avocado chocolate chip pound cake

I’m currently studying for my U.S. History exam, and to be honest, it’s a lot of mindless memorization.  The kind of memorization that makes my brain mushy and eyes dizzy.

The one thing that keeps the subject mildly interesting are the diary excerpts that sometimes show up in the DBQ section (document-based essay section).  I recently read an excerpt from a diary of a Lowell factory girl talking about how awful the other girls at the factory were, and how terrible the conditions were in the summer — this humanized the dates and numbers behind the Industrial Revolution; suddenly, history got a lot more interesting.  It’s literally reading someone else’s diary, but in a socially acceptable way.

In this digital age, I’m not penning my thoughts with a quill on parchment, or even scribbling in a fancy-pants moleskine notebook.  But the thought of a diary fascinates me.

In a way, my diary is the Notes section on my iPhone. It’s a lot less romantic than a diary, but just as raw.

I used to get super paranoid when my friends would look at pictures on my phone, for fear that they might stumble across my notes page.  I’m less paranoid now because A) my notes are hidden deep in the depths of my app folders where no one can find them and B) even if you read my notes you wouldn’t be able to figure them out.

To get totally crazy here are the first few notes in my phone, and what (I think) they mean.

“Plan:” (followed by no plan to do anything) ~ classic.

“Gm cherry get cash not target demographic” ~ this was probably written at a dark moment while studying for some test.  I wish I could tell you what this means, but I have no idea. Sounds interesting.

“Bunky” ~ an old man who takes drop-in advanced adult ballet with me.  He wears loafers instead of ballet shoes and, thus can’t point his feet.  He has a faded tattoo that spells “bunky” on one of his arms.

“Write about how good it feels to get your scalp massaged at Hair Cuttery” ~ self-explanatory

These bits of jibberish are pretty important to me.  I am always paranoid about forgetting things — so when some stroke of so-called brilliance hits me, I have to write it down or else I will forget it immediately. Sometimes, I’ll write down something like “avocados are the butter of the Earth.”  Some of these snippets end up being stories I tell to you all, some of them end up being baked into pound cake, most of them remain in the gigabytes of my phone collecting cyber-dust.

Nonetheless, these shards and memories are the good stuff, like the artichoke hearts of life. When I’m rolled over in bed at 2 a.m. furiously typing a note to myself, you best believe it’s important.

With love,
Erica

Avocado Pound Cake

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line and grease a 9-inch loaf pan.

  2. In a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil, avocado and sugar together. 

  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth, add vanilla extract and beat once more.

  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda. 

  5. Stir into avocado mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and spoon into loaf pan. 

  6. Bake 65 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, slice, and enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

nutella and biscoff pocky sticks

I really like my job as a hostess because I get to see so many people in one day. Every shift, I probably see over a thousand people, and talk to all of them.

Yes, my job is technically just to say “good morning/afternoon,” and simply jot down their name and number so I can call them when a table’s ready.  I am supposed to show them to their tables, tell them about the brunch specials, and move on to the next party.

However, I approach it a bit differently.  I like to think that I give a little piece of myself away to every person I meet.

I’m the girl who talked to you about how weird bratwurst is.  You helped me pick up my fallen menus when it got windy, I thanked you.  Your kid kicked me in the shins, and I laughed it off.  A lady spilled her heart out to me as she waited for her table about her recent divorce.

Over winter break, I visited Providence with my mom.  We were exhausted, and decided to have dinner around five in a big empty restaurant.  I will never forget our waitress.  After we placed our orders, she just started talking to us.  She told us how she wanted to go into nursing or criminal justice, she told us about how she and her ex-boyfriend had joint custody of her dog, she talked about her big Portuguese family and showed us her Instagram.  I think many people would have been really annoyed by this, but I will never forget her.

Of course, I’m not going to give my customers my whole life story (I’m not trying to get fired…), but I want to leave an impression on them, figure them out a little bit, scratch the surface. I like to think that one day, when that recent divorcee is old and sitting on a park bench watching her grandchildren play on a tire swing, she’ll remember me, the hostess she talked to for half an hour about her new lifestyle choices.

I don’t know what this has to do with Pocky sticks, I just wanted to talk about it. Enjoy this recipe for jazzed up Pocky sticks!

