It made me think back when I had just graduated from college…
…during my senior year I waited tables at a brewery and saved up like $5,000 so I could pack all my shit in my car and drive across country and move to LA. I felt sort of rich but at the same time knew that in LA-terms, 5k was, like, nothing. That would get me into my apt and maybe hold me over for a few months and that was it.
When I got to LA, my former professor actually gave me my first job and kept me working for a long time. I was super grateful for her because I don’t even know how I would’ve survived without those first few jobs.
For the first few years, my existence was also credited to a lot of frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s. They have this pizza/tart thingy—not sure if you’re aware—that has like ham, caramelized onions, gruyere and IT IS SO GOOD.
I’m currently in bed trying my very hardest to ward off sickness. Josh was like super sick last week so I’ve been spending all my free time popping Wellness Formula and drinking lots of water. My eyeballs burn a little bit so after I write this blog post and tell you about tater tots, I’m gonna lie in bed and watch Chyna & Rob. I find Chyna very very fascinating, let me tell you.
Tater tots are notoriously not the easiest thing to make at home. I’ll go as far as to say that the frozen variety is straight up delicious and nearly perfect…minus all the junk they put in them, yada yada yada.
I like homemade versions of things anyway because you can customize them. Like, here! With these tater tots.
I was telling Billy I wanted to make a version of a tater tot and I wanted it to be awesome. He was like LOADED BAKED POTATO. And I was like, YES YES YES!
This tater tot situation is brought to you by the fancy technique of “torchon-ing.” You do this to like pates and other stuff but this time we’re using it to roll a log of shredded potatoes, bacon, salt, pepper and lots of shredded cheese. See, it’s classy!
I feel like a basic b first thing in the morning (every single morning) because this is basically what I make (give or take the white bean puree or eggs). I’ve been eating something like this, a rendition of it, for like the last two months.
I’ve recently learned a few things about myself lately:
1. I need breakfast. It sets me very straight. And makes me genuinely happy.
2. For breakfast, I tend to lean more savory than sweet. (At least during the weekdays when my days need to be productive and want to feel good.)
3. Italian parsley + lemon juice will forever be my favorite flavor combination. It’s so fresh and delicious. Add a good amount of salt to balance out the salt and it’s something that should be put on every single thing.
As I thrust this only half indulgent recipe toward you, I’m currently on Class Pass (I’m a new joiner) scheduling out all of my workouts for the next week. This is an attempt to balance out my grilled cheese crouton eating with cycling, kicking and boxing and dance moves in this West African dance class I’m contemplating on trying.
These grilled cheese croutons are straight out of Pinterest 2012. It’s not an idea that I invented by any means but when I saw it loooong ago on Pinterest, I thought: GENIUS! It took me forever to actually do it but I finally did; I think it’s best I waited so long. The idea is so old, it’s almost new again.
I’m finally back in The United States. I’m finally back in California. I’m finally back hanging with my crew (Joshua and Amelia). It’s glorious.
There was a bit of a hiccup, tho. Amelia hurt her foot and we spent the good amount in the morning yesterday trying to figure out what was wrong with it. The expensive x-rays at the vet told the vet she’s mostly fine. But she’s still walking with a pimp walk. We have no idea what this girl did so for now she’s on some anti-inflammation meds; we’re hoping if she has a little ligament tear, it’ll just heal up all by itself.
Now that I’m back, I’m trying to eat a wee-bit healthier because I went a little cray on my trip (as you saw on Monday’s post). There was so much food! I’m actually really craving vegetables and lighter meals.
I usually give a gigantic side-eye at recipes that make something gluten-free that usually shouldn’t absolutely typically have gluten in it but this chicken parmesan was soooooo good. The almond meal give it such a delicious nutty flavor and it crisps up so nicely that it totally works in my book. I didn’t even miss the bread crumbs one bit.
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.
This past weekend I listened to lots of Sade, thought about baking a cake but didn’t, took Amelia to the groomer’s and helped Josh cook a dinner for 20 people in an artsy loft that does Virtual Reality. I put on one of those face masks and “interacted” with this girl in this green screen room and it was interesting and a little weird!
As Monday approached I got one that itchy, Sunday-blues-y feeling but then I remembered I had this one-pot summer pasta to share with you all and got excited! I made this a few weeks ago for lunch and it was THE EASIEST THING TO MAKE.
Not sure if you remember, but a few months back I posted another one-pot pasta and it was SO GOOD.
I was in Mexico almost a month ago. (WHA!!) Time is flying.
The thing I wanted the absolute most the minute I landed was aguachile. I knew that it was something that I’d probably find a lot of in Cabo.
If you’re unfamiliar with what aquachile is, it’s simple. Think of it like a super spicy Mexican ceviche but with lime (vs. tomato). And most times the shrimp hasn’t marinated and “cooked” all the way through in the lime juice. The important thing when eating/making aguachile is that the shrimp you use must never have been frozen. We’re talking super fresh, sushi-grade shrimp.
Last year I went on my first trip to Chicago and had da best time evrrr! It’s definitely one of my favorite cities in the country. Josh and I actually thought about moving to Chicago after that trip but the winters…oof.
I began to envision myself walking down the street in January with two handfuls of groceries, with wind and snow and more wind all up in my face and it sort of stressed me out. So, for now, I’m just gonna make Chicago dogs.
Fourth of July is this weekend and I figured it was the perfect time to make one! If you’ve never had one, man, you’re in for a treat. On that trip to Chicago, I had my first Chicago dog and it was so memorable.
For this post, I teamed up with ALDI. Last week, I headed to ALDI and bought all the accoutrements necessary to make the best Chicago dog. They had nearly everything for these dogs, and basically all things summer-y at super affordable prices.