Dessert Yum

Decorated Sugar Cookies

September 16, 2016

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 egg

Directions

Place a fine mesh sieve or a sifter over a medium mixing bowl and add the flour and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar; using a hand held mixer on medium-high speed cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light in color and has a fluffy texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and egg. Beat until blended, 1 or 2 minutes longer. On low speed, gradually add the sifted flour and salt, mixing until just blended.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 2 balls. Place each half between 2 pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll into 5-inch diameter disks. Place the dough on baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or as long as 24 hours.

When you are ready to roll and bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place 1 disk of the cookie dough on the work surface and remove the top sheet of paper. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll the dough out starting from the center to an even thickness of 1/8-inch. Using decorative cookie cutters cut the dough directly on the parchment paper. Use a spatula to transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet. Place the cookies at least 1/2-inch apart.

Gather the dough scraps and reroll them to make additional cookies. Only reroll the dough once.

Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges and firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

The cookies can be stored in resealable plastic containers or cookie tins for 1 week. To frost the cookies prepare a recipe of royal icing as follows and decorate as desired.

Royal Icing:

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon milk

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat slowly until well blended. Then beat at medium-high speed until the icing forms stiff peaks, 6 minutes. If icing is not stiff enough add more sugar if it is too stiff add more milk. Use immediately or place in a plastic container with a lid until ready to use. Allow icing to dry for at least 24 hours before packaging.

Yield: About 2 1/2 cups

 

Photo Credit – veragebetty.com

Blogs

Horse Back Riding

September 12, 2016

 

Over the long weekend I took a trip to upstate New York. The area I visited was very family oriented; it was a serene area with lots of activities. I enjoyed many of the breathtaking views, ambiance, aura as well as indulged a bit in the wide variety of local snacks and desserts, but what was truly a treat was partaking for the first time in horseback riding.

Leading up to this activity I was excited. When I arrived at the barn, I looked around to scope out the scenery. All the horses were lined up in their respective stables. When it was time for my ride an older gentleman approached me and took me onto the grounds.  Being closer to all the horses, the experience became even surreal to me. Wow what a feeling!

Finally, I was on my big brown horse name Sal. They are aware of their routine to allow the riders to get on them and then gallop towards the water. As other guests got on their horses also, my horse got a little impatient causing him to go out the gates. I had to command him by using the techniques shown by the experts and make him turn around. As we waited for other riders to get on their horses, I was told by the same older gentleman that my horse is one that they use a lot for kids. This made me less fearful as I presumed he may be gentler with me. You didn’t think I was all cool being on an animal that can suddenly go wild on me? Lol

Melissa the other riding expert led the way while all of us followed one by one. The path was filled with big rocks, so the horses had a tougher time climbing. Once in a while I had to steer my horse in the right path, but he knew the routine (they were all males).  The horse in front of me kept stopping to eat and poop. Lol.

Horse riding is one to be mentally prepared for as it can appear fearful. I recall a mom and daughter backing out last minute. The mom was about to get on the horse but allowed fear to overcome her and she took off her helmet and walked away, her younger daughter was on the horse and asked to come off. I saw the older sister and father going along with it and ended up being the ones behind me. At first horseback riding can be a little intimidating but you have to keep in mind that they are trained and can sense fear. Being courageous and adventurous can allow you to have an experience like none other.

Spending an hour on a horse and hearing him grunt, breathing heavily and forcing its way up a rocky trail made me feel pity for them. But my bonding time was lovely.

Chicken Yum

Sesame Chicken

September 9, 2016

 Ingredients Needed

3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

For the marinade/batter:

6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chili paste

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Peanut oil, for deep-frying

Salt

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Wash the chicken under cold running water, pat dry and trim off any excess fat. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and put into a large mixing bowl. Add the marinade ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce: In a saucepan, add the sesame oil and set over low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and fry gently until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to dissolve the cornstarch. Gently pour into the saucepan with the fried ginger and garlic. Stir as you pour because the cornstarch will thicken up pretty quickly. Keep warm over low heat.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 375 degrees F.

Photo Credit – celebrationgeneration.com
Yum

Indian Dosas

September 2, 2016

1 Cup of Chief Gram Flour (Chick Pea Flour)

1 Cup of All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp of Baking Soda

¾ Tsp of Chief Salt

½ tsp of Chief Black Pepper

1 Tsp of Ground Chief Mustard Seeds

½ Tsp of Chief Roasted Ground Geera (Cumin)

½ Tsp of Chief Saffron Powder (Turmeric)

Water to Mix

Place, all the ingredients into a mixing bowl with the exception of the water. Whisk to mix all the spices with flour. Slowly add water to the mixture until you achieve a consistency a little looser to pancake batter.

