Fun work always includes cooking. And people. And music blaring. Fun work is equally as exhausting as lame work but way more satisfying and fulfilling.
I’m ok with my feet hurting if the work I’m doing is fun.
Lame work is the annoying, petty shit I have to do to keep my stuff together like taxes and emails and paperwork and organizational things. I love for things to be organized but I’m not the best at keeping them that way. I’m bad at the maintenance part. That is for another post but I’m hopefully going to put some systems into place so I don’t have my prop closet overflowing with stuff.
Over the weekend, I shot a little Memorial Day content for you all, coming at the end of this week! And I shot some bomb cinnamon rolls that at first did not want to participate in this thing called life but I finally got the filling right…thank you, cinnamon roll gods!
I know that Memorial Day is this weekend and we’re supposed to be about that bbq-life and we are! So please consider this the breakfast thing you should eat before ribs.
I LUUUV chocolate chip cookies. If there is one cookie that I can eat over and over and over, it’s hands down, the chocolate chip cookie.
I also believe that chocolate chip cookies are the perfect foray into baking. They are simple in their preparation. They don’t take a million years to make. And the bake time is only 8 to 10 minutes. There’s some very immediate satisfaction!
SO, I’m so excited to share this experiment where I bake chocolate chip cookies, substitute and change certain elements to the cookies themselves and then eat them ALL and give you my final thoughts.
As many of you know, I’m a self-taught baker and cook. I often joke and say I’m Google-taught. Seriously, most things I’ve learned about cooking is just from massive amounts of Googling. When I first started cooking and baking, I’d Google everything. And honestly, I still do.
For this post, I’m teaming up with Google Home. The great thing about Google Home is that I can verbally Google all the time (and more!)…without a computer, while my hands are messy and I’m in the middle of baking and cooking.
There were so many times when I’d have to clean my hands, wipe them dry and then Google measurements, fractional math (not my strong-stuit) but now I get to be just like, “HEY GOOGLE!”
It’s also perfect for random fun, very random facts that have nothing to do with anything and have no real importance like what Kris Humphries has been up to lately. (Google it though but let me warn you it’s not exciting.)
To start this whole lil’ experiment, I asked Google, “hey google, when were chocolate chips invented?!?!”
You may know this, you may not…but the answer is that chocolate chips were created with the invention of the chocolate chip cookie in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachussets.
Think of this as the beginning of designing my favorite chocolate chip cookie (final recipe coming soon!).
And hopefully with these results, it might make you feel confident that you, too, can customize your own. This is how recipe writing starts! IT’S COOL!
Here are my results.
CONTROL COOKIE: Slightly crispy on its edges and soft in the center. A very quintessential chocolate chip cookie experience. This cookie begins with butter, white sugar and brown sugar all beaten together.
ALL WHITE SUGAR: These were crispy and lace-y. Definitely thinner and a lot more chewy. And noticeably blonder. Look at the raw cookie dough shot, that one was kinda fascinating to me.
MELTED BUTTER with WHITE SUGAR + BROWN SUGAR: A lot of good chocolate chip cookie recipes use melted butter. Why? Well, melted butter usually results in a chewier cookie. A lot of people favor the melted butter route. I personally love melted butter in chocolate chip cookies because I love the texture but the biggest attraction is that I don’t have to have softened butter around and can make cookies on a whim—woohoo!
CREAMED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: More flour means a bit thicker cookie. I feel like it almost could’ve even benefited from more flour for a nice chunky cookie. I love all cookies and chubby cookies have a place in my heart, too. Chubby cookies could use some crunch like walnuts or pecans.
MELTED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: Melted butter really results in a chewier texture. The flour results in a thicker cookie. I liked this combo a lot.
CREAMED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: The control only has baking soda. Baking soda helps give cookies a nice color and a bit of a lift. Why would we put both in a cookie? Well, a lot of cookie recipes include both so that the cookies have more of a lift, while the soda really helps with that light brown color we love our cookies to have.
MELTED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: I’m not gonna lie, this was maybe my favorite combo. I love what melted butter does to CC cookies and I love the combo of half baking powder and half baking soda. I think this is where I’m going to begin with my development and go from here.
My weekend was so fun! There was a lot of running around. I first arrived in Florida to spend a day or so with my mom and then I flew to Maryland for the day to visit some Jersey cows and then I returned to Florida to spend Mother’s Day with the fam, it was a lot. But it was worth it!
When I got back and checked the mail, I was super excited to see my friend Kate’s new book LOVE REAL FOOD. Do you know her blog? Whenever I need a delicious vegetarian recipe, I always go there. And Cookie (her dog) is so adorable, I want to squeeze her. If you follow Kate on Insta Stories/Snapchat you know that Cookie is as mischievous as Amelia and they very similar in their ambitions for stealing all blog creations. I don’t blame them.
This enchilada recipe is from her new book and it is SO good. I ate it for lunch yesterday and am eating the leftovers as we speak.
The filling is super easy to throw together because it’s roasted sweet potato and poblano peppers, mixed with canned black beans and a bit of sour cream. You could definitely use yogurt, if you wanted to make it a bit healthier.
The tortillas are whole wheat but you can absolutely use corn tortillas, if you like.
My autocorrect likes to change “leches” (aka “milks”) to leeches. VERY DIFFERENT, OK. Leeches also remind me of that gross scene in “Stand By Me” when all the boys decide to go swimming in the pond and then…EW.
These are the opposite of those. I should’ve never even mentioned my autocorrect…because I’ve sort of grossed myself out. SO MOVING ON.
I’m currently on a flight to the east coast for a fun-filled weekend where I run around with my head cut off and (hopefully) pet some farm animals and hang out with my mamí and abuelita. Ideally, there will be baby farm animals. We shall see.
