stir/fold the egg mixture again. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds to a minute.
6) I usually cook the eggs until it’s 98% done and still slightly wet. When it’s completely cooked in the pan, I considered that’s over-cooked when it’s transferred to the plate! Flip the eggs, and place on serving plate.
I've just show you all the secrets on how to make the fluffiest and most tender French Herbs Scrambled Eggs! The most important tip is not to over cook the eggs! This scrumptious breakfast was ready in less than 30 minutes, including prepping time. So, there’s no excuse not to treat yourself and your family a wonderful meal to kick start the day, the right way! I hope that you love today’s post, tips, and recipe. Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for more tips and recipe.
Props and Tools used in this post:
8-inch Calphalon Nonstick Omelette Pans (Click here for more information)
Heat Resistant Omelette Turner (Click here for more information)
Husband and Wife Coffee Mug (Click here for more information)
Saturday, July 26, 2014
If you’ve been following me on Instagram (Click here if you haven’t!), you might recalled that I recently took a trip to France! The purpose of the trip? Besides taking some time off to relax, it was mainly a trip to celebrate our up coming 10th-year wedding anniversary! I know, I couldn’t believe it had been 10 years already. It was nice to take a trip to relax, a true vacation, without the Kids. Although I missed them terribly, for the first few hours after boarding! Okay, and maybe everyday during the trip. It was awesome to spend some alone time with Hubby! Special Thank You to my In-Laws for taking great cares of the Kids while we were gone. No words can describe how much I appreciate their generous and thoughtful gestures. The great news was, the Kids had so much fun with their packed activities that they didn’t want to come home either!
We took quite many pictures on our trip and I can’t wait to share the details with you. But I do need some time to sort them out and turn them into posts, and helpful guides. Just in case some of you are planning to travel to France in the near future. So stay tuned for the upcoming posts. I guaranteed that you won't want to miss them. Meanwhile, I missed the French Pastry terribly! Guess that’s called the after vacation blues? To ease some pains, I baked myself several batches of Chouquettes! Of course, not all at once! These were so good that my Kids couldn’t stop eating as well.
Chouquettes is a type of French baked goods consisting of a small portion of choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar and sometimes filled with custard or mousse. The ones that I had while I was in France was plain, so I left them the way they were….and really, you don’t really need anything else when you have a plates piled high with these little confections. They are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The pearl sugar on top adds a lovely crunch and sweetness.
Here’s the bag of Pearl Sugar that I bought from France (see picture below) while I was shopping in one of their huge supermarkets. (I know, most people go there and shop for handbags, while I shop for grocery and baking tools!) Sorry, I just couldn’t help it! And my Hubby was wondering why our luggage was so heavy while we flew from Paris to Cannes! Opps! The good news is, you can get these pearl sugar online these days, just a different brand! (Click her to see similar product)
Ready to see how I made the Chouquettes? Follow me to my kitchen:
1) Line baking sheet silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2) In a small saucepan, heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter, stirring occasionally, until all the butter is melted.
3) Remove from heat and add all the flour in at once.
4) With a wooden spoon, stir quickly until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
5) Allow the mixture to cool for a minute or two, then add the eggs, and stir until the dough is smooth and incorporated.
6) Fit a large round piping tip in a pastry bag.
7) Place pastry bag in a tall glass for easy handling (optional).
8) Transfer the dough into the pastry bag and pipe dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
9) Position the piping tip 1/2-inch above the baking sheets, pipe dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, at least 1-inch apart from each other.
10) With a clean finger, gently press the tip of the dough down.
11) Brush the top of each dough with some of the egg wash.
12) Then press the pearl/coarse sugar over the top. Bake for 25 minutes, turn off the oven and let the baked puffs sit in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cut a small slit on the side of each puff so the steam can escape. Cool on a wiring rack.
There were a few steps to follow but pretty straight forward and easy. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. Although I can’t take you with me to France, I hope this recipe will give you a little taste of French pastry goodness. I hope you enjoy today’s post, pictorial, and recipe. Stay tuned for my France travel posts.
Props and Tools used in this post:
Pearl/Coarse Sugar (Click her to see similar product)
Godinger Dublin Crystal Cracker Tray (Click here for more information)
Eiffel Tower Paper Napkins (Click here to see similar product)
Mikasa Something Borrowed Salad/Desert Plates (Click here for more information)
Silpat (Click here for more information)
Pastry Bags (Click here to see similar product)
Large Round Piping Tip (Click her for more information)
Silicone Pastry Brush (click here to see similar product)
Wooden Spoon (Click here to see similar product)
Calphalon Nonstick 2-Piece Baking Sheet Set (Click her for more information)