Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

Hello, hi, hello! I’m finally back in Los Angeles, tucked in my very comfortable bed with Amelia sleeping on my feet. When I got back, I immediately told her all about the cute dogs I saw on the road. Mostly telling her how grateful she is for having a warm bed and a constant stream of food, but she’s shrugging her shoulders at me. Typical. In my brain a few weeks ago, I was craving cacio e pepe but I also wanted it to be cheesy. Cacio e pepe enthusiasts and purists will scoff at this recipe but the rest of us who love cheesy cheese and black pepper, will love it. I can’t win them all. This recipe is sort of a simple base for a stovetop macaroni and cheese. Except it has way less salt (because of the Parmesan-Reggiano), some mozzarella and it requires that you save the pasta water (just like traditional cacio e pepe). That extra pasta water will loosen it up a bit and make it even creamier and more delicious. Whenever I was a little kid, I used to come home and make Kraft Mac n’ Cheese and would ALWAYS put a ton of […]

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Cozy Book Club February Book: Americanah

SORRY about the delay on the announcement of the next (February’s) book. I’ve been in the jungle in Colombia with the most terrible hotel internet. Putting up Monday’s post took-—I’m not even kidding-—a few hours to upload the photos to the blog. It was insane. BUT now I’m at the airport in Medellín with 2018 internet speed and the time is now to share the next book. The book I chose for this month is called Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book takes place in Nigeria, London and The United States. I felt like this would be a welcomed contrast to Shaker Heights, Ohio. This book explores a few themes but mostly it seems to be a love story, between girl and boy, separated by an ocean and a post 9/11 America. It seems like a fascinating book that would also yield an interesting discussion. The author, Adichie, has won numerous awards from the three books she’s published. The book also has a crazy amount of positive reviews everywhere so the risk of it being boring/bad/lame is VERY slim. I loved January’s book and it seems like everyone did as well! I hope this book is the same. My […]

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Mini Chocolate Sheet Cake for Two with Raspberry Frosting

I’m currently in a small mountain town in Colombia called Jardin. I’m sitting on a balcony at the hotel while it pours that damp, humid rain that is so lovely. It’s so beautiful, quaint and lush. I arrived Saturday night, after a very full day of travel. And yesterday morning I took a helicopter ride, which I was actually terrified of, to Jardín. The helicopter ride ended up being so smooth and chill, I realized about two minutes in, I had zero to worry about. ALSO, I cracked open the new book club book which I’m announcing tomorrow! YASSS. I can’t wait to tell you more about my trip and the book BUT today we’re still in the depths of Valentine’s Day content. V-Day is Wednesday! If you’re still looking for a very chill dessert to make, make this sheet cake for two! It’s super easy breezy to put together, especially considering you’ll most likely be making this on a weeknight. It’s made in own bowl, inspired and halved from this chocolate sheet cake. But the frosting is raspberry vibes, adding the perfect element of fruitiness and tartness. ALSO, if I’m being completely honest, it feeds more like four people. […]

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Cozy Book Club: Little Fires Everywhere Discussion AND Cinnamon Toast Crunch Rice Krispy Treats

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng OOF! This book. I never wanted it to end. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t read a ton. I’m not one of those voracious readers that eats up book after book. I devour movies and TV shows and essays and articles, but not books. So it felt really nice to be enthralled in a story. It’s also somewhat isolating? I’m not sure if that’s the right word but I dig that it’s not a shared experience. You can walk around and replay the scene you just read, think about the characters and it feels like yours. Let’s start by talking about the characters. The Characters Mia Warren – Mother of Pearl, artist, photographer, mentor to Izzy, comforter to Lexie, nemesis to Elena. I love Mia’s character. She’s a fascinating person. And while she makes decisions that are hard to agree with, I understand them. Pearl Warren – Daughter of Mia, thoughtful and reserved. Exhausted from the instability of their nomadic lifestyle, she admires Elena Richardson because she is all that she craves: stable and structured. Elena Richardson – Mother of four, part-time journalist and wife to successful lawyer Mr. Richardson. Most […]

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Red Velvet Heart-Surprise Cupcakes

Hi hi hi! These were so fun to put together. I failed…SO HARD the first time I made these. A few of you might’ve seen it on Instagram. But the first, first time I tried to make them was actually a few years ago. I bought this heartbreak cookie cutter in hopes of making “heartbreak surprise cupcakes.” BUT OMG that did not work at all. Now I realize the biggest problem that I kept encountering was that the cookie cutter needed to be the perfect size. I finally figured it out and went to Michael’s and picked up this heart-shaped cookie cutter that’s about 1-inch big. It was only, like, a dollar and I believe now it’s on serious sale because Valentine’s Day is next week and Michael’s is already moving onto Easter/4th of July and most likely Halloween. They move quickly! I will be very forthright and say that this recipe takes a bit of time. You basically make a 8-inch red velvet single layer cake. After it bakes, you punch out the hearts. This layer can easily be made the night before and you can wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge. And then the white […]

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Strawberry Conversation Heart Cake

