My husband and I just finished our 2nd week on Whole30 and we are already starting to feel the benefits: better sleep, more consistent energy, clearer skin and fewer tummy aches (that last one is a huge win for me!!). Another benefit of Whole30 is it forces you to really appreciate the taste of whole, un-processed foods. Once you eliminate processed sugars you start appreciating how sweet and satisfying fruits are. You also find yourself in the kitchen more experimenting with different ways of preparing meats and veggies. Now, I won’t lie and say we haven’t had moments of struggles. We are still looking forward to drinking whiskey and wine and eating croissants, noodles, and chocolate come February 1st, but we will be far more mindful of how often we are consuming these treats. Having experienced all the benefits on Whole30, we can find a better balance of eating healthy while still incorporating some of our favorite “guilty pleasures”.
In the meantime, I think I’ve found my favorite treat on Whole30, sweet potato toasts! My co-worker (also on Whole30) mentioned seeing these trending on Pinterest and had to give it a try myself! Sweet potatoes are delicious on their own but also subtle enough to top with some of your favorite spreads, making them the perfect substitute for toast! Here I’m sharing 6 of my favorite ways to enjoy Whole30 approved toasts: (1) almond butter, bananas and shredded coconut (2) almond butter, apple slices and dates (3) arugula, bacon and tomatoes (4) avocado, eggs and za’tar (5) avocado and red pepper flakes (6) avocado, radishes and tahini.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more excited for Thanksgiving than Christmas. It is the official start of the Holiday season, a day centered around family and friends, gratitude and of course, food and drink! This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving lunch for my family and this persimmon, pear and pomegranate salad is definitely on the menu. It’s the perfect start to the meal with sweet autumn fruits, toasted nuts, bitter greens finished with a light citrus dressing. Not only will this look beautiful on the dining table but the diverse and complex flavors are sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Napa and Sonoma are some of my favorite places to go when I need quality time with the hubby. We usually spend the 2 hour drive armed with coffee, singing along to our favorite nineties artists and spend the rest of the day daydreaming about what life would be like if we quit our jobs and lived a quiet life in wine country. This Sunday we only had one stop planned: Frog’s Leap. They were hosting a party for club members to try their newly released wines each paired with seasonal dishes made with produce from their farm. If you haven’t been to Frog’s Leap, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it (and so does my favorite blogger, Gal Meets Glam!).
We recently returned back from our 2.5 week trip to Greece and Italy (post to come!) and while it was absolutely amazing we’re happy to be home with our pups. To celebrate our family “reunion”, we went on a long walk, picked beautiful Fall leaves and made a huge breakfast! Making breakfast is one of my favorite things to do after we get home from our travels. It gives me a chance to be back in the kitchen making a “healthy” meal after days/weeks of eating out and introduces a sense of normalcy and routine back into our lives.
This kale and sweet potato skillet is one of my favorite breakfasts! The sweetness of the sweet potato complements the bitterness from the kale but what makes this dish over-the-top delicious is the fatty, spicy sausage. We love Evergood Louisiana Brand Hot Link Sausage found at Costco. Ultimately, the combination of the ingredients is what makes this dish, so feel free to prepare the egg, kale, sweet potato, or sausage any way you’d like.
Some great variations I’ve tried before include: chopped sausage in an egg scramble, whole sausage with a fried egg, and a baked sweet potato with sausage, kale, and onion toppings. My personal favorite is this version I’m sharing; there’s something about a poached egg that makes any dish feel fancy and celebratory!
I remember seeing a crepe cake on Pinterest ages ago and thinking to myself how I could never make something like that. Not only are crepes difficult to make but it would take forever to make enough crepes to be able to stack and form a cake. A few weekends ago, I hosted a brunch for a few friends and was feeling adventurous so I did it; I made the seemingly impossible crepe cake. Not only did I find out I was incredibly wrong about how difficult it was but it was absolutely DELICIOUS and has become a staple on my brunch menu.
With Easter just one day away, this would be the perfect treat to serve your guests or bring to an Easter gathering. Although Nutella is a classic compliment to crepes there are numerous filling options for a very different kind of cake: lemon curd, freshly whipped cream, fruit preserves, chocolate, mascarpone (see, endless possibilities!). Read on for a simple crepe recipe and to see for yourself how easy it truly is to make a crepe cake.
For the past few years our good friends have always hosted an Oscar-watching party complete with movie-themed drinks, delicious finger foods, and of course, Oscars bingo. This year however, they decided to end our four year tradition by traveling to Japan for two weeks. Although, I’m pretty upset about not having the Oscars party I’m more bitter about the fact that I’m not in Japan right now. For those of you who do plan on hosting/attending any Oscar parties, I thought I’d share a recipe for these cute mini potato stacks and some other elegant hors d’oeuvre ideas that are sure to please everyone!
Last weekend for Valentine’s Day my husband and I wanted to do something low-key with the pups so we decided to have a lunch picnic followed by a mini hike. I tend to “go all out” with picnics but knowing we would have our hands full with the pups I opted to make sandwiches instead of the usual 20 things I “have to have” from Trader Joe’s. While Will and I both love sandwiches, we have very different preferences on what goes in between the bread. Will gravitates to simple, savory, meaty sandwiches while I enjoy the non-traditional combinations that you can’t typically find at your local deli. As I was picking ingredients to make our personal sandwiches I realized that we both were having a B.T.A sandwich (complete coincidence!!) – Bacon, Tomato, Avocado for Will and Brie Turkey Apple for me! These sandwiches turned out to be perfect for the picnic and would also make an easy yet delicious weekday lunch or dinner. Hope you guys have as much fun making and eating these as I did!
Although Portland is a relatively close drive from my husband’s hometown, we rarely spend time there since we cherish the limited time with his family. Our last trip to the Pacific Northwest over the Holidays however, was a bit longer than our usual trips so we decided this is our chance to see more of Portland. Like most of our day/weekend/international trips we wanted to experience this (relatively) new city through food and libations. Read on to see all the deliciousness we consumed in a day. And if you’re planning a trip to Portland I guarantee you’ll want to visit some, if not all, of these places!
I’m currently sitting on the couch at my in-laws’ house in Longview, Washington watching snow fall ever so delicately on their beautiful property surrounded by impressive Douglas Fir and Maple trees. Next to me is a steaming cup of coffee and a half eaten local chocolate bar from Portland (of course!). This is the first time in months I’ve felt relaxed and recharged after a few days of Holiday celebrations filled with cooking and eating and constant jokes and laughter. Sadly I haven’t cooked and blogged as much as I’d like the past few months but with 2016 right around the corner I’ve made this my top resolution for the year.
For now, here’s a scone recipe I created around Thanksgiving when I had some extra time to work in the kitchen. You will absolutely love these scones if you’re as a big of an Earl Grey tea fan as I am. The combination of the familiar aroma of bergamot, buttery flaky texture of the scone, and sweet citrus taste of the glaze makes this one of my favorite baked goods to eat (and bake)!
Homemade pizza is one of my favorite ways to use up “leftover” meats and vegetables. You’ll usually end up with fun combinations of toppings that you wouldn’t naturally put together! For this specific pizza I had asparagus and baby tomatoes that I purchased for Friendsgiving dinner but didn’t end up using. Also, since I put eggs on top of anything I possibly can I poached a few eggs to add to the pizza!
Making pizza is also one of my favorite date night activities with William. It’s an easy meal to make where the both of us can contribute. One of us makes the pizza dough while the other preps the toppings. We also always accompany the pizza making and eating with a bottle of wine! Date night tonight, anyone?