Birthday indulgence: Donuts

August 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Originally posted a few days via Tumblr:

Rainbow sprinkles for a colorful day.
http://www.stansdoughnuts.com/index.html

As a side note, I’ve been spending some time on Tumblr the past several days, trying to decide whose functionality I prefer (any input would be appreciated – both have pros and cons). Please stop by and visit! Sweet Shanti @ Tumblr.

 

 

Seattle

July 4, 2011 § 7 Comments

image

I’m in Seattle and for the past few days it’s been really warm. I think they’re not used to warm sunny weather because the news just aired a segment on now to prevent sunburns as well as how to take care of them.

Here is a picture of Eric in front of the gum wall, one of the highlights of my trip (thanks for showing it to us, Tanantha!)

Now, I will get back to packing and eating chocolate.
Happy birthday, America!

Posted from WordPress for Android

S’mores Cupcakes on a Sweet Sunday

June 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’ve been meaning to post this since last week but my back went out again and I’ve been resting the past several days. Last Sunday morning, I woke up and jumped out of bed to make cupcakes for a friend at my yoga studio. This friend is a generous one, regularly making wonderful cookies and bringing them in for the other students to share. It only made sense that someone else bake for him on his birthday. I made a batch of matcha cupcakes along with the s’mores cupcakes (shown above) from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

The cupcakes went over really well and I was really happy to get to share some of my baked goods with the other students.

Salty Sweet Caramel Macarons

June 7, 2011 § 16 Comments

I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately. Last Friday I decided to keep the streak going and texted my friends that I would be staying home after-all. By the time they responded with sad faces I was already in my pj’s, cozy on the couch with my husband and a bottle of wine – but those sad faces instantly reminded me that time spent with my friends really is special and I shouldn’t take that for granted. It also helped that they were only a mile away at our friends’ new gastropub, BRÜ Haus (definitely stop by if you live in Los Angeles – they have giant bavarian pretzels and sweet potato tater tots! They also get their sausages from the same distributor as Wurstküche). 

So – I hopped off the couch, threw on some clothes and slapped on some makeup. In the end, I was so happy that I went; good times were had and great memories were made. I saw some friends who I hadn’t seen in years, which I found to be comforting. We ended up closing the bar down – I can’t even remember the last time I did that. The next morning, I didn’t wake up until 10:30. I wanted to just lie there, but I mustered together what energy I could and rolled out of bed. … I had some macarons to make.

I made the macarons posted here – Chocolate caramel macarons topped with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. I love the dichotomy of salty sweets, and the hint of salt really shines through in macarons which have a high ratio of sugar to other ingredients. I’m definitely getting comfortable with making macarons. I still need to fiddle around to perfect the shells, but I realized as I made this batch that I don’t have to intensely concentrate while folding the meringue into the dry ingredients like I used to. Instead, I casually chatted with Eric as I folded away. It’s almost as if the process is becoming more natural for me and I’m not the sweaty nervous wreck I used to be when I first started playing with macaron making.

Macaron Shells:
100g Egg whites, aged 4 days
66g caster sugar
2 drops brown food coloring gel
2 drops yellow food coloring gel
120g almond flour
180g powdered sugar
Fleur de sel for topping the macaron shells
Chocolate Caramel filling, recipe below

In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites. When foamy, add the caster sugar and food coloring drops. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. When the egg whites are nice and stiff, fold into the almond flour/ powdered sugar and continue to mix until the batter ribbons back into the bowl.

Transfer the batter into piping bags, and pipe onto silpats into rounds about 1 1/4 inches wide. Sprinkle a tiny bit of fleur de sel on top of each shell and let sit for half an hour. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. When cool, match up the shells by size and fill with the chocolate caramel filling.

Chocolate Caramel filling:
170g chocolate caramel bar, cut into pieces
140g whipping cream
30g unsalted butter, cubed

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals until hot. Add the chocolate bar pieces, and using a wooden spoon, mix for about 5 minutes. Add the cubed butter and continue to mix until everything is smooth and completely combined. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Source: Mad About Macarons!

Classic Combo Matcha + Anko (Red Bean) Macaron

May 27, 2011 § 21 Comments

Peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs… Some things in life were just meant to be together. Standing alone, they have their own wonderful charasteristics but when combined they get even better. Matcha and red bean is another classic combination that is one of my favorites – the earthiness of the green tea marries well with the sweet smoothness of the red bean paste and I really love pairing these two flavors together.

Naturally, as I got more comfortable with macaron making I turned to matcha and anko as my next practice. This has been my favorite flavor so far, but the macarons themselves could have turned out a bit better. You can see in the photos that the feet extend past the shells a bit – as they baked, the feet grew up really tall, and then collapsed back down a bit causing them to puff out. Maybe most people wouldn’t notice it… but I do. In any case, these were delicious and I’ll definitely be putting this flavor combo in my macaron making rotation. Not that often though, I have found that not everyone is a fan of red bean like I am.

