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The Holidays

Irish Soda Bread, Reworked

Biscuits, Breakfast, Quick and Easy, The Holidays

I’m going to be completely honest and say that St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that I don’t celebrate. I never have. I don’t drink green beer, I don’t eat Irish food, I don’t pinch people (please don’t touch me ever lol) and I always forget to wear green. But I do love bread. And I love Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread has the most humblest of beginnings. It was made during time when it was difficult to access high-quality ingredients. It was simple: low-protein flour, “soda” aka baking soda (for leavening), soured milk and…umm…that’s it!

This is what I like to call reworked Irish soda bread. It has a bit of cold grated butter, some rolled oats for texture. And instead of raisins, I added chocolate chips because I love myself.

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Crunchy Brussels Sprout with Pecorino + Apples and Candied Pecans

Quick and Easy, Salads, The Holidays, Vegetarian, Winter

Amongst all of the candy and cakes and cookies during the holiday season, I always love a good salad. To be completely honest, I think salad belongs on every table all the time. I grew up despising salads because my mom thought it’d be a great job to pass the duty off to me during dinnertime prep, and I couldn’t stand making them. And that’s because they were uninspired—I was only 14 so salad wasn’t all that interesting to me! But fast-forward to now and I’d love nothing more than to talk to you about how to make a salad delicious.

For this post, I teamed up with KitchenAid® and their Artisan® Stand Mixer. I used the Food Processor attachment to make this salad, which made it a total breeze. I did it in about 15 minutes and it was DELICIOUS!

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Vanilla Doughnuts with Mirror Glaze

Desserts, The Holidays

I’ve wanted to make a mirror glaze for a really long time but was always kinda skeptical about the taste. It looks so fake-tasting! If you’re unfamiliar with mirror glazes, they became popular with Russian bakers and soon after, they were popping up everywhere on Instagram. The glaze is shiny and beautiful. And a lot of times, bakers will use it to make beautiful marbled designs.

When Estée Lauder reached out to me a few months ago about creating doughnuts to match their new liquid lipsticks, Pure Color Envy Paint-On Liquid LipColor, I knew it was time to give the mirror glaze a whirl. When I tried it the first time, I was blown away at how good it tasted—basically just like marshmallows. I color-matched the glazes to look exactly like their liquid lip counterparts.

The colors are:
Vinyl Candy Red (inspired by Envy Paint-On in Lava Flow)
Metallic Poppy Pink (inspired by Envy Paint-On in Lacquer Lover)
Matte Berry Purple (inspired by Envy Paint-On in Orchid Flare)

It took me about a million times to get the color right, but it was so fun playing with food coloring trying to get it right. And I maybe ate way too many doughnuts in the process. These are baked doughnuts but feel free to use this glaze on regular yeast doughnuts, too.

Their liquid lipstick is a really nice texture, it doesn’t feel too tacky or messy. It sits on the lips just right. And the colors are beautiful. Perfect for a holiday gift to yourself.

The recipes are over on Estee Lauder’s site. And here’s a link to the liquid lipsticks, which are so pretty!

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Cozy Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Gift Guides, The Holidays

1. KitchenAid Stand-Up Mixer – I feel like a broken record, but this really is the perfect thing to give someone. I love this pistachio color but if your favorite person loves another color, well, they have a ton to choose from!

2. Wilton Decorating 55 Piece Set – I own this and have put this on gift guides before and that’s because it’s amazing to have all of these tips in one place. Also Wilton shows what the tips do on their Youtube page in case you‘re not sure what kinda design will come out!

3. ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide – I’m going to be completely honest with you, I was not a fan of anything sous vide’d. I didn’t think it was that realistic for home cooks, but I bought this for Josh last year for Hannakah and he has used it so many times and I am now completely converted. I’m actually going to try and do caramelized white chocolate in it this week and am excited!

4. Vitamix – I love my Vitamix. I recently used a Ninja and I actually like it too. It’s much cheaper, works just as well. The only downside compared to the Vitamix is that it’s a bit louder than I’d like. But oh well! I do have my eye on upgrading my Vitamix to the one you see!

