Creamy, Spring-y, Smoked Gouda Stovetop Mac n Cheese

Dinner, Vegetarian

Spring time!! YASS! I feel like the season is in full effect.

I was gone for a week last week so I spent the weekend catching up on work and going to brunch and trying to (unsuccessfully) convince Josh that we needed to go see the new Beauty and the Beast. No dice.

I can’t really blame him; he’s usually such a good sport about seeing all sorts of movies with me so I figured I should let that one slide JUST THIS ONCE.

I love me some stovetop mac and cheese but I don’t believe there’s one single recipe on this lil’ blog!

I needed to fix that so I figured I’d make a very spring-forward version that I pumped up with kale, leeks and peas…all sautéed in a liberal amount of ghee (my continued obsession). Of course you can use plain ol’ butter or olive oil, too.

This mac and cheese is one hundred percent vegetarian but it kinda tastes meaty because of the smoked gouda.

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Overnight Beignets with Strawberry Powdered Sugar

Breakfast

Hello, Monday!

I just spent the weekend in Palm Springs saying ‘peace out’ to my friend Whitney’s singleness. It was definitely a 30-something-year-old bachelorette party because by 11pm on Friday night all of us were in our pjs and in bed. Lol.

And then the next morning everyone got up at 7am to workout and do yoga. But I wasn’t mad AT ALL because it was super chill and relaxing and ridiculously enjoyable.

This recipe comes from my friend Joy’s (the Baker) new book, OVER EASY. It is a full encompassing brunch book. You really don’t need another. The recipes are creative and fun and so delicious-looking. And, of course, Joy’s familiar, friendly voice opens up each and every recipe.

The background of the book is Joy’s newly adopted city, New Orleans. I’ve been itching to go to New Orleans. I wanna go and eat all the beignets covered in mounds of powdered sugar and (hopefully) see Solange walking down the street looking angelic as she always seems to do.

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Roasted Rhubarb Scone Sandwiches with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Breakfast, Scones & Muffins

Doesn’t the recipe title “scone sandwiches” sound like the most weekend, leisure eating experience ever?

Ever since Cindy posted these scone sandwiches, I was like “yasss, I want those!”

The sandwich part comes when we roll out the scones to a skinnier-than-usual-thickness and fill part of them with roasted diced rhubarb. Then we fold the dough in half, creating a lil’ sandwich of goodness.

I used a sharp knife to make as many sort-of-even scones as possible and baked them.

Ummm…did you know there was a vanilla shortage going on? I had no idea because I just used the last of my Neilsen-Massey vanilla paste and went to Amazon to replenish it and the price jumped from $10 to $17!! WHAA!

So needless to say, I didn’t replenish it. But you know how you add a bit of water to a sort-of-empty shampoo bottle and shake it around and then use it two more times?!

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Rhubarb Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Pie

Desserts, Pie

Do you wanna know what today is?

It’s 3.14 AKA gorgeous, beautiful PI DAY!

This is honestly one of my favorite food days. I know it gets sort of exhausting with the whole “national peanut butter sandwich day” or “strawberry shortcake with basil pesto day,” etc., etc.. But Pi Day is 100% LEGIT.

I’ve always wanted to put pink peppercorns in a pie; I’m so glad I finally did it.

Since the rainy season hit LA and California really hard this year, we have been blessed with beautiful rhubarb. Crisp, beautiful, bright pink rhubarb. I’m so into it.

I have a batch leftover that I need to use up today or tomorrow so let me know if you have any delicious rhubarb ideas! I’ll make ‘em!

I really want to make sandwich scones. Because Cindy made a version a month ago or so and I can’t stop thinking about them. Like roasted rhubarb in a scone. SHIIIITE that’d be good.

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Matcha Strawberry Battenberg Cake

Breakfast, Cakes

Ok so for like three weeks I thought Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day fell on the same exact day, which made me incredibly conflicted! Which one am I supposed to celebrate on da blog?! Am I supposed to combine the two holidays? Grasshopper Pie, anyone?

It wouldn’t be bad and honestly it sounds really, really good and part of me wishes I made that instead of…well, too late now, so please welcome Ms. Matcha Strawberry Battenberg Cake!

If you’ve never heard of a Battenberg Cake, don’t worry, I honestly had never heard of it until I was watching an episode of Great American Bake-Off and in the season finale they had to make one and it seems SO hard so naturally I was like “oooooo.”

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Snack Board with Three Dips

Appetizers, Healthy, Snacks, Vegetarian

Appetizers for Dinner has always been a favorite of mine. I think it started with an episode of My-So-Called-Life when Rayanne’s mother threw some frozen dumplings in the microwave and Rayanne was super bummed about not being cooked “a real dinner.”

Since my mom was always, like, super healthy and demanded we have a very full/healthy cooked dinner, an appetizer-driven dinner always sounded like heaven to me.

I like to think that this snacking board is the best of both worlds because it’s healthy AND filling enough where you can totally eat it, be full and not feel bad about it one bit! It’s kidlike but totally appropriate for us grown-ups.

