A Breakfast For Success

This morning, I woke up very early to get some last minute studying in for a big test I had today.  Every morning, no matter what, I give myself about 30 minutes of extra time so that I can make and actually sit down to enjoy my coffee and breakfast without feeling rushed and anxious.  This time I have to myself every morning really wakes me up and starts the day on a relaxed and positive note (in my opinion).  However, I do treat test days a bit more special when deciding what to make myself for breakfast.  Instead of the usual Greek yogurt or oatmeal mixed with various fruits, I always make some kind of egg-based dish since I’ve always believed that they give my brain a little boost.  This morning, I was exceptionally lucky because I not only had eggs, but also some fresh smoked salmon, avocado, and whole grains, which are all listed as brain-boosting “superfoods” by WebMD!  I promise they are…check out the WebMD full list if you don’t believe me!  Anyway, my breakfast was so satisfying and combined with some berries and the usual coffee on the side, I felt confident and ready to kick ass on my test.  Check out a few snapshots I took this morning and an easy recipe for the delectable and “smart” breakfast I made right below!

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Ingredients:

½ whole wheat English muffin or whole grain + flax sandwich thin

¼ fresh avocado (mashed)

~ 1 slice of smoked salmon (shred it up with your fingers)

Handful of feta cheese

1 whole egg + 1 egg white

ground pepper and hot sauce for garnish

Steps:

  1. Scramble your eggs into a bowl and combine them with the shredded smoked salmon and feta cheese
  2. Add ground pepper into the mixture and pour it onto a hot skillet to cook until desired level
  3. While eggs are cooking, toast your bread and spread the avocado on bread while warm
  4. Top the cooked egg mixture on the avocado-spread bread and garnish the mountain of deliciousness with ground pepper and hot sauce
  5. Enjoy while it’s hot! SO YUMMY!

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P.S.: look out for my next post if you are a smoked salmon lover, or want to try it out…lots of yummy recipes to come! 

Homemade Macarons!

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Over my Christmas break, I decided to break in my new Macaron baking kit that my parents got me for Christmas.  I knew I had a difficult task ahead of me because I’ve always read and been told that macarons are only for the expert bakers, but I figured it was worth a shot.  The kit that I used is sold by the company, Lékué, which is sold in U.S. stores such as Sur La Table or online.  It came with a recipe book for a few different macaron flavors, including the one I chose for Tiramisu Macarons.  The first difficulty I ran into in effort to make these pastries was trying to find all of the unique ingredients.  I found the icing sugar, ground almonds/almond flour, instant coffee, mascarpone, and powdered cocoa at Whole Foods, but I had to purchase the amaretto at Total Wine and the basic ingredients at Harris Teeter.  I also had to buy a sieve at Target since I didn’t have one of my own at home.  It was quite the frustrating search but I was happy to get home with everything I needed to make these delectable sweets.

The kit I used

The Macaron kit I used

Since the English recipes in the included recipe book were translated from either Spanish or French, they weren’t very clear and resulted in quite a bit of confusion while I was cooking.  For example, one of the steps asks to sieve icing sugar, which had to be done with the cheap sieve I bought from Target.  Unfortunately, the sieving was a disaster and not only did I lose a bit of the sugar, but I also had to use the unsieved sugar in hope that it wouldn’t make a big difference to the final product.  Therefore, if you try out this recipe, I urge you to invest in a really good sieve and if that doesn’t work, just nix that step because it didn’t seem to noticeably affect my macarons.  Another issue that arose from the confusing recipe was during the step that requires one to whip egg whites, sugar, and salt until it becomes a thick meringue.  I’d never made meringue before so I had no idea what it needed to look like and how long I needed to whip the ingredients.  While pouring the batter onto the baking mat, I learned that I didn’t whip the mixture enough and it came out much thinner and less airy than it should’ve.  The thinness of the mixture could’ve also been partly due to the missing icing sugar that the sieve stole from me in the recipe’s previous step.  The last mishap that I encountered in my baking adventure was associated with my purchase of instant coffee and the vagueness of the recipe.  I think that the grounds from the coffee I bought were too large and needed to be either ground more finely with a food processor or simply purchased in a finer or even liquid form.  I don’t think that the coffee issue heavily affected the flavor of the macarons, but finer grounds could’ve definitely distributed the coffee flavor more effectively.

