Where have I been? 

Hello!

How are you?

Wow, you look so much older!

What’s your name again? 

These are the questions and statements I hate to say because, well, that means I haven’t blogged in a while. 

Hi, my lovely friends. I have missed rambling, sharing recipes, and taking an obscene amount of food pictures. 

I haven’t posted in ages, so I thought it would be appropriate to give you an update on my my life. 

As you know, school has started… which means I have been inundated with homework. Every waking minute is write this and calculate that. I haven’t gotten time to do my favorite activity: baking. 

I am currently a senior, which is exciting and scary. I have been writing essays, creating resumes, filling out applications,  going to school, completing homework, and keeping time for extracurricular activities. And let me tell you it is exhausting; but I keep telling myself it will be worth it.  

I miss wearing my apron. I miss eating too many chocolate chips. I miss reading your kind comments. I miss posting. 

I promise to post soon. 

❤ ,

Hira 

California Things 

Hi, friends! I recently went to Los Angeles, CA to visit my cousins, the beach, and Mickey Mouse. I had so much fun and snapped some photos to share.

I went to the pier, and saw a sign blinking “World’s Best Churros.” Naturally, I thought it was my duty to validate the statement. I can now safely say this is one of the best churros I’ve had. But let’s face it, I’ve never had a churro I didn’t like.

This picture was taken for afar, so the picture quality is, well, eh. Anyway, I saw these balloons and had to take a picture, they are so cute.🙂

I went to Hollywood Blvd., where the walk of fame and wax museums are located. There I saw a Ghirardelli store, and anytime I see a Ghirardelli store I always buy something. It’s kind of like a tradition, or maybe just an opportunity to waste money. I bought a Nob Hill Chill, which is essentially a vanilla milkshake with hot fudge and mini chocolate chips.

I didn’t take many pictures at Disneyland, but I do have this one from Universal Studios Hollywood. I spotted a Minion, so I had to take a picture. And as you can see from my little brother’s Minion shirt he loves them too (actually, more than me).

This picture was taken from the Studio Tour ride at universal. During this ride, a tram takes people through movie sets. It was so cool; this movie set was for the movie War of Worlds (I think!).

This was the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the park. It had so many people, but the rides were definitely worth it (even though the wait times were crazy long).

I went through Hogwarts while waiting for a ride; it was so much fun.

I also wasted money on Gilly water. Also, known as regular water in a fancy bottle.😉

This was the outside of universal. There was so much going on and so many stores (even one dedicated to socks)!

We parked in the ET parking closure.

A simple picture of yogurt, haha. I got the one in a cup with M&M candies!

Here’s a beautiful view of the ocean overlooking the city!

And finally, to end my trip I got more dessert. This is a picture of my brother’s because I ate mine too fast, but it’s essentially soft serve with Italian ice over. Who knew this combination would be SO good. I got vanilla soft serve with passion fruit and mango Italian ice.

,

Hira

The Best Chocolate Cake

Hi, friends.

Today’s recipe is for the best chocolate cake. I am not joking; this is THE BEST chocolate cake… ever.


I am the designated baker in the house. If there is a birthday, celebration, or a sweet craving I am appointed by my family to bake something. For my Mom’s birthday, I decided that making a chocolate cake was the only way to celebrate. I mean, my Mom is the ultimate chocolate fan. Seriously, I call my self a chocoholic, but my Mom is the original chocoholic in my immediate family.


Let’s get on to the cake!

YIELD: 12 servings PREP TIME: 30 minutes

BAKE TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 and greasing/dusting cake pans with cocoa.
  2. Next, in a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, and salt- set aside
  3. In a sauce pan melt butter; then add cocoa powder, mix until combined.
  4. Add boiling water to cocoa/butter mixture.
  5. Once cocoa/butter/water mixture boils for 30 seconds remove crime heat and pour into flour mixture. Mix until combined.
  6. In a separate bow mix together butter milk, baking soda, vanilla, and eggs. Pour butter milk mixture into flour/chocolate mixture; mix until combined.
  7. Pour batter into greased cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until cake has set.
  8. Once cake is done baking allow to cool and then place into the fridge.
  9. While cake sits in the fridge heat heavy cream until very hot.
  10. Pour hot cream over chocolate and mix vigorously to combine.
  11. Allow heavy cream/chocolate mixture to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  12. Once mixture has cooled whip with electric mixer and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
  13. Frost cake to your desire, and enjoy!

