Best Choco-Chip Cookie!!

I was flipping the channels to see anything interested on TV, you know other than Food Network and HGTV… Oddly enough, on PBS, the America’s Test Kitchen was doing the “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” show. Almost all chefs say “My recipe is the best.” but then this is the America’s Test Kitchen, they must have done many tests to find out the “BEST” Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. This one recipe got my attention that I decided to write down the recipe while watching the show. I have to say every step of this recipe has a good scientific reason to invent the “BEST” Chocolate Chip Cookie. After the show, I was not 100% sure on the recipe I wrote down, so I went to America’s Test Kitchen website to see if I can find this specific recipe for me to double check… Well, America’s Test Kitchen website does not offer recipes for free… You have to subscribe with the fee… (booo!)

Anyways, but this won’t stop me from baking the “BEST” Chocolate Chip Cookies! I was not 100% sure but I thought I wrote down enough information from watching the show on the back of local grocery sale fryer 🙂 , I decided to bake cookies immediately. Let’s see if this “scientifically proven” recipe really the “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie”?!?!?!?

1. 14 Tbs Unsalted Butter (Organic)
2. ½ Cup Sugar (Organic/Non-Processed)
3. ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar (Organic)
4. 2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
5. 1 Whole Large Egg (Organic)
6. 1 Large Egg York (Organic)
7. 8 ¾ Ounce All Purpose Flour (Organic)
8. ½ tsp Baking Powder (Aluminum Free)
9. 1 ¼ Cup Bitter Sweet Choco Chip (Ghiladelli 60% Cacao)

1. Put 10 Tsp Butter to the skillet, melt and brown the butter. (Carmel color)

Browing Butter







2. Remove from the heat and add remaining 4 Tsp butter to the skillet and melt them completely.

Adding remaining 4 TSP Butter

Adding remaining 4 TSP Butter

Melted Butter

Melted Butter

3. Add ½ Cup Sugar and ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar to the melted butter mixture and mix well.

Adding Sugar and Brown Sugar

4. Add 1 whole egg and 1 egg York to the butter & sugar mixture and mix well till looks glossy.

Add Whole Egg

Adding Egg York

5. Add Pure Vanilla Extract to the Wet Mixture (Butter & Sugar & Egg) and mix well.

Adding Vanilla Extrac

6. Add Dry Ingredients (Flour and Baking Powder) to the Wet Mixture (Butter & Sugar & Egg) and mix well.

Adding Dry Ingredients to the Wet Mixture

Wet & Dry together

7. Add Choco Chip to the dough mixture and mix well.

Choco Chip Mixed into the dough

America’s Test Kitchen did some survey that they came to the conclusion of “Ghiladelli Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chip” is the best for this recipe.

Good Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chip

8. Bake 375 degree for 11 to 15 minutes.


Best Choco Chip Cookie

America’s Test Kitchen was right. I think this was the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie I have ever baked. The process of browning butter added the nutty and carmel flavor to the cookie and the bitter sweet chocolate chip added the sharp chocolate flavor to balance out the nutty rich sweet cookie. I’ll try with Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip next to experiment the other flavor combination.

Happy Baking & Happy Holiday!
Mrs. H

Almond Cake with Lemon Agave Syrup – Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cake!

I wanted to eat cake. Any cake. But during 4HB diet, we cannot eat cake because of sugar and flours (grains).

I was looking for a cake recipe with minims damage that I would do to my body. And I found this recipe called Orange Almond Cake, which does not use any leveling agents, no flour, and no oil (except on the cake pan)

So I modified this recipe to my way, and also sized down so that I won’t feel bad if I ate the whole cake by myself… (Well, if I eat the whole cake by myself, I should feel bad…)

Here is the recipe! (Oh yeah, this is metric measurement…, for 9 to 10 inch spring foam pan, just double the ingredients!)

