Summer Fruit Tart!

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IT’S BASICALLY SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR!!!! Have been into WHITE lately – white shorts, white tanks, white shirts, white sheets, white shoes, all white everything! Can’t wait to be a little more tan (yes I still care about my facial skin care) by being outdoors! I hope this summer is the best summer yet (unlike last year when I was studying – had a nose disease that wasn’t curable until late summer! hahah) !! Lots in store like country concerts, wedding, ariana grande, vegas, kevin hart, etc. Someone invite me to a BBQ so I bring over this magnificent fruit tart and/or cream puffs (another post). Anyway happy beginning of SUMMER!!!

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Key Lime Pie!!! (+my 2015 resolutions!)

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Oh man, sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time!!! I’ve been busy with work and getting my life in order for the new 2015! I have some ambitious, but achievable, 2015 new year resolutions and they will only be realized if I work hard…at work! Care for some inspiration? I figure that writing it down for you will help myself as well, since these goals are currently living in my brain, but seeing it in print might make achieving these goals better!

1. Become more knowledgeable about the industry that I am in, which means attending conferences, whole heartedly listen to webinars and trainings, and really apply myself.

2. Be more responsive and conversational about topics in the industry – this means piecing together all my thoughts into a cohesive statement, or argument, and being able to respond quickly to different opinions or things being brought up. I read a lot of articles and know a lot about investments, but seriously, not nearly enough to be able to talk to the big shots. Something I am willing and able to do this year!

3. Be more active in the community – I actually developed a volunteer policy at my company, where we encourage each other to service the community at least once a year. Since my company is small, I plan to organize group volunteer events where we can participate together and have fun while doing so! I hope to inspire others to help the less fortunate by any way possible.

4. Be more active socially in this amazing city! People who have seen me recently know that I have been quite the hermit lately, and only going out when begged to – I want to change that! I would like to explore more of this city and discover new things about it, myself, the people, and the culture in it. Also, it is to meet more people who are of like mind – intellectually curious with a vast interest like myself! So excited!

5. Wear sunscreen on my face so I don’t get wrinkles.

6. Buy 2 hats – a baseball cap (or mom hat) I can wear while running errands, and a floppy hat for tea time/picnics in the park.

SO those are my new years resolutions! What are yours? I would love to know what you will be working on this year!

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GIVING THANKS! And a Persimmon, Apple, Cranberry Pie

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This Thanksgiving I thought about the word gratitude and really thought about who and what it applies to. This year has been tremendous – great things happened, mixed with a little sour. Overall it was truly a momentous year with several things : me passing the CA Bar exam, starting my career in the unknown, and finally not having to worry about school/job/work/relationships/etc. I feel freeeeee. Something that I haven’t felt in a long time. I mean truly, the bar exam took up 11 months of my life (started thinking about it and preparing for it in January), and in the meantime, graduated law school and started my career. Being this free, I really don’t know what to do with all this free time. I can’t get over not having to worry about something…or actually laugh without the restraint of not knowing if I passed or not, or smile without SOMETHING in the back of my mind. I definitely need to start looking into some new goals for 2015. If I passed the Bar exam, anything is possible.

I have a lot to think about what I am thankful for this year, and most importantly, the people in my life who have helped made it possible. Of course the immediate people in my life comes to mind first, but I realized with the outpouring of support and congratulatory messages about my passing of the Bar, that somehow I have made a mark in someone’s life enough for them to reach out. So I guess the lesson here is, never underestimate the marks you may have made on someone’s life, no matter how small. I am so touched by all this and want to make every effort to show my gratitude in this world: to family, to friends, to acquaintances, to strangers. I want you all to know that your support means so much to me and makes me so thankful we have met.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Below are some of the things I made for Thanksgiving, including my table setting before guests arrived. And I somehow found time to make a pie. IMG_5125IMG_5143

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Pie has been a challenge for me recently. I haven’t been able to get the all butter crust right – by food processor, by hand, by fork, by pastry blender. It is still a work in progress but I needed something for my guests on Thanksgiving! So I made an all oil crust. I first heard about this crust only a week ago…I googled and googled and everyone gave me the same assurance – the crust will be flaky with the perfect crumb, but it just won’t taste like butter. I was intrigued that I have never heard of something like this and was super excited to give it a try. It turned out a success – the best success out of all the pies I have been making recently. I plan to conquer the all butter, butter/shortening type crusts in the next few months. But for now, this is the quickest and easiest route to good pie. Plus I have an abundance of persimmons, which I don’t really like that much, so putting it in sweet flaky pie makes it so much better.

