Joy The Baker’s Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

This is a long overdue post due to travel and other conflicts, but here is yet another wonderful recipe I found from joythebaker‘s blog.  It’s probably time to diversify my recipe sources, but this one looked so great that I had to try it.



Cutting up the dough into small rectangles

Lots of sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mmm

Before baking

Nice and golden brown after baking

Smelled amazing when it came out of the oven

Warm, soft, buttery, and sugary deliciousness!

Taken with a Nikon D90.

The recipe can be found here.

Chewy Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s another amazing recipe from joythebaker‘s blog.  My good friend sent me this cookie recipe and insisted that I MUST try it.  And it is definitely not your average chocolate chip cookie!  I made my own brown sugar using dark molasses which gave the cookie a very nice caramel taste.  Salty, chewy, caramel-y, and very chocolate-y all in one!

Ok, here goes.

New ingredients that I’ve never worked with before.

It’s pretty awesome to know I can make my own brown sugar. All it is is sugar+molasses! Extremely easy.

A lot of stirring.

And more stirring. But the brown sugar finally formed. (The whisk worked wonders)

Cookie dough balls.

I learned from Joy’s blog that salt helps to bring out the caramel flavor.

All done!

Next time, I’d try to make them thinner.

Taken with a Nikon D90.

You can find the recipe here.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my absolute favorite treats to both eat and bake. Patience, sunlight, and definitely a lot of time are all needed to make these scrumptious goodies.   This time, I decided to try a new recipe.  One that involved an unexpected ingredient–cream cheese (!).  I found the recipe while browsing a new baking blog that my friend had sent me, Joy the Baker.  I spent a few hours reading through her posts and found her writing extremely hilarious!  When I saw this cinnamon roll recipe, I knew I HAD to try it.  And they did turn out as addicting as how Joy described.   Best cinnamon roll recipe yet!

Ingredients for the filling

10×10 w/ cream cheese

Ready to roll up!

Before baking

Finally done at 7pm! (horrible kitchen lighting)


Taken with a Nikon D90

And lesson learned: make sure to start making these early as warm sunlight is crucial for the rising process.

Kale and Avocado Salad

I’ve been trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle lately by eating lighter and more nutritious foods as well as resuming my exercise routine.  I don’t really believe in diets–just slight food control along with making sure to exercise.  It feels great since I love fruits, vegetables, and grains anyway; it’s just the working out part that’s more of a challenge for me.

Yesterday I made a kale and avocado salad.  I’ve never even heard of kale before my co-worker kept raving on about it’s nutritional benefits so it was my first time eating the leaf.  This recipe is from Sauveur.  The tough kale leaves and soft avocado are a wonderful combination.  In addition, the citrus-soy dressing is so tasty when tossed in!  (I substituted sunflower seeds for hemp seeds because I couldn’t find it at my local grocery store.)

Taken with a Nikon D90

Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe

1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled
2 tbsp. raw hemp seeds (optional)
1 bunch kale (about 3⁄4 lb.), stemmed and finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together juices, soy sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in oil; set dressing aside.

2. Cut 2 avocados into 1⁄2″ cubes and thinly slice the remaining avocado. Put cubed avocados, half of the hemp seeds, and kale into a serving bowl. Toss kale mixture with dressing and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide salad between plates and garnish with sliced avocado and remaining hemp seeds.

SERVES 4 – 6

M. Stewart’s Biscuit Sandwich Cookies

This chocolate filled biscuit recipe was found in the book Martha Stewart’s Cookies, gifted to me and my sister and by my cousin.  I went a little overboard with the egg yolk-cream brushing for the top of the cookies, so the colors came out uneven and darker than the picture in the book.  However, I really like that the colors came out looking like this!

Result: crunchy, chocolate-y, and slightly salty.  Mmmm I love that course salt in cookies.

Taken with a Nikon D90

Pasta Alla Norma

I’ve been in a cooking mood lately probably because I’ve been watching too much Food Network- especially the show Chopped.  I really wanted to cook for my family last night, so I decided to make pasta alla norma (pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant.) The recipe is from Saveur which can be found here.  I feel it’s been ages since I’ve cooked! I used to cook all the time and then I guess college happened and I downgraded to instant noodles and cereal.

Here are some photos of a way too small portion of the dish.  Overall, this was a pretty simple recipe. The eggplant and the red pepper flakes were the key ingredients to giving this dish a nice kick.

Taken with a Nikon D90

I really hate artificial lighting and really wish it could just be sunny every time I want to photograph my cooking and baking.  It’s too bad I have a 9-5 job with a three hour commute!

Sutro Baths with the Diana Lens

Over the three day weekend, my boyfriend and I also explored Sutro Baths and the surrounding area.  I’ve never been around Cliff House before but have always wanted to see the Giant Camera.  It was SUCH a beautiful day out and was nice to climb around and explore the burnt down Sutro Baths.  I brought both my normal lens and my Diana Lens.  The Diana produced much more interesting photos–enjoy!

Taken with Diana lens on Nikon D90

I’m falling more and more in love with San Francisco each day!

Flea market treasures

Over the lovely three day weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to explore the Alemany flea market.  We loved going to the flea market in San Luis Obispo and were both excited to see what San Francisco had to offer.  Turns out, I found a TON of awesome items that I thought would be nice for my future apartment.  I really love vintage finds and the Alemany flea market had a wide variety of trinkets and treasures.

My “treasure box” with vintage matches, old pamphlets, a Fentons milk bottle, and some cool keys.

Red tool box, an SF welcome map, and old baking and cooking pamphlets that I absolutely love.

Cool toolboxes that my boyfriend found.

My favorite find- old matches. The designs and fonts on these are too cute. I seem to have a blue and pink theme going.

Awesome camera that still had half a roll of unused film!

Taken with a Nikon D90

Overall, the flea market was a success!  We are definitely going back.  I can’t wait to find more cool stuff (and not junk!) for my hopefully near future SF apartment.

Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

I was excited to come back home today to find that my Tartine cookbook had been delivered. I flipped through the book and was in awe with the beautiful photographs and the seemingly simplicity of the ingredients involved in each recipe. Since I didn’t have too much time to bake today, I chose a less complicated recipe to try out earlier this afternoon. I decided to bake the Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread. This was my first time making lemon bars or any kind of custard, and I found the process wasn’t too difficult. The hardest part for me was probably figuring out what pie weights were and franticly trying to find as many coins around the house as I could to use instead.

The result?  A little too sour.  The recipe called for 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice plus some lemon zest.  In addition, you have to add a ton of sugar to balance with the lemon, but maybe I just had a too-sour batch of lemons.  Overall though, I thought this was a successful first time for lemon bars!  I still gobbled down two of these despite how sour they were (:

Taken with a Nikon D90

Lake Tahoe with Camera+

Over the weekend, I went snowboarding in Tahoe with my sister and our two cousins from Texas.  I’ve gone snowboarding almost every year since high school, but this was by far the most gorgeous weather I have ever seen in Tahoe.  As I was driving towards the mountains, I noticed that the clear blue sky and the sunlight along with the bright snow and green trees all created such a beautiful scene.  I was so fortunate to have an easy snow-free drive as well as beautiful scenery to snowboard in.  Of course, I wanted to capture all of the beauty, so I busted out my iPhone whenever I could and used my favorite post-processing app, Camera+.

My sister on the mountain.

Random snowman we found.

Absolutely gorgeous in Tahoe.

All taken on iPhone 4 with Camera+ app

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