Southwest Quinoa Salad

Taking a super quick break from the overwhelming load of European history that still needs to be memorized to post this super easy, super quick Southwest Quinoa Salad.Southwest Quinoa Salad

It’s quick and healthy, perfect for providing the nutrition you need to take your exam in your best condition without taking up too much of your study time to prepare! The red quinoa and fresh veggies complement the light dressing that goes with it, and it’ll leave you satisfied and ready to get on that “all nighter I refused to start studying two weeks earlier whoops” study grind. Or maybe that’s just me.Southwest Quinoa Salad

But not all is horrid and stressful in the kingdom of Christine. Because after one month of waiting with a side of anxiety-induced nail biting, I finally got notification that I have been accepted onto my school’s yearbook staff! I’m so grateful for the opportunity that’s been given to me, and I’m psyched to be able to take part in creating the book next year! But until then, I’ll just be eating Southwest Quinoa Salad, drowning in study material, and craving summer.

SOUTHWEST QUINOA SALAD

1 cup red quinoa cooked according to package

1 14 ounce can of black beans, drained

1 14 ounce can of yellow corn, drained

4 green onions, diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 large red bell pepper, diced

1/4 large green bell pepper, diced

Juice from 2 limes

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

 

1. Cook quinoa according to package.

2. After cooking, allow to cool completely (about 15 minutes) and then transfer to large bowl.

3. In another bowl, mix together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, and salt.

4. Add black beans, corn, onion, bell peppers, and cilantro to the quinoa.

5. Add dressing and toss to coat evenly.

6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

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Oreo Cheesecake

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It’s all sorts of cheesy 🙂 This past week being the week before Prom, I got to see all sorts of creative and adorable askings by hopeful boys and acceptances by excited girls. Excitement was in the air. Being a sophomore, I didn’t expect to go to Prom this year. But seeing the all the askings was adorable and heart warming, especially admit the stress of AP test. Since baking always relieves stress, I decided to take some time off of studying and bake this cheesy cheesecake 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
-2 8oz packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese(room temperature)
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-3 eggs
-Oreo Pie Crust(I bought mines at Stater Bros)
-about 9 Oreos, crushed (more to taste)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325
1. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl on low with hand mixer
2. Add eggs, one at a time, until mixture is incorporated
3. Fold in chopped Oreos
4. Pour batter into Oreo pie crust
5. Bake in oven at 325 for 40 minutes
6. When finished, let cheesecake cool completely
7. Put cooled cheesecake into refrigerator for at least 4 hours
8. SERVE AND ENJOY!

Chocolate Egg Cupcakes

Okay, so in complete honesty, this was not the recipe I intended to post. My original idea was to do Cadbury Egg Cupcakes, but of course, all the markets around me weren’t carrying them. Extremely frustrating. But I had all the other ingredients on hand already, so I just grabbed a bag of plain chocolate eggs instead. They literally just ended up being chocolate cupcakes with pretty buttercream and chocolate on top. Sigh…

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I had a three day weekend, and I decided I was going to take some time for myself. With the craziness of school, sports, and the upcoming testing, I’ve been all over the place and haven’t had time to take care of myself. So I decided to stay home rather than go out with friends, turn off my phone, and take the time to the things I usually don’t have the leisure to do.

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It was actually really really nice. I thought I would’ve gotten bored after a couple hours, but there was just so many things I realized I wanted to do. I painted my toenails, went on a run, got my eyebrows done, made cupcakes, made biscotti, listened to new music, and caught up with all the food blogs I follow. I haven’t been this productive in quite a while, and it was so refreshing to just do what I wanted to do. It was a good recharge for the old batteries, and now I’m confident that I’ll be able to face the week coming up! Happy Easter to all of you that celebrate it, and enjoy the cupcakes! They’re super easy to whip up, and they’ll be a crowd pleaser for sure!

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 (P.S Excuse my inability to frost cupcakes, its been a while..)

CHOCOLATE EGG CUPCAKES

24 dark chocolate cupcakes (box mix or homemade, its your call)

1 package of chocolate eggs

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Bake chocolate cupcakes and allow to cool.

2. Beat together cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer. Then add powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla extract. Add food coloring if desired.

3. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and top with chocolate egg!