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Carrot Cake!!!

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THANK YOU for everyones birthday wishes!!! I may not have the time to individually thank everyone, but know that each and every one of you makes my life complete. And for my birthday gift to you all, I give you a yummy carrot cake recipe that is so scrumptious it will make you so happy too! As I grow older, I realized it is less and less exciting to grow a year older, and that time really flies. Before I know it, I will be a grandma! I wish to cherish each and every moment I have with everyone – I realized this while studying for the bar and being in hermit mode for 2 months – the days are as long and great as you make it. Every day is a NEW DAY, and whatever things you didn’t do the day before can be accomplished TODAY!!! I kept telling myself that every morning as I pondered over everything I did NOT do and how much more I needed to do. But as my big test got closer and closer, I realized less pondering, and more doing. Take every day as a new day and learn to cherish every minute of it – every minute not cherished is a minute wasted. So as I begin a new age, I am hoping that I can hustle and accomplish my many goals in life, and hope to achieve them all early whilst enjoying my life in the process. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being wonderful readers and supporters :)!!! I can’t wait for this new age!

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Moist Gluten-Free (Flourless) Brownies!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!! I hope everyone has plans, but if not, I will be going out to downtown with my roomie so come with! 🙂 I definitely am celebrating this year full force with wine, brownies, and good friends – no need for a significant other when you have so many people who love you and people you love back ❤ Hope everyone enjoys whatever you are doing and I wish everyone the best on their love life, single life, in between life, and don’t know life hahah ❤ Love love!

By the way, these brownies are totes awesome and totally low calorie and packed with protein (replaced flour with black beans) so make them for your lover and friends who are figure-conscious!

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Perfect M&M Cookies!

Yes yes, still baking Christmas cookies hahah I found these mini M&Ms at Target for half price after Christmas and decided to get them. I wanted to make these for my sister and my visit to the office tomorrow! So excited these turned out wonderful. They are the perfect crispy outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

Here are some crispy on the outside/soft and chewy on the inside lessons:

For a softer/chewy cookie:
Use bread flour instead of all-purpose because of the gluten in the bread flour
Use a more brown sugar to white sugar ratio
Melt butter/soften in the microwave
Refrigerate or freeze the dough for 30 min to overnight for the best results

For a crispier cookie:
Use a more white sugar to brown sugar ratio
Add an additional egg white to the mix

Of course there needs to be a good balance between it all and for this M&M cookie, I think I found a good mixture of goods to produce a crispy on the outside and soft on the inside cookie! Enjoy!

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Walnut & Pistachio Baklava!

There really isnt any place like home for the holidays! I love all the warm smells and holiday baking that goes on in my house! I think as I get older I feel like being at home and spending time with my family more and more. Maybe its the ‘getting old’ thats getting to me haha. I think it’s also the traditions that my family has – stuff we do every year – like put up the Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving, decorate the fresh tree the same way since my sister and I were born, presents under the tree, all the baking we do, nightly walks around the neighborhood to see our neighbor’s lights, drives around Lodi to check out Christmas lights… the list goes on and on! What are your family traditions during the holidays? On top of those regular traditions, we add new traditions every so often – for example, this year I baked some baklava and gave it to our neighbors to spread some good holiday neighborly cheer! I love how I live in Lodi and you can just walk to anyone’s house. Ever since our house got burglarized last year all of us neighbors have watched each others backs and have really stepped up in helping each other. I really hope when I get out into the real world and have my own house that I would live in a community just as friendly and welcoming as my own in Lodi. With all that said, what are you up to for the holidays and what are some of your traditions?

I had pistachio baklava at a Lebanese cafe in SD last week and didnt realize it was a holiday treat! Baklava is made of nuts and syrup and this thin phyllo dough! It lasts a long time without going bad and it’s easy to pack and cut. I hope you enjoy making it! It really isnt that hard! 🙂

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