Gluten-Free Pancakes

I don’t know what my sister have been eating or reading because she gave me some organic gluten free stuff last Christmas which I hate.  I hate it because

#1 I I don’t know how to use them.

#2 I had to use them because its too darn expensive to waste.

I’m very new to gluten-free baking and I’m not even sure if I’m gluten sensitive or whatever that means.   But anyways, I recently just found time to actually make pancakes out of them.

artistic milestones

Gluten-free flour. Organic Flax Seeds, Maple syrup (picture below ) and Xanthan Gum

To make a long story short, I have been making pancakes for already four mornings before I actually got it right.

I might have overestimated my ability to make pancakes and I realized that gluten free baking is not as simple as substituting regular flour to gluten free flour.

Here’s a picture of my 1st attempt — Looks a bit like regular pancakes but it’s crumbly and not fluffy. The moment I tasted this I just had to check the expiration date and the ingredients in the packet.   The subtle bean-like taste that I hate is obviously due to the garbanzo bean flour in the gluten-free flour mix. Gluten free pancakes But I still ate them… with lots of syrup.  Eating weird tasting food is a skill I have developed after years of becoming a self-taught baker.  After researching I learned that adding some ground flax seeds helps with the texture. I also planned to add some mashed banana to hopefully mask the bean-y taste.   Further research also made me realise that eliminating gluten in my diet could probably help me with my headaches so I guess this is worth it.  Ergo, below are some pictures of my 2nd attempt Gluten free cooking Staring at my pancakes that has been cooking for already 4.5 minutes on one side yet still no bubbles forming on top only indicates one thing: A failure.  The result was tough and gummy. But the taste is a big improvement. Go Bananas!

For my 3rd attempt I decided to follow the Bob’s Red Mill recipe online and it came out flat and the taste was like the worst pancake ever made…but I still ate them.  (forgot to take pictures)

My 4th attempt was finally a success Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 3.09.04 PM After its been cooking for 1.5 minutes, these beautiful bubbles started forming.  I knew that this is it! Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 3.09.36 PM The result looks like a normal pancake and it tasted delicious even without the banana and maple syrup!  I think I’ll try this gluten free diet thing just to see if it works on my headache attacks.  It does not exactly taste like normal pancakes but its definitely a tasty substitute 🙂  See recipe below.

Gluten Free Pancakes

Combine all these Dry ingredients together in a bowl :
1 cup Gluten Free All purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoon white sugar

Combine all these Wet ingredients together in another bowl :
1 large egg
1 cup almond milk or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon melted butter

Procedure: Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Heat a nonstick pan on low to medium heat then spoon in 2 Tablespoon of the batter at a time. Heat for 1.5 minute on one side or until bubbles started forming (see photo above ) then turn the pancakes and cook for 1 more minute on the other side. Lower the heat if its browning too fast. Increase the heat if its looking too pale. Serve with maple syrup. YUM!

Christmas Baking 2015 | Christmas Cookies

Last batch of Gingerbread men I’ll be baking for this year’s Christmas.

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If you’re interested in baking a batch, click the recipe with pictures and video right HERE

Enjoy your Happy Holidays beautiful people!

Christmas Elves | Christmas Tradition | Best Gingerbread Cookies!

It’s Gingerbread time again! How about creating beautiful Christmas memories in the kitchen this year?!

This delicious gingerbread men recipe is kid chef friendly and a guarantee to improve your kids creative potential.

Gingerbread Men Recipe

3 3/4 Cups All purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
2 teaspoon ginger powder

1.5 Cups Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Molasses ( can be substitute with honey )
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Using the electric mixer on medium high speed, cream butter till light then add in the sugar.  Cream until light and fluffy then add in 1 egg.  Mix well then add in the molasses and vanilla extract.  Mix well then spoon in half of the dry ingredients.  Mix well then add the rest of the dry ingredients.

Divide the dough into 3 parts and wrap it in sandwich bag or cling wrap. (The dough will be very wet.) Refrigerate for about an hour or even overnight.

Preheat the oven at 350 degree

Dust your work space with some flour and knead the dough until it’s not so sticky to handle.  Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick in between parchment paper then use gingerbread cookie cutter to make shapes, remove the excess dough then place shaped dough on the baking tray.  ( please watch the video if you don’t understand )

Note: Kids may need lots of parchment papers cut into about bond paper size sheets during the rolling of the dough to make it easier for their little hands to handle.

