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Quick and Easy

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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My Favorite Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Quick and Easy

The vibe of Friday is the best, isn’t it? It’s that feeling of almost being able to hang out and chill TFO.

I don’t have any crazy plans this weekend but it might consist of us taking a trip to the vet because Amelia is favoring/licking her left toe obsessively and she won’t let me look at it. Every time I get close she starts to show her teeth at me like a psycho. So, hopefully it doesn’t cost a million dollars/her toes are a-ok.

Moving onto cookies…

Remember when I did that nerdy post all about chocolate chip cookies? Well, that post was actually SO much fun to execute and write because I learned a whole lot about CC cookies. And I figured out how to get closer to the cookie I had in my dreams/brain.

I really love doing these types of baking experiments because I learn so much. I’m thinking of doing a post on the perfect white cake because while I’ve made a ton of cakes, I’m still searching, still learning what makes a white cake hella special. Let’s learn things together!

Also, before we begin, I’d like to give a special shout-out to my friend and helper, Billy. In case you don’t know, Billy helps me pretty much every week with helping create content for this space and he extra helped with these cookies because he loves nothing more than to talk nerdy about chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s the breakdown of the choices I made (AND WHY!) with these chocolate chip cookies.

I’ll also say that there is no perfect chocolate chip cookie because we’re all after different things. Some people like thin and chewy, some like crispy, some like super soft. Those recipes are good too.

This one is soft in the center that is slightly chewy and a teeny bit crunchy around the edges. They are not cake-y but are a little fluffy.

Ok, here is the breakdown:

MELTED BUTTER:
Most cookie recipes begin with you creaming room temperature butter with sugar(s). But melting the butter vs. using room temperature butter will lead to a chewier cookie. I’m am very down with a chewy cookie so I went the melted butter route.

BAKING POWDER + BAKING SODA:
The baking powder in this recipe gives it a bit of a lift, while the baking soda helps these cookies spread. A lot of recipes you see that only have baking soda are on the thinner side. There is nothing wrong with this but I like a bit of both.

MORE FLOUR:
I added a bit more flour in this recipe to make it a little bit thicker cookie but not too much because I didn’t want it to be dry. I love the thickness of this cookie. It’s not too thin and not too thick/cake-y/dry. It my opinion, this has a super good ratio of butter to flour.

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Pea Pesto Pasta with Brown Butter Scallops

Pasta, Quick and Easy, Spring

Spring is in full effect and I am fully enjoying going for long walks with Amelia and seeing Los Angeles so bright, green and blooming. Since we got a pretty heavy dose of rain this winter, Los Angeles is probably the prettiest I’ve seen it in quite some time.

I know I say this with every season (minus summer) but I love spring. I love the produce above all of the other seasons. Peas and rhubarb and strawberries and fava beans! I love it all so much.

I also love that spring doesn’t involve any sweating. And there isn’t anything more delightful than warm yet light and fresh-tasting pasta.

I teamed up with ALDI to bring you this delicious pasta tossed in an arugula pea pesto that’s spiked with a good amount of lemon, ricotta and parmesan. It results in a creamy rich pasta that’s still so fresh and clean.

I topped the pasta with tasty scallops from ALDI that I seared up in ghee or butter, which is currently my favorite thing to use to pan-fry or sauté anything. It’s the one thing from Whole 30 that I still hold onto.

It gives the scallops a delicious buttery aroma and flavor that I love. It works well with the brininess from the scallops.

The best part about this lil’ meal is that it is super fastsuper-fast and easy. I’d say all in all, it took me about 20 minutes. I’ve been trying to make more easy meals, especially since the last month it seems that all I’ve wanted to make are layer cakes that take me (and you) like 3 hours.

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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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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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Coconut Hibiscus Orange Blossom Slushies

Desserts, Drinks, Healthy, Quick and Easy

This week has been a lil’ bananas. I’m doing a video series for a project today (YAY!) and just getting everything in order from location to what I’m putting on my body has been a good amount of mental work. I’m used to just making things and taking photos of them, not really concerning myself with how my hair looks. ITS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT!

In other more important news, Amelia is about to be wrangled by a new trainer, that we consulted with over the weekend, because she’s caught a bit of separation anxiety, i.e., has a full-on toddler meltdown when I put on my shoes. It’s made leaving the house a bit challenging. If you know corgis, then you know that they’re kind of wild, feral animals.

She also had to turn down an opportunity to be in a commercial for The Crown because the requirements were that she actually had to obey all commands while being in front of camera, while being next to a herd of corgis. She. Can’t. Do. This. It’d be too stressful and the experience of taking video of her in this environment did not outweigh the stress. ANYWAY, my best friend works for Netflix so I’ve kindly asked for an invite to set that day.

NOW, let’s turn our undivided attention to these gorgeous slushies from my dear friend Lily’s gorgeous new book KALE AND CARAMEL.

They are seriously the dessert I will make over and over this summer because:

#1. They are so easy to throw together. Seriously, all you need is an ice cube tray and a blender.

#2. They are healthy-ish. They’re sweetened by honey and orange juice, they’re dairy-free and are so so delicious.

#3. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous pink color from the hibiscus syrup.

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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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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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