In preparation for my niece’s first birthday, I asked her mother what flavor cupcakes I should make for the party.  She immediately responded with “Chocolates!”.  Now, who doesn’t love a great chocolate cupcake… but I knew for sure that a chocolate cupcake would hide away the pretty designs on the cupcake liners.  & of course, the mother wanted pink everywhere~  So, a lighter cupcake base was more ideal than a darker one.

My mom suggested making a white chocolate cupcake so that everyone would be happy and I thought a natural pink frosting was the way to go.  I experimented with the recipes and finally came up with this!

While the cupcakes were cooling, I’ve noticed that the cupcakes were a bit dense than a normal cupcake, so I thought I should try filling the cupcakes with raspberry filling.  Make sure to chill the raspberry filling before filling the cupcakes with it.

 

Once the cupcakes are filled, it’s time to make the frosting!

Since the cupcakes were to be enjoyed in such a special occasion, I thought it was ideal to to use a special technique I learned online to frost the cupcakes!  They look like mums!  YUM!  c:

Now, they are perfect the way it is… but my little niece is such a princess.  I had to top it off with the princess toppers!  (the cupcake liners & the the princess toppers were a set at Sur La Table.)

My cousin and his wife are real simple people.  They didn’t want a whole shabang at a banquet hall or any restaurant like most Koreans.  & they surely didn’t want their second child(Kailyn)’s 1st birthday to outshine their first child(Eileen)’s 1st birthday, so we held it at their humble home… with only family and couple friends.  It took me 4 hours to decorate and set up the table.  Don’t know why it took so long in such a small area to decorate, but it did.  The streamers in the back probably took the longest.  But I’m glad my cousin, his wife, and both of his daughters (Eileen&Kailyn) loved it.  & the cupcakes were a great success!  Will definitely make these again~

Happy Birthday Kailyn!

Thank you very much.  & God bless.

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About a year ago… my cousin, Sally, moved into a new condo close to my apartment.  The first thing my cousin and I looked at was this perfect new oven in a perfect kitchen.  And as we were waiting for the movers to come, we talked and talked about what we could make… and one of the first thing in mind was a perfect brownie.  A chewy, chocolatey-rich brownie that would perfectly pair off with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

The first time we made this brownie, we cut into 9 big squares and immediately doubled our bowl of ice cream into a tub of ice cream.  Each square over-powered our taste buds with deep chocolate flavors and sweet goodness, all we could slur out was: 오~달ㄹㄹㄹ아ㅏㅏㅏ~ (oh~darrrahhhh~; meaning:oh~ sweet~)  Although the brownie was perfect in every way, it was to be enjoyed in bite size portions.  To this day whenever we crave a brownie, we simply look at each other and slur out 오~달ㄹㄹㄹ아ㅏㅏㅏ~.

Do not disregard this recipe because it sounds too sweet for comfort.  I’ve shared these brownies with many people and ALL have kindly responded with great reviews.  Some have even said it is the best brownie they have ever tasted.  So, do not fret and g’luck!

Thank you very much. & God bless.

Couple years ago, my momma and I were shopping at Whole Foods… & we came to a stop at the bread corner and my momma immediately picked up a package of corn bread.  I’ve always referenced corn bread as a Southern comfort food that pairs with some really great chili.  Never did I think that my 100% Korean momma would love corn bread.  She dislikes many non-Korean dishes… or she usually needs a little dose of kimchi after an experience with new cuisines.  So, for my momma to be excited about corn bread was a surprise.

I asked her how the heck she knows about corn bread… and why she likes it.  She told me that when she was growing up in Korea (years after the Korean war), American soldiers who were still stationed in Korea gave out corn breads to children.  She remembers the gritty cornmeal in the bread and how dry it was.  My momma told me that corn bread is one the things she can’t forget.  & she clearly pointed out that Whole Foods corn bread was way too over-priced.  So, knowing me… I went on the look-out for a corn bread recipe.

I was looking for some-what of a moist and semi-sweet corn bread… way different from a true Southern corn bread.  (Southern corn bread recipes do not add sugar what-so-ever and it’s usually baked in a skillet.)  I’ve found a recipe that looked promising and let my momma and all her brothers (my uncles) try it out.  They loved the corn bread, but they immediately pointed out that it needed more cornmeal!  So, I adjusted the recipe and even made it in a muffin pan for portion control.  Now, it’s a family favorite!  Enjoy~

Thank you very much. & God bless.

