Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's not ice cream, but it's not froyo either

Montreal hard yogurt with strawberries and pineapples & Coconut ice cream with bananas

Yogizmo Yogurt Company, a little ice cream and frozen yogurt place, was one of the hidden treasures in Santa Cruz. Notice that I used past tense "was". During my last visit in early December, I found out that the place was closing. It definitely came as a shock to me because the place wasn't like any other ice cream store and their Yogizmos were SOO good!

Aside from the usual selection of ice cream flavors, they had tons of old-school candy (caramel apple lollipops!!) that are pretty hard to find nowadays. They were especially known for their Yogizmos. The signature sweet treat is esssentially ice cream or hard yogurt mixed with fruits. You can pick any flavor of ice cream or Montreal style hard yogurt and choose up to three fruits to mix in. The ice cream or yogurt serves as the "base" and is put into the Gizmo machine and then the fruits are mixed in. My favorite was Montreal hard yogurt with strawberries and pineapples. 

It's sad to see that the place is now just another one of the many ice cream shops around town. I miss Yogizmo already. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Quick and easy recipe for all the coconut-lovers out there!

Coconut macaroons are generally made up of 4 simple ingredients: egg whites, vanilla extract, sugar, and shredded coconut. For the recipe below, I added a tablespoon of all-purpose flour to give it more of a plumper shape and because I didn't want my macaroons to be entirely made up of mostly sugar and shredded coconut. This is totally optional and just depends on what you prefer. I also dressed up my macaroons with some almonds and melted chocolate for some variety. You can even dip them in chocolate after they've been cooled. Anyhoo, here's the recipe!


Makes 20 of these coconut goodies


2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut, flaked or shredded
raw almonds (optional) 


1. Preheat oven to 325ยบ F. and line baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla, sugar, and flour until smooth.*
3. With a rubber spatula, fold in flaked/shredded coconut. Make sure they are evenly coated.
4. Place about 1 tablespoon of coconut mixture, two inches apart, onto the baking sheet. (optional: press a raw almond on top of each coconut mixtures for almond coconut macaroons)
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops turn lightly brown.
*If the tablespoons of mixture are liquidy, they may seep onto the parchment paper. To avoid this, simply squeeze the balls of mixture tightly to get rid of any excess egg white mixture.
*Using a stand or handheld mixer makes moister macaroons, as opposed to mixing by hand.


Friday, January 17, 2014

25 Facts About Me

This is where I should probably write a brief intro like "here's some facts about me" or "hey, I'm going to do a personal post today" but that just makes me feel like I'm talking to myself, which is something I'm still trying to get used to haha are 25 random facts about me:

1. I laugh ALL the time.

2. My birthday is on December 1st. 

3. I'm tone deaf. Seriously, I am. 

4. When I was little, I trimmed my eyelashes with a pair of kid scissors, hoping that they would grow back longer and thicker. I only did it on one eye, but I forgot which eye I did it on so to this day, I can't really tell if it made a difference. (Major fail haha)

5. Crowds make me nervous. 

6. I'm an only child.

7. If you ever need anything planned or organized, I'm your person.

8. 100% DOG LOVER - Dogs melt my heart. The feeling I get when I'm around dogs is truly one of a kind. 

9. I prefer a home cooked meal than going out to eat. 

10. I love trying new foods, especially when it's something that tastes good AND is healthy for you.

11. I believe that everything happens for a reason. 

12. I'm an optimistic - I'm that annoying friend that finds a bright side in everything.

13. I don't want to admit it, but I'm kind of a perfectionist. 

14. Picky eaters frustrate me because they have such a restricted food pallet. 

15. When I get extremely sad or upset, I like to break away from reality and listen to tear-jerking and emotional songs.

16.  When I come across a song that really speaks to me, I like to play it over and over again to the point where I've basically used up all its magic. Then I would move on to the next song. It's an endless cycle. 

17. Hilary Duff was my childhood idol. 

18. I'm a pretty punctual person. (Apparently I also like to use alliterations)

19. Despite my lack of hand-eye coordination, I enjoy playing video games.

20. It honestly scares the crap out of me when I think about my future. 

21. I am terrible with makeup. 

22. A teeny tiny part of me is waiting for that prince to come into my life and sweep me off my feet.

23. I'm a very clumsy person.  

24. I don't need much to be happy. 

25. When someone does something thoughtful and special for me, I'll remember it for a lifetime. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lessons in Baking

Baking is definitely a learning process. I used to look at food and baking blogs, expecting that whatever I choose to make will come out looking exactly like the ones pictured. After doing tons of baking in the span of three weeks, I realized that it takes trial and error as well as practice to make the food presentable and look remotely close to the ones posted by professional food bloggers. Below are my three attempts at making thumbprint cookies (recipe here) and you can see that I've made some improvements over time. Practice is EVERYTHING!

 Attempt #1
Oh gosh, I didn't realize how bad this first batch looked until I compared them to the later batches.
- Cookies are a bit flat and have cracked bottom, might have over-baked
- Jam looks sunken in 
- Glaze is too thin

Attempt #2
- Glaze looks barely there
- Cookies are puffier

Attempt #3
Best batch yet!
- The glaze is thicker
-  No more cracked bottoms
- Cookies are rounder and fluffier

Pssst, do you see a teddy bear's face on the plate in the back? Do you see it, do ya? (okay, maybe it's just me ;p)