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For London’s birthday party she asked me to bake her a cake.  After making this gluten-free coconut blue ombre layer cake, I feel pretty well-equipped for cake baking so I was all in.

Inspiration for the aesthetics originally came from this succulent cake post.  Then another request for “Drake on Cake,” so I decided to combine the two.  I was left to come up with the flavor myself, so after diving through the Internet, I decided to take a spin on a champagne cake — sparkling rosé cake with sparkling rosé buttercream.  And what better Drake quote than “24 Hour Champagne Diet” to adorn this cake?

The layers didn’t come out perfectly level, and at first glance it wasn’t my fondest cake, but with the final touches of the succulents and the actual taste of the cake, I was definitely satisfied (and so was everyone else! :)).

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Sparkling Rosé Cake
INGREDIENTS:
2 packages white cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
2 cups sparkling rosé (I used Korbel)
1 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour four 8×1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, except replace the water with an equal amount of champagne. Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly.
  3. Bake according to package directions. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on racks.

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Sparkling Rosé Buttercream
Adapted from Broma Bakery
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups champagne (eventually 4 tablespoons reduced)
3/4 cups salted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup raspberry jam
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Simmer 1½ cups of champagne in a small saucepan over low heat until it reduces.  Stir the pan every few minutes to prevent burning. You want to end up with around 4 tablespoons of rosé.
  2. To make the frosting, whip butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in 4 tablespoons reduced rosé and powdered sugar, whipping for another 2 minutes.
  3. To to assemble the cake, place first layer of cake on cake stand, then spread a layer of the frosting, keeping it the thickest on the edges.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of raspberry jam in the center and spread in a circular fashion outwards.
  5. Repeat with second and third layer.
  6. For fourth layer, frost top of cake normally, then frost outside with remaining frosting. Use a cake spatula to scrape frosting from sides to create a sort of “naked” look.

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Happy Bday London!

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This past weekend I went to the Leucadia Farmers’ Market and actually did some of my weekly grocery shopping there (rather than only buying a poke bowl for breakfast/lunch to eat on the spot).  My body was craving fresh greens and produce so I stocked up on Morning Star Ranch (aka “Yellow Deli”) green juice, energizing green bar, butter leaf and summer crisp lettuce, strawberries and fresh pesto.  I also stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a few extra ingredients to create a lunch: crimini mushrooms, kumato tomatoes, yellow squash, and avocado.

Overnight Oat Parfaits are still going strong this week.  I’m completely satiated afterwards and I like that the overnight oats, for me, take the place of granola.

Here’s this week’s menu:
BreakfastOvernight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pesto Salad Bowl
Snack – Watermelon
Snack 2 – Green Juice + 1 tsp. Spirulina
Dinner – TBD

And the only new recipe for the week…

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Pesto Salad Bowl
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 farro, cooked
1 cup summer crisp lettuce
1/4 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 small kumato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
1 pinch walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. pesto, drizzled
Salt & pepper, to taste
Protein (I used 1/2 baked lemon herb chicken breast)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Assemble the bowl with the ingredients listed above.

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Lately I’ve been trying to cut down on my expenses.  And after I looked at my spending and habits, the most costly and reoccurring expense is going out to eat.  So to change this, I’ve decided to try and make some of my favorite restaurant meals at home.  One of my favorite go-to’s is East Village Asian Diner Monk Pots.  This isn’t an exact replication, but my take on the concept.  I was overwhelmingly surprised with how freaking tasty this was.  As a result, I’ve ended up eating this 6 nights in the past 2 weeks.

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DIY Monk Pot

INGREDIENTS:
1-2 bags frozen rice
1 zucchini, sliced into matchsticks
1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 package shredded carrots
1 large can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 bag baby spinach
3-4 eggs
Olive oil
Equipment: cast iron skillet and wok-sized pan
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the rice according to instructions (totally cheating using frozen rice. Option to cook rice like a normal person).
  2. Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat and heat the olive oil.  Add cooked rice and let it sit and crisp.
  3.  In the meantime, separately, place the wok-sized pan over medium heat and heat olive oil.  Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until al dente.
  4. Add shredded carrots and garbanzo beans.  Cook until it warms and softens.  Finally stir in the spinach and cook for one more minute.
  5. Towards the end, in a separate pan, cook an egg over easy.  Cook 1 egg per serving.

