Tag Archives: strawberry

Strawberries ‘n Cream Cookies {+ A Few Thoughts from a PokéTrainer}

You know those incredibly frustrating people walking around on the streets and into traffic and over cliffs and right smack dab on top of your newly-polished dress shoes because they’re too busy playing Pokémon GO?

I have a confession to make.

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I am one of those incredibly frustrating people playing Pokémon GO.

I apologize if I ever trampled over your dog in my haste to catch an Arcanine. It was (probably) an accident, unless you just happened to be in my way while a Squirtle is loose nearby and a mad, mob-mentality stampede that would make any Black Friday vet proud seized hold of me. Then it was probably deliberate. But I realize that being part of a cult(ural phenomenon) doesn’t make me any less of a Poké-jerk, so please excuse my trangresses…

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There are many downsides to living in a college neighborhood. Blasting music at 3 in the morning, piss-drunk but holier-than-thou undergrads whom you hope to never see in your classes, zero parking…

But there are also upsides, one of which is that when geeky pastimes hit home, they hit hard. For the past 7 days or so, seriously over half of the people walking around campus are fueling up at Pokéstops, catching Pokémon, talking about Pokémon, dreaming Pokémon. We shuffle casually up to spots where those glorious purple lure modules have taken over our AR screens, grinning sheepishly around at the other folks around us who have stationed themselves on the same block as we swipe our fingers upward in an all-too familiar motion, swiping in harmony with every other index finger in a 30-foot radius, warmed by the knowledge that we are all part of the same cultural moment–that even though we are strangers, we are a community, too.

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It’s easy to make fun of Poke-players as geeky eccentrics or even fanatics, but there is also something strangely democratizing about the game that should not be ignored, even at this early stage of the craze.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cheesecakes, Cookies

Strawberry Cream Cheese Oat Bars

Happy middle of Jul–wait, what?

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I’m not sure how we’re already halfway through the summer–nobody ever consulted with me about this matter, or I would’ve veto’d it faster than you can say “pandas on a water slide”–but here we are, even so…and in spite of me, it seems!

These past two weeks have been unusually crazy ones…which is my way of excusing myself for the recent lack of updates. Whoops! Thankfully, we’ve finally hammered out our final plans for le big Europe trip, which is exciting because I hate travel planning with a passion, and more than one late evening ended with me simply drooping my head onto the table while the boy (bless his much more patient, level-headed penchant for these things) continued to click away at various online bookings and ticket listings, and basically making sure that the rest of the trip actually happened.

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Aside from that, there hasn’t been much time for baking or photography because apart from travel planning, we’ve been having a bit of fun around here! We spent this past long weekend moseying around town, attending various picnics and potlucks, and having an early surprise birthday day for him since he’ll be home when it happens later this month. We started the day by getting massages, watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople (a VERY good film–it earned 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and we both loved it for its wit, fast-paced humor, and general ability to tell a spot-on story), and then getting dressed up to see a play called Big Sky at the local playhouse (it was also VERY good–the perfect mix of humor and dramatic insight into the workings of a dysfunctional family). Needless to say, I’ve been playing a lot of blog catch-up since he left for home yesterday, and I can’t wait to share all of the other exciting developments happening around here lately!… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Fruit Desserts

Steamed Strawberry Coconut Poke Cake for More-than-just-a-Mother’s Day!

Even as recently as high school, I recall taking it for granted that my mom’s identity was somehow singularly defined by motherhood – that, according to some unwritten and tacitly understood code of universal maternity, mothers were defined not by the lives they had led up to the moment of our births, but rather by their relationship to us, their children.

To me, my mom – my smart, sharp, wonderful, supportive mom – was therefore first and foremost a mother. Any other role she happened to inhabit – worker, wife, daughter, aunt, friend, sister – was incidental, almost like an afterthought meant to amplify her ability to continue to be, in my mind, the best mom in the world.

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It really wasn’t until grad school, a period when I finally started coming into my own and following some of the paths I had laid out for myself, that I learned the most valuable lesson about her: not only is she more than a supporting actor – she’s a dreamer, a visionary, an enabler, and one heck of a strong woman in her own right.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not surprised it took me so long to realize this. Growing up, I distinctly remember telling my mom that I would one day become a famous actress, to which she replied: “It’s fine to think about – but don’t get your hopes up.” Never one to mince words or sugarcoat the truth, my mom was (and still is) undoubtedly a realist, and this fact made it difficult for me to perceive how, at the core, she was also the greatest dreamer I have ever known.

So when I started blogging three years ago, the hobby concerned her: did I have enough time to study? Were there enough hours in the day?… Read more

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Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Strawberry Smoothie Cubes {+ 3 Ways to Enjoy Them} for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week

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Winter is coming!

Here in California, we’ve been saying this for about 11 months now, and winter still has not come. I don’t think it has visited our neck of the woods since about the Ice Age, and even then I suspect it let us off easy.

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This is lucky because my running shoes have been pounding the pavement quite a bit lately. Yesterday, I did a(n excruciatingly mellow) 13-mile run through Beverly Hills, jogging through posh Museum Row, the highly upscale Rodeo Drive, and making a pit stop at my favorite Harry Potter and Dr. Who-themed store, Whimsic Alley. I even ran a few circles around neighborhoods where celebrity homes are reportedly nestled–I did a Google search for fun and found that the web actually does a surprisingly good job keeping their exact locations Unplottable, probably for the better.

