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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you know, I’m on Whole30…also affectionally called (by me) Hell30.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s hard and that’s because I’m totally addicted to sugar and my body is really mad about it. I’m technically on Day 10 right now and I feel really good.
The good news is that there are so many things you can eat when doing Whole30. And you can have coffee, which is an absolute must in life for me.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Whole 30, I’ll do a short breakdown:
1. No dairy, no grains, no legumes (this includes soy sauce).
2. There is also a limited number of fruit servings a day (I believe it’s 2).
3. There are also no treats that are meant to resemble fun things, i.e., pancakes, cookies, French fries, etc., even if they use the approved ingredients from Whole 30.
And that’s sort of it. The point is to ween your body off of sugar and other unnatural, processed foods we’re typically used to eating.
As a way to cope with this, I think prepping some foods to have on hand each week is super important. Before I started it, I cooked up a bunch of food and some I used all the time and others I didn’t like.
PHEW! This project has been on my to-make list for a very long time.
As I was saying last week, I’m using January as a get-my-life-together-month, which includes–but is not limited to—freshening up my look a bit. Part of that is getting some new linens up in my life for photos.
I’ve always been after linens with really warm neutral colors and they’ve bit impossible to find. After these dried I was so into the results that I wanna try all sorts of veggies and fruits!!
From left to right/bottom: turmeric (short soak); blackberries + yellow onion skins (long soak); turmeric (long soak); blackberries yellow onion skins (short soak); avocado skins and pits; blackberries; yellow onion skins.
I adore the way they turned out and I’m pretty sure I’m going to use them all of the time! The best part about this lil’ project is that it was super easy, wasn’t messy and was pretty inexpensive and doable.
Let’s start with what I used:
1. Avocado skins + pits = mauve(!!). I bought two avocados, ate them and was sure to save the avocado skins. I boiled them for an hour and they resulted in the most gorgeous color in the world. Who knew?!?
2. Frozen blackberries = dark purple. I left the first linen in the mixture for about 1 minute and then left the 2nd linen in there for about 30 seconds.
I’m currently getting this lil’ blog redone, which is LONG overdue; I’m dyeing white linens (with food!) so I can have the exact colors that I want; I’m going to paint some surfaces all the colors that I think of when I think of A Cozy Kitchen; and of course, I’m eating healthy.
SORT OF BORING. Except this soup is not boring.
Eating healthy for the past few days hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been mainly consisting off of these meatballs, boiled eggs, Korean BBQ, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. I’m going to post my meal prep for Whole 30 on Monday. I wanted to wait a week because I really wanted to figure out what I ended up being my favorites to grab from this week.
This cauliflower soup is healthy and flavorful and the almonds make it part snack, part soup. I have to put lots of toppings in my soup so that it feels substantial.
I’ve also learned that I enjoy chewing foods (if that makes sense). I need soups with lots of toppings so I can chew. It tricks my brain into thinking it’s more of a meal. I always used to eat soup with bread or biscuits so these almonds are a nice healthy option (not nearly as good) but good for the moment. Only 25 more days of Whole 30 lolllll. I CAN DO IT!!
GOOD GRACIOUS! Annnnd we’re back! That break felt so so good. Not gonna lie, I was way burnt out at the end of 2016. I needed a whole lot of days smushed together where I did absolutely nothing.
We went up to the bay for the holidays and then drove back down. Every day we read, hung out at our apt, went to the movies (!!) twice and hung out with a whole lot of friends. It was glorious.
AND, if you didn’t see on Instagram, Joshua and I are engaged! WHAAAT! Yes. On a cliff off the coast of California, near San Francisco, Joshua asked me. It was so sweet and perfect and I cried tears so of pure joy. Josh kept trying to get me to go on a hike that day and I fought it HARD because I was wearing my new boots and I didn’t want to get them muddy and it was sort of rainy. Luckily he convinced me to go on a “light” walk.
The thing they don’t tell you when you get engaged is the next question…like literally seconds after you tell someone is the annoying question: WHEN/WHERE/HOW R U GETTING MARRIED? And the girl who had to be bribed to wear a bra and cried when she got her period because she couldn’t go to the water park with her dude friends, wants to SCREAM, I DONT FUCKING KNO.
And please no one force me to go to my own bridal shower because I can’t.
So the answer is: who knows. I’m not sure yet but I’m sure it will be figured out. The one thing I have thought a lot about is cake planning! Because I’m that human that wants to make her own cake. Maybe I should figure out the cake part and then go from there. Like when you get dressed and start with your shoes first.
