Archive | recipe

THE BEST BAKED FRENCH TOAST

Short of the occasional donut run, super sweet breakfast dishes are not the norm around here. All holiday seasons and celebrations being the exception. Thank goodness there’s always a reason to celebrate when we need a little indulging ;). The kids first full day of Christmas break this past Saturday seemed like the perfect excuse to surprise them with their favorite sugary breakkie dish, Baked French Toast. It also happens to be our go-to for Christmas morning and Easter too since it’s best to throw together the night before and bake when you wake up!

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BAKED FRENCH TOAST, serves 12

NOTE: Takes about 7+ hours start to finish. 20 minutes hands-on. Let set overnight (6+ hours). 45 minutes to bake.

FOR FRENCH TOAST YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough, challah or french bread
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

FOR TOPPING YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 stick butter, cold and diced — plus more to grease pan
  • maple syrup to serve
  • whip cream to serve
  • fresh fruit to serve (pomegranate seeds pictured)

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Grease 9×13 inch baking dish with butter. Tear bread into chunks and lay evenly in the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, sugar and brown sugar. Pour mixture evenly over the bread. For most delish version, cover and store in the fridge over night…. or until you are ready to add topping and bake.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a small mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and all spice. Sprinkle evenly over top of bread. Dice butter and layer evenly over the top of bread too. Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes. Dish, top as desired and serve…

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So simple and never disappoints! Plus I appreciate anything that can be thrown into the oven long enough to shower, clean or play with the kids. Especially on a holiday morning.

What are you whipping up in the kitchen over Christmas break!?

XO, Rae

2

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

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I’m not a huge fan of stew-like dinners you guys, but the chicken pot pies we made last night were so tasty almost everyone went back for seconds. Since the meat in this dish can easily be substituted and we’ll all be needing ways to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought I would share! 

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

Makes 8 individual pot pies, takes 50 minutes start to finish

You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large potatoes, diced small (or use frozen diced potatoes)
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts or turkey meat, cooked and chopped (or sub for a rotisserie chicken!)
  • Basic pie crust (I used almost 3 boxes of store-bought — 6 round sheets) 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Ramekins 
  • Mini alphabet cookie cutters, optional

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large sauce or soup pan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue stirring over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour in milk and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add potatoes, carrots, corn, mushrooms, and meat.
  4. Cut pie crust into 8 circles big enough to fit inside the ramekins (optional) and press into the bottom of each. Cut 8 more circles slightly larger than the rim of your ramekins and use cookie cutters to personalize. Set aside. 
  5. Fill ramekins with mixture and cover with pie crust, folding edges around the outside and crimping with a fork. Brush with egg and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and crispy. Let cool before serving!

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There were a couple nights last week that Johan played with the kids outside while I cooked in a quiet kitchen. Being able to dice, boil and dish without someone clinging to my leg, resting on my hip or sitting on the counter chatting my ear off was like a little slice of heaven.

That being said, I do love sharing the kitchen and dinner duties with a little helper or two and Griffin happens to be the most passionate about it. Especially this time of year when it’s dark, cold and rainy outside.

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Don’t let the giant pretend bite of food fool you. Despite all of his cooking efforts, the only part of the dinner he ate was a few nibbles of the cooked pie crust. Stinker. I’ve never heard of a cooking enthusiast that doesn’t like eating though, so I’m holding out hope that he’ll outgrow his picky palette!

Anyone else dealing with a  picky eater lately?

How do you use up turkey dinner leftovers?

XO, Rae

 

1

GIGI’S FAMOUS MEATBALL SOUP + WHAT WE ARE (HOPEFULLY) EATING THIS WEEK

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With all the Birthdays, travel and fall festivities, our usual meal plans have been non-existent this past month. And judging by large quantity of candy wrappers I’m finding all over the house we could all use some whole foods to help curb the sugar addictions. So this week my goal is to get back on a normal eating schedule and menu. Thought I would share the meal plan I whipped up last night if your in need of some inspiration, along with the recipe for one of my favorite meals my own mama cooks. Makes me feel like I’m home every time I eat it… The best kind of comfort food, but more healthy!

