September 2018 Recap

September felt like it flew by!  The weather was so unpredictable that it truly didn’t feel like summer was over until last week.  At least not in Michigan!  So let’s take a minute to look back on the awesome things we featured on the blog.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This guacamole was one of my favorite ways to use my grill unconventionally.  And it was so good! It’s such an interesting combination and when we posted it, you could find both corn and poblanos at the farmers markets.  When Ally and I shoot, we like to have others around to help us eat the delicious food, but we were content to take a guac-break this time and devour this whole bowl!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Next up is my Kale and Avocado Caesar Salad, which is so simple and so yummy!  I think I ate this for a week straight before we finally posted it on the blog.  Ally loves this salad because it’s filling and easy to prep for work lunches.  You can also be so creative with this recipe, so it’s great to add it in to your meal rotation.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

I couldn’t wait to post this Eggs Benedict Recipe because its just a classic breakfast staple that I think any foodie/home cook should try!  Plus, it’s a huge crowd pleaser and it has that wow factor.  Don’t forget, always make more hollandaise than you think!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Chipotle and Butternut Squash Risotto was the perfect segue into fall cooking and baking.  Risotto is one of my favorite dishes/meals to make and this version is definitely going to be repeated many times this fall. Can’t squash my fall spirit!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

One of the most unique posts we did this month was a wine subscription review of Bright Cellars.  This was so cool because I love this service and it was fun to share with you all!  It was a little different than the regular posts that I do, but I want to start doing some more fun posts like this!  If you have any products or services that you love that you think I should check out or review, let me know in the comments!

I know that we posted a lot of delicious recipes in September, but look for a couple more unique posts in October!

Eggs Benedict-Brunch Style

It’s finally the weekend!!! Let’s celebrate what could possibly be one of the last summer-y Saturdays this year!  Well, I guess today is officially the beginning of Fall, but it still feels like summer.  Also, brunch.  Need I say more?

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Eggs Benedict is one of my husbands favorite things to eat during the weekends.  It is a bit of a labor of love, but I do love the end product!  Weekends are made for cooking because you have so much more time than during the weekdays.  And nothing pairs better with brunch food than bloody mary’s.  So if your hosting brunch this weekend or just want to enjoy your time away from the office, check out Mimosas: Otherwise It Would Just Be Juice or Bloody Mary Bar DIY to step up your weekend goals.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

The classic eggs benedict includes several key components.  You’ll need an english muffin, preferably with nooks and crannies, Canadian bacon (or some kind of protein), hollandaise, and a couple of perfectly poached egg.  You might need some practice with a couple of these components before you’ve mastered this breakfast classic.  There are some shortcuts, like using a fried egg instead of the finicky poached egg, using a hollandaise mix instead of homemade, or just going out to breakfast instead of making it yourself.  Now, I’ve eaten quite a bit of eggs benedict in my 24 years and once you make your own hollandaise, you can totally tell when a restaurant uses the pre-made mix.

Eggs Benedict

4 whole eggs

8 slices of ham, or Canadian bacon, or veggie sausage

2 english muffins

4 egg yolks

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1 lemon

Frank’s Hot sauce, or another hot sauce

salt and pepper

white vinegar

paprika (optional)

Begin by melting the butter over low heat taking care not to boil it.  Split your english muffins with a fork (this helps to preserve those nooks and the crannies).  Place your 4 egg yolks in a medium glass bowl.  You are going to place this bowl over a medium pot of simmering water so make sure that it’s a good fit.  Get your water for this on the stove and simmer over medium heat.  Place the ham slices in a skillet to warm and brown a bit.  You’ll also need a medium pot full of boiling water with a splash of white vinegar.  The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg white faster and not to get too technical (even though the science behind this is really cool!) it will help you to produce a perfect egg.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You’ll want to start the hollandaise before poaching the egg.  Begin by whisking the egg yolks with a metal spoon.  Whisk until they start to lighten in color.  Place over the simmering water, whisking constantly.  Slowly add in the melted butter while continuing to whisk well.  Remove from heat anytime you feel like the eggs might be getting chunky but continue to whisk.  I normally go back and forth between the heat several times.  You’ll know it’s done when it becomes thick and pale yellow.  Remove from the heat and add in a squeeze of fresh lemon, several shakes of hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  When you taste it, it should be slightly lemony, very buttery, and you shouldn’t necessarily taste the hot sauce, it just helps to round out the flavor.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Toast your english muffins and begin to poach your eggs. To poach, crack your eggs one at a time into a small bowl.  Once you drop the egg into the water, swirl the water with a spoon to create a mini whirlpool.  This will help the whites to coagulate together, instead of spreading out in the pot.  You don’t have to poach eggs easy, the longer you simmer them, the longer the yolk will cook.

