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Fall

Mini Caramel-Chai Spiced Apple Pies

Desserts, Fall, Pie

I’m gonna be honest with you…I made these mini pies because I needed to make something that I knew would work.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a cake and pan dulce recipe in rotation, recipe testing them whenever I have some time. And OMG they’ve been so stubborn and annoying. I made the cake four times. And the pan dulce…well, I’ve lost count at this point.

Luckily, the cake is at a great place but the pan dulce…eh, not so much. Especially after I went to Boyle Heights and had a REALLY good one. It made me realize I’m not that close. The top isn’t as crunchy, not as crisp as it should be. The foundation is nearly perfect tho so maybe after a weekend of rest and relaxation in Chi-town, I’ll be ready to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to make the top shatter-in-your-mouth-amazing.

But these pies…are perfect.

They caramel is chai-spiced. Oh yes. I think chai-spiced everything is delicious but caramel just makes complete sense. The cardamom and cinnamon and cloves all work their magic with apples.

I was sort of shy to use apples in a pie but we’re way too early to do rhubarb and strawberries and too late for persimmon or pear. Apples though still look good!

They’re my year around pie go-to.

I made them mini because I put these mini pie dishes in my Amazon basket and accidentally didn’t remove them when I bought something else. Oh well…so I used them!

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Pumpkin Raclette Stove-Top Mac and Cheese with Jalapeños

Dinner, Fall, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Pumpkin Raclette Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Jalapeño

Every morning, when the sun breaks, my Abuelita Renee sits at the edge of her bed with her rosary in her hand and she recites prayer, bead after bead. She’s probably done this every single morning since she was probably 12 years old in Peru. She’s 82 now.

I’m not all that religious but I think the act of thankfulness, faith and hope is so very beautiful. I think what she does every morning is special. And I know it helps her throughout her day. I was thinking this past weekend what I’m thankful for…

The world feels like it’s crashing, things feel off and full of unrest but in my little world that I’ve created that’s full of friends and close family and Josh and Amelia, I’m happy. I feel thankful that we get to go on walks together.

Pumpkin Raclette Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Jalapeño

Pumpkin Raclette Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Jalapeño

I’m thankful that I’m healthy and wake up every single day feeling good.

I’m thankful for this space on the internet that let’s me create and make money all at the same time.

I’m thankful that my family sacrificed so much to come to this country so I could lead a better life.

Pumpkin Raclette Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Jalapeño

I’m thankful that you’re all here.

I’m thankful that Josh and I can laugh and talk for hours and hours at a time. We still love each other so very much. That feels good to me.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come my way. I try and honor them by working even harder.

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Cornbread Chicken + Dumplings

Dinner, Fall, Quick and Easy, Soups, Winter

Cornbread Chicken and Dumplings

I have been on the verge of almost getting sick for almost a month. And I have this strange pain in my neck. I have no idea what’s wrong with me but I think it’s a combo of maybe overworking myself and just being too scared to go to the chiropractor to get it fixed. I’m probably the absolute worst at going to the doctor because I hate it. It’s time-consuming and it’s scary all wrapped into one. So instead I’ve been subsisting off of wellness shots and wellness formula pills every single day. Let’s hope it works! My neck is another story. I’ve been thinking of getting this fancy pillow to help with my neck pain. Is this stuff interesting?

It’s not, I’m sorry. In other news, I went to Yeezy last night and IT WAS AMAZING.

Cornbread Chicken and Dumplings

Kayne reminds me of childhood but instead of childhood like as a little kid, it reminds me of being in my teenage years and early twenties when I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. It’s nostalgic in a whole other way. Kanye reminds me of my navy blue Jetta that always smelled a delicious combo of fast food and weed.

It took me a while to warm up to Saint Pablo but once I did I was hooked on that too.

I was hoping to get a glimpse of Kim but she was a no show. 🙁

Cornbread Chicken and Dumplings

Let’s talk chicken and dumplings!

This is my new favorite iteration of them because it combines cornbread into the mix and who doesn’t love cornbread?

If I were to make this again, which I will soon, I might fold some diced jalapeño into the dumplings so they’re a little spicy and sassy. If you want to be crazy, you can mix in some cheese, too.

This bowl situation is all for Cynthia’s (from Two Red Bowls) virtual baby shower. Everyone’s recipes are made in a bowl! Cynthia’s lil’ baby Samuel was born last week! Welcome into the world, little angel! He is so ridiculously cute. Congrats, Cynthia and family!

And a big hug to my homies Alana and Steph for organizing it (you can also see everyone else’s posts under #threeredbowls on the Instagram.

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Pumpkin Chai Scones w/ Black Tea Glaze

Breakfast, Fall, Scones & Muffins, Winter

Pumpkin Chai Scones with Black Tea Glaze

I love chai everything.

It’s probably the warmest and coziest of flavor combinations. It makes me want to put on a fluffy sweater and sit on my couch, watching tv or looking at the internets with Amelia by my side.

You might be wondering why oh why the internet is exploding with all the pumpkin things. It’s because there’s a #virtualpumpkinparty hosted by Aimee + Sara! It’s kinda like the pumpkin version of popsicle week, which is also a gigantic favorite of mine.