 

 

 

Chocolate Funfetti Cupcake Puppy Chow

I’ve never been the type to take chances. I like planning things out, organizing all the aspects, and weighing my options. I always stay on the safe side, and being spontaneous has never been my forte.

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However, recently I’ve been realizing that as much as I’d like to have control over everything that happens to me, it’s impossible. More and more I’m learning that sometimes, things aren’t going to work out the way I planned, and I have learn to deal with it and go with the flow of life. Even the most ‘for sure’ things are going to fall through, and that’s just life

 

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And more importantly, I’m slowly learning how to recover from these disappointments. Not only to shake it off and get back up, but to understand that there’s a purpose for why failure happens and that there are lessons to be learned. I’m learning just “wing it”, not stress over the trivial things, and just trust that God has a plan.

Taking chances isn’t all that bad, so I think you should all take a chance and try this Chocolate Cupcake Puppy Chow. Puppy Chow is rampant over Pinterest, with so many different variations, but I haven’t had the chance to try it out until now. And let me say, it did not disappoint. No joke, half of it was gone within the first day. It’s addicting. And ridiculously easy to make.

 

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE PUPPY CHOW

16 oz. milk chocolate

6 cups of Chex cereal

1/2 box Funfetti cake mix

Rainbow Sprinkles (the more the merrier!)

1. Pour all the chocolate into a large, microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30 second increments until completely melted. Stir until smooth.

2. Pour cereal into a large bowl. Pour in chocolate, cake mix, and sprinkle. Mix gently until all the cereal is coated.

3. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

RECIPE SOURCE: http://backforsecondsblog.com/2012/07/cupcake-muddy-buddies/

NOTES:

– Be careful not to burn the chocolate! You will be really sad to see chocolate go to waste!

– Work fast! Especially if you’re not using melting chocolate. You want to coat the cereal before the chocolate hardens again.

 

 

Monthly Favorites: March 2014

We’ve decided to add a dash of personal posts into our recipe-filled blog, starting with these monthly lists of favorites. I’ve seen this done mostly on fashion/beauty/DIY YouTube channels, but I thought it’d be a super fun way for you guys to get to know us a little better and for us to share some of our very favorite things with you! BECAUSE WE JUST LOVE YOU GUYS THAT MUCH 🙂 Our favorites could be books, clothes, foods, restaurants, blogs, or pretty much anything else we’ve been into during the month. Hopefully it’ll create some common ground between us and you guys (our lovely readers), or introduce you guys to some great you stuff that you’ll love just as much as we do. So here are our favorites for the lovely month of March!

CHRISTINE:

1.Herschel Supply Co. LIttle America Mid-Volume Backpacklittle america

 

photo via Royalcheese

It was about time for me to get a new backpack this month, and so I began doing some searching online for the perfect pack. I was looking for something both stylish and durable, and after much debate between the Little America and the Classic, I went with the Little America. And all I can say is that it has not disappointed me in anyway! Since I got the Mid-Volume version, it is slightly smaller than the original, but it still fits everything I need for school and looks super cute at the same time! The cinch opening does is a bit of a hassle at some times, but hey, everything good has a price, right?

2. Nike Flyknit Trainer+Nike Flyknit Trainer Nike Flyknit Trainer | Squadron Blue & Blue Glow

 photo via eukicks

I have a rather large obsession with shoes, I probably have one too many pairs for my own good to be completely honest. But I’ve had my eyes on a pair of Flyknits for a while now, and when I saw they were on sale at Roadrunners, I made the splurge and copped a pair. I really can’t resist a good deal… They’re light, comfortable, and perfect casual wear athletic shoes. I’ve gotten so many compliments on these shoes, it’s ridiculous. But at full price, they’re definitely a bit of a splurge (150 dollars, yikes!)

3. Joe’s Italian Icejoelatti

photo via Phoenix NewTimes

 I finally got the chance to try Joe’s out, and I have to say it lives up to the hype! When I visited during the night, the line was around the corner and the place was bustling, but it definitely not as busy during the afternoon. Their most popular item is the Joelatti, which is Philadelphia-style Italian ice layered with vanilla soft serve. Sounds weird, but tastes so so good. I’ve had the pomegranate, pineapple, and strawberry Joelatti, all of which are flavors that I would totally recommend. However, they change their flavor menu daily, so there’s always a new flavor to try. And if you are one of those indecisive people (me), do not fear! They offer samples!

