Espresso-Cinnamon Swirl Crème Fraîche Bundt Cake & My Mother

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We always need people in our lives whom we can turn to for advice and inspiration — someone to keep us honest and to push us to be the best versions of ourselves. And I count myself lucky to have a role model like that in my momma.

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She has always shown me that one of the best things you can do for any relationship is to spend uninterrupted time with that person. When I was five, we planted a garden of tall, fairy-like foxglove and radishes in the shape of a “K.” She made me countless steaming bowls of buttery quick grits and fried salami sandwiches in all their thin, crunchy, salty glory. We watched numerous cooking shows when I was in high school and then took those recipes and crafted them into something entirely our own as she taught me how to substitute, swap, season and taste, season and taste.

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My mother is a woman to admire. She’s someone who is so gracefully giving of her time to everyone in her life …keep reading

Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Bourbon Glaze

Glazed cinnamon rolls

I’ve done something terrible. And by terrible, I mean ridiculously awesome. I’m sorry to torture you with this when there you are (probably), comfortably not thinking about fresh cinnamon rolls, ooey and gooey with their decadent cinnamon filling, slathered with a coffee bourbon glaze, and turning your kitchen into the smell of a heavenly bakery with that beautiful yeasted dough.

Oh boy, I really went off there…can you tell I’m in love? Seriously guys, these came out of the oven around 6PM yesterday and promptly turned into dinner….a three bun dinner. I regret nothing.

Rolled yeast dough

This feels like a “I’m sorry/you’re welcome” kind of recipe. …Keep reading!

Toasted Almond Any-way-you-like-it Granola

I changed my blog name, well, technically just translated it. What do you think? :)

Best granola recipe

In other news, I have a horrible kitchen secret.

I’ve probably confessed before, but I rarely follow a recipe. Only if it’s a Julia Child recipe or a complicated pastry will you find me double checking every line of measurements and instructions. Otherwise, I like to think of recipes more as guidelines – there to help you on your culinary adventure with tips on flavor and proportions. (Real talk, I even look at my own blog recipes when I want to whip those up again and occasionally stray.)

I just can’t be boxed in!

Recently my roommate was having a horrible string of bad granolas, so I decided that would be a perfect kitchen project. Added bonus? All granola recipes read “…or whatever dried fruit/nuts you want to substitute.” I still didn’t follow most of the rest of the recipe, but hey, I made some bomb granola.

Almond Granola

Only problem? My roommate requested …Keep reading!

Browned Butter Coffee Cake

It’s been a wonderful start to fall! I hope yours has been equally magical.

I’m finally settled into my new place in Nor Cal. Hooray! I’ve started an amazing job working crazy hours in a bakery. I’ve been exploring my new city, and I’m LOVING being back in California.

…I can’t stress that enough. I’ve lived all over the world, and nowhere makes me feel more at home than this state and the wonderful people here.

Brown Butter Coffee Cake

Also, I’ve made fast friends with my roommate’s cat, Cliff…he’s pretty adorable and very snugly, so he’ll be making the occasional appearance on here. I hope you’re cool with cats. Either way, you’d be cool with Cliff, promise.

In addition to cat, fall has been filled with late night croissants, the glorious return of my yellow bouillabaisse pot out of the depths of packed boxes, a beautiful new kitchen, and browned butter. Butter. Browned. Until it’s nutty and turns into dreams.

Best Coffee Cake recipe

I had a craving for butter coffee cake recently, and decided it would be silly to

Keep reading…

Waffle Sandwiches with Avocado, Caramelized Onions, & a Fried Egg

I love breakfast for dinner. I’d say I make scrambled eggs for dinner roughly once a week. Frittata? Love it. (Especially this one.) And crispy bacon is always good. My family has even built a tradition around breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve.

Waffle Sandwich

So when I recently came into a new waffle iron, I immediately thought “dinner.” You may well know that I don’t like a sweet breakfast (put syrup on my buttermilk pancakes, and I will hurt you), so I don’t typically have waffles for breakfast anyway. A kick-ass waffle sandwich for dinner though? Yes or yes?

When I started building the sammie in my head, I knew this little baby was bound to have

Keep reading!

