Honey Pear Tart with Pastry Cream {gluten free}

Pears in a basket for gluten free pear tart | fit for the soul

My first job ever was that of a pastry chef and cake maker.  That was back as a high school junior during those days when every social gathering made me insecure, and it was a season when I considered myself to be just transitioning from puberty, because an early bloomer I was not.  And if any of you friends from high school are reading this, I'm sure you're giggling at the memories of our (read: my) geeky selves.  You know who you are. ;)

Okay so about that pastry chef slash cake maker job...I lied.  It was more like a dream I had for the longest time all throughout childhood and my teenage years.  I can't ever remember not loving food, and creating pretty dishes quickly became an outlet for me.  In my mind it would have been awesome if I could help people for the rest of my life, and have a side job--or perhaps a simple hobby--of making the prettiest and most scrumptious food ever. So what did I do when I first found out Paris Baguette was opening up a bakery in my very own city?  I applied.  Then I diligently checked in to see if the construction was done, day after day for about a month straight, you guys.  I was hoping that if I at least began from a sales position I would be able to pick up some neat tricks to make the meanest tarts and cakes ever.  Unfortunately, the closest I ever got to working in a formal kitchen setting was that time I took a cupcake class, and the Indian cooking class Greg reserved for us--which were awesome, by the way!

Honey Pear Tart with pastry cream and oat crust {gluten free} | fit for the soul

Nevertheless, that's a start, right?  And that is exactly why I feel so privileged to be the "owner" of a food blog (and some healthy living).  This is where I get to share the successes and failures, but mostly victories because you know...failures aren't so much fun to write about.  So when I threw in the cards to make this gluten free honey pear tart, I was almost certain that I'd come out of the kitchen crying.  Whatever possessed me to embrace and expect defeat, nobody knows.  I searched on Google to see which tart cream would stand out the most and Ina Garten came to the rescue.  Her strawberry tart with pastry cream (aka creme patissiere) looked tedious but doable.  And let me tell you.  As long as you have a food processor you are pretty much good to go!  I use my faithful 4 year old Cuisineart because it does the job and is affordable. 

Now, pastry cream can be somewhat confusing because it so resembles custard.  I recently found out that pastry cream is "less firm and more starch based, as opposed to a basic custard which is thickened only with eggs" (source). This means that pastry cream is more suitable as a topping, a filling, or just a cream addition over a crusty base.  Custard is what we know to be flan or the "firmer" type of cream which is often eaten on its own.  I made sure to roughly follow Ina's cream recipe but instead of all egg yolks, I added one whole egg just to lower the fats.  The whole recipe turned out exactly the way I hoped as the gluten free crust held together perfectly.  The subtle aromatic tones from the pear and slight hint of honey make this a delicate dessert.  If you want to make it more manly, then add vanilla bean ice cream just like I did!  No harm done, except that I think my life may have been changed.  Just a little.

Honey Pear Tart with pastry cream and an oat crust {gluten free} | fit for the soul

Honey Pear Tart with an Oat Crust {gluten free}

Highly adapted from this recipe // Makes one large tart

Ingredients for oat crust

2 cups+2 tbsp oat flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)

4 tbsp cold butter, diced

3 tbsp hard coconut oil

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup ice water

Ingredients for pastry cream and assembling

5 large egg yolks+1 whole large egg

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp cornstarch

zest of 2 key limes (or one regular lime)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 cup scalded hot milk

1 tbsp butter

4 bosc pears (or other), sliced in 1/6 inch thickness

honey to brush on top

Directions

For the oat crust, mix oat flour, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor.  Add butter, coconut oil, powdered sugar and process on high speed until it becomes coarsely crumbled.  As you process or pulse the dough slowly add the ice water.  It will become even more crumbly, but you will be able to easily form it together.  Press it into a ball and then shape into a thick disk.  Wrap it with plastic  and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  It will firm up rather quickly due to the coconut oil.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

For the pastry cream, it is proper to use a hand or stand mixer but I just used the food processor, which works perfectly.  Make sure to clean it out first.  Beat or process the eggs thoroughly, then add cornstarch until slightly thickened.  Pour in the hot milk, honey, lime zest, ginger, and mix.  It will be pretty liquified.  Transfer it to a small sauce pan and stir with the 1 tbsp butter on low-medium heat. It will become chunky and curdly, but that's good!  Cook until it's not raw anymore.  Again, transfer to food processor and whirl away until it's creamy and thick.  It will be the most glorious and velvety cream ever.  Set aside.

