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Summer

Baked Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders

Dinner, Sandwiches, Summer

As you know, summer is usually a slow burn for me. It takes me a bit of time to welcome the unrelenting heat and mosquitos. I’m more of a winter person, you know this. But this summer I’m excited. I’m excited about outside BBQs and cubing up watermelon and maybe jumping in a pool.  Summer is weeks away but we all know that Memorial Day is the unofficial kicking off point for summer.

For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, where you should go for all your summer food needs. They have everything from fresh meats to BBQ and fresh organic produce for pies. It’s a one-stop shop for summer!

I’ve been wanting to make hot chicken, but in slider-form for a while now, so I figured what better time than now to unofficially kick off summer.

My favorite part about this recipe is that it doesn’t require a fryer or a big pot of oil. This is in the oven, baked, the whole time. I know we’re not fans of lots of oil so this one is pretty simple.

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Gluten-Free Summer Strawberry Coconut Tart

Desserts, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Spring, Summer

I realize that I kinda owe you an apology because before this recipe I realize I’ve never really posted gluten-free desserts. For me they’ve always been a challenge, mainly because I can eat gluten so I’ve never really taken the time to understand gluten-free baking. Also, the recipes I usually come across are annoying looking. Too many ingredients, xanthum gum, etc. Like, it feels like I need a million ingredients, ones I probably won’t use again.

SO, when I opened Sweet Laurel by Claire Thomas and Laurel Gallucci, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the recipes seemed. Their book is full of grain-free desserts, all of which are made with minimal amount of ingredients. I settled on this almond crusted strawberry coconut cream tart because it was as simple as can be and your girl looooves coconut.

This tart is SO simple to throw together. The only prep is to make sure you have a can of coconut in the fridge so it’s super chilled because the filling is coconut whipped cream.

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Ramp Cacio e Pepe

Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

RAMPS! So very seasonal! Their seasonality is sort of dramatic. Especially here in Los Angeles where ramps don’t grow locally.

Most ramps you’ll find in LA are from the Pacific Northwest because they need like forest-y type of terrain and they need a lot of rain and water.

They’re a spring time produce and they’re so delicious. They’re really good with so many things.

A few years ago was the first time I tried a ramp and I was, like, what is all the fuss about?!?! Well, if you’ve never had them I’ll describe them like this:

Think very garlicky but without the spice. They’re a very smooth flavor but strong. It’s hard to describe but they’re really just this delicious garlicky/onion-y type flavor but don’t feel intense or bitter or sharp. It’s smooth AF.

This meal obviously could be made without the ramps. This is a classic cacio e pepe pasta. Cacio e pepe is super easy to make. It’s all about technique tho and really the most important thing in this recipe is the pasta water and the black pepper and cheese.

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A Week of Salads to Eat

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Whole 30

Reaching balance is on my to-do for spring and summer. It’s obviously something that I’m not always great at. I love cake. I love pasta. And I honestly don’t see anything wrong with having those beautiful things in my life. They’re not going anywhere. But I also have been trying to eat healthier on a day-to-day basis. Having lots of fresh produce and ingredients on hand has been a huge game-changer for me.

Did you know May is also National Salad Month? To celebrate, I teamed up with Rubbermaid to create salads for my entire week! The FreshWorks Produce Savers keep produce super fresh and crisp in the fridge! The CrispTray at the bottom of the container elevates produce away from moisture and promotes airflow to help reduce spoilage. After 5 days of being in the fridge, the radishes were crispy, the arugula alive and well and the green onions were snappy! I love going grocery shopping and then storing everything away in their Rubbermaid home until I’m ready to use them.

Here’s what I like to keep on hand!

1. Kale
2. Romaine
2. Arugula
3. Cherry Tomatoes
4. Green Onions
5. Radishes
6. Italian Parsley
7. Cucumbers
8. Strawberries

These ingredients make it easy to make a bunch of different salads. I like variety in my routine and it’s way easier to do that when you start with about 6 or 7 different types of produce.

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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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Late-Summer Peach Galette with Baklava-like Filling

Desserts, Pie, Summer

Are you guys chilling this weekend? After a little bit of a crazy few weeks, I was lucky enough to be able to relax most of the weekend. I slept, I tried to stay cool (it was literally 105F every single day, help us all!), tried to stay away from the crazy fires, washed clothes and went to a bbq for a friends birthday. It was all good.

