Cranberry Brownies

Easy brownies studded with juicy cranberries. Perfect for the winter season, and easily doubles up as a Valentine’s Day recipe!

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These cranberry brownies are your fudgy brownies with a crackly surface, with the added bonus of a tangy pop of cranberries. The brownie recipe on its own is good, but the extra addition of cranberries really brings a burst of flavor.

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While the cranberries are sour and tart here, the brownies counteract that with their sweetness and bring a balance. Have you ever had fresh cranberries before? I’d only eaten fresh cranberries after I had tried sweet dried cranberries and the ever-so-sour cranberry juice.

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Coconut Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake

A super moist tres leches cake bursting with coconut and a helpful hint of cinnamon. Not for coconut haters!

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This cake is a spin on the traditional tres leches, using coconut milk and adding some cinnamon. The coconut milk and cream add a unique flavor, and my inspiration for using the cinnamon was to make something horchata-esque. 

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I LOVE tres leches cake, and so does pretty much everyone I know. Because it is poked with holes and soaked in a milk mixture, there is no way that this cake can be dry. Dry cakes are my nemesis. This tres leches cake is so moist, tender, and has such a great coconut cinnamon flavor. I only use coconut milk and no artificial coconut flavor.

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Goat Cheese Cheesecake Brownies

Chocolaty brownies with a rich and tangy cheesecake topping made using goat cheese! An interesting twist on a well known favorite. 

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It’s funny, last week I was talking about healthy granola and now I give you this decadent recipe. But it’s SO worth it.

 

These brownies are basically a brownie bottom cheesecake, or a cheesecake brownie. Not too special (besides the fact that they’re delicious), except this version has the addition of goat cheese.

Goat cheese adds a wonderful depth to the cheesecake layer to these brownies. I promise they don’t taste weird. Even if you don’t like goat cheese, you should give it a try. Both goat cheese and non-goat cheese lovers enjoyed these brownies.

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3 Ingredient Peanut Butter + Jam Granola

An easy and customizable granola recipe with flavors from childhood. A great way to start a healthy year after holiday parties!

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I am not much of a cereal person. I am, however, very much an anything-with-oats kind of person.

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Granola is one of the things so simple yet so delicious (and healthy!) I made granola for the first time several months ago, and when I tasted the finished product I thought, Why haven’t I made this sooner?

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Only three ingredients and this granola is ready to go in the oven. 20 minutes in the oven, then let it cool, and there you have it! You’ve made your own granola. What I love most about this recipe is that you can add whatever you like to this simple base.

 

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Beard Papas

Happy new year! Has 2016 been treating you well so far? I unfortunately got sick right on New Year’s Eve, so I mostly stayed on the couch in a blanket watching television, but I was still able to enjoy a wonderful dinner and some Christmas lights. Anyways, I’m here today to talk about cream puffs, a great way to start the new year.

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Beard Papa’s is a chain store that is known for their cream puffs. In the U.S. their stores are mainly in California, and they have other locations throughout Asia as well.

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The one I visited was in Cupertino. I had been to one in Milpitas before, but they were only a small stand selling only cream puffs. The Cupertino location was a walk in store that had more to choose from than cream puffs, as well as multiple variations of the products, such as cookie crunch puffs (kind of like a Japanese melonpan or a Chinese pineapple bun).

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Chocolate Chip Pistachio Mascarpone Cookies

Soft, pillowy cookies with chunks of pistachio and chocolate!

 

Hi there! Currently, I’m in Taiwan on a vacation with my extended family. It’s a trip I looked forward to all year, and it’s finally come. Hopefully I’ll get a post up about the trip. I hope you had a great Christmas and wish you a happy new year! Anyways, let’s get on with these cookies.

I’ve never used mascarpone cheese up until just days ago. I’ve seen recipes that use it, but I could never find it so I always just used cream cheese in its place. However, I saw a small tub of it at Trader Joe’s and I had to buy it.

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Mascarpone cheese was different from what I expected. It is very different from cream cheese. Instead of tangy, its flavor is subtly sweet. It is very high in fat, making it very creamy. I wanted to find a way to incorporate them into the classic chocolate chip cookie.

 

I also wanted to add pistachios, a favorite nut of mine. My childhood memories include my mom’s favorite nut being the pistachio, and buying pistachio ice cream for her because I remembered it was her favorite. My brother also bought a packet of instant pistachio pudding that I prepared and we all enjoyed.

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I love the vibrant green color that they lend. Pistachios are a rather soft nut. I love that the edible bits are referred to as “nutmeats”. I think that name is so cute! And they pair with chocolate in the cookie so well, especially if you use dark chocolate chips.

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Trader Joe’s December 2015

Once again, I’d like to share what I purchased at Trader Joe’s. I feel that this month’s goods were especially worth sharing.

 

I love going to Trader Joe’s in December because it reminds me of my first time shopping there. Where I grew up, there was no Trader Joe’s close by. The nearest one was a 30 minute drive that I hardly knew existed. Ever since my first trip, I have fallen in love with their grocery store, products, and whimsical Fearless Flyer.

It sounds ridiculous, but I get genuinely excited whenever I go to Trader Joe’s. Anyway, let’s get started with this month’s products, shall we?

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Chai Spiced Shortbread

Classic buttery shortbread with a hint of chai spice. Perfect for the holidays and can even be gifted!

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Surprise! A Wednesday post!

This year, I participated in the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s sort of like Secret Santa, but with food bloggers. Each person makes cookies to send a dozen each to 3 people, and in turn receives a dozen cookies from 3 different bloggers. I received chocolate dipped orange shortbread from Brenda, piparkakut (a traditional Finnish gingerbread cookie) from Tara, and chocolate peppermint cookies from Megan.

 

The Cookie Swap isn’t just exchanging cookies, though. It was a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It was so much fun receiving cookies in the mail and also sending off some goodies to other bloggers!

 

I already had chai shortbread in mind. Chai is such a winter flavor, and I love cozying up with chai lattes. It’s such a wonderful blend of black tea and other spices. I sent these to Sonja, Sue, and Nicole. Be sure to check out their blogs!

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These chai shortbread cookies take little time to prep, a few hours to chill, and only around 10 minutes in the oven. The hands-on work is minimal. They are crunchy, yet somehow still just a little bit soft so it doesn’t break your teeth. The chai flavor is slightly subtle and warming, making these the perfect winter cookies.

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Xanh

110 Castro Street,

Mountain View, CA, 94041

www.xanhrestaurant.com/

We’ve been checking out some restaurants in downtown Mountain View lately. Cascal didn’t disappoint, and this time we decided to go to Xanh.

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Xanh is a Vietnamese restaurant on the end of Castro, near the train station. They serve a lunch buffet sort of thing, but we went for dinner on a Friday evening. We went a little early, so the place was only slightly full and not buzzing with people.

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The decor is very modern. There’s the whole blue-glass feel but along the walls there are some more traditional style paintings. The food is also a bit more modern than traditional. I’d rather call it Asian Fusion than Vietnamese.

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3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Small bites that encapsulate the essence of autumn!

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Okay, I normally don’t make recipes that require premade ingredients such as cake mix, sandwich wafers, or frozen whipped topping. However, once I saw the pumpkin joe joes and pumpkin cream cheese from Trader Joe’s, I knew I had to make a pumpkin spice version of 3 ingredient oreo truffles.

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The traditional oreo truffles are made with regular oreos and cream cheese. It’s a simple process; there’s no baking involved. All you need is a blender or food processor to make these 3 ingredient pumpkin spice truffles!

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