Strawberry, Blackberry & Pistachio Yogurt Bark

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You’ve probably seen yogurt bark recently on your Facebook newsfeed like I have (thanks, Tasty!).

One afternoon when I became a little hangry for going a little too long without a snack or a small meal, I started pulling fresh berries out of the fridge. Then I noticed the creamy, full-fat, rich, gooood yogurt. A full can, a rarity in my house.

While I was still hangry and searching for a snack, I was desperately thinking “I’m never going to let myself go this long without something to eat again!” I started snacking on chocolate (not a filling snack, but hey I needed some brain food to at least get started on finding something good to eat) while I started to prepare some tangy yogurt bark. 

It’s ridiculously easy to make, and you don’t really need a recipe to make it, but I’m going to list out everything for you just to make things easier for you. 

How does it taste, you ask? Deliciously tangy. The fruit is refreshing. The pistachios add a nice texture and flavor to the bark. And it’s all slightly sweet, thanks to some honey. 

How does it hold up? So, I’m not using greek yogurt, which a lot of people seem to have issues with when freezing. I’m using old-fashioned creamy yogurt from Trader Joe’s (it’s a red plastic container if you see it there), and I haven’t really come across a similar yogurt in other stores. This one is especially creamy but still has a pourable consistency. 

How long does it last? I wouldn’t keep it around for too long in the freezer, because the longer you keep it in there, the more likely it is for the taste to change and for ice crystals to develop. Do store it in an airtight plastic container for max freshness. 

Remember, all the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste or to the quantity you’re making! There really aren’t any rules. 

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Strawberry, Blackberry & Pistachio Yogurt Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy, plain yogurt (my yogurt is from Trader Joe's)
  • 3-4 tbsp honey, to taste
  • 3-4 fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
  • 8-10 fresh or frozen blackberries, halved
  • 2 tbsp crushed pistachios

Instructions

  1. First of all, prep your ingredients. Slice your strawberries, chop your pistachios, etc.
  2. Add a layer of aluminum foil to a baking sheet. I used a pizza pan since I was making a small batch for myself.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the honey and yogurt.
  4. Pour the honey and yogurt onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Scatter the strawberries, blackberries, and crushed pistachios all over the yogurt.
  6. Put in the freezer for 2-4 hours until frozen.
  7. Remove from freezer and break the bark into large pieces. Use a sharp knife for help.
  8. Eat immediately! Some of it will melt on your hands--it's inevitable.
  9. Store the rest in an airtight container in your freezer.
http://www.thesassylife.com/strawberry-blackberry-pistachio-yogurt-bark/

Spring Cleaning Tips Not Related To The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Spring Cleaning Tips Not Related To The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 

If another person talks about how “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” changed their life, I swear I’m going to…

do nothing about it :) Did I get you there?

I have the book but haven’t gotten around to reading it. And I do have to say, I’m a little tired of the hype. 

As a self-proclaimed “hoarder” (a title I hold with a tiny bit of pride, actually), I tend to accumulate a lot of things and have trouble getting rid of them. Although I keep some items for sentimental reasons and “what if” situations, I mainly just collect more items than I get rid of. 

Now that it’s spring and I can actually see everything that has caught dust over summer, fall, and winter, I want to share with you a few of my weird but hopefully helpful tips on spring cleaning. (Note: None, literally none of this has been endorsed by Marie Kondo)

If you have trouble purging your clothes, go through them during an off season. 

For whatever reason, I find it a lot easier to part with items I haven’t worn in a long time if I’m parting with them in an off-season. For example, It’s a lot easier for me to get rid of an old summer dress in March and dingy sweater in July. I know that I haven’t worn some of my dresses in a really long time and if I find them in my closet and don’t really seem to care much for them, I know it’s time for them to find a new home.

Having those items out of sight lets the decision making process easier for me, because I know that I’ve lived without that item for a good period of time without needing it

Promise yourself to replace intimates and accessories. 

We often forget to go through intimates, socks, etc.–things we use on a daily basis–because we use them on a daily basis and they aren’t seasonal. It’s important to go through this stuff and throw out the ill-fitting item, outdated items, and items that have holes in them. If you’re anything like me, the idea of getting new items in their place can be pretty exciting. Promise yourself to get new bras when you toss the old, new socks when you toss out the old, etc. 

Turn your unloved but good quality items into a little cash

Take your clothes and accessories (not intimates though, ew) to secondhand stores that buy gently used items. You might get a little cash out of it. You can also consider selling your items online, too, but I personally find that to be a lot more work than taking garbage bags of clothing to a secondhand clothing store. It takes effort to get to the store, but you can get rid of your clothes in a matter of hours. Problem solved!

Set up a calendar for your skincare and cosmetics

Or any item that has to be tossed or replaced after a certain period of time. It might seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it’ll come in handy and you’ll be organized as hell. You could use a spreadsheet or set calendar alerts on iCal. 

Or, replace your items based on the calendar year. 

Replace your toothbrush and mascara every quarter. Your foundation, every new year. As long as you have a system that works for you, you’re good. Be sure to do a little research on the lifespan of your products. 

Clean your shoes, brah. 

