Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Challah Bread French Toast

Happy Wednesday!

A big thanks to everyone for all the nice comments and emails about yesterday’s Challah Bread!

I couldn’t wait to slice it up today!


Today I turned that loaf into some delicious french toast. This is a great dish for a Sunday Brunch, you start it on the stove and let it finish in the oven.

This recipe comes from  Rachel Ray’s Crunchy Vanilla-Almond French Toast with Fancy Fruit Topping. I made a few changes and omitted the sauce, but if I were to make this for a brunch I would be sure to add the fruit topping.

Challah Bread French Toast

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4  cup half n’ half
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbl real maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsps. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 4 cups whole grain cereal flakes (I used Kashi)
  • 1/2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
  • 16 slices thick cut challah bread
  1. Beat the eggs, half n’ half, vanilla, syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Lightly crush the cereal flakes, combine with the almonds and add to another shallow dish.
  2. Warm a large skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture and then the cereal mixture. Cook the slices for 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Transfer slices to a baking sheet and place into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Serve with syrup.

Makes 16 servings





I love the crunch of the toast along with the nutty flavor that the almonds develop after being cooked! Only way to serve this  is with some real maple syrup!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Challah Bread

Today I though I’d share a recipe for Challah bread. I learned how to make it a few years ago from my bread baking class and it turned out to be a huge hit with my family!
I love this recipe because it uses the straight dough method which is basically measuring out all the ingredients, putting in a mixer and letting the mixer do all the work. The fun part is watching the dough rise so its doubled in size then braiding it not to mention the beautiful shiny golden color it bakes into! Let’s get started!
(You will need a kitchen scale in order to weigh most of the ingredients)
Challah Bread
  • 8 oz. warm water
  • .75 oz. yeast
  • 1 lb. 4oz. bread flour
  • 4 oz. egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the egg wash)
  • 1.5 oz. sugar
  • 2 oz. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  1. Add the yeast to the warm water and let it sit for about 5 minutes till it’s nice and bubbly.
  2. Next measure out the rest of the ingredients into your mixer bowl and add the yeast mixture. Attached the dough hook to your mixer and set it on the second speed for 10 minutes. The dough will come together into a ball, take it out and kneed it a few times by hand.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let it sit in a sunny window for 1.5 hours,  till it’s doubled in size.
  4. Take it out and gently pressed it down and divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 18 inch log. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and braid the three logs. (Make sure you squeeze both ends and tuck them under so they will stay together while baking. )
  5. Now make the egg wash by whipping up the reserved eggs white with a touch of water until they are foamy and brush over the loaf.
  6. Cover it again loosely with some plastic wrap and set it in the window for 30 minutes for it’s final rise.
  7. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until its lightly browned.
Look at how much it doubles in size!
Final rise before baking!
And this is what you get 30 minutes later, isn’t the color beautiful and shiny?!
Here’s a nice close up, I wish you could smell it! There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread. The poor dogs have been hovering by my feet all morning hoping to sneak a piece!
Anyone can make this, it really is simply you just have to take into consideration the time it takes for the bread to rise.
I can’t wait to show you what I am going to turn this into for a great brunch idea!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Catching Up with Some Kale Chips

April is such an odd month around here with Winter finally on its way out and Spring trying to make an appearance. The same goes for sports in our family, Kailey has just finished up her longer-than-usual basketball season making it all the way to the New England Regional Finals. We lost our first game by a couple baskets by a girl who we could have passed as Shaq’s sister…she was that tall!

Here’s a pic I took at the tip off of the game. You can’t see Kailey’s face (she’s at center) but you can see her feet and how far she tried to jump for the ball (keep in mind Kailey is taller than me and the tallest on her team) all while  her opponent’s feet didn’t even leave the floor! lol Needless to say the poor girls were swatting at flies the rest of  the game trying to get the ball!


So with basketball wrapped up and no more traveling for games, I am thrilled to have more time on the weekends to spend in the kitchen…hence my lack of recipes on the blog lately!

