What did you end up doing for Valentine’s Day?! Josh and I ended up having a chill night in, made double-decker tacos, drank some beer and watched TABOO. He’s more into that show than I am; I usually fall asleep like 20 minutes in but I do think the time it takes place sort of fascinating.
I’ve had a crazy slow start to the week because on Monday I woke up with a pinch in my throat. It’s so annoying because I haven’t been doing anything that would bring on me getting sick. But I’m feeling better so woohoo!
This recipe and photos are from last month when we took a 3 day trip to Big Bear Lake. We got caught in a huge snow storm, which I sort of didn’t take that seriously until the snow just didn’t stop falling from the sky. I think we got 3 or 4 feet in a few hours.
Luckily it meant that we were holed up with no where to go for a full 2 days which meant plenty of baking and going on walks. Amelia was in heaven because for some reason she thinks snow is the most fun thing in the world.
So fluffy!! So fun!!
The little AIRBNB we rented was perfect for a few days because it had an old 80s oven and it came with the right amount of plastic sleds that were perfect for going down this hill that we found down the street from where we were staying.
Apparently this weekend is supposed to be another snow-heavy weekend and wish I was back there!
As you know, I’m on Whole30…also affectionally called (by me) Hell30.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s hard and that’s because I’m totally addicted to sugar and my body is really mad about it. I’m technically on Day 10 right now and I feel really good.
The good news is that there are so many things you can eat when doing Whole30. And you can have coffee, which is an absolute must in life for me.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Whole 30, I’ll do a short breakdown:
1. No dairy, no grains, no legumes (this includes soy sauce).
2. There is also a limited number of fruit servings a day (I believe it’s 2).
3. There are also no treats that are meant to resemble fun things, i.e., pancakes, cookies, French fries, etc., even if they use the approved ingredients from Whole 30.
And that’s sort of it. The point is to ween your body off of sugar and other unnatural, processed foods we’re typically used to eating.
As a way to cope with this, I think prepping some foods to have on hand each week is super important. Before I started it, I cooked up a bunch of food and some I used all the time and others I didn’t like.
PHEW! This project has been on my to-make list for a very long time.
As I was saying last week, I’m using January as a get-my-life-together-month, which includes–but is not limited to—freshening up my look a bit. Part of that is getting some new linens up in my life for photos.
I’ve always been after linens with really warm neutral colors and they’ve bit impossible to find. After these dried I was so into the results that I wanna try all sorts of veggies and fruits!!
From left to right/bottom: turmeric (short soak); blackberries + yellow onion skins (long soak); turmeric (long soak); blackberries yellow onion skins (short soak); avocado skins and pits; blackberries; yellow onion skins.
I adore the way they turned out and I’m pretty sure I’m going to use them all of the time! The best part about this lil’ project is that it was super easy, wasn’t messy and was pretty inexpensive and doable.
Let’s start with what I used:
1. Avocado skins + pits = mauve(!!). I bought two avocados, ate them and was sure to save the avocado skins. I boiled them for an hour and they resulted in the most gorgeous color in the world. Who knew?!?
2. Frozen blackberries = dark purple. I left the first linen in the mixture for about 1 minute and then left the 2nd linen in there for about 30 seconds.
When I think of cozy places on this earth, I think of Scandinavia. It has to be the coziest of cozy places. A recent trip to Copenhagen reinforced this opinion. It was the summer, but still, the light was diffused and soft; the textures were fluffy with lots of white. The food was savory and delicious and the ebelskivers?! They were my favorite.
I teamed up with Anthropologie to bring you this Scandinavian-inspired brunch. This was SO much fun to put together. The menu was super simple and easy to make.
What I love the most about a lot of these piece from Anthro is that all of them can move from season to season. It wouldn’t be strange to use these linens or plates in the summer or candlesticks in the spring.
Each plate had a linen and a piece of baby’s breath. This could even be done for Thanksgiving, which is OMG next week.
The flowers on the table were really simple and inexpensive. I went around my neighborhood and clipped some eucalyptus and arranged it on the table with branches of cotton. I found the cotton at the Los Angeles flower market, which still makes me happy whenever I go.
I wanted there to be lots of white but since I can’t be trusted with ALL white, we added lots of gray and off white.
The Swedish meatballs were my absolute favorite, especially when dipped into the lingonberry jam and served with these very creamy mashed potatoes.
If you’re in the mood to zone the F out or you want an activity to do with some family over the next few months, look no further! I think coloring/cooking is a great option and that’s not because I created it. OK MAYBE IT IS. But still.
This lil’ gif action is the Coconut Tres Leches cake which is by far one of my favorite recipes in the book. It is SO GOOD.
I hope you love it. I made this just for you.
AND if you’re in Los Angeles this Saturday, please come to my party! It’s open to the public. There will be coloring, snacks and dranks. I’m so excited to see you and meet you and hang out.
Can I tell you something? Making this coloring cookbook was A LOT harder than I expected. Mainly because I am not an illustrator nor have I ever worked with one until this book.
Amber Day-—who is so amazingly talented—-drew every illustration in this book. I want to talk about the process because I found it interesting and surprising and a lot of the time I felt like a fish out of water.
When I first started the project, I wanted the recipes to be really, really easy. My publisher and I agreed that the recipes should be simple—-achievable by anyone and easy enough such that cooks could spend the time coloring, too.
I ventured off into my wormhole to come up with a list of recipes that I would test and shoot (just for color and appearance reference), and then Amber would draw them.