4.Cannella Vita

Erica’s blog has been a favorite of mine for quite a while now, and it is about time I share her with all of you. Her photography is clean, her recipes mouth-watering, and her posts are always relevant. Since she herself is a junior in high school, I’m always amazed at how she’s able to manage such a great blog and keep up with everything at school. She’s a inspiration of mine, so check her out at: http://www.cannellavita.com/

5. Acai Bowlsacai bowl

 photo via OrganiGrowth

Thick blended acai, banana, strawberry, and blueberry base topped off with granola, agave nectar, and sliced fruit. Full of antioxidants, and pretty darn good too! I was first introduced to acai bowls at Nekter, and boy was I hooked. I made regular trips at least once a week, and after a while of watching the workers blend, I realized it wasn’t that hard. So I stopped by my local Sprouts, picked up a bag of frozen acai, and got blending! My homemade recipe is almost perfect, so keep an eye out for a post in the near future!

6. Pom-pom Trim Shortspineapple shorts

 photo via Pinterest

My entire being is screaming for summer’s arrival, and these shorts just embody the sunny, fun vibe of summer. I just adore the pom-pom trim, it adds a interesting texture to an otherwise pretty plain pair of shorts. I’ve been prowling Etsy and the Internet in general for the perfect pair, but have yet to meet my match. Sigh…

Matcha Cake Pops

I’m kind of a flake (whoops). Not the good kind of flake, like a sugary frosted corn flake or the kind that comes with a good biscuit, but the kind of flake that always cancels plan. And as in ‘always’, I mean almost every other time outings are planned with friends…IMG_1684

But I swear I’m not a bad person! I don’t purposefully ruin plans with people for the fun of it, or because I want to spite my friends. They’re my friends, I’m supposed to like them! It’s just that things always seem to pop up all of a sudden and they always get in the way. Whether it be last minute ride issues or family events that just cannot be missed, the universe somehow always gets in the way of me hanging out with friends.

This spring break, however, there was a date that I definitely did not flake out on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t with a boy, no. It was even better than a boy! It was a baking session with the one and only, Angie! We had been planning to get together and bake something for the blog for ages, but never got around to it. But we finally made it happen 🙂IMG_1686IMG_1678

It was an absolute dilemma deciding what to make, but since I had always wanted to make cake pops, we decided on that. Angie had recently picked up some matcha powder as well, and seeing that we were both green tea fans, matcha cake pops were born!

MATCHA CAKE POPS

 

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8oz) sour ceam

3 large eggs

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 cup buttercream frosting (homemade or store bought)

2 1/2 cup melting white chocolate, for dipping

lollipop or cake pop sticks

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Lightly grease cake pan

2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk or sift ingredients together. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sour cream just until combined. Pour the oil and the extracts and mix together.

4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Fold it all in together. (can be done by hand or with a mixer, do not overbeat)

5. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes 0r until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6. Let it cool completely before taking out of the pan.

7. Crumble up the cake in a bowl and add the frosting. Mix together to create a dough.

8. Roll the cake and create golf ball size cake balls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the cake set.

9. Take the cake balls out of the refrigerator and melt the white chocolate in a bowl, preferably one that is narrow and tall, so that you can submerge the entire cake ball in chocolate when dipping.

10. Take a stick, dip the tip in chocolate, and then stick in about halfway into a cake ball. Then dip the whole cake ball into the chocolate and evenly coat it. Place on wax paper to dry. Repeat with the rest of the cake balls.

NOTE:

– Do not skip the refrigeration. Trust me, it will save you from many broken cake balls.

– Work fast with the cake balls, they will start to get dry after a while.

