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FOODIES & HOME

Favorite Scented Candles 2019 Edit

best scented candles

 

Hey peeps. In this post, I’m sharing with you some of my fave candles this year. I didn’t get a chance to collect a lot this time because I’ve been busy traveling and haven’t had the chance to shop around that much. Besides, I still have some of last year’s candles to burn as well. Speaking of last year, check out my fave scented candles 2018 edit HERE.

 

This year is still not over and I might still find some interesting scented waxes to obsess with. I will update you soon if there’s any more fragrant candle worth looking into, or you could keep checking my posts here or on my Instagram to see if there’s any new candle featured in the background. But right now, these are my current faves.

 

Ikea Candles

 

There are two scented block candles that I love from Ikea, the Luggaย and the Blomdroft which are both beautifully crafted candles with very affordable price points. At 5.99 USD, you’d get three very pretty large gradient candles that will surely last a long time. I haven’t burned them all completely and I don’t think I’ll ever will because they’re so pretty and they make for such a nice home decor. Their scents are not the strongest and though they tend to fill the room with their unique fragrance during unboxing, their scents do tend to dissipate easily. However, for their price and size, they’re definitely worth the purchase.

 

ikea lugga candles

 

Lugga – has a light powdery scent, love the gradient lavender, white, and pink pastel shades.

 

ikea blomdroft candles

 

Blomdroft – has a nice light floral scent.

 

ikea skurur candle holder

 

I also love the Glasig Candle Dish and Skurar Candle Holder from Ikea, both of which are very inexpensive and very versatile to use.

 

tocca capri

 

Tocca Capri – Out of all the Tocca scented candles, this is my most favorite because it has a Mediterranean citrus scent that could fill the room pretty easily. The scent lasts a long time even when not lighted and its size is huge. This puts you in a perfect sunset and vine vibe.

 

 

nest linen candle

 

Nest Linen – This candle is the perfect definition of clean. It smells like fresh clean laundry that is not overbearing and definitely not boring as well. I like to keep this candle very close to my clothes just because it’s fresh. I also love to give this to my friends as a gift.

 

Overose Candles

 

This is my first time trying Overose candles and I have been so curious about them for a long time now. They’ve been popping all over Instagram and I was really intrigued by their unique names and pretty packaging. I mean, who wouldn’t love a pink scented wax inside a sleek matte-pink glass? I know I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I find these candles to be very long-lasting and definitely worth the money. They fill my room with scents even if I don’t light them.

 

overose nympholia candle review

 

Nympholia – what an interesting name for a fruity scented candle. It smells like an orange blossom with a hint of honey and something more. It’s sweet, calming, different, nostalgic (like those sweets you so desire to eat during your childhood), and definitely interesting.

 

Anamorphine – this is the scent that I probably had a hard time discerning at first. It’s as complicated and mysterious as its enigmatic name. I know I love it because it’s just so unique. I definitely think it’s somewhat floral with a hint of something earthy and woodsy, perhaps blended with lavender as well because of its relaxing notes. There is also a bit of freshness to it and something very very mysterious. This is the type of scent that definitely defines me. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

diptyque tuberose candle

 

Diptyque Tubereuse – As a Diptyque fan, I still can’t get over the scent of Baies, which will forever be one of my most favorite scented candles of all time. But for this coming Fall, I have my eyes set on this Tubereuse/Tuberose Diptyque candle to burn completely. I love its strong tuberose scent that fills my home.ย  It’s somewhat strong but not heady. It’s got a calming effect on me and its scent lingers everywhere around the house.

 

As with most candles, the first time you light it, don’t forget to let the candle burn long enough to melt the entire surface on top of the candle for two to three hours. Also, regularly trim the wick to 5-6 cm long to avoid smoke and get a longer burn. Never ever leave a burning candle unattended, and keep it out of children’s reach.

 

These comprise my favorite scented candles this year (so far). I hope to discover more scented candles somewhere during one of my rambles.

 

Have you had any of these candles before? What candles have you been loving lately?

 

SHOP THIS POST

 

Homemade (Gluten-Free) French Macarons with Low-Histamine Fillings

how to make basic french macarons

 

Hello everyone! A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday and instead of receiving gifts and organizing a party, I decided to do my usual birthday tradition, which is to disappear in the kitchen and cook or bake for my family and friends. In other words, my birthdays are usually not a time for receiving, but instead, a time for giving. So, for this year, I decided to take on the challenge, which is to make my dreaded French Macarons. I finally did it and I will tell you in this post how I made it and how you can make your own delicious French Macarons at home.