Almond Cake with Lemon Agave Syrup

Almond Cake with Lemon Agave Syrup

Almond Flour – 100g
Egg – 3 Large (separated with yolks and whites)
Coconut Sugar – 50g (Any other sugar substitution)
Lemon Zest – 2 Lemons (Used Myer Lemons)
Vanilla Extract – 1 Teaspoon

Agave Nectar – 2 Tablespoon
Lemon Juice – 2 Lemons (Used Myer Lemons)
Orange Liqueur – 1 Tablespoon

1. 18cm Spring foam pan (7 inches), lined parchment paper on the bottom and side. Oil the bottom and side just in case the case may stick.
2. Put Egg Yolks to the bowl, and mixed with Coconut Sugar. Mix them well.
3. Added Almond Flour, Lemon Zest, and Vanilla Extract to the Egg Yolks and Coconut Sugar mixture and mix very well. (It will become very stiff batter) And set this mixture a side.
4. With Egg Whites, make Meringue with stiff peak.
5. Put ¼ of Meringue to Egg Yolks mixture and mix well. And add slowly another ¼ of Meringue to the mixture and start folding the mixture. Repeat 2 more times in ¼ of Meringue to incorporate to Egg Yolk mixture.
6. Pour the mixed batter to the prepared spring foam pan. Base in 350F for 25 minutes.
7. Make Syrup while the cake is baking.
8. Squeeze Lemon Juice to the small sauce pan, add Agave Nectar and Orange Liqueur. Boil them for 2 minutes and let it cool.
9. After the cake is baked, let it cool about 5 minutes and pour the syrup on top of the cake. Pour about 2 to 3 Tablespoon of Syrup.
10. Eat the cake!

You can serve the cake with Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce, or whatever you desire.

The reason why I used Coconut Sugar and Agave Nectar to this recipe, it is because these two sugar substitution won’t spike your insulin level 🙂

This cake is so airy, light, moist, lemony, and sweet! Because I make this cake in 18cm pan, the cake itself is pretty small and a 1/8 slice is like 3 bites for me. But it definitely calmed down my craving for the cake!!!

So I call it, SUCCESS!

Mrs. H

Baked Coconut Donuts

Hi there! New recipe here for you!

This recipe uses Metric measurement. Majority of digital scale should have ability to choose between Metric or English, don’t be afraid of using Metric measurement!

Whether Metric or English, I like to bake cakes and breads by weigh. There are a bit more work but once you get used to it, you would enjoy this way and you’ll notice that the final product comes out the same every time! = Success!

Here is the recipe!

Baked Coconut Donuts

Baked Coconut Donuts


1. Rice Flour – 100g
2. Baking Powder – 1 Teaspoon
3. Egg – 1 Large
4. Agave Nectar – 2 Tablespoon (You can totally substitute with Sugar but I’ll increase the amount to 3 Tsp)
5. Heavy Cream – 70ml (You can totally substitute with MILK!)
6. Coconut Oil (Melted) – 20g
7. Vanilla Extract – 1 Teaspoon


1. Measure Rice Flour and Baking Powder and put them in a bowl. Mix them well.
2. Wisk an Egg in a bowl and add Agave Nectar, Heavy Cream, and Vanilla Extract, and mix them really well.
3. Add melted Coconut Oil to the Egg mixture, and mix really well.
4. Pour the batter to the greased donuts pan and bake in 355F to 360F for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Eat Donuts!!

This donuts is NOT sweet sweet donuts that you get from donuts shop. So I recommend to dust these donuts with powdered sugar or covered with chocolate sauce if you like sweet donuts.

This is perfect sweetness for me and especially in the morning with my coffee!! And frankly speaking, these donuts are pretty healthy (minus the heavy cream!) and Gluten Free!

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Mrs. H

4HB Diet Week 3 / 4HB ダイエット 第3週目

This diet is getting easier but I had my birthday last week during 4HB Diet, which I decided not to have my birthday cake on my birthday and waited till the Binge Day (Saturday). Psychologically, not having a birthday cake on my birthday was harder than I thought. (I know this is pretty lame…)

さて、4HBダイエット、大分簡単になってきました!が、しかし、先週のダイエット週間に、私の誕生日があり、周りの皆は、「誕生日ぐらい、ダイエットしなくても~」と言われましたが、変な意思を貫き、「誕生日ケーキは、ご褒美の日の土曜日まで食べない!」と宣言。 これが、精神的に、結構きつかったです。 今まで、誕生日に、誕生日ケーキを食べたことない年って、なかったような気がする・・・

So the 3rd week of 4HB Diet, as I informed in my previous blog, we added more Fish Dinner to our weekly menu. According to Mr. Z and my analysis (only 2 weeks of data…), we found that Fish Dinner has helped us lose weight at least 1 – 1.5 pound. We had 3 Fish Dinners last week, I’d like to inform you how our 4HB went 🙂 Here was our 3rd Week 4HB Diet Menu!