This weekend I’m headed to Seattle for Create + Cultivate and I just learned that Issa Rae is the keynote speaking and it has me a little scared/shy/excited to meet her!! EEEE! I love her so much. I’m actually leaving before she hits the stage so who knows if I get to meet her BUT if you haven’t watched Insecure DOOO ITTT!

It is my favorite show on TV right now; it has be DYING every single episode. And every time an episode is done I’m like UGGGHHH I wish there was more!

Let’s turn our attention to this late-summer galette because it is SO good. At the base of the galette, underneath the peaches is a baklava-type of mixture and it is B O M B. It’s spiced and crunchy and flavorful. It gives the entire thing such a good flavor and texture.

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Creamy Elote (Mexican Corn) Pasta

Pasta, Summer


Ayyyeeee! This pasta was SO SO good.

I will admit that it’s a teeny bit indulgent but tastes delicious and it’s something that surprisingly doesn’t feel super heavy and I think that it having no meat helps a lot with that.

This week has been full of food shoots and getting everything done and ordered for our kitchen renovation, which I’m going to tell you about TOMORROW! WOOHOO.

Before I do that though, I wanted to give you this late-summer recipe because I feel like corn has been so delicious this year. If you’ve had Mexican street corn before (also known as elote) then you know that it is delicious. It’s super simple with ingredients that complement each other so very well.

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Plum Nectarine Pistachio Upside Down Cake

Breakfast, Cakes, Desserts, Summer

This summer, I’ve made only sheet cakes and zero pies. I have no idea what’s gotten into me. I think I’m reserving my pie muscles for fall. I also think I’ve been super lazy (and really busy) this summer, and I haven’t had time to sit and braid pie dough for hours and hours. I’ve been into more quick and easy recipes with big payoff. Like sheet cakes…and this upside-down cake.

Upside down cakes are underutilized in my very humble opinion. For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, where I go for all of my baking needs. When you go there, be sure to stock up on all the high-quality flour and sugar and brown sugar that will fit into your cart. I always do (I get bags and bags of stuff), and I always use it. Click here to find the closest ALDI to you!

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Fluffy AF Cornbread Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast, Pancakes, Summer

So I’m proably the last person on earth who is now watching The Good Wife but let me tell you, it’s pretty good!

I’m very into the whole situation where the wife isn’t all that “good” and divorces her husband because he sucks. I think that’s a great bang to begin a series with, to be honest. Who knows where it will go because I’m literally only on episode 3 but we shall see!

Another thing I’m very into right now are fluffy pancakes that taste like cornbread, speckled with little blueberries. GAH. Brunch dreams right now.

Let me tell you truly fluffy pancakes are a little hard to achieve. If you add too much leavening then you end up with fluffy pancakes that then fall. You want just the right amount of baking powder to liquid.

The ratios are really important! I think I got the perfect ones in this recipe. The pancakes taste like cornbread with honey and the blueberries are so deliciously sweet and tart. I’m going to miss them dearly come the end of summer.

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Payday Lobster Cherry Tomato Pasta

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

Hello! I am here. Is today (or next Friday) payday for you? I hope so because this pasta is something that I hope you make when you get PAID! This is a treat yo’self kinda pasta because it has lobster in it.

Pasta is usually on the cheaper end of the food-money-spending spectrum but lobster makes it pretty indulgent.

I went to the market and bought two lobster tails for about $20. I definitely was like “dang, ok. lobster is legit expensive.” And I still had to buy all of the other ingredients. I think my total bill came to like $30 or $35 dollars for this entire meal, which if you actually compare to a restaurant, it’s still cheaper.

But whatever you do, don’t overcook/mess up the precious lobster ok?!

I’m going to be honest again and tell you that I grew up eating lobster because my family loved it. And I knew when they brought home lobster someone was having a good day/bills had been paid/we were living!

Before recipe testing this, I’d actually never cooked lobster. I was super pumped that it was just the tails and not a whole, living, thriving lobster. That experience might’ve been too real for my city-loving self.

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