Matcha Macarons:
100g Egg whites, aged 4 days
66g caster sugar
120g almond flour
180g powdered sugar
1 tbsp matcha powder
1 cup anko (red bean paste)

In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites. When foamy, add the caster sugar and matcha. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. When the egg whites are nice and stiff, fold into the almond flour/ powdered sugar and continue to mix until the batter ribbons back into the bowl.

Transfer the batter into piping bags, and pipe onto silpats into rounds about 1 1/2 inches wide. Let sit for half an hour. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. When cool, match up the shells by size and fill with the anko.

Note: A great reference for macarons is Mad About Macarons!

Clear Focus Coffee Macarons

May 22, 2011 § 12 Comments

At my studio, Yogis Anonymous, they live stream several of their classes a week and then post those classes to their online library. It’s pretty special – I overheard my teacher talking about it once, and she said that she receives emails from all over the world from people who log on and join in on the live classes. Imagine that – people in the England, Germany, Brazil, other parts of the country etc, moving the same movements, breathing the same breaths, all at the same time. It gives me chills whenever I talk about it.

The other nice thing about the online library is that as a member, I can go back and look at the classes I participated in. It’s helpful because I’ve been able to see tweaks that need to be made in my alignment. In my previous entry I wrote about the unsteadiness and imbalance of my Friday evening practice after a really stressful work week. It’s amazing what a difference a little bit of rest can make; the screenshot below (me on the red mat) was taken two days later on Sunday.

In class my teachers are always reminding us of our drishti, or focus. I think that drishti also refers to things such as goals, but in the physical practice focusing our gaze on one specific point helps with balance and concentration. If you’re curious about drishti, try standing with your eyes closed and see (pun intended!) how challenging it can be. In the screenshot I’m in forearm balance and in this pose I need an intense gaze  – whether it be a speck of dust on my mat or a grain of wood on the floor – to steady myself.

I think that coffee macarons are the perfect treat for the theme of clear focus. True, too much caffeine is a bad thing but it sure does help me focus in the mornings when I’m at work! I’m really happy with how this batch turned out… they’re my best batch yet! Still, they aren’t turning out this well consistently, so I still have a lot of practice practice practice ahead of me. I’ve been really stubborn about perfecting the macaron but it’s been a stubborn fun. Fun making them, fun eating them, and fun sharing them. That’s the best kind of stubborn.

Coffee Macaron Shells:
100g Egg whites, aged 4 days
66g caster sugar
120g almond flour
180g powdered sugar
1 tsp instant coffee
2 drops of brown food coloring gel

In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites. When foamy, add the caster sugar, instant coffee, and coloring gel. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. When the egg whites are nice and stiff, fold into the almond flour/ powdered sugar and continue to mix until the batter ribbons back into the bowl.

Transfer the batter into piping bags, and pipe onto silpats into rounds about 1 1/2 inches wide. Let sit for half an hour. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. When cool, match up the shells by size and fill with the coffee filling, recipe below.

Coffee Filling:
100g unsalted butter
160g milk
2 tbsp instant coffee
1 egg
20g caster sugar
20g instant pudding powder

Cream the butter and set aside. In a small saucepan add the milk and coffee, and heat to medium. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, caster sugar, and pudding powder. Add to the milk and coffee and stir until thickened. Remove from heat, and let cool a bit. When it’s cooled down, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to cool completely. When cool, mix in the creamed butter and pipe onto the coffee macaron shells.

Source: Mad About Macarons!
(I highly recommend this book!!)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

May 15, 2011 § 27 Comments

Like most others, I look forward to Friday evenings, but one thing that makes it that much more sweet for me is my Friday night after-work yoga practice. I call it my end of the week work detox and I love spending the time on my mat, letting the weight of the week just melt away and disappear. It’s a time for me to collect myself and catch up on the breaths I lost while holed up at my desk. Often times in class we are given the choice to set an intention for class and on Friday evenings I try to focus on things  that will help me peacefully say goodbye to the work week and gracefully wave hello to the weekend.

On Friday I drove to class and as I exited the freeway I looked forward to class, ready to go in for a strong class and let go of everything from the previous 40 work hours. But as we got into the flow, something was off. When we stood up from our first standing forward fold I felt the world go black and the room began to spin. I struggled to stay upright and swayed as I fought to keep from passing out. When everything finally cleared, after what felt like hours, I looked around and everyone was still standing – our teacher had given us a few moments to stand and ground ourselves with our eyes closed and I was grateful that no one had noticed. I took it easy the rest of the class.

Work this past week was busy and stressful without much time for me to come up for air, and I think that this extra stress manifested itself in my body. While class was a struggle, as always I still left happy about going and felt I got what I needed while I was there. I came home ready for the weekend, and thought that I would celebrate with a treat. Naturally, that includes a glass of wine but this time I decided that I would turn my treat into an extra sweet treat.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cups soy milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup First Street creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup First Street strawberry preserves

In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and peanut butter. Let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

In your ice cream storage containers, spoon a couple spoonfuls of preserves in. Then layer in some ice cream, and some more preserves on top of that. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used up and freeze for at least a few hours, or overnight.

Source: Lick It!

*Note that I am being compensated to write this post, but all opinions are entirely mine.

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