Tag Archives: Chocolate

Matcha Mango Macarons

 

 

Matcha and Mango Macarons

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Wanderlust. 

I’ve always loved adventure and I’ve had a craving for travelling the world since I was just a youngin. I don’t know where I got it from. My parents hate travelling, they just don’t have the energy for it and they’re too tied down with careers, bills and well, me and my sibs. I haven’t done a lot of travelling in the 21 years of life that I’ve lived so far (heck, I haven’t even been to Disneyland or Disney World, even though my parents have promised to take me there on multiple occasions), but I can’t wait to start.

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The phrase “it’s a small world” never resonated with me. The world is a HUGE place and I yearn to explore every nook and cranny of it. I wanna see, feel, hear, taste and touch the face of every country. I want to reach every ocean, every height, every depth and every edge of the world. 

My itch to travel has never been this enduring. I used to put it on the back burner, waiting to finish another term, waiting to graduate, waiting to stabilize my place in my career and earn a steady income. I can’t ignore it anymore, gotta scratch this itch! 

My trip to Guatemala was my first taste of travelling alone (sans ma famille) and experiencing worldly wonders. It ignited my wanderlust. 

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Priorities have shifted around a little. I’m going to try to travel as much as I can now before I get tied down like my parents. At the same time though, I have to be realistic, I can’t just ditch my life in Vancouver. I still have to finish my Dietetics degree which can’t be put on hold. In the meantime, I’m making small trips to nearby places to get my travel fix. Last month, I went on a spontaneous trip to Olympic National Park for 5 days. (I’ll write a post about it soon!)

Anyone else have a bad case of wanderlust? What are your top places to travel? Here’s my bucketlist:

1. Southeast Asia
2. Central America
3. South America
4. US Roadtrip
5. Europe

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Matcha Mango Macarons

Ganache Montee Vanille

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 50g and 150g heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

1. Chop white chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl
2. Bring 50g of heavy cream to a boil and pour over white chocolate
3. Stir until all white chocolate is melted
4. Pour in the 150g of heavy cream and stir to combine
5. Cover and refrigerate overnight
6. When ready to use, whip the mixture using an electronic beater (your arms will thank you). DO NOT overwhip, you will get butter not ganache.

Mango Confiture

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Cut mango into cubes, place in a pot and softly cook it over medium heat 
2. When mangoes are slightly cooked down into a more paste-like structure, add lemon juice
3. Cook and stir until you get a smooth mango paste. You can also strain or blend it to make it smoother.

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Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and Post-Guatemala

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I still haven’t blogged about the last couple of days in Guatemala, but since I already started posting recipes, it’s too choppy to go back and finish it off. So, I’ll end that journey off by sharing my thoughts and feelings post-Guatemala.

My first day back in Vancouver

Woke up in bed today with a sinking realization. It finally hit me that I’m not in Guatemala anymore. I’m back in Vancouver and surrounded by inches of snow. No more palm trees. No more rolling hills. No more rooster morning wake up calls. No more Sheily. And worst part of all: no more SOS peeps.

I’m a bit late to this awakening, since most people already cried and spiritually said their goodbyes on our last night in Guatemala City. 

The whole day, I felt like I was just a shell. Empty and hollow. The essence of me was left behind somewhere on the winding paths in Bueno Vista. 

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1 week later

After coming home from Guatemala, my perspective on the world and how I want to live my life has changed. Though I was only there for a little more than a week, the people and culture of that country have left have a huge impact on me that I don’t think will ever fade. 

I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is having gratitude and carrying that with you through everyday life. 

A couple years ago, I started my happiness journey. What triggered it? A really unhappy year as a freshman in university. Before that, I never gave much thought to my own happiness. I think I just ran on automode all the time. My goal was to just study 24/7, get the grades, then get that dream job and start rolling in 6 figures. My definition of life and “happiness” was really narrow. Sure, I guess I could go through life living like that, but will I satisfied? Will I ever reach the self-actualization phase that Abraham Maslow was talking about?

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When I embarked on my search,  I started a gratitude journal for me to write one liners and reminders about what I’m grateful for. 

“Today I’m grateful for… emotional learning experiences.”

“Today I’m grateful for… feeling needed and loved by my family.”

“Today I’m grateful for… the sis and bro”

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On shitty days, it’s really hard to find something good to write about. Since I’m a pessimist by nature, I have a tendency to revert to negativity, deconstructing myself in the most harmful way as I critique myself for pages and pages on end.

On good days though, I feel a lot more up lifted after I write. 

These observations tell me two things:

1. The gratitude journal is working.

2. I let external circumstances affect me too much. Bad days I’m sad, angry, regretful, and embarrassed. Good days, I’m motivated, inspired and energized.

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This is where I feel kind of ashamed. One of the things that I noticed about Guatemalans is that they are much happier people than we are. They have less than what we would deem as “the bare essentials”, yet they are some of the most cheerful people I have ever met. Despite having so little, they were more than welcome to share and give, asking for nothing in return. Those three actions, according to writer Gretchen Rubin, cultivate happiness and contentment.

On our last day in Bueno Vista, we visited a small church that was located just uphill of the school we were volunteering at. The pastor said something so beautiful that my friend, Yuki, and I silently held each other as we cried. In his best English, the pastor said: 

Life is about spiritual living conditions, not physical living conditions.

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It’s been 4 years since I began my happiness journey and I felt deeply resonated with that quote. I sat there in the front pew, surrounded by a bunch of new friends who are really more like family at this point, and felt this serene energy grow from within me.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I shouldn’t only try to find happiness in one event per day. I should be happy with what I have and find the good in everyday life, not just when I feel like it or when circumstances make it easy for me to do so.

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Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnmon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
1 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa (any type will do here, it’s just a cookie!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 tbsp freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used Roger’s best brown)
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp boiling water
7 ounces semi sweet chocolate chunks (I used 8 ounces, just for good measure 😉 )
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Sift flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves nutmeg and cocoa in a bowl. 

Beat butter and ginger on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar, beat until combined. Add molasses, beat until combined.

Dissolve baking soda in hot water in a small bowl.

Beat half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. 

Beat in all of the dissolved baking soda. Then add in the last half of the flour.

Gently fold chocolate into the dough.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

Remove dough from fridge and roll into balls and cover with granulated sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes and let it cool on the baking sheet before moving. 

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

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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?

kahlua chocolate cake donuts

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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