Bake for 8 minutes for a scrumptiously chewy cookies;  And about 10minutes for a scrumptiously crunchy cookies.  Let the cookies cool down at room temp. before lifting them up from the pan.  Once cooled, time to DECORATE with lots of colorful royal icing !

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Royal icing recipe and lots more sample decorations HERE

After decorating your cookies with icings and sweets, let it set completely at room temperature, which will take about an hour depending on the thickness of your icing.

Finally, store the cookies in airtight container  between parchment papers for up to 1.5 weeks.

Don’t forget to leave some for Santa 🙂


Mom’s Birthday , Casual Sunday


It was my mom’s birthday this week and we celebrated it last Sunday.  We left the house at 6am and got to my mom’s place just in time, 7am!   We wanted it to be a breakfast surprise.  I would post pictures but then it was a pajama party so kind of embarrassing.

The crazy pajama theme was actually my idea, if you know me it wouldn’t take very long to figure out why I chose that theme.  Haha!  But it was seriously a fun and relaxing party!  We brought lots of foods and gave her sets of Marks and Spencer brand PJ and my Bug (my 4 year old) gave her her baked masterpiece — Apple Pecan Cobbler which she made the day before.

Bug is super fond of my mom whom she calls Guama –a chinese fookien term for grandma (mother-side).   She wanted to make her something big which means bigger than what she usually makes.  So we decided on a cobbler recipe since its simple enough for her age and it taste better than apple pie and my mom loves apple pie.

apple crumble / cobbler recipe

By definition a cobbler is a deep-dish fruit pie with a thick top crust so we sometimes also call it a “crumble”.  They taste almost like cake tops or muffin tops, basically the best part of any cake! So this recipe has always been my favorite.  Watch how Bug makes this on the video !

Btw, I also made some improvements in editing my videos.  I added subtitles since Bug just says the cutest things while baking, I also made improvements in the video transitions etc.   I hope you’ll enjoy watching it and tell me what you think and I really appreciate comments and suggestions on how I can improve my video editing “skills.”

Ingredients for the Apple Pecan Cobbler / Crumble 

4 Cups thinly sliced apples, I used granny smith

1/2 Cup sugar (white or brown)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup chopped caramelized pecans

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 Cup Evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 Cup melted butter

1/4 Cup caramelized pecans

*Tip: you can lessen the sugar in the crumble to 1/4 Cup if you wanted it less sweet and still taste great.   * You may serve this with yoghurt or a scoop of vanilla ice cream 🙂

Donut Recipe / Cake Doughnuts / Kids cooking

Doughnut or Donut is a fried ring shape dessert that is comprised of 100% Bad Carbs, 100% Bad Fats and perhaps ?% Preservative.  Pure evil.  Don’t you agree?

Of course you do.  That is why it’s so hard to resist donut temptations.

And that is also why I have tried my best (even though I know it’s impossible) to prevent Bug from ever discovering what the hell is a doughnut.

To make a sad story short.  Recently, ‘doughnut’ became her new vocabulary.  It happened just about 3 weeks ago after being invited to a friend’s birthday party.  And ever since then she never stopped asking for a doughnut every time we pass by a doughnut store.  

Hence last week I decided to make a ‘considerably healthy” doughnut recipe that Bug / kids can learn to make and enjoy.  No yeast needed, so it’s pretty fast to make.  And best of all kids love them.

cake donut recipe

Uncooked donuts by Chef Celeste

But first let me just clear out one thing, making donuts are not at all easy for a kid beginner or even adult.  Bug made this twice last week before getting it right.  The first time she made this it was a bit tough because she over kneaded the dough and added too much flour.  At one point I think she even forgot that she was handling a bread dough and not play dough.  I knew it would happen and I was expecting it but I didn’t jump in to help her because I wanted her to learn.  The second time around was delicious!  So if your little one don’t get it right the first time, TRY AGAIN because it’s worth it.

I personally like them coated with just plain cinnamon sugar or spread with strawberry jam but I’m sure Bug prefers them frosted with sprinkles and such like the store bought ones.  So below are frosting recipes I used for our doughnuts.

Strawberry glaze:  The one I used in the video is just melted white chocolate with a drop of strawberry oil and red food coloring.

