7,000 reasons your uniqueness may be plagiarism

Lark & Bloom

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I live in America where there is a continual conversation about one’s individuality. We love to take tests to see what our strengths and skills are. Shelves are full of books to help us discover our unique composition and  how to capitalize on it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for self-awareness. According to Myers Briggs I am an ENTP, which pretty much nails me. Knowing who we are is essential to understanding what we were made to do and how we were made to do it, but it is also where the problem comes in.

What is the problem?

I think we are each put on this earth to accomplish a certain task. You can call it what you want – destiny, mission or calling. I believe that our being here serves a purpose and that we are each divinely made to see that accomplished. My own belief…

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Identity.

must read !

Cats and Chocolate

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Identity is fascinating. If we didn’t find it fascinating, there would be no interviews, no memoir, no ‘I’, as such. To identify each other, we talk about interests, beliefs, our dreams, our likes and dislikes, our passions. We talk about where we think we belong, what our past has been, what our present is, and where we think we’re going. Or we are ‘rebels’ in some sense of the word – setting ourselves apart from the culture we grew up in, or apart from the culture that people attribute to us.

It fascinates me because I’ve noticed that my identity has shifted, along with how I define myself at any one time. I used to define myself by what I consumed: my favourite TV series, my taste in music, what I wore.

Nowadays identity is something I consider deeper, rooted in a sense of my experiences and how I’ve responded…

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One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cadbury chocolate powder / cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liner. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 cups warm water; whisk to combine. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

  2. STEP 2

    Divide batter among muffin cups (filling each about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks, 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to racks and let cool completely. Frost as desired.

Vanilla Cake

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A delicious, light, and amazingly spongy cake that can be topped with ganache, frosting, used in desserts or is irresistible even when eaten plain.

Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2/3 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk

TIP: If you do not have cake flour at hand, here’s how you can make it at home.
Measure 1 cup of all purpose flour. Scoop out 2 Tablespoons of the flour and put it back in the flour bin. Add in 2 Tablespoons of Cornflour into the measured out flour. Now sift together the flour and cornstarch for about 5 times so that it is well mixed and aerated.

Method:

Makes one 8″ – 9″ round cake.
Preheat oven to 180 C and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease your pan lightly using oil and line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Beat them together using a beater at medium speed for about 5 minutes until it turns thick, creamy and pale in color. Scrape the sides. Beat in the vanilla essence. Now gradually add in your oil and continue beating at a low speed just until the oil is incorporated.

Next, add in a third of your flour and beat at low speed. Add half of the milk and mix. Continue alternating the flour with the milk beginning and ending with the flour in 3 and 2 additions in the following sequence. (Flour- Milk- Flour- Milk- Flour)
Do not over mix. Mix just until incorporated between each addition as well as stop to scrape the sides of your bowl from time to time.
Mix it one last time using a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

Pour your batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in a preheated oven for 30- 45 mins or until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 mins and invert it on a cooling rack.

Martha’s new baking show

Top Tips for the Home Baker

Proper measuring equipment
Measure liquids in a clear measuring cup, which allows you to read measurements at eye level. Measure dry and semi-solid ingredients in graduated dry measuring cups — they allow you to level ingredients with a straightedge.

Measuring flour
Sift flour and other dry ingredients only when called for specifically in the recipe. Use the dip and sweep method to ensure you’ve measured the proper amount.

Unsalted butter
Always use unsalted butter; this will allow you to control the amount of salt in the recipe.

Eggs
To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes.

Rolling out pastry and dough
Use only a small amount of bench flour when rolling out dough; too much flour will cause the pastry or dough to become dry and stiff.

Testing for doneness
To test for doneness, use a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake — it should come out clean. The cake should spring back when lightly touched, and should be just pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Proper cooling
Cakes should be cooled for 15 minutes in the pan before unmolding and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Preparing a cake pan or muffin tin
When prepping a cake pan or muffin tin, a pastry brush can help with the hard-to-reach spots. Brushing the surface between cups will prevent muffin tops from sticking to the pan. Use softened butter rather than melted butter.

Creaming butter and sugar
Creaming butter and sugar is necessary to achieve full volume; be sure to take the time indicated in the recipe.

Soft cookies
If you prefer soft cookies, slightly underbake them. In most instances, simply substituting brown sugar for some or all of the granulated sugar in the recipe will produce softer cookies because it contains more moisture.

Crisp cookies
If you prefer crisp cookies, try using egg whites in place of some of the whole eggs called for in the recipe. You can restore the crisp texture of a cookie that may have softened by heating at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Simplest recipe for Ganache

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Ingredients:
200ml cream
200grams chocolate
1tablespoon icing sugar

step # 1 – pour cream out in a pan and keep on stove(medium flame) until bubbles show on the edges
step # 2 – melt chocolate in the cream and mix a tablespoon of icing sugar in it
step # 3 the ganache is ready wait for it to cool before spreading on a cake
step # 4 refrigerating the cake until ganache sets
Finally serve the cake and enjoy with your family and friends x

Butter icing for cupcakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 drops red food coloring

Directions:

Combine icing sugar butter, vanilla and milk, beating until creamy. Thin with a few more drops of milk (if necessary) to reach desired spreading consistency. Stir in optional food coloring. That’s all and you are good to go!