Pistachio Strawberry Elopement Cake

Cakes, Desserts, DIY

A month ago or so I got a friend from my old friend Chris who was like, “Hey I’m getting married, will you make a cake for us.”

Of course, I responded with OMG YES!

Not only was I excited because making stuff for friends is fun–especially for such a super cute and special occasion–but because it liked the challenge of doing something I’d never done before: making an important cake and then driving up and down the hills of Echo Park with it in tow. SO STRESSFUL!

Josh’s mom was a pastry chef and early in her career she made a lot of wedding cakes. He told me that one time she delivered the cake, decorated on the wedding site and then it fell over when they wanted it moved to another table! LIKE STRAIGHT UP ON THE FLOOR.

I would cry. I’m sure she did. Josh told me she eventually had to stop because the stress of transporting the cakes just didn’t end up being worth it and I completely understand now—it’s a lot. Luckily this was a small lil’ cake so transporting it wasn’t that hard.

I’ve known Chris for a long time and as of last year, he’s kind of become Amelia’s babysitter when we go out of town. He is so very patient when she wakes him up at 6am for breakfast and he takes her on long walks and last year, when we went to Seattle, they packed her up and took her to Malibu to eat oysters.

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Copycat SweetGreen Kale Caesar Salad

Healthy, Salads

I went to Starbucks yesterday when I was feeling a lil’ parched and I walk in and the Unicorn drink (that I wasn’t going to order bc I’m not a monster) was sold out!! WHAAA!

If I’m being real, I was sort of curious to try it. I heard it tastes like yogurt and blueberries and is so ridiculously sweet. And then a few people reported that they actually liked it! I would give it a go if it was placed right in front of me cuz why not.

Anywayz, last week I shared with you three 15-minute lunches that I make for myself. In keeping with that real-life-food-talk, I wanted to share this recipe: Copycat Sweet Green Kale Caesar.

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How to Build a Cheese Plate for Two

Appetizers, DIY, Vegetarian

I feel like this week is my week of giving you practical thangs to eat (see: Monday and Wednesday)!

And now…this!

I love gawking at those crazy cheese boards all over Instagram but realistically most of us won’t make one of those. Or maybe we will but it’ll be for a big party or around the holidays when we have twenty people over.

But sometimes I want to eat a cheese plate for dinner but it’s just Josh and me. Or maybe it’s just for a girlfriend/dude friend and me. Or just me and my mom.

I could eat appetizers for dinner and do all the time (especially when Josh is working late or out with his friends and I’m on my own).

Seriously, me wanting to eat an appetizer for dinner is Josh’s worst nightmare. Nothing makes him give me a gigantic eyeroll more than when I tell him, “I’m not really that hungry, I kinda just wanna snack.” NO. He is a meal person. I understand. Most of the time I am too but sometimes I just wanna eat this!

For him, this type of situation constitutes as pre-gaming.

Regardless, I figured I’d share how I build a cheese plate perfect for two:

Ok, so the main objective when I go to the store for something like this is to NOT spend a million dollars.

1. Two cheeses. I like to pick two cheeses that are complementary but opposites. One soft cheese and one hard cheese.

For this plate, I went with a an awesome Irish cheddar (for an affordable/delicious option, I love Kerry Gold cheddar—so good!).

The one soft cheese is from Boursin (it’s another affordable/delicious option). But you could also do brie, goat cheese, camembert. (If you’re feeling baller-istic, I love Epoisses.)

2. Nuts. You only need really one kinda nut snack situation. My favorite are macrona almonds. They’re Spanish and fancy and delicious. The bulk-bin is perfect for the right amount of nuts.

3. Carbs. You need a vehicle for that cheese. On this particular day I had grissini/breadsticks so I included those. But these rosemary salted crackers were also a great option. I think one cracker and one bread item is good.

4. Something pickled. Or sweet. Or both. I went pickled on this particular day so that meant corichons, olives and sweet drop peppers (they’re SO GOOD!). The olive bar at a grocery store is your best bet because you can buy exactly the amount that you want/need.

Some sweet options would be dried apricot, honey, dried cranberries, fresh fruit (apricots, pears, etc.) and/or jams.

That’s it!

Oh and wine! Or beer. Or iced tea.

Happy Friday!

xoxo
Adrianna

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Roasted Ancho Chile Cauliflower Sandwich with Spiced Pepitas and Avocado Crema

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Why didn’t you guys tell me I’ve been making nothing but pink food lately?! Good gracious, I looked at the first page of this blog the other day and was GIRL, get it together. Consider this dish/post a big gigantic break from all things strawberries/rhubarb/raspberries, etc. Woohoo!

