Sincerely Seven: Week 39

I’ve really be struggling this week with the news and the country and all that jazz, so trying to share happy things that got me through this week.

can you imagine having a cat this cute?
  1. It’s been a week since her death and while Republican leadership has been quick to get over her death, RBG has been on my mind all week. I found this piece she wrote for the NYT in 2016 very comforting, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Advice for Living.
  2. GBBO is back! Very curious how they’re handling COVID with the new season but I’m so happy it’s back. My favorite bake this week was the pineapple upside cakes, a dessert we made a lot in my family growing up (though ours were from a box…). Here is Paul Hollywood’s recipe!
  3. Loved this more personal piece about Kamala Harris, it was encouraging to hear about where she was at 28 and that she loves cooking as a stress reliever! SAME.
  4. Is it ethical to bring a child into this dying world? I found this article to be a really interesting perspective on a question I hadn’t much thought of. I think I found it most interesting that it was important to consider that a child would more than likely take on the kind of life its parents lived, so the core idea is that it matters more how you’re reacting to climate change and altering your lifestyle to help to Earth. Which is something we ALL need to be doing.
  5. AD toured Hilary Duff’s LA home, and I LOVE her kitchen. Also love her decor style throughout the house, and honestly, just love her overall.
  6. Yay David Yay! Schitt’s Creek swept the Emmy’s last weekend and to say I was over the moon is an understatement. So happy for all the folks from the show who won; it was well deserved for bringing a show together focused on acceptance and love, which is something we all need to focus a bit more on.
  7. Any musical fans out there? I recently discovered the show, Hadestown and I am OBSESSED with the soundtrack. I would love to the see the show in person, but obviously not sure when that will happen. For now, I’ll just keep rewatching the cast’s Tiny Desk Concert. “Come Home With Me” makes my heart want to burst, tbh.

Happy week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 38

It was a good week (until Friday of course), but we’ve been trying to make plans for coming back to the East Coast for the holidays. Should we only come for ~2 weeks at Christmas, and board our cat, OR fly in before Thanksgiving and stay through Christmas, bringing our cat with us on the plane? I know these are things people do all the time (mainly flying with cats), I just feel SO bad at the thought of putting her through all that stress. It is nice that we could both work anywhere, AND it would be great to see family and friends. Though who knows how bad COVID will be come the holidays, so who knows how much we could even see our family and friends. *sigh. So much to decide (and if you know me, I hate decisions, I get anxious that I haven’t made a decision which makes it even harder).

These cookies are SO tasty!
  1. To say I was devastated when I heard about the passing of RBG is an understatement. Ruth, thank you for everything you did to fight for gender equality and for working tirelessly to ensure this democracy was one of fairness and equality for all. You deserve the rest.
  2. If you can, please consider donating in honor of RBG to Amy McGrath who is up for election against Mitch McConnell. On Friday, McConnell announced the Senate would push forward with trying to elect a new justice this year, only hours after it was announced RBG had passed, and that her dying wish was that her seat would be replaced under the new president. But Mitch, what happened to your stance 4 years ago?
  3. This past week was Mexican Independence Day. For those of you who aren’t clear, there’s a difference between Mexican Independence Day and Cinco De Mayo. I honestly didn’t know the difference either, since we only covered important white people events in my education, so this article was very insightful.
  4. Converse came out with their ¡Mi Gente! Collection and a friend/old co-worker of mine was one of the Latina designers who came up the concept and designed a shoe style. Love seeing her work and culture showcased in this way!
  5. These Neapolitan Cookies are delicious, also see how cute they look above! I got the recipe from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer, but Hummingbird High posted an adapted recipe and I had to share!
  6. Did anyone see this coming? Paris Hilton revealed her real voice, and that she was playing a character for the last several years. I am shocked, but also sad she felt the need to do that? As a blonde, I’ve also purposely played dumb at certain times, though I hate to admit it. I also heard her documentary, The Real Story of Paris Hilton, is really good, but haven’t had time to watch.
  7. It’s the first day of fall this coming week! And what better way to celebrate than a trip to Trader Joe’s to get all the fall foods! The pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread mix and spiced cider are some of my TJ fall favs!

