Oh Sweet Day!

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cream Cake

February 25, 2015 by Fanny | 9 Comments

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Daylight saving will start in about two weeks. It means that you will enjoy daytime longer, weather is getting warmer, then it comes spring! And before you know it, summer will be here!

WHAT? SPRING? You are sitting over there in the East Coast and like WHAT THE HELL! I know I know. It’s lucky that we live in the West and we had a fairy warm winter this year. This morning when I was pulling out of our driveway, I noticed some long bluish green blade-shaped leaves growing under the tree in our front yard. And I know tulips are coming back. Spring is here soon.

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What’s more to be happy about is that we are going to be berry-crazy again! Inside our house are too many berry monsters that I have to load the refrigerator with tons of berries all the time. They go bowlfuls!

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The beauty of this cake is you can basically use any kind of berry. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries…One summer when I had too many blueberries, I decided to use them to make blueberry sauce to go with this cake. And OH MY GOD! Fluffy cake, fresh berry filling, pillowy whipped cream and sweet white chocolate coating. What a dream cake!

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Ingredients (one 8-inch 3-layer cake):

Lemon Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Others
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
20 fresh strawberries
2 cups grated white chocolate
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon zest, juice and vanilla.

Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Transfer pans to oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes before inverting on rack. Let cool completely.

Beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Place into the fridge to chill.

To assemble, place one cake layer on the serving late and spread with half of the strawberry jam. Gently spread a layer of whipped cream on top, and scatter half of the chopped strawberries. Top with another cake layer and repeat the jam, whipped cream and strawberries. Top with the final cake layer.

Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Press white chocolate around the sides of cake and place whole strawberries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Braided Bread with Strawberry and Cream Cheese Filling

February 20, 2015 by Fanny | 23 Comments

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Sometimes I wonder if I bake too much with strawberries. But this is a special bread. A braided one. Beautifully made. So when I came across with this recipe, I couldn’t help but started to whip up the dough and dig out that jar of home-made strawberry jam from the fridge. Go ahead if you would like to stick with the original recipe and use lemon curd. But I do think you could fill your bread with anything – Nutella, fresh berries, chocolate chips, apple sauce……

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Ingredients (one big loaf):

Bread
6 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/2 cups + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sesame
Filling
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine water, 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast and 1/4 cup flour. Stir well to combine. Cover with tea towel, and set aside to proof for 15 minutes.

Combine the yeast mixture with the remaining bread ingredients (except sesame) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 1/2 cup flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass.

Switch to the dough hook and knead on until a soft and smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with tea towel, and allow to rise for 90 minutes, until the dough almost doubles in size.

While the dough is rising, combine all the filling ingredients (except the jam) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve until ready to fill the bread.

Gently deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper. Lightly dividing it into three equal column with the side of your hand. Spread cream cheese filling on the center section, leaving the top and bottom 2″ free of filling. Spread the strawberry jam over the cream cheese filling.

To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips 1″ apart down the length of the outer columns of your dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1″ strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper. Remove the four corner segments. To braid, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternation strips until you are out.

Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with tea towel and set it aside to rise for 50 minutes, until quite puffy.

Preheat oven to 375F. Brush the loaf with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Remove from over and cool for 15 minutes before serving.

To Maya – Someone is taking it very seriously

February 19, 2015 by Fanny | 3 Comments

Dear Maya,

We had a little time this morning to have a full-gear dress-up party. Meaning: letting you put on all the 400 gowns before you decide which one to donate or throw away. And turned out we are keeping all of them. Damn it!

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I told you that you might get chilly in that cheongsam. But you didn’t care because you said it’s Chinese New Year and we say “Kung Hei Fat Choy”. I think it’s because you are awesome.

I took a few shots of you only when you started to sing a Katy Perry song like a Chinese opera singer. I don’t know how you learned this from, but I folded up that moment and put it in my pocket.