When I went to college, my roommate was this Dominican girl from Queens named Kim. She cooked the best chicken; it was her mom’s chicken. I remember she offered me a plate and I almost passed out it was so good. Whenever she would cook, I would always make sure to linger around so she’d offer me some and she always did because she was the best.

When I finally asked her why it was so good she told me the spices. The one thing she said her mom always told her was to add A LOT of spice to everything.

And I’ll never forget that because my mom cooked with lots of spices too. I also remember thinking oh I guess that what us Latinas do—we cook lots of spices. Ok!

For this recipe, I teamed up with Ozery Bakery and their delicious bread. My favorite part about them is that I keep them in the freezer so I don’t feel the need to eat all of the bread within a few days (because I will).

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Three 15-Minute Healthy-ish Lunches/Dinners

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Low-key….this is what i’ve been eating on a daily basis.

If you follow me on Insta Stories you know that I’ve upped my workout routine this year. I’m currently on week 14 (!!) of Sweat with Kayla and I like it because it satisfies the to-do list human that I am.

I love how the app works because I get to “cross-off” workouts. I also LOVE that I can do the resistance workouts while not having to leave the house. I don’t even belong to a gym so I just do the workouts at home with weights while I watch This is Us or The View or Good Morning America (I also realize I love ABC!).

AND, the cardio workouts are good because I go on 40 minute walks with Amelia, which we both have come to love SO much. For the high-intensity workouts, I head to Soul Cycle (Dani is my favorite instructor in LA).

ANYWAYZ, I feel like the last couple of weeks on this here blog, I’ve been providing recipes that are sort of complicated, indulgent, etc. so I wanted to share what I’ve been eating for lunch (or dinner) that all take under 15 minutes.

Also, for some reason I can spend three hours making a pie or a cake and love every second of it but when it comes to making something healthy for myself, I want it to come together in less than 12 minutes. All of these do!

This is what I’ve been eating A LOT. These posts won’t be Pinned a million times or get all the likes on Instagram but they’re really practical so I figured I’d share them.

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Matcha Iced Latte

Drinks, Spring, Summer

Sometimes when I use matcha….actually, make that ALL the time, I ask myself: “Am I being basic?” The answer might be yes. I’m not completely sure. But still, my insecure self returns to it time and time again because it’s DELICIOUS!

And in the afternoon when I need a bit of a pick-me-up and know I can’t handle coffee or an espresso beverage (I’ll be up all night), a matcha latte is the perfect go-to.

And it’s so pretty. And it tastes great. So I guess the answer is that I might be basic. And matcha might be overplayed. But who cares. Trendy things are only lame if they only sorta taste good. (Also: to a lot of people, matcha is not trendy—it’s been around for centuries. And to them, the rest of the world is just late.)

There is a new matcha bar that moved into my neighborhood and it’s so good but most days I don’t feel like driving down the road so instead I like to make a my own version at home.

This couldn’t be simpler.

You put a few teaspoons of matcha powder in a measuring cup and add a few tablespoons of hot water. Whisk it until the matcha has dissolved and then you pour in the remaining water and whisk some more. I transfer it to the fridge or freezer to chill for about 15 minutes.

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Strawberry Sheet Cake with Rhubarb Meringue Frosting

Cakes, Desserts, Spring, Summer

I had a full-blown, real, non-working weekend. There was a good dose of working out, dinner at a newly-opened neighborhood restaurant (highly recommend it)! I helped my friend Hourie with her charity bakesale that was sold out in an hour (!!!). There was also loads of salsa and smoothies and working out.

Moving onto cakes, specifically this one. Easter is this weekend, which really is the kickoff to spring brunches. There’s Mother’s Day and spring weather, which makes for ideal brunching-weather.

If you love cakes but can’t find the energy/skillz to decorate them, then the whole ‘sheet cake category’ is for you. They are ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is a proper baking pan and a spatula and a handful of sprinkles.

This strawberry + rhubarb sheet cake is the complete opposite of this Neapolitan number. That cake requires a few cups of coffee and some concentration (or at least the decorating part does).

This cake is made up of the most delicious white/strawberry cake combo ever. I could eat it over and over. And the rhubarb frosting is delicious tart and smooth.

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Cadbury Mini Eggs Skillet Cookie

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Holiday, Spring

What do you do for Easter?

Growing up, we never had Easter baskets filled with money and candy. And my mom never coordinated Easter egg hunts. I think Latino humans don’t do that; mainly because Easter is super serious business. There’s no time for mascots and games. He has risen! You know?

Instead we’d have lots of cooking and family over and we’d always, always go to mass. It was the most crowded long mass of the entire year and usually I was dreaming about the free donuts that they’d hand out in the parking lot.