5. Instant Pot – Ok, so I’m gonna be honest: I don’t own an Instant Pot (yet). It’s on my holiday wish list. I’ve used my friend Billy’s and I think it’s amazing. Should I do a few Instant Pot recipes?

6. Le Creuset Dutch Oven – Dutch ovens are a staple in every kitchen. I love that Le Creusets are enamel coated, distribute heat evenly, are pretty and highly functional. I use my 3 1/2-quart every single day of my life. The 4 1/2 quart is the most functional—you can use it for stews, candy and even for baking bread. The possibilities are truly endless.

7. Food Coloring Set from AmeriColor – I think AmeriColor has some of the best colors in the food coloring game. They are very pigmented and I love how little you have to use in order to achieve your desired color.

8. NordicWare Cast Iron Bundt Pans – NordicWare did a whole exclusive line with Amazon and the results are pretty beautiful. I love intricate bundt pans and they make ones that are good quality with beautiful designs.

9. Pyrex Glass Container Set – I recently was gifted this set from a shoot I was on and man, was I excited. I love that it stacks perfectly. I love that it’s glass and totally reusable.

10. Stasher Reuseable Silicon Bags – One of my goals for 2018 is to cut down my waste. I have my eye on these reusable bags to use for everything from storing a leftover sandwich to using it to sous vide something or using it when I go to the bulk bin (instead of using a plastic bag). I plan to give these as stocking stuffers.

1. The Year of Cozy – Hello hi this is my book. And yes, technically this is self-promotion but I personally think that this would be a great gift.

2. Love Real Food – I love Kathryn Taylor’s blog, Cookie and Kate. This book crushed it this year (look at all those positive reviews!). If you know someone who loves making vegetarian meals, this is a winner for sure.

3. Salt Fat Acid Heat – I LOVED this book. I feel like everyone—no matter your cooking level—can benefit from reading this book. It’s very interesting, entertaining and the illustrations in the book are beautiful.

4. Cravings – Chrissy Tiegan is a fun follow on Twitter and The Insta. I haven’t made any of these recipes but a lot of people have and love them!

5. Sweet – Beautiful baking cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi and Pastry Chef Helen Goh. It’s a gorgeous book and anyone who loves baking would definitely adore this book.

6. Bravetart – Another good baking book. Bravetart is written by Stella Parks from Serious Eats and I love that the recipes are based on American classics.

7. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible – I am a diehard fan of The Great British Baking Show. In a world of toxic news and politics, I like to watch this show and The Kardashians and I’m not ashamed of that! So, when I was watching a few months ago, I realized I had never baked a Mary Berry recipe—gotta change that!

8. Cook Beautiful – This book is all over the internets. And you know, for good reason. The photos are aspirational (her kitchen! her house!) but the food is approachable and doable and that’s wonderful.

9. The First Mess – For your favorite vegan! I love Laura Wright’s food—it’s delicious and simple and doable at home. I peruse this book all the time and sometimes I’ll add cheese or an egg and make her recipes non-vegan lol.

10. Smitten Kitchen Every Day Triumphant – Deb is a master home cook and her recipes ALWAYS work wonderfully. This is her latest cookbook and I bet anyone would love it.

11. State Bird Provisions – When Josh and I had only been together for a few months, we took a trip to San Francisco and ate at State Bird. We loved our meal there. We sat at the bar and everyone was so nice and welcoming. I received this cookbook and the dessert section is my absolute favorite.

12. Zahav – This is not a new cookbook but it’s a staple. I’ve actually never been to the restaurant but I wanna go.

1. Very Cozy Madewell Sweater – It comes in a few colors and I tried all of them on. Obviously the mauve one was my favorite (pictured here). The fit is super flattering and so super soft. I want to sleep in it.

2. Bagatiba Hollow Hoops – I love these hoops. I actually like a lot of Bagatiba’s jewelry. I’ve purchased a few pieces from them over the last year and I can say that their jewelry is good quality and really beautiful in real life.

