go bananas

 ...over this "ice cream." Go ahead, we don't mind... It's a completely satisfying frozen dessert, and a great alternative, when you don't really want the guilt that comes with the real stuff. The greatest part is, you can customize it to your own liking by adding different toppings and making it your own.

I always have bananas turn brown and start to over-ripen on our countertop. I started freezing a lot of them to save them for making banana bread in the future, but as much as I love banana bread, how often was I really going to make it? Not often enough. I am ALWAYS craving ice cream, or some kind of sweet/cold dessert at the end (or middle...or beginning...) of the day, so this was the perfect solution! Sweet, chocolatey, frozen goodness that satisfies my sweet tooth but won't make me feel like I have to run in place as I am eating it. PLUS, this is the very last thing Christal and I made together before she left Hawaii, so I hope you will all enjoy this as much as we did.
This is how you make your own Banana Ice Cream:

Peel the ripened bananas and freeze them. We didn't do it this time, but I would cut them up in slices before freezing them so this next step would be easier. In a food processor (recommended) or blender (this is all I have) blend the frozen bananas until smooth. Add almond milk (or whatever you have in your fridge) to help with the blending process. The consistency should be soft serve -> milk shake depending on how much milk you add. Now comes the fun part - flavors! We added a couple spoonfuls of Nutella into our ice cream this time and topped it with crunchy granola. I also think that peanut butter and cocoa powder would be so good, or honey and fruit! The possibilities are endless ;)
If the blended banana consistency is softer than you would like, put it in an airtight container and pop it back in the freezer for a more scoop-able ice cream. and Enjoy!
Let us know what fabulous combination you can come up with!


DIY Tote Bag

I finished it!  I started this bag last summer and I finally got around to finishing it.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!  I used this tutorial from SAYYESTOHOBOKEN.COM as a guide, but I made some adjustments.  Instead of sewing fabric on for handles, I used some rope and grommets.  All you have to do is follow the directions on the back of the grommet kit on how to install them, then thread the rope through the grommet holes.  After you thread your rope through, tie a knot to secure the handles.  I used a lighter to melt the ends of the rope to keep them from fraying.  I also lightly melted the entire knot to keep it from coming apart.  Now I have a perfect bag to take to the beach, grocery store, anywhere!
Photos by MEGUMI Edited by ME


See you :tomorrow:

Our besties in Hawaii left today. [Kai's expression says it all: noooooooooo....don't go~....]
We met in Provo, came to Hawaii together, and had the best times hanging out. Our experience here wouldn't have been the same without them. Parting is bittersweet. We can't be more excited for them to start the next chapter in their lives in St Louis. We can't be more sad that they are leaving us.
It isn't "good bye." because we'll see each other soon.

"see you, tomorrow..."we said.

We love you.

We will miss you.


on my photography blog.


Bacon Spinach Quiche

This is a recipe I adapted from several different quiche recipes I have seen. It has a little bit of  everything, and is sooooo good! I hope you like it too.


1 (9in) uncooked pie crust
4 eggs, beaten
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup milk
1 med onion, minced
1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
6 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled
3 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (Swiss is good too)
1 Tbsp flour
Garlic salt and nutmeg, for seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line the 9 inch pie or cake pan with rolled out pie crust and bake for 5 min. Then lower oven temp to 375.
Saute onion and mushrooms in a little bit of oil, then add the spinach; season with garlic salt and a dash of nutmeg.  Mix together egg, milk, bacon, onions, mushrooms, and spinach. Add a little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss cheese in 1 Tbsp flour and add into egg mixture. Pour into partially baked pie crust, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until set. Let it sit for 15-20 min before serving.


Food Photography.

I am completely new to this world of food photography, and I have to say, I like it. I love that the subject is stationary and I can manipulate it the way I want without having to worry about them falling out of pose or miss the split second smile. I am still lacking in the area of styling each shoot, but every shoot is a learning experience. I definitely have a TON more to learn, but that is exactly why I am so excited about it! I am mostly inspired by very rustic, natural food styling. Here are a few of the most notable food blogs, that I love....
If there are any others that you recommend, please share! I am always looking to be inspired by other food bloggers/photographers.

The latest photos I have taken were for my neighbor who just started her journey in food blogging as well. Visit her site, Coconuts & Cardamom. They share such great recipes and tips there! Here are a few of the shots that I got of their Cucumber Ribbons/salad, Lemon Cookies, and Acai Bowls/Parfaits.

Not only is their food beautiful, but delicious! Be sure to pay them a little visit.


