This lightened up mug cake is perfect for the upcoming apple season, and it’s only approximately 171 calories.

I hope you aren’t tired about hearing about my book. I was going to stop talking about it for a few weeks, but I was really craving this skinny apple spice cake after seeing the excerpt shared on the publisher’s blog. I actually didn’t have any apples in the house and went to the farmer’s market to buy them. To my surprise, apples were really difficult to find. The vendors were carrying mainly summer fruits like peaches and figs.

One of my favorite chapters in my new book is the “Skinny Mug Cakes” section, where every recipe is under 200 calories. Making a cake that is low in calories but still tastes like dessert was definitely a challenge, but I was really happy with the ones that are in my book.

California Donuts opened a few months ago. I was curious about this little store, especially when I heard about their “California Dozen” of 14 donuts.

This shopping plaza will also house a future Rita’s Ice, which we already saw in the works.

When we visited California Donuts, the donut display was quite full. There were all the usual suspects as well as a few less common ones like blueberry donuts and red velvet donuts. They also had five different flavors of donut holes.

The donut prices were pretty reasonable. but I was definitely drawn to the California dozen, 14 donuts for $8.99.

All of the donuts on display, except for the top row of specialty oversized donuts, could be selected from.

Here was our selection (don’t worry, we did share!)

A dish that involves smashing has got to be fun right? Smashed Cucumber Salad is a simple, flavorful, cold marinated Chinese-style cucumber salad (拍黄瓜, pai huang gua) that uses a knife smashing technique to cut the cucumbers. The refreshing dish comes together in about 5 minutes and is extremely addictive.

Cucumbers are smashed (technically smacked is a closer literal translation, but the English name of the dish seems to be set with “smashed”) with the flat side of a cleaver (preferred tool) or a large knife until they begin to split apart (I’ve included a short video clip of the technique). This releases the water and softer inner lining, and preserves the crunchy parts of the cucumber. The ragged edges are ideal for soaking up the marinade ingredients. Each bite produces such a satisfying crunch.

I’ve shared several versions of my cucumber salad over the years. After my last post earlier this year, my mom chided me for not using the proper smashing technique. I’ve mainly stayed away from it because the dish looks much more messy and uneven. But after tasting a smashed cucumber salad a few weeks ago, I was reminded by how much better the cucumbers are when they are smashed instead of cut, so I wanted to share it.