Happy New Year!
More is more for 2023.
Happy 2023 to you all. May your year be filled with flaky pastry, creamy custards, fluffy cake, and chewy cookies.
The holiday rush was real this year - dozens of activities in the first half of December, a turbulent travel saga back home to California, then two weeks of unplugged Christmas chaos and chill New Year break.
For the new year, I am adopting a more-is-more attitude. Instead of trying to implement restrictions, I want to do and eat more of the things I love and make less time for things that don’t serve me as well.
I’m talking about more fresh air and outdoor adventure (I really want to try snowshoeing this year). More snapshots over perfectly styled images, more art hung on my walls, more music (live and otherwise), and more butter lettuce (to increase the chance of me actually eating more salad this year).
On that note…thanks to all of you who signed up for a subscription over the holidays! Style Sweet Bake Club is now a Substack bestseller. In keeping with the theme of doing more of what we love, here is one last chance to subscribe at a discount for 1 year. Think of it like buying a new cookbook that updates weekly and you can ask questions about every recipe!
In 2023, I resolve to bake more snack cakes. Okay, not the healthiest of choices, but a homemade snack cake has got to be more nourishing than any packaged snack left to my mid-afternoon cravings.
I’m letting go of breakfast smoothies and the idea that I want to be a breakfast smoothie kind of person. Instead, I want more of what Sarah Copeland calls “Vacation Fruit Salad” - the fun fruit like melon and berries with fresh lime, mint, and honey. And more noodles - my favorite food - perhaps in smaller portions so that I can enjoy them every which way (miso butter, chili garlic, alla vodka, etc) more often.
As I gear up for a new year of recipes and adventures, here is a look back at some of things we baked last year and what I’ve been up to so far in 2023:
Top 5 Best Bakes of 2022:
What I’ve Been Eating:
3-ingredient vinaigrette - My kids and I have been devouring salads made with this super simple dressing of equal parts seasoned rice vinegar and olive oil plus a dollop of grainy Dijon mustard. Whisk the ingredients together in the bottom of the salad bowl then pile on handfuls of butter lettuce (good-bye spring mix, give me the good stuff) and maybe some sliced cucumbers. Toss and eat on repeat.
Semi-homemade Gyoza - Brett and I made a tradition of cooking gyoza for New Year’s Day several years ago. It’s usually just a few of us, but if you can help fold, then you can come! We took a few years off, but were back on for the 2023 Gyoza Party. I use store-bought wrappers and a filling, similar here, made with ground pork, finely diced cabbage, shredded carrots, garlic, and ginger.
Bourbon Caramel Cheesecake - This is one of my brother’s favorites, and I make it almost every holiday season. The year his two friends from France came to spend Christmas with us a few years ago, it was said this was the best dessert they had ever tasted. I use this basic cheesecake recipe and stir 2 tablespoons of bourbon into my homemade caramel sauce for drizzling on top.
Miso Butter Noodles - This cozy bowl of miso and butter sauced noodles is my ultimate form of comfort food. It is like a cross between miso carbonara and cacio e pepe. Perhaps I’ll share my recipe soon!
What I’ve Been Reading:
Lune - This stunner of a book quite literally landed on my doorstep the other day. It is gorgeous! The book is by Croissant Queen, Kate Reid. It is full of the most mouth-watering croissants for breakfast, noon, and night. I’ve been saying that I would make croissants for years, so if this isn’t a sign that 2023 is that year, then I don’t know what is.
Smitten Kitchen Keepers - My kids gifted me this cookbook for Christmas, and I am thrilled for it! I’m not sure if this should come as a surprise or not, but the first recipe I made was Deb’s Salt and Vinegar Cabbage, and it was everything I dreamed it would be.
Based on my early notes jotted down the first day the kids were back in school, 2023 should be another sweet (and savory!) year. As mentioned, I am leaning more on sturdy snack cakes and seasonal loaves in my everyday life. I’ll be happy to share more of those simple, stir-together recipes along with our more show-stopping Birthday Cake Club creations.
I’ve had a lot of requests for recipes whenever I share our lunches and weeknight dinners. While I’ve been baking professionally for 15+ years, I’ve likely made more savory recipes than sweet in my adult life. Coupled with the snapshots I vow to take more of this year, be on the look for more of my family favorites and non-dessert recipes.