With love,
Erica

Biscoff Pocky Sticks

Ingredients

Cookie sticks

  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg white

Nutella coating

  • 1 cup candy melts
  • 1/4 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies, beat all of the cookie

    ingredients except for the egg white together in the bowl of an electric

    mixer. 

  2. Beat until a dough forms around the paddle. If the dough is

    too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of water.


  3. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a

    disk, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


  4. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

    Divide the dough into 32 balls (divide into quarters three times).


  5. Roll each ball into a thin stick, about 5-6 inches long. Transfer each stick to the parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white.


  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sticks are golden brown. Cool completely.


  7. To make the coating: Melt the candy melts either in the microwave or a double boiler. Once the candy melts are melted, stir in the Nutella (you can substitute Biscoff for a different flavor!). Pour this mixture into a tall glass.


  8. Once the cookies are cool, dip each cookie stick into the candy melt/Nutella mixture and decorate with sprinkles. If the candy melt mixture is no longer smooth, add a drop of vegetable oil to the mixture until it is a good dipping consistency.


  9. Repeat with the remaining cookie sticks. Refrigerate coated cookie sticks until just before serving. 

 
Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

rainbow cake

So last week I gave you a little talk about real talk.  Basically, I don’t want to be a confectioners-sugar-dusted-phoney.  That’s why I’ve decided to get crazy with some real-life confessions on here.

Confessions. That’s a scary word.

So here it goes, here’s my first confession.

I like reading Craigslist Personal Ads.

Disclaimer: I would never ever ever in a million years even think about posting an ad on Craigslist (or answer one), but I like to read them.

Yes, some are creepy, some are weird (ex. “I enjoy theatrical-quality tomfoolery”…what), and some are downright fake.  But some are nice.  My favorites are in the “missed connections” forum.

This is where people leave messages hoping to find people they’ve crossed paths with.  There is something less sinister about this forum than the others, no creepy requests, no augmented biographies pleading for a date.  Instead, there’s a sort-of-sad sad sincerity in these posts.

These people couldn’t get a face/aura out of their mind all day, and are now beating themselves up for not saying anything. There is hope and regret intertwined in all of the posts (“I would have talked to you but I was too shy”).  The regret of not seizing the moment, the hope that maybe this little “message in a bottle” (via Craigslist) will miraculously reach that special person.

The sweet, sad thing about this is that 99 times out of 100, these ads are never reciprocated.  That person who was reading Harry Potter 5 on the train is probably back at home, flipping through the pages and eating Lean Cuisine and will never see the post on Craigslist.  But the admirer posts it anyways.

Here’s one I liked:
“I wish I went and sat next to you and said
hello, but obviously I didn’t and here I am posting this note you will
probably never read. Wherever you were going, I hope you got there safe,
and that despite the rain you are having a great day”

I like think about all of the faces I see in a day, and all of the stories, fears, and adventures that lie behind all of those faces. I’m not advocating talking to strangers.  But I guess this should inspire us to seize the
moment and not miss an opportunity to speak to someone.  Yolo?

Anyways, now that I’ve shared something weird about myself with you all, I am going to share this weird cake recipe! It’s super easy, super funky, and will knock all of your friend’s socks off when you serve it.  It looks like an unassuming vanilla cake… and then BAM! Rainbow madness on the inside. Check it out.

With love,
Erica

Rainbow Cake

A beautiful rainbow cake that will surprise everyone with a burst of color upon the first slice. 

Keyword buttercream, cake, dessert, rainbow
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • White cake batter divided (you can use box mix or homemade)
  • Food coloring
  • Your favorite buttercream frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles!

Instructions

  1. Prepare the cake batter, and then divide into however many colors you would like.
  2. Use food dye to color the batter, use a lot so that the colors turn out really nice and saturated and brilliant.
  3. Drop the batter into a prepared cake pan(s) and bake as normal.
  4. Frost, decorate with sprinkles, and enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

fried banana bread bites

At this time of year, bunnies are supposed to popping out of flower beds left and right, and baby chicks are supposed to be hatching from Easter eggs.

So far I’ve seen none of these things happening… I guess they just don’t happen when you live in the city.

Nonetheless, bunnies and baby chicks are all symbols of rebirth and new beginnings. I’ve definitely had some of my own new beginnings this Spring.

