Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sprinkles Cupcakes! Red Velvet, Pumpkin, Salty Caramel, & Vanilla

My cousin, Ashley, brought these Sprinkles cupcakes to a family & friend party our cousin, Sayuri, and her husband, Kevin, hosted recently. This was my first Sprinkles experience! So exciting! Anyway, go here for Sprinkles locations. You can also make their delicious strawberry cupcakes at home! Their Cuban Coffee cupcake is delicious too!

Red velvet ("southern style light chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting"). So good! My taste testing buddy, Jodi, and I both agreed that the red velvet was the best out of the ones we tried. I did not try the cinnamon sugar cupcake. I still think that Chiffono's has the best red velvet cupcake in the world (the frosting and the cake base are just to-die-for). This frosting is way good but not as cream cheese-y as I like it. That doesn't mean you won't like it. It could easily be someone else's favorite frosting.

Left below = Red velvet again
Right below = Vanilla ("madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with creamy vanilla frosting"). Good, but I'd prefer fewer sprinkles...like maybe just on the outer rim or even just a circular area on top. I do enjoy the texture of sprinkles, but this was overboard.

Salty caramel ("an irresistible salty-sweet flavor combination using fleur de sel crystals hand harvested from the pristine seas off Brittany, France. These fleur de sel granules are a delightful complement to the sweet, buttery caramel which flavors both the cake and frosting. Taste the rich, delicious complexity of Sprinkles take on this classic French duo."). Oh man...amazing frosting. Not too salty, which is often the case for my taste buds. The cake was good too but not as memorable or delicious as the frosting. My taste tester buddy, Jodi, and I both enjoyed this cupcake. I think the pumpkin cupcake crumbs got on the frosting because we were probably reusing that knife.

Pumpkin ("spiced pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting" - only available Oct. 31- Nov. 30th). DELICIOUS! The mix is also great. Melissa made some the other day for Thanksgiving, and they were, in my opinion, as good as this one pictured here appearance- and taste-wise.

Melissa's awesome rectangular cupcake that she brought to class (haha!):

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love this recipe. It's so simple, and you don't need ground nutmeg, cloves, etc. I left out the nuts because I didn't have any on hand, but they'd probably taste good with them included. I want to try this with Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of or in addition to cinnamon. Everyone but my mom said these were good. The pumpkin flavor is there but not over-powering, it doesn't taste spice-y because it only contains cinnamon, and the texture is cake-like...kinda like the texture of persimmon cookies. You could even consider them muffin tops!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies III

Featured on AllRecipes
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1) Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, & egg
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, & salt
3) Dissolve baking soda with milk & stir in
4) Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture
5) Mix well
Add vanilla, chocolate chips & nuts (optional)
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet
8) Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for ~10 minutes or until lightly brown & firm

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fish Tacos at The Getaway Cafe - Riverside, CA

I had fish tacos for the first time about a year ago, and I LOVE them. The Getaway Cafe is where UCR students (and Riverside people in general) go to get away from school for a bit. It's convenient because it's right across from campus. I've had a few things here, but I think this is my favorite so far, although I've heard the pizza is good, and I loooved their cider. Anyway, overall these weren't the best tacos because (a) they were mighty greasy and (b) the sauce was a bit too thick and saucy for me. Check out the sun on that top part of the sauce in the picture above! It almost looks like cheese! I don't like goopy stuff in my tacos. Anyway, if you take off some sauce, it's delicious. I wrote about the fish tacos at BJ's too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stricklands - Thai Tea Frozen Custard

Before two nights ago, I had never heard of Stricklands (originally from Akron, OH), so I was excited to hear about it from my cousins and then try it a few minutes later! Apparently there's a location in Irvine, CA that runs out of the thai tea flavor really fast. Oh man...it really did taste like thai tea. Exactly like thai tea in soft serve form. Delicious! I'd definitely order that myself.

A li'le history:
 More about those SPRINKLES cupcakes later!