Caramel glaze :  I used store bought caramel sauce

White chocolate glaze : melted white chocolate.

Cinnamon Sugar topping:  Mix 1/4 Cup white sugar + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Ingredients to make 4 standard doughnuts
Difficulty Level : Moderate for kids.

1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoon All purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoon sugar
2.5 Tablespoon Sour Cream
Please watch the video for the procedure 🙂

Tips for a tender donut:
– Do not over knead the dough for it will result in tough donut.  Knead for just a couple of minutes.  If the dough is too sticky to roll out, fold in a little more flour just until it’s good enough to roll with a rolling pin.

– Fry just until golden brown on both sides.  About a minute per side.

Eat them fresh because they taste the best!

The Little Chef That Could

Honey French Toast Recipe
One of her favorite breakfast foods served with fresh fruits.

Before my Bug turned into a little masterchef-in-the-making I didn’t plan on teaching her how to cook or bake anything at such an early age __3 years old??? What?  In fact it never even crossed my mind.  This entire cooking frenzy kind of just happened.

It was around Feb or March Sunday morning when I got a new nanny and as usual I always teach the new nanny how to cook Bug’s favorite foods.   At that time I was teaching the Nanny how to cook Banana pancakes.  When suddenly Bug said ” you forgot the oil mommy.”   I was surprised because I wasn’t even aware that was she paying attention all this time.   Trying to stay focused and excited at the same time I told her nanny to let bug make her own pancakes while we watch.  And she did it. With gusto!  I taught her how to measure the ingredients properly, two tries later she’s now a pro at making pancakes.  If you haven’t seen her banana pancake video you have to watch it!

Easy Pancake Recipe

And to add to our excitement my mom gave Bug a cooking kit  I wrote about it right HERE.  At that point I told her nanny to let Bug make most of her breakfast foods.  Hence the little masterchef-in-the-making is born.

I would love to think that she’s born with exceptional cooking skills, MAYBE, but I think it was more of right timing and receiving a good amount of attention for me to discover what her interests are and then giving her the opportunity to love it even more.

Below are some more foods that Bug can make pretty much by herself.  These recipes are kid friendly so I hope it will inspire you to teach you’re kids or even yourself how to cook, bake, measure, and have fun in the kitchen!

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
Here she learned the meaning of “cutting cheese into cubes” and some basic knife skills.

I also told her that this is the ONLY knife she can ever use..  It’s part of the cooking set I introduced in the Pancake video above.  I love it because it’s as big as a real chef knife, sharp enough to cut through some vegetables and fruits and yet very safe for kids.

Toasted Cheese Sandwich
I know I know it’s not Halloween but she loves wearing this pajamas because it glows in the dark and she can dance the skeleton dance!

This recipe is real simple with only three ingredients.  Bread, butter, and cheese! She learned how to use a toaster here and where the ingredients are kept.   On this video she even danced the skeleton dance called ” Them Bones” while waiting for the toaster to ring.

Chocolate Cupcakes with frosting

artistic milestones This is the newest recipe i taught her, a lot more challenging for her because it has many new ingredients like flour, cocoa, baking soda, yoghurt, etc.  I explained the function of each of the ingredients so she’d know how important they are in making this cake.

kids can cook

She made this just last week but she had been requesting to make this for more than a month now.   Most of the chocolate cake recipes require the use of an electric mixer which is way too heavy for a 3 year old, so it took me quite a while to come up with a recipe that’s not too sugary, chocolatey, quite healthy and does not require the use of an electric mixer from the cake to the frosting.  Her cupcake video will be up next as soon as I find the time.

I know a lot of people who can’t cook and they end up addicted to fast foods which is NOT healthy. I certainly don’t want that for bug. I want her to love cooking or at least grow up knowing how to cook her meals because home cooked meals are much much healthier than restaurant foods.

Ever since I have involved Bug in cooking I noticed that she has became more aware of what goes in her food, whats healthy and whats not. It’s messy most of the time but whats a little mess if it will help her develop some cooking, math, memorization and practical life skills.  Not to mention improvement in her vocabulary, confidence and appetite.

marinating chicken

Her nanny is teaching Celeste how to marinate chicken . She’s a little grossed out with the chicken but that’s normal for a beginner 🙂

Have you tried cooking with your kids?  What’s it like? What did you guys cook???