I’ve been trying to make these waffles for a while and finally did it! They’ve been on that list to-make for long long time. I love anything tres leches but I’m pretty certain that in order to “tres leches” something, you really need to make sure that it can stand up to liquid. The point is for it not to be soggy.
My typical go-to crispy Belgian-style waffles wouldn’t stand-up to the extra sauce. (I’ll share those one day!)
So I needed to find something that was thicker and tougher (not in a bad way!). I think I found it with this Leige-style waffle. Josh had been testing waffles a lot and he really loved this recipe from The Kitchn.
Admittedly, I won’t be cooking but I will be with my mama. I’m headed to Florida this weekend with a pit-stop in Maryland for a trip to the farm of Organic Valley! I’m incredibly excited to hang out with cows and milk and goats and bees. It’s a quick trip but I’m super excited about that farm-life.
I have one more recipe up my sleeve for Mother’s Day but I wanted to give you this round-up so you could start your planning.
Chai Tiramisu. This literally takes like 30 minutes to throw together and doesn’t require an oven at all. Buy your lady fingers. Do not let anyone make you feel shameful about that!
Homemade Cream Cheese. You will think you have had cream cheese until you make it at home and then you will be like WHY DID I EVER BUY IT. It’s SO good on any sort of carb vehicle that you choose, i.e., a bagel, piece of toast, challah, etc.
My favorite brand of mint chocolate chip is Talenti. Duh. But when I was a kid? I wasn’t fancy, so it was Breyers. Or Dryers. I forget. Or maybe even the Publix brand? Have you ever had a Publix sandwich? Childhood right there.
I think my love of mint chocolate chip had to do with the fake green color that was so pretty…or maybe it was the shards of chocolate vs. chocolate chips. They were so crunchy and delicious!
This cake is born from that love.
I thought of using chopped up milk chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs but I’m so glad I went with my gut because the frosting is a sweet buttercream and the bitterness from the chocolate is so very welcomed.
The cake is delicious and moist and everything you want from a simple chocolate cake. It is a my one-bowl chocolate cake so it’s literally the easiest thing to make, cake-wise.
I love the mint chocolate chip profile SO much that I even started to make my morning smoothie flavored as such. Of course, it’s healthy so it has kale, peppermint extract, collagen/whey, cacao powder, cacao nibs and almond milk. IT IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. I was thinking of sharing the recipe at one point but I sort of just did so there you have it!
When I was doing some brain-storming a few weeks ago, I turned to Billy and said, “What if I made a big-ass biscuit and layered it with strawberries and sweet, softly whipped cream?!” He nodded YAS.
And here we are. You might be mentally preparing for Mother’s Day brunch. It’s actually one of my favorite times of the year because brunching is in high gear. And we’re not all sweating yet.
I made these gigantic ol’ biscuits in two 8-inch cake pans to “guide” the size of the biscuit but really you can do it on a baking sheet.
I love the debate of egg vs. no egg in biscuits. I nerded out on that Food52 article and was VERY flattered they used my biscuit recipe as an example.
I’ve been really itching to try a shortening + no egg biscuit. But for this one, it definitely needed an egg so that it had a better structure. Because it’s so big, it needs some help in that department.
ALSO, the trick to assembling this is to really let the biscuit cool completely so you can slice it and move it around.
A bread knife really helps with slicing this biscuit.
This week has been a lil’ bananas. I’m doing a video series for a project today (YAY!) and just getting everything in order from location to what I’m putting on my body has been a good amount of mental work. I’m used to just making things and taking photos of them, not really concerning myself with how my hair looks. ITS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT!
In other more important news, Amelia is about to be wrangled by a new trainer, that we consulted with over the weekend, because she’s caught a bit of separation anxiety, i.e., has a full-on toddler meltdown when I put on my shoes. It’s made leaving the house a bit challenging. If you know corgis, then you know that they’re kind of wild, feral animals.
She also had to turn down an opportunity to be in a commercial for The Crown because the requirements were that she actually had to obey all commands while being in front of camera, while being next to a herd of corgis. She. Can’t. Do. This. It’d be too stressful and the experience of taking video of her in this environment did not outweigh the stress. ANYWAY, my best friend works for Netflix so I’ve kindly asked for an invite to set that day.
NOW, let’s turn our undivided attention to these gorgeous slushies from my dear friend Lily’s gorgeous new book KALE AND CARAMEL.
They are seriously the dessert I will make over and over this summer because:
#1. They are so easy to throw together. Seriously, all you need is an ice cube tray and a blender.
#2. They are healthy-ish. They’re sweetened by honey and orange juice, they’re dairy-free and are so so delicious.
#3. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous pink color from the hibiscus syrup.
6. Ice Cream & Friends – Fun ice cream recipes from Food52 and friends aka some of my blogger friends!
7. The Book of Greens – I cannot wait to cook/bake from this book. The recipes look doable, delicious and incorporate greens of all kinds. By Chef Jenn Louis.
8. On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen – Rustic Canyon is one of my favorite restaurants in LA so it’s no surprise that this book looks so delicious. I haven’t had a chance to cook from it yet but I have my eye on the carrot cavatelli.
10. Cluse Watch – I’ve been seeing these watches everywhere and this grey color looks so beautiful. And it doesn’t break the bank. A+.
11. Slip Silk Pillowcase – I’ve been meaning to buy a silk pillowcase (for wrinkles!) so I figured my mom would like it. Plus, it feels nice and cool.
12. Google Home – True story: my mom has a tough time “cutting and pasting” but she can use Snapchat like a 14 year-old. I have no idea how. I feel like my sort-of-technologically-advanced mom would love a Google Home.
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.