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Healthy (ish)

Eggplant Meatballs over Cauliflower Puree and Pesto

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Summer, Vegetarian

Meatballs might be my favorite food in the entire world. I strive to eat them ALL THE TIME. It doesn’t always work out but I really do try.

I eat healthy ones when I’m vibing that paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle.
I like legit ones that I like to think I would eat if I lived in the movie Goodfellas.
And then there are these fine things: eggplant veggie meatballs.

You can serve them to all your friends who don’t like meat but also don’t like fake meat. Also people who like meat love them too.

If you know me then you know that I was LATE to the eggplant game. I lived my life for years hating it but I love it SO much now. This sabich is still one of my favorite things to eat and the thing I love most on that sandwich is the deng harissa eggplant—it’s too good!

These meatballs come together pretty easily.

We do have an extra step and that’s cooking the eggplant down a bit and then blending it all up in a food processor with a bunch of other delicious things.

I like to use a non-stick pan for this so that I don’t end up with crumbly-broken meatballs. These are definitely more fragile than your traditional meatball.

I served this over cauliflower puree and pesto and it was the perfect healthy meal. If you’re looking to cut down on some time, serve it with store-bought pesto and some sautéed cauliflower rice.

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Roasted Radishes with Burrata and Arugula Pesto

Appetizers, Healthy (ish), Quick and Easy, Salads, Summer

Tomorrow I’m hopping on a plane to speak at Blogher in hot and humid Orlando, Florida. Should be fun! I’m there for like 24 hours so unfortunately I won’t have time to go to Disney World. I have a lot of fun memories of Disney World, especially grad night where all of us loaded in a bus and drove 3 hours up north to attend. They shut down Disney early and us kids, like a thousand 16 year olds hung out during the middle of the night.

There were SO many kids doing things they shouldn’t have been doing. Luckily my school threatened the day lights out of us with the idea of not possibly graduating so I’m pretty sure none of us brought alcohol/did bad things because the wrath of failure and parents was too much to deal with. FEAR IS WHAT DRIVES MANY OF US! Sometimes it’s not a bad thing.

Anyway, I’ll be back before you know it and then I’m headed to Palm Springs for the weekend with my friend Cassie and of course Amelia is coming because when a pool calls, homegirl is there.

On the Instagram a week ago or so I asked many of you, “What do you wanna see for summer!?!?”

A lot of people responded with my favorites (thank you, friends) like pie, cake, more desserts. YAS. Those are coming.

And other people were like, “healthy quick dinners!” and “easy appetizers.”

I understand both of these because when summer rolls around, I barely want to lift a finger because I’ll start sweating. And I want mostly everything to be cold.

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Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup

Healthy (ish), Soups, Vegetarian, Winter

Roasted Cauliflower Tumeric Soup

I like to treat January as a reboot month.

I’m currently getting this lil’ blog redone, which is LONG overdue; I’m dyeing white linens (with food!) so I can have the exact colors that I want; I’m going to paint some surfaces all the colors that I think of when I think of A Cozy Kitchen; and of course, I’m eating healthy.

SORT OF BORING. Except this soup is not boring.

Eating healthy for the past few days hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been mainly consisting off of these meatballs, boiled eggs, Korean BBQ, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. I’m going to post my meal prep for Whole 30 on Monday. I wanted to wait a week because I really wanted to figure out what I ended up being my favorites to grab from this week.

Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Tumeric Soup

This cauliflower soup is healthy and flavorful and the almonds make it part snack, part soup. I have to put lots of toppings in my soup so that it feels substantial.

I’ve also learned that I enjoy chewing foods (if that makes sense). I need soups with lots of toppings so I can chew. It tricks my brain into thinking it’s more of a meal. I always used to eat soup with bread or biscuits so these almonds are a nice healthy option (not nearly as good) but good for the moment. Only 25 more days of Whole 30 lolllll. I CAN DO IT!!

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Harissa Meatballs + Life Happenings!

Dinner, Healthy (ish)

Harissa Meatballs

GOOD GRACIOUS! Annnnd we’re back! That break felt so so good. Not gonna lie, I was way burnt out at the end of 2016. I needed a whole lot of days smushed together where I did absolutely nothing.

We went up to the bay for the holidays and then drove back down. Every day we read, hung out at our apt, went to the movies (!!) twice and hung out with a whole lot of friends. It was glorious.

AND, if you didn’t see on Instagram, Joshua and I are engaged! WHAAAT! Yes. On a cliff off the coast of California, near San Francisco, Joshua asked me. It was so sweet and perfect and I cried tears so of pure joy. Josh kept trying to get me to go on a hike that day and I fought it HARD because I was wearing my new boots and I didn’t want to get them muddy and it was sort of rainy. Luckily he convinced me to go on a “light” walk.

Harissa Meatballs

The thing they don’t tell you when you get engaged is the next question…like literally seconds after you tell someone is the annoying question: WHEN/WHERE/HOW R U GETTING MARRIED? And the girl who had to be bribed to wear a bra and cried when she got her period because she couldn’t go to the water park with her dude friends, wants to SCREAM, I DONT FUCKING KNO.

And please no one force me to go to my own bridal shower because I can’t.

So the answer is: who knows. I’m not sure yet but I’m sure it will be figured out. The one thing I have thought a lot about is cake planning! Because I’m that human that wants to make her own cake. Maybe I should figure out the cake part and then go from there. Like when you get dressed and start with your shoes first.

