Author Archive: Sugar Coated Sisters

Homemade Sushi Rolls

Posted by Lauren


After Saturday’s light (but still strenuous) 6-mile walk + lunch + nap, Kyle and I woke up ready to eat again. Surprise, surprise. To me, Groveland is all about sleeping and eating, while Yosemite is the hiking/outdoorsy/scenery medium.

Our Valentine’s Day plans included homemade sushi, but after a long day at work and heavy 101 traffic, the idea of an easy sit-down meal at La Morenita was a simple alternative. We moved homemade sushi to the back-burner… And our laid-back evening in Groveland seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the sushi rollin‘ :)

Making the vinegar rice seasoning

Making the vinegar rice seasoning

We followed Sur La Table’s Sushi Kit instructions. The kit, which was a generous Christmas gift from Nicole, contains a 8″ rice paddle, 9.5″ rolling mat made from natural bamboo, and 20-page instruction booklet. We followed the sushi rice instructions to a “T”

homemade sushi rice instructions

Sushi Rice

Yield: 3 cups cooked rice – enough for 4-5 rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups Japanese-style medium-grain rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  1. 5 mins: Put rice in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Swirl the rice around with your fingers and then carefully drain the rice in a strainer over the sink. Return the rice to the bowl, add fresh water to cover, stir, drain again. Repeat until the water runs clear. (I did this about 7 times because our rice was unbelievably old!!)
  2. 15 mins: Transfer rice to large pot and add water. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (until surface of the rice is dimpled and all the water has been absorbed). Meanwhile, make the rice vinegar by stirring the vinegar/sugar/salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. 5 mins: Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  4. 5 mins: Rinse paddle with cold water and transfer cooked/hot rice to large, shallow bowl (preferably wood). Gently fold the rice repeatedly with one hand, as you use your other hand to fan the rice with a square of cardboard/magazine/real fan?
  5. 5-10 mins: Continue to fold the rice gently, splashing about 1 tablespoon of the vinegar rice seasoning into the rice at a time. Evenly distribute each splash before adding more. Finish with 5 minutes of fanning, or until the rice has a glossy sheen.
  6. 5 mins: Cover the rice with a kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to 2 hours. Do not put foil, plastic wrap, or anything that might cause condensation to form over the bowl of rice. Definitely do not put the rice in the refrigerator!

Tip: to prevent sushi rice from sticking to your hands, keep a bowl of 1 cup water + 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar nearby. Keep your fingers moist (TWSS) while you form the rolls.


While I focused on timing the rice, Kyle sliced the jalapeno, avocados, and salmon filet. I put the claw crab meat in our a food processor and added chili sauce to the finished product to create “spicy crab.”

K, time to roll!


For a rice-on-the-outside (futo-maki?) roll, lay a sheet of nori on top of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Moisten your hands with hand vinegar and gently press + spread 1/2 cup of rice over the nori.  We left a little space at the top, but you don’t have to. The rice should be 1/4″ thick.


Carefully pick up the nori and flip it over, rice side down, onto another piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Start adding your fillings end to end in the middle of the nori.





Wasabi paste…


Use your fingers to lightly hold the filling in place. Pick up the bottom edge of the bamboo mat using both thumbs and roll the nori over the fillings to enclose them. Grasp the roll firmly with your fingers and press firmly on the mat to secure the roll. Continue rolling forward until you’ve rolled all the way and then carefully remove the bamboo mat.

Let the roll sit for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting to allow the moisture in the rice to soften the nori. Using a very sharp slicing knife, moisten the blade with water, and cut the roll into 6 or 8 equal pieces (your first cut should be in the middle of the roll).


Dress as desired. :)

The two rice-on-the-inside rolls were saucy – one had an avocado/chili sauce/soy sauce and the other had a peanut sauce.


A side of boiled + baked edamame was the ideal side dish!


It took us about 2 hours to get everything ready before we could eat. Oye! I’m so happy we followed a sushi guide! We would have been lost without the precious instructions for sushi rice. The four jam-packed rolls were more than enough for the two of us. That being said, Kyle and I agree that sushi tacos (a la Ashley) might be our next foray into this type of meal!

You’ve got to admit, they looked pretty good though, right?


Hollywood Hike and The Oaks Gourmet

Posted by Nicole

Yesterday was such a busy day! My normal weekend routine includes sitting around, doing homework, watching TV, hanging with friends, and going out at night. This Saturday was a lot different, but in a good way.

I woke up nice and early (8:50), took a shower, and had breakfast while waiting for my friends to meet me.

I read comics while I ate and saw a funny one that reminded me of my sis.

Change “cookies” to cupcakes/icecream/froyo and it basically describes our life. Sorry, Mom!

Soon enough, I hopped in the car with my friends and we were off to hike to the top of the Hollywood sign. Along for the ride was my friend Allison (who I’ll be living with next year yayyy!!!!), James (lives on my dorm floor), and Jordi (James’ roommate from Spain that plays for the USC tennis team).

We saw some pretty sites along the way…

So many palm trees

And the scientology celebrity center. CREEEEPPPYYY.

