Monthly Favorites: July 2014

Wait. What.

It can’t already be August. This is ridiculous.

I start school again in two weeks, which I’m a bit iffy about. Half of me is ready to see my friends again, but the other half still wants to hide in bed and remain there for another couple months. Regardless, here’s my favorites for the month of July!

1. Music Favorites:

Rollercoaster – Bleachers

Good Girl – 5 Seconds of Summer

Sheezus – Lily Allen

Summer music. Teenage girl music. Sarcastic music. I love it all.

2.Cut-out Bootscut out boots

photo via google images

Specifically, black ankle-length cut-out boots. They’re versatile, gorgeous, and make me feel like the bad ass high school rebel I am not. See the ones I’m head over heels for here.

3. The Perfect Chocolate Cake choco cakephoto via pinterest

With a housewarming party and my cousin’s birthday coming up, I’ve been on the search for a chocolate cake that puts all the rest to shame. Unfortunately, I haven’t come upon it just yet.

4. Almonds and Dried Cranberriesalmonds

photo via google images

A match made by the man upstairs himself. Nutty, sweet, and tart all together, it’s been my go-to snack this month. Paired with some other munchies, it makes a killer trail mix.

And that’s what I’ve been loving for the past month! I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and may August bring even greater things in your direction.

 

 

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San Francisco: The Ferry Building

After a traffic-filled six hour drive with only cows as scenery, I was more than happy to finally get to the hotel and binge watch Masterchef Juniors until I succumbed to sleep. On a quick tangent, the kids on that show are so freaking talented its ridiculous, I mean really guys, can any eight year olds you know make their own pasta, let alone use the stove without setting something on fire? But that’s besides the point.IMG_3781

The Ferry Building. The Ferry Building. Farmer’s market on the outside, marketplace and artisan shopping on the inside. What more can a food lover ask for? The produce was so fresh, and the stalls were filled with interesting varieties of seasonal fruits and veggies, priced reasonably and available for you to sample before you purchase. There were also nuts, preserves, a small macaron stand, and fresh flowers. The outside market is only open until around two, so if you’re ever nearby I suggest heading over before it closes for the day.

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Inside, there are tons of small artisan shops selling everything ranging from olive oil to pottery to homemade biscuits. We had lunch at Delica, a small Japanese place that has a sort of deli-like vibe to it. They offer bento combos whose offerings are displayed before in cases, as well as rolls and a la carte items. I had the bento with a chicken tofu patty topped with hijiki, green bean salad with sesame dressing, and rice. My brother also had a bento with tonkatsu, green bean salad, and rice. My dad had soba noodle soup (which was hot?!) with kakiage and crab croquette. We all agreed that the food was just satisfactory, decent but not good enough for a second visit.

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After lunch, we walked around a bit more when I spotted the main reasons why I dragged my family there in the first place: Humphry Slocombe and Miette Patisserie. While my brother and parents stood in line at Humphry’s, which was probably the busiest store in the hall, I grabbed some goodies from Miette. The cupcake, sadly, was devoured before photographed (grrr.), but I did grab some shots of the macarons before they disappeared as well. I got pistachio, raspberry, and rose geranium, raspberry being my favorite of the trio. I got the rose to be adventurous, thinking that maybe I’d finally become sophisticated enough for floral flavors, but I was mistaken. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed everything I got. As for Humphry Slocombe, it was all eaten before photographed as well, nevertheless I still recommend their Tahitian vanilla. Classic flavors are timeless.  IMG_3795IMG_3799IMG_3850

After some more strolling, we realized just how hot and stuffy it was getting in the building, so we stopped for another round of frozen goodness, this time Straus Creamery frozen yogurt from Gott’s Roadside. Nothing extraordinary, but solid enough to battle the heat.

IMG_3808 IMG_3816 And that concludes my food trip at the Ferry Building! I loved every part of San Francisco to bits, and I honestly can’t wait to go back. Also, with the school year coming right around the corner (yikes.), I’ve decided to do a little back-to-school series, so keep your eyes out for that as well!

Cranberry Orange Zest Scones

Okay, I have a confession to make.

As sad as this is to say, it has been 2 1/2 months of summer, and I have not baked a single dessert.

Not even one.

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It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, or don’t want to. I actually really really do. I just haven’t had time.

“But Christine, you’re on summer break, shouldn’t you have more time?”

Logically, yes. Realistically, no

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Truth be told, this summer has basically been the busiest I’ve ever been. I visited the East Coast, spent three weeks at Stanford, and I’m going back to the bay area this weekend. Atop of all that, I have SAT prep (yay!), volunteer, and summer assignments for yearbook that are still going on as we speak. My to-do list is literally never ending, and with everything that’s been going on, I just haven’t had time to spend in the kitchen. If you really want to know how packed my summer has been, I’m sad to say that I purchased a Disneyland annual pass in June thinking I’d go at least once a week and I haven’t gone since I bought it… I know, right? It’s bad.

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Fortunately, with my cousin’s birthday coming up as well as a possible housewarming party, there may be a couple chances for baking in the near future! Until then, I’ve pulled out a recipe from the queue to put up, so I hope you enjoy! These scones are a perfect pairing with tea, and make for a slightly sweet morning treat or afternoon snack.

