The BEST Challah French Toast

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In a past life, I would have loved to have been served sweet breakfast treats like French toast every morning. Now, I seldom crave such things and prefer a more savory breakfast. Somewhere, out of nowhere…. I got the inspiration to make an all-star breakfast which is something I never do. There’s something about preparing a meal after just waking up that’s not all that appealing to me–call me crazy! I don’t know how some people whip up breakfasts regularly on the weekend. It’s just not my thing which couldn’t be more clearer if you looked at the Recipes section of this blog and noticed the lack of breakfast foods I’ve made (especially ones that aren’t baked goods!)

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Blueberry and Peach Crumble

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Just because summer is “officially” over with the coming and going of Labor Day, doesn’t mean you have to immediately stop making your favorite summer foods. Summer doesn’t really end until September 21st so we still have a few weeks to make all the barbecue, fruit cobblers and potato salads that we didn’t get a chance to all throughout June, July and August!

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Coffee Granita

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Summer time is all about ice cream, frozen yogurt and anything sweet and cool to help beat the heat. And even though I love me some ice cream (even if my stomach doesn’t) I wanted to try something new. I realize I start a good number of my blog posts with “After I watched an Ina make….” and this one is no different, sadly. She whipped up her own coffee granita on the Barefoot Contessa and might have said her little catch phrase, “How easy is that?” and I might have maybe sat there on the couch captivated, nodding my head, answering her saying, “SO easy!” as the dog stared at me like I was a crazy person. Maybe…

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Peas and Prosciutto Pesto Pasta

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When alliteration is the title of a blog post, you know it’s going to be a good one. I have no idea if that’s really true, but I DO know that it’s true for this one!

I’m a recent pea-convert and made peas with pesto and pasta few weeks ago. It was good and all, but I used pre-made pesto because my one attempt at pesto was so terrible that I was afraid to try again. And linguine noodles were definitely not the way to go. I was losing peas left and right.

I knew I wanted to re-attempt this one since it should be a no-brianer. Then I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina cooking with chef from Rao’s and they made his famous peas and prosciutto side dish. I immediately got inspired to turn his side dish into a main course and  simultaneously try my hand at pesto once again.

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Best Baked Shrimp Scampi

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Even though I love cooking and more importantly, love eating, I don’t know very much about the culinary world. I watch Top Chef and someone will say “This tastes great but needs more acid!” Acid? I nod in agreement with Padma but I really have no idea what’s she’s talking about.

But with this baked shrimp scampi, I know what I’m talking about. I also know it has acid because it has lemon juice and lemon zest–suck on that, Padma. What I really mean when I say I know what I’m talking about is that I knowwwww this shrimp is the best shrimp you might ever have.

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I’m back…with Carrot Cake Cupcakes

HOLY HIATUS! Sorry to my dedicated readers…which is my mom, and my sister…hey guys! I got really busy and didn’t have time to cook or bake for a while so this blog really fell by the wayside. OK not totally true. I have blogging ADD and got totally bored! I bet everyone’s dyingggg to hear how Around the World in 80 Plates turned out right? Me neither. I stopped watching along with the rest of America.

In my blogging absence I may have whipped up a thing or two. The only thing of note honestly was Carrot Cake Cupcakes. They were banging. I know everyone’s afraid of carrot cake (or at least I was) until I had the epiphany that it just takes like a reallllyyyy good spice cake. Don’t be afraid, veggie haters! Look to the carrot-y light!

Recipe here from my girl Ina Garten. I used my go-to cream cheese frosting from Paula Deen….because this is carrot cake aka healthy cake right? I can use some Paula lovin’ here… Just go with it. I’m really out of my blogging groove.

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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    (Sorry, I know real foodies love extra crap, but no thanks)

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Add batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. I always bake cupcakes at 325 for 22 minutes, turning them midway through baking. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!