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Thanksgiving Round-Up 2018

Holiday, Thanksgiving

Hello from Thanksgiving prep! I wouldn’t say I’m exactly prepping but I would say I’m planning.

I also have a handful of recipes coming up this week that are great for Thanksgiving but wanted to give a little Thanksgiving inspiration.

What are you making?!?!

Here are some of my favorites!

Acorn Squash Pasilla Chile Queso Fundido

Rose Apple Pistachio Tart

Pumpkin Raclette Mac and Cheese

Sheet Pan Mojo Turkey

Pumpkin Tres Leches

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Cheddar Rye Apple Hand Pies

Pumpkin Tahini Loaf

Burnt Butter Pear + Apple Crumble

Asian Pear Apple Pie

Miso Caramel Apple Pie

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Chocolate Chewy Cadbury Cookies

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Holiday

If you follow me on The Ol’ Instagram, you know that I just spent the last 4 days in Mexico City and it was so glorious. I ate a whole lot of tacos, I went to Pujol (magical), visited the Luis Barragan house and saw the place where Frida Kahlo created. Goals have been completed. I can’t wait to go back! Have you been?!

I think this recipe completes my Easter content for this year. I think I’m done. Before I settled on these chocolate cookies, these were initially peanut butter cookies. I set out to bake a chewy, soft peanut butter cookie with Cadbury mini eggs. Umm…I realized that all the recipes online that says they’re soft…ummm…they’re all full of lies!

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Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttercream Flowers and Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday

It’s Easter this Sunday. As a child, we were not Easter Basket people. We went to church for mass and that was it. We always had a nice meal but my mother didn’t believe in treating that day as a day for gifts and money. As a child, I didn’t even know what I was missing. I talk to my friends now and they all got money, candy, baskets, Easter eggs full of cool stuff. WTF, mom?!?!

I was not a deprived child so I can’t really complain at all. I really can’t. One thing that I always loved when spring time came around was carrot cake. I think my mom would buy it from this local Italian market and theirs was SO good and fluffy.

Years ago, when I first started baking, I made a recipe from Southern Living and it was incredible. Since then, I’ve made other versions and frankly, they just weren’t that good. So this recipe is basically theirs but with more spices, walnuts instead of pecans and more salt.

And the directions have been rewritten to be a bit more streamlined. But I can’t say a bad thing about the recipe. I didn’t know how to improve it—I tried. We made this thinking we would be like oh we definitely have to make it more moist, we definitely have to change this or that.

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Instant Pot Chipotle Braised Lamb Shank

Dinner, Holiday, Spring

This dish smells like Sunday dinner. You know that smell…like sautéed onions, something braising in spices. The sounds are different than the smells. They’re of steam rising, some sort of adult-friendly jazz or salsa playing, and mom is screaming at you to set the table. Or at the very least, take the trash out because it’s gotten full. People are coming over and it’s time for the kitchen to go from used up to presentable. And you need to be presentable, too, so put on something nice; your Sunday best is preferred.

My mother was the best at braising things. She was also incredible at delegating and making everyone do what needed to get done. She was doing the most so it was only fair.

For this post, I teamed up with McCormick to show you how to make Easter Sunday smell and taste amazingly delicious. And to make it as easy as possible, this whole thing is made in an Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot makes this dish come together SO fast and easy. The lamb shanks are smothered in a spice mixture full of sea salt, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, mustard and black pepper. It’s seared and then placed in the Instant Pot with tomatoes and a chipotle in adobo. It’s braised with some carrots, onion and garlic.

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Smoked Gouda Black Pepper Biscuits with Spiral Spiced Ham

Biscuits, Breakfast, Holiday

Easter is coming at us fast! Is it just me or does this year feel extra early? My brain is used to Easter happening well into the month of April.

I’m excited to head to Mexico City (!!!) this weekend and I’m even more excited that I’ll be home just in time for the festivities. These biscuits (and ham) are on my top priority lists to make/eat this Easter. I hope they find their way to your table too!

