Challah French Toast Recipe

I love the concept of brunch. You don’t have to get up too early, it’s a great meal for conversation, you get to enjoy savory and sweet treats and oh yes, mimosas. Brunch is basically brilliant.

My love for Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, knows no bounds, and last week for Easter, I made her Challah French Toast Recipe. Challah bread is thick and perfect for soaking up the vanilla and honey batte,  and toasts to perfection with a crispy outside and melt in your moth middle. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and drizzle of syrup for a fabulous brunch.

Healthy Recipe: Quick Banana and Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie….with “Sneaky Spinach”

Recently I’ve been working my way through several smoothie recipes I discovered on Pinterest. Adding a few tweaks here and combining and few ideas there, I’ve come up with a go to breakfast smoothie quick and easy enough for even the busiest mornings. Plus, I get a a ton of green goodness without having to choke down lots of veggies. This recipe employs what I like to call “sneaky spinach”…meaning I get the nutritional benefits of green vegetables without actually having to taste them. To be honest, I try very hard to eat as healthy as I can, but I’m not going to lie, given the choice between broccoli and a donut, I will always choose a donut:)

Start with 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal ( I cook a batch in advance and keep it in the fridge so it’s cold), then add 1/2 to1 cup of almond milk, a scoop of protein powder, half a cup of frozen chopped spinach (to make the consistency thicker) a banana and 4 ice cubes. If you want to really cut the spinach taste add teaspoon of instant coffee graduals. (This is also helpful for early mornings). Blend and you are good to go!

Protein, calcium  potassium,  Vitamin D , fiber…you name it, this smoothie has it. The perfect thing to get me out the door fast and power me through the day!

Enjoy!

-Caitlin

Healthy Recipe: Minestrone Soup and A Grilled Chicken Panini

During the winter months there is nothing I love more than soup and a sandwich. It’s cozy and wholesome and the perfect meal to counter the cold weather. For Christmas my husband got me the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Foolproof, which I was ecstatic to receive after dropping major hints:) When I flipped to the Minestrone Soup recipe I knew it was going to be one of the first ones I tried. Let me say, true to Ina form, it did not disappoint.

This soup is delicious and layered with rustic flavors, bites of of squash, carrots and celery tomatoes and just a hint of heat. It’s hearty enough for a full meal even though I paired the soup with a grilled chicken panini. To make the panini I simply rubbed skinless chicken breasts with pesto then baked them in the oven, sliced fresh thin ciabatta bread, added a few gorgonzola crumbles , a few spinach leaves and a bit more pesto then pressed them in the panini.

I love this dinner since it’s incredibly healthy.. filled with lean protein, tons of veggies and healthy monounsaturated fat from the olive oil. You can make it ahead and serve it all week, my husband and I thought it was ideal for a movie night or a  laid back dinner soirée with friends. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Healthy Recipe: Bananas Foster Bread

When the weather turns to fall, the leaves start to change and the days get a little shorter, I  I love making quick breads. The fill the house wonderful aromas, they are a delicious treat and, as the name suggests, they are quick and easy to make. My husband always gives me a hard time for letting our bananas over ripen, then reneging on my promise to use them for banana bread. This weekend, however, I finally proved him wrong! I found this delicious recipe for bananas foster bread from Cooking Light which uses greek yogurt in place of oil to cut out fat and calories.

Bananas foster is a decedent dessert where bananas are flambéed with rum or cognac, and in this bread recipe you simmer the rum or cognac with the mashed bananas before combing the dry ingredients  You also add a tablespoon of rum or cognac to the glaze for adults, but you can omit this step if you want to serve it to your kids:) This bananas foster bread has rich banana flavor without being overly sweet, ground flaxseeds add a nice nuttiness and the greek yogurt give it a little bite! It’s a great guilt free fall treat!

The Best Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Sometimes I think I hit the gym just to justify my love of food..especially dessert. When it comes to my diet, I like to practice moderation, so while I make sure I get plenty of lean protein and veggies, I also have to have dessert! And chocolate ice cream is one of my favorites.

A few years ago I bought an ice cream maker sort of on a whim, and it collected dust in my kitchen. But then for some reason (probably an episode of the Barefoot Contessa), this summer I was all about making homemade ice cream. I think if you’re going to eat dessert, really go for it. Get the richest and most flavorful ingredients and make something really special and delicious, then just have a smaller portion.  This chocolate ice cream from Williams Sonoma is my new obsession. It’s rich, intoxicatingly chocolatey and has a smooth, creamy texture. Definitely worth a try!

An ice cream maker is actually a really fun thing to have and the one I have is on sale here. The recipes are pretty easy to make and you make it your own by adding in different things like fruit, candy, nuts…really anything you can imagine!

This recipe has really simple ingredients just eggs, cream and chocolate and sugar.

Simply heat and mix milk and cream together.

Find the best quality chocolate you can…it really makes a difference!

Chill the mixture in the fridge, I like to chill it overnight to get the best texture.