Monday, September 21, 2015

Failure [Red Bean Pops]

Failure. I am so afraid of it. If I am unsure about an outcome, I avoid it. I have a hard time coping with the thought of failure. Because I don't want to fail, I come up with an overwhelming amount of contingency plans for uncomfortable situations. I want to be so prepared that I won't be shocked if something goes wrong. Of course, with such a need for control, my stress levels are through the roof.

I have been working on relaxing and realizing that experiencing failure isn't a bad thing. I'm working on trying and seeing where something goes instead of predicting every single step. This self-improvement is incredibly stressful, but it's the only way to grow. Isn't it?

Time to stress eat with some red bean pops. This pops are hearty and full of beans. Feel free to add some whole milk to thin it out.

Red Bean Pops

105g (1/2 cup) dried red beans (adzuki)
28g palm sugar
150g condensed milk

  1. Rinse the red beans. Bring to a boil. Pour the water and rinse the beans again. Cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Add palm sugar. Bring the beans to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and lower the heat so it simmers. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Be sure to check the water level every 30 minutes. If most of the water evaporated, add more water so it covers the beans. The beans are finished when it is tender. A quick way to check is if a bean easily squishes between your fingers. 
  2. When the beans are finished, remove from heat and smash with the back of a spoon until mostly smooth with some chunks scattered throughout. (If you prefer extremely smooth paste, blend with an immersion blender.)
  3. Add condensed milk to the bean mixture. Add milk now if you want a less bean intense pop. 
  4. Chill the mixture overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. The next day, fill the molds with the mixture and freeze.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cutting Costs [Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee]

When I first started this blog, I was carefree and I wasn't very money conscious. Since I started working full-time and building my savings and retirement accounts, I feel very uncomfortable now being unemployed. I don't like seeing the numbers decrease in my bank account. In order to make money last, I have been tracking my expenses and finding ways to cut down cost.

My latest discovery is brewing my own coffee. I know. The majority of the world brews their own in the morning already. Back when I used to work, I wasn't a daily coffee drinker so I didn't see the purpose in brewing my own. It was more economical for me to buy that one cup of coffee that I needed once a month. Now that I'm returning to school, I need coffee to wake up and absorb information in class. I have been spending $1.75 two times a week, which totals to $3.50, which isn't much when you're working. However, when you're living off savings that is money that can be saved. I didn't want to waste money purchasing a coffee machine so I decided to cold-brew. For $1.30, I bought enough fresh coffee beans that made 6 servings. That's approximately 20 cents a cup! Now, that is the price that I can afford.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
from New York Times

Servings 2

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
1 1/2 cups water
ice cubes
milk (optional)

  1. In a jar, mix coffee and water. Cover and let it sit overnight or 12 hours.
  2. Strain twice through a coffee filter.
  3. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Personal Preference: I don't add extra water, I add ice cubes and let it dilute the coffee. I also add plenty of milk. No sugar. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What will the future bring? [Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars]

When I was at my previous job, I was burnt out. I woke up dreading work and felt sick all the time. I never seem to get better. I finally decided to leave for my own mental and physical health. I was counting down the days and fantasizing about my new beginning.

That new beginning wasn't as glamorous as I thought. I was expecting to suddenly know what I wanted to do. I thought jobs would suddenly fall into my lap. I thought I would just know where to go next. None of my questions were answered and I felt stressed from the unknown.

I kept asking myself, "Where do I go next?" "What do I want to do?" Eventually, I had small meltdown and cried and cried. Surprisingly, the tears helped clear my mind. I decided to take a step back and take some courses at community college to explore. I found a part time job to cover my basic needs and pay for classes. Hopefully from this point on, I'll find some clarity.