Take dough out of the freezer and gently spread it with your fingers on a large tart pan (preferably the kind that has the detachable bottom).  The dough doesn't have to go all the way up to the top of the sides, just enough to contain the liquids while baking.  Spoon the pastry on the dough evenly and place pear slices on top.  Brush honey all over and bake for about 45 minutes.  Make sure to turn it around after 25 minutes of baking. 

Honey pear tart in oat crust and pastry cream {gluten free}  | fit for the soul
Honey pear tart in oat crust and pastry cream prep {gluten free}.jpg
Honey pear tart in oat crust and pastry cream {gluten free}  | fit for the soul
Honey pear tart in oat crust and pastry cream {gluten free} | fit for the soul
Honey pear tart in oat crust and pastry cream {gluten free} | fit for the soul

Would you love to incorporate cooking or baking as a job or hobby?

What are your favorite tart recipes?

Thursday Links + The Blessing of a Homemaker

Hey there friends!  It's me, the young woman in her 20s who just got done being humbled.  Humbling myself is never a good feeling, particularly if I thought I was doing many things right. Ohhh...don't you just hate that feeling of being mentally slapped, when really that slap was a long time coming?

You see, not long after welcoming Selah into our family, I went through a pretty rough patch of what I like to call reaffirming my identity.  Fair enough.  Something that most new mommies go through.  Nothing was terribly wrong per se, but it was more like I constantly needed to affirm my value and abilities in what I did, who I was, and how much I could accomplish in a given amount of time.  God instead allowed me the opportunity to ponder, trust, and obey in the seemingly "little things" and as a result, I've been learning to rest in the fact that I am, because He isAnd not because I'm out in the workforce. To put it concisely, I often felt like being a homemaker wasn't enough for me personally.  It isn't even like I was doing a 100% satisfactory job at it, but I guess I kept searching for something more.  Somewhere to truly use my abilities, and somewhere I could really contribute my myriad of gifts.  That's the not the truth at all, I know, but that was the truth in my mind at least. 

After a good talk with my mother in law who just so happens to be extremely wise and sensitive to people's needs--meaning that I didn't have to say a word before she spoke wisdom into my life--I realized that I wasn't giving God my best.  Consequently, that means that I wasn't giving Greg my best either.  Sure I tried hard, and sure he appreciates every little thing I do, but this whole time my heart was blinded to the fact that every little scrub of the kitchen sink, every little meal prepared, and every little load of black laundry which so happens to be Greg's favorite choice of fashion, meant the world to him and God.  My mind kept searching for accomplishment elsewhere when really--it was right before my eyes in the kitchen...or in the bathroom (as funny as that sounds).

To some of you this may sound like a given as this is a norm for most wives, and to some of you this may be eye opening because you didn't realize you weren't embracing the seemingly little commitments you had before you.  Guys, let's not minimize the duties and joys we have been entrusted with, because these "simple" tasks are just as important as working in a law firm or being a surgeon of sorts.  Because faithfulness of heart is what most matters in the end and what brings us joy in the long run; to sum it up, I want to give my best in everything I do because that will ultimately reveal my character. Perhaps you can relate to these things and if so, I would love for you to share!  Ps: This by no means indicates that Greg doesn't help out because man oh man, he helps out so much around the house even when I don't expect him to! Just saying. :)


Here are some amazing links for you guys!  Some are mouth watering and some are downright pleading me to get in the kitchen and make them soon.

Umm can somebody who has access to an apple orchard be my friend so we can have an apple picking party?

I can foresee how much fun I'll have preparing healthy snacks for Selah when she {someday} goes to school!  But for now I want to keep her a 1 year old.  Is there a button to make that possible?

Speaking of healthy, err okay...not-so-healthy-but-you-can't-deny-it's-delicious recipes.  I cannot wait to try my hand at Nami's miso ramen recipe!  Greg and I could probably live off this stuff if it wasn't unhealthy and so rich.  Well, I guess that's an extra addition to my list of favorite "unhealthy dishes", next to Love Letter's chicken.