And when we’d get home, I’d happily change out of my often-times-dressy outfit and put on shorts and a t-shirt and start eating. It was always the best day ever and I’m sort of excited about maybe having a bit of an Easter brunch next weekend. We shall see if I can get it together…

What did you all growing up doing (if at all)?

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Five Podcasts To Listen to While You Cook

Adventures

For a long time, I exclusively listened to music while cooking. And if I’m testing a hardcore recipe that takes a lot of concentration, I’ll most likely turn the music down so I can focus. And sometimes Billy and I will be cooking and testing and instead of listening to anything we just gossip and talk about the latest episode of Real Housewives (the upcoming New York season looks GOOD) so we listen to, well, each other.

But lately, when I’m by myself, I’ve been listening to LOTS of podcasts. I also blame a bit of it on my Sweat with Kayla app where I go on four (40-minute) walks a week with Amelia. I’ve really come to enjoy that time and I cherish it so much. Here are a few podcasts that I’ve been into lately:

1. You Must Remember This. Narrated and written by Karina Longworth. A film critic/writer (I used to read her work in LA Weekly) tells stories about old Hollywood; her most recent season is all about “Dead Blondes.” All of her episodes are told from an interesting point of view. The three-part episode on Marilyn Monroe made me really sad. They’re beautifully narrated, filled with tons of facts and research. And it makes me empathize with all of them in ways I hadn’t before. I’m currently on Jayne Mansfield and man, do I wish I could go back in time and help her. Lol.

2. S-Town. You’ve probably heard but Serial/This American Life has a new podcast and it is GOOD. I’m only like three episodes in but the main character, John Macklebee, is fascinating. A lot of people compare it to a Southern Gothic novel and I would agree.

3. Call Your Girlfriend. I listen to it almost religiously on Fridays when I go on morning walks with Amelia. I love it because it’s topical, and yes, it talks about politics but in a sort of funny, dealing-with-it kinda way (I sorta/kinda gave up on Pod Save America bc it bummed me out). And then they talk about other things like Beyonce and bras and dudes. It really feels like a range of topics I speak to my very best friends about.

4. My Favorite Murder. Ok, don’t listen to this while you’re driving all by yourself from Palm Springs to Los Angeles at 11pm at night all hopped up on coffee. It will creep you the eff out! That’s what happened to me so it took me a week or so to dive back in and it’s so fascinating but also SUPER CREEPY!

5. Terribly Funny with Steve Basilone – The idea is simple: a podcast where funny people talk about terrible things. Sounds a bit like a downer but actually it’s really funny and interesting and makes me feel oddly comforted.

Other podcasts I listen to on occasion: The Daily, Tall Tales, Fresh Air, Modern Love, Pod Save America, With Friends Like These (the first episode is great!), Missing Richard Simmons (wtf was up with that lame ending?!!?)

What podcasts are you loving/should I try out?!

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Spring-y Detroit-Style Pizza

Dinner, Pizza, Spring, Vegetarian

If you have talked to me in the past three months, like, in person I have most likely brought up:

1. working out (I’ve been doing a lot of that), specifically Kayla.
2. how fast the year is going (OMG HI APRIL!)
3. how much I love podcasts lately (more on that tomorrow)
4. and how obsessed I am with Detroit-Style pizza
5. how to make detroit-style pizza

I had Detroit-Style pizza, like, six months ago when a pop-up popped up in Chinatown serving just that. I had never had it before. I had seen the beautiful photos of Emmy Squared on the Instagram but since I am allergic to going to New York (and whenever I am there it’s always for a blip), I haven’t been.

But when I went to this pop-up in Chinatown, I thought the pizza was like a dream. The crust is crispy, like a cheese crisp, because the cheese is taken all the way to the edge of the pan, while the center is fluffy, similar to focaccia.

I’m pretty sure it’s taken first place as my favorite style pizza EVER. I even went to Detroit a few weeks ago and didn’t have the chance to eat pizza there and was so bummed. 🙁

I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it! Luckily, when I decided to embark on my journey Kenji Lopez had just posted, a mere two days earlier, a recipe for it! WHAA!

So I tried it, thinking that perhaps I would only half like it. I figured I’d probably move onto another recipe and try a few others. But, guys, it was perfect.

I guess that’s not a huge surprise since his recipes are so dang reliable.

So here’s the link to his recipe. Use that crust recipe AND then get creative.

This is for a very spring-forward Detroit-style pizza. Probably toppings you’d never get in Detroit.

This one has radishes that are tossed in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. The sauce is an arugula pesto. The cheese is tons of mozzarella (a must) and dollops of ricotta with sprigs of basil, crushed red pepper on top and peas.

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