GIGI’S FAMOUS MEATBALL SOUP

You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 quart beef broth
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Olive or coconut oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s How:

  1.  In a small mixing bowl combine beef, egg, and salt and pepper. Form into 1 to 1-1/2 inch meatballs. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the outside of the meatballs. Remove from skillet once browned but not cooked through — they will cook the rest of the way in the soup. (Tip: skip this step and use frozen meatballs instead!)
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté onion, carrot, celery and cabbage. Add a couple pinches of slat and pepper. 
  3. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, rice, meatballs, bay leaf, basil, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of parsley and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check meatballs to make sure they are cooked through. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve! (Tip: make a double batch and freeze half in a mason jar for later!)

MONDAY/ Chicken caesar salad and grilled cheese sammies (+ Monday night football!)

TUESDAY/ Stuffed peppers

WEDNESDAY/ Butternut squash carbonara

THURSDAY/ Green coconut curry with chicken + zucchini (love this recipe but omit the cuttlefish balls and fish sauce)

FRIDAY/ French dip sammies, apples + fresh veggies (+ movie night!)

SATURDAY/ Crockpot chicken burrito bowls

SUNDAY/ Gigi’s famous meatball soup (recipe above^)

BREKKIE/ Steel cut oats, pumpkin pancakes, eggs

LUNCH/ Wraps, fruit, yogurt, popcorn

SNACK/ energy bites, hardboiled eggs, pretzels, apples + peanut butter

Phew, that felt good but is also kinda intimidating considering how long it’s been since I cooked more than one night in a row (ha!). Now to make a shopping list and trip to the store!

On another note, how was your weekend!? We (finally) celebrated Tilly’s 8th B-day with a party, enjoyed the extra hour of sleep I mean, time in our jammies,  and Tilly and I got to go on a girl date with friends. Never fun saying goodbye to the weekend but I’m actually feeling ready for Monday. Hope your week gets off to a good start!

XO, Rae

P.S. – For more inspiration, you can find a few more meal plans HERE and my usual approach to meal planning HERE.

2

BREAKFAST CLUB: PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH TOAST DIPPERS

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I really, really love a good slice of toast topped with peanut butter or avocado, but have never thought much of the french kind.  Until a few weeks ago when we decided to give the breakfast classic a pumpkin spice makeover (’tis the season!) and now I can’t stop making it! I think we’ve had it the last few times the kids have had sleepovers or we’ve had guests around and a couple extra times just for us. The slices get gobbled up as quickly as I can make them so I figured it was time to pass along the recipe (below)!

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PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH TOAST SOLDIERS + WHIPPED CREAM

Makes one loaf of bread

For the French Toast, You’ll Need:

  • 3/4cup milk (I like to use whole, but any works)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 loaf of favorite bread to french toast (thick sliced bread is best!)

For the Whipped Cream, You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, to taste

Here’s How:

  1. Grease large non-stick skillet and set to medium heat.
  2. Beat together milk, pumpkin, eggs, and spices in a baking dish.
  3. Dip both sides of bread slices into mixture and place on heated skillet. Cook until each side is golden brown. If sides are getting brown but the bread is soggy, lower heat and cook longer per side. Repeat.
  4. While french toast cooks, add whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and spices into mixing bowl and whip with stand or hand mixer until mixture thickens and peaks form (about 5 minutes).
  5. Cut into strips, serve with pumpkin spice whipped cream and dip away!!! They are good with syrup too.

If someone finds away to make this stuffed… or knows of a good stuffed french toast recipe, please share!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Tomorrow we are waking up at an ungodly hour to surprise the kids with a family vacay! Despite the stacks of warm weather outfits that have been cluttering up my dresser since Monday, they have no idea but are going to freakout! Can’t wait to spill the beans… Will share more on Friday from our destination and tomorrow on Instagram too if you want to follow along. Happy hump day!!!

