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Adventures

A Cozy Kitchen Renovation Reveal Part I

Adventures, DIY, Kitchen

OMG I can finally tell you that the entire kitchen is done done DONE. It’s an amazing feeling and I love the way it turned out. As you know, I started this process a long time ago!! There are a lot of bases to cover so I’m not going to cover everything in this post, instead I’m going to separate the posts into three or four posts.

This one is all about the reveal! I love dramatic before and afters and I have to say, the before photos show a pretty intense makeover.

This was my first ever renovation and I learned a lot. I also designed this space myself, which was another huge learning experience.

INSPIRATION
Let’s start with the inspiration. The house itself is an English-style cottage so I wanted to be true to the house. I wanted it to fit within the style of the house so I went with shaker cabinets. What I didn’t want? Was an all-white kitchen. I wanted something with a bit more style but at the same time, I wanted to make something that would be sellable and not too custom.

Here are some BEFORE photos that show the dramatic change:

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10 Cozy Things to Make In April

Adventures

We are deep into spring and yet I look on The Instagram and it’s snowing in New York!! My heart goes out to all those suffering the dark depths of never-ending winter.

Hopefully this list of bright, cute spring foods will help you weather the storm.

I obviously am a huge lover of fall and winter but spring is also a time when there is ample opportunity to make gorgeous and fun foods. Produce is at its best in spring. There’s so much to choose from! So many vegetables to cover in cheese!

Let’s start with this:

Big-Ass Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake with Chamomile Whipped Cream – You know that I love fluffy whipped cream and this gigantic biscuit is layered with slices of strawberries and said cream. It’s a glorious dessert that will make people oooh and ahh but the biggest plus is that it isn’t very sweet. I know so many people HATE desserts that are super sweet so this one is for you.

Roasted Radishes with Burrata and Arugula Pesto – I love roasted radishes. I know we’re all used to eating them when they’re snappy and cold, but I love them equally when they’re all shriveled on the outside and super warm. Pair them with a ball of cold burrata and arugula pesto…yum.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake – This cake tastes exactly like the ice cream flavor. Not sure if you’re aware but if there was a petition on Change.org to certify mint chocolate chip as the best ice cream flavor ever, I’d be one of the first people to sign it. I’m an activist.

Honey Cupcakes with Chamomile Buttercream – If you’re a terrible cupcake-decorator then these are your perfect cupcakes. You scoop the frosting on, smear it around and top it with a little chamomile flower, some blackberries and some nasturtium. BAM! Instant cuteness. No skill required.

Lemon-y, Kale-y One Pot Pasta – I’ve had complicated relationships with “one pot pastas” in the past, but I love this recipe. It sounds weird but you literally put everything in one pot and let it go. There is no boiling of the pasta. If you’ve been hesitant to try the trend of 2015, don’t be and start with this recipe.

Matcha Sugar Dusted Churros – When I was in Mexico City last week, I went to El Moro and experienced true heaven. A guy removed a huge spiral of churros from the fryer, placed them on a tray and cut them with scissors. He then transferred them to the sugar/cinnamon mixture and put them in a bag and handed them to me. They were SO GOOD! If you can’t go to Mexico any time soon, not to worry, make these.

Tallarines Verde – My first true love was this dish. A classic Peruvian pasta that reminds me of being a little kid. It’s basically pesto but a bit more delicious, I’d say.

Iced Matcha Latte – It’s not exactly iced coffee season but it’s always iced matcha latte season. I LOVE iced matcha lattes and these were glorious and so easy to make at home.

Rhubarb Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Pie – Pink peppercorns all crushed up and added to a pie full of diced rhubarb and fresh strawberries. So good!

Olive Oil Fried Eggs with Sautéed Kale – I kid you not, this is what I eat nearly every single morning. I love having this in the morning before shoots and before the day gets away from me. I know some people are super anti-breakfast but I’m super pro breakfast.

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10 Cozy Things to Make in March

Adventures

March is what I like to call a dud of a month. It’s the “Tuesday” of months. It’s that in between where everyone is super over winter and snow and yet spring feels so far away. It’s a random month that also happens to be a huge birthday month in my circle. Josh’s birthday is March 2nd, my friend Karyn’s birthday is March 8th and so many more! So I’ll be making birthday cakes this month; I’ll be making healthy things; and I’ll be making lots of breakfast.

Here are some cozy things to make in the month of March.

Sabich – I love these sandwiches so much. I make these A LOT, minus the bread. It makes for the BEST lunch. Sautéed harissa eggplant with hummus, an Israeli salad and a boiled egg. YUM.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Grilled Cheese – My favorite dip made into a grilled cheese. Natural combo.

Cheese Plate for Two – I make this “cheese plate for two” all the time. Usually when Josh and I are chilling on a Friday night, this is the perfect snack/appetizer.

Raclette Sticks – Speaking of chzzz. Please make these raclette cheese sticks on pay day because raclette is not cheap (I paid about $15 for this brick of cheese) but then you can fry it up and serve it to your friends and people’s minds will be blown.

