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Adventures

15 Cozy Things to Make in December

Adventures, Holiday

Hi hi! It’s (nearly) December so let’s get VERY COZY.

I have a long list of things to make, including an iteration of marshmallows that I’m incredibly excited about!

But first, I wanted to give you a gracious list of things to eat and make in the month of December.

1. Horchata Cake – If you wanna feel festive AF, make this cake. I made the mini gingerbread houses (here’s a link to the cookie cutter) too but I know that places like World Market and Williams-Sonoma sell them already baked and assembled so you don’t even need to make them!

2. Fluffy Cornbread Topped Veggie Chili – I know I posted this last week but this recipe is seriously SO good. It’s also vegetarian, which I’m very into.

3. Cranberry Chestnut Cake – I love this cake frosting so much. I’m contemplating putting it on a bunch of other thing too. The sliced cranberries and rosemary leaves are festive without being too kitchy (I think).

4. Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Poblano and Black Bean Enchiladas – We can’t survive off of cookies alone this month. I like these enchiladas because they’re cozy yet not super heavy. They’re also a great weeknight meal because they aren’t super labor-intensive.

5. Brown Butter Orange Madeleines – I love the flavor combination of brown butter and orange zest. Nutty and citrus-y SO GOOD. Madelines require a pan, yes, but other than the pan, they’re so simple.

6. Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookies – These should be made bcuz SANTA. And then there are the sisters of Miss Basic Chocolate Chip: Miss Masala-Chai and Miss Espresso. Both have a bit of attitude and we love them for it!

7. Classed-Up Double Decker Tacos – If you have a bunch of people coming over and want to feed them something that will be fun, affordable and easy to throw together, make these! I like to set out all the things: the meat, hard shell tacos, beans, etc. and let people assemble their own.

8. Vegan Nut Butter Coconut Chocolate Tart – This is vegan! And it’s SO good. The crust is nice and chewy and the filling is fluffy and rich. If you need a delicious vegan dessert to feed your friends/take to a party, this is a great option.

9. Marbled Tahini Chocolate Cups – These are beautiful and really easy to throw together. I love the tahini in these guys and, of course, if you wanted to swap that out with almond butter or peanut butter, you could do that too.

10. Milk Tea Flan with Boba – I haven’t always been a flan fan. It took me years to warm up to it but once I did, I went on the hunt for a base recipe that was silky smooth. This one is just that AND it has the flavor of milk tea. Boba on top are added for more cuteness.

11. Miso White Chocolate Cookies – These are some great chewy cookies. The miso adds some a lovely savory element and the white chocolate is delicious and pretty.

12. Chocolate Caraway Babka Buns – I love the flavor combination of chocolate and caraway. It works so well in this bun—so chocolatey and delicious.

13. Chai Tiramisu – I’m sure you’ve seen this recipe before because it’s one of my most popular and for good reason! It’s SO delicious and a lovely riff on the classic.

14. Coconut Pistachio Butter – This is a good gift item. I could eat this on bread every single morning.

15. Wild Mushroom Spaghetti with Orange and Brown Butter and Sage – This is another example of how brown butter and orange are a lovely flavor combination. It’s a vegetarian dinner recipe that comes together in about 20 to 30 minutes.

Cozy Night In with Fluffy Cornbread Topped Chili and Apple Cider Churros

Adventures, Desserts, Dinner, Fall, Quick and Easy, Soups

(This post is sponsored by the Martha Stewart Collection, created for Macy’s. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy!)

I know I’ve been writing autumn love letters since like mid-September, but if I’m being completely honest with you, Los Angeles doesn’t even really begin to hint at fall until November. But now it’s November and I’m freezing! And I love it. My fluffy socks are on at all times, my favorite soft sweaters are out of storage and all I’ve wanted to do is break in the new kitchen with some cozy foods. The kitchen is almost completed and I was finally able to cook our first meal in it!

Since there are some things that need to happen (like trim, a coupe light, etc), I figured I’d start light with a little dinner party for four. I wanted to serve cozy food that wasn’t fussy.