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Gnocchi with Preserved Lemon Alfredo Sauce 

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish)

Gnocchi Preserved Lemon with Alfredo Sauce

I am the most last-minute holiday person in the entire world. A gigantic part of me actually really loves the adrenaline rush of shopping the week-of. My dad and I would always get our holiday shopping like two days before Christmas and it was always way more fun than being planned and perfect.

Gnocchi Preserved Lemon with Alfredo Sauce

This year I somehow have it together. I even bought a few hostess gifts to hand out at parties. (And yes, that is a link to cat and dog bingo.)

Luckily one of the main people on my shopping list (my brother) is already taken care of. I’m going to gift him a KitchenAid® Stainless Steel Cookware Set
because he is just got his first adult job (hello first engineering job!) and is moving into a brand new apartment in a brand new city!!

For this post, I teamed up with KitchenAid® to show you how I put their set to good use by making these very fluffy and cloud-like balls of gnocchi.

Gnocchi Preserved Lemon with Alfredo Sauce

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Squash Saltado

Dinner, Fall, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Vegetarian

Squash Saltado

About a year ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything about the election. Mainly because it’s EVERYWHERE and so many things make my eyes roll and make me SO angry but it’s over now. And I’m so glad I stuck to it—until now—because I feel like this probably was one of the only places where it wasn’t all about politics.

A Cozy Kitchen is about corgis and pie and meatballs. What connects us–no matter what our political opinions–is our love of food and fun.

I’m the first generation in this country. Recently my tia Cecilia started a private Instagram where she shares really old photos of my family when they first arrived to The States. Everyone was so young, so unknowing and so incredibly brave.

Squash Saltado

Squash Saltado

Squash Saltado

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Late-Summer Succotash with White Bean Puree + Brown Butter

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Summer, Vegetarian

Late-Summer Succotash with White Bean Puree and Brown Butter

I feel like a basic b first thing in the morning (every single morning) because this is basically what I make (give or take the white bean puree or eggs). I’ve been eating something like this, a rendition of it, for like the last two months.

I’ve recently learned a few things about myself lately:

1. I need breakfast. It sets me very straight. And makes me genuinely happy.

2. For breakfast, I tend to lean more savory than sweet. (At least during the weekdays when my days need to be productive and want to feel good.)

3. Italian parsley + lemon juice will forever be my favorite flavor combination. It’s so fresh and delicious. Add a good amount of salt to balance out the salt and it’s something that should be put on every single thing.

Late-Summer Succotash with White Bean Puree and Brown Butter

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Soups, Summer, Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

As I thrust this only half indulgent recipe toward you, I’m currently on Class Pass (I’m a new joiner) scheduling out all of my workouts for the next week. This is an attempt to balance out my grilled cheese crouton eating with cycling, kicking and boxing and dance moves in this West African dance class I’m contemplating on trying.

These grilled cheese croutons are straight out of Pinterest 2012. It’s not an idea that I invented by any means but when I saw it loooong ago on Pinterest, I thought: GENIUS! It took me forever to actually do it but I finally did; I think it’s best I waited so long. The idea is so old, it’s almost new again.

Just like recycled fashions.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

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Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Noodles

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish)

Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Noodles

I’m finally back in The United States. I’m finally back in California. I’m finally back hanging with my crew (Joshua and Amelia). It’s glorious.

There was a bit of a hiccup, tho. Amelia hurt her foot and we spent the good amount in the morning yesterday trying to figure out what was wrong with it. The expensive x-rays at the vet told the vet she’s mostly fine. But she’s still walking with a pimp walk. We have no idea what this girl did so for now she’s on some anti-inflammation meds; we’re hoping if she has a little ligament tear, it’ll just heal up all by itself.

NO CHILL!

Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Noodles

Now that I’m back, I’m trying to eat a wee-bit healthier because I went a little cray on my trip (as you saw on Monday’s post). There was so much food! I’m actually really craving vegetables and lighter meals.

I usually give a gigantic side-eye at recipes that make something gluten-free that usually shouldn’t absolutely typically have gluten in it but this chicken parmesan was soooooo good. The almond meal give it such a delicious nutty flavor and it crisps up so nicely that it totally works in my book. I didn’t even miss the bread crumbs one bit.

ZucchiniChickenParm-3

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Crispy Plantain Chips with Mojo Sauce

Healthy, Healthy (ish), Snacks, Vegetarian

Crispy Plantain Chips with Mojo Sauce

Once upon a time I loved my daddy a whole lot. We’d sit on the couch together and we’d watch sports I didn’t care about. The only thing I cared about were all the snacks he had. He always had the best snacks. There was ice cream and saltine crackers and of course, plantain chips, straight from the bag.

We were best friends then, him and me, and these chips. I never really thought about the chips again until I moved away, far away from home, far away from him and far away from any Cuban and South American food.

Crispy Plantain Chips with Mojo Sauce

I was working a boring desk job when a lunch menu was plopped on my desk. It was for a Cuban restaurant nearby.

My bratty cynical self about Cuban food in LA started to scan the menu, stopping at my favorite: ropa vieja. When my food was delivered I was right about the ropa vieja but so wrong about the plaintain chips that came for free.

They were thin as newspaper, crispy AF and slightly salty.

Crispy Plantain Chips with Mojo Sauce

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