Miso Millet “Polenta” with Green Onion Oil + Eggplant Bacon

Breakfast, Dinner, Healthy

Hiii!

This past Monday it was rainy and stormy. I spent the entire day cooking in fluffy socks from two new vegan books and loved every single second of it!

The first up is a book, THE FIRST MESS COOKBOOK, from my friend Laura Wright. You might know her blog, The First Mess. Every single thing she cooks I want to eat.

If you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you know that I am the furthest thing from a vegan human. I love cooking things in butter and ghee. I love dairy. I love cheese. But from time to time, I’ll steer clear of all of that, especially if things aren’t sold to me as such and they’re just presented to me as delicious and healthy-ish.

I feel like all of Laura’s food is that way. I like to think of it as food that just so happens to be vegan and healthy; it’s not forced. It’s food that naturally is vegan and doesn’t really feel or taste like health food. All of the recipes I’ve tried from her are done with ease and finesse. And my favorite part is that all of her food is cozy and comforting.

As I was flipping through the book, there were SO many dishes I wanted to try (and will try), but the one that intrigued me the absolute most was this millet “polenta.” It’s such a smart idea and one I hadn’t come across ever. You take millet (which I happened to have a ton of in my pantry), grind it up and make it into a “meal.”

It’s boiled the same way that polenta is and boom! Polenta! but without the corn and all that. (Remember when I found out I was sorta kinda allergic to corn?)

I paired it with some eggplant “bacon” from the book, which was also SO good. Eggplant already has sort of a “meaty” quality to it. Laura has you add a sauce that’s so full of flavor. Does it taste like bacon? No way! Bacon is bacon. But it is super delicious and flavorful and it’s a million times more healthy.

I served this as breakfast and since I’m not a real vegan human, I topped each bowl of millet polenta with a baby fried egg and ate it with a whole lot of milky coffee.

This tofu dish is what I’m making later this week.

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Hibiscus Strawberry Cheese Danishes + Big Bear Scenes

Adventures, Breakfast

HI!

What did you end up doing for Valentine’s Day?! Josh and I ended up having a chill night in, made double-decker tacos, drank some beer and watched TABOO. He’s more into that show than I am; I usually fall asleep like 20 minutes in but I do think the time it takes place sort of fascinating.

I’ve had a crazy slow start to the week because on Monday I woke up with a pinch in my throat. It’s so annoying because I haven’t been doing anything that would bring on me getting sick. But I’m feeling better so woohoo!

This recipe and photos are from last month when we took a 3 day trip to Big Bear Lake. We got caught in a huge snow storm, which I sort of didn’t take that seriously until the snow just didn’t stop falling from the sky. I think we got 3 or 4 feet in a few hours.

Luckily it meant that we were holed up with no where to go for a full 2 days which meant plenty of baking and going on walks. Amelia was in heaven because for some reason she thinks snow is the most fun thing in the world.

So fluffy!! So fun!!

The little AIRBNB we rented was perfect for a few days because it had an old 80s oven and it came with the right amount of plastic sleds that were perfect for going down this hill that we found down the street from where we were staying.

Apparently this weekend is supposed to be another snow-heavy weekend and wish I was back there!

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Brown Butter Scallops + Walnut Pesto Pasta

Dinner, Pasta

My single friends searching for long-term relationships often ask me for advice on the subject. While I am not a professional, I usually tell them this:

NO ONE is perfect. You just have to find someone who has potential and then try and change them into who you want them to be!!! 😬😬😬

My friends usually laugh when I tell them this but it’s sort of true! When you meet someone and start hanging out with them, they’re not gonna know what you like and dislike and what annoys you and what makes you happy. So you have to communicate this in a not-so-terrible way.

Also, when Josh and I first starting dating, I didn’t totally expose how crazy and weird I am. He fell in love with me AND then I slowly showed him the absolute true me. By then it was way too late. MUAHAHAHA! 😬

Poor Joshua.

This year Valentine’s Day lands smack dab in the middle of the week. On a Tuesday no less. This is a meal that can be made in literally 30 minutes. It’s so easy and delicious and comforting. Browned butter and scallops are always a favorite of mine.