As a concerned fellow foodie, I need to stop by Momofuku Milk Bar and see what all the hype is about!  It will be a difficult task but someone's gotta do it.

I really need to stop hurting the slow cooker's feelings.  I rarely seem to cook vegetarian food with this amazing device because it tenderizes meat so perfectly.  Fortunately these recipes are starting to change my way of thinking. ;)

Everything on Cynthia's blog makes me want to kick back and eat throughout the day with a good book in hand.  Help!

I feel so cozy just looking at this school morning muesli.  Don't you?

I have never felt so strongly the pull to jump into a picture and dance in the fields like now.  Joy Prouty's photography is so mesmerizing.

Although I can't stand marshmallows these homemade meyer lemon pillows are tempting me.  So cute and fluffy they are!


In what ways do you think you need a shift in perspective?

Favorite links as of late?

Hatch Chile Grilled Cheese in Homemade Wheat Bread

Hatch Chile grilled cheese in homemade wheat bread | fit for the soul
Hatch Chile grilled cheese in homemade wheat bread by fit for the soul.jpg

If there is one thing that has intrigued me for a while it's the combination of sweet and spicy in yeast bread.  I don't know about where you live but come to think of it now--for us Americans it's pretty common to find a jalapeno studded pretzel or something of that nature while shopping at the mall. However, have you ever seen freshly baked bread, doused with a smokin' hot garlic+hatch chile spread in its innermost being?  Me neither. 

This ultra flavorful sauce is brushed all throughout the dough which then is perfectly rolled up into a loaf pan.  As you can tell, this recipe became a reality when I finally got my hands on some hatch chile peppers last week, thanks to The Hatch Green Chile store. They sell fresh as well as roasted peppers, and lucky me...I received the roasted kind because you know...anything to cut down on work, right? 

To be honest though, I have never tried these little (more like huge; 8 inches long) guys and I feel like the world has somewhat betrayed me up to this point.  So you can imagine how ridiculously excited I felt when they finally arrived at my doorstep!

Roasted Hatch chile peppers from the Hatch Green Chile store

Now let's talk about sauce.  Ohhh the sauce!  As soon as I tested this concoction of luscious spicy peppers and garlic+olive oil, it's like I had to take a moment and close my eyes.  Ahhh all is well with the world, particularly if you have a 1 year old exploring all the crevices within your "what-is-supposed-to-look-like-a-home" home. :)  It sounds rather sillyI admit, but it's just that good.   Good enough to welcome fall season and in my case, to help this funky state I've been in for the past few days.  This is a bit of a tangent, but every time the seasons change I get into a physical funk and my energy is literally zapped out of me.  So grilled cheese came to the rescue. 

I've digressed again, haven't I? If you are a spice fanatic and are looking to change up your ever simple grilled cheese this season, may I suggest that you give this a try?  In my opinion the gouda cheese is a fun alternative to cheddar (or velveeta), as it adds a smoky flavor that complements caramelized onions and garlic.  "Explosive flavors" is probably the best way to describe this grilled cheese!

Now onto the recipe! 

Homemade wheat bread swirled with a hatch chile sauce | fit for the soul

*This post was made possible by the Hatch Green Chile Store (thank you!) who provided me with the products to create a recipe of my own.  I was not compensated monetarily.*

Wheat Bread Swirled with a Hatch Chile Spread

Makes one tall loaf

Ingredients for dough

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one packet)

3 large eggs

2 tbsp honey

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup warm water

1 tsp sea salt (or regular)

Ingredients for hatch chile spread

4 roasted hatch chiles

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or just a large mixing bowl, combine the two flours and yeast.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well incorporated.  If possible, use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for the next steps.  If you don't have a stand mixer use a hand mixer,  or if it comes down to it use your arm strength though it will be tiresome!

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix in the stand mixer at medium speed, and when everything starts to come together turn the speed to a high.  Scrape sides as needed and mix until the dough is just sticky enough, but you might need to sprinkle in a few teaspoons of white flour.  The best way to check its readiness is by lifting the head+hook of the mixer, and the dough should stick/hang to the hook but shouldn't be tough--rather, it should still be a bit sticky.  Now let the dough rise in that same bowl for about 1 hour, making sure to cover it with a damp towel/cloth.  I also like to put a large plate over it to ensure that no draft goes in the bowl. 

While the dough is rising you can go ahead and make the hatch chile spread. Simply use your food processor to puree all the ingredients.

Now that the dough is ready, lightly sprinkle white flour on a surface and carefully place the dough on it.  It should be a little sticky but uniform.  Roll the dough out to the width of a loaf pan (approximately) and long vertically.  Flatten it to about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Brush or spread the hatch chile mixture on it and carefully roll it away from you.  Place the "messy" part of the dough at the bottom of the pan and bake for approximately 17 minutes.  Then turn it around and bake for another 17-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let it cool for a few minutes.

Hatch Chile Grilled Cheese in Homemade Wheat Bread

Makes 4 sandwiches, all cut in half (8 pieces total)

Ingredients

8 slices of hatch chile wheat bread

8 slices gouda cheese

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbsp olive oil

dab of butter for grilling

Directions for assembling

In a small skillet, caramelize onions with worcestershire and oil.  In a large skillet on really low heat, melt the dab of butter and slowly cook two slices of bread on one side until golden.  Flip the bread and place 2 slices of gouda cheese on the warm/toasted side of both breads, place caramelized onions and keep cooking until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Cut both slices in half if desired.  Bring bread with melted cheese together and set aside. Repeat this step for the rest of the sandwiches.

Homemade whole wheat bread with a hatch chile spread | fit for the soul

If you don't have time or energy to bake the bread, you can alternatively make this with your favorite type of bread and spread the hatch chile sauce in the sandwiches prior to cooking.  However, including it in the bread dough itself is probably the best way to go.  I am warning you that this spicy sauce is addicting so consume the stuff at your own discretion!

Hatch Chile grilled cheese in homemade wheat bread | fit for the soul
Hatch Chile grilled cheese in homemade wheat bread | fit for the soul

What comfort foods have you been enjoying lately?

Have you tried hatch chile before?  If so, what's your favorite way of including it in your dishes?

Korean Recipe: Love Letter's Sweet & Spicy Chicken Recipe+Creamy Corn and Cabbage Slaw

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} | fit for the soul
Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul.jpg

Being the health junkie that I am, I rarely enjoy fried food.  Once in a while I'll steal a few fries from Greg because hey, life is too short to not "eat all the things".  But aside from wanting to keep my arteries squeaky clean and my blood freely flowing--thank you very much--I also tend to stay away from fried food (most of the time) due to my sensitive stomach.  I never really know when my fickle belly is going to throw a tantrum, and staying away from the foods that I do know will cause me trouble is always a good idea.

That is, unless it's Korean fried chicken.  Tada!  Make that Love Letter's sweet and spicy fried chicken!  With a side of creamy slaw and some sweet potato crusted pizza and cheese oozing at every bite.  Sounds good, doesn't it?! And believe me. It really is as good as it sounds.  But perhaps that truth will become reality for you when you find yourself a Love Letter near you and take a bite of that crispy, saucy, garlicky goodness.  So do yourself a favor and give it a try sometime! And now that I've disclosed one of my greatest food weaknesses, let me conclude by saying that I can't have fried chicken all too often.  Bummer.  Sure, Love Letter Chicken & Pizza may be just about 10 minutes away from our house but--I just can't do it.  There's no possible humane way to justify this kind of "yolo" consumption every month.  For me, once every few months is plenty because those bad boys are filled with greasy calories, and what's more is that the cooking process rends digestion sabotaging results (deep frying).  So what's a girl to do when she's craving this stuff pretty much 90% of her days?  She bakes them into saucy perfection.  And I actually don't think they taste that different from the original stuff thankfully.  :) I made sure to smother these sizable drumsticks in garlicky sauce, and the final touch that gives this recipe that Love Letter-like signature of sticky+crispy texture on the outside and tender meat on the inside, is cooking it extremely slowly and then raising the oven to a broil at the very end. 

I definitely recommend that you pair this up with a tangy and refreshing side dish like kimchi, pickled radish, or this slaw salad.  The slightly creamy and spicy flavors bring bland and boring cabbage to life.  Trust me.  You must. 

I should note that most Korean chicken recipes tend to have some of these ingredients in common; soy sauce, sweetener, and red chili pepper are just a few of the basics.  This tidbit of information might come in handy if you foresee having a Korean feast in the future, so now onto the recipe, friends!