Easter (and a totally unrelated recipe)

 Happy Easter! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. It was a fun-filled weekend for us. lots of eggs, as you can see.
Here's a recipe that every fish-lover should try.  I know, fish & Easter..? don't really go...but nevertheless, it is a great recipe. You will thank me later ;) I made this the other night when my husband expressed his huge craving for a similar crispy fish we had tried at one of our favorite Thai restaurants. It was experimental, to say the least, but it actually turned out - with positive ravings from the husband. wahoo! I serve it with a green coconut Thai curry. Fried foods is not big in our household... it's rare that I serve deep fried anything at the dinner table. But who doesn't like a crispy, battered, flaky goodness now and again?
Battered Crispy Fish:
1 cup self-rising flour*
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp baking powder*
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash of black pepper
*if you don't have self-rising flour, double the baking powder

For the fish, any kind of good white fish would work, like Cod. I used fresh Shutome (I guess its swordfish...hm, didn't know that), around a pound and a half.

Cut fish into large chunks or strips and coat in batter. Fry 2-3 strips at a time, in 350 degree oil. Take out and place on paper towels when golden brown and cooked through.

Mediterranean Chicken Pizza.

Everyone needs a good go-to pizza recipe. This is mine. It is a thin crust, crispy (flat-bread-like) crust topped with sundried tomato, spinach, feta cheese, and more! I shared this recipe once before on my personal blog, but it is definitely worth re-posting...with upgraded photos, I might add.
For this delicious pizza you will need:

Crispy Crust:
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 ¼ tablespoons sugar
3 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
Mix the water, yeast, and sugar in a glass bowl - allow to sit for 8-10 minutes. Sift together flour and salt. Add liquid to flour mixture and mix for about 4 minutes (the end result should be slightly sticky and firm - adjust with flour/water). Cover and allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size) in a warm place (I turned the oven on LOW and put it in there after turning the heat off). Cut the dough in half. Sprinkle flour and cornmeal on baking sheet to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough on baking sheet, then roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness.

2/3 cup Italian dressing
2 cloves garlic minced

2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups chicken, cooked cubed/shredded
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes from a jar, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 large roma tomato, diced

First, mix together garlic and dressing. Spread mixture over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle toppings, in no particular order, BUT make sure the sundried tomatoes are covered with the spinach leaves because they tend to burn really quickly. So my suggested order would be: mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, chicken, diced tomatoes, spinach, then feta.
Bake for 10-15 minutes (or until golden brown and crispy) at 450 degrees.
Buon Appetito!

Strawberry Shortcake.

Could there be a cuter, more a vibrant dessert than this?? I think not. I grew up eating light and fluffy sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream (which is really considered to be "strawberry shortcake" in Japan)...whether or not that is the true interpretation of the actual term, I still don't know. Since then I have had both cake and biscuit versions of the dessert and enjoy them both equally.
This time we went with the biscuit. Crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. It soaks up enough of the syrup but still holds up well and doesn't get soggy. The crunch of the cookie is a nice contrast to the macerated strawberries and light whipped cream.
So which is your choice biscuit or cake??

Strawberry Shortcake:
(makes 4 fairly large servings, adapted from Pinch My Salt)

1 pint strawberries, sliced
3-4 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 Tbsp sugar, adjust to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar and strawberries, and set aside to macerate.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sugar. Working quickly, with a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Add the cold milk and vanilla and stir til combined.

Drop the mixture into 4 equal parts on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden, when in doubt, use a tooth pick to make sure it's cooked through. Let cool before serving. Cut the biscuit in half, spoon on strawberries and whipped cream on bottom half and drizzle with juice. Top with the other half of the biscuit and enjoy!


Summer Chicken Salad and Homemade Bread

 Summer Chicken Salad
4 ounces mixed greens
2 fresh sliced strawberries
10 dried cranberries
5 red grapes
1 ounce diced cooked chicken breast
1/2 ounce chopped cashews (we used almonds instead)

Zupas Strawberry Vinaigrette
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
4 strawberries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

1.  In a medium sized bowl toss the mixed greens, dressing, and chicken. Transfer into serving bowl.
2.  Top salad with dried cranberries, red grapes, and sliced strawberries.
3.  Sprinkle chopped cashews on top to finish.
4.  Dressing:.
5.  In a medium sized container mix the strawberries, salt, sugar and vinegar.  Blend well in a blender.
6.  While blending slowly add in all the oil, blending until smooth.  
Quick and easy Homemade Bread (Recipe from FOOD.COM).
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butte
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 cups all purpose flour

1.  Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan until butter melts and sugar dissolves.
2.  Cool to lukewarm.
3.  Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl.
4.  Add milk mixture and slowly add flour.
5.  Mix for 1-2 minutes on speed 2.  
6.  Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
7.  Cover and let rise next to warm over for 10 minutes.
8.  Put dough in greased loaf pan and leftover dough in greased muffin pans.  
9.  Let both pans rise in over (170 degrees) for 10 minutes.
10.  Bake at 425 degrees (12 minutes for biscuits and 25-30 minutes for bread).