A scoop of the delicious thai tea frozen custard:

The Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks

Oh HECK YEAH. That's beautiful!
Melissa and I took advantage of Starbucks's buy 1 holiday drink, get 1 free between 2-5pm deal (ended Nov. 20th).
While she got a Caramel Brulée Latte ("Espresso and steamed milk flavored with caramel Brulée sauce, topped with sweetened whipped cream and caramel Brulée topping"), I got the Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino ("Coffee blended with flavored peppermint syrup, rich mocha sauce, milk and ice. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and dark chocolate curls").

The Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is supposed to be topped with dark chocolate curls, but I requested the caramel Brulée topping and just said "chocolate" at the last minute when the barista was handing me the drink, so she assumed chocolate sauce I guess. Oh well. This was still delicious. It's cool that you can ask for a different topping!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie -- But Rectangular

 Who said you have to make a round pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?
Also, make sure you have a pie pan before you decide to make a pie.

My housemates and I had our first bonding activity! Pretty sure you can guess what we did.
We used the Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, which I've used for years with a few adjustments (sometimes we use less sugar and fewer spices). This time we didn't have any grated cloves or ginger (and not even Pumpkin Pie Spice), so we just made this with cinnamon. We also made mini round pies with a muffin pan using a second batch of the crust recipe, which is on the back of the pumpkin can label. To clarify, we used two batches of the crust recipe and one batch of the pumpkin "good good, as Grace was calling things that night.


 Just ignore those little slits. Or pretend we wanted to give the pie some eyes. Bomberman-style eyes.

 And then your slices will be square- or rectangular-shaped!

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe (See adjustments below)
  •  3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (we didn't use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (we didn't use)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional - we didn't make this, but we should have!)
(1) Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger & cloves in small bowl
(2) Beat eggs in large bowl
(3) Stir in pumpkin & sugar-spice mixture
(4) Gradually stir in evaporated milk
(5) Pour into pie shell
(6) Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 min
(7) Reduce temperature to 350° F
(8) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean
(9) Cool on wire rack for 2 hours
(10) Serve immediately or refrigerate
(11) Optional: Top with whipped cream!

Libby's Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
Makes 1 crust
(can double for two)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cold water*

(1) Combine flour & salt in medium bowl
(2) Cut in vegetable shortening with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly
(3) Sprinkle with water; & blend until mixture holds together
(4) Shape dough into ball & place on lightly floured surface
(5) Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness
(6) Line pie plate (or rectangular dish like we did) with pastry
(7) Turn edge under; crimp (if desired)

*Add 1 additional tablespoon water as needed.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Pumpkin Ice Blended

As much as I love Starbucks's PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) drinks, I've decided this is my new favorite pumpkin drink. Like Melissa said, it has a different flavor than the Pumpkin Spice Latte/Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino at Starbucks. I actually prefer this Coffee Bean drink, although since they do have different types of pumpkin flavors maybe that's not a fair comparison. I'd need to do a sit-down comparison between these two drinks to clearly identify their differences.

In case you were wondering, I topped this with vanilla powder, cinnamon, and chocolate powder. I LOVE the various topping options at Coffee Bean! Ginger, cardamom, sea salt, chili powder,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lunch Buffet at Punjab Palace - Riverside, CA

Punjab Palace Restaurant
1766 University Avenue, Suite 102
Riverside, CA 92507
Other location at 10359 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92505

Thank you, Jason, for introducing me to this place. I'll post about my first time at the Magnolia Avenue location soon.

Isn't that beautiful? Oh my goodness. My friend had had a little too much fun with alcohol the night before this, but then he woke up and wanted Indian food. Not a good idea. I loved it, as did Mia, but I think the other one had one or two bites.

Anyway, this is my new go-to place for Indian food in the Inland Empire/Riverside/SoCal. It's actually the first Indian restaurant I've tried down here! Soooo good. The Magnolia Avenue location is kick-ass too. I'll post about that someday.

$8.95 for the luncheon buffet (11:30am-3:00pm) Mondays through Fridays for the following:
Appetizers, Samosa Pakora, Green Salad, Fruit Salad, Dressing, Condiments, Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Curry, Fish or Lamb Shank, 5 Vegetable Dishes, Rice, Nan/naan, 3 Desserts


Naaaaan!!!! I really want to try their keema naan.

