Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coconapple Cake!


Okay, so I know what you're thinking, "Coconapple"?! I know, I know, that might not be the greatest or most attractive name ever but hey, I didn't major in 'recipe-naming-nomics' and I really didn't want to go with a boring "Coconut Pineapple" name. With that said, I bet you can guess what this cake is all about. Yup, coconut and pineapple, all around baby! I love coconut, always have and will. It seems that when I get a craving for cake in the summer, coconut or lemon with a light whipped cream seems to be what my sweet tooth wants. So when I saw this recipe, it seemed pretty simple and easy enough for me to do. I went onto more internet wanderings, and came across this recipe, & decided to go with that one, and do a couple of tweeks to my liking. I promise it's easy. If I can do it (a kitchen challenged human being, as my sister calls me) anyone can! It's moist and light and not too sweet. The lightly sweetened whipped topping pairs so well with the sweetness of the cream of coconut infused cake. Once you take a bite it will feel like you're swinging on a hammock on a sandy white beach next to the Carribean ocean!

Coconapple Cake

Cake
1 Super Moist or pudding included cake mix, white or yellow
3 eggs
1  (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 (8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, drained. Save juice.

Glaze
7 oz of cream of coconut (coconut cream is NOT the same thing, make sure you get the right one)
Reserved pineapple juice

Frosting
1 pint of whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (use 1 teaspoon if you like more)
coconut for dusting

Prepare pans (I used a 9x13-inch pan) and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.**
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, and coconut milk with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds (don't bother with adding the oil the cake mix asks for). Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping occasionally. Fold and beat in coconut and pineapple. Pour into pan/s. Bake as directed per pan size on box (mine baked for around 40). Don't over bake, I take it out when a few moist crumbs stick to a toothpick. Cool 15 minutes.

For your glaze, mix the pineapple juice into the cream of coconut and beat on low speed until you have a smooth liquid consistency. Once your cake has cooled for about 15 minutes, poke holes throughout the cake using a fork or a kabob stick. Carefully spoon glaze mixture evenly over warm cake allowing liquid to soak into the holes. Place cake into the fridge to cool completely (or if you're in hurry, the freezer).

While your cake cools completely, take 1/2 cup of coconut and
toast it, set aside. Beat the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. (If making a layer cake, you may want to beat it just a little extra so that sticks to the sides of the cake). Once cooled, frost the cake with your prepared whipped cream and sprinkle toasted coconut all around. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours or overnight (tastes better!). Taadaa! Enjoy!
**If layered cakes are more your thang, fill it with some crushed pineapple and whipped topping, yum!




Let me know if you try this! The cake I made for the pictures turned out a little more golden than expected, but still delicious. What's your easy fool proof recipe?

<3 Stef


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Howl



Things I am in LOVE with right now...

Contemporary Dance
Mangos (they're in season, yeay!)
Blended Coffee Drinks (no hot coffee for me in this 102 degree weather!)
The Budget template I created on Excel
The idea of our family going to Mexico! (Mom hasn't been since 1999!)
My mom's fresh Hibiscus tea
Hot shower after a LONG day
God's Grace
Clear Nail Polish
This AWESOME video (go! i dare you not to smile or bop your head while watching...impossible!)


Yes, I've been lacking in the posts. That honestly (believe it or not) makes me sad, why? Cause I really enjoy writting and taking pictures. One of the things that really stops me from taking pictures of the things i do is the horrible lighting that's inside my apartment. I have a tiny window in the kitchen and a clear balcony door. However, this doesn't really give me much too work with. If you live somewhere that doesn't have amazing windows with natural lighting how do you go about photographing food or things in general without getting this crazy yellow tint from the lightbulbs? I really want to know...

I guess for now, I shall go with taking the things to my room and taking pics in there, since its the ONLY room in the house that has decent natural lighting. :)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


P.S Come check out the party at The Coffee Shop, for Coffee Friday! Latest post from guest blogger Tara here!



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Puppy Love


My Aunt's dog had a puppy, and he's pretty darn cute. I mean look at that little ball of cuteness! It's the size of my hand, maybe smaller, so delicate and precious! He's only 6 days old and still has yet to open his eyes to the world. Can you imagine? Being born but having your eyes shut tight? I want him, but know that's not possible. Not at this time anyways! His nose is so tender and his little paws are so tiny! I always awe at the fact on how God created those instincts within us. Like how this little bebe knew exactly to go to Mama for milk, and knew how to guide himself to her for warmth and comfort. & don't get me started on the birthing process. I was amazed at how dogs (and every animal) knows exactly what to do when bringing them delicate souls to this world. 