NOTES:

  • You can double the recipe to make a total of 4 layers.
  • For the frosting I froze the mixture for 15 minutes and then whipped.
  • Make sure to use the best quality chocolate for good results.
  • You may have extra frosting depending on the way frost! If you do, freeze in a container of zip lock bag for optimal freshness.

Slightly adapted: here

Make this cake… today!🙂

❤ ,

Hira 

July Things

Hi, friends.

I am so sad. Summer break is almost over, ahh! July was super busy. I celebrated my religious holiday. During the holiday my family and I go to morning prayers and then visit many friends to celebrate. Below is a picture of what I wore this year. I always get super dressed with lots of jewelry, a full face of makeup, and high heels  (I hate high heels they are SO uncomfortable)!

As you can tell, I am eating a donut and holding my phone in a weird way. Haha! Also it was sunny out side, so sorry for the squinting.😉

After the holiday, I started volunteering at a local welfare clinic. All I really do is answer calls, file stuff, and help update the website. But, I rather go and volunteer than stay a home.🙂

Also, AP scores came out! For those of you who don’t know AP exams grant college credit, which can help reduce the price of college tuition and prove mastery in certain subjects. I did so well!

On the subject of AP/ standardized testing, I wanted to also take a minute to say that a number doesn’t define you. I feel like we live in a society that puts so much emphasis on numbers from our weight to standardized test scores. While these are things are definitely important, I don’t think they should take control of our lives. If you ever need someone to talk about school stuff, feel free to shoot me an email. I would love to help in anyway I can. I am a grade obsessed person, so I can relate.🙂

Another really fun thing that I did this month was download Pokémon Go! I have loved Pokémon since, like, 5th grade. I have videogames, movies, cards, and other Pokémon paraphernalia . Overtime, I kind of lost touch, but this app is so much fun. You catch Pokémon and help your team conquer gyms. The app also encourages movement to hatch eggs, find new Pokémon, and find gyms & pokestops. Needless to say, I have been moving a lot. The best part is meeting new people at random stops.😉

I am still reading Anna Karenina, but I am also re-reading The Hobbit because I am a Lord of the Rings junkie and it has been forever since I read it.

This month was also the RNC & DNC! I LOVED watching all the speeches. Any thoughts?

I would also like to take a couple of sentences to write (talk) about the numerous acts of violence our world is facing today. A week doesn’t go by without some sort of violence. I hate to talk about these tragic events, but it is something that we face today locally and globally. I am tired of waking up everyday with headlines of an act of violence that has killed numerous people. It breaks my heart to think about all the people who have to live with the outcomes of these acts of terror. I know writing about this will not change or fix anything, but what will? Many people think that if we amend gun laws the US will face far fewer attacks- but the truth of the matter is that men and women who want to perform an act of violence will find a way. Just the thoughts of where/when an attack will strike scares me. Will it hurt me, my family, loved ones, friends? It makes me sad that we live in a world where it is normal to ask these questions. Please remember to hold on to your loved ones because you never know when they will be gone. Also, pray for the families who have been affected by the hatred and violence the world has been experiencing, pray for them to find solace in these dark times.

,

Hira

 

 

Black Forest Chocolate Cake 

Hi, friends!

Chocolate cake is amazing. Chocolate cake with toppings is even more amazing. Let’s face it anything with toppings is amazing- ice cream, donuts, this cake!

This week I went to the dentist and to celebrate no cavities I decided, well, let’s make a cake. You know because sugar is the best way to celebrate no cavities. I didn’t want to make just any cake; I wanted to make an extravagant cake. A cake with cherries, chocolate, and homemade whipped cream.🙂


This cake did not disappoint.

