Summer of the Spritz: Aperol Spritzes Every Which Way

Drinks

Every.single.summer for the past few summers, I’ve wanted to go to southern Italy. This urge only really happens in the summer, when photos of orange umbrellas, vangole and glistening shots of the ocean start popping up in my Instagram feed.

I immediately remember how much I loved The Bicycle Thief and 8 1/2 in college–none of which even take place in Southern Italy–but still…Italy! I remember this roasted plum cake that’s made with a delicious plum syrup spiked with balsamic vinegar and Italian pistachios.

I remember my love for aperol spritzes and how delicious they are when I’m sweating on a hot day.

I’m actually going to northern Italy in September but there’s just something about the Amalfi coast in June and July and August that draws me there like a magnet. Maybe next year. Maybe we’ll go for our honeymoon, though Josh is pushing for Asia. THO WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHEN WE’RE ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED. SMH.

In lieu of my urge to book and flight and head to southern Italy, I figured I’d transport myself and my longing through taste. Through food. Through drank.

I’m starting this adventure with a kick-off to summer: the Aperol spritz.

And all sorts of ways. What else can we put in them besides Prosecco?

I say lots.

When I was in Copenhagen last year, I went to Baest and had one with apple cider and it was BOMB. It was very fall-like so I think that made sense. But now, as we venture into summer, I say let’s be super basic and try it with rosé.

Here she is with rosé:

I started the drink with about 2 to 3 ounces of aperol, another 3 to 4 ounces of rosé and then topped it off with some sparkling water.

And let’s talk about green olives. They’re traditionally served with green olives and at first it seems a little odd but the brininess with the sweetness from the aperol REALLY works.

And then here’s a grapefruit Aperol spritz.

There’s 3 ounces of aperol, about 2 to 3 ounces of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and then tonic or sparkling water.

I love the tonic addition but if you’re into less sweet, go the sparkling water route.

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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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Coconut Cake with Hibiscus Frosting

Cakes, Desserts

I’m slowly getting myself used to the idea that we are about to head into summer (tomorrow is the official day!). I mean, it’s felt like summer all week long but I need mental preparation for things like the sweltering temperatures and sweating.

As you know, I’m more of a wintery person. I like sweaters and snow and crisp breezes. This past weekend, a few pairs of shorts and summer clothes arrived in the mail, along with a beautiful straw bag that my friend Cassie brought back for me from Bali—it’s beautiful (this one is kinda similar tho the ones she bought were like a fraction of the price, of course).

I wrote lots of lists this weekend, too. I’m preparing for a biggish project that I’ll be telling you about soon! (It’s fun and cool and will result in more pretty pictures of food.)

Also, Beyonce had twins! WHEEET?!?! She had them reportedly LAST Monday. I’m mainly impressed that they were capable of keeping that private for an entire week. Go, B!

ANDDDD, The Great British Baking Show started on PBS. I love that show so very much. There are a lot of things that I’ve made on this lil’ blog (like the battenburg cake!) that was inspired by things I’ve seen on that show. The pistachio loaf cake that Benjamina made in the first episode looked SO GOOD.

Anyway, let’s talk about this cake. OMG I’m so excited. This coconut cake is so fluffy. It’s so soft. And that’s really what I want with every single cake on earth: light, fluffy, softness. It tastes EXACTLY like coconut and that’s thanks to coconut extract.

You can get it at pretty much every grocery store. I had never even seen it before but then I realized I don’t really venture into the extract category very often; I stick with plain ol’ vanilla but that might have to change soon.

The cake is a larger crumb than, most coconut cakes are, I found. The frosting is a tart hibiscus frosting that feels right with a tropical coconut flavor.

The full recipe and more photos are on BE MAKEFUL’s site!

xoxo
Adrianna

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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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What’s on my Macy’s Wedding Registry!

Adventures, Desserts

Two days after Josh and I got engaged, we started wedding planning. AND THEN, we got stressed out and overwhelmed with all of the details and quit. We decided, together, that we’d take a bit of a break and just enjoy being engaged before we started up again. I’m actually glad we took a bit of a breather because now we’re super close to booking a location and venue! YAY! I have to say, I’ve enjoyed just simply being engaged. It’s been a nice, lovely and happy place to just be.

So, now that I’m ready to jump back into planning, I partnered with Macy’s to talk all things wedding registry. We made a special curated registry highlighting some of my favorite items (check it out here!), plus five super quick videos that I’ll be posting across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’ve broken everything down into a few categories:

1. Getting Ready for Guests: Believe it or not, I don’t really have nice spa-like towels or sheets. I don’t even have towels for other people besides Josh and me. So I took this opportunity to register for a few things that would make people’s stay with us more relaxing and comfortable.

2. Drank Time: We currently don’t really have room for a bar cart, but we’re moving soon (more on that later!) so I wanted to get a proper bar set and nice glasses — most of my glasses are mismatched and not cohesive. I also wanted a few stands for appetizers and entertaining.

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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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Elote Pasta Salad

Pasta, Sides, Summer

LA weather is the best weather right now because it’s kinda chilly. I walk Amelia in my favorite hoodie and have been baking cookies non-stop this week.

I also started my a new Instagram account called COZY AF. We’ll see what it turns into but it’s currently a place where I’m posting some interior, cozy inspiration.

This week has been crazy in the news and personally it’s been a rough week too. My childhood dog, Chuck, is near the end of his life. He’s lived a long life; sixteen long years. But it still makes it hard to say goodbye. And it’s taken its toll on all of us. The heartbreak doesn’t get easier, though a big part of all of us just want to be happy that he’s lived such a long life. It’s still hard and sad.

In other news, I made a really good pasta salad and it’s really just perfect for the summer. It didn’t photograph all that well but I don’t care if it doesn’t get all the likes on Instagram because IT IS SO TASTY!

I love Mexican street corn (aka elite) so I figured it’d be a good idea to put it in pasta…but then Billy was like…umm..you should make it into a pasta salad. Thank you, Billy, because it was perfect in the pasta salad iteration.

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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

S’mores Doughnuts

Desserts

A few days ago I was looking at my bank account activity, as you often do as an adult, and I saw a mysterious check written for the amount of $280. And then I opened the photo of the check and, umm….the handwriting wasn’t mine! WHAA! Yeah, it freaked me out. I called my bank and luckily they’re giving me my money back but it still has left me a bit on edge. Because, um, how did someone get a hold of one of my checks? I will admit that I’m sort of disorganized and messy person so I could’ve dropped it or left one in my car.

Anyway…after feeling a bit violated and annoyed, I did what you often do at times like that: I made some damn doughnuts.

It was the best cure. Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day and while I agree that the national food days get a lil’ annoying, this one is important.

National Doughnut Day was started in 1938 to honor “doughnut girls” who provided spiritual and emotional support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. They found that giving soldiers, in dire conditions, doughnuts and coffee lifted their spirits!

Isn’t that cute?

I had my heart set on making some sort of s’mores doughnuts.

To make these doughnuts s’more-like, here is what we have going on:

1. Fluffy doughnut dough.
2. Graham cracker sugar that the doughnuts are rolled in. (It’s just graham crackers and sugar in a food processor.)
3. Chocolate cream filling.
4. Torched marshmallow topping.

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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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