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul

Love Letter's Sweet & Spicy Chicken {not fried}

Serves approximately 4 people

Ingredients for breading

10 large chicken drumsticks (or 16-18 small)

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

pinch of salt+pepper

Ingredients for sweet and spicy sauce

1/3 cup honey

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp chili powder (for American/Mexican dishes)

1 tbsp Korean red chili pepper

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)

4 cloves garlic, minced

sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

First preheat the oven to 300F degrees.  Stir the breading ingredients on a medium sized plate and if it's slightly scooped, even better.  In a medium bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients minus the sesame seeds and then take out about 1/4 cup of the sauce, then set aside.  Have a large baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Coat drumsticks in flour mixture and then dip it in the sauce.  Place on lined baking pan one by one.  Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or a little more until the meat sticking to the bone is no longer pink.  Flip the drumsticks and drizzle them with the sauce you set aside at the beginning.  Raise oven temperature to a broil and cook for about 5-7 minutes.  When finished, sprinkle sesame seeds and serve with side dishes or rice.

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul
Korean Slaw salad recipe {Love Letter style} by fit for the soul

Love Letter's Creamy Corn and Cabbage Slaw

Makes approximately 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/3 cup corn

2 tbsp mayo (or miracle whip)

1 tbsp greek yogurt (or replace with mayo)

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp milk for thinning

sriracha sauce

Directions

Shred cabbage and toss all the ingredients together.  Drizzle on the sauce and voila!

Love Letter Korean chicken recipe {not fried} by fit for the soul3.jpg

Have you tried Korean chicken, or something similar to this?

What not-so-healthy foods have you tried that were actually healthier, but still just as good as the original?

Our Week With the Grandparents

Charles Wilson Park in Torrance | fit for the soul
Selah and Grandma at Wilson Park | fit for the soul
Selah walking at Wilson Park.jpg
Selah at Wilson Park slides | fit for the soul
Doubletree Hilton Breakfast Buffet | fit for the soul
sand castle with gramma at Hermosa beach
R+D Kitchen dinner date in Santa Monica | fit for the soul

This past week has been pure bliss.  My in-laws were visiting for a solid week and although we were busy working on the church nursery and whatnot (Greg's dad is amazing when it comes to building and doing heavy duty work), we also had a great time of bonding out in nature.  Gramma, Selah and I made sure to stay active and spent time playing at Wilson Park in Torrance.  We also took advantage of the scorching weather which was consistently in the 90s and built sand castles at Hermosa Beach.  Why is it so extremely hot all of a sudden?!  Actually, the entire world seems to be having crazy weather right now. 

Then of course...Gramma and Grampa happily sent us on a date, and believe me--we certainly didn't protest to that request.  After much Yelping last minute, Greg and I had dinner at R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica for the first time.  The food was truly amazing and somewhat reminiscent of fusion slash pub cuisine, though more on the American side than Asian.  I got the seared Ahi plate with veggies on the side while Greg ordered filet mignon and fries. 

On the last day, we met up early for the breakfast buffet of the hotel they were staying at.  The carrot muffin was probably the best item on my plate. The sweets from that breakfast probably helped me fend off the "see ya later" blues, since it's never ever easy to part ways.  Even still, we're so thankful to have the privilege of seeing each other every few months.  And once again I realize that life is too short to not take advantage of the relationships I've been given. 


How was your week/weekend?

What are you most likely to order at a restaurant?

Browned Butter with Caramelized Peach+Coolest Knife Ever

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

Of all the "fancy" foods I could have procrastinated on making at home, browned butter was one of them--until I started making it for 2 weeks straight and it is now outnumbering regular butter.  Obsessed with browned butter doesn't justify my feelings, I don't think.  You see, it wasn't until about 2 years ago that I finally eased up on this novel idea.  An idea that was pretty much at an intergalactic level of importance, called "the consumption of cream fat (aka butter)".  And I'm not going to lie.  Butter was once a food that scared me to death not only because I was apprehensive of the possible side effects, otherwise known as weight gain, but also because everywhere I turned I would see or hear horrifying stories involving this particular food.

Butter raises your cholesterol.

Butter clogs up your ventricles

It also makes you look like a fool in this hyper-clean-eating-society, especially if you live in LA.

