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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!

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

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 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.

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

It’s rare for me to bake because, well, I’m not that good at it. This was my first time baking cupcakes. I practically had all the ingredients for these cupcakes so I thought it would turn out very well. I took the recipe from allrecipes.com and instead of making a carrot cake, I wanted to put them in little cupcake papers.

Here is the recipe:

Original Recipe Yield 1 – 9×13 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.
 

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 491 | Total Fat: 26.1g | Cholesterol: 74mg

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I read the comments and tweaked some things. For example, I used less vegetable oil (3/4 cup rather than 1 1/4 cups). Instead of pecans, I used this bag of soy nut trail mix I found at home (pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, raisins, etc). You don’t have to add nuts if you are not a fan.

I also used less carrots because of my lame excuse…my hands were too tired to grate anymore (I grated enough carrots for 1 1/2 cups rather than the recommended 3). After putting it in the oven for 35 minutes, I took them out and it tasted more like cupcakes with nuts rather than what a normal carrot cake would taste like. Baking just takes a lot of practice and patience and I guess I don’t have the patience. 😦 At least, they were still edible haha.

McDonald’s infamous McRib is back and I couldn’t resist the urge to purchase one this weekend. These sandwiches were first sold in the 1980’s and disappeared for a while and now they’re back only for a limited time until December 5th (my birthday :)) and who knows when it will come back.

Yes, this boneless slab of pork slathered in sweet barbecue sauce must be extremely bad for you but it’s quite delicious. I just wish it was a little cheaper (it costs $2.99 plus tax in my neighborhood). I think two of them would fill me up but that would be a sin.

While shopping around H Mart, a Korean grocery store, I decided to try some baked goods from Tous Les Jours, which was located inside the market. Tous Les Jours, which means “Everyday,” in French, is a French-Asian bakery and is also a chain bakery.

What I enjoyed most about Korean bakeries is that it’s not as greasy as some of the goods that you may find in Chinese bakeries. The quality is also very wholesome and delicious, but I thought it was a little expensive. John and I chose a strawberry pastry, a sweet cream corn doughnut, and a sandwich bun with blueberry cream cheese filling. These baked goods definitely make a great snack! I would love to go back for more.

112 Linwood Plaza
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
(201) 461-2870

As you can recall from John’s entry on the pizza bun he bought from Paris Baguette Bakery, it seems worthy enough to purchase: there is enough sauce, cheese, and even has a garnish.

These pizza buns are also available in Chinese bakeries and now I am starting to think about how they skimp on almost everything! You can barely taste the sauce and didn’t even seem like a pizza to me. It’s cheaper than Korean bakeries but I guess you get what you pay for!

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