Before I head up north to spend Thanksgiving with Josh’s family, I have some aggressive plans to relax:
1.I’m visiting my friend Nicole’s new bakery if you live in LA, GOO!!!)
2.I’m getting a facial, which I haven’t done in like a year or so.
3.I also have a laundry list of things to do like make cranberry sauce, edit photos, and pack up Amelia’s bones so she lets us eat Thanksgiving dinner in peace!
Do you ever do a menial task and then write it on your to-do list only so you can then immediately cross it off? It’s one of my favorite things to do, tbh. If you haven’t done it, try it, it makes you believe you’re more productive than you are! T
Did you know that The Instant Pot was the counter kitchen with the highest sales in 2018?! Isn’t that wild?!? That information blew my mind. And yet whenever I spoke to someone, they told me that someone had gifted them an Instant Pot but it was just sitting in a closet somewhere because they didn’t know what to make with it. Or it intimidated them and they didn’t know how to use it. I’m here to tell you: this is normal. It really is.
For a while, I was kinda annoyed at Instant Pot recipes because they seemed like Pinterest trap lol but honestly they’re pretty incredible. I had borrowed Billy’s for a few recipes but it wasn’t until a month or so ago that I actually got one and it has been a life-changer. I use it ALL the time. And on a day like Thanksgiving when the ovens are full and stoves are all busy, this can come in handy.
Thanksgiving is like the cooking Olympics. Even people who don’t typically cook, cook. People who don’t typically bake, bake. It’s a time when you really have to roll up your sleeves and get busy—that Thanksgiving table depends on you!
I like to think that this hasselback butternut squash is the side dish anyone can make—no matter your cooking and baking skill level. It’s super simple, achievable and most importantly, beautifully delicious.
For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, which is a great and affordable place to head to for all things Thanksgiving. I went there to stock up on everything from baking ingredients (flours, sugars, etc.) to nuts (their walnuts are amazing) and oils (vegetable and olive oil).
I’m currently sipping tea, attempting to heal my sore throat that is feeling all raspy and weary. On Saturday night I went to Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Studios and screamed like the gigantic baby that I am.
Why is that we know it’s fake but believe it’s real. Lol. Our brains are so complicated.
Monsters and gremlins jumping out at me really drained my energy too because I’m currently a lil’ bit exhausted. Luckily I healed my self with a big Cinnabon cinnamon roll and a batch full of shells I had waiting for me in the freezer.
Let’s talk about shells today. Beautiful, big, glorious shells. I honestly have no idea why I don’t make them more. Whenever I make them,I’m like, why don’t I do this needs to be on a weekly rotation.
They’re also an amazing thing to gift. If you have someone in your life who is having a surgery, is sick, having a baby, etc., this is a great thing to drop off their house. They will love you forever.
You can also make this batch and eat half and freeze half.
I’m currently high in the sky on my way back to Los Angeles. I just spent the last few days in Madison, Wisconsin (I loved it there—more to come!). But it’s the weekend time so it’s time to start thinking of what we’re gonna do tomorrow and Sunday morning. And I will personally vouch for these guys.
I put this recipe in The Cozy Coloring Cookbook a few years ago (I can’t believe it came out two whole years ago) and realized I have never ever shared it! This recipe was developed by Billy, while I was developing another recipe. Sometimes we work that way. I’ll give him an idea, a jumping off platform, he’ll do the research and begin. And then I’ll work on something else and by the end of our trials we usually have things for the other person to try. And then we tweak and adjust from there.
These were inspired by the waffles at Dinette in Los Angeles. Maybe the best waffle I’ve ever had. It’s super crispy and hella sweet (not my favorite aspect of them) and then they’re topped with sea salt and some maple syrup. THEY ARE SO GOOD. We headed down the street from where I used to live to eat them together.
I spent my weekend drinking smoothies because I was gigantic idiot and hit myself in the mouth with a medicine ball (I thought it was a sandbag when I slammed it on the ground) and couldn’t eat for a few days. I could speak just fine but chewing wasn’t ok. ANYWAY, I’m back and recovered. Stupidest thing I’ve done in a long time; I’m glad I survived!