Heavens forbid if you're dipping into that bowl of butter at a restaurant!  People might be watching.  *scans surroundings*

Sound familiar?  No?  Hmmm maybe it's just me, hah!  Even though you might think "ohhh Ellie get over yourself", it really is a victory in my life.  I mean, wouldn't you count it as a blessing as well?  But to get back to the idea of browned butter...I had only heard good things about adding this to pastries and cakes.  To my understanding, browned butter takes baked goods to a whole new level of richness and gives it that "what is it" factor.  But before I got too ahead of myself, I felt like I should ease into this ingredient slowly.  Since summer is finally coming to a close I knew I wanted to make at least one last recipe using peaches.  In my mind peaches are always perfect with crusty, buttery, and simple ingredients...and....did I just describe cobbler?  Well, that explains why I chose to pair them with butter.   

I used my new favorite butter for this recipe. because believe it or not the quality makes a noticeable difference!  It is truly easy to make and while it may sound and look sophisticated, it's really not.  It goes perfectly with biscuits, bread, oatmeal or anything your heart desires.  Just make sure to exercise self control and stick to the 80% healthy rule...this way we all win!

Now onto the recipe.

Browned Butter with Caramelized Peaches

Makes approximately 1/2 cup

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 of a peach, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Start by heating a small sauce pan on medium heat.  Melt butter and when it's completely liquified add the rest of the ingredients.  It should start to simmer after about 2 minutes.  Keep simmering and stirring every now and then, for about 4 more minutes.  The peaches should be extremely tender and a bit caramelized, while the butter should literally be light brown.  Let it cool down and pour into a bowl or container.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours or place in freezer for about 1 hour.  Now it's ready to be spread on your favorite food!

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul
Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

Peach adds a slightly sweet taste to the butter, while toning down the richness just a little bit.  It's really the perfect food to indulge in with your favorite bread, especially when you're in need of good ol' comfort food. :)

Peachy browned butter | fit for the soul

As I mentioned last time, my in-laws are visiting from Kansas and life couldn't be better right now!  Seeing Selah play with her grandparents sends happy vibes to my soul and what's even better is that she's walking like a champ.  Perhaps she knew that she was about to show off to them? 

My mother in law also brought us some souvenirs from their trip to Alaska, and I can safely say that I was in foodie ecstasy when I opened my gift.  So check this out.  She brought me an Alaskan ULU knife!  Wait, what in the world is an ULU knife? (don't worry I had no idea either, and no it's not to be used when you're angry).  It's a knife that is made exclusively in Alaska, and is great for a number of purposes.  People mainly use it for chopping up food nowadays, and I can't wait to start making endless amounts of veggies with this thing.  I have no idea how to use it efficiently though, so I'll definitely have to read up on that because this thing is horrifyingly sharp!  Yikes.

ulu alaskan knife.jpg

Have you ever tried browned butter before, or cooked with it? 

What are your thoughts on butter consumption--honestly?

-I have definitely embraced it and enjoy it once in a while.  If it's there, great!  If it's not, I'll happily use healthy oils like coconut oil.

 

Lately

Okay so let's bring out the ginormous elephant in the room whose tail is comically sticking out through an imaginary window in Looney Tunes style. Sorry about that--I just have a really crazy imagination! We all (most of us) know this blog goes by the name Fit for the Soul and its main motto has always been that "true health starts from the inside out".  This means that whatever we put in our bodies such as healthy and wholesome food should, in fact, return the favor of making us healthier individuals overall.  In addition, I genuinely believe that the greatest factor of true health starts from within our souls.  In other words, feeding mind and spirit equals happy mind and spirit.  Well, if you've noticed in the last few weeks I've been posting more recipes than workouts.  And the truth is that they haven't been the most vegan, gluten free, or health junkie friendly whatsoever.  Not in the least bit, my friends...not in the least bit. 

