04 September, 2014

Baking Ingredients Every Baker Should Have {The Basics}


I didn't make any resolutions this year. Mainly because I just don't get them accomplished and then feel defeated. Instead, I decided to do better at the things I am good at and try new things. That being said, it's no secret that I am a self-professed foodie. I love to cook too because that's the kind of family I grew up in. The diversity also exposed me to a lot and most of the women in my family had a specialty. 
Unfortunately, there was only one aunt that loved to bake. I am talking biscuits ( cookies) , scones, cakes etc….I have also come to notice that my baby bear...aka my son loves his baked goodies. As a mom, I try. I really do with all these frozen cookie batter, boxed cake and muffin mixes. To top this all up I am trying to whine us of the junk in food like preservatives that I can't pronounce. My conclusion you ask? Well I am going to start baking at home. I can't promise the boy that I will be making bread in the near future but I could start with at least homemade, from-scratch cookies and cakes. Plus, the Ghana cake I am craving has no match to these box mixes. 
Now that I have set the tone I need a few things; basic ingredients in my pantry at all times to be able to whip something up when we feel peckish and want something sweet. I may address utensils and gadgets later. I figure I can use what I have for now since my kitchen is stocked up with all kinds of cooking utensils ( I believe in my past life I could have been some kind of chef). 
{The Baking Basics} 
  1. Flour- The all-purpose, unbleached  kind. Obviously this is essential. Healthier option would be white, whole wheat flour. 
  2. Sugar- Apparently there are different kinds of sugar I can stock up. Baker's sugar, confectioner's sugar, brown sugar and liquid sweetener.  I am just going for a bag of plain ole refined processed sugar (already in the pantry) and brown sugar. I do have a box of turbinado raw sugar I love so much. I can't believe I just discovered it. I works like a charm in my earl grey tea. 
  3. Baking Soda and Powder- The baker that I am not thought these two were the same things! Oops. Doing my research I am finding out that Baking is a science. It’s important to understand the reactions. I am getting excited. I wasn't much of a Chemistry buff (Physics was definitely my thing), but lab time was my favorite time. Remember Hydrogen Sulfide ,H2S, Chemistry lab? The rotten egg smell .Epic lesson! I read about the differences of Baking Soda and Baking Powder on Joy the Baker's blog. 
  4. Butter - This adds a unique flavor to baked goods. Unsalted 'Sweet' Butter can last for a few months in the fridge. Salted can last for 5 months. 
  5. Eggs- I always have those. 
  6. Vanilla Extract- Essential flavoring in baking. Aiming for pure - no imitation. 
  7. Chocolate- Semi-sweet or Bittersweet chocolate. 
Hoping to make Aunty Lizzie proud! 

24 June, 2014

Summer Reading

I recently finished the The Fault in Our Stars by John Green author and YouTube vlogger. It came highly recommended by my step daughter (my young adult book read influencer). We have a tradition of reading books then watching the motion picture. It started with the Twilight Series, move on to the Hunger Games Trilogy and we are now on the Divergent Series

I have caught the reading bug and want to continue reading. This is going to be casually of course. I am really busy.

My first book is actually more of a devotional by Joel Osteen. I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. Truth be told I bought this book over 2 years ago. I know I know. Unfortunately, I have no good excuse and refuse to make one as to why I never completed it. I have restarted it and now have no idea why I stopped. I plan to find out all the 31 promises God has in store for me. I am quite excited for this journey and hope some of you reading can join me.

As I get older ( I turn 31 soon...yikes!), I have become more in tune with my body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says according to NIV, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." My body has grown, developed and given birth to a child. I am now aware of it more than I have ever been and want to treat it very well. With love and respect. I was watching one of my favorite bloggers and youtubers Essie Button and she mention in her favorites a book by Cameron Diaz, perfectly titled, The Body Book. I have downloaded a sample from Amazon but plan to buy a hardcover to keep in my book collection.
Lastly, if you want to get your act together and feel like you are the boss, then #GirlBoss it is. It's an autobiographical account of Sophia who started selling vintage clothes on EBay and is now a CEO and owner of a $100 Million plus company. It's a short read I've heard but well worth it. It's real, raw and full of wisdom.