Aside from those three recipe issues and hard-to-find ingredients, my macarons surprisingly turned out delicious and almost perfect!  The flavor of both the filling and shells was really tasty.  The only major issue was in the shells, which weren’t as fluffy and thick as they should’ve been.  If you’re a baker and have been too intimidated by the fancy ingredients and somewhat complicated process to make your own macarons, I hope this post urges you to take a chance and try them out.  I received a lot of compliments on my macarons and they were definitely worth the small mishaps and tough ingredient search.

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A Classy Yet Delicious Breakfast Sandwich

This morning, I woke up feeling especially awake and adventurous, which resulted in a much more exciting breakfast than usual.  I wanted to eat something that was healthy yet filling and easy to make.  I narrowed my choices down to eggs with some sort of toast, which never fails to be tasty and hearty enough to keep me satisfied throughout my morning classes.  Since I was on an adventurous kick this morning, I decided to go with a style of egg that I had never personally cooked before but had heard was simple enough to make- the poached egg.  To class up this unconventional style of egg, I chose to convert it into an open-faced breakfast sandwich for the ultimate quick, classy, and healthy breakfast (in my opinion).  I was a bit short on time and didn’t have all of the ingredients that I would’ve liked to put on my sandwich, but I decided that spinach, pesto, hot sauce, and some shredded cheese would still make for a great sandwich.  Below is a simple recipe for the egg sandwich I made but feel free to swap out or add on more toppings such as avocado, tomato, onion, etc. on your own sandwich.  I was very satisfied with my delicious sandwich and perfectly cooked egg, which was quite gratifying as it was my first time cooking a poached egg!  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ whole wheat or multigrain English muffin
  • Pesto spread/sauce
  • Hot/Tabasco sauce
  • Any preferred type of cheese
  • Fresh spinach leaves (or arugula)
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Steps:

  1. Fill a pot with about 3 inches of water and heat it until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat on the water so that it’s not bubbling anymore but still very hot.
  3. Crack your egg into a small bowl.
  4. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar into the water and swirl the hot water in a circular motion with a spoon for a few seconds.
  5. Pour your egg into the water and carefully swirl the water around it for about 5-10 seconds so that the egg whites coat the sides of the yolk.
  6. Let the egg cook for about 4-5 minutes or you can pick the egg up with a slotted spoon after about 3 minutes and touch the yolk to determine how runny or solid you want it to be.
  7. While the egg is cooking, put your English muffin into the toaster.
  8. When the bread is toasted, cover it immediately with pesto, cheese, and spinach so that the cheese melts.
  9. When the egg is cooked to your liking, carefully dry it off on a paper towel and slide it onto your sandwich.
  10. Top it with more cheese, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of hot sauce.
  11. Dig in!!

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A Macaron Love Affair

Today I woke up with quite the particular sweet tooth craving.  It wasn’t the typical, “I want some cereal for breakfast instead of toast” craving, but the kind that can only be completely satisfied with a delectable French macaron.  This treat that I’m referring to is NOT a macaroon (the coconut treat), but a macaron (mack-ah-rohn).  The fact that people and even bakeries use the word macaroon instead of macaron to describe these amazing French confections drives me insane.  Anyway, this craving isn’t unusual for me ever since I tasted my first macaron in 2011 from NYC’s Bouchon Bakery.  I obviously fell in love at first bite, hence the name of my blog.  Bouchon Bakery is still one of my favorite places to grab a monster-sized macaron in the city, along with my other favorite, Ladurée.  Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to find authentic-tasting macarons in New York and have no hope of finding any near me in Athens, GA.  One day I’ll take on the difficult challenge of baking my own macarons from scratch, but drooling over pictures of my past macarons will have to suffice for today.  Feel free to drool with me over these mouthwatering pictures of my favorite Bouchon and Ladurée macarons.

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Caramel and Chocolate Macarons from my 1st visit at Bouchon Bakery

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Macaron from Bouchon Bakery

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The newly opened Ladurée on the Upper East Side, NY

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My first taste of Ladurée macarons- they were just as tasty as they are beautiful

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Pretty little salted caramel macaron from Ladurée