For this post, I teamed up with Macy’s and Martha Stewart. The Martha Stewart Collection’s harvest dinnerware is SO pretty. I absolutely love these hatchcross, grey plates, along with the marbled pink plates. They are gorgeous. And I love the shape of Martha’s Enameled Cast Iron cookware . The handle shapes are sleek and simple and the colors are lovely! Check out the whole Martha Stewart Collection at http://mcys.co/2kIpJAv.

I used the small 2-quart white Enameled Cast Iron pot to make the best cozy dish ever.

This was the perfect size for four people. At the bottom is a vegan chili with a fluffy cheddar cornbread on top. I like to think of it like cornbread and chili all in one!

The vegan chili is spicy, made with kidney beans, and loaded with delicious things like diced onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper and lots of spices.

The cornbread on top is inspired by fluffier cornbread cake. It isn’t dry at all and it’s so soft and delicious.

It may seem like a small portion for four people but it’s so filling that it’s actually perfect. Especially when paired with a snappy, refreshing salad AND with dessert.

For dessert, I used the 6-quart Enameled Cast Iron pot (in beautiful white) to fry up apple cider churros and they were SO good.

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DIY Mini Corn Name Tags

Adventures, DIY, Thanksgiving

Were at t-minus nine days before Thanksgiving and the countdown is very real.  I’m crossing my fingers that everything for the kitchen renovation will be in tact so we can have our first quiet, small Thanksgiving. It’s been a slow and arduous process that has tested my patience. But everything looks awesome haha. 

Let’s talk about DIYs. I have lots of opinions about them. When I did The Year of Cozy, I really wanted to make DIYs that were doable and that people would actually make. The Thanksgiving nametags were one of the most instagrammed DIYs! Because they consisted of things you could easily find with minimal amount of supplies. 

I wanted this DIY to also be like that: easy to do, no crazy skill required and not stressful. I like to delegate things like this to people. Give people jobs! That’s the only way Thanksgiving is not crazy. I feel like this would be a great thing to delegate to kids and it is also something you can prep WAY in advance since the corn is dried. 

For this post, I teamed up with French’s®! I love their mustard (obviously) and I buy and love their Crispy Fried Onions every single year. This year they sent me the Crispy Jalapeños and omg they are so good. I ate them by the handful and had to stop myself because we actually needed them for the shoot. 

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Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Adventures, For Doggies

Happy Birthday, my sweet Amelia!

Amelia is officially one year older but don’t worry because she’s still bratty, a little looney, still has an attitude when I try and touch her toes, still loves to roll around in grass and still loves harder than any dog I’ve ever met.

She is the one living thing that is by my side ALL day long. We literally do everything together. I feel lucky to have her in my life. And when I think seriously about her, I get emotional and teary because she is 100% my best friend.

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Italy (Part I) + Creamy Sundried Tomato Sauce with Cheesy Tortellini

Adventures, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Ahhh Italy (part 1)! This was my very first time visiting Italy and it was really, truly a beautiful and memorable experience. I loved Italian culture, the cobblestone streets, aperitivo time, old buildings, shopping and of course, the food.

The first stop on our trip to Italy was to Verona, a small town that literally looked like Epcot straight out of Disney World. As we were walking the streets, I was like this all sort of looks familiar! But this is the legit real thing!

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10 Cozy Dishes to Make in October

Adventures

Autumn is my time to thrive. It is when I’m my best human self. I wear cuter clothes. I bake cuter things. I’m usually just happier because I’m not sweating—it’s a great season!

I figured I’d do a lil’ round up of some items that I think you should bake this month! Some of these dishes I dug up out from the dark archives of my early blogging days because I still love the recipes. Thank the heavens I got better at using my camera!

1. Classic Apple Pie – If you want to live fall to its fullest potential, make a pie. If you’ve never made a pie before, this PIE 101 Post I did a loooonng time ago is still super helpful.

2. Cornbread Chicken and Dumplings – This recipe is a riff on the regular chicken and dumplings from The Year of Cozy and it is SOOOO GOOD.

3. Pumpkin Raclette Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese with Jalapeños – Stove-top macaroni and cheese has a special place in my heart, it reminds me of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese even though this one is the complete opposite because it has that pay-day ingredient: raclette chzzzz.

