Gina Chong

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1. Bi-Color Croissants at Supermoon Bakehouse. If you follow me here or on social media, you might know that my favorite dessert on planet earth is the cruffin! You'll find that on the list too, but the creator of the cruffin is Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, who are also the creators of Supermoon Bakehouse. Basically, they are dessert geniuses, and Supermoon in NYC is the only place where you can get their bi-color croissants. This one is blueberry and rosemary, and it was yum-o.


2. Mini Desserts from Eataly. Eataly is the best because of the variety! From cannoli carts to gelato counters, to this cake counter. Hubby and I split ways so that he could get his daily gelato, and I opted for these mini cakes. Hubby's fav was the chocolate and my fav was the raspberry pistachio mmm.


3. Doughnut Plant. For doughnuts in NYC, hubby's fav is Doughnut Plant. He loves their PB&J flavor, but we found ourselves there on National Doughnut Day when they were giving away free mini doughnuts with purchase, and it was a mad house. They were sold out of half their flavors, but this creme brulee turned out to be delish mmm.


4. Gelato from Grom. This gelato shop was nearby our hotel and the only place open late one night when we were craving something sweet. After posting on my Instagram I found out it's a huge favorite, even in Italy, and is definitely my favorite gelato shop (and that's coming from a non-ice cream/gelato lover). If you're craving a frozen dessert in the city, this place is tops.


5. Peaches 'n Cream Soft Serve-Filled Cruffin from Supermoon Bakehouse. Cruffins are the one novelty treat I'll wake up early and wait in line for an hour to get. I've done it a dozen times and it's always worth it. Recently Supermoon did a 4-day collab with Halo Top, filling their cruffins with soft serve instead of cream. They gave away 150 free ones each day, and they were amazeballs. The promotion's over now, but I heard on the street that they'll be offering soft-serve filled cruffins on the reg soon. NYC gets all the good stuff.


6. Totoro Black Sesame Macaron from Bibble & Sip. This was a sweet little bakery/cafe near our hotel that is just my style. Cute treats, Asian flavors, and Totoro! Their spiced pear scone was also delicious nommm.


7. I told my hubby about Levain the last time we were in the city, and he has been hooked since - they make his favorite style of cookies. He loves their chocolate chip, but I prefer their oatmeal raisin.


8. We never forget to grab Magnolia's banana pudding. They were out of the original, so we ate up their java chip and it was equally delish. I was so proud of our trip to the city this time, we didn't waste a single calorie on sub par food, and were able to stuff in everything we wanted to try. What are your favorite dessert spots in the city??

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetenYourSummer #CollectiveBias


Hey guys! Summer officially begins in a couple of days, but I'm well prepared for it. I created this refreshing milkshake recipe months ago, and since it's been a consistent 100 degrees here the past couple of weeks I whipped it up for my hubby to try recently. It's now hubby-approved and ready for the blog. My thing about summer recipes is that I think they should always be quick and simple - no one wants to be slaving away in a hot kitchen during the summer! I was able to make these shakes extra quick and easy partnering up with Reddi-wip 13 oz. Original Whipped Topping and using both COFFEE-MATE® Coconut Caramel Latte Liquid Coffee Creamer 16 oz. and COFFEE-MATE® Italian Sweet Cream Liquid Coffee Creamer 32 oz.. I love how the COFFEE-MATE®s give a great hit of flavor without watering down the creaminess of my shake, and the huge variety of flavors mean that you can get creative mixing up this recipe. Topping it all off with real cream that I didn't have to make myself, aka Reddi-wip, is the best part. Well, besides the fact that fresh pineapple is in season *slobber emoji*.

We've got some fun stuff planned for this summer. We're doing an amusement park for the first time in many years, and I'll be visiting Vegas in it's 1000 degree weather eek. Actually, I'm going to Vegas to visit my parents and help them move house, so this milkshake recipe will likely come in handy a few more times this hot, busy summer. What are your summer plans?? Whatever they are, definitely try out this easy hack using COFFEE-MATE® and Reddi-wip to cool off. All of the ingredients are at Walmart, and if you feel like making a variation on this recipe, COFFEE-MATE®'s Cookies & Cream and Toasted Marshmallow Mocha flavors sound uh-mazing, as well as their classics like French Vanilla and Hazelnut, yum. What's your favorite milkshake flavor for the summer? Find more recipe inspo HERE.