Cheddar Biscuits

Biscuits. Cheddar biscuits.

Cheddar Biscuit Glory

I’ve been on a warpath lately – luckily for you (and my roommates) this warpath is filled with fierce love, cold butter, and lots of shredding on a quest for my perfect cheddar biscuit. Through all my baking adventures, my mom always says, “If you only master good bread and biscuits, you’re set. Everyone will love you.” When it comes to these biscuits, I think I’m well on my way. Man, I hope my future husband isn’t gluten intolerant. That would be a deal breaker huge hurdle. “No bourbon” would also be a problem, but I suppose I can always make an Old Fashioned for one.

Biscuits used to scare me. I don’t know why, but I think it had something to do with all the fuss over the size of the butter and the speed at which you incorporate it into the dry ingredients so your hot little hands don’t melt the dang butter. I’m here to tell you, don’t be a scaredy cat like me – jump in the biscuit dough, the butter’s fine! …or something like that.

Biscuit Dough

Fast to come together and no rest or rise time, biscuits are a dream bread. They successfully masquerade as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. Sweet or savory? It’s a choose your own adventure sort of bread once you’ve mastered the basics. My great aunt made a mean biscuit, but this recipe works as a great base biscuit (just leave out the cheddar…although that seems foolish).

If you have the same fear of

Continue reading

I’m Blushing! The Liebster Award!

Strictly Delicious nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I couldn’t be more honored! And I’m a little upset, because she already got it and that means I can’t nominate her. I really do feel very flattered – thank you! She asked me a few questions, and here are my thoughts…

Geeky Chique

1. What are you most afraid of in the kitchen?
#humblebrag, I like to think of myself as pretty fearless, but honestly, I haven’t dabbled in gluten-free baking. (Minus the macarons I made last year, which definitely give me hope!)
2. What inspired you to begin blogging?
A few friends of mine who have blogs encouraged me to start my own, and looking for an addition to my New Years Resolution, I decided to just give it a shot!

3. What gives you the most joy from blogging?
Blogging gives me a great place to record my shenaniganry :)

4. What does your ideal Saturday look like?
Sleep in; make a big breakfast (preferably including buttermilk pancakes and caramelized onion fritatta); explore some new part of the city; and have friends over for cocktails on the roof…is it Saturday yet?

5. What pantry staple would you never want to live or cook without?
Salt. Done and done.

6. Name a place you have never visited, but want to.
I would love to visit Japan, but realistically next on my list will be Germany and Greece, buuuuut I also want to visit Brazil! And I’m dying to go back to France. Basically everywhere. Can you tell I miss traveling?

7. What’s the most surprisingly delicious thing you’ve ever eaten?
Oysters!

8. Who is your favorite “audience” to cook for?
Obviously my family and friends, but I do love cooking for people who I’m starting to get to know – there’s that moment when they try my cooking, and I feel like I’ve really secured the friendship ;)

9. What’s your favorite time of day and why?
I love the evening – whipping up a cocktail or pouring a glass of wine to enjoy with my roommates before drink #2 (or 3) while making dinner. (On the other end, my mornings are ALWAYS accompanied by a mug of coffee the size of my head and a general zombie-like demeanor.)

10. What are you looking forward to most this year?
California <3

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I’m sure these wonderful bloggers have received wide acclaim, but nevertheless, I would like to nominate the following awesome bloggers for the Leibster Award!…

Ngan at Ngan Made It

Sue at Birger Bird

Liz at My Favourite Pastime

Patty over at Patty Nguyen

Sonal at Simply Vegetarian

Elmarie at Flippen blog

Josette at The Brook Cook

 

And my questions for you lovely ladies:

  1. What was the last thing you ate?
  2. What was your typical elementary school lunch?
  3. What’s your favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
  4. Food you’d never touch?
  5. Food allergy you wish you had?
  6. What was the cause of your last hangover?
  7. What’s your favorite splurge at the grocery store?