前回の4HBブログでもお伝えしたように、先週第3週目、魚のディナーを1回増やしました。 これは、2週間のダイエットのデータより分析した結果、どうも、魚ディナーを食べると、翌朝、体重が1パウンドから1.5パウンド減っている事に気づいたからです。 で、通常は、魚は週一ぐらいしか食べないのですが、先週はなんと、合計3回の魚ディナー。 体重減るかな~!! それでは、先週のメニューです。

Sunday Breakfast (日曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, 2 Mushroom sliced, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Sunday Lunch (日曜日の昼食)
4 Portabella Mushroom & 1/2lb Meet Pattie, 1 hand full Spinach & Tomato

Portabella Mushroom bum with 1/2lb Burger

Sunday Dinner (日曜日の夕食) <-- Eat only ½, other ½ is Lunch next day 2lb Pork loin marinated in Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic & Rosemary. Steamed Broccoli with Ghee & 1 cup Black Beans [caption id="attachment_1069" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Balsamic marinated Pork loin with steamed Broccoli with Ghee"][/caption]
Monday Breakfast (月曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Monday Lunch (月曜日の昼食)
Leftover from Sunday Dinner

Monday Dinner (月曜日の夕食) <-- Eat only ½, other ½ is Lunch next day 1lb grilled Salmon, grilled Zucchini, Peppers, and Eggplant with 1 cup Black Beans [caption id="attachment_1070" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Grilled Salmon & Veggies (Eggplant, Zucchini, and Pepper)"][/caption]
Tuesday Breakfast (火曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, 2 Mushroom sliced, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Tuesday Lunch (火曜日の昼食)
Leftover from Monday Dinner

Tuesday Dinner (火曜日の夕食) <-- Eat only ½, other ½ is Lunch next day 2 lb Grilled Chicken thigh (S&P), sautéed Spinach, Onion, Kale, and 1 cup Lentil [caption id="attachment_1072" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Grilled Chicken and sauteed Veggies"][/caption]
Wednesday Breakfast (水曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Wednesday Lunch (水曜日の昼食)
Left over from Tuesday Dinner

Wednesday Dinner (水曜日の夕食) <-- Eat only ½, other ½ is Lunch next day 4 links Sausages, sautéed sautéed Spinach, Onion, Broccoli Rabe, Sauerkraut and 1 cup Navy Beans [caption id="attachment_1071" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Grilled Chicken Sausage, sauteed Veggies, and Sauerkraut "][/caption]
Thursday Breakfast (木曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Thursday Lunch (木曜日の昼食)
Leftover from Wednesday Dinner

Thursday Dinner (木曜日の夕食) <-- Eat only ½, other ½ is Lunch next day 4 Grilled Ono Fish, grilled Zucchini, Peppers, and Eggplant with 1 cup Lentil [caption id="attachment_1073" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Grilled Ono Fish and Veggies (Zucchini, Pepper and Onion)"][/caption]
Friday Breakfast (金曜日の朝食)
3 Eggs & Meat, 2 hands full Spinach, ½ Avocado, ½ cup Lentil & Salsa

Friday Lunch (金曜日の昼食)
Leftover from Thursday Dinner

Friday Dinner (金曜日の夕食)
Cabbage, Carrot, Red Pepper and Onion sauteed with Tuna & Kimchee

Sauteed Veggies (Cabbage, Carrot, Red Pepper) with Tuna & Kimchee

The results of 3rd week was ok. But our prediction of Fish was right. Whenever we had Fish for dinner, next morning we lost 1 – 1.5 lb. All the sudden, we love fish 🙂

第3週目の結果は、「まーまー」。 でもね、私たちが分析した、「魚料理が痩せる秘訣!」というのが、どうも当たっているらしく、魚を夕食に食べた翌朝は、必ず、500g~700g 体重が減ってました。 突然、魚が大好きになった、私たち夫婦!

Well, Mr. Z lost about 3 lb and I lost 2 lb last week. Also we lost some inches!

For Mr. Z:
His bicep went down about 1 inch.
His thigh went down by 3 inches.
His waist went down by about 3 inches.
And his hip went down by 1 inch.
Total, he went down by 8 inches!

He is looking better and better 🙂

それでは、詳しい結果です。 Mr. Z、体重は3パウンド(キロにして、約1.5キロ)減ってました。 私は、2パウンド減(キロにすると1キロ)。 

Mr. Zの体のサイズは:
トータル、8インチ減 (約19センチ減)でした。 

益々、男前になっていく、Mr. Zです。

Alright, for me…
My bicep went down by 1 inch.
My thigh went down by 2 inches
My waist went down by 2.5 inches
And finally my hip went down by 1 inch.
Total, I went down by 6 inches!

