{ Michigan & Pumpkin Pie }

It's been way too long since I last sat here, typing up a few words for this little blog of mine. But it feels so nice to be back for a moment. 

I've spent the last few months hard at work, staying busy, keeping my mind occupied. I've been pushing my feelings aside and pretending that everything's ok. I lost my brother in May. Something so inexplicably painful, and truly impossible to even fathom at times. It's a feeling like the world has just crumbled under your feet, but everyone else is still walking somehow.  

Last month, I made the journey back to Michigan -- my favorite place on the planet, and my brother's too. We had spent nearly every summer there together since we were kids. But this year, I saw it in the fall. I saw the leaves change for the first time ever. I got to leave my phone untouched for days at a time (which is so freeing.) And I got to make a pumpkin pie - completely from scratch - with my grandma and my mom. Two of the strongest people I know. 

I felt inspired for the first time in a long time, so I filmed this video. We nearly missed our flight waiting on a pie to cook, cool, and slice. But we did it. We ate pumpkin pie all the way to the airport, and made memories that I'll cherish forever.

-- Rachel


Grapefruit Tartlets with Milk & Honey Crust

Happy, happy Valentine's Day! <3

I'm celebrating this year with sweet, slightly tangy, naturally pink grapefruit tartlets. These delicate little tarts have a crisp Milk & Honey crust that pairs perfectly with homemade grapefruit curd filling. Top 'em off with some fluffy meringue hearts and edible flowers - what more could you need this V-Day?!


Grapefruit Curd Tartlets with Milk & Honey Crust

Yield 4 tartlets.


For the grapefruit curd...

1½ cups grapefruit juice
¾ cup honey
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks, whisked
5 tablespoons butter

For the milk & honey crust...
1 sleeve of Milk & Honey tea cookies (from Trader Joe's)
3 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Start by making the Milk & Honey crust. Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they become small crumbs. Then, add the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press and pack the mixture tightly into the bottom, and up onto the sides, of 4 mini tart pans. Bake the crusts at 350F for 10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.

2. As the crusts cool, make the grapefruit curd. In a saucepan, whisk together the honey, cornstarch, and grapefruit juice on medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Very slowly, stream in half of the hot grapefruit mixture into the whisked egg yolks, whisking quickly, to temper the eggs. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens. Remove the grapefruit curd from the heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until melted. 

3. Fill the tartlet crusts up to the top with the warm grapefruit curd and chill in the fridge until set. Once set, enjoy them as is - or decorate with toasted meringue and edible flowers for something special!



{ How To Make Cuban Coffee }

While back home in Miami this past summer, I had one of the most exciting opportunities that I FINALLY get to share with you all! Thanks to my awesome friends who did a solid job at hyping up my little blog (lookin' at you Talia and Jake,) I met Jackie -- the powerhouse behind the Little Havana Visitors Center in (you guessed it) Little Havana. Together, we dreamed up the video above to play in Jackie's store and show tourists how to properly prepare a Cuban Espresso and a Cortadito from home! SO FUN!!!

I had such a blast shooting this video in the heart of Little Havana - and that's all thanks to the stellar gals I got to shoot it with! Firstly, the incredible stylist Mileidy, who has such a skilled eye for style and owns every vintage prop your heart could desire. She lent us her home, her time, and her expertise which I still cannot thank her enough for!! And of course, my BFF Talia (the video's coffee making extraordinaire,) who patiently helped every step of the way (and lent us her pretty face, too!)

Find the two recipes featured in this video below - and be sure to stop by the Little Havana Visitors Center next time you're in MIA!!! 

Cuban Espresso  //  Cortadito


For the Cuban Espresso...
Ground espresso
2 - 4 tablespoons sugar

For the Cortadito...
Cuban Espresso
Evaporated milk,  frothed 


1. To begin, fill the bottom half of a traditional Cuban coffee maker with water. Do not fill past the valve! Top with the coffee filter and fill it with ground espresso. (During this step you can pack the grounds tightly if you'd like a stronger brew.) Level off the grounds with the back of a spoon and tightly twist on the top half of the coffee maker.

2. Over medium heat, begin to brew the espresso with the lid of the coffee maker lifted UP. Once the first first few drops are released, take a bit of the espresso and pour it into a bowl with a few tablespoons of sugar. (Use more or less sugar depending on your personal taste!) Quickly close up the lid of the coffee maker and continue to brew the espresso until it's done, (about 3 minutes.) 

3. As the espresso finishes brewing, take the sugar and espresso mixture into your hands and whip  it together vigorously. After a couple minutes, it will become a thick, pale brown paste that should flow slowly off your spoon, like lava.

4. When the espresso is brewed, carefully pour it over this thick sugar paste and stir until a sweet foam, known as "espumita," rises up to the top. You can serve the Cuban Espresso in small cups, or use it to make a Cortadito!

5. To make a Cortadito, simply mix equal parts Cuban Espresso and canned evaporated milk. Warm and froth the evaporated milk, pour it into the espresso, top with foam, and drink up!



