For the Sweet Tooth: Tropical Croquembouches

January 27, 2020
For the Sweet Tooth: Tropical Croquembouches | Read it on #Food #Pastries #Croquembouches #Holidays #Baking #SweetTooth

The best part about the holiday is finally getting to sleep in, getting to watch all of the movies I want, seeing my friends, and last but not least, baking with my family. Baking for me is always a team effort. I either need someone (usually my sister) to hold something while I take a picture, or mix something because I'm getting tired (usually my dad), or to help me troubleshoot a recipe (usually my mom). This holiday was no exception. 

This time around, my family and I attempted to make Croquembouches (aka Profiteroles, aka Cream Puffs) to kick off the new year. Because nothing says "Happy New Year" quite like a tower of Croquembouches. Honestly, if you have got nothing to do on a cold winter's afternoon, I  suggest giving these a try. And as I was compiling each puff, it gave me a good opportunity to reflect on the outgoing year and things that the last decade had taught me about life and baking.

1. Don't be afraid to try new things

Cliché, I know. Almost everything that I have been too intimidated to try (i.e. dancing, acting in a musical, blogging, etc.), once I finally got around to trying it, I realized almost immediately how easy it was to do. I don't mean that I became an expert at whatever I was doing right off the bat, but that, once I got started, I realized that I should not have been intimidated in the first place. In fact, it made me regret not trying it sooner because in the time it took me to decide to take the initial step, I missed out on valuable practice time that would have allowed me to be better than I am now.

Strangely enough, making Croquembouches was one of those things. Now, that I have made them I am definitely better off, and have the skills I need to tackle other pastries. (But also it is an incredibly easy recipe to do, so if you're on the fence, you should definitely give it a try).

2. Two heads are better than one

This applies to life and when making croquembouches, trust me.

The recipe listed was supposed to produce 150 standard size croquembouches. But, I am sure that we ended making a ton more. This means that there was a lot of piping (and then scooping when we got too tired and gave up), baking, cooling, stuffing, and dipping fun to last for hours, and I do mean hours. It is great because if your family is prone to sneaking bites of your treats while baking like mine is (aka the reason I am unsure how many croquembouches we actually made) then you will have more than enough left afterwards. However, if you are tackling this task on your own, I suggest either making less or making room in your freezer to use the dough at a later time.

3. Be creative

Croquembouches are great if you have lots of leftovers remaining from previous pastry endeavours. Especially if you are comfy in your PJs, it is cold outside, and you have absolutely no intention of leaving the house to get more groceries, then this is the recipe for you. Luckily, I had made a tasty, but not quite festive-looking yule log and had all of this "tropical" mousse left that needed to be used soon. I also had some raspberry whipping cream that had been sitting in my freezer waiting to be defrosted and used once again. And coincidentally, I had just enough chocolate shavings to make some chocolate ganache to dip the puffs in for extra added flavour. At that point, I figured why stop there? It's the new year! So I decided to finally find a way to incorporate the guava paste, that I have had sitting in my pantry. It was a great choice

Be creative my friends, because who knows what incredible things your innovations might uncover?

4. Be flexible

Plans change all the time. That is just the way life works, and you can either change your plans to adapt with it, or get stuck clinging to the past.

In this case, our initial plan was to make a sophisticated Croquembouche tower, like the kind you see in one of those baking contests on TV. However, as the day progressed, and the size of our puffs grew with our impatience, we were more focused on getting to eat them, then stacking them. So we put that dream to rest for the time being. That's totally a-okay because in the end our little project definitely got us in the holiday spirit and we had a good time making these tasty treats. And I am sure that you will too!

For the Sweet Tooth: Tropical Croquembouches | Read it on #Food #Pastries #Croquembouches #Holidays #Baking #SweetTooth

Recipes Used

Croquembouches: Tasty's How To Make A Croquembouche (Cream Puff Tower)

Chocolate Ganache: Sally's How to Make Chocolate Ganache (Easy Recipe)

Tropical Mousse: Rebecca's Creamy Orange Mousse

Guava Marmalade

I definitely eyeballed and used some baker's intuition on this one. So I do not have an exact recipe, but here was my process:

1 cup of water
1/2 a pack of Conchita guava paste (so 200 grams or 1 cup)
Lemon juice, to taste

I brought the water to a boil on the stovetop. Next, I added the guava paste and once added, I kept stirring and squishing it to speed up the melting process. Eventually, once the paste had melted down, I added the lemon juice and covered it to let it reduce/thicken up to my desired jam-like consistency.


This is the fun part! Once the Croquembouches are cooked and cooled down, proceed with a piping bag to stuff it with whatever combination of fillings that you desire.

Some Croquembouches had mousse and marmalade, while others had the raspberry whipped cream and marmalade, and others were a combo of all three (although you may want to pay special attention to the portion you are using to stuff it because it tended to explode out of the other end).

Then you can dip them in the chocolate ganache and leave them on a baking tray to harden. (Note: Do leave the dipping to the end. We got a bit overzealous with the chocolate and dipped prior to stuffing, and the result was kind of a mess! Learn from my mistakes, and dip yours after stuffing.)