1

BAKED APPLE COBBLER RECIPE

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Pumpkin spice is already my go to drink these days, but before we get all the way into pumpkin season, I thought it would be nice to give apples some time in the spotlight. After all, we visited a Cider Mill and went apple picking with friends last week and have buckets full of apples to show for it! Since they aren’t going to eat themselves and we could use a change from our go-to apple dippers I decided to try baking some (something my mom used to do, with a drizzle of honey – so good) with a cobbler topping and whip cream. Aside from turning out delicious, I’ll take any excuse to have something yummy smelling in the oven during the fall and winter months!

BAKED COBBLER APPLES

Takes 50 minutes start to finish (10 minutes hands-on) and makes 4 halves.

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 apples
  • cinnamon (to taste)
  • sugar (to taste)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup flour (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • sprinkle of salt
  • FAVORITE TOPPINGS – whip cream, caramel, more cinnamon, ice cream, baked pie crust, etc.

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples in half and core using a spoon. Place face up in baking dish (if dish isn’t non-stick, spray with cooking spray first).
  2. Sprinkle apple flesh with cinnamon and sugar (see picture).
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in oats, flour, brown sugar, and a sprinkle of salt. Put a scoop of the mixture on each apple. Then cover dish with foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before adding toppings. To make the letters I used these mini cookie cutters and pie crust from the store, then baked on a cookie sheet for a few minutes.

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I’m more of a non-fruit dessert eating girl, but these were so good we gobbled them right up! Now to try and make apple sauce out of the rest of our apples. If you have a favorite recipe, please share!

Oh, and if you are wondering what apples are best for baking, I like Mutsu, Pink Ladies, Honeycrisp, and (of course) Granny Smith. Here’s a helpful chart for more ideas.

XO, Rae

1

LITTLE BITES: SUGAR CONE PARFAITS

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Don’t you love when old things feels new again? Goodness, I do. It’s one of my favorite things about fall. Not sure if it’s the crisp air or change in routine that does it, but lately watching football, visiting a favorite coffee shop, wearing cozy layers, walking to the bus stop with the kids, and even a rainy day like we had this past Saturday, feels fresh and new again.

And that is exactly what inspired these yummy updated yogurt parfaits. A common snack made new again!

ICE CREAM CONE YOGURT PARFAITS

You’ll Need:

  • Ice cream cones
  • Favorite yogurt flavor(s) — Can’t wait for the Noosa pumpkin yogurt to be back at Target :)
  • Topings – dried or fresh fruit, nuts, cereal, granola, small or crumbled graham crackers

Here’s How:

  • Layer yogurt and toppings in a cone.
  • Eat up!

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There are so many new things to look forward to this fall, but I would love to know what old routines (outfits, meals, outings, etc.) feel new again lately?

Hope your week is off to a good start!

XO, Rae

// Photos by my fave Stacy Jacobsen //

5

SWEET BITES: MINI NO-BAKE CHEESECAKES

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Kitchen activity is sparse during the summer months and I actually appreciate the break but ever since Espen and Tilly took a cooking class with their friends a couple weeks ago, we’ve all been more inspired to spend time making and baking. Over the weekend, Ozzie, Tilly and I made these cute and delicious lemony no-bake mini cheese cakes. They don’t require too many ingredients or any time in the oven, and are easy enough to make with littler kids (if you don’t mind a little crumbly mess).

Try out the recipe below… They are delicious and sweet and would be even better with a few berries on top!