Inside of a samosa:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Disneyland Treats: Chicken Sausage, Cupcake, Pineapple Float, & Gumbo

Last night (11/11/11) we celebrated Melissa's birthday at Disneyland!

To be honest, I'm not a huge Disneyland person. I absolutely LOVE Disney (the classics and the current TV shows and movies), but I'm not one of those who can go to Dland a few times per year. I can't wait to take my kids there someday when I have them, but it's just not my obsession. However, I had so much fun last night with Melissa, Mia, and Izzy. I can't imagine it being more fun with other people. M&M are very enthusiastic Disneyland fans, so it was fun running around everywhere with them. Just wish my energy hadn't died so early. Also, it was awesome seeing the winter holiday decorations. I'd never been to the park during the Christmas season. Here are some non-food pictures:

Anyway, on to the food. Mia and I both bought the Chicken Sausage in a Pretzel Roll at Village Haus Restaurant. We both had to think about what the pretzel was like, and we decided that it's like white bread morphing into a soft pretzel or a pretzel morphing into white bread. It wasn't quite either. It was good but not what we were expecting. I'm not even very sure what we were expecting. I'd get it again though! I love good sausage!


 The Chocolate Black Forest Cupcake (also from Village Haus) was huge. The frosting was whipped cream, which was good but not the best (it wasn't freshly whipped, so it was a little stiff and just not fresh), the cherry tasted a little off (Melissa said that), the chocolate pieces were good but could definitely use some work (Mia and I both said it wasn't great/that it could be better), the chocolate cake itself was good, and the chocolate mousse filling was creamy and yummy. I loved having the cherries in the middle.


This "Dole Whip Float" was outside the Tikki Room, and it was SO good. You really have to like pineapple because it's Dole pineapple juice topped with pineapple soft serve ice cream. I love that part at the bottom of the ice cream where it's kinda crunchy from the juice freezing a little. Yum! I'd get this again definitely. Oh--and the cherry was fresh (for a maraschino cherry, anyways!). Melissa said it was better than the one on the cupcake pictured above.

You could easily make this at home with Dole pineapple juice (or any kind!) and vanilla or pineapple ice cream. Just two ingredients. Reminds me of my 50/50 bar drink that I make for myself. You could blend the juice with ice or blend everything with ice or just leave it as ice cream with juice. All versions are delicious.

The gumbo at Disneyland's New Orleans Square was soo good last night! M&M had it last year and had to have it again, which was perfect to me because I've wanted to try gumbo. Melissa said a random lady told her that the gumbo at Disneyland is amazing and that it's as good or better than the gumbo she has had back from her home area of New Orleans. Must be good then! They also have a vegetable gumbo option that I didn't try.

Monday, November 7, 2011

F. McLintocks - Shell Beach, CA

F. McLintocks
750 Mattie Road
Shell Beach, CA 93449
Website here

Had dinner here with Blake and his family this past weekend when we went to the coast. Such delicious food, hilarious and fun people, and a beautiful ocean. I'm so thankful for all of these opportunities to spend quality time with great people and eat delicious food in neat places!

Where else do you get onion rings automatically when you sit down? Onion rings with salsa?!

And see cool decorations...

 This place would have terrified me if I were still little. I hated mounted animals heads. I'll never forget how I used to fear this one restaurant (don't remember which one now!) in Fresno because it had a deer head mounted on the wall.

Frickin' AWESOME potatoes!!! Soft but also crispy and perfectly seasoned.

Yummy buttered garlic bread.
 Here's what I ordered:

Blake's grandma and I agreed that this was good, but there are way better chicken marsala dishes at other restaurants. I have to say that it was a little too saucy (it over-powered the poor potatoes!) and the sauce was slightly too thick, but overall it was good, and the portabella mushrooms were delicious! I actually ate my leftovers wrapped in a tortilla and had it for breakfast on our last morning because I didn't want to waste it. A chicken marsala breakfast burrito. It doesn't have to make sense if it tastes good.

They also do this crazy thing where they pour water into a glass on your head if you ask them to. Or maybe you don't have to ask and they randomly do it. haha
Here the guy did it to Blake's sister-in-law: