Challah French Toast

This post should really be titled “Challah French Toast: After 28 years on earth I finally made French Toast that doesn’t suck.” During my entire life, up until at least age 22, I don’t think I ever ate any type of French Toast. Certainly not Challah French Toast. I am sure I tasted it at some point, but I honestly do not recall ever having it. It wasn’t on my radar at all. My parents made the most delicious pancakes and waffles, but French Toast just wasn’t on the radar. And I was perfectly happy that way. In fact, I probably would have happily gone through life never eating French Toast.

BUT, there’s always a but. But, I met the Taste Tester. And French Toast is very much on his radar. He loves it. And he is also very particular about it. His mom makes delicious French Toast. All the mornings I was at home eating food-colored pancakes or chocolate chip waffles topped with Hershey’s chocolate syrup (yes-my mom was that awesome), TT was at home eating French Toast. All of this would be well and good had breakfast not become one of our all time favorite lazy weekend activities. We love to sleep in then lazily have coffee while I make delicious brunch spreads. On some weekends it might be the only meal we eat all day. Read more

An Easy Quiche

There are approximately 100 million recipes for quiche on the internet (that’s a rough approximation). You don’t need another one. BUT, you need this one. More importantly, you need to know how this easy quiche can fit into your life. Specifically, you need to know exactly how this particular quiche recipe can make your life a one million times easier. Ready to have your mind blown? Okay here we go.

First, you need to know why I love THIS particular easy quiche recipe. I love it because it is so dead simple that it is impossible to screw up. This is coming from the person who almost served a RAW quiche to her entire family of in-laws. Even I can make this easy quiche. This recipe is so darned simple because I 100% made it up myself. The problem I continually have with quiche recipes is I never have the stuff on hand to actually make them. There is an approximately 0.003% chance I will have ham on-hand on any given day (that’s 1/365, because 1 day per year I WILL have ham in my fridge and that day is Dec. 26). I don’t keep my fridge stocked with fancy French cheeses. I occasionally have broccoli but I find that I don’t really care for the taste of broccoli in quiche. So, I made this easy quiche recipe out of necessity from never ever having the ingredients to make a proper quiche recipe on-hand. Read more

How to Save Burnt Baked Goods-Kitchen Fail Friday

When I shared my recent fish-related kitchen fail two Fridays ago, I indicated that kitchen fail Friday would be a semi-regular column. Who would have thought that I would have another hilarious fail only two days after that post? The Taste Tester, that’s who. I didn’t share last Friday due to the holiday weekend. I am back this week with a fail and it is a good one. First, I will share the story, then I will tell you how to save burnt baked goods, should you ever find yourself in that situation.

Last weekend, I was cleaning out my fridge and freezer in preparation for my parents’ visit over July 4th weekend. They always bring tons of fresh produce and farm fresh eggs, plus the addition of two people to the house means fridge space is minimal. During my clean-out, I noticed five cups of frozen zucchini bread from last summer. My standard zucchini bread recipe only calls for two cups of zucchini, so this discovery meant I could make my recipe 2.5 times over.

I pulled out three different zucchini bread recipes: my “standard” aka unhealthy recipe, my healthy recipe, and a chocolate zucchini bread recipe I wanted to try and give a healthy make-over. I decided to make a batch of the unhealthy bread so that the Taste Tester could take over a nice treat to his grandparents. I would work out the healthy recipes to keep at home. So, I set out three bowls and got to work. Read more

Easy Cheese Plate: Brie

It’s no secret that I love cheese! Who doesn’t? The Taste Tester claims that my answer to any recipe that goes awry is to #putsomecheeseonit. I don’t deny it. So you would think I would love a good cheese plate, right? WRONG! Well, actually I do love a good cheese plate, but I hate preparing them. Cheese is expensive. And it’s hard to know what cheeses pair well together. Plus, then you need toppings or crackers or accessories to go with each cheese. It can soon become overwhelming. Enter the easy cheese plate. Also know as the cheater’s cheese plate.

This easy cheese plate was totally inspired by my visit with the sample lady at Kroger. After I created that easy cheese plate, I thought-why couldn’t I do this over and over again? The key to the easy cheese plate is presentation. Limiting ingredients is what makes the easy cheese plate easy, so it’s important to make sure that you make those ingredients count. Another thing I like about this particular easy cheese plate? It’s 100% NSNG-friendly and totally carb-free. That makes this easy cheese plate also a healthy cheese plate. Read more

An Open Letter to Dorie Greenspan: Cherry Crumb Bars

An Open Letter to Dorie Greenspan and Food52 Re: Cherry Crumb Bars

Dear Ms. Greenspan,

Although I am not much of a baker, I am familiar with your work. And to say I am familiar with your work is to say I have heard your name before. It seems you can’t go to any food-related corner of the internet without hearing your name. There is no respectable food blogger who hasn’t at least heard your name. So, when I saw this recipe for a cherry crumb tart (which I have renamed to “cherry crumb bars”, for reasons that will soon become obvious) on Food52, my interest was doubly piqued when I saw your name in the author’s box. (Ed. Note: Ok, so I Googled you, turns out you have an even more impressive resume than I suspected. But it is late at night and I am angry and your impressive credentials will not deter me.)

