I had a few apples left in my fridge so I decided to make apple strudel muffins (adapted from allrecipes.com).

I have made quite a few changes from the original recipe by reading all the comments– more cinnamon, more chopped apples (3 cups instead of 1 1/2 cups), substituted half a cup of white sugar for brown sugar (instead of 1 full cup of white sugar), and a little less butter (1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup).

After making all kinds of changes, I am definitely keeping this recipe in the recipe box for my family to use. The muffins came out surprisingly good! Even though the batter was a bit stiff, it still came out moist, which is how they are supposed to be.

Optional: Double the topping ingredients if you want to layer the batter. Also, it doesn’t hurt to add a little bit more cinnamon!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups chopped apples (1 1/2 cups chopped, 1 1/2 cups shredded)

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
  4. For the topping: In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Mix in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
  5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

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I made hummus for the first time today because I have been craving it for a while now. I bought the following ingredients from the market yesterday: 1 bag of pita bread, 1 can of chickpeas, and 1 jar of tahini (sesame paste) which came out to around $9. The tahini was about $4 but it will last me the whole year since it doesn’t expire until 2012.

The hummus came out surprisingly good and my mother enjoyed it.

Original Recipe Yield 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained – but keep 3/4 cup of bean juice for texture
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Place the garbanzo beans, bean juice from the can, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and paprika in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley if desired.

I think next time I will try to put sun dried tomatoes into the blender. You can also use more or less garlic cloves to your liking. I put three cloves but it turns out it was too strong for my taste so I am going to put two next time. The original recipe also had salt but I didn’t add any and it tasted fine the way it was. Plus, the bean juice in the can already had salt added to it. Toast your pita and enjoy!

My friend Aram and I decided to have a get together at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II, located in the upper east side of Manhattan. It is a perfect place if you and your girlfriends (or guy friends if they are willing to go), are looking for a place to chat over tea and scones (and other foods). There are currently three locations, all of them which happen to be in Manhattan.

We both ordered two scones and two pots of tea. They are mostly known for their delicious baked scones. You would have to ask your server what the daily selection was (includes pumpkin, almond, buttermilk, blueberry, etc.) I, for one, could agree that the scones were delicious– especially with the preserves/cream that they give you. Tasted very fluffy and buttery. We both got extremely full from them (each scone is about as big as one hand).

There are also a variety of teas you can choose from. I like to stick to the basics (green/black tea) so I ordered their signature tea which consisted of Indian black vanilla tea with Japanese green tea and rose petals while Aram chose ginger tea. Would definitely stop by again for the Alice in Wonderland experience.

156 E. 64th St.
(between Lexington Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10021
(212) 486-9200

I got to meet with my little sister for the first time in months! We decided to go to an Italian restaurant called Noodle Pudding located in Brooklyn Heights.

I usually look forward to the bread and the olive oil and I thought their sauce was extremely tasty. My little sister ordered salmon with lentils while I decided to go for the gnocchi and al pomodoro (tomato) sauce (There was also an option to choose butter and sage sauce instead). I personally thought that the tomato sauce in my dish made the gnocchi taste like ravioli straight from the Chef Boyardee can. However, the gnocchi itself tasted very homemade and it filled my appetite. My little enjoyed her salmon but thought the black barley was too dry.

Overall, it was a descent Italian restaurant. Good price and ambiance. Would stop by again if I lived in the area.

38 Henry St.
(between Cranberry St & Middagh St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 625-3737

My sister and I decided to do something different for dinner so we made lentil soup with winter squash. This recipe is adapted by Kitty Morse and found via NYTimes.com. The only thing I could have done differently was omit cilantro since I’m not a big fan.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (1 heaped cup) lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 20 sprigs cilantro, tied into a bunch
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 medium or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound winter squash (such as pumpkin or butternut squash) or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Combine the lentils, water or stock, onion, garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Rub the saffron between your fingers and add to the pot, along with the turmeric and the cilantro. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Remove the onion and garlic cloves from the pot, and add the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Discard the cilantro bundle, taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: This will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. When you reheat it, you may need to add some water. Adjust seasonings accordingly.

Nutritional information per serving: 159 calories; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 31 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 46 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 11 grams protein

 

My aunt sent my mother a recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake, which was adapted from a recipe she found printed on a package of King Arthur Flour.

I decided to make two sour cream coffee cakes- one for my family and one for my friends for New Year’s Eve so I doubled the ingredients.

This recipe is for 1 cake (9 inch pan). Serving size is 12. The only thing I did differently was whisk the batter on my own without an electric mixer and use a regular aluminum 9 inch pan rather than a springform pan. It came out great nevertheless.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for topping
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the topping: In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and walnuts; set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle with half of the topping. Repeat with the remaining batter and topping.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove sides of pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve topping side up.

My family and I dined at Pacificana Chinese Restaurant, located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. My relatives and I usually attend this restaurant every year and I think their food is overrated. The setting is nice- very lavish inside and a pleasant environment. The food looks great but tastes average. The lamb was overcooked, bok choy was bland, and the chicken was too salty. My favorite dish would have to be the lobster. I wouldn’t come here unless I was forced to. Maybe they’re most known for their dim sum which I have yet to try.

813 55th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 871-2880 ‎

My mom and sister made this apple pie; adapted from Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie recipe from allrecipes.com. It turned out surprisingly good. We made two pies altogether- one for our family and one for our relatives for Christmas. This recipe is for one 9 inch pie.

Before making the actual pie, prepare the crust first.

Pie Crust adapted from Pie Crust IV Recipe on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Directions

  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
  2. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.

After you are done making the crust, it is time to make the actual pie.

Directions adapted from Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

What we could’ve done was make the lattice a bit thinner because it was too thick.

This was a very interesting treat given to me from my sister’s friend. It is a specialty treat from a candy shop in Rome, N.Y. They are called Turkey Joints and each piece is shaped like an actual bone. The silver coating is made of sugar and the inside is filled with chocolate and Brazil nuts. Quite sweet, but tasty. 🙂

John and I have traveled to Mitsuwa just to get some baked goods and we both can never get enough of them. Each of these treats cost about $2.00 and they make it right in front of you so it is fresh. We chose one with red bean paste and egg cream filling for the other.

595 River Road
Edgewater, NJ 07020
(201) 941-9113

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