Love,
Mommy

Coconut Macaroon

February 18, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

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Chinese New Year is as big to Chinese families as Thanksgiving or Christmas to American families. Extended families gather over a reunion dinner, a giant feast with lots of good food. Relatives and friends visit each other giving out red pockets stuffed with money to kids. And then more food and more catch-ups and more red pockets!

I grew up with tons of memories, anticipation and excitement in those weeks leading to this big festival. We would do a huge clean-up in the house before the new year to sweep away everything negative. My mother would prepare us the newest, bestest and most importantly reddest outfit because red means luck. Our house would blossom with traditional and colourful flowers and fruits.

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Spending Chinese New Year in Vancouver is a different experience. The world goes on as it’s not a holiday and nothing seems to be different on the streets. Yet, Chinese families are celebrating this big festival at home. All low-key and quiet but still festive, heart-warming and of course food-filling.

I’ve made these coconut macaroons to sort of bring the memories of my Chinese New Year from my home town. These macaroons are not necessarily the same things that I used to have, but I have fond memories of having lots of Chinese desserts made of coconuts. And they were all my favourites because I genuinely love coconuts.

Coconut macaroons are very easy to make. You literally fold coconuts in the beaten egg whites, shape it into balls and bake! Crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Nothing is better than these for a true coconut fan!

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Ingredients (about 24 cookies):

2 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, sugar and vanilla until well combined and fluffy.

Fold in coconuts and salt.

With wet hands to shape the coconut mixture into small balls, about 1 tablespoon-sized, and place them on the prepare baking sheets, spacing an inch apart.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Tiramisu Cupcake

February 16, 2015 by Fanny | 11 Comments

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First of all, if you are intimated by tiramisu making, don’t be! Tiramisu is in fact one of the easiest desserts to make. And you know what, no baking is required! Just make sure you use good quality mascarpone cheese, you are good to go! And the result is a creamy and light yet also decadent and delicious show-stopping dessert.

Having been really busy with Valentine’s Day parties for the past week, I was able to sit down now to introduce you guys to these tiramisu cupcakes – a nice twist to the traditional Italian dessert and present it into little cupcakes. I’ve made tiramisu for so many times, but it was my first time hearing about tiramisu cupcakes, thanks to one of my clients who made a special request for her company’s Valentine’s Day party.

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I googled about it and realized that most of the recipes out there were originated from Martha Stewart’s recipe – a base of sponge cake soaked with coffee-flavoured syrup and topped with mascarpone frosting. I tried out the recipe by making the first batch for my family and neighbours. After a huge success, there was second batch for my beloved client. Then another batch last week for our weekend family dinner. THREE BATCHES! Over the past two weeks! Because these cupcakes are truly delicious. Personally I thought there were awesome, very addictive and absolutely tiramisu-y! The mascarpone frosting and coffee-marsala syrup complemented each other really well. Everyone who tasted it loved it! Such a big hit!

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Here is my suggestion: the first time I made them, the cupakes didn’t really absorb the syrup, but only covered the top. I do recommend poking holes with a fork in the cakes before brushing the syrup on top. It helps absorb the syrup. Also if you want your cupcakes alcohol-free, use the espresso syrup like I did.

Ingredients (16 regular-sized cupcakes):

Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
3 eggs yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
Espresso Syrup
2 tablespoons espresso powder
6 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Mascarpone Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Others
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
16 espresso macarons (optional)
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.

Warm milk, vanilla and butter in microwave until butter is melted. Set aside to cool a little.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine whole eggs, yolks and sugar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy for a minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm. Remove bowl from heat, continue whisking until mixture becomes thick and pale in colour.

Gently but thoroughly fold egg mixture into the flour mixture in 3 batches. Stir 1/2 cup batter into the milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.

Mix all espresso syrup ingredients. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. Poke holes with a fork on top of each cupcake before brushing the syrup on top. Repeat until all the syrup is used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid for 30 minutes.