If you’re eating alone, this will last you 3-4 nights.  I ususally serve myself 1 cup of rice and 1 heaping cup of veggies, topped with 1 egg.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, a little soy sauce and some sweet chili sauce!

This is super simple, delicious and filling.  If you try it out, let me know what you think!

 

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Sunday it rained.  And I couldn’t have been any happier.  It was the perfect excuse to sleep in, make no plans, and do absolutely nothing (and be ok with it).  My biggest plan for the day was to run some errands and make this soup.  This was my first time making curry, and I’ll definitely be making it again.  Maybe next time I’ll put it atop a bed of rice to add some texture and also extend the life of this soup 😉

See the Anything-You-Have-Coconut Curry Soup from Pinch-Of-Yum for the recipe.

For the “Anything-You-Have” toppings I used shaved carrots and zucchini, red cabbage and bean sprouts.

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It’s been a couple year’s since I’ve made pie (and this pie specifically), but it literally does not get any better than this.  Homemade crust with a layer of warm gooey chocolate topped with a coconut pecan caramelizing mixture.  I made this for Thanksgiving, but it’s also a good one for Christmas!  I can’t take the credit for this one (thx Rachael Ray), but if you make it, let me know what you think!

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie
From Rachael Ray

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (separated)
1/4 cup ice water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened flake coconut
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chilled butter pieces and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 5 seconds. Drizzle in the ice water and pulse just until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap; flatten to form a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round; transfer to a pie pan. Cut the excess dough to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Using your fingers, roll the dough edge under and crimp. Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees .
  3. Line the shell with foil and pie weights or dried beans; bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a heavy, medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt with the brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until melted and smooth. Whisk the sugar mixture into the beaten eggs. Stir in the nuts and coconut.
  5. Spread the chocolate chips in the pie shell. Pour in the filling and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.

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Planning ahead, London and I knew we wanted to make a slightly elevated camp breakfast (especially following our camp pizza).  After searching for inspiration, egg-in-a-hole kind of just popped into our heads.  Just a few ingredients made an easy spin on the classic egg and toast breakfast.  This breakfast ended up being very substantial, keeping us full until well after our hike!  But I’m not gunna lie, we did kind of kill an entire package of bacon between the two of us… 😛

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Egg-In-A-Hole
INGREDIENTS:
1 slice of bread
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut a hole from the center of the slice of bread.
  2. Turn on camp stove and heat pan over medium-low heat with olive oil.
  3. Place the piece of bread in the pan.  Crack the egg directly into the center of the hole, and cook until the egg sets on the bottom, around 1 minute.
  4. Flip it over and cook until the yolk feels soft.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with bacon and ketchup :)

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On Saturday, after our 12.5 mile run, Elisa and I linked back up for an afternoon of baking. She — a pumpkin pie for her friends giving, and me — a recipe utilizing her overabundance of persimmons. We found this recipe for Ginger Persimmon bread. Although her persimmons were Fuyu and not Hachiya, and not the type recommended for baking, this recipe still turned out great. We decided to make these as muffins for portability and sharing reasons.

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Persimmon Spice Muffins
Adapted from Joy The Baker
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large Fuyu persimmons
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin and set aside.
  3. Peel persimmons and puree in a food processor. Reserve 1/2 cup of this persimmon puree.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together persimmon puree and baking soda. This will thicken the
  6. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, spices, and water.
  7. Once well incorporated, whisk in the persimmon mixture.
  8. Pour the wet ingredients, all at once, into the dry ingredients. Fold to incorporate.
  9. Once no flour remains, evenly distribute into the muffin tins and place in the oven.
    Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with butter or almond butter :-)

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Brunch is a big thing, and I’m a huge fan!  While going out for brunch can be fun, making your own brunch can be gratifying too…

I’ve run into a couple conversations recently with friends about my last brunch Instagram, and how they thought my boyfriend and I went out to eat. However, I am proud to say…I made this brunch myself! After googling “luxurious ass breakfast” and scrolling through Instagram for inspiration, I just decided to take a play on our traditional eggs, bacon and toast for a decadent dish that was definitely filling enough to withstand the 2-meal span brunch represents.