For this post I teamed up with my favorite, new-to-me vegetable ranch-flavored chips from Pure Growth Organic! You can find them at places like Amazon.com where they’re super affordable and healthy and delicious.

They’re super light; they almost remind me a bit of a rice cracker but a million times better and more flavorful.

The carrot harissa dip might’ve been my favorite because I had never ever made a dip made of carrots before. I was a bit skeptical when I went through the testing process but the texture was amazing; I mean, I ended up adding walnuts because it was borderline too smooth.

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Mexican Neapolitan Cake

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

Making this cake felt like climbing Mt. Everest. It was bit of a beast to develop but I’m so glad I did because I LOVE IT!

There is no one that loves Neapolitan anything more than me. I think it started with Breyers ice cream when I was a kid. My dad was an avid ice cream buyer/eater and we always had it in the freezer. Strawberry ice cream was also so heavy in the rotation but I loved chocolate so often times that I’d mix chocolate cream with a scoop of strawberry ice cream. Seriously the best idea evrrrr.

I recently started to think about Neapolitan and wondered: “Why don’t we make Neapolitan with other flavors?!?!”

This is a Mexican Neapolitan. The flavors are slightly different and use Mexican ingredients.

The pink layer (usually strawberry) is agua de jamaica (hibiscus). If you’ve ever gone to a Mexican restaurant, you most likely saw or had the agua de jamaica, which is made with hibiscus leaves.

Hibiscus leaves are tart! To make this layer more tart and make sure the flavor comes through, I added a bit of lime zest and juice to the mixture. We use the agua de jamaica in both the cake itself and the frosting.

I did add some food coloring to the cake because when it’s baked, it turns an ugly horrible purple so I counteracted that by using hot pink food coloring and red. (If you don’t have hot pink, you can use just red and it’ll look pretty!)

The chocolate layer is Mexican chocolate. There’s cloves, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice. It’s really flavorful and super rich and chocolate-y.

The last layer is Mexican vanilla. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Mexican vanilla but I used a good amount of it to really make sure the flavor was very present.

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Raclette Sticks 

Appetizers, Sides

Look at this cool diet food!

I kid, I kid.

A few weeks ago, I had this idea to make traditional mozzarella sticks but with something cooler…

Immediately I thought: raclette! I instantly talked myself into it but realized when I went to the store that it would require a disclaimer. And that disclaimer is that these are not cheap. The price tag on this big block of raclette almost made me turn myself right around and walk out of Whole Foods but I kept going on with this project. I even purchased regular ol’ mozzarella sticks to test the recipe with because I was scared to use the precious raclette.

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Mini Caramel-Chai Spiced Apple Pies

Desserts, Pie

I’m gonna be honest with you…I made these mini pies because I needed to make something that I knew would work.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a cake and pan dulce recipe in rotation, recipe testing them whenever I have some time. And OMG they’ve been so stubborn and annoying. I made the cake four times. And the pan dulce…well, I’ve lost count at this point.

Luckily, the cake is at a great place but the pan dulce…eh, not so much. Especially after I went to Boyle Heights and had a REALLY good one. It made me realize I’m not that close. The top isn’t as crunchy, not as crisp as it should be. The foundation is nearly perfect tho so maybe after a weekend of rest and relaxation in Chi-town, I’ll be ready to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to make the top shatter-in-your-mouth-amazing.

But these pies…are perfect.

They caramel is chai-spiced. Oh yes. I think chai-spiced everything is delicious but caramel just makes complete sense. The cardamom and cinnamon and cloves all work their magic with apples.

I was sort of shy to use apples in a pie but we’re way too early to do rhubarb and strawberries and too late for persimmon or pear. Apples though still look good!

They’re my year around pie go-to.

I made them mini because I put these mini pie dishes in my Amazon basket and accidentally didn’t remove them when I bought something else. Oh well…so I used them!

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Cheesy Bay Pull Apart Loaf

Sides, Snacks

HIII!!

I’m dropping in right quick to say hello. Hi. I’ve been a little on the busy side this week getting everything prepared for this weekend.

I’m headed to Chicago to hang out with some friends for Josh’s b-day! He’s one year older so we’re headed to Smyth (it looks crazy fancy) for dinner on Friday night and then we’re gonna chill and relax the rest of the weekend.

It should be a fun time and I guess it’s not gonna be that cold? (It’s 65F on Sunday! WHA?!)

I’m actually going to Chicago in a few weeks again so Illinois is going to be seeing a lot of me in the month of March.

I wanted to talk about this fine specimen right quick.

She is a winner.

She is cheesy.

She is warm. And cozy. And a lil’ spicy. Basically, ME.

I was inspired by Red Lobster’s Cheesy Bay Biscuits (which if I’m being honest, I have never had, I want to fix this soon), so I wanted to put that spiciness and cheesiness in a carb-fest celebration.

Enter: this pull apart loaf.

I made this with my favorite cheese EVER, Tillamook. Hop on over to their site for the recipe.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand spankin’ new shiny new recipe. YAY!