I made this dish with whole wheat pasta which if we’re all being honest with each other isn’t THAT much healthier than regular pasta so choose what you like.

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Mini Yellow Cakes with Malt Chocolate Frosting

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

I have finished The Crown (I am a professional binge-watcher) and I LOVED IT. I love history and fell right into the series because of Wallis Simpson. I watched a documentary on her a few years ago so I felt like I already knew a small piece of the puzzle. I will admit that it was rather slow in the beginning but if you stick with it, it’s fascinating.

Now I’ve moved onto ABSTRACT. It’s like chef’s table but for artists and I’m so very into it because I find the process of any and all artists so interesting. I even love finding out how my food blog friends work. Like, oh you use fake light?! COOL! You get your surfaces and props from where? Interesting. I love the behind-the-scenes; I find it so very interesting.

I’m gonna be honest: these lil’ cakes look so neat and tidy but decorating them blew up my kitchen. I had five piping bags and somehow forgot to put twisty-ties on the end and frosting was gushing out the other end. I had like a pile of towels all filled with chocolate frosting and my hair was a hot mess. VERY grateful I was home alone because Amelia passes no judgement!

But when I finally came up for air and dug myself out of the mess, I loved how these little cakes turned out.

The yellow cake is delicious and rich. And the frosting is my absolute new-favorite.

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Matcha Tiramisus (for Two)

Desserts

I know I’m a million years late but I’m currently VERY hooked on The Crown on Netflix.

I’m really into the fact that her husband had to take her name and I also love the corgis that show up from time to time. I do, however, wish there was a full-time corgi in the show. They need to work on that for season 2.

It’s Valentine’s Day next week and it lands on a Tuesday (very unromantic day of the week). Josh and I have zero plans as of now. I’m guessing we’ll go out to a restaurant this weekend. We’re not big on going out on Valentine’s Day itself because prix-fixe menus and all that drama is too much.

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Rough Puff, Step-by-Step

Breakfast, Desserts, DIY

I’m so excited about rough puff. Ideally 2017 would include a whole lot of laminated dough.

A few years ago I put making puff pastry at home in the silly category. Why would we make it when we can just buy it?!?!?

I’m still an advocate for store-bought pastry, especially when you’re in a bit of a jam. It’s so nice to have in the fridge/freezer when you want to serve up a tart or something last minute.

But lately, I’ve been experimenting with rough puff (isn’t the name fun?), which is basically EASY AF puff pastry.

It is puff pastry that is made a lot like pie dough with some additional “turns” (more on that later).

I figured I’d give you a step-by-step of this process since once you see it all broken out into steps it seems SO MUCH easier.

The whole process begins by combining your flour and salt. Just like how I make pie crust, I find it easiest to use a cheese grater to get the butter the perfect-sized bits.

I used the ratios from Gordon Ramsey and I found them perfect every single time. (The first time I made it, I cut the butter because I found the measurement sort of annoying (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) but that extra tablespoon is important so we’re going to use it!)

I also used Ashley Rodriguez‘s technique and found it to be seamless and easy and yet the marbling was perfect.

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Whole 30 (A Review!) + Golden Milk Tea with Date Syrup

Drinks

OMG Whole 30 is officially out of my life and I am happy but still sort of doing it? Yes, I know that’s strange, right? Like if I’m so happy it’s over why keep doing it? The truth is that eliminating some foods for me has been a huge plus.

Ok let’s start at the beginning. I’m going to breakdown my feelings and sentiments thought the process because they weren’t always happy and they weren’t always glowing. There were many times when I really hated Whole 30. And not just because I missed sugar.

I will say that flat-out, if you don’t eat that much meat (I don’t), there will be times where the thought of meat will make you sick.

Ok but let’s start at the beginning:

Day 1 to 5:

This is the part when most people want to die. Haha. You’re sort of in the hangover stage because you miss sugar and alcohol and carbs. But surprisingly this was my easiest time. I think because I was genuinely SO excited to start that I didn’t miss many foods during this time. I ate a lot of meatballs and spaghetti squash.

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Classed-Up Double Decker Tacos

Dinner, Snacks

Hello! Hi!

