Sunday, March 30

French Toast, Strawberries and Cream

Last night I made my favorite yeast bread. It's an Italian bread recipe that I use for just about everything. Some of my favorites include: Parmesan bread sticks, Braided herb bread and Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. I'll do a post on this heavenly bread soon. But until then you'll have to be content with dreaming about its goodness. With half of the loaf leftover from last night's dinner I knew just the Sunday lunch I wanted to make. French toast with strawberries and sweetened whip cream. I love the combination of cinnamon, freshly ground cloves and vanilla so used that for my egg mixture.

Serves 4

French Toast
3 eggs
5-6 cloves freshly ground or about 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter
12 slices Italian bread sliced to desired thickness (I go about 1/2-3/4 inches thick)

Whisk the eggs, ground cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and milk in a shallow bowl until well blended. Meanwhile add butter to your favorite skillet or griddle. If using your stove keep the heat between medium and medium-high. If using an electric griddle the heat should about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip sliced bread into egg mixture and add to skillet when the butter sizzles. Flip when bead is golden brown on the skillet side down.

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Using an electric hand mixer or whisk, beat cream until slightly thickened (like a creamy soup). Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Depending on how sweet you want your cream you may want to start with just 1/2 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Taste mixture and add more sugar as desired. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

*Tip: Freezing your bowl for a few minutes before adding the cream will shorten your whipping time.

Serve French toast with sliced strawberries, whipped cream and syrup if desired.

Braided Italian bread with poppy seeds and an egg wash
Loving my mortar and pestle, before...

And after...

Strawberries and Cream! We could just stop there.


Friday, March 28

Classic Vinaigrette Dressing

Five ingredients and one fabulous vinaigrette, sound like a plan? I'm falling in love with the Pompeian brand of Balsamic Vinegar Pomegranate Infused. Vinaigrette's have quickly become my go-to dressings for just about all salads. Strawberry spinach, Greek with feta, Quinoa, you name it! Vinaigrette's are refreshing, a little tangy, a hint of sweetness and complement so many different flavors. The trick to keeping your oil and vinegar mixed is an emulsifier. Sounds fancy doesn't it? Basically an emulsifier helps prevent your vinaigrette from separating. One of the most common emulsifiers is mustard. If you are in to food science take a look at this fun post by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats. Who knew the power of just a little mustard?

I like my vinaigrette more on the tangy side and use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to oil.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
Pinch of sugar
Dash of Dijon mustard (about 1/4 teaspoon)

*Note, using more mustard will keep your vinaigrette homogeneous for a longer period of time.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, garlic, sugar and Dijon mustard is a small bowl, slowly whisk in your olive oil. Taste, and adjust flavors to your preference.
My newest T.J Maxx find. You can also use your garlic press, but the pestle and mortar looked more fun. 
Garlic is nice and smashed
Now whisk away!

Thursday, March 27

Mango Lime Quinoa

Hi Friends,

So I realize I haven't posted ANYTHING in a very, very long time. The Hubs and I welcomed our 1st in November. While pregnant, morning sickness hit me for a solid three months. Even the cooking obsessed person that I am couldn't stand the kitchen...(it was rough) Fast forward a few months and our little man was born. Now four months old he loves to smile, chew on his toes and put everything he can in his month. We're probably partial but think he's pretty darn adorable!

With the pregnancy also came a lot of extra weight ugh. I'm not really someone who follows the whole calorie counting thing, rather the hubs and I avoid processed foods, eat desserts minimally and exercise. Four months post pregnancy I'm down 40lbs!!!

But anyway this post isn't about babies and pregnancy it's about one of the most delicious and good for you quinoa recipes you will try. Why I love it...1. It's easy 2. It's delicious 3. It has the perfect springtime flavors that I've been craving since the snow finally melted 4. It's incredibly healthy. If you're not super familiar with cooking quinoa or its health benefits check out this post from my friend Yvonne at Tried and Tasty. She is the queen of quinoa.

Recipe adapted from Moroccan Fish with Mango and Couscous

1 1/4 cup dried quinoa cooked
1 ripe mango diced
1 green onion minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
5- 6 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (more or less depending on your preference)
Black pepper to taste

Serves 4

Prepare quinoa according to instructions. While quinoa is cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Gently incorporate the fluffed quinoa into dressing mixture. Serve warm.

These pictures don't do this dish justice, so you'll just have to believe me and try it!