Moist Chocolate Cake

So, how was the first month of 2014 going? I hope everything went well and still going smooth with everyone. As for me, generally, it started well and well, it is still. (I don’t think so!) Okay… I’ll spill it out! I have mentioned in one of my posts that I lost pounds over the month of December and got 1 kg back just after the New Year. I ate rice, noodles, and rice, and rice and rice… Yes, I will not deny that! (I am guilty, as a proven criminal should be.) But, please, do not imagine me eating bowls of rice… because I did not. I’ve eaten rice almost everyday of January 2014 but just a cup or two. (Mostly 1 cup, really.)

In addition to rice is a cake – not just a slice, but slices of cake!! If I am not mistaken, I have mentioned that (or I think I’ve mentioned this in one of my conversations with AJ of The Dessert Course) I am craving for a chocolate cake, but I did not want to bake because I might end up eating the whole cake.

thenotsocreativecook-ChocolateCake1

I bought a slice of cake, but the only thing that’s available was a Vanilla Cake (I bought it, anyway!) Later, I said, I will buy a slice of chocolate cake and I was sure that I will NEVER EVER bake.

But, guess what? I did bake a chocolate cake!!

Moist Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • ½ cup butter, melted**
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water + 2 tsp coffee granules

Frosting (recipe from back label of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I reduced mine to 2 ½ cups)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add in eggs, buttermilk (or substitute), melted butter (or veggie oil) and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add in coffee and mix until combined.
  4. Evenly divide batter between two pans.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with few crumbs, but not wet batter.
  6. Remove pans from the oven and transfer the pans in a cooling rack.
  7. Allow to cool in the pans for about 30 minutes.
  8. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cakes in the cooling rack.
  9. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
  2. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Source recipe: Moist Chocolate Cake by Foodess

Notes: 

* Substitute buttermilk with 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes. 

** Veggie oil can be used instead of melted butter. 

Though I felt guilty, I did enjoy every bite of this cake. However, it lasted inside the fridge for more than one week because I tried my best not to eat more than two slices of cake per day. But, there were days that I did not eat a slice at all. But, rice? Yes, please! 😀 Oh no! I think I’m losing it. Please, not yet! Or better, not at all. Hopefully, by February, I will stick to the diet I used to do. It’s not that I gained a lot; I just don’t want to pamper myself. 

Dragon’s Loyalty Award #4 & #5

Time flies so fast… January is about to end!

dragonsloyaltyaward

People were so busy preparing for the New Year’s Day days and days ago – I thought it was just yesterday. Some bloggers went hiatus to spend more time with their loved ones and some just kept on blogging and blogging. Count me on the latter. 😀 I was a little busy, too. That’s why I was not able to do ‘award’ posts days after I received notifications (forgive me on that). But, I will start passing… To start with –

‘Dragon’s Loyalty’ Award is the first award I have received for the year 2014. I received two, btw., and I am so grateful to these two ladies. The first one (1/11/2014) was from Leslie of myyearofcupcakes. Leslie has many lovely cupcakes recipes – Marshmallow Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes, Orange Almond Cupcakes, Cocoa Cupcakes are some of the cupcakes that I’d love to try.

I have also received the same award (1/13/2014) from Rebecca of dormroombaker. I’d love to try her Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies and Mocha Cookies. Two of my favorites things in the world – brownies and mocha.

Ugh! There are so many recipes I’d love to try that I hope I could try them all at once. 😀

Leslie and Rebecca, thank you so much for this award and I am really honored that you thought of my blog. Hugs!

Let’s get going – here are another seven facts about me: (I think I am running out of facts, haha!)

  1. I gain weight easily. Let me eat one cup of rice on every meal (that’s three cups) in one week and I will gain 1kg. Or let me eat overeat in a day and I will gain 1kg.
  2. I went on a piano lesson when I was in grade school, but I think I have only attended a couple of classes.
  3. I bake more frequently than cooking new dishes.
  4. I don’t like the smell of cinnamon. 😦
  5.  I don’t put sugar on my teas.
  6. I prefer soft-boiled or medium boiled eggs over hard-boiled ones.
  7. I don’t like covering myself in a blanket when sleeping. But when I do (during cold days), one foot is inside the blanket and other one is outside the blanket. 😀 (and I wrote ‘feet’.. I need to go back to English class, haha!)

