Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Home Made Peanut Butter

When I was a kid I used to think that peanut butter is made by crushing peanuts and mixing it with butter. Of course that was a ridiculous idea, I'm sure many people also thought of that. But now I know it's easy to make peanut butter! No real butter needed. Just plain peanuts.

Here are the following that you will need:
- 4 cups dry roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- vegetable oil (optional)

Pour the peanuts on the food processor and blend until the it forms into a pasty consistency. Add the salt and honey and blend some more. You can add more honey or salt, until you are satisfied with the flavor. The peanuts actually contain a lot of oil that's why it becomes pasty when blended well. But if you want a creamier texture, you can add a little bit of vegetable oil. 

The last part is optional because I noticed that the oil rose to the surface when you set the peanut butter aside. I guess it's because it's home made and unlike the peanut butter that you buy from the grocery, the oil is not hydrogenated. (Check the ingredients at the back of the label, usually it says hydrogenated coconut oil.)

So that's the basic peanut butter. You can also make additional flavors using that kind of peanut butter. I made spiced peanut butter by adding a little bit of cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Another one is banana chocolate. I just added mashed banana and melted milk chocolate in my peanut butter. Try to experiment on different flavors. I even found curry flavored peanut butter in the internet!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dip dye cushion covers

If you have plain white pillowcases at home, you can dress them up by dip dying them. It's fun and easy to make! I even tried them in different colors. Here's how to do it:

Soak your pillowcase in water and make sure it's damp. I guess that's so the dye will stick better to the fabric. We have pillowcases made of muslin. It can be made of canvas, or whatever fabric as long as it's white.

Next, take your powdered dye and follow the instructions on the packet or bottle. There are different ways to use dye, some brands need to have detergent powder, or vinegar, or salt to fully work. So read the instructions.

Place the water with dye on a tub or a pot. Make sure you don't use the pot for cooking.

Then take your pillowcase and dip the about 2/3 or 3/4 of the fabric into the dye for about 5-10 seconds. Remove and rinse. Dip it again, this time halfway for about 30-40 seconds and then rinse again. Then dip 1/4 of the fabric for 1 minute or so. The dipping time will vary depending on how bright or dark you want the color to turn out. Repeat this step but each layer will take longer dipping periods. That's how you get the gradient.

Rinse the fabric and make sure the water runs down from light to darkest so the dye won't spread. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Then hang them out to dry. Notice the lush greenery in the background. Yes, I live in the jungle. Just kidding!

These dried out quickly, it's so hot in here these days!

When it has dried out, you can cover your pillows with your new dip dye pillowcases.

I like the purple and yellow one :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kitchen Design Inspiration

Hello everyone! My family mentioned before that they were planning on renovating our kitchen. I thought they weren't serious on doing it until lately they've been asking questions about what finishes to use.

So I made a quick mood board for a little bit of kitchen inspiration.

I have always wanted white subway tiles as backsplash and black granite countertop for my kitchen. And you can't go wrong with white shaker cabinets, they're simple but beautiful. To balance out the cold tiles and countertop, maybe add hardwood flooring for warmth.

I also like to add metallic elements in the design for texture, like those industrial pendant lamps and the cup drawer pulls. As for accents, you can't go wrong with plants. They definitely give life to the space.

I searched in Pinterest to find examples of kitchen designs that go well with my mood board:

White elements, like the cabinets and backsplash reflect natural lighting and this makes the kitchen bright and airy.

photo from Southern Living

See how the black countertop breaks the whiteness of this kitchen? If it's too white then it's too stark. Those cup drawer pulls also give a little sophistication into your kitchen.

photo from Southern Living

I like how the kitchen below is styled. The hanging lamps and the framed sign add character to the space. And of course we all need a clock in the kitchen. 

photo from my ideal home

I know I'm busy, but I can't wait to push through with our home renovation! Hope things work out well for us with the kitchen redesign.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Orange Madeira Cake

Today I decided to bake a cake and I tried the recipe of orange madeira cake from Frankie Magazine. The recipe is posted below.


- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- juice and grated rind of one orange
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3 tbsp milk
- 125 g butter, melted
- 2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line the base of a round 23 cm cake tin and grease the sides.

Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick (about five minutes), then add orange juice and zest, flour, milk and melted butter. Beat again for a couple of minutes. You need to get air into the mixture.

Add the baking powder and beat again for a minute.

Pour into the tin and bake for about 45-60 minutes, until a skewer plunged into the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out the tin and leave to cool completely on a rack. When the cake is cold, ice it with orange butter icing. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

- 100 g soft butter
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange zest (optional)

Beat the butter until soft and creamy, then beat the sifted icing sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the orange juice and vanilla and beat again. The mixture should be a soft, spreadable consistency. Add a little more icing sugar if it's too runny. 

Dollop over the top of the cold cake and swirl it in pretty patterns with a knife. Sprinkle the top with orange zest if desired.

I used coconut sugar as substitute for confectioners/icing sugar that's why it looks darker. And to make the icing a little more zesty, I used lemon juice instead of orange juice.

If you're not a fan of icing, then you can just sprinkle confectioners sugar on top of the cake and it will still taste good.

The cake actually turned out great. My family likes it. I love it since lately I'm into citrusy flavors and scents. Hope you try them and let me know how it turns out!

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