 

 

 

Naan Flatbread Pizza

ITS FINALLY SPRING BREAK!!!! I needed this break so badly, I’m more than ecstatic that it’s finally here! Time to do fun things like beach trips and adventuring as Nature unleashes her beauty on everything around us. Or, if you’re me it’s time to finally clean the mountain of clothes that you’ve been ignoring for the past month. Heh.IMG_1634

But spring has sprung, the flowers are blooming, and it’s time for some good ol’ spring cleaning. As cliche as it is, I really do set out to clean and reorganize all my junk. During the hustle and bustle of the school year, I get really busy, and one “I’ll put it back later” becomes a hot mess of my stuff being strewn all across my room and the rest of the house. So, every year, during spring break, I go through a massive clean-up.  My yearly clean-up schedule starts with cleaning my room, then clearing my closet and dresser of old clothes, and finishes up with a reorganization of my desk and backpack. It may not seem like much, but due to the amount of negligence I give all of this during the year, it becomes a three day endeavor. I absolutely hate cleaning, but I’m also scared in being buried alive in my trash, so I always up doing it. IMG_1643

However, this year I’m going to spice things up a bit. Not only am I going to do physical cleaning, I’m going to do some emotional cleansing as well. I tend to be the type of person to forgive but never forget, and as hard as I try not to, I do hold things against people. And I’ve realized it makes me overly resentful towards people, and that the negativity seeps into other parts of my life as well. So in lieu of spring being the time of new beginnings, I’m going to wipe the slate clean, forget about past faults, and face people with new optimism and kindness.IMG_1639

And to help with the cleaning process, what would be better than Naan Flatbread Pizza? It may not help with keeping your kitchen clean, but the result is worth it! It’s an super easy entree idea, and since it’s such a versatile dish, you can vary it in so many different ways. Enjoy, and best of luck with your spring cleaning!IMG_1638

NAAN FLATBREAD PIZZA

Veggie:

1 naan flatbread

a generous 1/4 cup of shredded mozerella, jack, and parmesan cheese mix

1/4 cup of diced bell peppers1/4 cup of spinach

1/3 cup of pizza sauce

1. Pre- heat oven to 375 degrees Fahreinheit

2. Get the naan and spread pizza sauce evenly over it, leaving a half-inch borde to create a crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the sauce, then add chopped peppers and top with spinach.

4. Put on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is crispy and cheese is melted.

5. Take out of oven, slice, and serve hot

BBQ Steak

1 naan flatbread

a generous 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, jack, and parmesan cheese mix

1/4 cup of argula

1/4 cup of steak, cooked and sliced

1/3 of your favorite BBQ sauce

1. Pre- heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Get the naan and spread BBQ sauce evenly over it, leaving a half-inch border to create a crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the sauce, then add steak and top with arugula.

4. Put on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is crispy and cheese is melted.

5. Take out of oven, slice, and serve hot.

NOTES:

– I literally made these with whatever I had leftover in my fridge, be creative and concoct your own variations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Road Brownies

This one’s for you Leo.

For those of you who watched the Oscars last night, you all witnessed yet another episode of ‘Leonardo DiCaprio and

the Elusive Gold Man’. Poor Leo. For someone who has been in the industry for as long as he has and has been in so many iconic movies and roles, you would think he would have at least one of those little men under his wing. But sadly, that is not the case.

But don’t you fret Leo, I’ve got the perfect little pick-me-up to help you get through this difficult time. Rocky Road Brownies.

A classic ice cream flavor turned baked good that will serve as a perfect complement to your disappointed tears and piles of crumpled tissues. Whip up one of these babies, and eat it right out of the oven, piping hot. By slice, or by spoonful, the method doesn’t matter. As long as you get that warm brownie with crunchy pecans, topped with gooey marshmallow in your system, you’ll get through this. Personal experience. (just kidding….maybe….possibly.)IMG_1311

Okay, so maybe not all of us have to cope with losing yet another coveted award that we’ve been waiting for all our lives, but I’m there’s been some ups and downs. Maybe you got yet another bad grade on a chemistry test (how relevant!), or maybe it just one of ‘those’ days. Nevertheless, when you’re in a rut, a little sugar and butter never fails.

ROCKY ROAD BROWNIES

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as cashews, pecans, or walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

2. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minute

3. Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, then flour, and finally the nuts, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Then remove from oven and top with marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows are puffed and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Using paper overhang, remove from pan and cut into pieces.

Adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/337331/rocky-road-brownies

NOTE:

– Feel free to add more nuts and marshmallows depending on personal preference

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy it and leave any comments, concerns, and questions below!

Quinoa Fried Rice

For those of you who are not already aware, this is the beginning of Sadie’s season, Sadie’s as in Sadie Hawkins Dance as in ‘girl asks boy’ dance. And as you may or may not be able to tell, I’m not happy.

