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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

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

Summer Props I’m Loving!

Adventures, Summer

1. Pineapple Glasses – These pineapple glasses are so beautiful to me. They’re so tropical and fun. I don’t like to buy these that are too seasonal but I think these would look beautiful for fall, too. (Yes, fall is coming soon. I am not ready.)

2. 3-Piece Marbled Mixing Bowls – You’ll notice a lot of my favorite things come from CB2. That’s because they make SUCH pretty and affordable things. I love this set of mixing bowls. I’m pretty firm on having just simple glass ones but they’re not super photogenic. And sometimes it’s nice to go from mixing bowl in the kitchen to just straight to the table.

3. Pink Farren Tumblers – Sale alert! These are on sale right now and I just scooped up a few because I think they’re gorgeous and perfect for a big, tall glass of lemonade or iced tea.

4. Colorblocked Cotton Napkin – I love this color green. I’m going through a green phase right now where everything in my life either needs to be green or pink or mauve or brown.

5. Pink Powder Jug – Is there anything prettier to put cream in? I think not. I still swoon at all of these glaze colors. They’re just gorgeous.

6. Jupiter Pink Marble Board – I love this thing. I love pink marble—it’s so beautiful and kinda hard to find. I wanna put all the cheese and snacks on this.

7. Rose Leaf Nip Cup – Don’t ask me what a “nip cup” means. I dunno. But all I know is this glaze on this mug is gorgeous and I wanna hold that mug while I drink coffee every morning.

8. Waffle Weave Multi-Color Kitchen Towels – I have a lot of ugly kitchen towels. Mainly just plain white ones that have been stained into oblivion. I need a new set that’s photogenic and honestly just looks nice IRL, too. I have my eyes on this set.

9. Wood Handle Flatware Set – I love wood on flatware because it really warms up the space a bit. I’m drawn to a lot of modern plates and modern shapes so sometimes if my flatware is too modern, everything can feel cold. Obviously I’m the opposite of cold, I WANT IT TO FEEL COZY U KNO.

10. La Fourmi Steak Knives – Admittedly, I have a ton of dishes and stuff but one big thing I don’t have is a nice set of steak knives. These are just beautiful.

11. Pitch Dinnerware – These are Japanese-inspired plates that are simple and modern and minimalistic in the best way. I love the dark color and while I normally don’t shoot on black plates, I want to start injecting a bit darker colors into my work. I think these are an affordable way to start.

12. Vivienne Side Plate Set – I think this set of side plates is so beautiful. I dream of having colorful foods on them like melon wrapped with prosciutto, a variety of fruits and sautéed veggies. I think the neutral color is perfect for summer and fall.

13. Petrified Wood Serving Board – The edges of this serving board are SO beautiful. I love the rustic look of this board and I think everything from cupcakes to your favorite cheese would look gorgeous on it.

14. Floral napkin – I feel like the old me never would’ve liked something this classic but the new 2017 me is VERY into these rose napkins. They’re romantic and dark. I love ‘em.

How to Make a Corgi Cake (and a Pug Cake, Too!)

Adventures, Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, DIY

I always feel blessed that I have a career where I get to make things every single day (basically any creative person’s ultimate goal). Sometimes it doesn’t always feel all that romantic, particularly when I’m wiping grease off my kitchens’ walls or washing an absurd amount of dishes, but even in those moments, if I think kinda hard, I’m pretty happy.

Another plus about this creative world called blogging, I get to meet other creative people, too. Last week, I drove like five minutes away to hang out with Alana and make this cake.

She makes the most unreal cakes. A lot of them are just total pieces of art that I would be shy to eat. A bonus, her cakes taste SO good. I was at a friend’s bbq and she brought some corgi cupcakes and they were so fluffy and so soft. I was in love.

SO, we thought it would be fun to make side-by-side dog cakes. I did the corgi, inspired by that feral beast I own, Amelia. And she made a pug cake, inspired by her two baby pugs.

It was also nice to have some emotional guidance and support from her because I had never made a corgi cake before and it definitely required some planning and sketching.

It was also nice to have some emotional guidance and support from her because I had never made a corgi cake before and it definitely required some planning and sketching.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake: To start things off, I made a three-layer (6-inch) chocolate cake. I used my one-bowl chocolate cake recipe because it is SO easy and delicious.

