6 Hacks to Ace Christmas Cookie Baking

Jul 12

Between Christmas shopping and entertaining family and relatives, the holiday season can get easily stressful. Save time and energy on your cookie baking during this time of the year with these smart hacks, so you can focus all your energy on enjoying events and spending more time with your loved ones.

1. Marshmallows as quick frostings
Ran out of meringue? No need to run to the store for more sugar and eggs. Marshmallows will do the trick for you. Dip one side of mini marshmallow in water so they don’t slide off, and then plop two to three pieces on each cookie when they have about three minutes left to get fully baked. Once you see signs of melting (but are not runny), take the cookies out and spread the marshmallow frosting using a spoon.

2. Liquor bottles as rolling pins
Empty bottles of liquor are great substitute for rolling pins. Wash them clean and wipe them completely dry. Cover the exterior of the bottle with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. If any sticker residue from the bottle label bothers you, you can wrap the bottle with parchment paper before rolling them onto the dough.

3. Store-bought dough over home-made cookie dough
Using pre-made cookie dough for your holiday cookies isn’t cheating, if you add your own personal touch to it. Take your store-bought dough and let it soften in room temperature. Then, add in your desired flavoring, such as orange zest, almond extract, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate chips, caramel and peppermint extract. Your guests will never notice the difference.

4. Non-Stick spray on measuring cups
Baking Christmas cooking requires a lot of measuring of wet, sticky ingredients, like molasses, syrup and honey. To make cleaning of your measuring cups and spoons easier, use non-stick sprays on these utensils first. You will get more accurate measurement if you need to use them in other liquids afterwards, and cleaning up will be much easier.

5. Chocolate as universal dip
The easiest and tastiest way to make ordinary cookies extraordinary? Dip them in chocolate. This trick works perfectly with any cookie because, well, it’s chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Add a drop of peppermint extract into your melted chocolate to give your dip a taste of Christmas.

6. Room temp butter makes chewy cookies
Here’s a quick baking hack: room temperature butter will make cookies beautifully chewy. Leave enough amount of butter on a plate for 30 minutes before mixing it in with other ingredients. It mixes better with dry ingredients and helps the dough hold its shape while baking in the oven.

Homemade cookies are one of the most favorite treats and gifts during Christmas time. Make Christmas cookie baking faster and easier without sacrificing the taste with these genius baking hacks.

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4 Essential Condiments You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

Jun 21

What’s a dish without the flavoring? While a common question in the kitchen is about which pots and pans you should always have, you rarely hear the one about which condiments you should always keep in your pantry or fridge at all times.

Whether they are store-bought or home-made, condiments are a great thing to have as they add a lot of flavor to the dishes that you cook, but knowing which ones to have and on which dishes they should be used makes all the difference.

1. Soy Sauce
This is perhaps the most versatile condiment that you can get your hands on, and almost all Asian households have a bottle of this dark sauce in their pantry. Some would even have two or three different types.

Aside from being added to food that’s already cooked, soy sauce also makes for an excellent ingredient in bringing out the flavors in many different recipes, and is also used as a sauce or marinade.

What you need to know about soy sauce is that it’s a broad category that includes both Japanese and Chinese soy sauce. The former is made with an even ration of soybeans and wheat, while the latter is made almost entirely from fermented soy.

2. Ketchup
Next to soy sauce, ketchup ranks number two in the condiment versatility scale. It can be combined with either soy sauce (which yields a barbecue sauce, provided that you balance it with other ingredients) or mayonnaise (great for oily finger foods, like fries, for an afternoon snack.

You can even make this yourself at home. While soy sauce is difficult to make, ketchup is much easier – there are a lot of recipes that you can look up online and tinker with to see what works for you.

3. Mayonnaise
This condiment made of oil, vinegar, and eggs actually has a fairly long history, but has made its way into a beloved condiment for deep-fried foods, or as a dressing for some salads. Unlike other condiments, this one in particular is easy to make on your own – no cooking required.