4. Asian Pear and Apple Pie – I looove Asian pears. A few people on the Instagram have asked me “what do Asian pears taste like?” Well, they’re really fragrant and floral and are kind of melon-like. They’re so amazing. This pie is delicious—highly recommend!

5. Fancy-Ass Chicken Pot Pies – I used schmaltz to make the crust on these but feel free to use regular ol’ butter. It is amazing, though. They’re so chicken-y and delicious and make me happy.

6. Wild Mushroom Spaghetti with Orange Brown Butter – Did you know October is national pasta month?! It’s because pasta is amazing and cozy. I love this one with chantrelle mushrooms and orange brown butter sauce—so good!

7. Cheesy Scallion Beer Bread Biscuits – These were SO good and if I’m being honest, they didn’t get enough attention last year so make 2017 their year!

8. Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes – These are amazing not because they’re particularly “fallish” but because they’re legit fluffy and the lemon flavor is just classic and simple.

9. Mini Vanilla Pound Cakes with Labneh Frosting and Roasted Grapes – These little guys are sooo good and the labneh frosting is tart and the roasted grapes are dreamy.

10. Izy’s Swedish Chocolate Cake – I love this recipe (and so have many of you!). Izy is a gem and this chocolate cake is so chill and easy to make. People (me included!) loooove it!

Best Fall Cookbooks 2017

Adventures, Gift Guides

1. Fearless BakerErin Jeanne McDowell. If you follow Food52, then you might’ve fallen in love with Erin’s work already. She is a master baker and I love her bubbly personality and interesting yet classic recipes. I can’t wait to bake from this.

2. Guerilla TacosWesley Avila. A true love letter to Los Angeles. No lie, their tacos are some of my favorites in LA. AND, their catering is incredible (we rented them for Josh’s dad’s birthday party last year). This book is beautifully shot (by Dylan + Jeni) and I can’t wait to try some of the taco and salsa recipes.

3. Erin Bakes CakeErin Gardner. This book is SOOOOO fun. If you want to have a fun life baking stuff, this cake is it. It’s amazingly well done with beautiful step-by-step photos showing you how to accomplish these ambitious cakes.

4. Sweet – Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. A collaborative effort between Ottolenghi and and pastry chef and product developer, Goh. I’m SO pumped to bake through this book. It looks so ridiculously beautiful. I actually bought it and it arrived yesterday. I can’t wait to read and bake everything.

5. Holiday Cookies – Elisabet der Nederlanden. This book stopped me dead in my tracks at World Market. I was there picking out cookie cutters and got distracted by the cover—it’s that beautiful. I haven’t tried any of the recipes but the photography and holiday baking ideas alone are worth a purchase.

6. Brave Tart – Stella Parks. I love classic American recipes. They make my heart swoon and Stella’s recipes all look and read like gold. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she is the in-house baker and writer at Serious Eats and her work is LEGIT.

7. Weekday WeekendEmma Chapman and Elsie Larson (from A Beautiful Mess). An idea that I use all the time: during the day I try to eat modest and mostly healthy and on the weekends I go a little cray. It’s about balance!

8. Smitten Kitchen Every DayDeb Perelman. I don’t think Deb needs an intro, especially to us food blogging peeps. She is GOD. And truth: she is one of the reasons I started my blog. I wanted to be just like her. Her recipes are always clever, classic and delicious; I can’t wait to cook from it ALL fall long.

9. Baco – Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock. True story: Josh and I met at Baco Mercat downtown. And Bar Amá (Centeno’s other restaurant) is one of our favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. I can’t wait to recreate some of our favorites at home.

10. The Chef and the Slow Cooker – Hugh Acheson. Not gonna lie, I’m not really a slow cooker type. I own one but it’s in a box collecting dust. Hopefully this book will encourage me to break it out and make some slow-cooker easy dinner.

A Cozy Kitchen Renovation!!!: Part 2

Adventures

Before we start, here’s a link to Part 1 in case you missed it!

If you’ve been following the kitchen renovation on the Insta Stories this is all old news to you BUT I figured it’d put a legit update on this here space to show you where we are in renovation land.