 

french macarons 101

 

I must admit that it took me some time and some practice to figure these finicky pastries out. Well, I did some sort of experiment on a bunch of ingredients first, like making my macarons sugar-free, vegan, and low-histamine. But good Lord, there was no way on earth I could do these things since macarons rely on real sugar for their structure. Neither Xylitol nor Stevia could do that. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to make a decent macaron using Aquafaba a.k.a AquaFabulous (a brine or leftover liquid from a chickpea/garbanzo can which simulate real egg whites). So, if you have some tips on how to successfully make macarons using this specific ingredient, please let me know. However, the fillings in this French Macaron recipe are definitely low-histamine, and since macarons are made of almond flour, they’re of course, gluten-free.

 

There are several ways to do French Macarons (there’s even an Italian way), and it’s true that making these fickle pastries do require patience, timing, right weather, right temperature, right measurements, right equipments, and heck right mood and energy because these macarons can play tricks on you and you could be at your wits’ end before you’d totally figure it out. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect, but then again, nobody’s perfect, so why practice? LOL ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, here’s how I did my French Macarons and read what has worked for me below.

 

INGREDIENTS

(Most of the ingredients and the materials used in this recipe can be found in Amazon. You can click directly on the list below.)

 

MACARON SHELLS

 

Dry:

 

1 cup Powdered (Confectioners’) Sugar

3/4 cup Almond Flour

 

Wet:

 

2 Egg Whites (room temperature)

1/4 cup Caster Sugar (finer than granulated sugar)

Food Color

1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Pinch of Salt

 

FILLINGS

 

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter or 1/4 cup (softened, room temperature)

1/4 cup Powdered Sugar

Food Color

 

Low-Histamine Flavors:

ย ย ย  1/2 cup Mango puree (Golden Yellow)

ย ย ย  1/2 cup Apple puree (Red)

ย ย ย  1/2 cup Blueberry puree (Teal)

ย ย ย  2 tbsp Espresso Decaf Coffee (done through Nespresso machine) (Brown)

ย ย ย  1 tbsp Peppermint Extract (Green)

ย ย ย  1/2 cup Melon puree (Copper/Orange)

 

MATERIALS

 

Stand or Handheld Mixer

Food Processor

Mesh Strainer

Oven Thermometer

Mixing Bowls

Silicone Spatula

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Piping Tips

Pastry Bags

Silicone Macaron Mat or Parchment Paper

Baking Pans or Nonstick Cookie Sheets

Cooling Racks

Macaron box from PACKHOME (for packaging 12 macarons)

Paper Doilies (to line the Macaron box)

Ribbons (to decorate Macaron box)

Recipe Cards (from Brittany Fuson Paper)

 

INSTRUCTION

 

french macarons egg white ingredients

 

Set aside 2 eggs and make sure they’re in room temperature. To bring refrigerated eggs to a room temp, put them in hot water.

 

Dry Ingredients:

 

french macarons mixing dry ingredients

 

1. In a Food Processor, mix 1 cup Powdered/Confectioners’ Sugar and 3/4 cup Almond Flour for about 5 seconds, then stop. Manually mix with a spoon to make sure all areas are completely mixed. Do this alternate mixing three times.

 

french macarons sifting dry ingredients

 

2. Sieve the Dry Ingredients using a mesh strainer and carefully throw away the large particles. Set aside.

 

Wet Ingredients (Meringue):

 

1. Once eggs are warm, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Do this very carefully. You can use your hands or you can use a spoon. We only need the egg whites.

 

egg meringue

 

2. Using a handheld or stand mixer, slowly whisk/mix the egg whites until they become frothy or bubbly. Add in 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue mixing. Then slowly add 1/4 cup Caster/Fine Sugar.

 

3. Keep whisking/mixing progressively the Meringue until it starts to look thick and white.

 

how to add food color french macarons

 

4. Add Food Color

 

how to achieve stiff peaks in meringue french macarons

 

 

5. Gradually increase the speed of whisking until the Meringue looks glossy/shiny and develops stiff peaks. Its peaks should not ย  fall over or curve. One way to tell is to lift the whisk and make sure it looks stiff at the tips resembling a bird’s beak. Once it does, stop whisking.

 

6. Mixing Wet & Dry Ingredients (Macaronage):

 

fluffy meringue with stiff peaks french macarons

 

mixing wet and dry ingredients french macarons

 

how to mix wet and dry ingredients french macarons

 

7. Mix the Dry Ingredients (Almond Flour + Sugar) with the Wet Ingredients (Egg whites etc., Meringue) using a flexible spatula (silicone ones). You can mix half of the dry ingredients first into the bowl of fluffy yet stiff Meringue. Then mix in a circular motion while cutting through and folding over the batter. This is to minimize bubble formation.