YIELD: 12 servings PREP TIME: 30 minutes

BAKE TIME: 34 minutes TOTAL TIME: 64 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans pitted tart cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powedered sugar
  • 2 milk chocolate bars, shavings

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease & cover bottom of 2 9 inch pans with wax paper.
  2. In a bowl mix together flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder & soda, salt, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Transfer cake batter into cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Once done baking, make cherry mixture. Open cherry cans and reserve 1/2 cup of juice. In a sauce pan, combine juice, cherries, sugar, and cornstarch.
  5. Cook over low heat until thickened; then add vanilla (1 teaspoon).
  6. While cherry mixture cools, level chocolate cake with cake leveler or serrated knife.
  7. Next whip together heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form (add sugar until desired sweetness).
  8. Cake layer time (remove wax paper): on first cake spread whipped frosting, layer cherry mixture on top, put second cake over, place cherry mixture in the center of cake, frost remaining parts of the cake to your satisfaction. Decorate sides of cake with chocolate shavings.
  9. Allow to sit in the fridge to firm up; serve and enjoy!

NOTES:

  • I used a dairy milk chocolate bar and shaved it with a potato peeler.
  • I had leftover cherry mixture, so I froze it and will use it later as a pie filling. (Turnovers, anyone?)
  • I didn’t make an overly sweet frosting, but if you like a sweeter cream, add more sugar.

Adapted From
Celebrate the small things in a big way! (I sound like I’m trying to sell you something, haha) Make this cake now, or you will regret it.😉

❤ ,

Hira

Smoothie Pops

Hi, friends!

Today’s recipe is healthy, refreshing, and easy to make! In other words, it is perfect for the summer time.

While making this I forgot to purchase popsicle sticks. Instead, I improvised and ate mine with spoons. Regardless on how you decide to consume these, they taste amazing. My favorite thing about these pops are that they are so versatile, you can use any fruit combinations, which means they are a perfect year round dessert (unless you are opposed to popsicles in the winter).😉



YIELD: 8 servings PREP TIME: 15 minutes

FREEZE TIME: 4 hours or overnight TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes + freeze time

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 bananas- chop 1/2 of one
  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries
  • 1-1/2 cups of frozen pineapples
  • 1 + more cup mango juice
  • 8-10 strawberries, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small cup (Dixie cup), place 1 chopped banana at the bottom of each cup.
  2. Next, blend together remaining bananas, frozen fruit, and juice. Add more juice for desired consistency.
  3. Place fruit smoothie mixture until reaches half way mark of cup.
  4. Then layer chopped strawberries on top.
  5. Pour remaining smoothie mixture until reaches top.
  6. Place popsicle sticks and cover cups with foil (to avoid freezer burn); freezer until solid & enjoy.

* Essentially, you are layering- banana, smoothie, strawberry, smoothie

NOTES:

  • Feel free to use any fruit smoothie recipe you want.
  • You can use a popsicle mold.
  • If you’re like me and don’t have popsicles sticks, you can place the mixture in a cup and enjoy with a spoon- like flavored ice.

❤ ,

Hira

 

 

June Things

Hi, friends! I haven’t had a super talk-y post in a while (aside from the Cooking Confessions post). One of my favorite thing about blogging is rambling, and giving my opinions on various topics (that you may have no interest😉 ). So, June is officially over! The end of the month makes me kind of sad because I am one step closer to school, but it also means I am one step closer to graduation. Definitely bittersweet.

This month I took my cap & gown photos! Seeing myself in the gown was crazy. I feel like I keep talking about graduation, but I don’t think I will ever stop (sorry). I also wrote one of my college essays, it is still in its rudimentary stage, but it’s coming along.

These are some of the sample photos (“look and order”), which explains the watermarks.😉

Aside from school stuff, I have been having a really chill summer. Reading. Watching movies. Baking. Volunteering at a local clinic. Spending time with my family. Sorry for the terse sentences, they add more emphasis, lol.

I have some exciting recipes to share with you guys, so stay tuned. I know my blogging has been pretty inconsistent, but it will become more scheduled soon.

I feel like there have been so many great movies out this summer Finding Dory, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Shallows  (which includes one of my favorite actresses, Blake Lively), Tarzan. Have you seen baby Dory? My heart melted when I saw a picture of her.

I have been reading Anna Karenina, it is very long. I haven’t really gotten into it, so I don’t have a real opinion, but once it progresses I will let you know what I think.

Where is 2016 going? It is going by SO fast!

How was your June?

♥,

Hira