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: 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.

 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies…Ever!

OK, I admit it, I am, without a doubt, a cookie monster. I doesn’t matter if they are store bought, homemade, holiday, just baked, kinda stale or the free ones you get from the bank…I love cookies. My inability to control myself around cookies (oh yeah, and pizza, but that’s another post) is one of my main motivators to get to the gym and finish super tough workouts.

Even though I’ll eat just about any cookie, my favorite is chocolate chip, and I’ve been conducting extensive research into the best recipe over the years. I’ve tried Jacques Torres, Mrs. Fields, Martha Stewart, many from all recipes and recently this one from the blog FOR ME, FOR YOU. I found it through Cupcakes and Cashmere, one of my favorite daily reads, and this recipes is definitely my new favorite. It’s amazing!

These cookies are perfect… a little crisp on the outside, but soft and gooey in the center. One of the secrets is cake flower so they have the softest texture, plus delicious flavor, not too sweet, with the perfect chocolate chip to cookie ratio. I chopped a Callebaut chocolate  bar to get the best chocolate flavor, plus I like the irregularity of chopped chocolate as oppose to chocolate chips. The cookies stayed soft and perfect for days and the batch I thought I ruined by baking them too long, was actually delicious the next day. So even if you mess this recipe up, you still get amazing cookies. I love a big chocolate chip cookie since it means I usually only eat one, and these are hands down my new favorites! You have to try them!