I've come to the conclusion that although I love to film videos and and share excruciating workouts with you, I don't think I will be doing it all that often for a while.  Not once or twice a week like I used to.  Sure, I will be more than happy to post about those whenever inspiration hits (or if you really want to see my routines then I'll happily share!), but it definitely will be more sporadic as opposed to posts of food, recipes, and life in general.  For now at least. We'll see how things transpire over the course of the next few months since I tend to crave change pretty often.  It's just that I've been bitten by the shutterbug and if I could somehow realistically go off on a photo expedition for days and days, I probably would.  So how do I remedy that darn shutterbug for the time being?  By photographing people and recipes. :)  I will say, however, that I love to share exercises and it will be hard to not stick to that routine.  But if I want to focus on one thing that truly brings satisfaction between the two, it would be food and pretty things, haha.

Now, to explain the lack of 100% clean recipes as of late...well, let me just say that the wiser I grow in this healthy living journey the more apparent it becomes that true health (for me) means to embrace every single aspect of life.  Of course I still eat 80% healthy like usual, but I've learned to be completely okay with indulging in what is seemingly the "worst plague" known to a fitness enthusiast, aka dessert, butter cream, bread that contains white flour (the horror!), and so forth.  So even though I will post about healthy food and recipes since that's what I live off anyway, I want to let myself be free and share even the not-so-clean-recipes.  Embracing love, godly inspiration, and mouth watering recipes, is my goal right now.  I guess you could say that encompasses the idea of passion and balance?  All that to say that things may look a bit different but the essence of Fit for the Soul is still there.  I'm here.  You're here!  And that's all that matters.

Disclaimer:  A few too many photos in this post but like I said, let's be free and snap away to our heart's content! 

Lately {Musings Food and Fitness}

selah taking few steps at 14 months

I feel extremely blessed to have this munchkin in my life.  I always feared that I wouldn't know what "unconditional love" means when it came to loving my own child, but I've been proven wrong time and again because she's precious just the way she is.  Selah is now taking 3-5 steps depending on whether she's on wooden or carpeted floors.  She's not early and she's not late, but the important lesson I'm learning is that no matter what my love doesn't change.  Now, if she throws tantrums for days then my patience can run a bit low...haha. 

brown butter peach scones

Sometimes recipes turn out completely different from how I initially imagined.  Yes, these scones were decently good but I'm afraid our friendship would be severed if I shared them on here.

lavender in a vase

I'm seriously not trying to zen myself out here, but inspiration truly is everywhere!  Something about greenery and pretty herbs that get me going in the kitchen.

breakfast buffet at Playa del Rey bed and breakfast

Day dreaming of this breakfast buffet from Playa del Rey B&B!  That was the last date that we went on thanks to my in-laws, but thank goodness I have pictures to live through it again.  On a related note, they are coming this Monday and we couldn't be more excited to spend some time together.  Since summer is coming to a close I probably should take them to the beach?

al pastor tacos with homemade guacamole

Let me tell you.  Pre-marinated spicy al pastor meat is amazing.  Sure, it may contain some ingredients I probably don't want to know about, but until I learn how to make it myself this will have to do.   At least there's homemade guacamole on the side?

one legged standing splits--yoga

A huge accomplishment right here!  Standing splits were my enemy because I always felt like I would fall forward.  Errr well, I have.  It definitely is a move that gets me out of my comfort zone as it pushes me to keep practicing even though I don't see instant improvement.

morning toast and devotional

The mentality of spending time with God no matter what it takes may seem fanatical to many people.  The funny thing is that God is fanatical!  About loving us, that is.  I notice such a change in attitude when I start off this way, because it's like a reset button that takes me from my carnally inclined self to seeing through His eternal eyes.  

Have a wonderful weekend!


If you have a blog or website, in what ways have you grown or changed the content?

What are some things that are inspiring you lately?  Or passionate about?

Homemade Whole Wheat Buns+Lavender Cream

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream | fit for the soul

Hey guys!  I don't know how I could have forgotten to share this important news on my last post, but truth is--I've got some buns in the oven.  It was quite unexpected you could say, as I wasn't planning on it at all this week nor the next.  Heck.  I really didn't think this could happen at least within the next few years even!  I sincerely believed that life would take me in a different direction but alas, I came up with these beautiful and fluffy whole wheat buns after much daydreaming of making galettes for the first time. ;)  I'll tackle those galettes soon enough.

It has been a long time since I've baked up some yeasty bread because as you might have guessed, it's one ingredient that I seem to steer away from due to "bad" experiences.  Well, I think it's fair to say that once you give yeast a second (or third or fourth) chance and don't go too crazy with the ingredients on your first few tries, it's actually really easy to work with.  With that in mind, I didn't make these into 100% wheat as I was afraid I'd end up with gummy bread.  I kept it safe by using part whole wheat and part white flour.  

