A Beautiful Reason to Celebrate

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I love cakes. Not only because of their satisfying sweetness, but also because they carry the beautiful meaning of celebration. Don’t they just make you smile? As for many beautiful things that I am in love with, my heart is filled with joy when I see a beautifully decorated cake. This particular cake I made, I named her “the inner princess”. If the camera is not doing this cutie justice, let me describe it to you. The icing has a slightest tint of seafoam blue. The top of the cake is decorated with sprinkles. The cake batter is also loaded with sprinkles.
You might be wondering what is the occasion to celebrate? There are just so many reasons. If I keep on counting them, I will never get to the bottom of the list. However, the simplest reason of all-being the best of you is the perfect occasion to celebrate! You are contributing  120% of yourself to love, work, live and give back to your loved ones. So, take the moment to reward yourself for living your life to the fullest 🙂
Simple as the reason of celebrate being the best of yourself, the recipe for making this delicious cake is not hard neither. You will be expecting getting a light, moist cake with surprise inside. Let get started!
Sprinkle-loaded white cakeSprinkle-loaded white cake icing
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Kitchen Motivators

Have you ever have one of those days that you rather have toasts instead of cooking real food? By real food I mean wholesome meals that feed your mind and belly. On the other hand, life does get hectic some, no, most of times. So how do we work hard while eating healthy? I’m afraid I might not have the perfect solution to maintain this tricky balance, because I’m in the same boat. Well, I admit I’m the type of person who packs her daily to-do lists to the fullest capacity. In the process of learning how to effectively manage my time, I often remind myself to slow down for the better, that is to accomplish a big task in smaller, more manageable chunks to make myself feel grounded in life. Besides working towards my goal during productive hours,  I learned to sneak in some enjoyable activities, allowing my brain to take a break from what-I-called, “mentally demanding” tasks. One of my favourite activities during my “mental break” sessions is cooking, because the food is shared with my loved ones along with the love that goes into the food as I prepare them.  Isn’t it a little magical when you think of it? Scrumptious, aromatic dishes can be made from the simplest ingredients , onions, potatoes, sugar, flour, salt, and vegetables. I can’t think of a better way to appreciate the beautiful day 🙂
One important motivator for me to get cooking is beautiful aprons. I just have a propensity for pretty things. When I am feeling a bit lazy, putting on one of these pretty things makes me wanna cook up a storm in the kitchen 🙂 I hope you like my little apron collections, and I would love to hear what gets you motivated to cook!!
apron collage

Vegetarian Crispy Onion Nuggets

Happy Friday! One of the things I’m most looking forward to my weekends is taking the time to cook something from scratch. In contrary to the hectic weekdays, in which my goal of cooking is quick-and-easy and hopefully nutritionally balanced, weekends is the time to truly enjoy the process of cooking. I guess because I put lots of thoughts and love into my weekend food, these treats often get to be shared with my dear friends and families.

My taste buds also get the weekends off…It might sounds weird  but I will explain why. During weekdays, especially for lunches, I often try to avoid heavily flavoured  food (self-consciousness, maybe ;)). Weekends is the time for me to liberate my taste buds and be more daring in exploring new food and flavours.

I guess the reasons above explained my craving for crispy onion nuggets this weekend. To me, they just allow me the perfect amount of indulgence without throwing healthy-eating out of the window.

Have a wonderful weekend and hope you like these little treats 🙂

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How-to:

  1. hydrates the TVP with equal part of water or broth (tips: add hot water to TVP and wait for 5 min, check the texture to make sure it’s completely softened before mixing with other ingredients)
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash tofu and combine it with the hydrated TVP
  3. Add in cream cheese tbsp by tbsp till the mixture can hold together (play dough texture)
  4. Spray your baking utensil and preheat oven to 400F
  5. Shape nuggets into bite-size pieces, egg dip, and coat them with crispy onion
  6. Bake 20 min till the nuggets are golden brown and crispy on the surface, check at 15 min for doneness.

Love from Tahlia’s Kitchen & Posting schedule

I need to find a motivator to keep me committed to more regular postings. Why is it important? Blogging to me is like diving into a world of magic, where creativity and sharing makes this writing experience much more rewarding than any other kind of writing. Sharing my recipes to me feels like a treat. As I complete a post I would imagine someone out there is going to see my food and try it out. I try my best to make my recipes balanced and delicious, because I believe good food is the source of good health. I hope these recipes produced with love from Tahlia’s kitchen is gonna help me share my love with a lot of you!