Let batter sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a small non stick sauté pan over medium heat. Place 1 tsp of vegetable oil to coat bottom of pan. Carefully ladle in 2 oz of Dosa batter into the pan and carefully rotate pan to allow batter to spread evenly to the sides to form a thin circular shape. Cook for 45 seconds on each side and then remove and set aside. Continue until all batter is done.

Place Dosa on plate and spoon a little of the shrimp curry onto it, fold over and enjoy as a snack or even as a light meal.

Photo Credit – myfoodarama.com

Blogs

My 1st Makeup Tutorial Experience

August 22, 2016

It seems like from ever since I delved into the entertainment business many years ago, countless makeup artists have always tended to my face whenever I had events or shows to host. However, I finally had the opportunity to attend a makeup tutorial recently where I actually was now on the other side of the illustrious makeup chair. On my way there, I pictured what the session would be like and was hopeful to discover some credible techniques and even apply it.

I walked in just in time for my appointment as was greeted by a lovely young lady name Cali who turned out to be the person that tutored me. I went directly to our seats and was offered a variety of things to drink but I opted for sparkling water.
Cali asked me first what look I wanted to achieve that evening. My response “teach me the basics”.

She first taught me how to sculpt my eyes by using a light brown shade applied with a sculpting brush of course, then how to apply shadow on my lid using a different brush and finally how to make it a bit smoky on the ends. The way the lesson was structured was that she showed me on one eye and I tried it on my other eye while holding up a mirror. My favorite part was learning about contouring cheeks and sculpting my brows. Cali was explaining along the way and was open to answering any questions that I may have. Two big lessons – Having the right brushes and the way in which you hold them.

There is something so chick, when a woman knows how to upkeep herself. Nothing’s wrong with going all natural but looking very well put-together before stepping out is a great thing.
Over all I did learn a few key points, but definitely need to attend a few more before getting it right.

Blogs

Conquering some fears

August 9, 2016

Small spaces:

The room was hot and steamy; I couldn’t see at all. I was in my robe, a was hesitant.  I heard a voice, through the steam and I noticed a woman lying about 3 feet away.  She said “hi” and I replied hi.

I walked in and closed the door, my mind ran crazy. What if I get locked in here? I started sweating from the hot steam, while crazy thoughts ran through my mind.

I sat on the hot wooden bench and looked around and said to myself; you need to sit here and face your fear. My fear was being locked in a hot steam room with no air and no form of exit. As I sat there I thought to myself that if I do get locked in, at least I can break the door open. To make things worse, it was a small spa so no one was around the stream room. But for my sanity and to overcome my phobia I needed to sit it through and face whatever fear I had within me. While owning up to it, I realized it wasn’t so bad and I needed to control whatever thoughts that were going through my head.

Key word CONTROL

Airplanes

There are lot of people who fear flying, I prepare by buying magazines and download music videos to my phone, as these are great aspects to take your mind of the flying. Engage yourself with an activity of your preference.  If you are flying with a loved one, engage in a conversation as it can be distracting. I remember when I was flying to Las Vegas, the lady sitting behind me had a fear of flying and she was talking aloud about how she hates being on planes, and that she was cluster phobic.  What I did was blocked all negative noise. Walk in and go to your seat and engage. A lot of people pop pills, but my thing is try the pill on land and see the reaction than being up in the air and discovering side effects that is not good. I have a good friend when he was a teenager on his way back from PR, there was tremendous amount of turbulence and since then he hasn’t flown, it has been over 20 years, he feels as though he is missing out on seeing the world. I told him that he should try out small flight first and take a 15 minutes’ plane ride. This can help him to regain his confidence in being on a plane.

Key Factor: CONTROLLING your thoughts.

Blogs

Choosing Clothes for Our Body Type

August 1, 2016

As human beings, we are blessed to be sculpted in different shapes and sizes.  Hence, designers have also fashioned different apparel styles to cater to different body types. First off we should know what is our ideal body and corresponding clothes size. This is paramount because if we are ordering or buying the incorrect size; this can have a negative impact on how it fits our body. We know that fashion trends changes all the time and that doesn’t mean we have to force ourselves into a dress to thereby attend an event in it and feel uncomfortable for the entire time just for the sake of keeping up with the trend. Here are five things to look for when shopping:

  1. When it comes to pants, ensure you can breathe once it buttons, also if it’s too tight around the waist it will cause a bulge around your tummy
  2. Some clothes create the illusion of you having more lbs than you actually do. So as much as an outfit is enhancing your curves, the thickness of the cloth may add extra. Therefore be wary of this fact.
  3. Take a good look in the dressing room mirror, if it feels uncomfortable at that point in time, mostly likely it will also be the same feeling when you wear it out. Try a bigger size and reflect on its importance.
  4. Pick enhancement over current trend. Be smart and choose what you feel confident in.
  5. It is always helpful to get a second opinion from someone you trust, they can see it from another point of view and provide insights.

Happy Shopping