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My friend Brooke is one of the wisest people I know. Eight years my senior, her general life advice and “what matters and doesn’t matter” meter is spot on (read: way stronger than mine). So when she asked if I wanted to do the Whole30 program with her in September, it gave me pause. And then also have a mild panic attack because I’d have to give up cookies. Twenty eight going on eight right here.

In certain ways, a program like Whole30 aligns perfectly with the way I view food and diet. In other ways, it goes one hundred percent against my philosophies. A few years back I did a vegan diet for a month (that, naturally, was also inspired by Brooke). I did it mostly for health reasons, but also to prove I actually could do it. I was able to do it and I did feel healthier, but here was the unexpected result- it had a really eye opening impact on the way I cook, and the way I think about food.

It makes sense. When you’re limited by your ingredients and forced to find different methods, it naturally pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But the benefits of that time are still very strongly with me. I learned to prepare tofu really, really well (case in point). My appreciation for beans, just straight up beans, grew by leaps and bounds. I experimented with all kinds of tahini based dressings, discovered the magic that is pickled red onions, and then some.

So in terms of pushing myself to explore new methods of cooking and cozying up to different ingredients, yes, Whole30 totally aligns with my food philosophies. But when it comes to the joy of dining out and sharing food with others, it goes deeply against. This program is strict ya’ll. Another thing I remember about being a vegan? I barely ate out or with others. I was in a relationship, we did it together, and for the most part holed ourselves up for the month. Relationship or not, I really missed the social aspect of dining. Maybe that just means I should be less strict? But then does it really work??? I’m torn.

I’m really curious… have you guys done it? Did you feel eons better? Did it change the way you cook for the good? Did you have to customize every meal you ordered at a restaurant? Not sure I can bring myself to do that last one. Do tell!  xx Clara

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It’s Monday. Friday is far away. Let’s talk about some good food, shall we? Instead of rounding up my five favorite things for the month of August, I’ve rounded up five tantalizing recipes from my five favorite food bloggers as of late. In no particular order…

1. Not Without Salt  I would literally fly to Seattle to have Ashley make me dinner. Not creepy at all. I envision her warmly opening the door, handing me a crisp glass of white, and bringing me into her kitchen that would be filled with the most amazing smells. There’d be a really classy appetizer, like thinly sliced radishes and butter waiting on the table, and we’d chat and gab until dinner was ready.  Could we please eat these Plank Grilled Salmon sandwiches?

2. Love & Lemons Whenever I feel like the presence of vegetables in my life has been lacking and I need to jumpstart my inspiration, I head to Jeanine’s site. Literally since viewing this peach salad with mint and pistachios, I cannot stop putting peaches and fresh herbs into every salad I make. I’ve yet to make her mint pistachio combo, but doesn’t it sound incredible? I think it would also be really good all chopped up and served on top of grilled fish or lamb. Mmmm dreamy.

3. Minimalist Baker Holy food porn. I’m literally having DREAMS about Dana’s No Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecakes. She describes them as sexy. I have to totally agree. They’re also vegan, which for looking so decadent, is wildly impressive. Side note: I also really loved Dana’s podcast with Jess Lively where she talks about her minimalist lifestyle beyond food. I sort of thought I was somewhat of a minimalist prior to hearing Dana speak. HA! So not the case! But it’s still really interesting to learn more about it, and made me want to adopt some of her tips.

4. A House in the Hills Sarah’s eating clean for the month of August. I am not. But I’m still following along on her gorgeous journey and selectively garnering inspiration, while consuming things like ice cream and burgers. One dish on my must make list- this Overnight Buckwheat and Cashew Parfait, topped with BEE POLLEN. First I have to find bee pollen. Can anyone tell me where to buy that?

5. Honestly YUM  The color of these blueberry muffins literally blows my mind. Aren’t they stunning? Must must make these babies. The only thing they’re missing (in my mind) is some sort of citrus. I love a little lemon zest in coffee cakes and muffins. I’m also just generally into the Honestly YUM site. Their cocktails are so creative and they have a recipe for Bacon Granola. Yep, you read right. That’s also on the must make list.

Have a great week, friends! And if you’re dragging a little this morning, I love this quote Grace posted last night. xx Clara

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Oh haaaayyy, Friday. How are you guys? I just got back from a week of visiting family in Santa Fe. My dad’s side of the family lives out there, and because of that I’ve spent my fair share of time in New Mexico. This visit was particularly wonderful due to all the recent rain they’ve had; the landscape is so lush right now. There were points when driving on the highway where the mountains were covered in such rich greenery, it was hard to believe we were in the desert. And then the way in which the bright florals and vegetation wrapped around the darling adobe homes? Breathtaking. I can’t stop staring at that photo above!

As wonderful as it was to be in such open surroundings, I couldn’t be happier to be back in the city. Remember that bit about basics and routine? It’s my lifeline right now, and travel does make that more of a challenge. I’m so looking forward to a weekend of catching up on work, hitting the farmer’s market, and filling my body with endorphins. Hope yours is just as wonderful! xx Clara

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Been a while since I put together one of these month ahead posts for you guys! With just a few short weeks left of summer, it feels like an important time to take stock, set some intentions, and make the most of the remainder of the season. And when it comes to your BLTs, don’t forget to do it up with different breads, avocado, and supplement or swap out your butter lettuce with peppery arugula or fresh basil. The best! xx Clara

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It’s easy to fall out of love with this city, especially in the winter and summer months. The bitter cold and miserable humidity, coupled with all the other not so nice things about New York (i.e. subway smells) can really push you to your limits. But this summer, oh man, is this city being kind to us weather-wise. The last few weeks of brisk mornings and breezy nights have made me fall so hard for this sweet city of mine and I could not be more thankful.

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In honor of this glorious weather, here are a handful of my favorite activities/ eats to indulge in this time of year if you find yourself in NYC!

Rooftop drinks at the James Hotel

Riding the East River Ferry (such a great way to view the city!)

Numerous trips to Big Gay Ice Cream

Ice Lattes from Oslo Coffee (best iced lattes EVER) and walks around Williamsburg

Walks/runs along the West Side Highway

Shake Shack in Madison Square Park

Chloe’s Soft Serve when I’ve been eating too much ice cream

Happy hour in the backyard at Gottino (get the ricotta fig crostini… OMG)

And my newest addictions… numerous glasses of rosé at the bar at Claudette and dinner on the patio at Pig & Khao

OH and this peach cake. It’s an Ina must. I toted it all the way to the North Fork last weekend (along with these scones), and it was the perfect thing to enjoy first thing in the morning with coffee or topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Get into it!

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Fresh Peach Cake slightly adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (4 medium sized)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square or round baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the Greek yogurt and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes (I found mine needed the full 55), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps for up to 4 days on counter top, tightly covered.