Monday, June 24, 2013

Food, Food and More Food

This weekend was the first time I have been in charge of food for a party of 10 plus people. The occasion was a lovely baby shower for my friend Rachel. I must say that I volunteered without hesitation for being responsible for the food but then slightly panicked because...well, I've never done something like this and what if the food didn't turn out tasty?! That is pretty much my worst nightmare. But, it all turned out great and worth all the work. Here's what I made:

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • praline topping, recipe follows
  • maple syrup

Slice french bread into 20 slices, 1 inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13 flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk or mixer until blended but not too bubbly. Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the mix. Spoon some of the mix in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350. Spread praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 min, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. 

Sausage-Kale Strata


  • 12 whole eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 loaf crusty french bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 lbs breakfast sausage, cooked and cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into pieces
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 16 ounces white mushrooms, slices
  • 2-1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese

Mix together eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and minced parsley. Set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then throw in the kale. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Layer half the bread, half the kale, half the mushrooms, half the cheese and half the sausage in a large, buttered lasagna pan. Repeat with the other half of all the ingredients, ending with the cheese. Slowly pour the egg mixture all over the top. 
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To bake, remove from the fridge 20-30 minutes before baking. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. 

Spinach Salad with Strawberries


  • 1 lb spinach
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1/3 cup lightly toasted pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Toss the spinach with the apple, strawberries and pecans.
Stir the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together and blend in the sour cream gradually. Mix the dressing with the spinach and toss. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Over The Weekend

Picked Mom & Janet up from the airport and to Downtown Seattle we went!

My Cute Mom!

Flowers From Pikes Market

Garlic Spears Anyone? They Were Delicious!!

Last Picture of Me as A 28 Yr Old Girl

My Living Room Enjoying Some Sun

The Sun On Saturday...Pretty Epic/Creepy

Monday, June 10, 2013

Over The Weekend

Waiting to get on the ferry to Bainbridge Island


Bainbridge Marina



Kells has become our new Sunday tradition...sun on the patio

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Italian Girl

For those of you that know me well, you are well aware that spaghetti has been a very regular meal growing up. And we aren't talking a once a week deal...more like 3x a week deal. One would think I would be sick of it by now, practically 29 years old and I can't even count how many bowls I've had over the years. And what do you know? I still LOVE it. I love everything Italian. I just can't help myself. Now, I admit that I was spoiled growing up with my Italian grandma...she made everything from scratch. Tortellini, ravioli, soup, sauce...everything. So I feel that pasta is more than just food but something I hold dear to my heart and something I associate with being happy and nostalgic. Sadly for my mom, my dad would have spaghetti every night of the week but as any sane person would do, she refuses to make it that often. I just hope I can carry on the tradition of homemade Italian food and that my kids will appreciate it just like I do. And if they don't...well, they are grounded for a week :) 

Now that I have prefaced this recipe with a back story please don't be alarmed by the way this meal is prepared. If you cook Italian food, you might say this is just sacrilegious. But, I like to try out new things. I was pretty pleased with this meal and would use it again if I'm ever in a pinch for time. 

One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta

12 ounces spaghetti
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
parmesan cheese for garnish

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil in a large stock pot. (I used my dutch oven above) Pour in vegetable broth, sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle the olive oil on top.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to  low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated - leave about 1 inch of liquid at the bottom. Stir about every 2 or 3 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with parmesan cheese. 

È tutto!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Over The Weekend

celebrated brian's birthday with his parents

beautiful walk in discovery park

discovery park

scab artwork courtesy of miss olive