{ Three Ways to Jazz Up Ice Cream Cones! }

Today I am SO excited to announce that, along with baking up a few yummy treats for Studio DIY, I've also begun shooting and editing their very first food videos!!! HOORAY! 

We're sharing our first of many: three awesome and unique ways to jazz up store-bought waffle cones - with a Baked Alaska cone, a Rainbow Drumstick, and a Circus Animal Cookie cone! All equally delicious and equally fun to look at. :)

Don't miss the video above for a quick little tutorial on how to make each cone!!!

For the full recipes + instructions, be sure to check out Kelly's post on Studio DIY! Stay tuned for plenty more fun, bright, and colorful food videos in the near future!!!

    Photography by the talented Jeff Mindell
    Cinematography by yours truly. :)


{ Sweet Red Cherry Pavlovas }

I am so, so, so excited about this post today. Firstly, because it's been waaay too long since I last shared a recipe video on here! And secondly, because these pavlovas are the stuff dreams are made of. (Ok, dramatic...but just LOOK at them!)

Light & crisp meringue nests with marshmallowy centers, dolloped with freshly whipped cream and drizzled with a sweet pink syrup made of fresh, juicy cherries. 

The most stunning summertime dessert,  just a scroll away!

Sweet Red Cherry Pavlovas

Yields 6 small pavlovas.


For the meringue nests...
2 large egg whites
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the pink cherry syrup...
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

For the topping...
Unsweetened fresh whipped cream 
Fresh sweet red cherries, with stems
Powdered sugar (optional)


1. Begin by making the meringue nests. Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and salt. Once the mixture is frothy, slowly stream in the granulated sugar. Once the mixture is opaque white and fluffy, add in the vanilla extract, corn starch, and lemon juice. Beat until shiny, stiff peaks form, (see video for reference.)

2. Next, scoop the meringue mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Form a small indentation in each of the scoops to create a "nest" for the whipped cream. Place the meringues into the 350 F oven, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 300 F. Bake the meringues at 300 F for 25 minutes, watching carefully within the last 5 minutes to avoid any browning. When 25 minutes is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside for another 25 minutes to dry out and finish cooking. Lastly, remove them from the oven and let them cool.

3. While the meringues bake, make the pink cherry syrup. Combine fresh pitted cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil (stirring constantly to avoid burning of the sugar,) reduce the heat, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes - or until the liquid has thickened into a syrup.

4. Strain the fresh cherries out of the syrup, and set them aside to top the pavlovas later. Once the  strained cherry syrup mixture has cooled completely, stir in a touch of cream until the syrup becomes an intense pink color.

5. Once the meringues have cooled and the syrup is ready, whip unsweetened fresh cream (the meringues and syrup are sweet enough on their own.) To assemble the pavlovas, place one meringue nest on a plate (preferably the plate you'll be serving on, as the pavlovas become delicate once assembled,) top with a generous dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with the pink cherry syrup, and spoon on the cooked cherries that you set aside earlier. If desired place a fresh red cherry on top and dust with powdered sugar. The pavlovas are best enjoyed immediately! :)



{ Linn's Olallieberry Pie }

Today's post is all about my recent trip along the coast of California!

As a few of you may already know, I just graduated from UCLA (which was incredible, yet also mildly terrifying.) During the weeks surrounding and following graduation, my family (aunts, uncles, cousin, grandma, grandpa, mom AND dad) all flew out from the East Coast to celebrate with me. I'm a lucky gal!

We had the BEST time exploring LA, San Diego, and Las Vegas. But the most unique part of our journey was a brief road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, with my grandma, grandpa, and mom. Along the way, we made stops at the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon, discovered the magical "olallieberry" (which makes, quite possibly, the world's best pie,) drove on stomach-churning hairpin turns in Big Sur (with views that made it SO worthwhile,) brunched in the beautiful city of Carmel, and wandered through the mesmerizing Monterey Bay Aquarium. Long story short, it was FUN!

Brace yourselves for a photo-heavy post with some of my favorite memories from the adventure, along with a little video I edited together from the aquarium and a photo shoot with a mini olallieberry pie from Linn's bakery in Cambria, CA! 

(OH, and here's me, post-graduation, lookin' cray. PEACE OUT SCHOOL!)

Below are a few snaps taken at our first stop of the trip: the historic Hearst Castle. The castle sits up on a hill with breathtaking views and is home to wild zebras! ZEBRAS!!!

The swimming pool. CASUAL.

Big Sur, you are a sight for sore eyes!

A little video I shot while at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That place is incredible inside AND out... it's right on the water, and the views are spectacular!

A little flapjack octopus!!! Love him!

A scenic drive through the coastal city of Carmel by the Sea. (above)

My grandma and grandpa's first look at the ginormous redwood trees! (below)
(This photo only shows like, a third, of the tree. They're HUGE.)

And last but not least, our THIRD stop at Linn's while on the trip. Great service, great food, GREAT olallieberry pie!

Hope you enjoyed my recap of our Coastal California trip! Have you been to any of these destinations or tried a slice of olallieberry pie before?! (We hadn't even heard of an "olallieberry" before this trip... ya learn something new everyday!)

See ya soon!
- Rachel