The other night I did manage to cook up something that I have been wanting to try for quit some time, kale chips. Everyone in the food blog world raves about them and now I know why!

Kale Chips

  • 1 head of Kale
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese


Preheat oven too 325 degrees. Take the kale leaves off of the stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash them thoroughly, I put mine in a salad spinner to get them nice and dry.



Next, toss the kale with the olive oil and s&p, spread out on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Bake for about 15-20 minutes. The kale should be crispy and slightly browned around the edges. Keep an eye on them, toss them half way through as they can burn very easily!


They definitely are crispy and delicate. I loved the addition of the cheese, it added just the right amount of saltiness! The girls weren’t around to give them a try but hubby was and lets just say he is hooked!

Next time I will be adding some apple cider vinegar instead of cheese, I am a sucker for salt n’ vinegar chips!

Want to jump on the kale chip bandwagon?

Go ahead and give them a try if you haven’t already, you just might surprise yourself!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax

As a member of the Tastemaker program through Foodbuzz,  I occasionally receive products that have been selected by the Foodbuzz  team to try out.

Last week I received Nature’s Pride newest bread, Hearty Wheat with Flax.

natures pride

One pretty neat fact about their new bread is it’s the first natural bread to be baked in 100%  olive oil. It is also one of the firsts to provide a good source of  Omega 3 – ALA that comes from the flax seed. The only thing that has me stumped is whether the flax seeds have been ground or not, we all know that they need to be ground in order for the nutrients to be absorbed.  Hmmmm…

Here’s a look at the nutrition label for 1 slice of bread

Microsoft Word - WS120241.doc

Now on to the taste and sandwich. Sometimes I have to admit I love just a slice of toast and butter with a cup of green tea as an afternoon snack or perhaps for breakfast I’ll add some almond butter and a sliced up banana. Either way this bread tasted great, although I’m not sure if I can actually taste the difference with it being baked in the olive oil, but none the less I really enjoyed it.

My husband is a huge fan of sandwiches, especially on the weekends when we have a little more time to sit down and enjoy lunch together with the girls. So this weekend we whipped up a sandwich that included something that we each like!

Ham and Cheese Toasted Sandwich

  • black forest ham
  • turkey bacon
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • swiss cheese

Layer the ingredients between two slice’s of Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax bread, start with the cheese and end with the cheese.  Yes, the more cheese the better! lol Toast in a skillet until all that cheese is nicely melted. Enjoy!




How do you enjoy sandwiches, toasted or plain? I am a toasted girl all the way!



Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a loaf of Nature’s Pride bread. The  review and opinions are completely my own.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giveaway Winners!



Thanks to everyone who entered the Simply Orange giveaway!

Congratulations to the two winners of  a coupon for a free bottle of  Simply Orange,

The Better Baker   and    Creative Southern Home


I’d like to thank Simply Orange for providing the free coupons for myself and my readers!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Make Your Own Lightbox

Can you believe we only have a couple days left of March! It’s starting to look more like Spring but if feels more like November here in the northeast.

You know you’re a food blogger when you are excited for at the start of Spring when it’s lighter outside during dinnertime. It is  much easier to take more flattering pictures of your dish with the natural light, right?!

Well to help in the lighting category, this weekend we made a homemade lightbox. This not only will come in handy for dark, dreary days in the kitchen but for taking pictures of my jewelry as well! Angela from Oh She Glows made one a few months ago so I thought I’d share mine as well! This was pretty easy especially since I had Keith to help me out. lol

Homemade Lightbox

What you will need:

  • large box
  • white fabric or tissue paper
  • duct tape
  • box cutter
  • 3 utility lamps
  • 3 daylight bulbs (100 watt)
  • colorful fabric (optional)

Total cost approx. $20


Step 1:

Take your cardboard box and tape one end with the duct tape (this will be the back). Then with your box cutter cut off the front flaps and then cut a window out of the three sides, leave the bottom as is.





Step 2:

Take your white fabric or tissue paper and cut out three squares to fit over the windows that you just cut out from the box and duct tape it to the box.