To prepare frosting, in a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl. Whisk mascarpone and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream until completely incorporated.

Frost the cupcakes with the mascarpone. Dust with cocoa powder. Topped each cupcake with an espresso macaron if you prefer.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To Ethan – When the new cut came in

February 10, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

Dear Ethan,

I had to bribe you to have a haircut yesterday, because you thought haircut was annoying and boring and totally waste of time. You know how many math problems I can solve in those 15 minutes, mom?

So in exchange for sitting through the haircut, I gave you 600 Jelly Beans and let you watch 200 episodes of Pokémon. Oh, and of course I had to remind you about the bribe 3,000 times during the haircut.

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All is done now, except when did you turn 18 years old?

Love,
Mommy

Categories: Son

Love Cake Pop

February 9, 2015 by Fanny | 9 Comments

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I’ve been make these since last week for clients’ orders, my kids school party and friends’ gifts. You know Valentine’s Day is no longer only between you and your lover anymore. It has a broader meaning now – a lot of love spreading out there in the universe.

Whether you are going to celebrate this sweet day with your significant half, friends, families or co-workers, preparing something home-made is always the most heart-warming. I love these cake pops for the simple, elegant and chic style. They can be chocolate flavour like the recipe here, vanilla or even red velvet.

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Not really into making cake pops? Try these red velvet cupcakes or pick one from this chocolate desserts collection, because Valentine’s Day is all about red and white and chocolate.

Ingredients (about 45 pops): 

Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Others
1 bag white Candy Melts
1 bag red Candy Melts
 

Directions:

To prepare the cake, preheat over to 350F. Grease and line an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.

Pour batter in the prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Then invert it onto a greased rack. Let cool completely.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn the mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and cocoa powder, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble cake pops, prepare two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Break the cooled cake into a few big trunks by hand, place them into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the big pieces turn into crumbs.

Add frosting gradually into the cake crumbs and blend until the mixture becomes a dough, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frosting.

Use a small cookie scoop, roll dough into evenly sized balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Melt a few red Candy Melts in the microwave gradually, 10 second intervals and stirring in-between. Dip one end of a lollipop stick in the Candy Melts and insert into the cake ball. Repeat with half of the cake balls. Use white Candy Melts for the remaining half. Refrigerate again for an hour.

Remove cake pops from the refrigerator. Melt red Candy Melts in the microwave. Dip each cake pop in the Candy Melts and gently tap off excess. Place onto a piece of wax paper and let it dry completely. Repeat with half of the cake balls. Use white Candy Melts for the remaining cake balls.

Transfer the remaining Candy Melts into a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Microwave the Candy Melts before transferring if they become hard. Carefully pipe red “Love” on white cake pops, and white “Love” on red cake pops.

16 Crazy About Chocolate Desserts

February 4, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

Check out 16 Crazy About Chocolate Desserts

by Oh Sweet Day! at Foodie.com

Who doesn’t love chocolate? You might think that everyone loves chocolate, right?! No! My son used to hate anything chocolatey. Cakes, candies, cupcakes, pies…ANYTHING! And don’t you dare to even mention chocolate buttercream when he’s around. He would try to sew your lips tight!

He has changed a little now. Still not a big fan of buttercream. But he’s started to enjoy chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream cake, cake pops, which are one of his favourites, and he wants to have lava cake everyday! I am proud to admit that I did put slight effort – just tried to convince him to try this and that. And you know afterall it’s true that everyone loves chocolate.

My chocolate desserts always call for dark chocolate. I rarely use milk chocolate because I love the rich, intense and decadent chocolate flavour from dark chocolate. And if you care, here is the thing: dark chocolate is supposed to be healthier than milk chocolate. The high cocoa percentage in dark chocolate is lower in sugar and higher in iron and fibre. Again in case you really care…

There are over 100 chocolate recipes on this website. But my selections here are truly for die-hard chocolate lovers. You will see 16 decadent desserts made with chocolate inside and out!