The weather cleared up and it was sunny out by the time we reached the hike entrance.

Up we went!

Me and Allison ^

James and Jordi ^

The whole gang. And some wind.

Then we went back down and got some better pictures.

The hike totaled to about 3.5 miles and it was a great day. Side note: If you’re planning on hiking to the sign, go early because it gets packed in the afternoon. We reached the top at noon and there were already tourist groups on the trails.

After the hike, we quickly decided on a place to eat lunch. Our choice:

The Oaks Gourmet

1915 North Bronson Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90068

At first I thought that The Oaks Gourmet was a place to buy wine, beer, and cheese.

Luckily, the market also had a bakery and kitchen! They had a lot of great options on their menu, and the food was delicious.

Allison and I decided to split two dishes.

Roasted Beet, Sherried Fig & Humboldt Fog- Golden Beets, Baby Spinach, Toasted Walnuts, Fuji Apple, Roasted Beet & Poppy Seed Vinaigrette- $10

The salad was good, but neither of us were fans of the beets. It was my first time trying figs and I was impressed! I’ll have to experiment with them in the future…

The real winner of lunch was our sandwich. The menu had more than one vegetarian option, but I’m sure glad we chose this one.

Fresh Veggies on Cranberry-Walnut Toast- Cucumber, Avocado, Tomato, Shaved Fennel, Red Onion, Artichoke Hearts, Sprouts & Chive Cream Cheese- $9

It was AMAZING. All the veggies went perfectly with the fruity, dense toast. And any sandwich with cream cheese is a winner in my book. Definitely recreating this!

(James and Jordi got burgers, and they said they were amazing. I didn’t take pictures.)

We headed back to school, Allison and I attempted to watch “Crazy Stupid Love,” but ended up napping. I slept for 2 hours straight on a couch… Guess I was tired?

The rest of the day was fun too, but I’ll post about that a bit later.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

– Nicole

Q4U: Have you ever hiked to the top of the Hollywood Sign? If not, favorite hiking place!?

Beignets for a walk

Posted by Lauren

Answers to the trivia questions at the end of my last post:

  1. O.J. Simpson – Who is the only player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a 14 game season? (we put Walter Peyton)
  2. New York City – What city and state was George Washington in when he was inaugurated? (we put Philadelphia, PA)
  3. Delaware – What was the first state to use Direct Recording Electronic Voting machines? (we put Rhode Island)
  4. Luna 2 – What was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of the moon? (no idea what we put…)

If you knew all the answers, please come out to Mountain View the next time we go to Trivia Night!

Friday night, Kyle and I drove to Groveland, a town near Yosemite that you might recognize from previous posts. We slept in on Saturday and then began making a leisurely breakfast!

The star of the show: Cafe Du Monde beignets!


Cafe du Monde is a landmark French market in New Orleans that serves French beignets (aka donuts) and cafe au laits. When Kyle and his friends went to Mardi Gras last year, he brought back a box of their famous beignet mix. This is our second (successful!) attempt at the donuts.

  1. Mix 2 cups of mix and 7 fluid ounces of water. Stir with a spoon until blended.
  2. Roll to 1/8″ thickness (I think I rolled it too thin with my wine-bottle-rolling-pin) on floured surface. Cut into 2 1/4″ squares (ours were a little larger than that)
  3. Fry in an inch or two of oil at 370* until puffy and light golden. Drain well.
  4. Enjoy while hot!

You can’t just eat donuts for breakfast, so we also prepped some crispy hash browns and scrambled egg whites.


Coffee for me. Tea for him. Beignets for all!


Only the first few puffed up like they should, the oil wasn’t hot enough for the others. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any powdered sugar to sprinkle on top. Instead we dipped these in maple syrup, not a bad swap!


After a big breakfast, we headed out for a walk along the creek.


Round trip distance = 6 miles.


Croaking toads, sunshine, pretty views…..



When we returned, it was time to figure out what to do for lunch. The fridge was pretty bare, but we made it work! Boca burger + bacon + peanut sauce + salad with thai basil and cilantro.


Then, we napped. It only seemed right.


Exploding Dog

Posted by Nicole

Don’t worry, there are no exploding dogs in this post.  That would just be cruel.

Have you ever had one of those days where you don’t want to talk to anyone, you wish you could mute the world, and everything seems to bother you?  Today is one of those days for me.  Why?  I don’t know.  Am I just being a brat?  Probably.

On a happy-ish and pretty unrelated note, I thought I’d share some cool artsy stuff today.  Exploding Dog is a collection of drawings with random and witty captions.  I first saw the “cartoons” on Tumblr back when I was into that sorta thang.

When I’m feeling bored, I like to browse the Exploding Dog drawings.  Some of them are happy, some are sad, some are cute, some are just plain random.  Here are some of my favorites.

The happy, funny, loving:

The sad, lost, lonely:

And the ridiculously relatable:

Anyhow, go check them out if you’re bored.  All you do is click from picture to picture.  It’s fun.  And time-consuming.

That’s all for now!  Happy Friday.

– Nicole

Q4U: How do you waste time online?  Not counting Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Pinterest, DailyMile, Netflix, or Hulu!