When I think of cozy places on this earth, I think of Scandinavia. It has to be the coziest of cozy places. A recent trip to Copenhagen reinforced this opinion. It was the summer, but still, the light was diffused and soft; the textures were fluffy with lots of white. The food was savory and delicious and the ebelskivers?! They were my favorite.
I teamed up with Anthropologie to bring you this Scandinavian-inspired brunch. This was SO much fun to put together. The menu was super simple and easy to make.
What I love the most about a lot of these piece from Anthro is that all of them can move from season to season. It wouldn’t be strange to use these linens or plates in the summer or candlesticks in the spring.
Each plate had a linen and a piece of baby’s breath. This could even be done for Thanksgiving, which is OMG next week.
The flowers on the table were really simple and inexpensive. I went around my neighborhood and clipped some eucalyptus and arranged it on the table with branches of cotton. I found the cotton at the Los Angeles flower market, which still makes me happy whenever I go.
I wanted there to be lots of white but since I can’t be trusted with ALL white, we added lots of gray and off white.
The Swedish meatballs were my absolute favorite, especially when dipped into the lingonberry jam and served with these very creamy mashed potatoes.
If you’re in the mood to zone the F out or you want an activity to do with some family over the next few months, look no further! I think coloring/cooking is a great option and that’s not because I created it. OK MAYBE IT IS. But still.
This lil’ gif action is the Coconut Tres Leches cake which is by far one of my favorite recipes in the book. It is SO GOOD.
I hope you love it. I made this just for you.
AND if you’re in Los Angeles this Saturday, please come to my party! It’s open to the public. There will be coloring, snacks and dranks. I’m so excited to see you and meet you and hang out.
Can I tell you something? Making this coloring cookbook was A LOT harder than I expected. Mainly because I am not an illustrator nor have I ever worked with one until this book.
Amber Day-—who is so amazingly talented—-drew every illustration in this book. I want to talk about the process because I found it interesting and surprising and a lot of the time I felt like a fish out of water.
When I first started the project, I wanted the recipes to be really, really easy. My publisher and I agreed that the recipes should be simple—-achievable by anyone and easy enough such that cooks could spend the time coloring, too.
I ventured off into my wormhole to come up with a list of recipes that I would test and shoot (just for color and appearance reference), and then Amber would draw them.
What I didn’t realize is that so many of the things that I love to make are brown: light brown, medium brown, dark brown. All the browns! And/or they’re white.
Sometimes something will be brown with white glaze or frosting on it. Think about it. Chai Scones? Brown. Cinnamon Rolls? White and brown. Pie? Mostly brown. Quick bread. Brown, brown, brown, brown-—which, in coloring world, equals BORING.
There is nothing worse than boring. Bad is better than boring.
I didn’t think that would be that much fun to color if it was just brown recipe after brown recipe so I had to think about food in terms of color. What would be the most fun to color (and eat)?
Regular buttercream frosting on a chocolate cake became pomegranate frosting and black and white cookies became matcha and black cookies.
It was super strange to think about food with color at the forefront of my brain. I don’t think it’s an exercise I’ve ever experienced before. Super challenging for me actually, not gonna lie.
Amber and I both thought that taking my photos and having her illustrate them in a similar style would be great. “Let’s make photo-realistic illustrations,” we thought.
While, yes, some of the illustrations are based off of my photos, we found it to be kind of not that…fun?
Amber took some liberties, which you can with illustrations, so now we have sprinkles falling from the sky, berries bursting out of a cocktail and ingredients flying into a blender for avocado dressing.
We wanted to make the illustrations FUN and WILD and a little weird.
The illustrations ended up being SO different than what we’d imagined. But I think they’re so much more interesting than just preciously propped overhead shots.
We also wanted to include some types of illustrations that exist in all sorts of coloring books, like patterns and kaleidoscopes. We wanted there to be a lot of variety in terms of intricate, will-take-you-a-long-time-to-color illustrations with a few sprinkled in there that would maybe only take an hour.
The goal was also to have every illustration and set-up slightly different.
We wanted the illustrations to have variety.
Inevitably there are some recipes that are white and brown (read: coconut tres leches) so we got around that by illustrating the steps. We did this with a few of the illustrations and I think it worked out super cute.
FORMATTING THE RECIPES
Initially the recipes were supposed to be almost like non-recipes but I didn’t stick to that because that is not my forte haha. I want to give ratios and I also love to bake, which can’t really be done without a list of ingredients and directions.
So, we ended up typing all the recipes up and it just made everything feel cleaner and more cohesive. Amber drew illustrations around the recipes, depending on what the negative space was like on each page.
The cover for The Year of Cozy was the inspiration, as well as a few others (I love this coloring book cover and this one).
The problem with me is that I hate clutter haha. I know a lot of coloring books are all about intricate patterns and teeny things to color. I struggled with this idea because I like things to be simple. I favor minimalism over a bunch of stuff. But coloring books need to be full! I agreed with that.
Here is a super early iteration of the cover.
And then we had to color it and have Casey Lignon do the lettering.
And there you go! That’s da book-making process.
If you live in LA, please come! There will be coloring, snacks, dranks, ME and lots of chill time. It’s at Light Lab in Atwater village, if you haven’t been, it’s so beautiful. It should be loads of fun.
Amelia is so fun. I’m not sure if you saw but she made an appearance on Martha Stewart’s Instagram. Is this me gloating? YES IM VERY PROUD OF HER. Bringing Amelia into our little family has been the best decision because she makes everything that much more fun.