CRANBERRY ORANGE ZEST SCONES

2 cups all-purpose flour

10 teaspoons sugar (divided)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup cold butter

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup half and half cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 7 teaspoons of sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Incorporate butter into the mixture until the it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Pour into the bowl with the flour mixture and combine until a soft dough forms.

3. On a well-floured surface, gently knead the dough 6-8 times, and then pat the dough into a eight inch circle. Cut the circle into wedges and place onto a greased baking sheet. Brush the wedges with milk and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

4. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

5. Serve warm with butter or jam of your choice!

NOTES:

– The original recipe also includes an orange glaze and orange butter, click the link below to check it out!

– I paired the scones with orange marmalade and apricot preserves. Both were really good!

Click here for Original Recipe

Monthly Favorites: June 2014

1. The Fault in Our Stars Soundtrack

TFIOS

photo courtesy of Google Images

The book’s pretty good, the movie was alright, but the soundtrack? The soundtrack is pure musical gold. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s honestly such a well made soundtrack, featuring some great voices such as Ed Sheeran, Birdy, and Grouplove. Click the link and take a listen!

2. Lavender Hair

lavendar hair

photo courtesy of Pinterest

One day, when I have the guts(and when I’m out of my parents house) I’m going to dye my hair, and it’s going to be this color. It’s such a whimsical, playful look and I’m absolutely in love with it. Pastel colored hair is only socially acceptable for so long, but until I’m free to do as I please, I’ll just have to live with dreaming about it.

3. Strawberry-Rhubarb

strawberry rubarb

photo courtesy of zoebakes

I know, I know. I’m late on the flavor bandwagon, don’t castrate me. I’ve always been skeptical because I hate rhubarb on its own, but I finally gave in when I had a macaroon at Bouchon and have been converted since. The flavors are lovely complements and I can’t wait to start trying them out in my own baking!

4. Maxi Dresses

vhudgens maxi

photo courtesy of Reveal

The easiest way to get a girly look without the fuss of wearing a skirt (i.e holding your skirt down in the wind to spare yourself from a Marilyn Monroe moment). Maxis are comfy and can just as easily be dressed up as they can be worn casually. A definite staple in anyone’s summer closet.

5. Summer ClichesIMG_2884

photo taken by me

Bonfires, overnight camps, beach days, BBQ, daytrips, the list goes on and on. But I just love all of it. I think they completely capture the essence of summer, and I can shamelessly say I’ve participated in almost all of them.

acai bowl

I just got home from my three week camp at Stanford, and as much as I’ve missed my bed, I’m really really missing camp. I’ve never met a group of people I’ve clicked with so quickly, and I’ve created some great bonds with my housemates over the past 21 days. Everyone was so kind and so genuine, it was amazing to be with a group of people with whom I could have a heated debate over world issues as easily as I could have a gossip session. I learned so much from everyone, in and out of the classroom, and I’m truly going to cherish every moment we spent together. IMG_3200

To the POD 3.0 (of you ever read this), if I could go back and do camp over again, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. You guys are honestly an awesome group of people and I’m so blessed to have gotten the chance to be with your company for the past three weeks. Sam, your wit and general cynicism towards the world is already missed. Zita, you are truly a pacifist hipster (in the best way) and as hard as it is to believe you’re younger than me, I hope you sophomore year treats you well. G-Nat, my personality twin and real-life Bambi, I’m going to miss our morning runs and my partner in being awkwardly not as social. Sashel, my abusive husband/shower stalker, I wish you the best of luck this coming senior year and I know that your intelligence and sincerity will take you great places. Sashay, I’ve never met a more hardworking person than you and I hope you don’t get too stressed out over college and just remind yourself that life has great things in store for great people like you. Watcher, my Texas-grown girl, I hope your passion and energy for life never burns out and that I’ll find an excuse to go to Houston soon so I can see you again.IMG_3213IMG_3214IMG_3215IMG_3216

To my fellow Narnians, sadly, as we all know, nothing gold can stay, but remember by friends, although our time together has ended, our friendships have not. It’s really only the beginning. Distance will only make our love fonder and our interactions more special. I wish you all the best in your endeavors, and know that I would do anything to cross paths with you all again. I love you guys and genuinely thank you for making these past twenty one days the experience of a lifetime.

To get back into the swing of things at home, I made myself the most SoCal food I could think of, acai bowls! Healthy and cold, they keep you going and help you beat the heat at the same time. They work great as breakfast, but can serve as a snack, dessert, or other meal as well. Enjoy!

ACAI BOWLS   

serves 2

1 packet frozen acai

2 bananas

1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen strawberries

a splash of cashew milk

granola

fruit to top (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)

shredded coconut

agave nectar

1. Blend acai, one banana, frozen fruit, and cashew milk in blender until a smooth and thick consistency is reached. It should be thicker than a smoothie. I use a VitaMix, which has a tamper to make it easier to get this consistency.

2. Split the base into two bowls and top with granola, sliced banana, fruit, shredded coconut, and agave nectar. Enjoy cold!

NOTE:

– If your blender won’t let you get the right consistency, skip the toppings and add more liquid to make a juice or smoothie instead. Same nutrients, different format.

– I found frozen acai at Sprouts, I do not know of other places that carry it.