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Roasted Sweet Potato and Fresh Fig Salad

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Fig and Sweet Potato Salad

I have a few thoughts on my brain currently. No, they’re not intelligent thoughts. They’re just thoughts. This weekend is the first “football weekend” of the season and today I’m bringing you a salad. I guess this should tell you how invested I am in football.

I’m not one to have a bunch of traditions like eating breakfast in bed on Saturday (do real people actually do this?) or lighting candles at 5pm and getting in a hot tub to unplug…blah blah. But i will admit that starting traditions are kinda fun.

This fall my new tradition is rewatching Felicity. I started last night. Since LA is still being a jerk with its heatwave, I set a fan right in front of my face and watched Felicity while I ate delivery pizza. I call that one very awesome tradition, man. Fall reminds me of starting school. And Felicity starting school, moving to New York and being a psycho about Ben just brings warm nostalgic feelings in my tummy. But seriously, how crazy is Felicity in the beginning. Like, stalker status.

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Holiday Baking Round-Up

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{A Very Giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup}

Can I be honest with you? I haven’t been invited to many holiday parties this year. Maybe one. Or two. Three max. And it’s not because I don’t have any friends because I have those! I swear! My friends are kind of busy this year. Everyone’s working or going out of town or working. No one has time to host parties.

I feel a little bit like a loser without a busy holiday party season, but a big part of me is relieved. I imagine you’re different than me. I imagine you have tons of friends, a bustling social life full of fun holiday get-togethers and obligatory shindigs. Me? Nada. But that doesn’t mean I’m not baking or eating or having fun. Oh no, I’m doing all of those aplenty.

Whether you have parties to go to or you wanna sit on your couch watching Love Actually whilst eating cookies, I figured I’d dig into the archives and bring out some of my all-time holiday favorites.

Let’s start with the specimen at the top of this page, shall we? It’s A Very Giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Yes, you heard correctly. It’s giant. There’s peanut butter and chocolate involved.

I’ve been making Alfajores ever since I was a kid. My aunt (who has owned a bakery there for 50 years) would visit us from Peru and make all sorts of crazy Peruvian desserts. Her Alfajores were always my favorite and this recipe is an adaption from a family classic. I love ’em a lot.

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Tres Leches Cake Doughnuts

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A very good first date question is: “Are you a cat person or a dog person?”

This will help provide clarity and understanding in a moment when both people are just sort of nervous and confused. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s no pressure. Just information for both people to gather, process and store.

I am and will always be a dog person. I understand doggies. They understand me. But I like all animals so I want to be a cat lady, kinda. And since I’m a dog person, I want people to like me, including kittens. But they don’t ever really do. SADFACE! They don’t.

So, for all you cat ladies and cat dudes, tell me this: Do kittens hate most people?

There’s this cat with dirty white paws and a cute, grey little body that lives on the property where my apartment building is. He’s a stray…sorta. My landlord sets out food for him and few others and they just wander around the property and bask in the sunlight. And every day I have so much hope that we’ll be friends. I go outside to check the mail or walk to my car and I see him. I bend down and talk in my most friendly kitten/animal voice and call him. You have an animal voice, right? I think we all do. I imagine even Obama has a voice he exclusively uses when talking to kittens.

Anyway, the kitten doesn’t buy into my kitten voice. He just stares at me with that snarky, cat attitude face and runs in the other direction. And every day I tell myself, “one day we’re going to be friends.” But we’re not gonna be.

Another question for you cat people: Do cats like doughnuts? If they like doughnuts, we might be OK.

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Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

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“Meat-a-balls!”

Meatballs are the coolest. The ones you see pictured aren’t your typical Italian, breadcrumb-filled, pork and beef meatballs, though they are my first love. These are a little different. There’s so much flavor like mint (whoa!), a good amount of cumin, ground up turkey and zucchini up in these things. They’re topped with a sour cream and Greek yogurt sauce that’s perfectly tart and creamy with little hints of sumac. Very special.

This recipe comes from the upcoming book PLENTY, then you’ll love this, too.) It’s a beautifully laid out book, with stunning pictures, lots of history and vivid descriptions about Jerusalem, the city and its cuisine. I’m pretty excited about it.

In the book these were actually called Turkey and Zucchini Burgers–and if you like, you can shape these into patties–but I figured since the party attending season is coming up, I’d miniature size them and make them appetizer friendly. But you have options!

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Lemon Roasted Shrimp w/Homemade Cocktail Sauce

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Alright dudes and dudettes, today we have my all-time favorite appetizer to hate: shrimp cocktail. This app–made famous by hotels and cruise ships alike–can most commonly be found hanging on for dear life to a martini glass filled to the brim with gross cocktail sauce.

Shrimp cocktail usually reminds me of tacky, cheap chandeliers and women wearing too much costume jewelry and big ships that aren’t yachts. Yeah. It totally reminds me of cruise ships…and South Florida.

But honestly, every time I’ve found myself on one of those “party 12-hour cruise ships”–thats sole purpose is to just go into the middle of the ocean and that’s it!–I get super pumped at the sight of shrimp cocktail. And yeah, every single time–no fail–the shrimp is overly cooked and rubbery. And the cocktail sauce is predictably too sweet and just tastes like straight-up ketchup. But I usually think, whatever, so what, who cares…I’M ON A BOAT!

Right now though, I’m not on a boat (and most likely, you aren’t either), so putting in a little work to get awesome shrimp cocktail is important. Let’s make it right!

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