I've got to say...Mandy sure knows how to engage you with her volatile writing (read: angry) and amazing food!  Her gorgeous photos are sure to make you go gahhhhhhh in front of your screen and ummmmm I think she has the power to take fear away?  Fear of making fluffy yeast bread, as evidenced by the upcoming recipe.  Although my recipe is far from the ingredients she used, I have to credit her for the all the inspiration and slight adaptations in my own recipe. Note: the next few paragraphs can be quite long so feel free to skip to the recipe.

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream dough fermenting | fit for the soul

Trust me in this.  You really want to try these cute buns slathered with zesty lavender butter cream!  The sweetness mainly comes from the cream of course, but the whole idea of eating fluffy bread with such a fragrant addition is akin to running through lavender fields in France.  Not that I've done that...yet.  You want to know a fun fact?  Back when I was in high school my best class was French.  I loved everything about it...everything from the grammar to the tests (yes, I said that), to the cultural lessons, and the fact that I excelled in it.  Pretty much the only subject I was good at, hehe.  But I digress.  Since I was so in love with it all I often contemplated whether I should study abroad in France.  Sometimes the dream felt so real.  I specifically remember my teacher suggesting to little ol' me that I should take that leap of faith and study abroad.  I mean, my teacher liked me?  She really really liked me?  Enough to want to recommend me to certain universities in France, where lavender fields and endless amount of perfect food await this foodie?!  Well, you can probably guess how that went.  After prayer and spending time in God's presence I knew that it wasn't the right path for me.  Despite my own desires He said no; you see, only He knew best and what marvelous dreams He had in store for me.  Yes, at the time I still held on to my honest doubts, wondering if I had heard correctly from Him, but as time went on, those doubts gently faded as I was able to experience more and meet the perfect people for me.  Also known as, Greg (and everyone else who has been making a difference in my life). 

So where am I going with this?  Well first of all, I just wanted to share a bit more about my young(er) days.  But I'm also surprised at how much something as seemingly neutral as food can take me back to those fun memories.  I may not be able to be in France or run through lavender fields a la Julie Andrews style, but at least I'm able to kick back with a mug of piping hot coffee and these buns slathered in lavender cream.  Enjoy, dear friends!  And I mean, enjoy whatever you have at the moment because you never know where God is leading you. 

Now onto the recipe.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Buns with Lavender Cream

Makes 13-14 servings

Ingredients for whole wheat buns

1 cup+2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp milk of choice

1 large egg+1 egg white

4 tbsp softened butter, diced small

Ingredients for lavender cream

4 tbsp room temperature butter, cubed

3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp crushed dry lavender buds

lemon zest of 1/4 of lemon

some lemon juice to smooth out cream

Directions

Use your standmixer (or hand mixer) with dough hook attachment.  First mix the first three ingredients.  Then add honey, salt, and the rest of the ingredients and knead on medium speed for a few minutes until everything is "glued" together. Add tiny bits of white flour if it's too sticky and knead a little longer. It should be somewhat sticky, but still easy to transfer to a large bowl. 

After you place it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 50 min.-1 hour.  I refrigerated it after that through the night, but I think it's still best to let it rise for 1-2 hours right before baking instead.  If you do refrigerate overnight make sure to put it in a warm area to finish up rising for about 1 hour.  After that, take small balls with dusted hands and gently stretch them on a lined cookie sheet.  Fold it in a taco unto itself, and then two more times in different directions. (kind of like folding towels)  Gently make into ball shape and place about 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 18 minutes or golden on top. 

Let cool down and make lavender cream.  For the cream, just beat all the ingredients and add more lemon juice if it's too rough, but you shouldn't need much of it.  With serrated knife slice through the middle of the bread horizontally.  Fill with butter cream and voila!

 

fluffy homemade whole wheat buns.jpg
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These are extremely soft on the inside, and butter cream has a mild aroma but far from soapy. 

Homemade whole wheat buns with lavender cream | fit for the soul
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Have you studied abroad?  Or been to France?  What were your experiences like?

Favorite lavender recipe?