Wishing everyone a beautiful week ahead and happy Fall!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 37

Another week gone by, stuck inside, this time due to wildfires and unsafe air. We did go for a beach walk today even though we probably should have stayed inside, but lung damage be damned. I haven’t been in the best space mentally from all this staying inside so it was well worth it. I love California but it’s getting a bit tiresome, one thing after another and being forced to stay inside. We did try Persian food this weekend, which was really good and I finished another book (A Man Called Ove, love!). Still trying to see the positives…

Pumpkin Swirl Muffins (FALL)
  1. Like I mentioned (don’t know how you wouldn’t have heard), wildfires are raging in California, here are ways you can help. The most important way you can help is by voting come November for elected officials who care about climate change.
  2. 9/11 was this past week, which marked 19 years since a very tragic day in American History; however, the tragic events of 9/11 will forever overshadow how the event itself fueled Islamophobia in this country, making it hell for thousands of Muslim Americans for many years to come.
  3. Stuck with student loans? Same. Worried about whether you should be paying your loans (that may have had payments paused), or saving for a possible layoff or illness? Same! I found this guide interesting and somewhat helpful in navigating how to handle this strange time.
  4. Any Great British Baking fans out there? The show is returning at the end of the month in the UK, but it has not been reported when the US fan will get to see the season. I recently discovered Portrait Artist of the Year, where 9 artists compete by painting portraits of British celebs. I used to figure draw, so it’s mollifying me until GBBO returns (give me all the British television!!).
  5. It’s almost fall ya’ll (in this house, we start 9/1)! The best way to celebrate is with PUMPKIN and BAKING. Here’s my favorite muffin recipe from Sweet and Simple Kitchen. The swirls of Nutella are optional, but why wouldn’t you add it? See above.
  6. Speaking of fall, this foliage map of the country is my new favorite thing! I love being home in Pennsylvania and seeing the beautiful hues of trees on the mountains. I’m SO excited I’ll be home in October during prime foliage time!
  7. I spent some of the weekend watching Get Organized with The Home Edit and I’m obsessed. I spent the rest of the weekend on the Container Store’s website trying to order things to get my closet in order. Also, can we talk about how they got to see and hold ALL of Reese’s movie memorabilia, especially from Legally Blonde? DED.

Happy thoughts for you this week, loves!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 25

I thought I would kick off something new called, Sincerely Seven, where I recap my week, tell you something new or share an article or recipe that I found useful over the last seven days. I’m hoping it will encourage me to write on here more, plus share some nuggets that I found useful or interesting over the course of my week. Without further ado, here are my seven highlights from week 25 of 2020.

  1.  I took a 3 day weekend and it was so lovely to not have work on Friday. Since COVID started, I haven’t taken any time off, mostly because it feels weird taking time off when I work from home. It was well needed and I enjoyed every minute, plus I finally got my hair done so back to blonde baby! Sadly semi wishing I had taken off tomorrow too..
  2. In listening to this week’s episode of Work in Progress, I learned why you shouldn’t eat any more shrimp. I’m officially done, and trying to do anything I can to save the ocean.
  3.  I found this recipe for marinated goat cheese and strawberry crostini this week and it sounds SO yummy. I need to run to Trader Joe’s to get some goat cheese and french bread ASAP.
  4. I personally purchased the book, White Fragility, but then I read this article and have decided not to read it. Just wanted to share since I shared that book title earlier on my blog; I would be curious if anyone has read it, what did you think?
  5. I finished the show “Love Life” on HBO and would highly recommend; Anna Kendrick’s character is very lovable and experiences a lot of character development throughout the show/her love life. I also started “Dear White People” on Netflix; though I’m only one episode in, I really like it so far. Logan Browning plays a very fierce lead, helping to highlight the racial issues on her predominantly white college campus.
  6.  I’m currently reading Normal People by Sally Rooney and I can’t put it down! I also can’t wait to start the show after I finish. Has anyone already read/watched?
  7.  I made this chocolate chip cookie and it’s too pretty not to share with the world (since I’m off social media). You can make them too with this recipe from one of the best bakeries in Columbus, OH.