I don’t know how often we think about this, but it’s worth cleaning your shoes after winter. If you’re like me and store shoes you wear on a daily basis in a closet with clean clothes…uhh that’s kinda weird right? Kinda like eating right next to a dirty bathroom, but not as dramatic. Just clean your shoes from time to time. Some shoes are okay to put in the washer and dryer, but you can use disinfecting wipes to clean the others, or special shoe cleaners if the material is more delicate. 

Reward yourself for cleaning. 

I’m a bit of a lazy person, with “bit” being an understatement. Cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, and clearing through and organizing clutter can be a major pain in the butt for me. In moments when I’m cleaning, I’m usually wondering how there are some people who actually like cleaning (I’ve met a few of you and I’m still wondering. And for the record, I don’t have anything against you or hate you). Anyway, I like to give myself a reward for cleaning. Nothing crazy, but something enough to make me want to do it. Like pizza. Pizza is a good reward for anything. 

If you have a lot of cleaning to do, set up a 30 day challenge and hold yourself to it. Then, give yourself a really large reward. Basically, just get yourself to do it. 

Actually create a system that works with your lifestyle.

If you like the minimalist look but are a hoarder, you’ll have to get creative to stash away the clutter. And, if you hide the clutter, you may forget you own certain items and buy them again, creating a vicious cycle. This is a moment where you have to tell yourself “No, I have a lot of things and I can’t live like a minimalist.” and then gear up for the lifestyle of a person who has a lot of things and needs creative but accessible storage. We all have to face reality and accept ourselves. 

Seriously, replace your bras. 

Ill-fitting bras showing through your t-shirts or dresses isn’t cute. If you’re in denial that your bra needs to be tossed (I think all of us have been here at some point), you need to check out this infographic. Good bras are important!!!  

Lifecycle of the Bra

If you need a new bra and not thrilled by the idea of going to the store to have yourself measured by a stranger (super awkward), you need to check out ThirdLove. Get 10% off your purchase at ThirdLove with the code TLSPRING10.

That’s pretty much what I’ve got for Spring Cleaning Tips. Do you have any to add to the mix? I would love to hear them, especially since I’m not very proactive when it comes to cleaning. 

Notes: I have nothing against Marie Kondo. She sounds pretty cool and I hope to get around reading her book soon. It has “Magic” in the title for a reason, folks. 

Playing Tourist – A Visit to Alcatraz

A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry
A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry

I have probably mentioned this before, but it’s worth noting here again that I’m a Bay Area native. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived here my entire life. 

Which brings me to my point–I’ve lived here my entire life and I have never been to Alcatraz. Until now, of course.

Actually, I can ask any of my friends who were born and raised here and I can tell you only one or two have been to the infamous penitentiary. 

Why? Well, for one, it’s pretty difficult to just go there on a whim. You definitely have to plan ahead. Another reason? It’s right in the middle of all the tourist traps in the city. Fisherman’s Wharf is known for cheap souvenirs, windy cold weather, sea lions, Pier 39, and any other touristy thing you can think of.  

About four weeks ago, we made plans to finally take a trip to Alcatraz! Was it worth it? Absolutely. There were so many unexpected perks from this trip, like panoramic views of the city and East Bay and beautiful spring wildflowers. 

Here’s a recap of our trip: 

The view of Coit Tower from the waiting area
The view of Coit Tower from the waiting area

The waiting area and ticketing area is legit. The National Parks Service really knows how to herd crowds of people and streamline the process. While we were waiting, I snapped this photo of Coit Tower. 

A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry
A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry

We were sailing over rough water but our ferry got us to the island in one piece. That’s a view of the island from the ferry. 

As soon as you get to the island, you’re greeting by this gigantic sign. Really, you can’t miss it. 

Right when you get off the ferry, a ranger gives you a quick rundown of what’s happening on the island and where things are at. They have some special demonstrations throughout the day but the main attraction is the guided audio tour that takes you through the jail cells and various rooms of the prison. It’s included in the admission to the island. 

On the way to the guided tour, you’re taken to a room that shows the toiletries they used, the laundry area, and the showers:

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Toiletries
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Laundry

Almost all the rows of jail cells looked like this, with the exception of solitary confinement cells. These cells were state of the art. 

Alcatraz Jail Cells
Alcatraz Jail Cells
Entrance to the admin building
Entrance to the admin building
Dining Hall Menu
Dining Hall Menu

Their meals were a mere 20 minutes long. Pictured above is the menu from the last day Alcatraz was in operation.

After the tour (which took about an hour), we walked around the island to take in the views. 

Sailboats on the bay
Sailboats on the bay

And that’s pretty much it! We headed back on a ferry back to the mainland right afterward. 

Some tips, if you’re planning on making a trip:

  • Book your tickets in advance. The ferries are usually booked one week out. 
  • Try to go in the early afternoon so that you’re there before the heavy winds kick in
  • Eat well before you go. There is food available on the ferry (hot dogs, nachos…) There’s no food on the island and you’re not allowed to bring food to the island. You can drink water though!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. There’s a lot of walking involved.
  • There isn’t much cell phone service on the island. Plan accordingly. 
  • There are other special trips available, such as night tours and combo trips to Angel Island. Take a look to see what they offer!

Have you been to Alcatraz? What do you think?