3. Fluffy Women’s Casual Socks – I recently bought these socks because they are right by The Year of Cozy at Target (hello sorry being annoying!) and they are SO soft and cozy. And very inexpensive.

4. Patagonia Teddy Bear Jacket – Listen, I dress for comfort a lot of the time and this jacket is just speaking to me right now. I love the beige color so I can just look like a teddy bear at all times.

5. Tilda Faux Fur Topshop Denim Jacket – Is the faux fur a little bit extra? Yes. Definitely. I do love the crop top tho and I love fur. Topshop ALWAYS fits me so small so be sure to size up a bit.

6. Mansur Gabriel Moon Leather Wallet – I’ve been using the same wallet for a few years now and while it’s great, I might need a new one. I do love that my present wallet has a lot of room so I can’t go down to a card-type wallet. I need a mom wallet. I feel like this one would be a good jump.

7. Swell Bottle – When I go workout I sometimes get a Smart Water BUT I’m trying to use less plastic so this is on my gift to myself. Less waste!

8. Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo/Conditioner Set – Kristin Ess is an amazing hair stylist and her line at Target is beautiful. I love this gift set.

9. Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask – I love Dr. Jart everything. All of their products are nourishing and hydrating. Whenever I travel, I always buy a few of these for when I land so my skin can be all hydrated all over again.

10. Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish Kits – I hate getting gels because they hurt my nails but when I was at the salon recently, a nail technician recommended these Essie Gel Couture polishes and OMG you guys, the color I have on has lasted almost two weeks and I use my hands every single day. Very impressed. These kits are cute.

11. Vans Old Skool Suede Sneaker – I wear these nearly every day and I’ve been wearing them for years. I recently switched from the hightop to the low tops. And I’m undecided which ones I like better lol. They’re great for different reasons!

Brown Butter Pecan Snacking Sheet Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday, The Holidays

As of yesterday, I’m almost (not yet tho!) done with work for the year. I cannot even tell you how happy this makes me. I’m celebrating by creating more stuff for this blog and I know that’s technically work but when it comes to holiday stuff, it feels more like fun. I really want to make a yule log with my friend Hourie. We made one years ago and it was SO fun and it ended up being beautiful.

I’m also obsessed with The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix because it’s like The Great British Baking Show but with family drama–how fun! I’m also super excited to sit in bed tomorrow and watch The Crown!!

Okay let’s talk about this cake. I think it’s safe to say that 2017 was the year that I fell in love with the art of “the sheet cake.”

I first made this strawberry-rhubarb version. Then I moved on to this chocolate one (which btw would be perfect for the holidays, too). And then, in October, there was a pumpkin sheet cake with brown butter frosting. It immediately became the most popular recipe this year!! Crazy!

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Pie de Limón Cookie Bars

Desserts, Holiday, The Holidays, Winter

Holiday season, what is up?!?!

If I’m keeping it super real, I’ve secretly been tired of pumpkin, autumn leaves and anything Thanksgiving related for like a month haha. I think that’s the peril of my job: I celebrate the actual holiday way before it even arrives. I’m so glad to be freed into the land of Santa, red and snowflakes. Let’s do this!

Most years I’m not invited to THAT many holiday parties; I’m not throwing myself a pity party because I honestly love nothing more than to stay home with Amelia and watch movies, but this year I’m already on the books for four! I feel incredibly popular and special. A special thank you to my friends!

I’ve been jotting down ideas for items that we can bake and bring to our friends. Here is what I’d like from them:

1. Make ahead.
2. Easily transportable.
3. Drama-free baking.

For this post, I teamed up with Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. This is a recipe for their UnCookie Exchange, a celebration of unfussy recipes and get-togethers. I’m for all of that!

These Pie de Limón Cookie Bars are super easy to throw together. You essentially make a cookie crust and bake it for about 10 minutes and while it’s baking, you make the filling. Everything in a bowl and mixed up—that’s it. Not too many ingredients either.