You see, now that I live in Michigan, the un-official cherry capital of North America, cherry recipes always pique my interest. Growing up, I can’t remember ever eating a cherry, save for the maraschino version which is to a fresh cherry what Natural Light is to beer (although I suppose someone of your kitchen prowess is probably unfamiliar with “the official beer of keeping it real”, trust me, it’s not what most would consider “beer”). You see, I grew up in the kind of small Midwestern town where cherries don’t grow and mothers balked at paying $6/lb. anything, especially something as prone to spoiling as fresh cherries. Therefore, I did not experience the joy of fresh cherries until adulthood. I did, however, experience plenty of cherry-themed décor. It was the 1990s after all. Now, I am making up for lost time and cooking every cherry recipe I come across. At $1.88/lb, how could I afford not to? Read more

Farmer’s Market Recipe: Greek Pasta Salad

I am always on the hunt for a good Farmer’s Market Recipe! Mostly because I absolutely love the Farmer’s Market! Like, I am borderline obsessed. When my parents came to visit last fall, we went to two Famer’s Markets-in one day. Maybe not everyone’s idea of a good time but I was in heaven. As with anything in life that I love, I have a tendency to overdo it at the Farmer’s Market.. I tend to buy whatever looks good and then figure out what to do with it later. This has lead to over-purchasing on more than one occasion. Read more

Kitchen Fail Friday: A Recipe for Divorce

Although I call myself a food blogger, it’s no secret that I can be less than adept in the kitchen at times. In the spirit of increased transparency and hilarity, I would like to start running a semi-regular column known as Kitchen Fail Friday. I will regale you with stories of my latest or all time greatest kitchen disasters. Then, you can tell me your latest and greatest kitchen fails in the comments. I say semi-regular instead of regular in hopes that I don’t have a kitchen fail to share every week! But, let’s be real, they seem to still be racking up. The more adventurous you are in the kitchen the more likely you will be to have the occasional disaster, right? Let’s laugh along with each other as we share our kitchen fails and chalk them up as “learning experiences.” After all, “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” Read more

Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Popsicles Without Food Dyes

Today I am featuring an oldie but a goodie, cheesecake popsicles without food dyes! These popsicles are packed full of great taste and fruit but completely free of artificial food dyes. Their festive colors come only from ingredients found in nature! Now, without further adieu, let’s take it back to 2015:

This week, General Mills announced that it will be removing all artificial flavors and colors from its cereals. To me, this is a big step in the right direction by a major food producer, but I am wondering what Trix is going to look like without artificial colors. Whether or not you believe artificial colors are harmful, my belief is that they are largely unnecessary. Why add artificial colors, why not eat food the color that it happens to be? Well, sometimes, like when a certain patriotic holiday is involved, you might want your food to match the occasion.

Remember Bomb Pops? What exactly were those made of? And how is “blue raspberry” a flavor? Are blue raspberries really a thing? They were definitely patriotic, but I never enjoyed the taste. In fact, I never really enjoyed popsicles of any kind. Why have frozen water/juice when I could have ice cream instead? Enter these patriotic “popsicles” without food dyes. Read more

Strawberry Shortcake with Pie Crust

Well, it’s official. It is summer here in Michigan. Even though I know it’s not officially summer until June 21, when I can find strawberries ripe enough to make strawberry shortcake, then it’s close enough to call it. Being in Michigan has its upsides and downsides. Downside-we are about 2-3 weeks behind in the fresh produce department. Upside-we have SO MANY options when it comes to fresh produce. Especially in the berry and cherry department. There are lots of berries, along with different types of cherries, that grow well in the not too hot Northern climates. As soon as those incredible, tiny (when compared with grocery store types), and super sweet strawberries appeared in my CSA basket, I couldn’t wait to make this classic pie crust strawberry shortcake.

Something else that is official? I think I am officially a Northerner. I have lived in Michigan for close to five years now. I own a home. I married a native Michigander. BUT, until now it hasn’t been official. Until now, I have never, not once, felt like it was TOO HOT. Northerners, or at least Michiganders, are babies when it comes to the heat. Taste Tester complains about the heat ALL THE TIME. To which I would say something along the lines of, “you don’t even know what hot is.” (sidenote:Have I become my father?). BUT, this year, whew, it’s been hot. And I have felt that, perhaps, it was indeed TOO hot. And it wasn’t really that hot when I said it was too hot. Which means, I am officially a baby about the HEAT. And it’s only June. But it has been a particularly dry and hot summer thus far. The upside of my northerner-ness is that I am now pretty tough when it comes to the cold. Just ask anyone who has been to my house in winter. So, upsides and downsides. Read more

Peeps Ice Cream

I know I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I will say it again. I was a strange kid. Or at least, I had strange taste buds. For a kid. Looking back, I like to think my non-kid friendly eating habits were a reflection of a more sophisticated palate. I loved chocolate, but as far as things kids are “supposed” to like, that was about it. I didn’t like ketchup, mayonnaise, most sugary cereals, pretty much any candy that wasn’t chocolate, cotton candy, un-cooked marshmallows, cold pizza, McDonald’s cheeseburgers (#chickennuggest4life) or Peeps. I did not like Peeps. Unfortunately for my waistline, as an adult I developed a taste for most of these things. I still am not overly fond of any mayonnaise based salad (should it really be called a salad if it contains mayonnaise?), but I will eat mayonnaise on a sandwich, if it comes that way. I would never seek out most ketchups, but Trader Joe’s ketchup is a different food all together. It is delicious and I could eat in on basically anything. And I’m not really sure what I was thinking on the cereal front because kid cereals are incredible! Although I would never in a million years let a kid actually eat that for breakfast-said the person who has no human children. (Remind me I said that in 5-10 years!). Read more