Vanilla Cinnamon Challah French Toast

WITH STRAWBERRY HONEY BUTTER!

This butter though.

strawberry honey butter

I think i just spoiled myself for life in regards to boring old butter. I now want to infuse it with everything i can think of. More fruit? Sure. Olive oil and garlic? Sounds great. Melted chocolate? Hmmm. Vegetables? Ehhh. SRIRACHA?!? I think i may be pushing it…

challah french toast

I really wish i had the time to make homemade bread every week. I forgot how amazing your house smells with bread baking away in the oven and love not having to purchase it at the store for the week. I made challah this past weekend and this time HAD TO HAD TO HAD TO turn it into french toast. The last time i made it (which was the first time ever!) i was so impressed with myself that i managed to make bread that was not only edible, but deeelicious that Casey and i gobbled it up with not a crumb to spare.

On another note, when i finished kneading the dough (i typically use our coffee table) i left a tub of flour sitting out and of course our little monster got into it while we were out. More on that in Thursday’s post…

challah french toast

I’m usually not a fan of really carby breakfasts (eggs + green smoothies for life<3) but when the bread is this scrumptious & homemade i just couldn’t resist. Plus i had a side of fruit so that kicks it up a notch, no? Either way, it’s super filling and satisfying and like i said before… THIS BUTTER!

challah french toast

{I couldn’t take it any longer i had to steal a bite!}

CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST 4 LIFE!

Vanilla Cinnamon Challah French Toast
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
French Toast:
  • 4 slices of challah
  • ⅔ cup almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pure maple syrup for topping
Strawberry Honey Butter:
  • 5 strawberries, hulled
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and boil the strawberries for two minutes.
  2. Add them to a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to turn them into a rough jelly.
  3. Add the strawberries and honey to the softened butter and mash with a fork.
  4. In a small bowl mix the milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  5. Dip each slice of challah in the milk mixture and flip to coat the other side. Place on a nonstick skillet or griddle (i used a griddle) and cook on each side approximately 3-4 minutes.
  6. Top with the strawberry honey butter and pure maple syrup.

 

Smoked Gouda and Spinach Salmon

I am not sure why cooking salmon always intimidates me. Oh wait yes i do because when i cook it, it ends up on either side of the spectrum: raw or rubber. Yep.

smoked gouda and spinach salmon

A few weeks ago, Casey and i were visiting my parents for my mom’s birthday (hi mom!) and she had an unreal spread for dinner. Part of this spread was this AH-mazing salmon that was baked so perfectly it was a dream. It was i-feel-like-i-am-in-a-fancy-restaurant-right-now flakey and topped with smoked gouda (helllooo my favorite cheese EVER!) and spinach. A combo i don’t think i would have ever thought to put on top of salmon. But she did. And it rocked my world.

smoked gouda and spinach salmon

I, of course, stole borrowed the recipe from her and immediately re-created it at home. And just like magic (POOF!) my salmon cooking skills went from zero to hero (anyone else watch Shark Tank? Freakin’ love when Lori overuses the term “hero.”) This smoked gouda and spinach salmon is baked so you get brownie points for healthy prep but then it’s topped with tons of cheese so i think the two cancel each other out? But then again i may not be the best judge because i pretty much put cheese on everything.

smoked gouda and spinach salmon

SALMON SUCCESS!

Smoked Gouda and Spinach Salmon
 
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Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • ½lb salmon filet (i used wild caught atlantic salmon)
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup shredded smoked gouda
  • 2-3 Tbsp mayo
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the salmon and season with salt and pepper. The piece that i bought still had the skin so i just baked it skin-side down.
  3. Mix the spinach, gouda, and mayo in a small bowl and spread the mix on top of the entire salmon filet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes in an oven safe dish (i used a glass pyrex dish sprayed with coconut oil cooking spray).

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

I have to start this post by wishing a very happy birthday to my main little man!

{he HATES getting his picture taken so this was the best i could do}

Dex is 7 today and is being met with lots of treats and walks. We have a long hike planned after work at his favorite park. I also bought him new bowls over the weekend but i think that’s the least exciting for him. :)

Now onto this DELICIOUS salad!

Please join me while i try to hang onto every ounce of summer that’s left.

caprese salad

I am going to miss all of the super fresh and bountiful produce because fresh salads are my life. WAHHH. I’ll also miss watermelon. Oh watermelon…

caprese salad

The fresh basil, the heirloom tomatoes, the creamy mozzarella, the tangy balsamic vinegar. The flavors come together beautifully in this cold and super healthy salad. I know that there are many different varieties of caprese salad (i saw one with peaches that looks insane) but mine requires very little slicing. I bought a package of cherry/grape heirloom tomatoes and some were just a tad too large for my liking so i sliced them and placed them on the bottom. The rest just went into the salad whole. Can it get any easier?

caprese salad

You can serve this salad as an appetizer, main dish, or side making it super versatile. The salad has a mild flavor that pretty much pairs well with anything. I used to never like “wet mozzarella” (my words from when i was younger) and now i can’t get enough. SO GOOD.

caprese salad

Look at those colors!

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 to 2½ cups cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup ciligene mozzarella
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on a large plate and top with fresh basil.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. To reduce the balsamic vinegar, pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the volume has been cut in half and the vinegar has thickened.
  4. Top the caprese salad with the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

 

Watermelon Sangria

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend with friends + loved ones. I started my Labor Day with a 6 lap run at the nearby high school track while Casey and Dex walked around and cheered me on. I am in training mode for the upcoming Mario Lemieux 6.6k so i plan on my September mileage to be the highest yet!

After my run (and breakfast of course) i dug into this delicious watermelon sangria that i prepared on Sunday. It was EVEN BETTER after sitting in the fridge all night because the juices from the fruit came together into a heavenly, fruity, boozy mixture. Day drinking on a Monday? Yes, please!

watermelon sangria

This was my first time ever making sangria and it was a HUGE hit! Not to mention the fact that its just fresh fruit, lime seltzer, & booze. No added sugar or funky ingredients. It’s so light and fruity and is the perfect end-of-summer drink. Is summer really ending soon? SAY IT AIN’T SO! ;( I’ll just sip on this sangria and pretend coats and snow aren’t waiting for me right around the corner.

watermelon sangria

I think i’ll be able to purchase one maayyybeeeee two more watermelons at the grocery store this season. Then i’ll be forced to say goodbye. I’ll be forced to say goodbye to farm fresh super sweet corn too. I don’t like change. Maybe all the pumpkin-esque things to come will make up for it?

Ok major digression going on here. Just make the sangria, sip, enjoy, and live in the moment.

watermelon sangria

Do i really have to go back to work tomorrow?

Watermelon Sangria
 
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Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 8 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 750mL bottle moscato
  • 1 cup vodka
  • ½ cup triple sec
  • 1 and ½ cups lime seltzer
  • 2 oranges, cut into wedges
  • 2 limes, sliced
Instructions
  1. Place the watermelon in a blender and blend until the watermelon is all liquid.
  2. Pour the watermelon through a mesh strainer so only the juice remains.
  3. Place the watermelon juice in a large pitcher and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a large spoon.
  4. Place in the fridge to chill for a few hours then serve.