Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Best Meals I Ate In 2014

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Butterscotch Baked French Toast




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My parents were hosting a brunch the day after the stateside celebration of my cousin EM and Kristina’s wedding, and my mom was all, “Just bring something over that everyone will like. Brunch starts at 11.” So, since A. I planned on being mildly hungover B. I love sleep, especially on the weekends, more than anything, and C. I still wanted to make something good, I started searching for make-ahead brunch meals that I could put together the night before and just throw it into the oven the next morning. When I found Smitten Kitchen’s “boozy baked french toast,” the words read like a song. This was the one.  I love Smitten Kitchen, and I love anything that tastes this good with minimal effort, and I especially love the post-event rehash with some of my favorite trash-talkers (my family).

If you’re looking to throw together something that requires little effort the day before, but is hands-down amazing – and also may or may not soak up your New Year’s hangover – this french toast is here to save the day.

BUTTERSCOTCH BAKED FRENCH TOAST (serves 6, generously – barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

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Colorado Christmas

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Brendan and I just got back from 9 days in Colorado – one of the best weeks of 2014, by far. We flew into Denver, spent the night and the next morning in Boulder with my college roommate Meri, her husband Tim and their three kids (my favorites), then picked up Brendan’s brother Kyle and drove out to their hometown, Grand Junction, on the western slope. Then, we drove down to Pagosa Springs for skiing, hot spring-ing and relaxing, then up to Telluride for Christmas, then finally back to Brendan’s hometown for a night out with his friends before flying out of DIA the next day. WHAT A WEEK.  Colorado is my favorite state in the country, and it was so great to be back there, getting to see where Bren grew up, spending time with his family and just being able to kick back for a while. The pace of life out there is so much more manageable; people are healthy, fun and active; the culture is smart and progressive; and don’t even get me started about how unbelievably gorgeous every single part of that state is.

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Favorite Holiday Appetizers




Holiday Appetizers

Looking for some holiday appetizer ideas? Look no further. These are some of my very favorite, tried-and-true, crowd-pleasing apps. Get ready to be really popular and whatever party you’re going to. Happy Holidays!

Pear, Prosciutto and Honeyed Goat Cheese Apps with Thyme

Pear, Prosciutto and Honeyed Goat Cheese Apps with Thyme

 

Breakfast Bananas

There’s this adorable restaurant in Scranton called Mansours, and every time I go in there I want to hunker down and spend the day there. It’s just beautiful and so welcoming.  It also doesn’t hurt that their food is amazing, and they serve La Colombe coffee, which I really miss from when I lived in Philly and there was a La Colombe about every block or so. They also serve one of my very favorite breakfasts. Are you ready?  Bananas, covered in peanut butter, rolled in really good granola and drizzled with honey. I know. I finally decided to try and make this myself since, you know, they’re not open every day. Enjoy.

BREAKFAST BANANAS (serves 2)
– 2 bananas
– Approx. 3 tbsp. peanut butter
– Really good granola-trail mix blend. This is key. Get something that’s flavorful and has whole almonds, cranberries and whatever other flavor you’d like on this. I used a mix of Wegman’s Organic French Vanilla and Almond Granola and Cranberry Sunshine
– Honey


1. Cut off the very top and bottom of the bananas.


2. With a knife, cover the bananas in peanut butter. I used Justin’s honey-peanut butter, which was awesome on this.

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Polenta Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Dill “Hollandaise” Sauce

Weekend breakfasts have been out of this world lately. Just about every Sunday we sleep in, then cook up a great brunch and listen to our motown playlist while reading the paper. It makes me feel like my life is grown-up in the way I used to think about adults on tv shows as a kid, like Denise Huxtable or most of the cast of ThirtySomething. Anyway, for this, we skipped the traditional english muffin base and used polenta baked with butter and sage, which was incredible. Then, of course, Wild for Salmon’s unbeatable Hickory Smoked Salmon (and seriously, I don’t know if I can ever go back to salmon other than wild-caught like this – night and day difference between the two), gently poached eggies and the lemon-dill sauce. It’s December. Make this then snuggle up with somebody you love this weekend.

POLENTA EGGS BENEDICT WITH SMOKED SALMON AND LEMON-DILL SAUCE (makes breakfast for 2 very lucky guests)
– 4 eggs
Lemon-Dill sauce
– 4 precooked polenta circles
– chopped fresh sage, approx. 8 leaves
– 4 tbsp. butter
Wild for Salmon’s Hickory Smoked Salmon 

1. Get the polenta ready. You want to get a package of it precooked, then cut it into 1/2 inch slices.


2. Next, cut circles out of those slices with either a cookie cutter or a measuring cup (Kitchen hacks. You’re welcome). 


3. Melt the butter, chop up the sage, and combine.


4. Brush the polenta on both sides with the butter and sage mixture. Bake at 400 for approx. 30 minutes, or until firmer (crispy-ish) and golden. Set aside to cool while you make the eggs.

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