M&M Piñata Cake


Hey party people!  My son turned NINE last week.  NINE.  NINE TIMES.  (Bueller, anyone?)  That's so old.  As Carson pointed out, he's halfway to 18, at which point he'll leave us forever (orrrr, maybe he'll go to a local college and live in our basement until his 40's...I'm okay with that, I think).  We celebrated on Thursday, his actual birthday, with an Italian dinner out and then cake at home.  Since he's getting older and a Yo Gabba Gabba cake will no longer suffice, I had to get creative.  I've been curious about these "piñata" style cakes for awhile now - the ones that are sliced open to reveal an inside full of candy - but I wanted him to think it was just a regular old cake...

...bwa ha ha.  Bwahahahahaha.  That's my evil, sneaky laugh.

So I baked it while he was at school, following this tutorial, and it was pleasantly easy to pull off!  I followed a recipe from MY BOOK for my favorite yellow cake (you TOO can have this recipe when the book comes out on April 17th!!!), and sliced each layer in half, resulting in four layers.  I cored out two layers using a large, circular cookie cutter, and then placed them all on top of each other with the cored layers in the middle, icing in between each.  One of the layers broke apart, but I was able to use frosting to glue it back together.  Problem solved!  We filled the center with mini m&m's - but you could use sprinkles or bite-sized candy bars... anything your heart desires!  


It's like a barfing candy cake, or something that sounds more appetizing.  

Two thumbs up!!

Fusilli alla Vodka


Anyone else in the middle of a snow day with no snow?  Anyone else hiding from their daughters because they won't stop fighting?  Anyone else have a son slithering around on the floor out of boredom - who is laughing at the suggestion of doing some homework?  Do these things make anyone else crave comfort food, like a big pot of creamy pasta?  I am here for you.  Keep reading.  

There is a restaurant in Los Angeles called Jon & Vinny's, and it's magical.  Described as a modern diner (with old school hip hop usually pumping through the speakers), they serve Italian inspired meals like hand-tossed pizza, classic pasta dishes and the best meatballs you'll ever eat.  One of my favorites is the fusilli with vodka sauce, and by the grace of god Bon Appetit recently published the recipe.  Of course I made it last weekend, and of course it was insanely delicious.  

It's the perfect meal for a snow-less snow storm.      

Recipe HERE.

p.s. I know a lot of people ARE getting heavy snow today, just not us, and I'm bitter about it because I'm supposed to be in Nashville right now, so I'm whining.  The End.    

Green Goddess Tuna Salad Sandwich


I've been neglecting tuna fish.  Not on purpose, but I seem to forget about the canned fish, which is too bad, because I love it.  Sad!  Recently, however, this sandwich made its way into my Instagram feed, and it caught my attention.  How can you say no to tuna salad that's smothered in green goddess dressing??  (And if you're too lazy to click on that link I just provided, green goddess dressing usually  consists of mayo, sour cream, lemon juice and a bunch of fresh green herbs.)  Besides, in the photo it's served between a toasted English muffin - and that's the best way to eat a tuna salad sandwich, if you ask me.  This recipe does NOT disappoint.  It's bright and refreshing and will make you fall in love with tuna all over again.        

Recipe HERE.

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie


So, I think I'm over winter now.  Yep, ready to move on.  Let's go, spring!  Show your face.  Oh, it's only mid-February, you say?  I need to be patient, you say?  STOP SAYING THINGS.  Let me vent about winter for a second.  Let me whine about grey skies and puffy jackets and unmatched mittens and dry skin and chapped lips and cooooold.  Ok thanks, I'm done whining.  I'll talk about food now...

Like this tasty and nutritious tropical smoothie that will make you feel like you're on a Hawaiian beach (sort of).  I've recently discovered frozen Pitaya (AKA dragon fruit) smoothie packets and they are delicious (I use this one).  They're subtly sweet and packed with nutrients.  The best part?  The smoothie possibilities are endless.  Actually no, that's not the best part.  The best part is they will turn your beverage into a punchy pink that no child can resist.  It's like drinking a unicorn!  