Usually, when these dances come around, I can most easily avoid them with the simple fact that no boy is going to ask me. Because the fact of the matter is that I’d much rather stay home by myself or go out with friends than have to pay a hundred dollars for an outfit I’m going to wear once, waste two hours doing hair and make-up that will most likely end up smeared and flat by the end of the night, go back to school on a weekend, and do it all with a boy I may not even like. (Pity dates. I’ve seen it happen more than once.) And let’s not even get started on the awkward post-dance syndrome where you and your date won’t be able to make eye contact with each other for a least a couple days.

I’m sure some people have had amazing experiences with school dances. The whole “Prince Charming will sweep you off your feet and take you to senior prom” cliche had to have originated from some truth, I suppose. Maybe I’m just biased because I’ve heard way too many “worst night of my life” stories, but dances just don’t seem that great to me. Personally, I’d rather just have a night in with a couple of friends, movies, and food.

So for the next time you’re feeling like you just need a night in, but fear the food baby and MSG-induced bloating that comes with good Chinese take-out, whip up some of this Quinoa Fried Rice instead! It’ll leave your tummy happy and your body thanking you for not forcing it to process all the bad stuff.

Quinoa Fried Rice:

{approx. 4 servings}

1 cup uncooked quinoa

3 chicken tenderloins, cooked and chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3  scallions, chopped and divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1. Rinse quinoa a few times in cold water

2. Bring quinoa and water to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until fluffy and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on a frying pan over high heat. Add garlic to the pan. Add carrots, onions, and scallions and cook thoroughly, about two minutes.

4. Add rest of the olive oil and quinoa to the pan. Stir fry until mixed thoroughly, about two minutes.

5. Then add eggs and finish scrambling. Stir-fry until thoroughly incorporated, and then add the chicken.

6. Add the oyster sauce and stir-fry until evenly mixed. Feel free to add more or less oyster sauce to your taste.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingforkeeps.com/2013/03/27/quinoa-fried-rice/

NOTE:

– You may need more olive oil to keep it from burning. Or maybe that’s just because I need a new frying pan.

– If you like spicy, make sure to add Sriracha hot sauce on top when you eat it. It’s a match made in heaven and no other hot sauce complements fried rice in the same way.

– Chicken can easily be omitted be make a vegetarian dish

Kick back, relax, and enjoy!

Blueberry Buttermilk Scone

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Scones are the epitome of fancy baked treats. Every time I eat a scone I feel like I should be in the Queen’s palace with a cup of early gray tea. I’ve always thought that since scones are so fancy, they must be difficult to make. Boy how wrong I was! Scones are one of the easiest but most gratifying desserts a baker can make! Add a couple blueberries, and you get a lovely color and a wonderfully sweet taste. I used fresh blueberries, but you can substitute choco chips, raspberries, cranberries, nuts, or anything else! I cut this recipe in half, making six for my family to share. But after an hour, my parents had already eaten 3!! Scones are best the same day, but they can be kept in an airtight container or refrigerated for later! If they last that long that is! I hope you enjoy this recipe! Feel free to comment or ask questions below 🙂

Ingredients:
4 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. lemon zest, grated
1 cup + 1 T. unsalted butter, very cold
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups blueberries
Topping
3 T. butter
sugar for sprinkling such as demerara or turbinado (regular granulated is fine, too)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, salt and lemon zest and stir to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter the cubes over the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender or the back of a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. When you are finished, the butter should be dispersed throughout the flour in pea-sized lumps (or bigger… mine always are).
3. Add the buttermilk all at once along with the blueberries and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together. If the mixture seems dry, add a little bit more buttermilk.
4. Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. If you’ve made the whole recipe, divide the dough into two even portions. Using your hands, pat each portion into a circular disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. (Or, if you’ve made the whole recipe and want to follow Tartine’s instructions, pat the dough into a rectangle about 18 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1 1/2 inches thick). Brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut each disk into 6 wedges (or 12 if you’ve made the rectangle).
5. Transfer the triangles to baking sheet. Bake until the tops of the scones are lightly browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

This recipe is from http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/03/31/buttermilk-scones-—-tartine-has-done-it-again/