Raspberry Chocolate Dutch Baby

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I want to share a personal story with you today. It’s about vulnerability and relationships.

Normally, I avoid talking about debbie-downer stuff on my blog but I feel that I should share the good and bad with you. This blog means a lot to me and I want to give you the chance to know me better. 

To give you some background, I need to take you back to 4 years ago. It was 2010 and I was in my senior year in highschool. I was in great relationship that I thought would never end. I know what you’re thinking, “naive” just popped up in your head, didn’t it? OK, maybe I was being naive, but at the time I felt so much trust in the relationship that I didn’t think we would ever break up. There were no mind games, no jealousy, no pretending to be someone we weren’t. It was pretty easy going and we enjoyed just being in each others company. I guess I also felt really secure because he chose me to share his thoughts and emotions with when he was usually a really reserved guy. 

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As special as that felt, things started to stale. I got sick of always being the one to initiate texts and phone calls so I stopped doing it. A couple days went by and I didn’t hear from him at all. A week went by and we entered the first week of university, still nothing. I packed up my pride and called him. We did a lot of small talk, I crafted numerous ways of asking “how is school and life?” because I was too afraid to bring up what was really plaguing my mind for the last week. He, too, danced masterfully around the topic. After about 3 hours, I bursted it out, “What is happening with us, where are we going?” And to my dismay, he replied, “Nowhere.” 

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When I asked if we could talk about it in person but he said that he was too busy studying for a French quiz. I only wanted 30 minutes of his time, but he couldn’t even give that up to explain things face to face. Afterwards, I sent him an angry text saying that I had the right to hear all of this in person and that he was being a coward. He never responded and we never saw each other ever again, especially since he was so good at darting in the opposite direction every time he saw me around campus. What made me angry the most was the fact that I had to call him to bring it up. If I didn’t call, he probably thought he could just drop everything and leave without an explanation. 

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Long story short, I went through a spectrum of emotions that lasted 2 years. I was heartbroken, then angry, then confused and I held on to the “what if” for a long long time. I finally snapped out of it when one of my bestest friends, P-, spent HOURS talking to me to help me dissect my feelings. She wanted to help me realize why exactly I was holding on, so that I can finally let go. And it worked. 

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After that, I spent 2 more years building walls around me. I told myself I never ever want to feel that heartbroken and vulnerable ever again. And I decided that the only way to prevent that from happening again is to not let anyone get too close and also to be the one who cares less. I got really good at that doing that and slowly I built some indestructible walls around my heart. Don’t know when this next step happened but I went from “self protection mode” to “commitophobe mode”. 

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Recently, a friend has been talking to me a lot about the dynamics of relationships and asked me why I haven’t given dating a serious try again. Then she told me something about vulnerability that I never gave thought to: the strengths of being vulnerable. One point in particular stuck with me and that is being vulnerable means you can feel the good things as intensely as the bad things. “By keeping yourself from feeling and by holding yourself back, you’re also keeping out the good things in life”, she said. To which I responded, “Good point.” 

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This was some very timely advice because I had just met someone. This time, I decided to take a leap of faith instead of looking for exits. The windows in my walls were opening up, making me vulnerable once again. But guess what, he too just walked out on me with no warning and no explanation. Does this remind you of anything? It was like my life just replayed exactly what happened 4 years ago. I’m embarrassed to say this but I was really upset. The first time I decided to put myself out there and feel vulnerable again… and I was greeted with that same awful experience. My windows shut closed and my walls rebuilt faster than ever. I’ll probably spend the next 4 years shutting myself out again. 

For those of you who are also “commitophobes”, what is holding you back?

For those of you who are in relationships, what do you love about it?

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Raspberry Chocolate Dutch Baby

2/3 cup low-fat milk (I didn’t have any fresh milk so I used skim milk made from powder and it worked just fine)
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white, at room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar 
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (I swear by Nielsen Massey)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
11/4 tsp salt 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degree F.  Place a 10-inch ovenproof skillet in oven to heat.

In a blender, combine milk, eggs and egg whites, sugar, 1 tablespoon of the butter, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste.  Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt and blend for 30 seconds more.

Remove skillet from oven.  Pour the remaining butter into the hot pan and swirl to coat evenly.  Pour in batter.  Bake until Dutch baby is puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes.  Best eaten asap!

Recipe from the Pure Vanilla cookbook

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Kahlua Chocolate Cake Donuts

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I made donuts!

Because I just finished the hardest exam I ever took in my life.

Because it’s raining outside.