Pineapple Coconut Milkshakes
Makes 2 shakes
  • 1 pint coconut ice cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. COFFEE-MATE® Italian Sweet Cream Liquid Coffee Creamer
  • 2 Tbsp. COFFEE-MATE® Coconut Caramel Latte Liquid Coffee Creamer
  •  cups pineapple chunks
  • 2 dollops Reddi-wip® Original Whipped Topping

Directions:
  1. Combine ice cream, milk, COFFEE-MATE® Italian Sweet Cream Liquid Coffee Creamer, COFFEE-MATE® Coconut Caramel Latte Liquid Coffee Creamer, and pineapple chunks in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Divide the shake between two tall glasses.
  3. Top each with a dollop of Reddi-wip® Original Whipped Topping.



This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeandCleanLiving #CollectiveBias



Say hello to Hana and Kuku again! I love featuring them on the blog because all of my fellow cat-lovers come out of the woodworks and share their own cat stories with me, it's the best. Did you know that my kitties were adopted in Texas? We lived there for a year and a half and that's where we met our cats. Just last week we started a road trip from California to our new home in Oklahoma, and got in two days ago. So my kittens are back to their Southwestern roots for a little while and they don't hate it. But of course, they're just happy to not be in the car >.< . If anyone has road trip tips for cats please let me know. We have no clue how to make car trips easier for them, but we sure know how to spoil them before and after. Before embarking on our trip we stopped by Target to take advantage of their Buy One - Get One 50% Off cat litter deal, wanting to try the New Purina® TIDY CATS® Free and Clean Unscented Clumping Litter which is 99.9% dust free (!!). But you know how Target trips go - we ended up walking out with more than we came for, deciding to pick up a handful of other new products to spoil our kitties with over this trip. Target always has interesting items that you can't find anywhere else, and their cat section did not disappoint. We're real excited about all of our new finds, so I'm sharing Hana and Kuku's experiences with all the new products below, check out their reviews! Tell me if you've tried any of these with your own cats or which ones interest you the most!



We found a yucky fur ball on the rug not long before starting our road trip, and it made us realize that we were not doing a good job of grooming them. So we perused the brushes at Target and decided to try out their most expensive one. It was inside of a security lock so we had to ask an employee to unlock it for us, and it was $25, so we were extremely curious whether it was that much better than the cheaper brushes or not. Well, I totally think it is. The cats never actually enjoyed us brushing them before, they would run away or try to bite the brush, but they kind of enjoy this one and it does an amazing job of pulling out all of their shedded fur. Two thumbs up from our 6-toed Kuku.


Our Kuku looooves kitty treats so we made sure to stock up on those. If anything can make him feel comfortable in his new surroundings it is comfort food. We've tried all kinds of different treats, including new ones that look like beef jerky sticks, but he prefers the ones that are crunchy with soft centers. Does your cat have a favorite?



Our cats have famously not taken to new toys, always preferring strings and ribbons, so I didn't have high hopes for this stick with a shuttlecock-looking thing attached to it. But they are obsessed with it! Both of them perk up and chase it everywhere when I pull it out. Kudos to Target on their cat toys. 


So here is what we originally went to Target to buy: cat litter. I always get the Purina Tidy Cats 20 LB jugs because they have those nice handles that are so easy to carry, refill, etc. They have a new one with charcoal in it called TIDY CATS Free and Clean. It has no added fragrances or dyes and is unscented, with the charcoal doing the odor control work. The best part for me is that it is 99.9% dust free! We honestly hate the dust that comes from most litters. Hana and Kuku say it's a real steal, especially if you can get the BOGO 50% off deal at Target like I did. 


Of course we picked up a few new wet cat foods as well. Target has a great collection of new, healthy foods. Kuku is the treat-eater in our family, but Hana is a lover of wet food. She eats and eats and eats, and meows for more. She has been happy with every single grain-free food cup we picked up for her and hasn't voiced any favorites. Do you have a favorite for your cats?


Overall the cats are real excited about all of their new spoils. The only thing they were picky about was their cat treats. Hana especially gets pretty motion sick on car rides, and Kuku is skittish in general, so they're happy to be settled down in their new home with lots of new toys, foods, and litter. Make sure you check out Target to find this new TIDY CATS Free & Clean litter, it's a big recommend from us. You can get it in both the traditional clumping litter (what I got) or the lightweight version. And find more cat-lovers and cat inspo HERE.