This result was certainly better than last week 🙂 I am satisfied with the result!

はい、私の番。 体のサイズは:
トータル、6インチ減 (約14センチ減)でした。


This week is week 4 of 4HB diet. Well see how much more we can lose weight. Stay tuned!!

さて、今週は第4週目の4HBダイエット! さてさて、今週は、どれぐらい痩せることができるでしょうか! 乞うご期待!

Mrs. H

How Though Shalt Make Beer Part 1

Hello friends,

Let me take you on a journey through the mind, heart, and mouth of the consumate beer enthusiast. This tale will be in many parts as it is part instructional and part reflection. A memoir to what may be a new frontier in my life as a brewer, of the home variety. Make no mistake, this was a first attempt, at what I am now lovingly referring to the Bitches Brew. Now I did not take on this path to thirst quenching on my own, I was joined by friend, colleague and fellow brew lover Ben Jeavons.

We set out to make a Pale Ale that could actually be consumed by our friends without them having to pretend to like it to save our feelings. We had some tools, a book and some patience and through it all we had fun. We dreamed of a delicious concoction all our own and we were over all pleasantly surprised with our creation. Remember that you can do this. People have been brewing beer almost as long as they have been baking leavened bread.

Patience is really your key ingredient. Fermentation, Carbonation, Bottling and Boiling all take time. A lot of time. Some secrets to our success may have been our ability to neglect things. But in some places it did create minor havoc. Forgetting that you are brewing Beer and that the fermentation could take a few weeks to complete is the biggest point I can stress. So relax and have a cold one.

What we used:
1. Car Boy – 5gallon glass bottle
2. Boiling Pot – can be a stock pot, needs to hold over 2galons of liquid
3. 2stage Filter – removal of particulates before entering fermentor
4. Funnels
5. Homebrew starter kit – included wert, yeast, grain and hops (and some instructions)
6. Towels
7. Kitchen
8. Home Brewer’s Guide
9. Patience

First, Boil the grain in an athletic soc basically, for a certain amount of time so that the natural flavors of barley into the water. A sort of barely tea if you will that needs to be slightly boiled. Make sure that the grain doesn’t sit on the bottom or it will taste burned which is bad. To get around this obstacle we tied some string to the top of the bag and then suspended it from a spoon that went across the top of the kettle.

Afterwords you will have a lovely smelling bag that looks like this:

From this point on its boil boil boil, starting with the wert and ending with the hops, which are added at 2 different times. The wert is the sweet honey syrup and is as thick as such. Once that wonderful roll starts after a few moments you add your first portion of hops into the drink.

After the first hops you wait a while (about 20min) and through in the last portion and wait about 15min. Then its time to move it to the car boy which is the last stop for the brewing. This is a single staged fermentation. 2 stage fermentation essentially uses 2 carboys. You move the contents from one to the other during the fermentation process. It being our first time we decided that single stage would have to suffice.

As we poured the very warm elements into the carboy for cooling and eventual fermentation, we used 2 stage filtering to try to limit the impurities going into the bottle, which, in retrospect, may have been an error. As it got close to the end we could only pour a couple of pints at a time before having to stop and scrape all the goo out of the 2 filters.

Super badass right?

Next you have to add water to fill the carboy to the appropriate level which is the last line before the neck (approx 5gal mark). As you add your cool water to the warm brew, you will want to watch the temperature drop to the desired area for your yeast to be added. To warm you risk killing the little monsters and too cold they won’t activate quickly.

Our last step in this post is the topping off and hiding. You want to cap your newly minted batch quickly and feed a long tube out of the top into a spill catching bucket. Why? Well within the first few days, if all was successful, your yeasts will go to town eating all the sure they can find in the bottle and foaming like crazy. This foam, combined with the low ceiling in your bottle will need to displace itself somewhere. A little bucket nearby should be good enough.

Store your masterpiece in a dark (seriously lightless, a closet would be great), cool, dry place and allow at least a week and a half so that all the heavy foaming is over before you put the secondary (fermentation) cap on that has a water valve to allow the bag gas to escape and the good environment to promote the fermentation process.

Now, have yourself a beer and relax. You did some good work.

Thanks for reading.

Zach (brewmaster in training)

editors note: The Supplier of all our Hardware plus some bottles and caps is Greg Knaddison. This friend of friends was gracious enough to allow us to use his equipment free of charge and indulge in our flights of beer fancy. Many Thank Yous.