For one thing, I can’t sit still.  I feel this intangible energy pulsing through the air, and this fire in my throat that definitely wasn’t there in December. It’s hard to describe, but I feel like life right now is the opening scene of a movie, where there’s just a bunch of dew and morning dust floating around and it’s unclear what the movie is even about.

I am slowly getting the hang of my hostessing job.  No longer am I the girl who looks like a deer in headlights, awkwardly racking my brain for something to say as I guide people to their tables.  Some one even laughed at one of my corny jokes yesterday when they sat them at a table (I know… what?!).

I have come to terms with the mess in my room.  I now accept the fact that there will eternally be dresses and shoes and mismatched socks strewn about the floor, and I’m actually more comfortable that way than in a spick and span room.

I’ve learned how to properly apply self-tanner without looking like I have strange bruises everywhere (hello white shorts).

These are little changes, but I can say with confidence that I feel at peace.

Another new thing is that I have come to terms with deep-frying.  It doesn’t freak me out as much as it used to.  However, I still wear Speedo swimming goggles while deep frying so oil doesn’t spurt into my eyes (super dorky, yes. but would oil make me go blind? probably).  Thank goodness I conquered my fear so that I could bring you all these majestic fried banana bread bites.

With love,
Erica

Fried Banana Bread Bites

A wonderful way to jazz up an old loaf of banana bread... deep fry it!

Keyword appetizer, banana bread, dessert, fried
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of banana bread
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cut the banana bread into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Preheat the oil in a heavy metal pot to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  3. While the oil is heating up, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Drop small batches of the banana bread cubes into the hot oil, fry for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Immediately roll the fried cubes in the sugar mixture, and place on a paper towel.
  6. Repeat until you've fried all of the banana bread.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

deep-dish apple pie pizza

Deep-dish apple pie pizza. Nothing’s really that simple.

On this blog, I often worry that I am compelled to portray myself as this
teenage Martha Stewart-wannabe, but that’s not reality.

If I were Lauren Conrad or Martha Stewart, this would be different.  It is their job to look super fabulous and manicured for their readers — exhibiting guru-like knowledge on flower arrangements and sock buns that don’t look stupid.

For me, this whole blogging thing is a little different.  I don’t have endless funds to spend on peonies, my hair will never look good in a sock bun, and I have no authority to tell you all how to mix a pink mimosa.

my beautiful, blank pizza canvas

My goal is to get closer to you all as readers and tell it like it is.  I
want you to be able to read my blog posts and be all like “whoa, she
gets it!,” or “omg me too.” Definitely not a “my life is in shambles,
how can I be more like her” (because believe me, my life is in shambles
sometimes too).

Yes, I have a collection of vintage mason jars and milk bottles, I have a bin dedicated to washi tape, and I make my own granola.  But that is just one side of me.

The part that you don’t see as much is the fact that I am a worrier, I
enjoy a little bit (lot a bit) of mess in my room, and I am often very
stubborn. Thus, along with the baker’s twine, DSLR shots, and
confectioners sugar comes real feelings, real mistakes, and the real joy beyond making a photogenic batch of cupcakes.  Also, I often eat things straight out of the fridge (i.e. not plated with perfect lighting and garnishes).

One of my favorite things to eat standing up at the fridge is apple pie.
My dad used to always buy those grocery store apple pies, and I’d always
keep standing up, sneaking over to the fridge and eating just a little
sliver (by the end of the hour the pie was usually half eaten).  That
apple pie tasted so much better than warm apple pie all served up with
ice cream and whipped cream and a mint spring (mint does not belong on
apple pie).  Something about the cold, gooey, finger-food nature of it
made it just that amazing.

Pizza is another classic “fridge food,”  cold pizza straight from the fridge is a delicacy of its own.  It tastes nothing like pizza, but it tastes pretty good!

look at that big, fat crust!

Enough chit-chat.  Let’s talk about this pizza. This is a real life recipe.

Ain’t nobody got time to make real apple pie on a school night.  But we’ve got time for pizza pie. This pizza version of apple pie is all of the cinnamon-y apple goodness without the opressive pastry/pie crust rolling! (especially if you usestore-bought pizza dough… that’s real life)

The thing is, real life often tastes better than “ideal life” (a life in
which I made a mile-high apple pie with a rum syrup reduction with
apples that I picked from my garden). This strange amalgamation of the
classy, the trashy, and the unique creates something truly spectacular.
This pizza is a wonderful hybrid between you’re grandmother’s apple pie
(classy), Domino’s Cinnastix (trashy), and a cream cheese frosting
drizzled cinnamon buns (unique?).