…and CONGRATULATIONS to these blogs:

ifyougiveablondeakitchen
thedessertcourse
dinnerbank
morefoodpls
butterbasilandbreadcrumbs
shivaaydelights
roohizubair69
foodthoughtstoshare
tastytreats13
fae-magazine
ineedafeed

 ‘Dragon’s Loyalty’ Award rules:

  1. You must link the person who has nominated you.
  2. You must share 7 things other bloggers may not know about you.
  3. Nominate up to 15 people.
  4. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

Enjoy your award and have a wonderful day to everyone. xx Jhuls

‘Shine On’ Award #1

It was the last day of 2013 and I thought surprises were already done popping… Until I received a notification that I have been nominated for the ‘Shine On’ Award by my sweet and lovely friend from More Food, Please – Ada   (I am so sorry that it took so long to pass this award. I was quite occupied the past few weeks.)

shineon

Ada has varieties of delish recipes to try to – from Pineapple Buns to Homemade Granola Bars (Oh! I should try this. Since I am on a diet, I think this will make a good snack.) I also wanted to try Red Bean Paste. Did you know that I’ve been looking for that recipe for months now? It was such a joy when I found it on Ada’s blog. (Ada, can I use any kind of red beans? Uhm, I’ve seen different sizes, but I am not sure if I could use any of them.)

Anyway, moving on to the post, here are seven random things about me:

  1. I hated teas. But, I have learned to love them. In fact, I now have different flavors. 😀
  2. I always keep chocolates near me. In case I plan to go out, I always bring some.
  3. I always have bottled water near my bed for me to drink every time I wake up in the middle of the night.
  4. If you’d ask me what quick meal I could stand eating for a day, I would gladly tell you anything with sunny-side up eggs cooked that way I love it – cooked in a very high heat so I could get burnt whites (bottom side) and edges. Uhm, it could be bread + sunny-side up, rice + sunny-side up, etc, etc.
  5. I tried cooking noodles how many times but it seems I cannot get the perfect taste/flavor I wanted. It’s like I am looking for something (in noodles), but I really can’t figure out what it is. Uhm, do you know the secret to fast-food chain’s noodles? ‘Coz I really love their noodles – maybe that’s what I am looking for.
  6. As much as I love the smell of shower gels, I don’t like staying too long under the shower. Twenty minutes and I’m done.
  7. I was a coffee addict but since I started my diet, I cut back on coffee. Since I started my diet (more than two months ago) I just had full cup of coffee once or twice.

And now, for the nominees… Congratulations to:

helloapron
ifyougiveablondeakitchen
thedessertcourse
dinnerbank
superfoodista
dormroombaker
butterbasilandbreadcrumbs
shivaaydelights
fromthekitchenofjulie
nomsandnotes
sugarnspicebyradhika
eatbakelovecake
littlewhiteapron
barakarlsdottir
nightowlkitchenblog

There you go… 😉 And for the rules —

‘Shine On’ Award rules:

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.
  3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.
  4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the ‘Shine On’ Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

Hope you enjoy your award and thank you so much again, Ada! xx

Have a fabulous week to everyone! 😉

Egg Noodles with Beef and Veggies

I must admit that I am a terrible cook when it comes to noodles. I don’t know why I can’t get the perfect seasoning/sauce. Or maybe, I always overlook the ingredients I may have on hand by looking away from the pantry.

Considering myself a terrible cook when it comes to noodles, it didn’t stop me from trying again. This time, I want something you can call an all-in-one meal. (Must have really gained confidence now, eh?) I imagined noodles with beef, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and bell pepper. Hmm… yum! So what about the seasoning/sauce? Well, let’s see…

Egg Noodles with Beef and Veggies

Ingredients:

For marinating the beef:

  • ¼ kg beef, sliced thinly
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Other ingredients (for the noodles):

  • ½ kg fresh egg noodles (or dried), blanched
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup sliced bell pepper
  • ½ cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Cooking oil

Instructions:

Before we proceed with the actual cooking, we have to do the following first:

Marinate the beef overnight. [Yes, I really suggest marinating the beef overnight. If not, at least 2 hours.]

On the next day: (If the beef was marinated overnight) 1) prep the broccoli: put the Broccoli in a container or bowl, pour in some water – enough to cover the florets and microwave for one minute; 2) blanch the fresh egg noodles: put the noodles in a heat proof bowl and pour in some hot water and let it sit for four minutes. After doing so, drain the noodles and transfer to a bowl with cold water. This would prevent the noodles from cooking way too long; 3) mix all ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Moving on to the next steps:

  1. Heat oil in a pan (with the fire on high). Add beef and stir fry for 15 minutes or until the beef is cooked. You can see the beef slightly caramelized because of the brown sugar.
  2. Remove the beef from the wok or pan (or whatever you are using) and lower the heat the medium. In the same pan, add additional oil and sauté onion for one minute. Add carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and red bell pepper. Cook for two minutes.
  3. Add in the beef, broccoli and the sauce. This time (and on a low heat), try tasting the sauce if it’s fine with you. If yes, you can add the noodles and let the sauce coat everything. (This will take less than a minute.)
  4. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Share and enjoy!