For the Sweet Tooth: Tropical Croquembouches | Read it on #Food #Pastries #Croquembouches #Holidays #Baking #SweetTooth
Like it? Pin it! Share it! :)

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna

January 20, 2020
A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

During our stay, my cousin Alex was kind enough to show us around the city of Lubumbashi, but also to show us a few places outside of the city to have some different experiences. Ferme Hasna, which translates to Hasna Farm in English, is so much more than the name entails. It offers a nice retreat from the city and allows a place to get in touch with nature, see some cool animals, relax and have fun all in one go.

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

First things first, there are peacocks. They strut around like they own the place and they move as a group. Like some kind of well-coifed posse. But besides the party of peacocks, there's Hasna itself. A charming place outside of the city where you can fish (and actually eat the fish you catch!), swim and ride motorbikes, and pet goats. I did not do any of the latter, unfortunately (although I did try the fish which was great), but credible sources say it's a real hoot-- especially on the weekends when its a full house. But we still had a great time walking among the peacocks, marvelling at Hasna's unique architecture, and taking in nature by the water.

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo


1. If you want a really good time

Go on the weekends or check out their social media for when they have events going on.

2. If you want to take pictures

Go before sunset on a weekday. When we got there there weren't many people and we pretty much had the place for ourselves, this was fine because we got to explore calmly and take pictures without having to worry about people walking in and out of the shot.

A Visit to Lubumbashi's Ferme Hasna | Read it on | #Travel #Adventure #CongoPositif #Lubumbashi #Africa #Globetrotter #DemocraticRepublicOfCongo
Like it? Pin it! Save it for later!

3 Books to Get Your New Year's Resolutions Started Off Right

January 13, 2020

3 Books to Get Your New Year's Resolutions Started Off Right. Read it on #Books #NewYear #NewYearsResolutions #RachelHollis # Inspiration #AlizaLicht #AlexandraReinwath #SelfHelp

Happy New Year everyone! Like most people when the new year begins I start setting or reevaluating my goals for the upcoming year and beyond. Sometimes that means creating a vision board or watching an inspirational Ted Talk. But sometimes, I need something more motivating in order to stick to my resolutions. I need a good book (or three). If you do too, here are 3 books to help you get the new year started off on a good foot.

For the New Year's Resolution Keeper: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis is the perfect book to kick off the new year. Whip yourself into shape and follow your dreams no matter how big or small or simple or complex them may be.

It's great because she says a lot of things that you probably hear all the time, but don't really listen too. But she makes you listen to them and see how these simple bits of knowledge can turn your life around. She's like your personal hype-man. Like all the motivational quotes and advice you've heard mixed into one, found in one great book.

But beyond the powerful positive pep, the book has a lot of practical, actionable (well explained) steps to get you focused on being the best you that you can be and achieving your dreams in a nick of time. Girl, Stop Apologizing hands you the tools to build up your confidence and the foundations of your success to take control of your destiny.

I kept reading it before bed and I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to break out my notebook and my laptop and get to planning. Ultimately, sleep won over but I would wake up energized to seize the day. This book is like having your own pep-talk coach. Except instead of an intense speech to motivate you before a game, it teaches you all about developing an internal motivational monologue that will get you through whatever life throws at you.

Favourite quote
"You can start again over and over and over until the feeling of moving in the right direction is more natural to you than the feeling of giving up."
~ Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing

For the Aspiring Social Media Rockstar: Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media. by Aliza Licht

As we follow Aliza's Licht's journey from medical student to the owner of a viral Twitter account developed as the manager for the major fashion brand DKNY, we get to experience her rises and falls throughout her career that made her who she is today. This book reminded me that it is okay to dream another dream no matter how far behind you think you are. If you are willing to put in the research and the work then you'll make great strides towards your goal. While Aliza's dream was to enter the fashion industry Leave Your Mark has a lot of practical advice that can apply to any sector that you are pursuing. I actually read this book quite a while ago, but the tips and tricks found within it have been useful time and time again. This book is great for those (like me!) who are just starting off in their careers and need a bit of guidance to find their way by avoiding any mishaps and embracing and eventually thriving in your field of expertise.

Favourite quote
“Life isn’t a dress rehearsal; you have to go for it. But it takes hard work and dedication and you might not always get what you think you deserve. It doesn’t matter. Handle yourself with professionalism and remember that in business, your personal brand is your greatest asset. Mind your reputation and the rest will come.”
― Aliza Licht, Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.

For the Recovering People-Pleaser: The Good Girl's Guide to Being a D*ck: The Art of Saying What You Want and Getting the Life You Deserve by Alexandra Reinwath

I know what you're thinking. Don't let the title fool you. This book will not turn you into a jerk, but someone who knows exactly what they want and does it (within reason of course). No excuses provided. If the first few books didn't get the message through, with such a title, this book is sure to make sure you get it once and for all. Last year's motto of 2019 according to my friend was assertiveness. Every time one of us had to make a hard decision or were just too indecisive period she would say "Assertive 2019!". And like The Little Engine That Could, it would become my internal battle cry (and my external one, as we would answer her with our own "Assertive 2019!" in an effort to strengthen our resolve and reaffirm whatever our final course of action was) to get me through the challenges I faced that year.