What I didn’t realize is that so many of the things that I love to make are brown: light brown, medium brown, dark brown. All the browns! And/or they’re white.
Sometimes something will be brown with white glaze or frosting on it. Think about it. Chai Scones? Brown. Cinnamon Rolls? White and brown. Pie? Mostly brown. Quick bread. Brown, brown, brown, brown-—which, in coloring world, equals BORING.
There is nothing worse than boring. Bad is better than boring.
I didn’t think that would be that much fun to color if it was just brown recipe after brown recipe so I had to think about food in terms of color. What would be the most fun to color (and eat)?
Regular buttercream frosting on a chocolate cake became pomegranate frosting and black and white cookies became matcha and black cookies.
It was super strange to think about food with color at the forefront of my brain. I don’t think it’s an exercise I’ve ever experienced before. Super challenging for me actually, not gonna lie.
Amber and I both thought that taking my photos and having her illustrate them in a similar style would be great. “Let’s make photo-realistic illustrations,” we thought.
While, yes, some of the illustrations are based off of my photos, we found it to be kind of not that…fun?
Amber took some liberties, which you can with illustrations, so now we have sprinkles falling from the sky, berries bursting out of a cocktail and ingredients flying into a blender for avocado dressing.
We wanted to make the illustrations FUN and WILD and a little weird.
The illustrations ended up being SO different than what we’d imagined. But I think they’re so much more interesting than just preciously propped overhead shots.
We also wanted to include some types of illustrations that exist in all sorts of coloring books, like patterns and kaleidoscopes. We wanted there to be a lot of variety in terms of intricate, will-take-you-a-long-time-to-color illustrations with a few sprinkled in there that would maybe only take an hour.
The goal was also to have every illustration and set-up slightly different.
We wanted the illustrations to have variety.
Inevitably there are some recipes that are white and brown (read: coconut tres leches) so we got around that by illustrating the steps. We did this with a few of the illustrations and I think it worked out super cute.
FORMATTING THE RECIPES
Initially the recipes were supposed to be almost like non-recipes but I didn’t stick to that because that is not my forte haha. I want to give ratios and I also love to bake, which can’t really be done without a list of ingredients and directions.
So, we ended up typing all the recipes up and it just made everything feel cleaner and more cohesive. Amber drew illustrations around the recipes, depending on what the negative space was like on each page.
The cover for The Year of Cozy was the inspiration, as well as a few others (I love this coloring book cover and this one).
The problem with me is that I hate clutter haha. I know a lot of coloring books are all about intricate patterns and teeny things to color. I struggled with this idea because I like things to be simple. I favor minimalism over a bunch of stuff. But coloring books need to be full! I agreed with that.
Here is a super early iteration of the cover.
And then we had to color it and have Casey Lignon do the lettering.
And there you go! That’s da book-making process.
If you live in LA, please come! There will be coloring, snacks, dranks, ME and lots of chill time. It’s at Light Lab in Atwater village, if you haven’t been, it’s so beautiful. It should be loads of fun.
Amelia is so fun. I’m not sure if you saw but she made an appearance on Martha Stewart’s Instagram. Is this me gloating? YES IM VERY PROUD OF HER. Bringing Amelia into our little family has been the best decision because she makes everything that much more fun.
She makes ordinary walks fun. Have you ever seen a dog get scared of a trash bag? That happens. She makes friends with everyone, including every child she’s ever met. She’s genuinely so happy all the time that it’s hard to be mad at life’s little annoyances.
We go on picnics with her all the time, which is sometimes difficult because she tries to eat our food. One time she ate someone fancy prosciutto! Someone I didn’t even know. Luckily he thought it was funny but OMG HOW EMBARRASSING!
When Stella & Chewy’s reached out to me for their Everyday Awesome campaign I was happy to tell my story about how Amelia make everyday awesome for me.
Amelia LOVES their food.
We started bringing a small snack for Amelia on picnics so she gets it in her brain that she also gets to eat, which hopefully will make it so she doesn’t eat our food. Amelia eats mostly raw so Stella & Chewy’s is perfect for her.
She’s actually been eating it since she was a baby and she loves it! We use Stella & Chewy’s as a meal mixer so we’ll mix this into dry food (if we’re on a picnic or on a roadtrip) or add it to the pumpkin puree and veggies she eats (at home).
When Josh and I first started dating, everything was about where we were gonna eat. Most of it was not fancy stuff. We went on excursions trying to find where to get the best tacos in LA or where to get the best cemitas or even where to get the best BBQ. We were always getting in our cars and going to places we had never been to, together.
One of the places for burgers we went to was Pie ‘n Burger. It was my first time but Josh grew up right down the street so he was super familiar. He always came for breakfast foods (the pancakes are his favorite).
Eeeee! Last week I had the super fun pleasure of going to Copenhagen, Denmark for a whole week. There was lots of eating and boat riding and bike riding. It’s the most charming, quaint city. It’s big enough to be filled with amazing food, clothes, shopping and culture yet small enough to not leave you with an ounce of stress.
A big dose of fun was added into the mix because Yossy and Michelle were my travel and eating homies. We ate casual food, fancy food and everything in between.
It was my first time in Scandinavia ever and I was happy to learn a few things:
1. Danish is a v v hard language. When I said pronounced words as they looked, like, in English, they were completely different from the actual pronunciation. For instance, the most important word I learned to pronounce was the word HYGGE, which basically means cozy AF (my life mantra).
So, us English speakers would pronounce it ‘hi-gue’ when it actuality it’s pronounced ‘hue-guel’. LIKE, WHAT?!