May 2010


Happy Memorial Day weekend! The weather in Boston has been very summer-like…and you’ll hear no complaints from me. While I love cooking, the summertime calls for simple, lighter meals that don’t involve much stove-time. Don’t you agree?

Not only do I crave colder foods, I also want to maximize my time outdoors (especially after working in an air-conditioned office all day). Salads are a great option for this time of year and they are so versatile.

I wasn’t recently catching up on one of my favorite food magazines, Cooking Light, and found this recipe for Bell Pepper, Tomato and Cucumber Grilled Bread Salad. I immediately folded over the page. Not only is this dish easy, it’s light and involves using the grill (another summer favorite, although I use an indoor grill right now).  Another plus…it includes BREAD.

Just as I suspected, I loved this recipe. The veggies were delicious mixed with the light dressing and grilled bread (I used a wheat baguette). Mixing bread into a salad just makes life better. The recipe suggests adding grilled shrimp or chicken as an option. I had the salad vegetarian-style the first night and, for lunch the next day, I added tuna for a little protein. It was a great addition.

If you’re looking for a salad that’s a little different but still easy and delicious, give this one a try. The bread alone will win you over.

PS – Last year, I made a delicious Panzanella Caprese – another bread salad. With fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and bread, it was a perfect Italian-style summer meal.

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Last Sunday, for Mother’s Day, I hosted a brunch at my parents’ house. Actually, my first blog post was from our Mother’s Day brunch last year! I guess it was my little blog’s first birthday too. 🙂

 This year’s theme was “Queen for a Day.” I decorated the table with colorful glitter, jewel rings and sparkly wands. Five moms were present (my mom, grandmother, two aunts and cousin) and they wore crowns for the day. It was a fun theme!

Now, onto the food. Last year, the menu consisted of both breakfast and lunch foods plus dessert. This year, I focused on mainly breakfast but didn’t forget about dessert.

My family members brought delicious additions for the brunch including fruit salsa, pecan rolls, fruit salad and pineapple upside-down cake. Here’s the menu, based on what I made:

Appetizers

Homemade Granola with Vanilla Yogurt (I’ve made this before – it’s so easy!)

Banana Nut Muffins (I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and added chopped walnuts to the batter)

Entrees

Cheesy Crustless Quiche (I replaced the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour)

Hashbrown Casserole with Bacon, Onion and Cheese

Spiced Bacon Twists (I made these last year, they are always a hit!)

Scrambled Eggs from the Oven

Simple French Toast (See recipe below. Thanks, Sara!)

Dessert

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse

The meal turned out really well. I was able to prepare the granola, muffins, quiche, hashbrown casserole and chocolate mousse ahead of time so I wasn’t stressed during the morning. All I had to do in the morning was cook the casserole, warm the quiche and make the bacon twists, scrambled eggs and French toast. Check out my great results!

Quiche. I’m not really a fan of quiche normally, but this quiche turned out great! It was a different texture than traditional quiche and was  full of savory flavors. I will definitely be making this quiche again, it’s a go-to recipe and has a nice wow factor. 

The hashbrown casserole also turned out exceptional, I really loved it. The flavors of the bacon, cheese and onion really blended well together and I enjoyed the bold flavors. Another go-to recipe for sure! It was just so tasty!

My friend Sara made a delicious French toast for her St. Patrick’s Day brunch and I knew I had to include it in this spread. It’s different from any other French toast I’ve had and when she said it was an easy recipe, I was even more excited to give it a whirl. Here’s the recipe:

French toast

1.5 c. brown sugar
1.5 stick butter
1.5 tsp. cinnamon  
1 large loaf of bread, crust removed and sliced in half                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 6 eggs, beaten                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 c. milk (2%)

1/2 c. maple syrup

1. Melt brown sugar and butter on the stove. Mix with cinnamon and pour on the bottom of a 13″x9″ pan.

2. Layer bread in pan. Combine eggs and milk and pour over bread.

3. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

4. Pour maple syrup over French toast and serve.

The chocolate mousse was divine. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy this treat. Even for a chocolate lover like me, it was too rich for more than a few bites. Delicious. I made this mousse the night before our brunch and let it sit overnight. It turned out creamy and decadent. Topping it with whipped cream, a raspberry and a mint leaf gave it a restaurant-quality presentation.

I hope you try some of these recipes for an upcoming brunch, or nice weekend breakfast. You won’t be disappointed.

Have a great week!