Luxurious A** Breakfast
Makes 2 servings
INGREDIENTS:
4 slices of bacon
3 tsp. olive oil, separated
Frozen hashbrowns
Garlic, minced or finely chopped
4 eggs
2 ciabatta rolls
1 hass avocado
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
2 cups arugula
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a cast iron skillet (or other) cook bacon over medium heat.  In the meantime, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic.  Cook until golden brown.  Add frozen hash browns and cook according to the directions.
  2. Poach eggs. See instructions here.
  3. Slice and toast ciabatta rolls.
  4. Slice avocado and smash 1/4 on each half of the ciabatta (4 halves total)
  5. Slice heirloom tomato into 4 slices.
  6. Toss arugula in 2 tsp. olive oil.
  7. To plate: Top each avocado ciabatta roll with one heirloom tomato slice, and one poached egg.  Divide the bacon, hash browns and arugula evenly and add to plate.

TIP– Add minced or finely chopped garlic to your frozen hash browns to make them taste restaurant quality.

Brunch is one of our favorite meals and with this combo of ingredients, no matter how you prepare it, you can never go wrong!  P.S. feel free to add your own mimosas or iced coffees to accompany this dish 😉

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Last week Elisa and I got together for a bake night. While it’s been forever since I’ve baked something (I think it’d be a #tbt to the chocolate streusel banana bread), we both share the same interest in baking (and dream of bakery life) so it was fun to get together in the kitchen.

Here’s the recipe for the easy-t0-make, yet incredibly delicious macaroons we made!

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
From Real Simple
INGREDIENTS:
1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)
4 large egg whites
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 325° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Drop packed tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. When cool, dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Store the macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.

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On Tuesday we took a (literal) work field trip to Medallion Farm, owned in-part by one of our board members.  Located in the Tijuana River Valley (San Ysidro, basically on the border of Mexico), the main highlight was the strawberries that supply several businesses in Del Mar.  In addition to coming home with some strawbs, I also scored some more fresh loot such as 10 eggs laid within the past 3 days, a bundle of rosemary, yellow squash and zucchini.

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So it was only right that I made a farm fresh inspired dinner.  I came across this recipe while googling “orecchiette with ricotta” in the grocery store.  Originally I was going to make some type of pasta salad including zucchini, peas, lemon and ricotta, but this looked too good (and simple) to pass up.

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Orecchiette with Zucchini, Tomato and Ricotta
Adapted from Food52
INGREDIENTS:
6 Roma tomatoes
16 ounces orecchiette or strascinati pasta
1 large zucchini (yellow), sliced into thin rounds
3 
tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 
pinches salt
7 
ounces (200 grams) fresh ricotta
Handful of basil leaves, picked, rinsed, and patted dry
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and add a hefty pinch or two of salt. When the water begins to boil, score an ‘x’ on the bottom of the tomatoes with a sharp knife and blanch in the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Keeping the water boiling, remove the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water and let cool.
  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook 11 to 13 minutes (or according to the recommended time on the packet of pasta). After about 3 minutes, add the zucchini rounds.
  3. In the meantime, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the tomato skins, then chop the tomato flesh roughly. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic for 1 minute. When fragrant, add the tomato and a ladle of pasta water and let simmer until the tomatoes melt down into a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt (and when necessary, a bit more water to keep it “saucy”) and set aside.
  4. When the orecchiette are al dente and the zucchini tender, drain them together (reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, if necessary) and add to the skillet of tomato sauce. Toss until coated, adding the reserved water to loosen if needed. Add the ricotta and fresh basil leaves, stir to distribute a little, and serve immediately.

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