I’m alive. I am. I have been working vigorously to get the new brand-spankin’ new A Cozy Kitchen up and running. That monstrous recipe index undated and all tidy took WAY more work than we thought but it happened! Here we are! So fresh and clean. Today we’ll be tweaking the site so there might be slight changes here and there but for the most part, welcome to the new A Cozy Kitchen!! YAY!

Now that we’re up and going, I have SO many recipes I want to share with you all. I’m so glad to be back. If you’re a sports/snack fan, you might know that the Super Bowl is this Sunday! On paper I’m rooting for the Falcons because Georgia is my homestate, my birth state, so go Falcons (sorta!). But I’m mainly team snacks. I’m guessing we’re all on that team.

I went to college in sort of a small town in North Carolina so at night, when we were all super bored, my friends and I would go to the 24-hour Wal-Mart. We would oddly have so much fun at Wal-Mart. We also went to all the chain restaurants, everything from Olive Garden to Macaroni Grill to TGIFriday’s. I hold all of them very close to my heart because of this time. Another 2am stop was Taco Bell. This was usually post Wal-Mart trip and we were usually in not the most soberest of states.

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Almond-Crusted Chicken Piccata

Dinner

Almond-Crusted Chicken Piccata

Hi from Big Bear Lake! I’m here for a few days and I’m currently very snowed in at a very hipster cabin full of things like vintage kitchen items, lots of Pendleton blankets, an old fire place and a record player that spins lots of Bob Dylan and Iron + Wine.

I’m not mad at all. It’s funny and fun all at the same time. I’m spending my day in the kitchen baking things, shooting things and I’m really hoping I can get Amelia to jump in a big pile of snow so she can do one of these .

Almond-Crusted Chicken Piccata

This is something I made before I left that was A: on the lighter side; B: was crispy. C: was FRESH. I’ve been in the mood for not fatty foods, if that makes sense.

I’m currently on Day 19 and feeling like I can’t eat super fatty meats or bacon or any of that. I’ve never been a huge meat-eater so it’s not the easiest for me to eat meat everyday. Yesterday and the day before I just ate vegetables all day and drank a smoothie because sometimes I get sick of eating (if it’s not like pound cake).

I love the artichokes and lots of lemon in this recipe. I found the almond-coated chicken to be a bit annoying to pan-fry because you really have to clean out the pan between batches or else the almond bits get all burnt. I included that in the instructions below but I wanted to give a special heads up about it.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Piccata

This recipe is super healthy and light and fresh. I love minced parsley, garlic, onion and lemon together. They’re flavors that just go so well. It’s old school, really. Nothing new but still so good.

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Peruvian-ish Pot Roast with Silky-Smooth Cauliflower Mash (#whole 30)

Dinner

Peruvian-ish Pot Roast with Silky Smooth Cauliflower Puree

You wanna know what’s really good for creative inspiration?! Going on Whole 30. You will dream of all sorts of amazing desserts and delicious-tasting things you cannot eat. I have a huge list of recipes I can’t wait to make! Today I’m making rough puff for the third time and I surprisingly wasn’t THAT tempted to eat it.

I think that means the “sugar dragon” is gone. It’s remarkable because no one loves sweet things more than me.

And next week I’m shooting a bunch of V-Day content so we’ll see how that goes! HAHA. I should be fine but it is a huge drag to not just take a gigantic bite to make sure it tastes OK.

Peruvian-ish Pot Roast with Silky Smooth Cauliflower Puree

Peruvian-ish Pot Roast with Silky Smooth Cauliflower Puree

This dish right here is my new favorite. I love normal, American pot roast, but this dish is more my style. It’s a cross between traditional pot roast and Seco, which is a Peruvian dish.

Seco is traditionally a cilantro stew braised with beer. Since I can’t consume beer (even if it’s cooked off), I made it a bit different.

It’s not EXACTLY seco, hence the reason why I’m sticking to “Peruvian-ish pot roast.” But it is SO GOOD. It has a whole lot of flavor; is bright thanks to the cilantro and lime; and the onions, oh they’re so good. The jalapeño adds just the right amount of kick.

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