Back in 2013, I started this blog as a senior in high school partly out of pure boredom, but apparently also because I was not a very cool teen. I mean, let’s be real, having a food blog as a 17 year old does not scream “hip”. Luckily for me, I totally dgaf-ed, because here I am four (almost five!) years later! I’m not going to link to my first post, because it’s embarrassing as all hell, but feel free to go looking for it; you might get a kick out of how teen-Sara talked, and also I had a totally cool signature line at the time, wow!
Anyways, I guess I’m just feeling a little nostalgic, because again, here I am four years later, and I’m graduating mother-f-ing college on Friday! I honestly can’t even believe four years has already passed. Plus, on top of graduating, I am also leaving to travel Europe for 4 months, aaaaand I have a really big project I’m working on that I’m hoping to share with everyone soon! I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I’m so happy and excited for the future! Get super excited, because SSL is going to Europe, and I will be posting mad pics on the blog and Insta!
For my senior pics, I wanted to stick with a “winter, spring, summer, fall” theme, because idk I guess it’s symbolic, but also I love living in a place with such distinct seasons. For these photos, I went back to the hiking trail near Nevada City I told you guys about a few weeks ago. Before we took pictures, we hung out in the city, eating lunch at South Pine Cafe, which is the cutest little restaurant that serves super fresh, healthy food, and I’m in loooove. I’d be totally fine if they expanded to Reno. Also! We hit up The Curly Wolf which my brother calls the “Harry Potter” coffee shop because of its dark, semi-gothic style. I’d 10/10 recommend taking a day trip to Nevada City if you live near the area, because it’s just so cute, and of course the Independence Trail hike is amazing!
Thanks for sticking with me all these years. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for SSL and life ahead!
I’m currently in the process of planning my big trip to Europe, which is both extremely exciting and overwhelming! On one hand, choosing the cities I want to visit and the things I want to see has been a huge motivator, but then I get anxiety attacks about Airbnb bookings and the thought of searching for a travel insurance provider. There’s so much to think about, lots much to do, and of course graduation before I can even get excited about this trip. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!
In the midst of all this planning, I have also been attempting to take day-trips close to my home on my very limited time off. Whether it’s visiting a cute antique shop and eating Basque food in Gardnerville or trying out a new beach in Lake Tahoe, I love having the opportunity to learn more about my state and the surrounding areas. This past weekend, I decided to head over to Nevada City, CA for coffee, lunch, and a quick hike. I’ve passed the Nevada City exit time and time again on my way to San Francisco, and I finally decided to check it out.
Nevada City ended up being entirely different than I expected. It’s such a cute little town with fun shops, a cool coffee house where the locals hang out, and plenty of restaurants. I think I’m even going to head back there next weekend if I can get off work in time!
A few minutes out of town itself is a quick, simple hike called the Independence Trail. It’s probably one of the greenest places I’ve ever seen with velvety, moss-covered rocks, and an an amazing waterfall at the end. The minute you reach the waterfall there’s a beautiful, windy bridge and the mist sends a chill in the air, so I recommend tying a jacket around your waste (which I did not). As you can see, I was 100% not dressed properly for hiking, as that was not on my agenda for the day, but again, it’s such a simple hike that it’s practically just walking. I would only recommend wearing hiking boots or tennis shoes as it can get a little muddy out there.
I’ll update you with recommendations for Nevada City next time I visit. It’s such a fun day trip if you live in the Northern Nevada/California area!
Jeans: Lucky Brand – Smoking Slippers: Sebago – Fringe Blouse: Thrifted (similar) – Sunglasses: Ray Ban
These savory palmiers with parmesan and everything bagel spice are a simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer. They are great with artichoke dip, on a cheeseboard, or just by themselves!
After a week and a half of recovering from surgery I’m finally back! Although I can’t say my senior-year spring break was worthy of being considered a “spring break woohoo!” by any means, I can’t really complain about playing lots of guitar, having an excuse to eat ice cream for all three meals, and watching Season 2 of Love for an entire week, right? Take it from me, if you’re sick and also feeling blah about a breakup, ice cream and Love will solve all of your problems…or at least help you pretend you don’t have any in the first place*.
*jk, this is probably not the healthy way to deal with feelings, but we can all be self-indulgent once in a while, right?
Anyways, my week off was fun, but I’m ready to drag myself back into my regular routine so that I can get ready to graduate! As I get closer to graduation, I’m looking for some fun, simple appetizers that I can throw together for my party, and these savory palmiers are definitely my new go-to. They come together in just a few minutes, and honestly, who doesn’t love everything bagel spice?
About palmiers + this recipe
If you’ve never had a palmier, let’s chat, because you’re definitely missing out! Also known as palm leaves, elephant ears, or French hearts, palmiers are a traditional French pasty made with puff pastry and sugar. Puff pastry is a laminated dough similar to croissant dough, but without the yeast. The result is a cookie that is buttery, flaky, and a bit crisp!