 

how to macaronage

 

french macarons how to

 

 

how to tell if batter is ready for french macarons

 

8. Finish adding and mixing the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The batter should start to look like Lava or Sand Mixture and your arm should start to hurt from all the mixing by this time, LOL. I don’t really count the number of mixture to achieve the ideal batter consistency because it’s easy to overlook it or make a mistake that way. Instead, I LOOK at it, because you know what they say “To see is to believe”, LOL. Here’s my cue: If the batter (Macaronage) runs continuously and could form into a ribbon or like a figure 8 without breaking, then you’re doing great. BUT, it should settle back or sink into the batter within 30 seconds (I use my phone’s timer). Once it does, then stop right then and there.

 

pasty bag and piping tips read to pipe out french macarons

 

preparing macaronage batter for piping

 

9. Place the batter (Macaronage) into a pastry bag with a piping tip. Make sure you twist the bag on top of the tip to prevent the batter from going through directly and spilling all over the counter.

 

piping out the batter for french macarons

 

10. On a Silicone Macaron Mat or Parchment Paper resting on a Baking Pan or Cookie Sheet, pipe out the batter straight through (90ยฐ angle).

 

drying french macarons batter

 

11. Bang the pan/tray against the counter several times (as many times as you like, really) in order to bring the bubbles to the surface. Pop the visible bubbles on the surface using a toothpick and bang the tray again to make the batter more even.

 

french macaron skin after 1 hour

 

12. Let the batter rest for 1 hour or more. It will start to develop a skin which you can touch lightly on your finger and it won’t stick. It will also look shiny and feels dry. I like to rest mine in a cool dry area, preferably close to my AC.

 

oven thermometer for macaron baking

 

13. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 300 ยฐF or 150 ยฐC.

 

14. Notice the macarons developing feet.

 

french macarons with feet

 

15. Carefully lift the Silicone Macaron Mat from the pan and put it on the cooling rack. Let it cool for 30-40 minutes. Then slowly peel each macaron shell off the mat and put it on another cooling rack to continuously cool and dry.

 

16. Refrigerate for storage

 

Buttercream Fillings

 

1. Whisk 1/4 cup or 2 sticks of Unsalted, Softened, Room Temperature, Butter

 

2. Add 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar on it

 

Add the following Low-Histamine fillings: (I used fresh ingredients for this recipe).

 

Melon/Mango/Blueberry/Apple

 

how to make apple puree french macaron filling

 

 

how to make melon puree french macaron filling

 

french macaron blueberry flavor filling

 

– Cut the Melon/Apple/Mango into thin slices or in cubes, and put them in a saucepan with a cup of water. Bring them to a boil and mash them once soft, turning into a puree. Use 1/2 cup or more according to your preference. For Blueberries, you can mash them directly through a strainer if they’re ripe and soft, separating the skin from the juice. If they’re too hard, you can bring them to a boil with a bit of water.

 

how to make mango puree french macaron filling

 

Peppermint/Decaf Coffee

 

– Use 1 tbsp peppermint/mint extract and add it to the butter with sugar. For Decaf Coffee filling, I used my Nespresso machine and used one decaf pod. I only needed 2 tbsp of it and it gives a concentrated coffee taste. I then added it to my mixture of butter and sugar.

 

– You can add some food color to your fillings according to their taste or flavor.

 

piping out french macaron filling

 

– Pipe out the fillings into one macaron shell and look for its pair.

 

– Store in refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 6 months.

 

– Macarons should taste crunchy on the outside and chewy inside.

 

Important Things to Consider

 

Macarons taste better as they age, that is after the next day or so.

 

In my experience, there are four crucial times that could literally make or break a macaron. First, the Meringue (egg white mixture/wet ingredients) should achieve stiff peaks. Second, mixing the batter is very important. It needs to form a ribbon or a figure 8 and it should also sink into the batter within 30 seconds time. You can’t overmix. Third, check your oven temperature. It’s good to always have an oven thermometer whenever you bake these temperamental beings, LOL. And lastly, bang that tray against the counter, or better yet, drop it on the floor, LOL, but be very careful when doing that. These will help the macarons develop feet and prevent excessive air bubbles which could give you problems during baking.