The three mentioned ingredients are all that you need to start making your own at home. However, do keep in mind that home-made mayonnaise tends to use the egg yolks, while store-bought mayonnaise gets away with egg whites by using powerful machines to mix the emulsion together.

4. Hot Sauce
For the ones who are always down for a little spice in their palate, a bottle of hot sauce will help to ramp up the flavor in every bite. There many different types of hot sauce, each with their own different textures and levels of spiciness – all you need to do is choose which one your taste buds like the most.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)

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Making Homemade Peanut Butter  

Sep 02

 

We should not let our kids just buy foods anywhere if we are conscious about their food safety and health in general. To be sure, we have to make their snacks personally so we know it is safe and healthy when our children consume it.

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Here in Singapore, perhaps the classic snack is the peanut butter sandwich. Many parents consider peanut butter sandwich because it is easy to prepare and convenient. If by chance our kid loves peanut butters sandwich, it is time that we make it.

There are peanut butters in the market but we have to know that these peanut butters are heavily processed. If we are not careful and vigilant, the peanut butters we purchase may contain additional fats.

The good news is that we can indulge in homemade peanut butters. Here are some steps in making homemade peanut butters:

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  • Ingredients: We just need 1 tablespoon grapeseed, ¼ teaspoon salt (optional) and the main ingredient – 1 ½ cups of toasted peanuts (or cashews).
  • Preparation: We should first secure food processor. In a food processor, we simply need to combine the grapeseed, salt and nuts. When the texture is smooth, it is ready to be served. This will take about one to four minutes. If we do not want to use it right away, we can keep it in a glass jar and chill. This will last for about three months in the refrigerator.

Preparing a homemade peanut butter sandwich is not that exhausting and complicated. If our child is fed up with this kind of filling, we should think other kinds of fillings. As long as it is homemade and healthy, nothing can go wrong.

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8 Foods That Causes a Bloated Tummy  

Apr 24

Having a bloated tummy isn’t just reserved for most Singaporean women during that time of the month. Sometimes it’s actually the foods that we eat that causes that full, and gassy feeling. To help you prevent bloating, here is a list of foods that may be contributing to your bloated belly.

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  1. Apples and Pears. Each of these fruits contain around five grams of fibre, which makes them an excellent source of soluble fibre, but can wreak havoc for people with sensitive bellies. However, don’t completely avoid these fruits. Just consume a quarter or a half of these fruits so that you still get to enjoy their flavour without getting a bloated tummy.

 

  1. Dairy Products. Lactose intolerance usually ranges from mild to severe, and gas is known as one of its common symptoms. If you think you’re experiencing this condition, then limit the amount of dairy products that you consume. If it helps, then opt drinking lactose-free milk, or taking Lactaid pills to aid your body in digesting milk products.

 

  1. Beans. This fruit is rich in oligosaccharide, a sugar that isn’t normally digested by the body. But there’s no need to completely avoid beans, just eat small amounts of it along with other digestible whole grains like quinoa or rice to help your body get used to eating them.

 

  1. Asparagus, Broccoli and Cabbage. Their odoriferous outcome is the reason why these veggies are usually avoided. The gassy feeling caused by these veggies is brought by raffinose, another type of sugar that our bodies don’t normally digest. Sadly, there’s nothing that you can about the gas they produce, but consuming them moderately will help in preventing a bloated tummy afterward.

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  1. Salty Foods. Although sodium doesn’t directly cause gas, it can definitely make you retain some water. To avoid this, cut back on your salty foods consumption, and practice reading the labels of the foods that you purchase. Also, make sure that you don’t exceed 2,300 mg salt intake each day.

 

  1. Fatty Foods. We all know that fat is a main culprit in slowing down our digestion, which gives food more time to ferment while increasing the sensation of fullness.

 

  1. Chewing Gum and Hard Candies. Every time you suck or chew on these, you usually end up swallowing more air. Also, consuming candies that contain artificial sweeteners usually leads to gastrointestinal issues.