 

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions you were given.
  3. Nominate other blogs with less than 500 followers.
  4. Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.
  5. Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated and appreciate their hard work

 

Bourbon Ginger Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramelized Pears and Sour Cherries

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Is everyone aware of Rusty the red panda? He’s the adorably cheeky redheaded escape artist at the National Zoo – and I’m in love. It all started with the tremendously amusing media coverage he got during his escape, “He left no note, no tracks and no clues. But Smithsonian National Zoo officials believe Rusty the red panda, who decided Monday was a good day to get out and take in the sights, may have used overlapping, rain-heavy tree limbs and tall bamboo as a bridge to the outside world.” (Don’t worry; said limbs have since been cut back.)

Though this online quiz tells me that my spirit animal is a hummingbird (which actually makes sense – apparently the hummingbird generally symbolizes enjoyment of life and playfulness, as well as adaptability), I’ve decided that the red panda is my spirit animal.

Aside from the fact that I take no stock in this sort of thing, it’s fun to have one. Shockingly, You’re wondering how this will relate to bread pudding. Keep reading…

Almond Cardamom Biscotti

Almond Biscotti

So I’m kind of excited about my pastry apprenticeship :D  Sunrise to sunset, I’m working in a restaurant kitchen baking up a storm twice a week. It’s basically divine torture – the kitchen smells heavenly all the livelong day, buuuuut I’m actively trying not to gain a hundred pounds. I’ve been learning a lot from some really fun people, oh and I get to wear yoga pants to work. It’s glorious. So far I’ve made cinnamon sticky buns, mini pretzel baguettes, buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip pretzel cookies, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, apple chips, cranberry orange muffins, and orange anise biscotti with a dark chocolate drizzle.

DC Snow Day

It’s been a while since I’ve made biscotti (the last being these lovelies), and I was inspired by the ones I made at the restaurant last week. So on our DC snow* day, I whipped up these Alm ond Cardamom Biscotti. I was a little gun-shy with the cardamom because it’s such a strong spice, but it was the perfect addition to make these almond Italian cookies really sing. In addition to the cardamom, they also have cinnamon, chopped almonds, and almond extract. The dough from this recipe was a lot stickier than the rolled and shaped ones I made at the restaurant, but they still turned out great. The cookie logs spread a lot when you cook them, but I just look at it as a bigger cookie to love. They’re delicate, delightful, and the perfect partner for your coffee or tea this week.

Cardamom Biscotti

*side note re: snow day – I’m not built for cold weather. The combination of my Californian and red-headed blood make me a particular weakling when it comes to freezing temperatures and cutting wind…how many is too many selfies of me in which you can only see my eyes, because I need to make my fam out in California feel bad for me?…

Bundled up

Here’s what I did: Get the recipe! (and a #reallife moment)

Pancakes, Chocolate Cake, and Biscuits, oh my!

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Coming to you live from a humid back porch in Florida, I have a few of my favorite old blog recipes for you! Since I’m always making one new recipe a week, I rarely remake recipes, so this week provided the perfect opportunity for me to revisit some for my family’s sake….They always look at my blog from afar, so it’s not often that they get to sample my cooking these days. Like these guys – Gpa and mi hermano :)
Gpa and hermano

I did manage to make two new recipes this week: Butter Pecan Cookies and Joy the Baker’s Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. They were a welcome addition to my Christmas cookie line-up for both my family and for Santa – particularly because they come with an ice-cold glass of homemade eggnog (made with four different liquors ;)
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I made my famous Buttermilk Pancakes for our annual Christmas Eve pancake decorating contest. We used to use a boxed mix for the pancakes and we also used to go with basic designs that took maybe ten minutes to put together, tops. Needless to say, we’ve upped our game significantly…
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I also revisited the divine Double Coffee Chocolate Cake recipe for a Christmas dessert show-stopper! This cake is incredibly, seriously, insanely moist and the frosting makes it extra decadent. Hey, why not? It’s Christmas.
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And last, but certainly not least, I whipped up these wonderfully flakey and delicate biscuits for a big family breakfast this mornin! Because guess what!…I got biscuit cutters for Christmas. Woohoo! :D
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Enjoy these quality blog throw-backs! We sure did.

French phrase for fun:
J’ai fait du kayak avec les lamantins cette semaine!
I went kayaking with manatees this week!

P.S.- this is a real Christmas decoration in Florida. ‘Merica!

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