If you find yourself in need of developing your assertive backbone. Or being a bit too much of a people pleaser. Or saying yes when you really want to say no, or better yet feeling bad about it whenever you actually do say no. Then this is the book for you. Alexandra Reinwath provides both anecdotes and advice that's practical, wise, and at times even funny. That is perhaps the best part for me because she makes me realize how silly it is to worry about the things that I do worry about, and most importantly, that other people are going through the same trials and tribulations as me. Ultimately, it helped me to do fewer things I do not want to do and made room for me to do a lot of things that I actually enjoy.

Favourite quote*
~ Alexandra Reinwath, The Good Girl's Guide to Being a D*ck: The Art of Saying What You Want and Getting the Life You Deserve by Alexandra Reinwath

3 Books to Get Your New Year's Resolutions Started Off Right. Read it on #Books #NewYear #NewYearsResolutions #RachelHollis # Inspiration #AlizaLicht #AlexandraReinwath #SelfHelp
Like it? Pin it! Share it!

*You'll totally understand this one once you read the book. Trust me.

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria

January 06, 2020
How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

Last summer on our way to Congo, we had a layover of 14 hours in Vienna. First things first, 14 hours is not enough to truly see Vienna (or any place for that matter), but it is enough to get a taste of it. But from what we did experience I totally look forward to going back again soon.

Honestly, there were probably a ton more things that we could have done in that timeframe, but considering we were absolutely exhausted and decided to go to a hotel to sleep and eat prior to exploring the city, I think we chose pretty well. (Note: The hotel was nothing fancy, but if you're looking for something inexpensive that's close to the airport and Vienna, check it out here). So we did what we usually do when we first enter a new city... we went for a walk.

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

After a nap, we went for a stroll in the heart of Vienna, along its main street Kärntner Strasse and did a mixture of sightseeing and window shopping before heading back to our hotel. I was worried that we wouldn't get a chance to marvel at the city's beautiful architecture but surprisingly, it turned out to be the right choice because even the retail stores that straddle either side of the main street were absolutely beautiful on the inside and the out. (I have never been to an H&M with a golden elevator before. Have you?) Turning the corner into any of the side roads was full of its own sights and in our short walk, we saw St. Stephen's Cathedral, the St. Peters Catholic Church, and a few other historic places.

In the end, I had a great time walking, talking, taking pictures and quietly humming songs from The Sound of Music. And as we drove back to our hotel I made a mental bucket list of all the places I want to see and things I want to do in anticipation for the next time I come to this beautiful city (for hopefully a much longer stay). And after you visit, even if it is for a short time, I am sure that you will feel the same way too.

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture


1. Book ahead of time

We mistakenly did not do this ahead of time and we were in for quite a surprise when our first hotel had no rooms left. However, thankfully, it's part of a chain of hotels and they kindly ordered the company's shuttle service to drive us to their other location the Arion Hotel in Schwechat.

2. Map out ahead of time where you want to go (and adjust when you get there)

We were super undecided about where we wanted to go. This was because a) we were tired, and b) we didn't want anything with a time limit or that would cause us to wait in line for a long time so that we could get the most of our experience. So we did cut into our sightseeing a little bit by trying to figure out our next move. Avoid making the error by planning out ahead of time the places you want to go and adjusting accordingly based on your level of fatigue once you arrive.

3. Map out ahead of time where you want to eat (and adjust when you get there)

Clearly, we were living on the edge during this leg of our journey. I usually have an idea of the restaurants or cafes that I want to try when travelling, but not this time. One we got there we were also undecided about what we wanted to eat, but we knew that whatever it was, it had to be light because we would soon be taking the plane again in a few hours. So once we got back to our hotel, we made the 2-minute walk to the local grocery store Billa and got some groceries to make some sandwiches, as well as some drinks and pastries to tide us over until our next flight.

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

How To Spend a Layover in Vienna, Austria | Read it on | #Travel #Vienna #Layover #Globetrotter #Summer #Architecture

An Afternoon Exploring Athens' Diomidous Botanical Garden

November 15, 2019
Why You Should Visit Athens' Diomidous Botanical Garden | Read it on #travel #greece #athens #globetrotter #botanicalgarden #vacationideas #tourism #adventure #visit

Nature always has a calming effect on me and even the shortest trek through it is enough to clear my mind, body, and soul from any stresses it might have. I never thought to wonder what a botanical garden would be like in another country prior to this trip, but I'm glad that our family friend proposed the Diomidous Botanical Gardens as it provided a welcome change of scenery (as we were getting pretty tired of ruins at this point) and a nice respite from the scorching Greek summer sun.

Why You Should Visit Athens' Diomidous Botanical Garden | Read it on #travel #greece #athens #globetrotter #botanicalgarden #vacationideas #tourism #adventure #visit

About Moi

Life enthusiast x Spontaneous dancer x Adventure seeker

More Info