Not going to lie to you, this is way less exciting than the Kim Kardashian chocolate conversation hearts that all the famous people on Instagram have been smashing. I want one! This cake is still really amazing. It’s strawberry because we all know that conversation hearts are really gross. I bought a variety bag for this shoot (to use as props) and ate a few and omg they were so terrible!! It reaffirmed my decision to make the cake a yummy strawberry cake. Remember when I made this strawberry sheet cake? I halved the recipe and made it into a two-layer heart cake. I topped it with strawberry frosting and a little message of LETS GET COZY!! It took me exactly a whole lot of hours and curse words to be able to write LETS GET COZY in buttercream. I will say that I can use some buttercream-writing-practice. I was very close to taking it to the nearest grocery store where I was gonna plead with the woman who works at the bakery to write it for me. But then I thought, NO! This is a learning experience. I wrote this out on parchment paper and transferred it to the […]

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Crispy Sweet Potato with Green Shakshouka

One of the most frequent questions that I get, (besides people asking what Amelia is doing lol), is: “what should I register for?” I think registering is a very opportune time to get all of those kitchen-musts all at once. How great! An item that I think is a great addition to your list is an air fryer/toaster oven combo. Admittedly, I didn’t really know how to use an air fryer, but now I find myself using it all the time! For this post, I teamed up with Macy’s to show you a super quick and easy dish to make using this Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven. When I made Thanksgiving dinner last year, with no oven, this saved me. You can make things crispy and delicious but with very little mess (no oil everywhere). AND you don’t have to use a ton of oil, so your meals will instantly be a bit healthier. It also cooks things very quickly. Potatoes, which would usually probably take me 15 to 20 minutes in the oven or in the pan, take half as long—it’s amazing. I love so many things from Macy’s including this set of dinnerware, which is super simple and […]

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Charred Corn and Poblano Pepper Queso Fundido

It’s FRI-YAY! I’m currently preparing to go to Colombia. I’m sort of in shock that I travel in a little over a week to a place that I’ve longed to go to for a long time. I can’t wait to see the little towns and colorful doors and eat arepas. Truth is, most of my family doesn’t even live there anymore. Everyone left in the late 70s and 80s due to the immense violence and political unrest. Most of my family actually went to Brazil, where now lives an entire new generation of Brazilians. Some don’t even speak Spanish anymore. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to share more with you soon. BUT FIRST, game day foods! I whipped up this queso fundido because I want to eat nothing more while people yell at the television and I look at my phone and gossip with my friends. I chose to use corn—which I realize might not be in season for you (and that’s ok because frozen is good, too!)—because we actually had some at the market. This couldn’t be more easy but it starts with my favorite step and that’s charring the corn and poblano pepper. I sautéed up onion and […]

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Blood Orange Pound Cake

I posted this recipe on the Instagram yesterday but figured I’d put it right here too so it’s easily printable and readable. I also wanted to say hello and tell you that I’m currently knee-deep in finalizing my Valentine’s Day content for this year and am INCREDIBLY excited about it all. There is a sheet cake for two, some cupcakes with a fun surprise inside and a few other cute and delicious things. I’m thinking of adding something savory in the mix. But then I’m done! I can’t wait. When I walk around the neighborhood, I’m sort of surprised that a lot of the houses are decorated for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never seen such a thing before. I dunno if these people are bored or just really good homemakers. WHO KNOWS. But I’m here for it. They have heart wreaths hanging on their doors. Another thing that is thriving in the neighborhood is all the winter citrus hanging from the trees. It’s all gorgeous. Everything from blood oranges to cara caras to little kumquat bushes. They’re all so pretty. I didn’t steal these blood oranges from a neighbor—I bought them—but feel free to take some from a neighbor and make […]

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10 Cozy Things to Make in February

I’m concentrating on two things right now: 1. Get the kitchen (FINALLY!) in photo-ready shape to get her final school photo taken for this blog. I’m almost done! I purchased a whole lot of new and pretty things from the Urban Outfitters home sale last month and now I’m rearranging everything trying to make it nice. 2. And I’m currently trying to watch all of the Best Picture Oscar nominations before the award show in early March. This weekend was spent convincing everyone around me that I, Tonya was a movie that is important and we should go and see. And you know what?! It did not disappoint. I’m going and seeing Phantom Thread tonight and I will report back! Paul Thomas Anderson’s interview on Fresh Air was wonderful. February is inching closer and closer to us, after a very long January. It wasn’t a bad start of the year and I finally feel ready to dive in a bit more. I figured I’d start by sharing some thing that you should make and eat in the month of February. February is inching closer and closer to us, after a very long January. It wasn’t a bad start of the […]

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the biggest let downs in life might be the moment when you grab an oatmeal cookie–thinking it’s chocolate chip–to only realize it’s actually an oatmeal RAISIN cookie. I don’t hate raisins. I used to tho because I remember my mom would put those tiny boxes of California raisins in my lunchbox and every time I opened up my lunchbox and would see it, I would let out a dramatic and admittedly-bratty UGHHHH. So, yeah, I don’t adore raisins. I won’t go out of my way to eat them and oatmeal cookies taste a million times better with dark chocolate chunks than raisins. Sorry, raisins. I do like wine…so I guess it all worked out. Lol. Last week I tried my first hand at oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and phew, it did not go so well. If you swipe right on the photo, you’ll see the horrific after photo. It took Billy and I a few times to get it right. We essentially wanted the Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookie but in oatmeal cookie form. It took some tweaking but we finally nailed it. These cookies are soft and delicious. They have a tremendous amount of texture and the dark […]

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