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I hope you had a wonderful week and here’s to wishing for another great seven days ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Let’s have a cup of tea.

Let’s sit down and have a cup of tea. I’m drinking cream earl grey from Brooklyn Tea, it’s my latest favorite that I discovered from Unhappy Hour podcast (if you haven’t listened, you’re missing out).

You can have tea, coffee or matcha, or whatever you please. I used to drink coffee, but I stopped because I no longer enjoyed it, plus I got a headache every time I stopped drinking it and hated having to have to it, you know?

While we sipped at our drinks, I would tell you that I have a never ending list of things I want to bake but I never seem to have the time, or I can never decide what to bake, so I don’t bake at all. I did make cinnamon rolls last weekend (I wrote about them here) and I’m making croissants this weekend. I’m trying to focus on baking so one day I can fulfill my lifelong dream of baking all day replacing my 9-5 job.

I would  also tell you I’m currently finding it hard to find the time to read, and I have 5 books backlogged in my Libby app and I feel overwhelmed to read them all. If I could read all day I would, but I always feel so guilty when I lay around and do nothing, especially in a busy town like LA.

I would mention how there’s an extension course at UCLA that I would love to take; it’s a class on global business and international trade, which is what my job is in, but there’s no way I can afford it, unless my work would pay for it. Should I ask? I feel weird asking. I probably won’t ask. It would also be another thing on my plate, and time is of the essence these days. I also want to start taking baking classes around LA, because why not take advantage while I’m here?

I would recount that my birthday was fun. We decorated cakes at Milk Bar on Melrose, ate lunch at Eataly (the butternut squash ravioli is my favorite), came home for a nap, and then saw Emma. at the Hollywood Dome theater. Overall, a very Sara day!

I would ask about you, what’s new with you, how was your week, what are you drinking?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

 

Sincerely Bakes: Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Do you love cinnamon rolls? Do you love chocolate? Yes? YES? Then you’ll be obsessed with these tasty chocolate cinnamon rolls from Bake From Scratch. The recipe was pretty simple if you’re familiar with yeast doughs; if unfamiliar, it can be daunting, but don’t worry! Yeast can be scary but it’s really not that hard to work with, especially if you give it patience and a lot of love. I watched my dough like a hawk as my mixer kneaded it, and was constantly poking and tearing off pieces to check if the gluten had developed, but I admit that was probably overboard. This dough came together really well on it’s own.  

The best part of these rolls is the filling. A combo of butter, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and sugar, it makes a yummy spread that I wanted to eat on its own. Topped with Mexican cinnamon flavored chocolate makes for the perfect combination. For reference, I got the mexican chocolate at Whole Foods, it wasn’t with the rest of their chocolates, it was over by the wine on a small display. At least, it was in my LA location. 

I’ve made several kinds of doughs, especially for cinnamon rolls, as I feel it part of my destiny to find the best cinnamon roll recipe. Weird, I know, but every recipe is so different and I found a lovely dough in this recipe. It was simple, easy to work with and gave for a great rise and bake.

I took these to work and everyone that had one was like, WHAT are these? It was rave reviews all around. The melty chocolate filling combined with the grainy mexican chocolate bits is a flavor explosion in your mouth. Also, the SMELL right out of the oven was heavenly.

If you want to try making this yourself, please check out Bake From Scratch’s recipe. As a note, I used the cream cheese frosting that can be found in The Jo Baker’s cinnamon roll recipe; I used a different frosting because the one provided by Bake From Scratch seemed like a cream cheese glaze, whereas I wanted a thick cream cheese-buttery frosting. I haven’t tried Jo’s brioche dough rolls, but they’re on my list, especially after how tasty the cream cheese frosting was! 

Would Paul* Shake My Hand: 10/10

Have you made cinnamon rolls before? What’s your favorite thing to bake? 

Sincerely, 

Sara Ann

 

*If you’re all like, ‘Who’s Paul?” then you obviously haven’t spent hours watching the Great British Baking Show, like myself. Paul Hollywood is a judge who gives handshakes to the best bakes of the season, and I judge all my baking based on whether or not he would shake my hand after eating it. Video here for visual understanding of how important his handshakes are to contestants.