This dessert uses no sugar in the actual filling—just sweetened condensed milk!

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Thanksgiving Tools and Supplies

Gift Guides, Thanksgiving, The Holidays

I’m the last person that is going to tell you that you HAVE to have anything. I baked for years without a stand-up mixer, I’ve used a colander as a sieve (I don’t recommend it) and for a long time, I literally scooped out cookies with tablespoons I ate soup with. BUT, now I have a very well stocked kitchen and you know what, it makes my life easier! I move faster and I’m less stressed so here are some of my go-tos for cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

1. OXO Potato Ricer – This is the only proper way to make mashed potatoes. My post on mashed potatoes depends on it.

2. Kitchen scissors – I use these for cutting out the backbone of a turkey, I use it for cutting twine and I use them for cutting pie dough. I love kitchen scissors. They’re super sharp and are dedicated to food only.

3. Deli Containers – If you’re one of those people who loves to make things ahead of time, store mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and everything else, in these deli containers. They’re also great for leftovers.

4. Kitchen/Meat Thermometer – I use this thermometer for everything. I never use a candy thermometer. This is the only one I use for taking a turkey’s temperature or making candy.

5. Half and Quarter Baking Sheets – I actually roasted my turkey on a baking sheet and it worked great AND it’s so much cheaper than one of those fancy turkey roasting pans.

6. French-Style Rolling Pin – I despise those heavy-handled rolling pins because they’re cumbersome and, um, heavy. I much prefer this style.

7. Baking dishes – I use these for making mac n’ cheese, cooking casseroles…I dunno, you name it and they’re pretty versatile.

8. Pyrex 9-inch Pie Plate – This is simple, glass pie plate. They’re super inexpensive and bake pies very evenly.

9. Spatulas – You need them, in all sizes. They make scraping out the rest of that pumpkin pie filling out of the bowl easier. I kinda like buying spatulas at TJ MAXX and Marshall’s–the best prices and varieties.

10. Vegetable Peeler – For all those potatoes and apples!

11. Glass Nestled Prep Bowls – I have this exact same set and use them for everything. They’re great for all the things.

Fluffy, Creamy Classic Mashed Potatoes (that you can totally make-ahead)

Quick and Easy, Sides, Thanksgiving, The Holidays, Vegetarian

This blog post started off so innocently. I was all like, “I’m going to make some ultra fluffy mashed potatoes.” And then…cut to me, like, three recipes in and still not super satisfied with the results.

Here’s the thing that you learn with Googling “How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes”: everyone and their mom has an opinion about the process, potato type, etc. So, I read a lot. And then I asked Josh, who also (surprise!) had a lot to say about potatoes.

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Sheet Pan Mojo Turkey

Dinner, Fall, Thanksgiving, The Holidays

I am SO excited about this post because if I’m being completely honest, I never cook the turkey for Thanksgiving. Josh is super passionate about brining, roasting, blah blah and I just let him do it and I concentrate on the sides and desserts.

BUT, when ALDI reached out about hosting a Friendsgiving with some of my bestest blog friends–Geri, Teri + Jenny, Naomi, Jeanine, Ashley and Claire–I decided that it was time to figure out how to make a proper Thanksgiving turkey.

One of the most popular recipes this fall has been this Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken and there’s good reason for it! It’s so flavorful and the lemon/orange and heavy garlic flavors work so well together. I thought that maybe it would be delicious on turkey and boy was I right!

If you’re unfamiliar, mojo is a Cuban marinade that is wildly simple but oh so good. In Cuba they have sour oranges, which are sort of a cross between a lemon and an orange. They aren’t readily available in the United States and most Cubans/people trying to achieve mojo, simply combine lemons and oranges—it’s a good solution!

I went to ALDI where I picked up a gorgeous, hormone-free turkey at a super affordable price, along with the organic dried oregano and organic lemons and naval oranges. I also stocked up on baking ingredients (like I always do) because they’re super amazing quality at really great prices.

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