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Dinner

Instant Pot Hummus with Chimichurri

Appetizers, Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Sides

This weekend! There was a good dose of work sprinkled throughout the weekend but there was also time to try a new restaurant (Maestro) in Pasadena (very good) and go and see Wonder Woman (double-thumb ups).

I love going to the movies and I try and go as much as I possible but the past few months there has literally been zero that I even remotely wanted to see. So I’ve been keeping busy with Netflix and I have to say: I highly recommend The Keepers (VERY CREEPY!) and the Thanksgiving episode of Master of None. If you don’t watch the entire season, it’s totally fine, just watch that episode. I made me teary and warm inside. I loved it so much.

Another thing I’ve been researching and thinking about: the Instant Pot. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been very skeptical. I honestly don’t make a ton of beans and I don’t braise a ton of meat so for a long time I was like, who cares!?!? but then I wanted to make hummus and Billy offered to bring over his Instant Pot for hummus-making, so I said, “let’s doooo it.”

These beans cooked in like 30 minutes—it was insane! While they cooked in the Instant Pot, we did other things like talk about how crazy Ramona is and how Sonja ate a whole block a cheese and Luann’s wedding and we also talked about chocolate chip cookies. But we still saved so much time using that thing. I can’t recommend it enough…except I haven’t bought one for myself. Continue Reading

Miso Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy

I’m currently watching “The Keepers” which is SO interesting but is all about murder…this means that I’m currently scared to go to the restroom by myself. I love true crime but at the same time I hate watching it. It’s like eating lots of spicy food or something—so good but it hurts!

Anyway, most days I don’t consider mac and cheese “healthy” per-se. But today is a lil’ different. I wouldn’t recommend making this when you’re seriously trying to diet but I would say it’s definitely healthy…ish.

This recipe comes from my friend Izy’s new book, The Savvy Cook. One of the most popular recipes that people love to make over and over on this blog is actually one of her recipes, from her first book, Top With Cinnamon. It is seriously one of my favorite chocolate cakes. It’s so easy and delicious so my expectation for this mac and cheese was UP THERE!

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Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

Dinner, DIY, Summer

If you’re on the west coast, you’ve most likely been asked that dumb question that everyone loves to ask: In-N-Out or Shake Shack?”

It’s not really a fair question because the price point on a Shake Shack burger is WAY higher than an In-n-Out Burger AND most diehard LA people will never, ever say Shake Shack. They’d almost rather root for the Yankees.

And while I love LA, I will admit, I always choose Shake Shack. The meat at In-N-Out always makes me feel kinda ill. I once got the grilled cheese and I didn’t feel sick at all so it’s def the meat. So, for me, I’ll always go with Shake Shack because the quality of ingredients sits with me a bit better. But In-N-Out will always be near and dear to my heart and remind me of young childhood and driving up the coast of California.

BUT, we’re not making a copycat In-N-Out burger, we’re making a Copycat Shake Shake burger. WHY?!

BECAUSE THEY ARE DOPE. There have been some good posts on this subject, notably here and here. But luckily, for me, and you, Shake Shack has come out with a book, giving us all a better idea of how things should be constructed and made. Most importantly: the special sauce.

The first step is to butter your Martin’s Potato Rolls. If you’re unfamiliar with Martin’s potato rolls just know they are soft and luscious and so very delicious. You can buy them on the east coast at a whole lot of places and if you’re psycho, or you order them online here.

I searched very far and wide for Martin Potato Rolls in LA and couldn’t find them. It was really annoying. A big part of me even thought of being crazy and buying eight burgers at Shake Shack, hold the meat and sides, so I could get the buns for this post…but then the normal, frugal part of me kicked in and immediately told my-sometimes-irrational-self that she was psycho for even thinking of that.

If you’re lucky enough to live on the east coast, go get them. If you’re a west coaster, you can order them online or just use white buns that are small. 🙁

Either way, you gosta butter them and then pan-fry them. This is what dreams are made of.

Then there’s the meat.

So we made our own blend, with the guidance of their book. BUT you don’t need to. Just go to your grocery store (that has a meat counter) and ask for a blend. OR you can use ground chuck that is 85/15. It will still taste good.