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MINI NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE (makes 12)

For the Crust, You’ll Need:

  • 15 graham crackers
  • 2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Filling, You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups (13 oz.) cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 – 14 oz. can sweeten condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Here’s How:

  1. Grease standard muffin tin and line each cup with strips of wax paper… See picture above. The strips make it easier to remove the cheesecakes from the tin.
  2. Roughly break graham crackers into a food processor. Add allspice and blend until finely crushed. Add butter and process until well combined.
  3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup to form your crust. Use the bottom of a glass to press down if needed (Tilly liked this part). Place in freezer while you make filling.
  4. To make the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add lemon zest, vanilla, condensed milk and lemon juice. Beat until mixture is creamy — about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove muffin tin from freezer and spoon filling into each cup.
  6. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Lift mini cheesecakes using waxed paper liners.

The hardest part is waiting for the cheesecake to set, but it’s so worth it!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Here’s a healthier breakfast or snack version of the mini cheesecakes you might enjoy.

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MINI BITES: BEDTIME POPSICLES

Oh bedtimes. Such a sweet, snuggly, and often bananas time of day to unwind, have precious conversations (or answer a million random questions), read books, pray and give 100% attention to the kids. But we all know its one thing to get kids tucked in and another to get them to sleep.

A couple of our babes are particularly challenged (like their mama) in this area so about a year ago, after doing plenty of research (aka, calling my mom + googling), I started giving them and myself small doses of Melatonin – an au naturel supplement that helps you fall asleep. And it’s a God send. Seriously. Except that it’s not meant to take every night. Since we’re trying to ease our way back into a schedule before school starts, I’ve been looking for other ways to naturally help them get sleepy at night and discovered that there are several sleep inducing foods out there.

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Bananas, yogurt, almonds, oats, cherries and honey all have nutrients that help you sleep and they all taste delicious together. Or course, piling your favorite ingredients into a snack size parfait before bed would be delish but blending them up and freezing into popsicles would be way more fun!

BEDTIME POPSICLES

  • 1 banana (or a little less)
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries (we used frozen)
  • 3/4 cup favorite vanilla yogurt (coconut milk yogurt for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Honey to taste
  • Granola to top
  1. Add first four ingredients into a blender and mix together. Add Honey to taste.
  2. Pour into popsicle mold (this is our fave) and sprinkle granola over the top. Place in freezer for a few hours until frozen.
  3. To make the layered popsicle, blend banana, yogurt, almond milk and honey. Fill molds a little over halfway and freeze. Then blend cherries with a little yogurt, almond milk and honey and add to the molds. Top with granola and freeze. (*makes about 10 large popsicles)

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We ate them on kind of a wild night that lacked any routine so they didn’t (and I doubt they will) work as well as Melatonin, but I do think the right kind of snack right before bed makes a big difference!

Have any bedtime tricks up your sleeve, friend?

XO, Rae

2

MEAL PLAN: AUG NO.1

We still have another month of summer with the kids and my goal is to soak up all the quality time, sunshine, activities and outings as we can while also reintroducing some of that good old fashioned structure back into our lives so back to school isn’t quite so abrupt. Food and mealtime is one of the best and easiest places to start for me so I’m back to planning our meals and stocking the pantry. Here’s whats on the menu this week!

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(mexi)MONDAYHuevos Rancheros with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

TUESDAY – Grilled Chicken + Summer Veggie Skewers, add whatever veggies look fresh and grill-able at the store like summer squash and serve with couscous

WEDNESDAY – Eat Out or Takeout and MOVIE NIGHT with friends!!!

THURSDAYSlow Cooker Beef Carnitas Tacos, this is also Johan’s Birthday dinner so the menu might change based on what he wants but I figured anything involving beef was a safe bet!

FRIDAYBBQ Chicken Cobb Salad + Mini Grilled Cheeses

SATURDAY – Eat Out or Takeout

SUNDAYEasy Meatball Sliders

BREKKIE – Oatmeal, Cereal, or Eggs — keeping it simple this week!

