Mini French Toast

It seems that every time I buy a baguette I can never seem to finish it before it becomes stale–fresh bread really only has a 1 or 2 day window–so most of the time I end up with no choice but having to throw out the rest of the baguette! Not able to find a baker nearby who makes a half-sized baguette, I came up with an idea the other morning to use up the rest of my still-fresh bread… Mini french toast!

What you’ll need:
Leftover baguette
1-2 eggs
Cinnamon
Splash of milk
Maple syrup
Berries for garnish (optional, but highly recommended!)

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Slice up your bread into 1-2 centimeter slices. Whisk together 1-2 eggs, splash of milk, and teaspoon or so of cinnamon. Soak each piece of bread in the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture. Heat a cast iron griddle pan (we have this one) on medium-high heat, lightly grease, and cook each side of the bread until golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup and berries!

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Enjoy!  PS – Doesn’t that strawberry look amazing? One of the many perks of living in California is the most amazing fruit ever!

Sunday Dinner

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I love a nice, hearty Sunday Dinner in the winter, but in the summer I just have such a hard time pulling myself away from the beach! By the time we make our way off the sand and back home the sun has gone down and we’re super hungry! A quick and easy dinner is what I look for in the summer so I can get something tasty on the table in a flash. Earlier on Sunday morning I headed over to the Newburyport Farmer’s Market to pick up a few items, hoping to have everything ready to go for that night. Here’s what I picked up:

Fresh wild garlic scapes linguini
1 carton of cherry tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
A bunch of kale
Small ball of fresh mozzarella

I left everything in the fridge and headed to the beach! When I got home I threw on a pot of water and hopped into the shower quickly. When I got out I threw in the pasta — only 1.5 – 2 minutes cook time if its fresh! When it was finished I drizzled it with olive oil (so it wouldn’t stick) and left it to cool. I sent Doug outside to grill the two chicken breasts, and since the rest of the dish was so full of flavor we just seasoned them with a little S+P.

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Inside I prepared the kale. I have a cheat method in the oven to making “sautéed kale” when I don’t want to splatter my stove top with oil. Just tossed in a little olive oil and salt and placed on a cookie sheet inside the oven for a few minutes at 350* until they are wilted. Keep a close eye on it, because you don’t want them to turn into kale chips! I tossed the kale and pasta and set it aside while I sliced up my cherry tomatoes. Just tossed them in after adding some nice color to the dish!

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Just as the chicken was finishing up on the grill I chopped up my mozzarella. (This I actually picked up at the Joppa Fine Foods store right next to where the Farmer’s Market is — they have a super legit cheese section that looks like it was right out of France!) I always add them right before we eat because if you add them in too soon the warmth from the pasta or chicken might heat them up and make them a little rubbery.

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Don’t forget to pour yourself a little glass of wine to enjoy while you’re cooking! Hope you have a great week!

PS – If you don’t finish it, this pasta dish tastes fantastic cold the next day for lunch! xx

Chop Shop

Gift giving can sometimes be super stressful — what do you give someone who really has everything? Every year we wrestle with ideas for Father’s Day and this year we actually came up with something really fun — a cooking class!

We signed up for a private group class at Chop Shop Cooking and got to choose 5 different mini dishes to make.  While we sat at the counter and sipped wine, chef Karen went through each recipe showing us the tips and tricks of the trade.

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Our first recipe was a sesame crusted tuna taco with a pineapple salsa and wasabi cream. I was so surprised how quick it was to make! Its definitely a recipe for one of those nights where you don’t have a ton of time to cook dinner.

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Another quick meal was coriander spiced salmon with fennel, oranges, and radishes. The homemade dressing was amazing and she used different types of oranges to give the dish some nice color.

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We also made Pomegranate Glazed Chicken with Figs and Quinoa, and Jerk Chicken and Peach Skewers with a Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad!  Everything was so great — I hope that when Doug and I tackle some of these recipes this week they come out as good!

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Westport, CT

The Art of Eating Alone

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I have been traveling quite a bit for work these days, which inevitably leads to eating many meals alone. Eating by myself is not something I have ever really enjoyed — and I realized during a values exercise I took in my coach training program that sharing a meal with my family is an important part of my life. I ate at the dinner table with my family every night of the week growing up, so I feel a natural pull to want to eat at the table with my family as an adult.

But when you’re stuck in a hotel or airport alone, you just have to make do with what you have. Here are some of my tips for making solo meals enjoyable:

Order something nice. You’ll be much more likely to have a great meal if you’re eating something delicious. Don’t skimp just because you’re alone, all meals are meant to be enjoyed!  Don’t forget to order yourself a nice glass of wine!

Take advantage of the opportunity to people watch. By far my favorite part about dining alone is the time I have to take in my surroundings. If I’m eating with someone else my focus would be on them. But if I’m alone I can people watch to my heart’s content without ignoring my date.

Catch up on your reading. If I’m in a quite cafe or restaurant, sometimes I will bring along the newspaper and catch up on the world news. Or, if I’m in the middle of a really great book I might pull out my Kindle.  Right now I’m reading The Red Notebook and I have about 10 other books on my must-read list (see below!).

Image via Pinterest

 

Vacay Every Day

Ever have one of those weeks (or days!) where you just feel like you need a vacation? Where you just wish you could just close your eyes and magically transport yourself to a beach in the Caribbean, complete with a tropical drink in your hand? Yeah, me too. I haven’t figured out the whole “close your eyes and wake up at the beach” part, but I can certainly help with the tropical drink.

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Palm Breeze is a sparkling alcohol spritz drink that comes in two tropical flavors, Ruby Red Citrus and Pineapple Mandarin Orange. I found both flavors at my local liquor store (already chilled in the fridge!) and brought them home to test out. The Pineapple Mandarin Orange is my favorite and I’ve created my own signature cocktail for when I have my girlfriends over for a beach day this summer.

Christine’s Caribbean Cocktail

1 can Palm Breeze (Pineapple Mandarin Orange)
1 shot mandarin orange vodka
Splash of club soda
Cherry or Strawberry for garnish

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Of course, no tropical drink is complete with a mini umbrella! I picked up a whole pack at a local party store so I could have them on hand for any impromptu parties that I might have this summer! After this long winter I know we’re all itching to spend our weekends outside, hanging out, drinking Palm Breeze and soaking up the sun! I also love that it comes in a can — super convenient for any BYOB party or picnic. And I don’t need to worry about bringing bottle openers and corkscrews, or the potential of having broken glass!

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So go on and get yourself your own pack of Palm Breeze (you can look up stores where its sold nationwide here) and celebrate a “vacay every day” with your girlfriends!  And don’t forget to send me pics on Twitter or Instagram of your parties with the hashtag #VacayEveryDay!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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