MATCHA MAGIC

IMG_3709Breakfast: the proclaimed most important meal of the day and one that many don’t eat. Weekday breakfasts are usually an after thought while rushing out the door and the comfort of routine can leave this forgotten meal boring and uninspiring. Coffee is standard for most members of the work force, and grab n’ go morning snacks are the usual accompaniment. I am a one piece of toast and black coffee type of gal but I decided to shake up my morning ritual and swap out my caffeine source.  I have so much Matcha Tea from my adventures to the Japanese market a couple weeks ago that I decided an iced Matcha Latte was in order.  Matcha delivers the same amount of caffeine as your standard cup of coffee but with some crazy added health benefits (see what’s so great about it here) and all with the delicious mild flavor of green tea. Another added bonus is that Matcha Tea is a whole leaf powder that does not need to be brewed, just add, mix and you are done. Since I live a dairy free life, my Matcha Latte is completely Lactose free. It’s simple, here is what to do:

What you need:

1 tbsp Matcha powder, 1 tbsp Coffeemate non-dairy creamer (I like the vanilla flavor), 1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk, 1 large ripe banana

What to do:

Put it all in the blender and blend until smooth and serve over ice

The Result:

A creamy and smooth, subtly sweet, well caffeinated, and healthy breakfast beverage.  If you get the Almond milk that is 30 calories per cup this latte should be around 100 calories per serving!!!! Better than you average 300 calorie latte at the ‘Bucks and a lot less pricey to boot!

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TO THE MAX

photo-3-5I have been hunting for the perfect pair of Air Max 90′s and I finally got them. My daily train commute has opened me up to exploring the world of sneakers since sprinting through the station is a lot simpler when not attempted in 5″ heels. They also make for great weekend footwear. I tossed on this olive burnout tee from Zara with grey Prvcy jeans to go back to the grey in my new kicks and then coordinated accessories with bright pops like a neon lucite purse from Juicy Couture to add a bit of fun and interest. Sneakers with bright colours are great when dressed up with skirts or shorts and blouses for casual but coordinated looks.
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BAKING ODYSSEY PART 2: MATCHA CAKE

IMG_3686 On to the second part of my kitchen adventures and the cake that brought about the mango jam from yesterday.  The coworker who the cake was for has a bit of an obsession with Matcha green tea, so of course her birthday cake had to be a Matcha cake.  The cake itself was fairly easy to make and it came out delicious. The most difficult part of the process was locating the Matcha powder and it took a few stops to a couple Asian markets before I found it at a Japanese market.  The powder can also be ordered via Amazon. The cake came out a gorgeous green colour because of the Matcha and it looked perfect with fresh whipped cream frosting and candied basil leaves.  The tangy mango jam paired perfectly with the subtle tea flavor of the cake.  All in all, the outcome was quite the treat.

MATCHA CAKE:

2 1/4 cups flower, 2 tbsps Matcha green tea powder, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt,  1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/4 cups almond milk, 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tsps vanilla extract

Whisk flour, Matcha, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add almond milk, egg whites, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.  Grease two 9″ round cake pans ( I like to use the coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s) and bake at 35o degrees for about 25-35 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool fully before stacking and refrigerate before frosting.

tips: if you use eggs with yokes your cake won’t be as bright and clean of a green. Also, 2 tbsp doesn’t seem like much Matcha but a little bit goes a long way.

WHIPPED CREAM:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 tsps vanilla extract, 2 tbsps powdered sugar.

Beat with electric hand mixer until thick and peaks form, keep refrigerated prior to serving or frosting. Use frosting spatula to spread evenly over the pre-cooled cake.

CANDIED BASIL LEAVES:

fresh basil leaves, egg white, sugar

Remove leaves from stems and coat individual leaves in egg white and cover with sugar. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 175 degrees until sugar crystalizes

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A BAKING ODYSSEY PART 1: MANGO JAM

IMG_3663-2Two weeks ago I started on a baking voyage that capitalized on any spare time I had.  I literally crawled under a cooking rock. I have my theories as to why I surrendered my life to the kitchen lately but I think the most viable one is my current need to be appreciated.  I know it sounds a bit needy but lets face it, there are times when you feel your job is thankless and you need to regain some sense of self worth. Cooking for friends and family makes people happy and in turn make me feel needed and loved. Also, it is a hell of a lot better than having a pity party of one. The baking binge was set in motion when I committed to making a birthday cake for a coworker who is always so kind to me.  I began to concoct the cake to end all cakes in my head and everything else followed. I pondered a filling for my cake… enter mango jam.  I had purchased a box of mangos recently and was looking for yet another use for them.  Lesson, no matter how much you may love a particular fruit, an entire box of it is quite a lot maybe even too much, but I digress. It was decided, the remaining mangos would become jam.  The whole process was a much easier than I anticipated and the end product was delicious.  I used the jam on toast for breakfast, as the filling for the cake, and whipped it with butter and honey to serve with some jalapeno cornbread muffins I made over the weekend. I told you I got stuck in the kitchen… Here is how I made my jam:

4 ripe mangos pealed and cubed, 1/2 cup honey powder (found this at the Asian market), 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 orange peal, 1/4 cup chopped basil(optional) and 1/4 cupwater.  I put all the ingredients in a pot on medium to low heat and let time do the rest giving the mixture a good stir from time to time. After the mango starts to cook down to a soft, spreadable consistency  the jam is done (about 40-50 min). I enjoyed my jam on toast the following morning, made mango honey butter from it, and of course used it as the filling for my cake.  I am excited to try peaches next!

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WEEKEND ERRANDS

IMG_3826There are few things better than a sunny Saturday bike ride. Lucky for me downtown has become fairly bike friendly over the past few years and cycling around town is really efficient when it comes to errands.  When running errands ease and comfort is key, but I don’t like to sacrifice style. Some light weight PJ Salvage pineapple shorts and jersey soft bra go perfectly under a long, sheer, neon tank. A waistpack and Roshes coordinate well and are perfect for the ride.IMG_3836IMG_3829IMG_3831IMG_3825

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