So if you have nothing better to do or your day seems to be dragging on, look to these pictures to remind yourself of God's awesomeness in everything he has created! (& of course the cuteness that is just too much!)






<3 Stef

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Spinach Swap!



 I am a die hard pasta lover. I can't help but become weak in the knees when a plate of carb loaded pasta and fresh garlic bread is set before me. It's bad. However, I keep in mind that these delicious things aren't very good for my wasteline and and my overall health (the white enriched stuff anyways), and am always on the lookout for healthy alternatives. A while back I have heard about the "Spinach Swap", where (as its name suggests) you swap pasta for spinach in whatever recipe you might be cooking up. I thought this to be the most brilliant idea! It might not taste the same, or even look remotely close. However, this seems to keep my pasta cravings under control although I will admit to that bowl of garlic butter penne and vegetable every once in a while (:  Try it! Let me know how it goes for you!

<3 Stef

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Day in Downtown Las Vegas!



Pretending to be a tourist in my hometown is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Being raised in Las Vegas has somehow affected my ability to feel excitement at the sight of slot machines and tall casinos. Many people come in hopes of seeing all the "new attractions" and modern architecture. To experience high end shopping and all the other common Vegas things. Although I love everyhting on the Strip and can definitely guarantee you'll have a great time there, I can't help but call Downtown the best part (in my opinion) of the whole Vegas experience. I love it's history, quirky shops, art, and culture. The signs you find everywhere are just exquisite, especially all those old colorful motel signs that makes my heart skip a beat!


One on random Thursday afternoon after work, I decided to go walking down all of Fremont and LVB capturing all of its crazy, vintage glory. Next time you're in town, I hope you give Downtown a chance and come spend some time here. Chill at the local Insert Coins (an arcade bar full of vintage video games!) Pretend to be a mobster and go through the Mob Museum Experience, Chill at The Beat (and independent and ultra cool coffee house) or simply walk down the Fremont Experience and watch some awesome shows on the biggest screen on the planet! One thing this city has, fun and uniqueness, that's for sure! :)




Fremont street



Click for more pics!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

As IF!



"Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there's no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value" -Cher (Clueless, 1995)

We all have that one movie we know all the lines too, sing along with the music, and know the characters upcoming facial expressions. These movies send inside of us waves of comfort and joy, and make those lonely friday night all that much better. For me it's Clueless. I freaking love that movie! I remember exactly how I found it too. Me and my younger sister were looking for something to watch having no cable and being tired of soccer on the Univision channel. We ravaged through what seemed some old VHS tapes and encountered one we had never seen before. We fired up the VCR and inserted the nameless massive tape. We stood there in awe of what we saw. (This is starting to sound more like a sex tape encounter, SOO glad that is not the case).

Even though we were young (Maybe 10 years old) we found the movie hilarious! I instantly fell in love with Cher's amazing outfits, "maturity, and wit. My sister couldn't help but think Dionne was super cool and frankly badass. Watching it being now a bit older I realized there were a lot of things that I now understand that probably weren't appropriate for a 10 year old. Yet again, at that age I probably didn't get the jokes anyway....

"Amber: Ms. Stoeger, my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose.
 Dionne: Well, there goes your social life"  

See what I mean? LOL
 
I also love Christian... he thinks he's such a cool cat with his fedora and awesome Billy Holiday playing car. Even though Paul Rudd is pretty cute, Travis (played by my the awesome Breckin Meyer)  is my favorite guy in the flick. Who even though might be fried all day, is super sweet and sensitive deep down. (Marvin the Martian is clearly the epitome of romantism here!) LOL I love the randomness of the whole movie and how well the characters (despite how different they are) mesh together.
Now that I think of it, if you haven't seen Clueless go rent it tonight. Right now. Stop everything you're doing and go find it cause you have not experienced 1995 and all it's hip hop, pants sagging, cellphone block glory till you see it!

 Yes, Clueless you will ALWAYS inhabit that space in my heart.
<3 Stef

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BeanChat!





Hey everyone! So I know that I am not the only one that loves to curl up with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee and chat away with some girlfriends online or on the couch. So why not do so tomorrow morning?! The lovely gals from Gevalia coffee contacted me wanting to know if I would be part of hosting their awesome weekly online discussions known as "BeanChat"  this week. If you know me well, you know that I could not refuse such invite and jumped right on it!