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What’s on my Macy’s Wedding Registry!

Adventures, Desserts

Two days after Josh and I got engaged, we started wedding planning. AND THEN, we got stressed out and overwhelmed with all of the details and quit. We decided, together, that we’d take a bit of a break and just enjoy being engaged before we started up again. I’m actually glad we took a bit of a breather because now we’re super close to booking a location and venue! YAY! I have to say, I’ve enjoyed just simply being engaged. It’s been a nice, lovely and happy place to just be.

So, now that I’m ready to jump back into planning, I partnered with Macy’s to talk all things wedding registry. We made a special curated registry highlighting some of my favorite items (check it out here!), plus five super quick videos that I’ll be posting across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’ve broken everything down into a few categories:

1. Getting Ready for Guests: Believe it or not, I don’t really have nice spa-like towels or sheets. I don’t even have towels for other people besides Josh and me. So I took this opportunity to register for a few things that would make people’s stay with us more relaxing and comfortable.

2. Drank Time: We currently don’t really have room for a bar cart, but we’re moving soon (more on that later!) so I wanted to get a proper bar set and nice glasses — most of my glasses are mismatched and not cohesive. I also wanted a few stands for appetizers and entertaining.

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Beer Ice Cream Floats + Burger Party!

Adventures, Desserts, Dinner, Drinks

It’s almost summer, which means it’s beer ice cream float time!

Last weekend, I invited Billy and Steve over and we made some copycat Shake Shack burgers (recipe coming tomorrow!) and served them with beer ice cream floats using some delicious ice cream from Coolhaus.

The first time I had a beer ice cream float was a few years ago, and I’ll admit that before I tried it, I thought it might be a little gross. But, umm, it was the exact opposite.

Beer and ice cream go SO well together, especially when paired properly. And of course, if you have a little kid around or someone who doesn’t drink, you can substitute the beer with cream soda. Cream soda universally will go with all of these flavors of ice cream.

For this post, I teamed up with Coolhaus. I first had Coolhaus back in the day when food trucks were new and cool. I’d go to these food truck parties and I always finished my grazing with some ice cream or an ice cream sandwich from the Coolhaus truck.

Now you’re able to find Coolhaus in nearly every grocery store—it’s so amazing to have watched them grow from small ice cream truck to what they are now. Coolhaus is a woman-owned, LA born business, straight out of the recession—YAS!

I figured I’d do the very difficult job of paring a handful of their ice creams with different types of beers.

Here’s what I paired and loved:

1. Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip with a stout – I accidentally and unknowingly bought a coffee stout. It was surprisingly SO amazing with the Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip, which uses real spearmint and little delicious bits of chocolate.

2. Bananas Foster with a hefeweizen – The bananas foster might be my favorite flavor because I love bananas and the dulce de leche swirl is bomb. It pairs well with a hefeweizen because a lot of hefes have banana-like-tasting notes and the tartness works well with the sweetness of the dulce de leche.

3. Chocolate Molten Cake with a cream ale – At first I thought that the chocolate molten cake would go well with a stout and I tried it that way but it was a bit too rich for me. I liked it better with a cream ale that has some oat-y, malt-y notes that pair well, but isn’t too overpowering, with the rich chocolate molten cake flavor.

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Mother’s Day Brunch Round-Up

Adventures, Breakfast

MAMA’S DAY is this weekend!

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.

Let’s start with these Roasted Rhubarb Scone Sandwiches with Vanilla Bean Glaze. These would be bomb.

Fluffy Ricotta Lemon-y Pancakes. YES BISH.

Braided Cardamom Bread. When I made this it was so WARM but Josh and I polished off one of those loaves in like 15 minutes. Shameful.

Overnight Beignets with Strawberry Powdered Sugar. Best part about these is that you can make them the night before. Best part about these is that you can eat them straight from the fryer when they’re all warm and delicious.

Baby Dutch Babies. If you have mini cast irons you can make them baby-like. But if you don’t, don’t stress. Make a big one!

Strawberry Rhubarb Sheetcake. I love sheetcakes!

Big-Ass Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake. I know I just posted this but it’s truly a keeper.

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.


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