fresh ginger cake with vanilla yogurt glaze

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Hello autumn!

The chill in the air that’s creeped in this past week is lifting me out of a funk that’s been weighing me down lately. Leo and I returned from our long-awaited trip to Ohio a few weeks ago. I had been looking forward to that trip for so long, and with good reason: the highlight of our stay was Part Two of our wedding reception, a party in the backyard of my parents’ brand-spankin’-new house. My friends and family from Ohio mingled with my friends from New York (not to mention my husband from London!). There were hundreds of cream-filled donuts, cookies shaped like hydrangeas, and a soft-serve ice cream machine. My little brothers and cousins played yard games and skipped stones in the creek, swinging from tree branches and wreaking light havoc. It was joyful and buzzy and summery—the kind of gorgeous day where you have to pause for a second and tell yourself to soak it all in, because it’s something you want to remember for a long, long time.

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watermelon-mint frozen daiquiri

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Although we are inching our way into mid-August, summer kind of feels like it’s just kicking off. Last weekend we went to Brighton for the ultimate street party that is Pride, and at the end of this week we’re headed to Cinque Terre, Italy, to hike and sit on the beach and eat pesto. The past few months have been all about moving and adjusting and finding my feet, and it’s so good to have these little trips to remind me to stop and enjoy the summer while it’s still here.

Not that there hasn’t been copious enjoyment already: between binge-watching Stranger Things (poor Barb!), learning to make Vietnamese bun, and taking long, romantic Pokémon Go walks in the park with Leo, the summer has brought a lot of goodness. And my developing affinity for making frozen cocktails once 5 pm hits hasn’t hurt, either.

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summer smoothie parfait

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It took me about a decade and a half of my life to realize that smoothies were something I could consume outside of a mall. What do you mean, there are smoothies better than the ones from Jamba Juice? And you don’t even have to crawl through a crowd of Ugg-clad teenagers armed with Hollister shopping bags to get them? What is this madness?!

After my realization, things got tastier. I’m pretty sure in my early smoothie-making days I didn’t venture much beyond frozen berries and milk, but hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere.

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To be honest, I don’t usually follow recipes when making smoothies (duh). The contents of the blender often depend on whatever I have on hand—usually a banana, some milk, some greens, and far too much peanut butter. But some days, I want to make a pretty smoothie, and this calls for a little extra attention.

For one thing, combining berries and greens is a no-no when making a smoothie that’s aesthetically pleasing. Color is key, and a brown-green liquid isn’t the most appetizing. So what do you do when you want a pretty smoothie with both greens AND fruity goodness? These are the important questions in life, and I’m here to answer them, people.

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chocolate, banana, and peanut butter baked donuts

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Since moving to London, I have discovered two words that are quickly becoming my new favorites. Perhaps they are already a part of your daily vocabulary, but I had never heard them before and have been using them at every chance I get, sometimes a little too enthusiastically.

The first word is chinwag, i.e. an intense chat or gossip session. Used in a sentence: “It’s been such a tough week—I just need to let off some steam and have a Prosecco and a chinwag with the girls tonight.” How great is that?! I love it.

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The second word is squidgy. This is one that I’m surprised I’d never heard, given that it’s a perfect description of so many baked goods: soft, moist, even a little chewy. If I were a cake, I would most definitely want to be a squidgy one. Used in a sentence: “That sticky toffee pudding was perfectly squidgy, Poppy dear. How did you ever manage to make it so delightfully spongy and moist?”

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