Tahini Banana Bread – This is my favorite banana bread and it’s definitely one of the (surprisingly) most-made recipes on this blog. Think peanut butter in banana bread. I makes sense.

S’more Fluffy Yeasted Doughnuts – Are these a lot of work? Yes of course. But they are RIDICULOUSLY delicious and perfect. They are fluffy and filled with a chocolate custard. The top is a 7-minute frosting that toasts up like the perfect marshmallow.

Overnight Beignets with Strawberry Powdered Sugar – Easter is April 1st! AHH so there will be a lot of Easter content because I love me some pastels and Cadbury eggs. These were made last year and they are not to be missed.

Cadbury Egg Skillet Cookie – Cadbury eggs are maybe the ONLY Easter cookie. Peeps are disgusting, in my humble, non-judgy opinion. But I love some mini Cadbury eggs. This puts those crushed Cadbury’s in a delicious skillet cookie.

Strawberry Sheet Cake with Rhubarb Meringue Frosting – This cake was definitely the most-made last Spring. It was beloved by so many people and I get why. The pink cake is fluffy and delicious and actually tastes like strawberries. The frosting is light and fluffy and tastes like rhubarb. And the entire thing is pink!!

Brown Butter Scallops with Walnut Pesto – This is an easy weeknight meal that I just love. I’m actually trying to give up tons of carbs for the month of March (good luck to me) so please see my first meal for an insight on what I’m most likely going to be eating 24-7. Lol.

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Vegetarian Pot Stickers

Adventures, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

I spent this past weekend getting back in the vibe of normal life which included going to the gym, going on a run, sniffling my way through Queer Eye on Netflix, getting cocktails and burgers with friends and going to watch Black Panther. I’m sure you’ve seen it; if not, you need to remedy that situation.

One weekend goal that was not met was a trip to my favorite Chinese restaurant to eat dumplings and pot stickers. I have to say, I love their meat pot stickers and dumplings but their vegetarian variety is not all that great. I wanted to make delicious vegetarian pot stickers. I think I found it.

I roasted a kabocha squash and added a bunch of stuff to it like green onions, sautéed mushrooms, sesame oil, chili paste, ginger and white pepper. It was glorious. It tasted like heaven.

This makes about 24 pot stickers which sounds like a lot but when you start eating them, it feels like it could go on forever and ever. I would highly recommend doubling this recipe and then freezing the rest. Pot stickers are THE ABSOLUTE BEST to cook straight from the freezer.

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Welcome to Cozy Book Club

Adventures, Book Club

Alright alright!

Let me just say that one of my goals for 2018 is to explore content beyond just food. Maybe dip into interiors (kitchen remodel post coming soon, I promise), maybe some clothes, maybe some of my favorite beauty things…you know, just switch it up because recipe after recipe can become so monotonous for me.

But it really hadn’t crossed my mind for us to read a book together until my DMs about The Glass Castle were off the chain and everyone wanted to do a book club. I was surprised about the positive feedback and now I’m super stoked that we’re all doing this together!!

So let’s dive in to what we’re gonna do:

The Purpose of #CozyBookClub – Every year I want to read more books. But every year I get super busy and can’t seem to find the time. Also, a lot of times I get distracted; I need help staying focused. I’m hoping that this will help me and you!

ALSO, whenever I read a book or see a movie by myself, I talk Josh’s ear off about it and basically tell him the entire story and premise and he just stares back at me and nods. I know he’s not paying attention, he’s just being nice. NOW HE DOESNT HAVE TO because we have each other!

I think this comes from my time at film school where we’d watch a movie and talk about it for 2 hours after. It always felt so nice to talk about the work.

The Books – I want to choose good reads that everyone will like and everyone will have access to. One of the rules that I’m following when selecting the books we’re reading is that the book needs to be in audible form because this isn’t dang school! So, if you can’t find the time to read the book, then listen to it on your way to work or when you go on walks. Whatever. There will be no test.

The Timeline – We’ll read one book a month. That’s it. It’s totally doable. And I don’t think we’ll be picking super long books nor books that are trilogies.

The First BookLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

At first I wasn’t sold on picking Little Fires Everywhere but everyone in my DMs who had already read it said such good things. SO HERE’S THE BOOK WE’RE GONNA READ!

You can find it in hardcover, softcover, Kindle and in audible form.

I called a few libraries and they had this book. Since it’s a somewhat new release (and popular), you may need to call to see if it’s still available.

On February 8th, we’ll talk about it!

Where should we discuss the book?

Some people suggested we create a group on Goodreads. OR we could discuss it here on the blog?

OR we could create a Secret Facebook Group where we talk about it there?

Let me know what you think!

And if you have any suggestions about future books, leave them below!!! YAYY!!

ALSO, I created a tab at the top of the blog where all of the posts are easily assemble for Cozy Book Club!

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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