To assemble, place the toasted english muffins on your plate.  Place the warmed ham slices on them and then top with the poached egg.  Drizzle a healthy portion of hollandaise on top and sprinkle with paprika.  Because this is such a prep-heavy breakfast, I like to make sure the side is easy.  I normally go for oven baked home-fries or even hash-browns.  That way your kitchen won’t be so crowded.  Enjoy with a nice bloody mary!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

 

 

 

Mimosas: Otherwise It Would Just Be Juice

It’s only Tuesday, but I can’t be the only one dreaming about the weekend.  Brunch is a good idea year-round, but summer is almost begging us to invite our friends over, make some delicious food, and pop some bottles.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now, I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you know how to make a good mimosa.  Or you know how to drink good mimosas.  But I have some tips and tricks for making a great mimosa bar, and a fantastic mimosa.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now, most importantly, you will need decent bubbly.  Choose from prosecco, Champagne, sparkling wine, or anything with actual bubbles and alcohol.  My go-to is prosecco, especially since I tend to drink dryer wines.  If you have buckets of cash lying around, empty them out and buy yourself some fancy Champagne from Champagne!  My favorite brand of prosecco is Freixenet, however I also like the Belletti Brand shown below and both options are very affordable.  Keep in mind that the juices will add sweetness and you don’t want the finished beverage to be too sweet.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Next, you’ll need fruit/mix-ins and juices.  My go-to choices include fresh berries, pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, and the classic orange juice.  Fresh fruit is always a good choice, as is citrus segments.  Think raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, cranberries, currants, grapefruit, orange, blood orange.  Now, you can go crazy with juices.  I usually have orange juice, pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, mango juice, pineapple juice and anything else you can think of juicing.  The best part about parties with mimosa bars, is that everyone gets to make the exact drink they want, and they can also try new combinations!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Ratios are also very important when discussing mimosas.  I generally stick to a 1:3 juice to bubbly ratio.  My guests have never complained.  Also, the order in which you add the items to the glass is important.  You want to add the juice first, then when you add the bubbly, it will mix together nicely.  If you add the fruit before the bubbly, it will cause an absurd amount of excess bubbles to form, so its better to garnish afterwards.  You don’t want to run out of anything, so 3 juice options should be enough, and buy enough bubbly knowing that you will get about 6 mimosas per bottle.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

So dust off your champagne flutes, call your friends, and stock your fridge!  Also, I’m now available for left-handed modeling gigs.

Cheers!

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Photography by Allyson Regan (who loves mimosas BTW)

Bloody Mary Bar DIY

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Photography by Allyson Regan

I’m at a stage in my life where brunch is the best way to kickstart my weekends.  And I hope I never grow out of this stage.  Come on, lunch food combined with breakfast food?  Mimosas?  Bloody Mary bars?  Not to mention the whole sleeping in and then most likely napping after the delicious meal.

One of my favorite things is to host brunch at my house.  It’s so simple and makes brunch that much better because its less expensive, you can have exactly what you want, and you can wear yoga pants.  Win, win, win.

Whenever I host brunch, I love to set up a bloody mary bar.  It’s super simple and your guests will love it!  It’s easy to customize to you and your guests tastes, but I’m going to outline just a few must haves and some creative ingredients.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

First things first, you’ll need vodka.  Well, you don’t need vodka, this is your bloody bar, so there are no rules/judgements here.  But I would recommend vodka.  My go-to vodka is Titos, I just think it has a really basic but smooth flavor that makes it ideal for bloody marys.  But I also like Svedka vodka and New Amsterdam.  And most of the other kinds.  Okay all the other kinds.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Next is the tomato component.  You can definitely make your own mix, or just put out really good tomato juice.  For ease on my wallet and space on the bar, I usually just put out a couple kinds of mix instead.  My favorite mix is McClure’s bloody mary mix.  They make delicious pickles, so it’s no surprise that their mix is delicious as well.  Other mix ins that I include are several kinds of hot sauce (Frank’s, Tabasco, etc.), steak sauce (A1 or we brought back this delicious sauce from our recent trip to Costa Rica called Lizano and it’s like a spicy steak sauce), and if your crowd is really adventurous you can put out beef stock (to make the classic Bloody Bull) or beet juice for an extra healthy effect.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

The best part of any bloody mary is assembling your own stirrer.  My brother-in-law likes to use this skewer as an appetizer which isn’t the worst idea he’s ever had.  I found these thin skewers in different sizes at Meijer, but I’ve also seen them at Target.  Meats and cheeses always go over well, and celery sticks are classic.  I just cubed up some local Michigan cheese, and I got delicious ‘meat sticks’ from our local butcher called Sobie Meats.  You can use salamis or sausages as well.  To add something healthy, I added dill sprigs, fresh cucumbers, mini bell peppers, jalapeños, and olives.  Some other crowd favorites are candied bacon, regular bacon, mini cheeseburgers, etc.  But I don’t have time for that.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

For the ease of your guests, you can use large ice cubes and place them into glasses just before your guests arrive.  This way you don’t have to man-handle their ice cubes when they are itching for a drink in their hands.  All that’s left is to enjoy!

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If you haven’t realized it yet, Allyson Regan is an amazing photographer.