Step 3:

Slice a slit in the top so you can switch out different color fabrics for the background of your pictures. Love this idea!!


Step 4:

Set it up, shine the lights through each window for a nice soft lighting without all the shadows. The lights come with clamps attached so I clamped two of them on my chairs and the top one is clamped onto my dining room light.


Have fun taking pictures and trying out different backgrounds!



Here’s a picture of a bowl of soup taken under my normal kitchen lighting.


Now here is the same bowl of soup taken from the same angle in the lightbox.


What a difference, don’t ya think?!

The only complaint I have about this is where to store it because it is rather large. I really can’t see this staying on my dining room table, somehow I have a feeling the cat will take it over before too long! lol

With that said,  I really do think its makes such a big difference when you don’t have the option of natural lighting during the day!

Want the recipe for the soup picture above?

It’s Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti from Giada De Laurentiis. I love anything lemon and this soup is really simple and delicious!


A special thanks to hubby for helping me out with this project!

Winking smile

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sesame Fish

Hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start! I started mine with some pilates with a little partner to keep me entertained! Smile


We are off to do some errands, at least the sun is shinning! Just wanted to share a super quick and easy fish recipe from the 17 Day Diet Program. Although I no longer follow it, I still enjoy many of the recipes from the book!

Sesame Fish

  • 1 lb. tilapia
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 2 tbls. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbls. lite soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbls. sesame seeds

Spray your broiler pan with non stick spray or cover it with some foil. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic. Pour over fish and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place under broiler, about eight inches from the heat for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork.

Servings: 4




How easy is that?! And so delicious, I served it with a side of veggies and whole wheat couscous. Perfect quick go-to dish during Lent!

Happy Saturday!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breakfast Treats and a Giveaway

Well so much for Spring, it snowed here yesterday and we have more to come later this week! Yuck!!!
No matter what time of year it is I am always up for anything with pumpkin or apple, to me they are not just for Fall. So with the snow falling yesterday I decided to warm up and make some baked donuts and a warm cocktail to go along with them.
The great folks from Simply Orange sent me some coupons to purchase one of their juices and to give a couple away to my readers, more on that later.
Simple Orange has different varieties of juices such as, orange, apple, grapefruit, pineapple and mango just to name a few. They are certified by the American Heart Association, gently pasteurized, not from concentrate and  loaded with vitamin C.
So I decided to try the Simply Apple which is 100 % pure pressed.  I loved it because it actually tasted like a real apples, not sweetened. Some of the juices I use to buy for the girls were loaded with added sugars which is why I stopped buying them. This is something I would buy and feel good about! So after searching their website I had to give their  Hot Apple Pie Cocktail a try, visit their website for the recipe.
Just warm up some a couple cups of Simply Apple with a few cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, vanilla extract, allspice and  cardamom  in a saucepan for a couple of minutes. Add some apple schnapps (optional), pour into mugs and top with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.
Holy yum!!! It tastes exactly like hot apple pie only better!
I found the perfect match to go with this, Baked Apple Cider Donuts from Tasty Kitchen. (Click the link for the recipe)
I substituted apple cider for Simple Apple juice and it worked perfectly.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl,
then the wet ingredients in another bowl.
Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet.
Fill a mini muffin pan that has been buttered/sugared with the batter half way.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Brush the donut holes with butter and shake in a bag filled with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
These are so tasty, love the little bites and of course the warm apple flavor from the juice!

I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold, snowy Spring morning!
Now for the giveaway for two lucky readers!
The nice folks at Simply Orange have given me two coupons for one free 59 fl. oz  Simply Orange, Simply Apple or Simply Grapefruit to giveaway to two lucky readers!
To enter this giveaway all you  have to do is:
  • Visit Simply Orange and let me know which juice you’d like to try!
  • Follow my blog via GFC
This giveaway will end on Wednesday, March 30th at 9pm. I will pick two winners and notify you by email, you will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
Good Luck!!!

*Disclosure: Simply Orange provided me with coupons. The views and statements are completely my own.