February 9th – “Start by morphing directly into the most fabulous version of yourself…

…Whether you choose to share your true self through your wardrobe, musical tastes or pocketbook, make it a celebration.”

What wonderful horoscopes I had yesterday. I think all those good vibes I sent out earlier this week are coming back to me!

What’s a great way to be fabulous and celebrate? Baking!

I have a long “baking wish list” and lemon rolls were one of them.

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The lemon gel I made was nothing like the artificial flavoring that Hong Kong bakeries often use. The fresh lemon juice gel is an entirely different experience, so it’s hard to compare the store-bought version with my homemade one. Both are delicious and go well with glass of soy milk!

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The hardest part about making this was making a tight roll without the gel oozing out on both ends. Next time, I’ll add more eggs and use a larger pan to make a thinner sponge. It came out a tad too thick.

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Lemon Gel

2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch

100 ML water (0.42 cup)

100 ML sugar

100 ML lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In sauce pan, stir water sugar and cornstarch until incorporated.
  2. Add lemon.
  3. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Let it cool completely before using.

Lemon Roll Cake

5 eggs (separated)

100 grams flour (0.42 cup)

150 grams sugar (0.63 cup)

1 ½ tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 430. Add parchment paper to half sheet size baking tray.
  2. Beat 5 eggs yolks and sugar until it turns a pale yellow.
  3. Then mix in flour, honey, vanilla and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff.
  5. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  6. Pour into pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until fully cooked.
  7. Cool for few minutes, then take cake off parchment paper. Put cake on a kitchen towel and roll up the warm cake and let it cool down to almost room temperature.
  8. Roll out and add gel, then roll back up.

 

 

 

December 3rd – “Sit alone at lunch and really relish your deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich — to heck with all of them.”

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Had I read my horoscope 2 hours earlier, my banana bread might have been a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It’s starting to feel like winter, so it was time to bake again.

Sunshine is still in abundance here in the west coast. For a few years, I did live in the east coast where the winters were long, dark and gloomy. Before my move, someone did wisely advise that the east coast could be depressing and that I might want to think twice before moving. I didn’t listen found out the hard way!

Winter depression is a real thing. The clinical name is appropriately named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). You can read more about it here.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to pick yourself up by doing things that require focus and creativity. If you like to bake and cook, you’re on the right track! To learn more, check out this Smithsonian article.

If you’ve never baked before, here is a super easy fail-proof banana bread recipe. It only takes 5 minutes to put together!

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Banana Bread

½ cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream or yogurt

2 extra large mashed bananas or 3 small ones

Equipment Required: 1 bread or muffin pan

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt. Stir until combined.
  4. Fold in sour cream and banana.
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool in pan for about 30 minutes before serving.