She makes ordinary walks fun. Have you ever seen a dog get scared of a trash bag? That happens. She makes friends with everyone, including every child she’s ever met. She’s genuinely so happy all the time that it’s hard to be mad at life’s little annoyances.
We go on picnics with her all the time, which is sometimes difficult because she tries to eat our food. One time she ate someone fancy prosciutto! Someone I didn’t even know. Luckily he thought it was funny but OMG HOW EMBARRASSING!
When Stella & Chewy’s reached out to me for their Everyday Awesome campaign I was happy to tell my story about how Amelia make everyday awesome for me.
Amelia LOVES their food.
We started bringing a small snack for Amelia on picnics so she gets it in her brain that she also gets to eat, which hopefully will make it so she doesn’t eat our food. Amelia eats mostly raw so Stella & Chewy’s is perfect for her.
She’s actually been eating it since she was a baby and she loves it! We use Stella & Chewy’s as a meal mixer so we’ll mix this into dry food (if we’re on a picnic or on a roadtrip) or add it to the pumpkin puree and veggies she eats (at home).
When Josh and I first started dating, everything was about where we were gonna eat. Most of it was not fancy stuff. We went on excursions trying to find where to get the best tacos in LA or where to get the best cemitas or even where to get the best BBQ. We were always getting in our cars and going to places we had never been to, together.
One of the places for burgers we went to was Pie ‘n Burger. It was my first time but Josh grew up right down the street so he was super familiar. He always came for breakfast foods (the pancakes are his favorite).
Eeeee! Last week I had the super fun pleasure of going to Copenhagen, Denmark for a whole week. There was lots of eating and boat riding and bike riding. It’s the most charming, quaint city. It’s big enough to be filled with amazing food, clothes, shopping and culture yet small enough to not leave you with an ounce of stress.
A big dose of fun was added into the mix because Yossy and Michelle were my travel and eating homies. We ate casual food, fancy food and everything in between.
It was my first time in Scandinavia ever and I was happy to learn a few things:
1. Danish is a v v hard language. When I said pronounced words as they looked, like, in English, they were completely different from the actual pronunciation. For instance, the most important word I learned to pronounce was the word HYGGE, which basically means cozy AF (my life mantra).
So, us English speakers would pronounce it ‘hi-gue’ when it actuality it’s pronounced ‘hue-guel’. LIKE, WHAT?!
One of my favorite childhood memories is a summer I spent on the coast of Spain. When we arrived to the small port town, we met up with my dad’s first cousin (and her family) who had recently moved there. It was 10pm, way past all of the kids’ bedtimes, BUT IT WAS TIME FOR DINNER.
The restaurant was in a quinta, unsuspecting and hidden from the street; when we entered, it was a full-blown party. Twinkling lights were hung above families and friends around large tables, talking, telling stories, laughing. In the center of each table were huge paella pans filled with perfectly cooked Valencia rice, a medley of freshly caught seafood. And sangria, lots and lots of sangria. Even as a teenager, I knew at the time, as we were eating and laughing, that it was an experience that I would one day be nostalgic about.
For this post, I teamed up with one of my favorite stores of all time, Anthropologie. It’s no secret that the majority of things I buy for this here blog are from Anthro, so I was SO excited to be able to do this with them.
A few weeks before the shoot, I tested the paella and it totally took me back to childhood because this was the dish my parents always made on Sundays, when special people were coming over.
There are a few things that I think are super important when making paella:
1. The type of rice is mucho importante. I like using Valencia rice (you can find it online or at Whole Foods); if you can’t find it, then Arborio (risotto rice) is the next best thing.
Every summer I have these very grand ideas that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that I go camping. On the surface camping seems like SO much fun. The campfires, cooking salmon over cedar planks, the rivers, the s’mores. But when I begin to logistically think about it, I’m not so sure. I have a tendency to over-pack. It’s taken me years to pack appropriately for a 3-day weekend so I know that when it comes to camping I’ll probably bring my entire apartment.
That will of course to lead to too much work, so every year, I abandon my camping ambitions. BUT! Luckily there are picnics, which are way easier. I know they’re not the same but you sort of get that nature-y-let’s-eat-outside-vibe going on.
Guess what? I made dis (see above), alongside my publisher, Rodale, and awesome, incredibly talented illustrator, Amber Day.
It’s a coloring book that you can actually cook from. Cookbook meets coloring book with illustrations that resemble real life. Read: an illustration of Amelia trying to steal waffles because that’s my real life!
This book is so fun and exciting and I hope that you color your cute self all the way to comfort because that’s what it’s intended to do.
In this book you’ll find sprinkles falling from the sky onto a big piece of fairy bread. You’ll find simple doggie treats that I love to make Amelia, grain-free of course. You’ll also find berries exploding out of a berry gin and tonic that I love. And you’ll find the coziest of cozy chocolate chip cookies. The recipes are simple, easy breezy. Maybe the easiest that I’ve ever made, which for me is a lil’ difficult to do. But all of them are delicious and all of them are SO fun to color.
It was interesting creating and thinking about food in terms of color. There were so many foods I wanted to include but I had to ask myself, “Would it be fun to color?!” I found out that I cook and eat so many things that are brown and white and more brown. Not so fun to color, you know? It was such a unique process, one I can’t wait to share with you later on (more on the-making-of soon!).
In the meantime, here is the cover! The book comes out November 15, 2016 (yes this year and yes, I’ve been keeping this one a secret for a lil’ while now, I’m sorry).