I hope that didn’t sound complicated. It seemed a little complicated for me when I cooked this but I realized that nothing is complicated when you have prepared everything. Am I right?

thenotsocreativecook-EggNoodleswithBeef&Veggies

I really enjoyed this dish. I ate this along with rice and sunny-up eggs. 😀 For me, this is an all-in-one meal, but you know… this was served during the New Year (Seriously, I fried eggs to serve on New Year’s breakfast.), so I had to forget that I was on diet. And I did not like the result of forgetting my diet. As I said, I did not eat too much, but carbs and calories (because I ate a slice of cake?) have great effect on my body.

thenotsocreativecook-EggNoodleswithBeef&Veggies2

And oh yes! About re-heating the noodles, using a microwave-safe bowl, I popped in the noodles in the microwave and pressed the one minute button and set it aside. I sautéed onions and tomatoes (with a little oil) and tossed in the reheated noodles and mix. The result? This meal was yummier the next day. 😀

Oreo Overload Muffins

Currently, I am not a 100% fan of Oreos. Yes, I love Oreo Milkshake! I love Oreo Truffles! And I think I will love anything with Oreo, but not the Oreo itself. So that makes me less than 100% fan, right? Anyway… regardless of that, I’ve always wanted to bake something with Oreos. I have searched and bookmarked few recipes but nothing came into actual baking!

thenotsocreativecook-OreoMuffins

It’s been months since the last time I bought Oreos (because I really don’t eat them as biscuits). When I bought some, that’s because I wanted to make an Oreo Milkshake!

Few weeks back, I have bookmarked another recipe with Oreos (again!). But this time, I finally made them.

Oreo Overload Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 & 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped Oreos
  • For the Streusel: 1/2 cup finely diced Oreos combined with 3 tbsp softened butter until crumbly.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare and line muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg and cream. Pour this mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until well combined.
  4. Add in chopped Oreos.
  5. Sprinkle streusel over the muffins.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the muffin pan for few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source recipe: Oreo Overload Muffins by On Sugar Mountain

The muffins were like Oreo Milkshakes (or Cookies and Cream)… in muffin forms!! I can tell you that they were absolutely awesome!!

Oats and Black Tea Fruit Smoothie

I am not talking about the movie. I am talking about a real Hunger Games.

I have to remind myself every single time that losing weight doesn’t mean starving yourself. But, there are times that I am so upset that I have not lost any pound in a week. Then again, I have to slap my face to be reminded that I have to change the term ‘losing weight’ to ‘eating healthy’

This month is supposed to be the last month of this diet thing. For the second month, I lost 3kg. I struggled more as I cut the carbs off during the weekdays (at least most of the weekdays) and less than a cup on weekends. I can’t completely cut it on my diet as I still crave for it from time to time.

And yes, on the first day of 2014, I ate more compared with the last days. (Not too much!) Uhm, I don’t call it a cheat day but I felt a little guilty. I did not overeat but still – I am guilty, your honor! (How was your year starting, btw?) So, I gained the 1kg back. (Sigh!) But, that’s fine. I’ll just extend this diet thing until the end of February. (Whew!)

thenotsocreativecook-Tea&OatSmoothie

The things that keep me going are smoothies (and fruits). I’ve learned that black tea and green tea are good for weight loss. Sometimes, I drink a cup or two in a day and there are times that I put a bag (I mean the powder only inside the bag!) of black tea or green tea in my smoothie. Yes! Yes! If others put protein powder, I put tea. 😀 I am not sure if they have the same effect when you drink it. The reason why I put it? It’s because I am just lazy to make a cup of tea. Also, this idea came from my sweet and lovely friend on Instagram, Maria Ro. (Click here if you want to check out my Intsagram account, too.)

This can be done with any combination of smoothie. And I also add oats to some of my smoothies.

thenotsocreativecook-Tea&OatSmoothie2

This time, I just put Raspberries, Grapes and Strawberries, plus oats, black tea and non-fat milk. 😉 And yes, ice cubes.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!