Since I am in the low-income bracket, I have been more money conscious especially on the amount I spend on food. I was stoked when I discovered Leanne Brown's Eat Well on $4/day. Good and Cheap. She wrote a free cookbook with recipes for cheap, simple, seasonal, and tasty snacks and dishes. You can download the cookbook from her website above. The first recipe I tried was her Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars. They are easy to make and portable. I have been bringing them with me to my morning classes. The peanut butter flavor is subtle and it is lightly sweetened from the jelly.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars
from Leanne Brown

Makes 12 granola bars (162 calories per serving)

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup (128g) all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup (152g) jelly or jam
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat over to 350°F. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper. 
  2. In a medium sized pot, add peanut better, 1/4 cup (76g) jelly, hot water, and salt. Stir over low heat until smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat and pour in 3 cups of rolled oats. Mix well. 
  4. Spread evenly in the baking dish. Smear the top of the oats with the rest of the jelly.
  5. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes. It is finished when the edges are brown and crispy.
  6. Allow it to cool in the baking dish. When cooled, cut into 12 equal pieces and store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Unemployed Blues [Ginger Drank]

Before I left my last job, my clients were extremely generous and thoughtful. One of them gifted me a bottle of Domaine de Canton, because she knew I loved ginger. She mentioned the best way to consume it is to make a simple cocktail by mixing Domaine De Canton with ginger beer. She was absolutely right. The flavor of the ginger comes through and it's spicy.

Ginger Drank

1 oz Domaine De Canton
1 can Q Ginger Beer (or any high quality ginger beer will do)
Half a lime
Ice cubes

Take a high ball glass and squeeze juice from half a lime. Fill entire glass with ice cubes. Pour 1 oz of Domaine De Canton. Top off with ginger beer. Give the cocktail a quick stir and garnish with a slice of lime.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake/Chocolate Muffins

Basic Pumpkin Cupcakes
from Sally's Baking Addiction

Makes 14 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups (220g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 cup (100g) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice until combined. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk brown sugar and eggs until combined. Add in pumpkin puree, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. 
  4. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  5. Divide batter evenly into 14 cups. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


  1. To make mini cupcakes, bake for 11 minutes.
  2. To make chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, fold in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips.
  3. To frost the cupcakes, use my ginger cream cheese frosting

Cranberry Panna Cotta

Cranberry Panna Cotta
Serves 2 to 4
(depends on size of your serving containers)

Cranberry Sauce
90g (1 cup) cranberries, fresh or frozen
50g (1/4 cup) water
25g (2 TBSP) brown sugar
1/8 tsp of orange blossom water

  1. Add all the ingredients in small pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir constantly over low heat for 5 minutes until a thick sauce is formed.
  3. Remove from stove top and allow to cool.

Panna Cotta
40g (1/3 heaping cup) of cranberries, fresh or frozen
17g (1 1/2 TBSP) sugar
6g (1/2 TBSP) water
190g (3/4 cup + 2 TBSP) half and half
1/2 tsp powdered gelatin (Knox)

  1. Mix cranberries, sugar, and water in a small pot. Over low heat, stir the cranberries for 5 minutes until all the berries have bursted and a mushy sauce is created. If some berries are still chunky, use the back of the spoon to smash it. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, pour 1/4 cup of half and half in a bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside.
  3. In a small pot, heat rest of half and half over low heat until steaming. Stir into gelatin mixture until well combined and slowly incorporate into the cranberry mixture.

To Assemble

Find small serving dishes and put a scoop of cranberry sauce on the bottom. Next, pour panna cotta on top. It should be a ratio of 1:2 of cranberry sauce to panna cotta.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
modified from The Chew (Loren Avellirio)

Makes 12 standard cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
140g (3/4 cup) white granulated sugar
145g (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
95g (1/2 cup) canola oil
1 egg
125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
2g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
3g (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
1g (1/4 tsp) salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
205g (1 1/2 cups) grated carrots


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix sugar, applesauce, oil, and egg.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together. Slowly incorporate into wet mixture.  When combined, fold in carrots.
  4. Fill cupcake liners almost to the top. Bake for 24 to 27 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan halfway through baking.
  5. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack to cool completely.
  6. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, the cupcakes are ready to be frosted. Use about 1 tablespoon of frosting per cupcake. The cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 heaping cup confectioner's sugar
4 oz (114g) cream cheese, softened
2 oz (55g) butter, softened
1 tsp ground ginger

Cream together lemon juice, sugar, cream cheese, butter, and ground ginger until light and fluffy.


Related Posts with Thumbnails