Pumpkin Chai Scones with Black Tea Glaze

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Blood Orange & Pomegranate Thyme Spritz

Drinks, Fall, Quick and Easy, Winter

Blood Orange & Pomegranate Thyme Spritz

Tomorrow I have a book signing at Anthropologie in Santa Monica from 2pm to 4pm. There will be cookies! After that I have to race home, change clothes into something fancier and a lot less cozy and head to my friend Teri’s wedding. Phew!

This past week has been HOT HOT in LA. And last weekend I was in Atlanta and it was hot there, too. And this past week it was v v warm in NY. I don’t know where fall is but I’ve been craving something super refreshing yet still very autumnal. For this post, I teamed up with Truly Spiked & Sparkling which is a new-to-me spiked sparkling water.

Blood Orange & Pomegranate Thyme Spritz

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Pumpkin Pupcakes for Amelia

Cakes, Desserts, Fall, Winter

Pumpkin Pupcakes

When I was away over the weekend, Josh told me that Amelia was sleepy and calm, which she never is. He blamed me. He said that I was her spirit animal.

It’s sort of true. We both humor and entertain and keep each other company every single day. She is my best friend.

We go everywhere together (Target, Home Depot, World Market, Michael’s) and are rarely not around each other. Since I work from home, Josh knew we’d be good for each other.

It’s Amelia’s birthday! She’s one year older but oddly not less puppy-like. She still plays ALL THE TIME. She still chews your hand when she gets excited. She still steals my socks and won’t give them back. She still barks at cakes and roast chickens and anything else she feels like she deserves.

Pumpkin Pupcakes

Pumpkin Pupcakes

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Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

Desserts, Fall, Holiday, Pie

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you this is one of those easy recipes that you can throw together on a whim…because it’s not.

It’s one of those things you make when maybe you’re feeling angsty and need to get lost in the process for awhile. You need to be a patient person. Maybe someone who likes to listen to music and think about their life…

If you are, then this is for you.

It also helps tremendously if you make the pistachio butter and pie crust the night before. And I’ll even go far as to say that you can use store-bought pie crust, too because this is a good amount of work.

Some people on the Instagram said they tried to make roses out of apples already and their apple slices kinda snapped and wouldn’t roll correctly.

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

Here are some tricks I found:

1. First step – Use nice crisp apples. I used a combo of Granny Smith and these fancy Pink Pearls Josh found at the market.

2. Send step – Get you a mandolin. You can’t do this without one.

3. Third step – Mandolin the slices thinly, until they’re bendable. This will depend on your apple. Test a few slices, see if you can roll them up, if not, then they need to be thinner.

ALSO, the thinner they are, the better they are to use at the start of your rose. I found this was key. The thicker slices can be used at the end when they don’t have to be so bendable. Does this make sense?

4. Get other people involved – This goes much quicker if there’s more than one person involved. Obvious advice, I know, but seriously get some helpers!

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

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Fancy Apple Gruyere Tart with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta

Dinner, Fall, Snacks

Fancy Apple Gruyere Tart with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta

My former professor from college texted me out of the blue yesterday, saying she saw The Year of Cozy at Anthropologie and she was V proud. (EEE!!!)

It made me think back when I had just graduated from college…

Fancy Apple Gruyere Tart with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta

…during my senior year I waited tables at a brewery and saved up like $5,000 so I could pack all my shit in my car and drive across country and move to LA. I felt sort of rich but at the same time knew that in LA-terms, 5k was, like, nothing. That would get me into my apt and maybe hold me over for a few months and that was it.

When I got to LA, my former professor actually gave me my first job and kept me working for a long time. I was super grateful for her because I don’t even know how I would’ve survived without those first few jobs.

For the first few years, my existence was also credited to a lot of frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s. They have this pizza/tart thingy—not sure if you’re aware—that has like ham, caramelized onions, gruyere and IT IS SO GOOD.

FancyAppleDoubleChzTart

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Asian Pear Pie and Apple Pie 

Desserts, Fall, Holiday, Pie

Asian Pear Apple Pie

My favorite corgi on Instagram passed away on Monday. It’s sort of weird to admit this but I cried…like kinda cried myself to sleep. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it had to do with all the other sad stuff in the world, my sad family stuff that I never talk about or maybe it had to do with the fact that Loki the corgi was only five years old and that’s not that much older than Amelia.

I dunno what it is but I know that I squeezed her really hard that night and yesterday I gave her a cookie I shouldn’t have (the vet says she needs to lose 1 to 2 pounds).

Asian Pear Apple Pie
Asian Pear Apple Pie

I nearly took the rest of the week off from posting but then I remembered that’s silly and that I have this Asian pear pie with apple and so many other good things to share with you.

Last week I made another pie where I took little bits of apple and folded them around one another to make roses and it seriously took me like 3 hours but I didn’t really mind one bit because I just zoned out and thought about all sorts of stuff.

Asian Pear Apple Pie

I think I enjoy this process…building and assembling, building and assembling. I enjoy methodical, repetitive things, especially when they pertain to pie.

I’ve been wanting to make a basket weave-ish kind of pie topping. I think I did it with this. It’s actually MUCH simpler than it looks because you basically just cut the pie crusts in smaller strips and then place them side-by-side like you would one singular strip.

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