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Mini Chocolate Sheet Cake for Two with Raspberry Frosting

Cakes, Chocolate, Holiday

I’m currently in a small mountain town in Colombia called Jardin. I’m sitting on a balcony at the hotel while it pours that damp, humid rain that is so lovely. It’s so beautiful, quaint and lush. I arrived Saturday night, after a very full day of travel. And yesterday morning I took a helicopter ride, which I was actually terrified of, to Jardín. The helicopter ride ended up being so smooth and chill, I realized about two minutes in, I had zero to worry about. ALSO, I cracked open the new book club book which I’m announcing tomorrow! YASSS.

I can’t wait to tell you more about my trip and the book BUT today we’re still in the depths of Valentine’s Day content. V-Day is Wednesday!

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Red Velvet Heart-Surprise Cupcakes

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday, Winter

Hi hi hi!

These were so fun to put together. I failed…SO HARD the first time I made these. A few of you might’ve seen it on Instagram. But the first, first time I tried to make them was actually a few years ago.

I bought this heartbreak cookie cutter in hopes of making “heartbreak surprise cupcakes.” BUT OMG that did not work at all. Now I realize the biggest problem that I kept encountering was that the cookie cutter needed to be the perfect size.

I finally figured it out and went to Michael’s and picked up this heart-shaped cookie cutter that’s about 1-inch big. It was only, like, a dollar and I believe now it’s on serious sale because Valentine’s Day is next week and Michael’s is already moving onto Easter/4th of July and most likely Halloween. They move quickly!

I will be very forthright and say that this recipe takes a bit of time. You basically make a 8-inch red velvet single layer cake. After it bakes, you punch out the hearts.

This layer can easily be made the night before and you can wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge.

And then the white batter is made. The hearts are placed right in the center of the cake batter.

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Strawberry Conversation Heart Cake

Cakes, Holiday

Not going to lie to you, this is way less exciting than the Kim Kardashian chocolate conversation hearts that all the famous people on Instagram have been smashing. I want one!

This cake is still really amazing. It’s strawberry because we all know that conversation hearts are really gross. I bought a variety bag for this shoot (to use as props) and ate a few and omg they were so terrible!!

It reaffirmed my decision to make the cake a yummy strawberry cake. Remember when I made this strawberry sheet cake? It’s that recipe and made it into a two-layer heart cake. I topped it with strawberry frosting and a little message of LET’S GET COZY!!

It took me exactly a whole lot of hours and curse words to be able to write LETS GET COZY in buttercream. I will say that I can use some buttercream-writing-practice.

I was very close to taking it to the nearest grocery store where I was gonna plead with the woman who works at the bakery to write it for me. But then I thought, NO! This is a learning experience.

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Eggnog French Toast

Breakfast, Holiday, Quick and Easy, Winter



I somehow am feeling under the weather again so I’ve decided to self-diagnose myself and get in bed. Yesterday I was sulking and decided to eat a lot of cereal (with almond milk) and watch Cookie Challenge on Food Network. SO INSPIRING!! It made me want to get back in the kitchen. I love the holidays and it makes me giddy to bake holiday stuff. I could live in the world of stain-glassed cookies for ever and ever.

I’ve been thinking of breakfast items this week. And I know that eggnog will probably be in your fridge at some point.

Do you hate eggnog? I think I do.

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Earl Grey Tiramisu

Chocolate, Desserts, Holiday, Winter

Yowza, do you have your gift-giving situation all dealt with?

This year, if I’m being completely honest, I thought of doing zero presents. I know that this sounds sappy but I have everything I want with just the presence and health of my family and friends. Joshua and Amelia are all I need in this dark, dark world. Haha.

I didn’t really want anything, but then I realize people want to give you something so I wrote a short list of some jewelry I wanted. And then added some clothes. Like, if you’re gonna ask, I’m gonna tell you what I want haha. Josh is probably regretting asking me but you know \_(ツ)_/¯

One of the most popular recipes on this blog is this Chai Tiramisu. I’ve been thinking of making it with different types of tea and earl grey came to my mind because it might be one of my favorite teas next to chai. When I went to London a few years ago, I drank SO much of it and slept very little; the caffeine level is kind of intense.

Luckily this dessert doesn’t have THAT much caffeine in it so it’s definitely something you can enjoy and then have a nice night of sleep.

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