Couple months back, my brother and I were watching an episode of Ellen Degeneres Show… & chef Rocco Dispirito came out promoting his new book, Now Eat This! Diet.  He basically created recipes for those who want to lose weight without giving up on what they love to eat.  After watching him make Fried Chicken with his special method for half the calories, my brother and I knew immediately we needed to get the book.

Honestly, I wouldn’t make half the dishes in the book but I sure have learned a lot from Rocco and his recipes.  Just replacing alternative ingredients for the usual ones really makes a difference, but it sure does cost more to buy those ingredients.  I had to drive to Whole Foods to find certain things such as: whole wheat pastry flour, powdered stevia, and agave nectar.

[Side note: Oh-man, I think I’m in love with agave nectar… it helps prevent blood sugar elevations.  (Just replace 1 cup of sugar for 1/4 to 1/3 cup of agave nectar in EVERYTHING!)  It tastes so much better!!!  I’m still on the fence with stevia… especially powdered stevia.  I must find a way not to inhale it.]

Banana Walnut Muffins (Now Eat This! Diet by Rocco Dispirito)

(makes 12 muffins; 163 calories each)

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 packets (4 grams) powdered stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 12 walnut halves (omit the walnuts and save 13 calories per serving)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.  Lightly spray the cups with cooking spray.  (I didn’t think using the cooking spray was necessary, but it’s a must!  …or you will have to scrape the bottom half of the muffin from the wrapper.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, stevia, and salt.  Whisk together until well combined.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the milk, agave, mashed banana, oil, vanilla, banana extract, and egg substitute.  Stir together until well incorporated.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir till well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin.  Top each muffin with a walnut half.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes.  (I use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter evenly.)

BEFORE: 36 fat grams, 610 calories ; AFTER: 6 fat grams, 163 calories

Recipe review:  I’m still used to sweeter muffins, so it did lack that “Wow!  It tastes so good!”, but it was still good.  Knowing that it’s healthier makes up for the loss of sugar.  & I think I know why you could save more calories by omitting walnuts… it was really good with the walnut.  I save the walnut for my last bite.  Plus, the muffins rose up beautifully~~

I’m not giving up on my sweets, but I will experiment with healthy alternatives now and then.  Till then…

Thank you very much.  & God bless.

A dear friend, sister, & mentee of mine graduated high school this summer… And after much consideration, she decided her next stage in life will take place in NYU.  With only a short time to be with her, we weren’t able to meet up outside of church.  So, I did what I knew best… I made yummy goodies and hand delivered them on Sundays.  & now that she has left for New York, I’ve been piling up a list on what I should send to her as a care package.  The first thing on the list was… caramel popcorn!


I’ve found this recipe on allrecipes.com a year ago and tweaked it a little to accommodate to varying batch sizes.  This is really easy to make, so just follow along with me~


First, gather all the ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup & 3 kernels of popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Second, pop the kernels!  (my favorite part)

  1. In a 3 quart saucepan, put 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with 3 kernels.  Cover the saucepan with lid and heat on medium high.
  2. As soon as the first kernel pops, open the lid and add 1/3 cup of kernels.  Put the lid back on and gently shake pan above the stove until popping stops.
  3. Carefully lift the lid to allow the steam to escape and pour the popped corn onto the baking tray. (Make sure to have a silicon mat on the baking tray to ensure that you get every piece of caramel popcorn off the tray.  It truly makes a difference.)  & don’t forget to pick out the un-popped kernels.

& Finally… the caramel! (step-by-step pictures below)

  1. After you place the popped corn onto the baking tray, warm it in the oven at 250 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan (use the same saucepan you popped the kernels in) over medium heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the light corn syrup, light brown sugar, & salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it starts bubbling, stop stirring (leave it alone) for 2 minutes.
  3. After 2 minutes, remove from heat immediately and stir in the vanilla extract & baking soda.  (the caramel should have a light brown shade)
  4. Pour the caramel onto the popcorn and try to distribute it evenly.  Pop the tray back in the oven (still 250 degrees) for 5 minutes.  Take it out, stir the caramel popcorn evenly again and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes.  Do this again 2 more times (total of 20 minutes) or until the caramel popcorn turns a shade darker.

Once it’s done in the oven, let the tray rest on a cooling rack.  Mix the caramel popcorn once in a while to loosen it’s hold from the baking tray.  & voila!

With caramel popcorn crossed out of the list, I need to gather other items for the care package to New York!  Hope many of you could use this recipe to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces~

Thank you very much.

& God bless.