I’m currently sitting in the passenger seat with my laptop in my lap, while Josh drives. Amelia is in the backseat with her raincoat on, fully equipped for inclement weather, sleeping. We’ll be in The Bay soon.
It’s almost Christmas/Hannakuh and I have one last recipe to share with you before I peace out for the rest of the year!
One of my big highlights of 2016 for sure was going to Copenhagen. I still think about it often—everything from the politics to the food to Trivoli to the pretty and old cobblestone streets. The food was oh so good but I remember one thing that I totally didn’t find or stumble upon were ebelskivers. I looked! But it’s ok because I’ve had plenty at Broder Nord in Portland. I’ve been there a handful of times and the thing that is an absolute must to order are the ebelskivers with meyer lemon curd and lingonberry jam. They are SO good.
If you’re unfamiliar with these puffy balls of amazingness, they’re essentially Denmark’s version of a pancake. The batter is somewhat similar, except for the last step, which involves whipping egg whites until stiff and folding them into the batter. They’re light and fluffy and so delicious after having been cooked in butter for a few minutes.
I made regular ebelskivers for an Anthropologie post I did back in November but I didn’t post the recipe because they weren’t 100, as the kids say. They still needed a bit of work.
I didn’t love that they weren’t like perfect circles. They still tasted great and were fluffy and warm and delicious but it was just an aesthetic thingy for me.
Well, Josh sent me a post that Bo Bech posted, sharing how to get perfect circles! You basically add the batter to the ebelskiver cavity, cook it for a few minutes, turn it 90 degrees and add more batter. Cook it on a few more sides and that’s it. PERFECTION.
I am currently prepping so hard to chill TF out for the break. I’m gonna be honest, this fall put in borderline burn out mode so I’m hoping that a bit of rest and chillaxation will give me some much needed energy.
This is also my favorite time to take a break because EVERYONE is taking a break. Usually if I go on a vacation in the month of May or April, I still end up working because I’m addicted to checking my email BUT NOT NEXT WEEK!
I’m also spending a bit of time doing some last bits of work, cleaning and organizing my apartment before we all head up to The Bay for the holidays.
We’ve also been binge-watching The OA and I am not mad at it. It’s SO good and weird and addictive and weird.
If you have a bunch of time over the next week, definitely watch it. It’s also family-friendly (no weird sex scenes) so you will be a-ok to watch it with your father-in-law/grandfather, etc.
This cranberry chestnut cake is a lil’ thing I made last week when I had some cranberries in the fridge and remembered this beautiful cranberry frosting I saw on Food52 a month ago or so.
Every family has Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other families’ traditions because they vary so much.
The one tradition my mom always kept alive and well was Peruvian-style homemade hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. In Peru, homemade hot chocolate is cooked over the stove, with Peruvian chocolate chopped into tiny bits and then mixed into milk with cinnamon and cloves; it’s rich and delicious.
Traditionally it’s had right before everyone heads to midnight mass. When we were teeny-tiny, the hot chocolate would come right before bed since at that time we believed that Santa would come down our non-existent chimney and bring us gifts. My dad would tell us he’d sneak in through a window which sort of scared me but whatever.
It was the one time a year when we had dairy because my parents jumped on the non-dairy train so early. We were one of those houses with rice and almond milk only.
This is a mash-up of another dessert my mom LOVED to make; it’s not Peruvian, though they do make it all over South America. Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert that is SO good. It’s a lot like creme brûlée with the big difference being that it’s not baked—it’s simply cooked over the stove-top then chilled in the fridge.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick spices to add all the goodness to this dessert. It uses McCormick ground cinnamon, whole cloves and vanilla extract.
Apparently, I have fancy Christmas tree taste because my favorite tree at the tree market was called a silver tip and it went for like 75% higher than all the other trees. It’s actually quite tall and sparse looking so when I went to ask for the price, I expected a discount but nope. Expensive tree taste—didn’t even know it was a thing!
I went home with it and had the guy kindly tie it to the top of my tiny car because it’s like when you get something in your brain and you just can’t forget about it. Like shoe-shopping. It’s like that.
I came home and Amelia immediately thought the water in the tree basin was for her so I’ve been constantly catching her drinking it. I yell at her but at the same time it’s so funny and cute that I just fill it up and let her do whatever she wants.
Another thing that has been on my brain for so very long are miso brownies! I saw them in the bakery case of a bakery I can’t actually remember but thought they sounded so good! Sweet and savory and chocolate-y…sign me up.
I wanted brownies that had a super crackly top and after I did some Googling and testing, I figured out that the thing that ensures a super crackly crust is beating the eggs and sugar together for a full 10 minutes (thanks, Martha!). Also, the sugar amount has to be up there for this to really work.