The end result? Something perfect to eat standing up at the fridge.

If you’re looking for more easy-peasy pizza recipes to eat standing up at the fridge, you’re in luck. It’s Pizza Week on NoshOn.It! Checkout the hashtag #PizzaWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or check out the Pizza Week Pinterest Board.  The inspiration is endless!

Some favorites are:
Gerry’s Prosciutto, Pistachio, and Burrata Pizza  
Amy’s Kimchi Pizza
Shanna’s Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Pork Belly, Burrata and Arugula Pizza

With love,
Erica

it’s so gooey I’m gonna die!!!!!

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast 1/4 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for surface
  • alternatively, you could use store-bought dough

for the filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese softened

for the topping:

  • one small apple thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. First, make the pizza dough.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water into a large bowl, stir in yeast, and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Whisk
  4. in the sugar, oil, and salt.  Add flour and stir until the mixture
  5. forms a sticky dough.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with
  6. plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

  7. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F.
  8. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the ball of dough out into a big circle.
  9. Now, make the filling.  Beat together the sugar and cream cheese until it becomes a uniform mixture.  Spoon this mixture evenly around the crust, about an inch from the edge.  Fold the edges over the cream cheese to seal it inside the crust.

  10. Lay the sliced apples out on the dough.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
  11. Now, prepare the streusel.  Crumble together the 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is the size of pebbles.  Sprinkle this mixture generously all over the pizza.

  12.  Give the pizza another nice sprinkling of cinnamon.

  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy while warm!

 

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please
do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella
Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this
post.

orange scented french toast



soak:
to lie immersed in liquid (as water): become saturated by or as if by immersion

Soaking is a magical thing. I love the idea that things can drastically improve by just sitting in liquid.  This idea of idle productivity is particularly appealing to me right now, as I am procrastinating on typing up this MASSIVE outline for finals.

Things that get better after soaking:

  1. T-shirts.  There’s nothing like a soft, vintage, sun-kissed t-shirt.  I recently did a little DIY project, soaking some of my stiff, school t-shirts in a salt water bath for a few days and then machine washing them.  After a few days of soaking in salt water, they were light and soft.  Easy-peasy. 
  2. Legs.  Not quite soaking, but the absorption process is similar — letting thick, minty lotion soak into the skin for a few hours makes such a difference.  Scaly legs put me in an awful mood.  So does lotion that smells old-ladyish.  I’ve recently been obsessed with Seacret Ocean Mist Body Lotion.   No, I am not being endorsed by Seacret, although I’m quite flattered if you thought so.  I get sent stuff like industrial sized jugs of almond butter and oats (not that I’m complaining), not fancy-schmancy body creams and cosmetics. 
  3. People.  No matter how awful of a mood I am in, a soak in the bath never fails to melt some of the angrys away.  
  4. Breakfast.  Ahem french toast…

This is literally just stale bread, taken to unbelievably classy heights by a quick soak in heavy cream and orange zest.  That soak turns a boring slice of bread into an eggy, custardy, zesty sensation!  

I wish more things worked like this.  I wish I could soak in a special bath and come out knowing all of the countries in the world, or maybe I could soak in a magical concoction and emerge speaking fluent Portuguese.  That would be convenient (especially with AP exams coming up).  If I could soak in some sort of magical U.S. history bath, life would be hella easier.

Maybe someday I’ll soak myself in some heavy cream and orange zest and come out extraordinary. Never know!

With love,
Erica


Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup milk *you could just use milk, but cream makes this really rich and custardy
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange
dash of salt
6 thick slices of challah bread (slightly stale is ideal)
butter for cooking
blueberries, syrup, and/or orange marmalade for serving

In a large dish, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, and salt together.

Soak the bread slices in this mixture (about 15 seconds on each side)

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle.

Add as many slices of bread to the pan as will fit — and cook until golden and crisp (about three minutes per side). Repeat until all of the bread is cooked)

Serve with orange marmalade, syrup, and some fresh blueberries!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.