But I did as follows:

I got one pound of sirloin and one pound of chuck.

I chopped them up into cubes and fed them through the meat grinder with the largest opening. And then I put them through again with the smaller opening.

And then we formed round pucks. Not patties. Pucks.

Another thing that I found interesting was that you want the meat COLD. When the fat hits the pan you need it to be cold so it makes a really nice crust.

We pan-fried them on a cast iron with a bit of oil. We also used ghee on one patty and it was a bit too rich for me. But I’m also a baby when it comes to foods with too much fat.

When you flip the patties over, you then flatten them. You will feel like a short order cook. And immediately feel like you should be wearing a hairnet and have a cigarette hanging from the side of your mouth, just like Paula Deen.

You then drape slices of American cheese over the burgers. And that American cheese will melt gloriously.

And then you assemble in this order:

1. Special sauce on toasted, buttered bun.
2. Green leaf lettuce
3. Two slices of roma tomatoes, cut a lil’ on the thicker side.
4. The patty with the cheese
5. Two slices of pickles

And there you have it, a copycat shake shack burger.

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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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Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Poblano + Black Bean Enchiladas

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

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.

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Roasted Ancho Chile Cauliflower Sandwich with Spiced Pepitas and Avocado Crema

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Why didn’t you guys tell me I’ve been making nothing but pink food lately?! Good gracious, I looked at the first page of this blog the other day and was GIRL, get it together. Consider this dish/post a big gigantic break from all things strawberries/rhubarb/raspberries, etc. Woohoo!

When I went to college, my roommate was this Dominican girl from Queens named Kim. She cooked the best chicken; it was her mom’s chicken. I remember she offered me a plate and I almost passed out it was so good. Whenever she would cook, I would always make sure to linger around so she’d offer me some and she always did because she was the best.

When I finally asked her why it was so good she told me the spices. The one thing she said her mom always told her was to add A LOT of spice to everything.

And I’ll never forget that because my mom cooked with lots of spices too. I also remember thinking oh I guess that what us Latinas do—we cook lots of spices. Ok!

For this recipe, I teamed up with Ozery Bakery and their delicious bread. My favorite part about them is that I keep them in the freezer so I don’t feel the need to eat all of the bread within a few days (because I will).

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Three 15-Minute Healthy-ish Lunches/Dinners

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Low-key….this is what i’ve been eating on a daily basis.

If you follow me on Insta Stories you know that I’ve upped my workout routine this year. I’m currently on week 14 (!!) of Sweat with Kayla and I like it because it satisfies the to-do list human that I am.

I love how the app works because I get to “cross-off” workouts. I also LOVE that I can do the resistance workouts while not having to leave the house. I don’t even belong to a gym so I just do the workouts at home with weights while I watch This is Us or The View or Good Morning America (I also realize I love ABC!).

AND, the cardio workouts are good because I go on 40 minute walks with Amelia, which we both have come to love SO much. For the high-intensity workouts, I head to Soul Cycle (Dani is my favorite instructor in LA).

ANYWAYZ, I feel like the last couple of weeks on this here blog, I’ve been providing recipes that are sort of complicated, indulgent, etc. so I wanted to share what I’ve been eating for lunch (or dinner) that all take under 15 minutes.

Also, for some reason I can spend three hours making a pie or a cake and love every second of it but when it comes to making something healthy for myself, I want it to come together in less than 12 minutes. All of these do!

This is what I’ve been eating A LOT. These posts won’t be Pinned a million times or get all the likes on Instagram but they’re really practical so I figured I’d share them.

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Spring-y Detroit-Style Pizza

Dinner, Pizza, Spring, Vegetarian

If you have talked to me in the past three months, like, in person I have most likely brought up:

1. working out (I’ve been doing a lot of that), specifically Kayla.
2. how fast the year is going (OMG HI APRIL!)
3. how much I love podcasts lately (more on that tomorrow)
4. and how obsessed I am with Detroit-Style pizza
5. how to make detroit-style pizza

I had Detroit-Style pizza, like, six months ago when a pop-up popped up in Chinatown serving just that. I had never had it before. I had seen the beautiful photos of Emmy Squared on the Instagram but since I am allergic to going to New York (and whenever I am there it’s always for a blip), I haven’t been.