 

  1. Carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks like beer and soda is one of the main culprits for a bloated belly as they release carbon dioxide that eventually leads to bloating. Replace these drinks with water or juice to avoid getting a bloated belly.

Like in other things, moderation is the key to effectively avoid getting a bloated tummy. So, consume these foods in moderation, and enjoy a gas-free tummy.

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What Your Dessert Says About You

Jan 15

December is truly the season to be jolly especially with the feasts and the gathering. You particularly love the desserts after every meal. Everyone loves deserts but did you know that your dessert choice can speak a lot about you?

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Well, this is your time to know what desserts speak about you. Here’s the list:

  • Chocolate cake: Chocolate cakes are the favourite of most Singaporeans. Chocolate cakes are delectable because of its rich flavours. If you are fond of chocolate cakes, it could mean that you are passionate about what you do and you are ambitious.
  • Apple pie: Apple pies are traditional desserts and it is comforting too. If you love pies, it could mean that you are traditional and you enjoy the comforts of your friends and family.

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  • Brownies: Brownies are tough. There are many brownies here in Singapore and these tasty treats speak a lot about an individual. It could mean that you are adventurous and you are always on the go. You will welcome the new challenges that you will face.
  • Crème Brulee: Crème brulees are known for its refined taste and texture. If you love crème brulee, it could mean that you love sophistication but still you are enjoying simple comforts in life.
  • Ice Cream Cake: Ice cream offers different delectable flavours. For those who love ice cream cakes, they prefer to taste a bit of everything. These people simply love variety. Furthermore, these people do not live in a life full of routines.

With this, you should not miss your Christmas parties so you can get the taste of your favourite desserts. At the end of the day, your actions will speak a lot about you.

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Guilt-Free Happiness

Jun 21

Eating ice cream is something that we could never outgrow. For sure, at least once in our lives we have experienced the simple delight of enjoying a scoop of ice cream. But not everyone is the same and not everyone can eat the usual ice cream which contains dairy as its no. 1 ingredient. Some are allergic to it, some are lactose-intolerant, some don’t eat dairy for religious or ethical reasons, and some are simply meticulous health-buffs. So to cater to this certain demographic, different non-dairy ice creams were created.

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Soyato

Soyato was the brainchild of a lovely couple whose only desire at the beginning was to eat as much ice cream as they want during their dates. But eating much ice cream poses the problem of piling up those unwanted pounds. So they sought to create a better version of this all-time favourite dessert and came up with their own brand of soy-based ice cream. Soyato ice creams are made with non-GMO soy beans and for an extra dose of goodness they’ve included the prebiotic inulin into the mix. Prebiotic inulin is a good source of soluble fibre that helps maintain a good environment for our intestines. Soyato soy ice creams have 3x less fat, half the calories, and 100% trans-fat- and cholesterol-free. These creamy delights come in 9 flavors, of which are Belgium Chocolate Chip and French Vanilla. Soyato ice creams are available at selected NTUC Fairprice and specialty stores. To check out the complete list of their locations, you could visit them at facebook.com/soyato/info.

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Brownice

This non-dairy ice cream is proudly Singaporean! A pioneer in creating non-dairy, vegan ice creams in Singapore, Brownice provides a healthier alternative for the usual dairy-, sugar-, and fat-laden ice creams out in the market. What’s unique about this brand’s ice cream is that instead of soy milk, they use brown rice as their base. They want to provide the general public with better dessert options that’s why they only use organic, plant-based food in their concoctions and rest-assured that all their ice creams are absolutely free of artificial ingredients. Brownice continues to prove that the taste of healthy desserts doesn’t need to be compromised. At Brownice, you’ll get to indulge in yummy flavours such as Hazelnut Chocolate, Vanilla Almond, and Peanut Butter Caramel. For a taste of their guilt-free concoctions, visit their shop at Sin Ming Centre.

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