As a busy student who loves to cook, I’m always looking for easy appetizers or snacks that I can bring along whenever I’m invited to someone’s house for dinner. Normally, I go for a cheese plate, because cheese = ♥, but I also am passionate about everything spice. So for this recipe, I put the two together for a savory palmier combo that’s reminiscent of an everything bagel with cream cheese, except with more butter. Because, duh.
Ingredients you will need
Puff pastry – frozen or homemade, although I’ve only ever used the pre-made kind.
Cream cheese – the kind that comes in a block. Make sure to leave it out to soften!
Parmesan cheese – preferably grated but any kind will work.
Everything bagel spice – don’t worry, I’ll give you a recipe for how to make your own! You can also buy it pre-made.
Kitchen basics – Kosher salt and an egg.
How to make these savory palmiers
Start by rolling the creases in the puff pastry with a floured rolling pin until you have a 9×12” rectangle.
Next, evenly spread half of the cream cheese on the puff pastry. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, everything bagel spice, and some Kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Fold the puff pastry sheets to form two six-layer rolls (instructions below). Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and then cut each roll into sixteen 1/2” slices.
Arrange the cookies at least two inches apart on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash.
Bake at 350°F for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately!
How to fold
You have a couple of options for forming palmiers, but each is really simple! Let’s discuss folding vs. rolling.
To fold the palmiers, start with the long side facing you. Fold the sides of the rectangle towards the center until they go halfway to the middle of the dough. Next, fold the sides again until the two folds meet in the middle of the dough. Lastly, fold one half of the dough over the other half (like a book). You will have one roll with six layers.
Alternatively, you can roll the palmiers for a swirlier look. First, lightly mark the center of the dough as a guide. Then, starting with one of the short sides facing you, roll the dough tightly ending at the center of the dough. Turn and roll the other side until the two sides meet. Use a little water or egg wash to help the rolls stick together.
How to serve
Although these savory palmiers are great on their own, you can also serve them alongside other snackies! Here are some of my favorite ways:
As a base for crostini (try smoked salmon and capers to stick with the bagel theme)
To dip into soup!
Palmiers are best when eaten immediately since they tend to lose their crunch over time. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container and leave them at room temp for 2-3 days. Just know that they might lost their crispiness. To crisp them back up, you can always reheat them in the oven at 350° for a few minutes. Just be sure to check on them to make sure they don’t burn!
A make-ahead freezer option
If you want to make these savory palmiers in advance, you can always form the cookies, slice them, and then just stick them in the fridge (covered) until you’re ready to bake them. I definitely recommend doing this and baking them right before your guests arrive so they are warm and crispy!
You can also slice the cookies, and layer them in-between parchment paper in an airtight container. Freeze for up to one month. Then, when you’re ready to bake them, let the cookies de-frost for about 30-40 minutes. Brush with egg wash, bake, and enjoy! I love this option for last-minute get-togethers. Especially when the holidays roll around, it’s nice to have something on hand to serve last-minute guests!
Tips & Tricks
The puff pastry will be a bit thick out of the package. Roll it with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s a 9×12” rectangle. Cut the edges with a pizza cutter if necessary.
If the puff pastry starts to get a bit soft and sticky, just stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it back up.
The cream cheese can be a bit hard to spread, but just take your time and work gently. With a butter knife and a little patience, you’ll be able to get it spread evenly.
If the middles will not stick together, just use a little water or egg wash to help them stick.
Make sure to turn the pan halfway into baking or some of the cookies will be crisper than others.
Bake the cookies on the middle rack to prevent the bottoms of the cookies from overcooking.
In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until combined. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water. Set aside.
Unroll one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 9×12'' rectangle. Evenly spread 2 ounces of the cream cheese onto the puff pastry, and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, half of the everything bagel spice, and a few pinches of salt.
Next, form the cookies. Starting with the long side towards you, fold each side of the puff pastry halfway towards the middle. Then, fold the sides again until they meet in the middle. Fold one half over the other (like a book). You should have one roll with six layers.
Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the rolls for about 20 minutes.
Trim the ends of each roll. Cut each roll into 16 1/2-inch slices (32 cookies total). Arrange the cookies about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheet pans (you may need to bake in batches). Brush the cookies with the egg wash.
Bake the palmiers on the middle rack of your oven for 22-25 minutes until golden brown, turning the pan halfway through baking. Serve immediately and enjoy!
This recipe is a great template for other flavors as well (cheddar + rosemary, feta + za’atar?).If the puff pastry gets sticky, just stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.Be gentle when spreading the cream cheese on the puff pastry or it will tear. Use a butter knife and work patiently!To crisp up leftover palmiers, just stick them in the oven at 350° for 3-5 minutes.
Matcha kettle corn is an earthy, almost floral snack. Lightly sweetened and flavored with matcha powder, it is Perfect for movie night or a snack bar!
I know that St. Patty’s Day is not a super celebrated holiday in the U.S. (and probably we don’t really celebrate the correct way), but I’ve always felt drawn to it purely based on the fact that my favorite color is green. As a little girl who was obsessed with green, I thought it was the coolest that there was a holiday where everyone wore my favorite color. And now, I’m planning my trip for Ireland! And guuuuyyyyyys. I’m crushing hard on Ireland. Based on pictures, I’m pretty sure I’m utterly in love.