It will be awesome if you stopped by tomorrow to chat on some topics I have in mind, ask questions, and be a part of a community who loves all things crafts, pop culture, fashion, and happiness . All you have to do is like Gevalia's facebook page and click on their "BeanChat" link to join. The party starts tomorrow (Thursday) at 10 am EST (7 am for me!) so west coasters, PJ's are allowed! :)

Hope to see you there!

<3 Stef

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bouchon Bakery & Macarons!

(If you found yourself wondering where the heck I went, I was going through some Post Partum New York Depression. Although, I can't say I have fully recovered [don't think I ever will be, until I go back] I am doing much better, thanks for understanding) :)


If there is something that delights my soul more than getting back into the habit of things (which I clearly needed to after neglecting this blog) its macarons. Nope, not the coconut ones, which are indeed tasty, but the awesome french cookie ones that seem to be the new IT thing. The lovely colorful beauties that come in an array of flavors and are ridicilously hard to find here in Vegas seem to be the new craze. After much reading about them, I realized that other than France, the place to get your hands on them is New York City. So while I was there a couple of weeks ago, I headed over to Bouchon Bakery in Time Warner Center on a rainy day (since I wasn't able to head over to Macaron Cafe, which is where I really wanted to go) and got me a 6 pack of baby macaroons. It was there where I lost my macaron virginity and must I say it was an unbeleiveable and magical experience. Really.

It was like nothing I have ever tasted before, all the different textures that meshed so nicely with the ganache filing. It wasn't just a party in my mouth, it was freaking Brazilian Carnival on its 3 day binge of dancing and colorful costumes galore! The only way I can describe it, is of an inverted cupcake like cookie with a crunchy outer layer yet an amazing moist fluffy inside with the utter most....see  I can't even finish describing how awesome it is cause it makes my mouth water. Google it.

(True Story; just got sidetracked onto the Macaron Cafe website and was overflowed with joy when I saw they shipped, almost ordered a 44$ box of macarons, then quickly exited out before I pressed the Process button) (sad face)

When I got back from such magical experience, I knew of some places around town that sold macarons and was anxious to try them. I had spotted some when I was roaming around City Center's Vdara Hotel and was super excited to see that they were of affordable pricing. Once I bit into one I realized why. THEY WERE HORRIBLE! They were truly a disgrace to the macaron community, making them seem like some tacky, playdoh like cookies with weird aftertastes. (TRAUMATIZED).

Then, I had seen some at  Jean Phillipe's Pattiserrie inside the Bellagio but was saddened to see that they only had boxed sets available so decided to skip out.


However, a glimmer of hope was revived within me when I headed over to Bouchon Bakery...


Recovering from such traumatic experience at Vdara's Market Cafe, I was releived to know that I had purchased from them when being in NYC and somehow had a feeling that they would be similar in some way. The place was small bakery counter and had an array of pastries, breads and desserts similar to the one I had visited before. I immediately headed over to the macarons and notice they were running low but had a decent amount of flavors available. Bouchon is known for there larger size of macarons so I expected them to be larger than usual. They were 3.50 each and although that might seem expensive that is normal for the macaron world.

I ordered 2.



Vanilla and Raspberry

They were all I imagined them to be. 

The actual macaron was pretty amazing. Even though the filing was a bit soft (having been used to a more firm ganache) it was still a good consistency when paired with the cookie. It was crunchy on the outside, yet didn't crumble (just as it should). The inside being soft and fluffy  tucked with a ganache/jam filing just how a perfect macaron should be created.

Heaven.

See for yourself.







So considering that we have no MacarOn Cafe's out here, I don't mind at all settling for Bouchon. So if you are in town, near The Venetian and are having a macaron attack stop by and grab some. You won't be dissapointed. Although I must let you know finding this place was a mission. It is right in front of the PHANTOM theater so make sure to find a map nearby or ask a security. Overall I give this place a B+. Lacking in the 'ease of access' area. If you decide to go, try the pistachio one for me, would ya? & let me know how it tastes!

3 cheers for macarons!

3355 Las Vegas Blvd S 
 Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(866) 659-9643

(In front of Phantom Theater)


P.S; If you like all things sweet, check out my review here on this cupcakery! :)

<3 Stef