This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #ItsAMatch #DietCoke #CollectiveBias


Is anyone else legitimately sad that the Olympics are over?? I had such a blast following the games every day, it was like a roller coaster of emotions feeling a little bit of what each athlete goes through. If I absolutely had to choose a favorite moment it would have to be seeing Shaun White in tears over his gold medal, and later him tearing up again watching fans' reactions to his monster run. So awesome. Earlier this month I was super lucky to be able to attend the Team USA Olympics viewing party in Park City. It was a weekend event held by Team USA for a big group of their official sponsors like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola made sure to have plenty of their beverages available throughout the weekend, so we got to try some of Diet Coke®'s yummy new flavors. They're the ones in the tall, sleek new cans and the flavors they're offering are: Diet Coke® Classic, Diet Coke® Feisty Cherry, Diet Coke® Ginger Lime, Diet Coke® Zesty Blood Orange, and Diet Coke® Twisted Mango. Our pantry is always stocked with the classic Diet Cokes, so it's real fun having some new flavors to mix things up, we love them! Any other Diet Coke loyalists out there?? I love that it's getting a facelift while maintaining the same taste. Today I'm pairing up the wild Diet Coke Twisted Mango with a new recipe of mine for coconut crusted chicken. I put together this meal for a Sunday night dinner with the rents and loved how it turned out, the Diet Coke Twisted Mango is a perfect pair for this recipe.

Check out my recipe below and find these new flavors at Smith's. They have them in 8-packs, but if you start with the single cans then you can try all of the flavors! Have you tried these yet? Which ones are your favorites? If you take this fun quiz HERE then you can find out which new flavor is your match as well as more pairing recipes!






Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers
Serves 5-6
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lbs. chicken tenders, sliced to half thinness
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • sweet Thai chili sauce for dipping

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, salt and pepper. Place chicken tenders in the buttermilk mixture and set aside in fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F and line two pans with aluminum foil.

To prepare the dredge, place the flour in a shallow bowl, in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, and in a medium bowl combine the panko and coconut. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, then the egg, then the coconut mixture, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the chicken reaches 165F. Turn your oven to low broil and place each pan on the highest rack for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them until they reach your desired brownness before removing from oven. Serve warm with sweet Thai chili sauce.



If you don't follow my Instagram then let me recount the story of these cupcakes. So they totally weren't for anything specific, I just wanted to make a Valentine's Day inspired treat and I also wanted to learn to pipe buttercream flowers. I took a class on Craftsy and bada-bing-bada-boom, they weren't the best roses but they were better than I expected! I learned some great tips from that class, I'll share them below! I put a lot of care and effort into my first ever buttercream roses and was quite proud of them. As I set up to take a photo, though, guess what happens?? My reflector comes crashing down right onto my cupcakes *crying emoji*. So I have zero photos of my unscarred cupcakes and nothing to show for all that work. I literally would have cried if my mom hadn't been in the room. Fortunately the one I'm holding in my hand was seemingly unscathed so I decided to continue my photos and tried to focus on that cupcake and bokeh all the rest. Looking at my flatlays you can see where all the other ones are smudged or flattened. They were the survivors. So these photos are not ideal, these cupcakes are not ideal, but the recipe is worthy of sharing. I stuffed as many raspberries as I could into these and I love how they turned out. I actually keep rosewater on hand for some odd reason, but because I've been a nomad for the past year I didn't have my normal kitchen supplies and my store didn't carry rosewater. So my substitute: rose tea! It worked quite well, but it's such a subtle flavor that you can honestly scratch it altogether (no need for a liquid substitute).

More tips: I learned from my Craftsy class that adding browns and yellows to pinks really help make them look more natural, and it's true! And one thing I forgot to pick up at Michael's was a flower lifter. I used chopsticks instead and oh how I wish I had some flower lifters!




Raspberry Rose Cupcakes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
  • 2-3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup rose tea
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
Frosting:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or from 4 large eggs)
  • 3 sticks + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • gel food coloring (opt.)

Directions:

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Then add the rose tea. Reduce speed to low and add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Fold in the raspberries. 

Fill your cupcake liners until nearly full. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

For the frosting:
Fill a small saucepan with about an inch and a half of water. Bring it to simmering. In a heat-proof bowl, combine your egg whites and sugar and set on top of your simmering pot. Whisk continually until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has reached 160F. Remove from heat and pour into a clean stand mixer bowl, careful not to let any of the condensation into your egg whites. Using a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks. Add the vanilla and continue to beat. Then while still beating, add the butter half a stick at a time. Whip until it comes together, and add food coloring as desired. Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes.


Cupcake recipe adapted from HERE. Frosting recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.



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