I’m a little bummed about this St. Patty’s Day this year, because I’m having surgery the day before. No beer or corned beef for me wah wah 🙁 But then! I was innocently going about my day, and god knows why, but I started thinking about kettle corn. (Do I really need a reason?). And then suddenly without hesitation, matcha kettle corn popped into my brain. And what better way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day than with green kettle corn?!
Remember in elementary school when we would have parties for all the holidays, and without fail, at every single celebration, someone’s mom would make those sweet popcorn balls with shit tons of Yellow 6 and Red 40 and Blue 294u304889? I have a vivid memory of trying my damnedest to bite into one, but it was absolutely impossible. Why did no one’s mom just think to make regular kettle corn? Anyways, the point is that matcha kettle corn is essentially an adult-friendly throwback to green-colored sweet popcorn balls except without the poison, so you’re welcome !!
Notes: As for the matcha part of this kettle corn, I would say you have to be a pretty big fan of matcha to enjoy this. Well, obviously. If you want a light coating, start with about 1 tsp. of matcha. You can add less for a very light coating. Add another 1/2 tsp. if you want a little more flavor. I liked it with 1 1/2 tsp., but I luuuurve matcha. Also, I believe that the kettle corn is perfectly sweet with 1/4 c. of sugar, especially to balance the earthiness of the tea. But, feel free to use less if you don’t like sugary kettle corn. My dad doesn’t like super sugary kettle corn but said it’s the perfect balance of sweet. So take that as you will!
Matcha Kettle Corn
Matcha Kettle Corn
Matcha kettle corn is an earthy, floral snack. Lightly sweetened and flavored with matcha, it is perfect for movie night or a snack bar!
In a heavy stockpot with tall sides, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add a few popcorn kernels. Once they’ve popped, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter and the remaining popcorn kernels. Stir.
Sprinkle the sugar over the top. Cover the pot with a lid, and gently shake the pot until most of the kernels are popped, about 1-2 seconds between pops.
Immediately pour the popcorn into a medium-sized, heat-proof bowl or container with a lid. Sprinkle the matcha powder and salt over the popcorn. Place the lid on bowl or container, and shake until the matcha is evenly distributed. (You can also use a large brown paper bag if you don’t have a container with a lid!). Let cool (the sugar will be hot!). Happy snacking!
This is obviously a matcha-centric recipe, so I like to use 1 1/2 tsp. of matcha, but feel free to do 1 tsp. for a lighter coating. I use 1/4 c. of sugar for a slightly sweet flavor, but feel free to add more for sweeter kettle corn!
A few weeks ago, my mom and grandma came into town, and we spent our days antiquing with my aunts and cousins. Through my years of antiquing, I have become absolutely obsessed with candlewick glass (although I now lovingly referring to it as bubble glass, because it’s much cuter, and I didn’t actually know it was called ‘candlewick’ until my aunt mentioned it a couple days ago). I have now compiled a whole china cabinet full of candlewick glass, because my aesthetic is an 80 year old in a 20-something’s body unless I’m picking out clothing, in which case I normally fit into the 60s or early 90s decades. But I digress. Candlewick is where it’s at, and although I’m probably too old to play tea party, I can almost guarantee that I will find an excuse to have one in the near future if only to utilize the four eight tea cups and saucers I have accumulated over the years. But for the time being, I’ve been using it in much more practical ways, like for Thai coleslaw for example.
You may have noticed that the theme around SSL as of late has been all-things-spring, especially if you read my post “Little White Blossoms“, which is kind of hilarious considering that today in Reno, all we had was little white snow flakes…But no matter. I have already decided that it’s spring, and spring equals BBQs which equals coleslaw (and grilled corn and potato chips and watermelon and….stop me while you can). I’m not quite sure why Reno is bringing back the snow and cold weather, but I do know that the spring semester is almost over and that I’m completely on board to BBQ all summer long.
To be honest, I’ve never really liked coleslaw although pulled pork is one of my favorite foods, and BBQs are my favorite kind of party. To most, coleslaw goes hand in hand…but for me? No thanks. I’m not necessarily interested in cabbage when it’s swimming in a pool of runny, sweet mayonnaise encased in a disposable plastic container. Sounds appetizing, right? I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but then I tried Thai coleslaw, and I was forever changed.
Thai coleslaw is not soggy or runny at all, but it is simple to throw together and goes perfectly with pork lettuce wraps (or anything else for that matter). This recipe has become kind of a big deal in my house, and although I can’t claim it’s an original, I have adapted the recipe to fit my needs accordingly. All you have to do is chop up the veggies, and you can throw the dressing on a couple hours in advance (which I prefer). Simple, delicious, and does not require turning on the oven in the summer heat. I would even go so far as to throw some grilled chicken or tofu in there and call it a weeknight, summery meal. (Okay, let’s be honest, I have done that before, and I stand by that decision. I have no shame in my game).