 

Silicone Mat vs Parchment Paper? For now, I’m baking with silicone mats because I like that they come in predrawn circular patterns. I’m not good at eyeballing my macaron shapes yet. Also, silicones tend to hold the macaron’s round shape better than the parchment paper. However, silicones don’t dry the macarons completely, and that means the macaron’s bottom could stick to them pretty easily. Parchment paper really dries the macarons which makes them easy to be peeled off.

 

You can dry the macarons for more than 1 hour. The drier they get, the better they’ll turn out to be.

 

If you’re not gonna fill them up with fillings immediately, you can store macaron shells on top of each other separated by a parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together

 

There are several options for fillings and you can do them however you want.

 

To achieve a smooth top macaron shell, always sift almond flour and powdered sugar after mixing them

 

Use gel food color since it won’t fade during baking

 

vegan homemade french macarons

 

Troubleshooting Guide

 

If your macarons are lopsided or its feet are imbalanced, your oven type or your oven temperature could be the culprit, and probably your baking pan as well. Use an oven thermometer and use an Airbake Cookie Sheet to bake the macarons because it allows for an even distribution of temperature when baking.

 

If your macarons have nipples. No joke, this happens a lot. The batter could be too thick and was undermixed or you didn’t bang the tray/pan more. It could also be that you’re using a narrow piping tip. Use a wide-opening piping tip and bang that tray against the counter. Drop it like it’s hot. LOL.

 

If your macarons have zits, LOL, you know those pesky bumps that appear after you bang the pan/tray and they look like tiny breakouts? Pop them with a toothpick and bang the tray again to make the batter’s texture more even.

 

If macarons don’t develop feet, there must be a problem with the way you mixed your batter or you forgot to bang the tray. Also, measure your ingredients accurately.

 

Cracked macarons? you must’ve overbeaten the egg whites (Meringue) or you probably undermixed the batter (Macaronage) which could also make the macarons hollow.

 

If your macaron batter didn’t dry after one hour, check your place’s humidity level.

 

These macarons are probably the most challenging pastries I’ve ever baked, but they’re also the most fulfilling because I received a lot of positive feedback from my friends and family who have tasted them. They’re not that hard to make, but they do require a ton of time and patience. Be ready to spend long hours when making these and be prepared to lose your temper (hope not, LOL), and don’t be afraid to experiment, because just as when you think you’re ready to throw in the towel, it’s when you realized you’ve finally figured it out.

 

homemade french macarons with low histamine filling

 

Happy macaron making!

 

x.o.x.o

 

L

 

 

Simple Mediterranean Lamb Chops

simple lamb chops recipe

 

Hello guys, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I promised to share with you some of the recipes I’ve been preparing in my kitchen lately. One of them is this simple Mediterranean-style Lamb Chops that I accidentally discovered while trying to make a Gyro, LOL. I honestly had a hard time perfecting that dish and even to this day, I’m still trying to figure out how I could do it better. So if you have any suggestions or any recipe on how to make a simple Gyro, let me know.

 

So, back to my newly-discovered Lamb Chops recipe, I actually love how simple this recipe is and anyone can absolutely do it with almost no margin or error, ha! On top of that, there are no overwhelming ingredients involved, just a few basic ones you’d typically find in your kitchen. Also, as someone like moi who is on a Keto diet for almost a year now and has a super busy lifestyle, this recipe is perfect. It’s pure protein and it’s super easy and quick to prepare.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

costco lamb chops frenched

 

Frenched Lamb Rack, sliced into 9 pcs (got mine at Costco)

 

For Marinating:

 

simple mediterranean lamb chops recipe

 

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1 tsp Oregano

1 tbsp Garlic Salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

For Cooking:

 

1/2 cup Canola Oil or any cooking oil you prefer

 

 

DIRECTION

 

  1. Slice Lamb Rack into individual pieces and put it in a large bowl. Approximately 9 or 10 is what we need for this recipe.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine all the ingredients found in the marinating list, and pour/rub it into the lamb. Make sure each meat’s surface is thoroughly coated.

marinating lamb chops

 

ย  ย  ย  3. Cover the bowl with the lamb and marinate for 30 minutes inside the refrigerator.

ย  ย  ย  4. After marinating, pour the Canola Oil into a cooking pan (mine’s about 12 inches in diameter) and heat it using medium fire.

ย  ย  ย  ย 5. Fry the lamb chops until they turn medium brown.

 

mediterranean lamb chops

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย 

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย Serve with sautรฉed Asparagus (optional)

 

Voila! That’s it! It’s super easy and ready to eat ๐Ÿ™‚ This recipe is good for two people. You can adjust it accordingly if you’re serving it for several guests. Enjoy!

 

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