I also spent the weekend celebrating my mama’s birthday and took her to see The Waitress—which was SO good. I loved the movie but the play was WAY better so I highly recommend if it comes to your town.
Let’s talk cauliflower gnochhi. I’ve been seeing it all over the internets lately so I wanted to give it a try. I headed to my local Trader Joe’s and followed the cooking directions from Laura’s Insta Stories—not what is on the back of the bag and, to my huge surprise, it tasted pretty good!
Billy has been out of town this entire week so it’s just been me trying to paint on buttercream and catching up on a bunch of computer work, i.e., watching Lauren Servido’s videos on Instagram and editing photos. It’s been a glorious couple of days in my week, I have to say. Very peaceful!
You know what isn’t peaceful is Target, man. I walk in thinking I’m going to see summer outdoor patio furniture but instead it was a huge display of back to school drama that just stressed me out. I’m not even in school, haven’t been in years, but I’m stressed for the children—let them play!
I always went back to school in September so late July just seems a bit aggressive, don’t you think? Though, I always did love a some fresh new school supplies. They felt so nice and clean.
Let’s talk this pizza! This is a full summer time pizza. It’s a celebration of tomatoes and spiciness.
It’s very difficult for me to go to the super market or farmer’s market right now and NOT buy an heirloom tomato and a pint of cherry tomatoes. I eat them all the time.
True story: I love butter and cakes and cookies and pasta.
Also true story:I eat healthy most of the time.
I don’t follow a diet nor am I paleo, whole30, vegan, keto or any of that. I like to think that I attempt to practice balance and moderation. It’s something I’m not always great at or successful at achieving but it’s what I strive to do and it works for me. I have a hard time eliminating things completely from my diet, so I eat literally everything, I just don’t eat ALL of it.
Most days I eat pretty healthy and that’s because it makes me feel better about myself. It makes me feel lighter and brighter and keeps my energy up.
These are my three favorite things to keep me feeling all sprightly!
My morning smoothie:
I love having my morning smoothie an hour or so before a later morning workout OR right after a early morning workout.
And then there are mornings where I don’t work out at all and I still drink it.
Here’s what I add:
2 scoops of Vital Proteins Banana Collagen + Whey Protein Powder (I like Vital Proteins because it doesn’t have stevia and just tastes like banana and vanilla)
1 banana (frozen or room temperature)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon cacao powder
Small handful of frozen kale or spinach
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries or ice
Small handful of walnuts (more for the top)
1/2 cup of almond milk
I add a few teaspoons of chia seeds and more walnuts on top because your girl likes texture!
I’m not gonna lie, I actually didn’t even know how to use a grill until 6 months ago. I’ve always had a gas grill or no grill at all. I lived in Los Angeles for years and years with no outdoor space so please don’t hold it against me! But a few months ago, I got a grill. A bright, pretty red one and finally purchased one of those chimney things and learned how to use it properly. It honestly couldn’t be simpler so I have no idea why I was a little intimidated by it.
The best part of summer—besides copious amounts of watermelon and popsicles—is grilling. I love grilled foods. And I could eat a grilled veggie sandwich every single day. They are so good and light-feeling.
For this post, I teamed up with La Brea Bakery! I love their bread; in this recipe, I used their Telera Take And Bake Rolls, and you can find a coupon to purchase on their site and more summer recipes here. I baked the bread on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then sliced the rolls in half and grilled them.
In the second installment of….let’s go through my hard drive and find all the posts I haven’t posted, here is a summer-y pasta!!
Before we went to Japan, everyone warned us: THE JET LAG IS TUFF. I was scared. Will I be a walking zombie? Will I be able to enjoy my days? I assumed yes because I’ve been to Europe a few times and while I’m a little out of it and tired, I drink coffee and run off adrenaline because I’m on vacation and it’s fun!
When we got to Japan, I was a little tired. I ate some soba, walked around and then went to bed at 10pm and the next morning I woke up bright and early (I think 6am) and was totally fine.