Sunday, February 23, 2014

Brown butter chocolate donuts

Brown butter chocolate donuts 

Few days ago, I convinced myself into buying a donut pan from Michael's, and today I finally got a chance to test it out. This recipe incorporates browned butter in which makes everything double-delicious, and the cake-like texture of the baked donuts are just sooo amazing! 

Just dunk the whole thing in, lol;)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar (1:2 ratio with brown sugar as 2)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp browned butter (or 1 tbsp with less milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together first seven dry ingredients.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. After it is browned, transfer to a small bowl.
Whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in the small bowl with browned butter. 
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Do not over mix the batter!
Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out and fill each doughnut in the pan three-quarters full with batter.
Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and try not to over-bake them.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.
To make the glaze, in a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
Add milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.  Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.
Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze.  Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with toppings.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best within 2 days.  

And enjoy:)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crockpot Minestrone soup

Healthy Minestrone Soup

The soup is very light and low in calories, and makes sure you get your daily intake of veggie and healthy food! Also, easy to store for quick dinner or breakfast all week long! It only gets more flavor as time passes.

Dice and assemble vegetables 

Throw it all in the crock pot (i used 4 qt)

Add broth/seasonings



  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas  (Defrosted)
  • 1 Small Yellow Summer Squash
  • 6-7 Snapped Green Beans
  • 1 Small Zucchini
  • 2 1/2 Medium Celery Stalks
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large carrot
  • 1/2 Large White Onion

  • 1/2 Tbsp Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of pepper/salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar

  • 1 Can Reduced Sodium Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Died Tomatoes (Basil, Garlic, Oregano) (i used Del Monte)
  • 1 Box Organic Vegetable Broth
-Dice vegetables and dump it all in the crock pot
-Strain and rinse beans
-Add the beans and tomatoes to crock pot, then combine
-Mix in : parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, brown sugar, minced garlic, broth and combine well. 
-Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 9 hrs

Monday, February 10, 2014

Spa and treat day (Cold stone review)

Ahhh...   Today, we finally had a chance to go to the spa with my cousin and aunt. I can feel my arms smooth and soft after all the scrubbing! Even though it is still in the high 70's in California, the hot tubs and sauna left me feeling warm and relaxed. Also, we still smell amazing and aromatic from lavender bath salts. Perfect!

It really feels good to take some time off to spend a day with family. 
And a cold dessert after can never go wrong either:)

 We were craving some Cold Stones, especially because we had a gift card to spend up. What's cool about Cold Stones is that in some locations, they toss the ice cream in the air and catch it in a cup, if you request. I've actually always wanted to work at this place, because the employees always seem to be having fun, and also because I want to make ice cream all day. And maybe sneak some in the process. Or a lot... 

Thank God for the gift card because the 2 ice creams we ordered were priced $11.
So not budget-friendly but totally worth it!

I ordered the 'Germanchökolätekäke' (trust me, I had a hard time ordering until i realized it said german chocolate cake, lol). It had chocolate ice cream for the base, with pecans, brownie bits, coconut, and hint of caramel. The coconut is what completed this savory combination, and the ice cream was sooo delicious and decadent. Only chocolate- lovers are allowed tho, because the flavor can get very intense.

My mom ordered the 'Founder's Favorite' in a waffle cone. The waffle cone looked a little strange, perhaps because it wasn't mended, but it still worked, whatever. Even though the order was a 'Like it' size, the cone was barely filled and the portion was very small for its price.. Still delicious tho!   

Crockpot easy and healthy chicken vegetable soup

Crockpot chicken vegetable soup

I have not found a recipe that gets any simpler than this. Not only that, this soup is also healthy with all the veggies and no stock used. It's really great that although it is water based, it still retains deep flavor. 

I halved the recipe and cooked it for 3 hours instead. 
I added egg noodles to mine, but it is completely optional, and I actually think the soup tastes better without the added noodles, for it gets soggy quickly. 


1 large Onion -- sliced
2 Carrot -- sliced
2 Celery stalks -- sliced
4 ounces Mushrooms
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1 tablespoon Parsley
10 ounces Peas -- frozen
3 Chicken breasts
5 cups - Water


Place all ingredients in a crockpot in order listed and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.

The recipe is very versatile; you can substitute, add or remove vegetables to your liking.

Pecan shortbread cookies

Chocolate dipped pecan shortbread cookies

These buttery, light shortbread cookies are perfect for any season, and fills up my house with sweet pecan aroma every time I bake them. 

Only thing to consider is to not let them over bake for they burn very quickly. 

Recipe link here

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chocolate lovers' muffins

Chocolate lovers' chocolate chip muffins

These soft, dense, moist muffins are perfect for chocolate lovers who need the daily intake of sweets;)

These turn out tall and full without spilling over, making them extra pretty and irresistible. 

Notice the batter will be quite thick.

Yields: 12

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Ghirardelli recommended)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader- joes recommended)
3/4 cup buttermilk*
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brewed coffee, optional 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the the first six dry ingredients, ending with optional salt. Add chocolate chips in this step or later in the muffin tin itself. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold to incorporate. Just lightly mix. Batter will be thick.   
  5. Fill each pan 3/4 full and add chocolate chips on top. 
  6. Bake for 15 mins. Do not overbake and watch carefully because the color makes it harder to distinguish burning. 
  7. Allow muffins to cool in the pan on top of a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. 
  8. Serve with peanut butter if wanted. 
To make buttermilk, add 1 tbsp lemon in a measuring cup and fill with whole milk until it reaches 1 cup level. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Source: here with my own edits and inputs:)

Enjoy with a dollop of peanut butter on top!