It has been a pretty fun learning experience. A lot of people told me that the four week estimate that we were aiming for probably wasn’t going to actually stick and they were right. We’re currently four weeks in and we’re kinda far from being done.

The first thing that was done was the demo. PHEW! This might’ve been my favorite part. It was so dramatic and really made me laugh because it was so crazy how different the space took. Continue Reading

Three Cocktails with Estée Lauder

Adventures, Drinks

I remember being a little girl and going with my mom to the Estée Lauder counter, watching her try on lipsticks, perfume and buying compacts of powder. I always acquainted it to my mama looking so pretty and majestic. That’s why even now, Estée has always been one of the go-tos (their Advanced Night Repair Serum is something I’ve worn for like 5 years straight—I love it!).  

I was super pumped when I got the opportunity to create three cocktails inspired by their classic fragrance, Modern Muse

The smell is so fresh and clean and lightly floral. I know a lot of women are loving more musky smells nowadays but I always and forever want to smell like I just showered and then ran through a field of flowers. 

When I smelled Modern Muse for the first time, I immediately loved the freshness with hints of jasmine and honeysuckle in the scent. I wanted to create cocktails that were inspired by the smells but still tasting super delicious. 

Here are the smells and feelings from the scent that inspired the cocktails: 

1. Hints of jasmine.
2. Light floral notes like honey suckle. 
3. A refreshing aroma that felt like a warm day (but not too warm!). 

And then here’s what I made:

1. Jasmine Spritz  
2. Chamomile Bee’s Knees
3. Frozen Guava Rum Punch

The jasmine spritz is lightly floral with a lovely subtle sweetness. I like to use a nice floral-ish gin too! 

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A Cozy Kitchen Kitchen Renovation!!!: PART 1

Adventures, DIY


Big news today in cozy land because we’re moving!

We’ve lived in our beloved lil’ Echo Park apartment for a long time but we’ve been kinda outgrowing it and looking for a new place for a while so when Josh’s dad moved out of state (for a new job) and asked us to move in to takeover his house for the next 5 years or so, the timing was perfect.

Before we officially move in, we’re renovating the kitchen. And by renovating I mean tearing every single thing out, knocking down a few walls and starting from scratch. I have never done a renovation before so it say it is a bit of a dream is an understatement. It’s also a bit overwhelming because there are SO many choices and decisions and I fully understand why people hire a designer to help them.

Initially we were gonna start the renovation back in June but I’m so happy that we waited because it really gave me time to understand what would look best in the space. I really believe that kitchens, and frankly any renovation, should complement the house itself.

The house is a bit like an English cottage. It’s cute with red brick, built in the 1920s. There are beautiful green vines growing on the outside and SO many roses in the front yard and in the backyard. It’s quite adorable and it’s the perfect size (not too big, not too small). It has charm like no other but it does need a bit of love in the kitchen department.

At the beginning of this whole venture, I thought a lot about what I wanted from a kitchen and I kept coming back to super modern, clean style cabinets with cozy, sweet colors.

This is what I had in mind:

I was really into completely flat cabinets with little leather handles (we all know those can’t be durable, I was picturing myself with frosting on my hands ruining those things).

But this felt too sterile and new for the house. I’m so happy I came across Devol Kitchens, a kitchen designing duo in England, because they create the perfect kitchens for this house.

I’m absolutely obsessed with the inset cabinets (spoiler alert: custom cabinets were way too expensive so we’re going a cheaper route) with calcutta marble, sage green, warm tones.

All my Scandinavian kitchen dreams flew out the window when I came across their kitchen designs. Every single one of them made me want to bake and cook in these spaces. None of them looked too fancy or fussy.

They looked durable and sturdy. They have a bit of an old feel while still feeling relevant and new.

The layout of the kitchen has been formatted. Demo starts today!! WOOHOO!!

And of course here are the before photos. Two walls are coming down. The original windows are going to be peeled and restored with new hardware. The old 50s tile is going to be scraped off the walls and ceiling and the laminate floors are going to be ripped up and trashed.

We’re getting beautiful appliances from Kitchenaid! Continue Reading