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6 Easy Japanese Mochi Recipes For Beginners

6 Easy Japanese Mochi Recipes For Beginners

Mochiko is a popular Japanese rice cake which has made its mark all over the world. Traditionally, it was made to celebrate the Japanese New Year but now it is eaten throughout the twelve months. It is a versatile eating dish and can be made in various shapes and sizes.
Basic Traditional Mochiko
The most basic mochi is also the easiest to make. You start off by placing that red bean paste you’ve made into an aluminum foil. Place this foil wrapped bean paste in the freezer and leave it there for three hours. Now, mix in the green tea powder and sweet rice flour along with the water and sugar. You need to keep stirring it till it is smooth and once it gets to that point wrap it in plastic. You then want to heat the mixture in the microwave for more than a few minutes and cut the stuff into small pieces on a word surface covered in cornstarch. That’s your basic mochi.
1. Chocolate Mochiko
If you want a chocolate flavoured mochi, you need to use one fourth cup chocolate chips in the melted state and stir it into the mochi batter before you start preparing it. After mixing mochiko with sugar in a bowl, one should add water to it and make sure that the mixture is watery. Then it should be covered with a plastic wrap and placed inside a microwaveable dish. It should be microwaved at a high temperature for approximately 4 minutes and subsequently you have to take off the plastic wrap. Make sure that it is gets cold before you cut and serve it to your guests.
2. Green Tea Extract Mochiko
In an aluminum foil, red bean paste needs to be wrapped and put in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. Green tea powder (a form of green tea extract) should be mixed well with sweet rice flour preferably in a ceramic bowl or a microwave friendly dish. Sugar needs to be added to the mixture after it is stirred thoroughly in water. Afterwards the bowl should be covered with a plastic wrap and the rice flour mixture should be cooked in the microwave for about three and a half minutes. Meanwhile the red bean paste needs to be divided into 8 equal balls and kept aside. Make sure that you stir the rice flour mixture and heat it for another 30 seconds. Make use of cornstarch while dusting the surface you are preparing to work upon. Try rolling the balls in the size of 2 table spoons and after flattening the mochi ball, a chilled red bean paste ball should be placed in the centre. After pinching the mochi on top of the red bean paste, add cornstarch and keep the mochi seam side in a paper muffin liner so that it doesn’t stick itself.
3. Sweet Mochiko
If you are interested in preparing sweet mochiko, then you should mix it with water in a bowl which is heat proof. Keep on adding water so that it doesn’t become dry. Now comes the steaming part. You need to steam it in a bowl by placing it inside the steamer for about 20 minutes. Then the steamed mochi should be shifted into a pot and cooked with 2/3 cups of sugar at medium heat. After the sugar dissolves fully, add another round of sugar(1/3rd) and mix it thoroughly. Be careful while melting the sugar; you do not want your dish to burn. In a while, take out the hot mochi from the pot and put it in a sheet pan which needs to be dusted with cornstarch. Shape the mochi dough in any form you like.
4. Butter Mochiko
Are you sick of having chocolate mochi? Want to try something new? How about butter mochis! For this you need to make sure that your oven is reheated up to 350 degrees. Take a 9×13″ pan and put some oil in it. Keep aside the mixture of sweet rice flour, baking powder and sugar. Now mix the beaten eggs and vanilla extract together until it becomes a smooth paste. After that, add the butter and milk; both evaporated and coconut and heat it at a low temperature. Now mix all the ingredients together and bake for about an hour. After cooling it on a wire rack, take the help of a knife and cut it into small and equal pieces. Your butter mochis are ready to be eaten.
5. Pumpkin mochiko
Pumpkin mochiko is another alternative if you are tired of the chocolate and plain ones. What you need here is pure pumpkin, a filling of pumpkin pie and condensed milk which is sweetened. The preparation is same as the butter mochi and after combining the dry and wet ingredients together, you need to take two pie dishes, grease them and pour the mochi batter into both evenly. Don’t take it out till the edges turn golden brown. This would take around 45 minutes. Afterwards allow the mochi to cool itself; this will take 2-3 hours and then cut it with a knife and have it!
6. Mochi cookies
It sound appealing and those of you who want to try it out as a snack should follow this method. First you mix all the ingredients (egg, butter and cream) and leave aside the mochi and matcha powder. After stirring the mixture, add in the matcha powder until it reaches an uniform green color and stir it. Add the mochi pieces too. Now make mochi balls of size one inch diameter wise and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake them for 10-12 minutes and after they the edges turn into a golden brown , take them out and wait till they cool down before serving them on a platter.

Featured photo credit: Mochi at Berry Freeze/Rich Moffitt via flickr.com

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Mike Dawson

International Trade with Healthy Living Style

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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