So, How about trying out one posting per week? I’m tentatively aiming for Friday…

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Tahlia’s Meatless Loaf & Confession of A Slacking Blogger

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Tahlias Meatless Loaf Recipe Card

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First posting of 2014! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends 🙂 I confess I haven’t been a good blogger lately…Not being able to keep up with the posting schedule makes me realize how much hard work it goes into those people who fellow their schedule religiously. In the meantime, I appreciate the convenience and richness of creative contents even more. Although the new year is not the only chance to start fresh, I happily take this as a good excuse to make regular postings 🙂 I do enjoy to share. Please leave me comments, thoughts, suggestions or even a brief greeting to encourage me to stick to my goals!
Anyways, Let’s get back to the real topic-food. Hope you enjoy this protein-packed meatless recipe, a delicious way to start eating healthier and better 🙂

How-to & notes:

1. Prepare the grains: Boil some water, make sure you have some extra for the next step. Cook the quinoa and bulgur wheat according to package instruction or read the notes below.                                                                                      Note: Quinoa intrigues me. To start with, it contains a complete protein profile, which me feel like I’m treat my muscles to a protein feast. Second, quinoa are thirsty little grains! My rule of thumb when comes to cooking them is that I always add double, sometimes triple the amount of water and cook it on medium heat for about 15 min uncovered. I usually leave the quinoa set for 5-10min so the carry-over heat can steam the quinoa for a bit longer. Then you will have the perfect fluffy quinoa on hand for so many different recipes!

2. Hydration: hydrate you TVP with double its amount of boiling water.
3. Preheat: Set your oven on preheat at 400F
4. Sauté: Caramelize the onion and sauté it with the mushroom slices.
5. Sauce: Mix the flavour essentials together!
6. Assembly & Bake! Combine everything under the main ingredient with the sauce, make sure add your sautéed vegetables and mix well. Bake for 20-30 min, squeeze on some ketchup glaze & enjoy your delicious dinner!
       Notes: check the meatless loaf surface a few minutes before taking them out from the oven to make sure the surface is not over-dried.

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Cookie Extracts: Vegan PB Choco Drizzles & the Perfect Cookie Size


vegan PB drizzles

Welcome to unlock the secret garden of vegan baking!! What makes it sweeter than satisfying your sweet tooth without hurting a precious little life? I hope you will enjoy these guilt-free treats as much as I do. As a novice vegan baker, I take notes as I experiment with different recipes, and I am more than happy to share some tips I discovered along the way. But to keep my recipe blogs easy to navigate, I decide to share the recipe and nutrition info before dive into other details. If you can’t wait to hear my detailed baking story, just scroll down to the bottom, otherwise let’s get started 🙂

Production size: 24 Oreo-sized cookies

-Dry Ingredients: Nutrition Info per Cookies

3  tbsp Flour

1/4 cup Granulated sugar

2 tbsp Brown sugar

1/2 tsp Baking soda

-Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup Smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp Apple sauce

-Flavour Essentials:

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp Butter flavour

pinch of salt (approximately 1/8 tsp)

-Decor and Fun:

1/4 cup Peanuts

1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips

How-to & notes:

1) Dough: Set peanut butter at room temperature so it’s soft enough to handle. Cream together peanut butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.

2) Dough: Gradually mix in apple sauce and all the flavouring essentials with the creamed mixture.

Baker’s note:

One of the secrets to make these cookies taste non-vegan is my butter flavour. This idea is inspired by a baking adventure in Taiwan. I noticed their vanilla extracts smell so differently than the ones we have in North America. When my cookies were baking, it makes the kitchen smells like heaven. In my recipe, I used the butter flavour from Wilton, but there are a variety of flavouring choices out there to make this recipe your own. I personally think rum, pecan or orange are nice complementaries to this recipe.

Another one of my secret is the pinch of salt. Believe it or not, the little sprinkle of salt is not as negligible as you might thought. It helps to enhance the sweetness of the cookies and add a unique dimension to the flavour.

3) Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F and start melting your chocolate chips if you are using the double-boiler method.

4) Dough:Whisk baking soda with flour and add this mixture to your cookie dough .

5) Shape & Decor: Form dough into balls, using about 1/2 to 3/4 tbsp dough at a time. Lay them out onto a cookie sheet allow room for expansion. Gently press down the dough balls with a fork. Decorate with halves of peanuts.

Baker’s note:

Perfect cookie size. Everyone have their ideal cookie sizes in mind. Some hold strong believes towards jumbo cookies. In fact, one of my fondest memories is having two huge chocolate cookies for lunch back in high school. But from a nutritionist perspective, I like to make my cookies to be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. I can’t deny the fact that it’s the fat and sugar that satisfy our taste buds, I strive to portion my recipe so that it won’t compromise your allowance for healthier calories choices. That’s why I think cookies that are of the size of Oreos or just slightly bigger is the perfect size for me. Come on, you can’t just have one cookie, at least let’s take two! 🙂 With each cookie under 50 calories, having two is not that bad after all, isn’t it?

6) Bake at 350F for 8-10min.

7) Cool for at least 10 min before transferring your masterpieces and enjoy~

Baker’s note:

This dough contains more moisture than a regular PB cookie dough. Allow the carryover heat to set the cookies completely to avoid breakage.

I would love to have a warm cup of Chai tea to go with these cookies, especially my Celestial Honey Vanilla White Chai Tea. The warm scents from the spices blend in with the chocolaty goodness from the cookies makes it a perfect winter treat.