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Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Buttercream and Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Chocolate Ganache Tart

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Marshmallow Frosting

Dark Chocolate Macarons with Dulce de Leche

Ferrero Roche Cake

French Chocolate Silk Pie

Mini Chocolate Ganache Cake

Mini Double Chocolate Ruffle Cake

Molten Lava Cake

My Best Chocolate Cupcake

Strawberry and Chocolate Cream Pie

Triple Chocolate Cake Pops

This post is brought to you by Foodie.com.

 

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

February 2, 2015 by Fanny | 11 Comments

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Valentine’s Day is about red. And here is the thing, I can almost guarantee you that your boy friend or husband might not be really into a box of red heart-shaped chocolate or a red shirt or a pair of red socks, but they will pretty much like to taste a red velvet cake, especially if it’s made by you.

I love to use hot espresso to make my red velvet cake moist, flavourful and classic. Truly irresistible and addictive, even for guys.

You could be a bit fancy and make a mini cake for only you and your loved one. Or go ahead with these cupcakes. Just have one or two for each of you. The rest? Freeze them for next day and the day after and the day after…Because you will need it.

Ingredients (12 regular-sized cupcakes):

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red food coloring paste
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup freshly brewed hot espresso
2 packs 8-ounce cream cheese, soften
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar and egg until well combined.

Mix in buttermilk, vanilla extract and food coloring paste, followed by vinegar and espresso.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.

To prepare cream cheese frosting, place cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting. Garnish with cake crumbs.

My Mom’s Super Power Salad

January 29, 2015 by Fanny | 7 Comments

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I visited my mother in Hong Kong around this time last year. Despite the fact that she’s older, her life was busier. On top of her packed routine activities, she had a pair of new twin granddaughters to take care of. For those few weeks, I witnessed her flying through her days with non-stop tasks that involved both physical and mental abilities. I remember when I had my first child, the first couple weeks were totally zombifying. The inexperience was one thing, but the physical level it requires to be a new mom was immeasurable. My mom surely had the experience, but she’s in his 60s, she still looked energetic. Very energetic, like she already has two babies attaching to her body, and she’s ready to help out the house building across the street!

How does she do that? She eats red rice. Every morning she cooks herself a bowl of red rice, and eats it with black beans, oatmeal and raisins for breakfast. It gives her energy and helps her bowel movement. I promised her I would have the same breakfast back home.

Except I didn’t keep on doing it for a very long time. Chaotic mornings are not a very good excuse, I know. But anyway…

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More than often, I looked at that big box of red rice I had bought a few days after I came back from Hong Kong, and I would only think about my mom and wonder how to use it. Besides red rice, nuts and avocado are also my mom’s favourite power food. And it inspired me to come up with this salad. I top a big bed of vegetables with all these power ingredients that my mom loves – red rice, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and avocado, and serve it with some ginger peanut sauce. This salad has all the flavours and textures that everyone loves. Crispy vegetables, crunchy nuts, tangy dried cranberries, buttery avocado, creamy dressing…So irresistible and unforgettable, and most important, truly healthful!

I’ve been having it a couple times every week. For lunch or dinner. And the crave is still here! I just love eating it! And every time I am eating it, I am thinking about my mom. That short period of my salad time is the time I am connecting with her. Totally enjoying it!

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Ingredients (serves 2):

Ginger Peanut Sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
Salad
4 cups washed and cut lettuce (red, green, butter or romaine)
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup cooked rice (red, brown or any long grain rice)
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 avocado
 

Directions:

To prepare dressing, warm peanut butter and honey in microwave for 10 to 15 seconds until peanut butter is thinned. Whisk in other dressing ingredients. Set aside.

Mix lettuce and spinach. Place vegetables on the bottom of a large salad bowl.

Scatter rice, cashews, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries on top.

Cut avocado in cubes and put it on the salad.

Drizzle dressing on top and serve.

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