Because I’m a chocoholic and I honestly don’t care for bikini season.

Just because. Do we ever need a reason to eat 3 donuts in one sitting?

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These are nothing like your typical old fashioned cake donuts. These have an added kick – kahlua. Bet grandma never added that to her donuts!

I had some kahlua sitting in the cabinet so I decided to add it in the glaze. Probably one of the bestest decisions I’ve ever made.

Normally, I’m not so much of a fan of cake doughnuts. It’s yeast risen, fluffy and tender counterpart always won my heart (and stomach). When I’m at home though, I haaateee deep frying because the smell of oil clinggss to my hair and clothes. So I decided to give baked doughnuts a go!

These did not disappoint! I had 3 in one sitting and now my waistline hates me.

If you normally like fluffier donuts too, I’d suggest giving these a try! The cake had a tender crumb and held it’s moisture out even after hours of sitting out on the counter. The cocoa added just the right touch of chocolate flavour. Kahlua – the star of the show – heightened all the flavours, it was so so SO good. If you don’t have kahlua on hand or you don’t like the taste of it, vanilla extract works perfectly too!

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Kahlua Chocolate Cake Donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
big pinch salt
2 to 4 tbsp milk
2 tsp kahlua or pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325  degrees F.  Spray a doughnut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Transfer to the batter to a piping bag or use a small spoon to portion batter into the prepared doughnut baking pan.  Fill until 2/3 full.

Bake doughnuts for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the doughnuts comes out clean.  Allow to rest for five minutes before removing doughnuts to cool completely.

To make the glaze, in a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and all of the vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.  Mixture may be thick.  Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is thick but still pourable.

Dip one side of each doughnut into the chocolate glaze.  Shake off some of the excess glaze.

Adapted from Joy the Baker 

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Day 5 – Construction

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One of our many caretakers. This man and his family kindly let us stay at their home. Here he is HANDMAKING tools out of wood. Just goes to show resourceful and talented he is!

So I actually didn’t have time to write anything for this day in my journal! I think this speaks to how great of a day it was :)

We spent the day half working on the construction of a kitchen at the local elementary school in Bueno Vista and half teaching English lessons. Two things I learnt: 1) I’m no good at construction. and 2) an 11 person tickle fight is both hilariously funny and frightening at the same time. 

By the time we arrived back at the homestay for dinner, we were all famished! Those of us who had snacks, brought out our stored secret stashes to stave the hunger. But the mere sight of food brought out the savages in us. The next thing I knew, we were climbing over each other, jumping on each others’ backs, and reaching with arms and legs everywhere just to get food. The more agile ones of the group (I’m talking bout you Kyle!) were swiftly taking food out of others’ hands. No food was safe from any predator, which in this case were 13 starved university students! In the end we all got some good laughs at how crazy we were acting. I mentioned that it reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies because our innate instincts to do whatever it takes to survive showed us a different (uglier) side of ourselves. Now, we fondly recall this moment as our “Lord of the Flies Moment”. 

At the end of the day after our dinner, someone  decided that it would be funny to assign animal characters to everyone in the group based on their personality. The hilarity of us trying to justify how a certain animal fits into someone’s character got me laughing until my (fl)abs ached! It was probably the first time I’ve ever been compared to a pufferfish… for reasons I have yet to understand. 

8:00 am – breakfast at our homestay 
8:30 am – arrive at Bueno Vista, first day of construction, plastering walls, mixing cementing, and painting   
1:30 pm – lunch 
2:30 pm – back to Bueno Vista to teach English via interactive games, got attacked by a lot (like a lot) of kids in a tickle fight. It was like me against 10. 
6:15 pm – LORD OF THE FLIES
6:30 pm – dinner back at homestay
8:30 pm – shower relay race and deep talks into the middle of the night

 

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it doesn’t look like much but I was actually quite high up and it scared the bajeezes outta me

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outside of the kitchen. the school has decided to paint it red and white in honor of their Canadian volunteers :)

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plastering is waaaay harder than it looks. arm workout of the YEAR

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Play time! Meet Juan Jose and Juan Jose. Those two boys are some of the sweetest kids you’ll ever come across.

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Ashley aka the Boss.   P.S: I need to work on my selfie skills

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I was plastering away then Yedrin, this sweet little guy, grabbed me by the hand and took me away from all the cement to get my hair did!

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That’s Yedrin right there on the right. Isn’t he a cutie? He had a massive crush on the girl with the blue headband *teehee*

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I swear he had a great time taking pictures with me!

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