Appetizers for Dinner has always been a favorite of mine. I think it started with an episode of My-So-Called-Life when Rayanne’s mother threw some frozen dumplings in the microwave and Rayanne was super bummed about not being cooked “a real dinner.”
Since my mom was always, like, super healthy and demanded we have a very full/healthy cooked dinner, an appetizer-driven dinner always sounded like heaven to me.
I like to think that this snacking board is the best of both worlds because it’s healthy AND filling enough where you can totally eat it, be full and not feel bad about it one bit! It’s kidlike but totally appropriate for us grown-ups.
For this post I teamed up with my favorite, new-to-me vegetable ranch-flavored chips from Pure Growth Organic! You can find them at places like Amazon.com where they’re super affordable and healthy and delicious.
They’re super light; they almost remind me a bit of a rice cracker but a million times better and more flavorful.
The carrot harissa dip might’ve been my favorite because I had never ever made a dip made of carrots before. I was a bit skeptical when I went through the testing process but the texture was amazing; I mean, I ended up adding walnuts because it was borderline too smooth.
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.
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!!
Thanksgiving is next week! I kinda don’t have plans. Is that weird? I think it’s going to be a Friendsgiving situation.
Usually Josh and I do something family-oriented for Thanksgiving but this year I wasn’t in the mood to travel (and plus I’ll be in Seattle next Saturday!) so we’re in LA with our friends.
We were thinking of going out to a restaurant, which I did once (I think when I was a kid) and LOVED IT, mainly because that meant zero dishes, but then some friends invited us over and I think it’ll be nice to be in a home around a bunch of people.
I made this yesterday because I remember how much I love sweet potato and comté cheese together. But I switched it up by adding caramelized onions into the mix and drizzled a bunch of rosemary butter all on top of ‘em. Dreamy!
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.
I can’t believe the time has come where it is actually appropriate to talk about what we’re making for Thanksgiving. It’s ok to say where we’re going to be for Christmas. And it’s ok to start thinking about what the table is gonna look like and who’s gonna gift who what.
It’s just too much for me. It feels rushed, like too much too soon so I’m starting slowly. I’m warming up to the idea that the holidays are near and I’m starting with this smoked gouda cheesy mashed potatoes. It feels right.
This is also the kinda recipe that doesn’t really require any particular holiday to exist to enjoy.
For this post, I teamed up with ALDI to bring you my new-favorite mashed potatoes, along with spiral cut double brown sugar ham. TIS THE SEASON.
Mashed potato-making is serious business for me. I have some rules, albeit chill rules.
#1 – They must be boiled to the point where they’re almost a little overcooked.
#2 – And then drained and set out to dry for a bit. We want creamy mashed potatoes, not watery.
#3 – A potato ricer is a must. The texture will be so fluffy and beautiful.
#4 – Don’t be shy with the butter, milk or sour cream
This smoked gouda is just the ticket to make them a liiiitle bit different but still super classic and delicious.
The trick to adding any cheese (besides super soft ones like brie or goat cheese) to mashed potatoes is grating it very finely. Use the teeny tiny grater on your box grater. This way the cheese will easily melt in the mashed potatoes and you won’t have to do much stirring or heating up.
Pairing it with this ham with ALDI makes everything a gigantic breeze because all you have to do is stick it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees F and most of dinner was taken care of! This means more time can be spent on making these mashed potatoes pitch perfect.
I feel like I could write forever how much I love these potatoes but I won’t bore you any longer.
More Thanksgiving stuff soon, soon! This year is gonna be fun.
Yesterday I drove up a super windy road to the prettiest Spanish-style house way up in the Hollywood Hills. There was a garden, gigantic pool, beautiful seating areas everywhere and a kitchen the size of my apartment. I was lucky enough to team up with HauteLook and Le Creuset to host a cooking demo for these tasty lil’ veggie mini pot pies.
The day started with me getting there to set everything up and put all of my ingredients into pretty little Le Creuset cocottes. There was lunch and refreshing mocktails from A Vintage Splendor. The demo was super casual, like talking to a bunch of friends. We talked pie crust (I used this one but added no sugar), what the low-down is on roux, why thyme is probably the most important herb in fall, and lots more!
There was also a super pretty and fun DIY with A Fabulous Fete where we made the most gorgeous gift boxes that I wish I could build for each and every one of you.
A bonus though is that I’m hosting an amazing giveaway with Le Creuset X HauteLook on my Instagram right now! Here’s what you can win from Le Creuset:
Set of 2 Mini Cocottes
Revolution Spatula Spoon
Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven
I just got back from Atlanta where I spent my Saturday at Create + Cultivate speaking on a panel about food in the digital space with some women I admire a whole lot.
It sounds a lil’ cheesy but I left Saturday feeling so ridiculously inspired and really excited to try harder, try new things and all at the same time super grateful for everything. I also realized that while I love men, my favorite is women company. I work with mainly women, most of my friends are women and I really like it that way.
When I got back last night from traveling—which actually was pretty easy–all I wanted was a big bowl of autumn-like comfort. I didn’t have this in front of me because of course I made this a week ago, but I wanted it to be!
This is a cozy carb-fest in a cast iron skillet. Just how I like it!
This weekend I’m headed to HOTLANTA where I’ll be speaking at Create + Cultivate about digital media and food. I’m also so stoked to be going back to the south where I can order half sweet tea/half unsweetened tea like the almost-southerner I am and eat all the biscuits I want.
I was born in Atlanta and lived the first three years of my lil’ life at The Georgia Tech family dorms while my dad finished up college. I’m excited to pass by and look at the playground I used to play in. (I’m pretty sure it’s another math lab now, but whatever.)
In preparation for this trip, I wanted to pull together another fun, appetizer-like carb fest for you all. The best part about this entire thing is that you can totally use store-bought pizza dough (s/o to Kenji Lopez for the inspiration).
I teamed up with McCormick and their new herb grinders. They’re super simple to use and for this recipe I used two, actually: the Italian blend (it went inside the butter mixture) and the basil (for the top).
The recipe starts with all sorts of stuff being mixed with butter. There’s salt, the McCormick Italian blend, crushed red pepper, Parmesan, lots of fresh garlic and olive oil. The knots are knotted, stuffed with chopped Spanish green olives and then dunked in butter.
I’m currently in bed trying my very hardest to ward off sickness. Josh was like super sick last week so I’ve been spending all my free time popping Wellness Formula and drinking lots of water. My eyeballs burn a little bit so after I write this blog post and tell you about tater tots, I’m gonna lie in bed and watch Chyna & Rob. I find Chyna very very fascinating, let me tell you.
Tater tots are notoriously not the easiest thing to make at home. I’ll go as far as to say that the frozen variety is straight up delicious and nearly perfect…minus all the junk they put in them, yada yada yada.
I like homemade versions of things anyway because you can customize them. Like, here! With these tater tots.
I was telling Billy I wanted to make a version of a tater tot and I wanted it to be awesome. He was like LOADED BAKED POTATO. And I was like, YES YES YES!
This tater tot situation is brought to you by the fancy technique of “torchon-ing.” You do this to like pates and other stuff but this time we’re using it to roll a log of shredded potatoes, bacon, salt, pepper and lots of shredded cheese. See, it’s classy!
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.