But when I went to this pop-up in Chinatown, I thought the pizza was like a dream. The crust is crispy, like a cheese crisp, because the cheese is taken all the way to the edge of the pan, while the center is fluffy, similar to focaccia.

I’m pretty sure it’s taken first place as my favorite style pizza EVER. I even went to Detroit a few weeks ago and didn’t have the chance to eat pizza there and was so bummed. 🙁

I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it! Luckily, when I decided to embark on my journey Kenji Lopez had just posted, a mere two days earlier, a recipe for it! WHAA!

So I tried it, thinking that perhaps I would only half like it. I figured I’d probably move onto another recipe and try a few others. But, guys, it was perfect.

I guess that’s not a huge surprise since his recipes are so dang reliable.

So here’s the link to his recipe. Use that crust recipe AND then get creative.

This is for a very spring-forward Detroit-style pizza. Probably toppings you’d never get in Detroit.

This one has radishes that are tossed in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. The sauce is an arugula pesto. The cheese is tons of mozzarella (a must) and dollops of ricotta with sprigs of basil, crushed red pepper on top and peas.

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Creamy, Spring-y, Smoked Gouda Stovetop Mac n Cheese

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Spring, Vegetarian

Spring time!! YASS! I feel like the season is in full effect.

I was gone for a week last week so I spent the weekend catching up on work and going to brunch and trying to (unsuccessfully) convince Josh that we needed to go see the new Beauty and the Beast. No dice.

I can’t really blame him; he’s usually such a good sport about seeing all sorts of movies with me so I figured I should let that one slide JUST THIS ONCE.

I love me some stovetop mac and cheese but I don’t believe there’s one single recipe on this lil’ blog!

I needed to fix that so I figured I’d make a very spring-forward version that I pumped up with kale, leeks and peas…all sautéed in a liberal amount of ghee (my continued obsession). Of course you can use plain ol’ butter or olive oil, too.

This mac and cheese is one hundred percent vegetarian but it kinda tastes meaty because of the smoked gouda.

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Miso Millet “Polenta” with Green Onion Oil + Eggplant Bacon

Breakfast, Dinner, Healthy

Hiii!

This past Monday it was rainy and stormy. I spent the entire day cooking in fluffy socks from two new vegan books and loved every single second of it!

The first up is a book, THE FIRST MESS COOKBOOK, from my friend Laura Wright. You might know her blog, The First Mess. Every single thing she cooks I want to eat.

If you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you know that I am the furthest thing from a vegan human. I love cooking things in butter and ghee. I love dairy. I love cheese. But from time to time, I’ll steer clear of all of that, especially if things aren’t sold to me as such and they’re just presented to me as delicious and healthy-ish.

I feel like all of Laura’s food is that way. I like to think of it as food that just so happens to be vegan and healthy; it’s not forced. It’s food that naturally is vegan and doesn’t really feel or taste like health food. All of the recipes I’ve tried from her are done with ease and finesse. And my favorite part is that all of her food is cozy and comforting.

As I was flipping through the book, there were SO many dishes I wanted to try (and will try), but the one that intrigued me the absolute most was this millet “polenta.” It’s such a smart idea and one I hadn’t come across ever. You take millet (which I happened to have a ton of in my pantry), grind it up and make it into a “meal.”

It’s boiled the same way that polenta is and boom! Polenta! but without the corn and all that. (Remember when I found out I was sorta kinda allergic to corn?)

I paired it with some eggplant “bacon” from the book, which was also SO good. Eggplant already has sort of a “meaty” quality to it. Laura has you add a sauce that’s so full of flavor. Does it taste like bacon? No way! Bacon is bacon. But it is super delicious and flavorful and it’s a million times more healthy.

I served this as breakfast and since I’m not a real vegan human, I topped each bowl of millet polenta with a baby fried egg and ate it with a whole lot of milky coffee.

This tofu dish is what I’m making later this week.

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