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.
Now that we’re out of January, I feel like we’ve turned a corner weather wise. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’m convinced warm spring days are not too far away. (Mind you, I live in Seattle so yes, this is very wishful thinking).
One of my favorite things about Seattle is the thriving food truck culture. You can get any type of cuisine you desire made with love, fresh ingredients and culinary sophistication befitting a top restaurant. It’s a passionate, tight nit culture, with incredible creativity. Plus ,there is just something fun about walking outside to enjoy authentic Indonesian cuisine one day then southern style soul food the next.
Contigo’s Modern Mexican serves crave worthy tacos and gorditas, and it’s a must visit for me year round. Their food is actually all gluten free, the chicken mole is to die for with a sweet smokiness and the short rib tacos are mouth watering. The best part… the habanero lemonade that starts out sweet, then quickly sends a fire up from the back of your throat. It’s both surprising and addictive. If you are ever in the Seattle area I highly recommend paying Contigo a visit… it’s a great spot for a delicious healthy lunch.
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.
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.
I’ve taken to watching The Barefoot Contessa episodes on Saturday mornings and finding great recipes and menus to make for the rest of the week. If you haven’t seen Ina Garten’s show you must go to the TV right now, find the Food Network and Tivo the show or just sit there and wait until it comes on…it’s that good. In fact, I’m pretty sure I might want to be Ina when I grow up… that fabulous Hamptons house, endless festive get togethers with friends, the enviable garden brimming with flowers and the most amazing parsley and basil you’ve ever seen, her adorable, loving husband Jeffery and the food….oh the food! I promise, after watching just one episode you’ll feel at the same time relaxed and completely inspired!
This tequila lime chicken recipe is now one of my all times favorites. Everyone knows chicken is a great lean protein choice when you want a healthy dinner, but let’s be honest, it can be a little boring. That’s why I can’t get enough of this recipe! It’s a zesty marinade of fresh orange and lime juice, garlic and tequila with a kick from chile power and jalapeno pepper. Oh it’s so delicious and it makes chicken an enticing and best of all HEALTHY dinner choice. I love serving it with Ina’s french potato salad and some blasted garlic broccoli. You just have to try it!