Sunday, May 22, 2016

All Natural Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

My friend invited me to a potluck death party yesterday. (Or, do you call it the post-funeral party?)  It was a party to gather all her mother's friends, relatives and everybody who had known her well to celebrate her mother's death.  Wait, this doesn't sound right... I should say, "to commemorate her mother's life on earth".  

I always hate potluck party because: 1) I hate being obligated to bring a dish when I'm not much a social cook or a social baker, 2) the food  that was brought by the attendees was never good 99% of the time regardless of whether the food was grocery-store bought or so-called homemade, and I always left the party feeling hungry.  A potluck party always presents two levels of stress to me, i.e. the stress of  brainstorming on what food to bring, and the stress of acting as if I enjoy the food brought by others to the party when it really sucks.  But yesterday, it was the rare 1% of the chance that I actually enjoyed something at a potluck.  They were the all natural Pink Lemonade Cupcakes that I bought from Trader Joe's. ($ 3.99 for a box of 4 cupcakes).

I am never much a fan of American cupcakes (because they always taste too sweet and loaded with heavy hydrogenated vegetable shortening that I hate, and I grew up with less sweet, lighter, fresher, perishable cakes at Asian bakeries).  These all natural American style Pink Lemonade cupcakes that I bought actually surprised me because they tasted very good.  The cakes were really moist, buttery, and rich in lemon flavor.  The cream cheese icing was light and not overly sweet. Most importantly, the icing didn't have the yucky food coloring taste that I experienced with all the other American store-bought cupcakes; and also the ones proudly home-made by my friends (who drown their cupcakes to death with colors that made them look too scarily colorful to eat).  The icing tasted light but very delicious and the color is a natural coloring from Hisbiscus flower.

I bought 2 dozens of these cakes yesterday and lied to my friend that I made them at home... I have no idea what compelled me to cook up such a lie.  I guess it's because on Instagram, I often see  my friends proudly showing off their signature dishes that I have unconsciously developed a vanity to want to prove that I'm not the barren one who has no signature dish of my own!  So I went to great length to make my store-bought cupcakes look more home-made by topping them with low fat chocolately cat cookies (with no artificial colors or flavors, and no preservatives), which were also bought at Trader Joe's. (16oz tub for $2.99).  

I personally won't top these cupcakes with chocolate cookies again because I don't think chocolate goes well with lemonade...But my thoughtless food pairing yesterday actually made my home-made lie more believable to my friend.  Luckily, the attendees at the party ate the chocolate cat cookies and cupcakes separately, so such an odd combo of flavors didn't ruin the cupcakes. My two dozens cupcakes disappeared at the party very quickly while other attendees' brownies and sheet cakes were sitting on the buffet table, mostly ignored.  May be the attendees at the party were acting as if they liked my cupcakes since I lied that I made them myself.  If you want to find out whether they were faking their reaction on my cupcakes or not, grab a box of this at Trader Joe's and see if you enjoy them.  I do, very much.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Always Know That Carbs Are Actually Better For Me

Content shared by: Jane Ong

I was brought up in a carb eating culture where we all eat lots of carbs like fresh white breads, noodles, and white rice.  All my family, friends,  relatives and myself are slim.  I never knew carb was bad until my American friends told me that they couldn't eat white rice or white bread because they said pasta,  white rice and white bread made them fat.  I did see their concern but I never was able to relate weight problems to the food I eat so much, white rice and white bread??  I just never knew in my life anyone in my hometown (with many millions in population) who isn't slim, from my schoolmates, my neighbors, to my own family and friends in my hometown; we all have diets that are culturally heavy on white rice, white bread and all kinds of noodles (or pasta).

The doctor in this video just confirms what I always suspect: carbs can't be as bad as they are portrayed in the American dieting culture. It's because my family and I have been eating mostly carbs all our lives and we are all slim and healthy people, except for me because I'm recently suffering from some minor adult acne breakout around my periods.  I suspect that my breakout as an adult has much to do with my recent years' increase in consumption in meat and proteins.  The rest of my family have flawless and blemish free skin. I know I don't have the acne gene because I never had acne problem before.  The only difference between me and the rest of my family is I'm living in America now and I am eating a lot more meat and dairy. Meanwhile, everybody in my family are still having the same white rice heavy diet  like we always did.   

Monday, May 2, 2016

How To Cut A Classic Batonnet

Content shared by: Jane Ong

Batonnet what?  I had never heard of "Batonnet" until I read about Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson's cooking school experience in his autobiography "Yes Chef". Now I can see that there is a lot of standing around in the cooking school to just watch and listen!!!  This is no less boring than when I had to sit through Statistics 101 in college, which is actually a lot safer for someone who has chronic daydreaming syndromes like myself.  I really respect those of you who can cut Batonnet.  I certainly will chop my fingers off due to my attention deficiency disorder....  There must be some kind of gadget out there that can cut Batonnet real fast, no?