The most exciting creature I encountered was a black cat blinking at me from inside a gated house that looked like a 15th-century Spanish castle–though I did keep pretty good pace when another runner and I kept hitting the same traffic lights….until he turned around at mile 3 after informing me that “that was about as much as he was good for, though being chased by a pretty girl made him wish he could go further.” Don’t we all, chump. Don’t we all.

By the end of my run, I was sweating bullets and infinitely glad I’d donned a sleeveless. I’m not sure my tank top/beach shop attire would stand the 30-below weather some of you are experiencing right now, though. What’s it like in your neck of the woods? Feel free to shame my sun-tanned California bum…

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The delay of true winter can only mean one thing around here: smoothie season. When Williams-Sonoma reached out to me asking whether I’d like to participate in their Smoothie Week–and to create the weirdest or most unconventional smoothie I could come up with–of course I was all hands on board!… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Frozen Desserts, Healthy

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

These past few months, I have spent a lot (I mean, a lot–like, I-am-sorry-but-I-feel-preternaturally-compelled-to-word-vomit-to-you-guys a lot) of time talking about my upcoming examsSo today, let’s talk friends and the best pound cake you’ve never met instead.

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To begin with my friends: As the weeks wear on and THE date creeps closer, I have noticed an exponential amount of tiptoeing from my friends and family. In my book, there have only ever been four reasons you would have to tiptoe around someone: 

1. The Guilt: You are not supposed to be wherever you are at the moment you are tiptoeing–in which case, #shamingsession.

2. The Terror: You are afraid whomever it is around whom you are tiptoeing is going to explode at the any second. KABLOOIE!

3. The Sympathy: You are at someone’s bedside.

4. The Impending Stardom: You are practicing for your lead role in an upcoming show of “Swan Lake.” Ballerina feet, ladies!

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Now, I know it is not due to the fact that they are  practicing to become world-famous ballerinas, because a) they can’t ALL be leads in Swan Lake, and b) I have not seen so much as a frill of a tutu on any of their persons. Nor can the tiptoeing be attributed to a sympathy-induced bedside manner, because last I checked (granted, this was a few hours ago) I still have a pulse. And finally, I am almost certain that they cannot all be tiptoeing out of guilt, because I have not been lurking around any shady street corners or drug stores lately. Or at least none I’m going to fess up to here.

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So this leaves us with the inevitable truth: I am a ticking time bomb and my friends are afraid of the Big Kablooie. Right?

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Wrong! 

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^ It’s because of that.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Lemon Raspberry Squares

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If you’re like me and spent your diaper days thinking you would grow up to be a Disney princess/character, you have probably long since experienced that moment when some well-meaning adult sat you down, looked you straight in your beaming bright baby eyes, and said one of the following:

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Speech A: “Kid, let’s face it. Ariel was the daughter who ran away from her tyrannical sea king of a father who forbade his entire kingdom to sleep when she went missing, and then she ended up marrying a guy she “knew” for 48 hours and having a kid who ended up ditching them because all SHE wanted to do was go to the sea. Talk about a dysfunctional family…

Speech B:Belle never worked for that damn loaf of bread she was always singing about. And she was a victim of Stockholm’s syndrome. Does that sound like la vie en rose to you? Because if it does–well, in the words a hallucinogen-induced anthropomorphized talking candlestick…Be my guest.

Speech C:Aladdin–chronic liar. Rapunzel–societal recluse. Simba–unrealistic responsibility-shirker. Peter Pan–one big Freudian slip. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella–desperate damsels in distress fleeing from murderous pursuers and sought by princes with really, REALLY  overactive sets of lips.”

And so on and so forth.

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I WAS NOT INFORMED OF ANY OF THIS.

Okay, maybe a few times. But I wasn’t informed of it in a way that would’ve persuaded me to actually buy it. I mean, so fine–Disney movies admittedly have their share of issues. I mean really, really big and sometimes morally reprehensible issues. And I recognize that. But really, since when is everything perfect in life?

Never, that’s when. As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

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Fortunately, I am not a big fan of cake.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Fruit Desserts

Strawberry Coffee Cake

So this past Thursday–as on every Thursday–I went to the farmer’s market just down the block where merchants flock to sell their fresh wares and apparently no baked goods except those produced in large-scale commercial kitchens are allowed. (Go figure.) Still, I love this weekly market, and my friend and I have frequented it so often that we’ve become–to my eternal delight–regulars! The bolani man and the produce guy know our names, and will usually slip some little extra goodies into our bags. Like any well-formed insecure person, I like to please, and so I usually get something every time I go even if there are weeks when I don’t particularly need anything.

This week was one of those weeks. I arrived around 3 in the afternoon with the stern conviction that I was not going to splurge on unnecessary pantry items. When I got to the fruit stand, though, the vendor did three very clever things: 1) he called me by my name, 2) he said he had missed us (where had we been?) and 3) he was a living human being who recognized my existence. My resolution evaporated on the spot. I was definitely buying.

I ended up getting an entire flat of strawberries that I knew at a glance that a famished fruit bat (not to mention myself) would not be able to finish. I popped some of the ripest ones in my mouth that evening, and sat around wondering what I should do with the rest of them before they went bad.

Now, if you’ve ever had an entire flat of fruit sitting around your kitchen staring at you accusingly, you know what your first impulse is going to be. And I gave into that impulse–I’m getting really good at that. I hulled and sliced up the last two baskets of strawberries, and threw that whole thing into a coffee cake.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruit Desserts