LUNCHSandwich Wraps, fruit, yogurt and popcorn

SNACKFrozen Yogurt Dots, Watermelon Pizza, Cracker Stackers, Hummus + Veggies + Chips

After posting the picture above on Instagram last week of our movie night snacks, I received a lot of questions about the food and drink trays. I bought a case of them originally for all the summer get togethers and Birthday parties but they also make movie night seem extra special and clean up extra easy. You can find the FOOD + DRINK TRAYS HERE and the PLASTIC CUPS + LIDS HERE.

Hope your week if off to a good start!

XO, Rae

PS – Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the August Faves Giveaway. The winner has been announced HERE and emailed :)

0

LITTLE BITES: FROZEN YOGURT DOTS

It’s safe to say the kids are getting tired of the snacks that have been gracing our pantry and fridge this summer. All we seem to do lately is snack so I guess I can’t blame ’em! But I was shocked when they hadn’t gobbled up all the noosa yogurt I’ve been buying at Costco. It could honestly pass for fro-yo! When questioned, they admitted it was just that they had been eating so much of it. So earlier this week we decided to try freezing some into dots, hoping it would rekindle their enthusiasm for the delicious yogurt.

To my delight, they loved the dots and ate them all up. As did I, and will now be eating all yogurt in frozen form — so good! The “recipe” and steps are so simple and easy for little helpers too. Details below.

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YOU’LL NEED:

  • favorite kind of yogurt, refrigerated and stirred
  • small zip locks or pastry bags
  • parchment paper
  • cookie sheet

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Fill ziplock with stirred yogurt and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners.
  3. Squeeze small dots onto prepared cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a couple hours, until frozen… Freeze longer or overnight if wanting to store and keep for later.
  4. Peel off of paper and eat, scoop into a bowl and serve or place in airtight container and store in the freezer!

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Don’t those little yogurt dots look delicious and refreshing?

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Poppy thinks so! And suggests trying to make some this weekend :)

What have you been snacking on lately?

TGIF!

XO, Rae

4

SWEET BITES: SIMPLE BERRY-LEMONADE SNOW CONE GRANITA RECIPE

simple snow cone granita recipe

Gosh I hated being away from this online space and (gasp!) social media last week, but have been busy finishing up a few big design projects before the kids are home for summer — just a week and a half left. Not sure who is more ready and excited, me or the kids! That being said, posts might be random and sparse for the next couple weeks but then I have quite a few summer-y DIY’s, kid crafts, recipes and adventures that I can hardly wait to document and share! Make sure to sign up for emails below (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss out!!! Now onto todays post….

With all of the hot weather and outdoor playtime in our future a frozen treat seemed to be in order and granitas (aka Italian ice) are a new fave around here. They are technically vegan, gluten free, and made from fresh ingredients, yet totally delicious and full of sugar. But who doesn’t need a little extra sugar in the summertime!

simple snow cone granita recipe

Here’s how to make them:

BERRY LEMONADE GRANITAS, takes 20 minutes hands-on time (3 hours start to finish), makes 10-12 small servings

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of your favorite homemade or store-bought lemonade
  • 1-2 cups raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries
  • a few hours of down-time
  • OPTIONAL, extra berries and mint for garnish and paper snow cones, wood paddle spoons and cute straws for serving

Here’s How:

  1. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute to make a simple syrup. Add fresh berries and let simmer, stirring often for about 5 minutes. (Or grab a flavored lemonade at the store and skip the berry step!)
  2. Remove mixture from heat, spoon or strain out the berries and set in an ice bath to cool.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9×13 or larger baking dish. Add lemonade and stir together carefully. Place in the freezer.
  4. Every 20-30 minutes use a fork to break up the mixture then return to the freezer and repeat until it you have a nice fluffy/icy/crystal texture.
  5. Scoop into cups or these snow cones and garnish with berries and mint!

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//We used a marker to add a cute design to the handle end of wood ice cream spoons//

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YAY for summer you guys!!! Looking forward to making more of these and trying new flavors. Maybe an adult version for cocktail hour or a red, white and blue combo for the 4th of July… What flavor would you want to try?

XOXO, Rae

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