This particular recipe couldn't be easier.  In fact, you don't even need a recipe.  Just throw your favorite fruit into a blender, add something green (or not) and a liquid (almond milk, coconut water, juice, etc) and voila... the feeling of warmer weather in a glass.  Recipe below :) 

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie
Makes 1 

Half a banana (fresh or frozen)
Handful of frozen strawberries
Handful of frozen pineapple
Handful of kale or spinach
Half a pitaya smoothie packet
Coconut water (about 1/2 cup)
Shredded coconut (optional topping)

Blend first 6 ingredients in a blender until desired thickness is reached.  Pour into a glass and top with coconut.    

Green Fish


January is over.  It's over!  All 74 days of it.  Does anyone else feel like the month dragged on and on?  Although, because time likes to mess with us, in other ways it seemed to go by in a flash.  Why does that always happen?  Why is time so tricky?  No matter, it's now February and our diets are officially over.  Right?  Please??  Not that I was participating in any sort of diet, I just want you all to come over for cookies and wine.  Which brings me to a question...

My birthday is coming up and I want to bake myself a cake, because I'm weird like that.  Are there any trendy, must-try, fabulous cakes going around the World Wide Web that I should know about?  I don't know anything anymore.  I live in a bubble of The Thunderman's and reading logs.

Back to diets being dead (I'm all over the place)...even if you DID just finish the Whole 30 or something else, that doesn't mean we can't live a life of balance...of birthday cakes and healthy meals.  Like this delicious, flaky tilapia that is baked with a coating of lime zest and olive oil and topped with a bright cilantro and jalapeño vinaigrette.  It's sprinkled with crunchy sunflower seeds and served over buttery rice.  It's very yummy and would be the perfect precursor to cake.  Happy February.  

Recipe HERE.

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Salad


I love arugula more than most human beings (let's make this a competition).  I probably eat it almost every day, in various ways, and I swear to god it's delicious with nothing but olive oil and salt and pepper.  That said, it's even more delicious topped with all sorts of yummy ingredients, like this wintery salad I made last week.  Roasted cauliflower, shredded brussels sprouts and red onions are combined with crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and a dijon vinaigrette and all of it served on top of, yes, arugula.  It's superb!  I love hearty salads that stand on their own.  Although you could add grilled chicken and make this even more of a meal.  

In non-salad news, thank you for all the incredible feedback on my book cover!  Every comment makes me giggle and blush, like I'm some sort of tiny, cartoon kitten (that was weird).  I can't wait to possibly meet some of you once it's officially for sale and I'm out and about promoting it!  Until then, let's continue to connect here and on Instagram about important food things.  Later gators.        

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Salad
Serves 4-6


1 head cauliflower, florets removed
2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
1 small red onion (or half of a big one), thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
5 oz arugula
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On two sheet pans, place cauliflower on one and sprouts and red onion on the other.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each pan, season both with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.  Place cauliflower in oven first and roast for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, shake up cauliflower a bit with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the sprouts and red onion to the oven at that time, and continue to roast for another 15 minutes.  While roasting, make dressing by whisking together 1/4 cup olive oil with dijon mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  To assemble salad, place arugula in bowl and top with roasted veggies, feta cheese, pine nuts and toss with dressing.    

Cookbook Cover and Pre-Order NOW!


I humbly introduce you to the cover of my first cookbook:

Hi Barbie!  (Look closely.)

I think I'll just sit here for awhile, and wait for this to feel like real life...  

Ok, since it may never will, I'll keep going.  This whole process has been a dream come true and yes, a lot of work.  However, it's impossible for me to consider developing recipes, taste-testing creations and writing about food 'work' as the word is defined.  I've loved every minute of this job, and I can't wait to share the book with you on April 17th.  Which brings me to more breaking news...

It's available for pre-order NOW, simply CLICK. THIS. LINK!  I'm on Amazon.  NBD. 

Oh, and I'm also at Barnes and Noble, NO, BIG, DEAL. 

I may be biased, but I think it would make a great Mother's Day gift :)   

This book is for people who, simply put, love food!  It is an approachable, relatable and fun collection of simple recipes, divided into 6 chapters (Happy Hour being my favorite, obviously)...  

...and it is designed to demonstrate how I get through my busy days.  

I've never been a fan of intimidating recipes, and my philosophy has always been that cooking should not be taken so SIRI-ously.  Do you see what I did there?  My hope is that the recipes in this book becomes go-to, family favorites in your own busy lives!  

Before I go, I want to thank you for your continued support and encouragement.  There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be here without YOU, and I appreciate this blogging community more than I can express.  Cheers!  xoxo   

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