08 May, 2014

Bethesda||Maryland Through my Eyes...Lobster, Gelato and Cupcakes

From previous post (which was my first meal in Maryland) we decided to walk around for a bit in Bethesda, Maryland.

Luke’s Lobster ||7129 Bethesda Ln || Bethesda|| MD 20814

First stop was Luke's Lobster. Still quite content from Nando's , I wasn't up for eating but big sis ordered a Lobster Roll and I decided to sample their Lobster Bisque. It's such a cozy place. Anyone looking for casual seafood should give it a try.

Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato ||7111 Bethesda Ln||Bethesda||MD 20814

Right down the alley was this gelato shop. I couldn't help but go in. So many flavors and offerings. I tried a couple of samples but still was not up to eat anything at that moment.

Georgetown Cupcake ||4834 Bethesda Ave||Bethesda||MD 20814

We crossed the street and then I saw cupcake heaven. We went in to Georgetown Cupcake the home of DC cupcakes on TLC. So many to choose from but I guess since I was leaving the Cherry Blossom festival from my neck of the woods I decided to go for the Cherry Blossom cupcake. Pleasantly tasty with cream cheese icing.

 

 

 

28 April, 2014

Washington DC||Virginia||Maryland Through my Eyes...Nando's

I was in Washington DC recently for a workshop. While there I caught up with a couple of friends. I also stayed with one of my big sistas from another mother and knowing what a food-lover I am had a very impressive itinerary planned.

 

I got in late afternoon on a Friday and since my workshop wasn’t until Sunday, check in was on Saturday. I stayed with big sis that night who also had a friend staying over that weekend. ( We are friends now, she loves food like I do! What's there not to love about that?)

 

Nando's Peri-Peri | Chicken Restaurant |4839 Bethesda Ave|Bethesda|MD 20814

 

First stop was Nando's . That was pure nostalgic. I love Nando's and haven't had it in a long time. Whenever I think of London, I think Nando's. I thought I had to wait forever and a day before eating this Peri-Peri chicken again. So imagine my delight when big sis told me there was a couple of them in the area. I was as giddy as a child.

 

Nando's is a casual dining food chain that specializes in chicken with African and Portuguese fusion. It's famous for it's Portuguese flame-grilled butterfly-cut chicken (fresh, never frozen) which marinates for 24 hrs before being basted and cooked in Nando's Famous Peri-Peri sauce ( a sauce so good they named it twice).

 

From the menu, I had:

Flame-Grilled Chicken Breast , succulent, butterflied whole chicken breast in crispy skin and a side of Butternut Squash and Grilled Corn, with red onion, dried cranberries, fresh cilantro and chili.

 

 

 

09 April, 2014

An African City - Have you seen this yet?




Once again I have been sucked into something else to distract me. A very pleasant surprise I must add. Have you started watching An African City? My friend put me on this and I am hooked. I guess with all the studying I have to do lately, I haven't caught up with all episodes. The couple I have seen though has ignited a post in me.

Ebony Magazine is calling it the Girlfriends of Ghana, a Sex-and-City-esque show set in Accra, Ghana. It follows the lives and loves of five successful African women who return home after spending much of their adult life in the U.S. and U.K. (Can't some of us relate?).

Created by Nicole Amarteifio and Millie Monyo, with Dickson Dzakpasu as director; An African City combines entertainment and a window into our world, changing public perceptions on how Africans are viewed, and fostering a discussion-inducing look at relationships within the continent.
Each episode of An African City gradually exposes viewers to an on-the-ground look at Accra, its language and customs. It stars Esosa Edosomwan, Maame Adjei, Nana Mensah, Marie Humbert, and MaameYaa Boafo, The series provides soul-searching commentary that women in any part of the world can relate to.

Are you a returnee? Let me know.

Watch and SUBSCRIBE now http://goo.gl/3ficdH
Catch the first episode of 'An African City!'
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