Strawberry-Banana Parfait

Once I find an easy, healthy meal I tend to make it over and over again until I can’t stand the site of it. Recently I’ve been eating scrambled eggs with veggies for breakfast. I never change it up. I’ve lost track of how many days in a row I’ve had the SAME breakfast. It’s boring but I like it because it’s one less thing I have to think about when I wake up.

Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Parfait _ La Phemme Phoodie

 

This Strawberry-Banana Parfait will soon make it onto my breakfast menu. It’s a healthy breakfast with its combination of yogurt and fruit. It fills me up and also satisfies my sweet tooth. The walnuts add a nice texture.

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Broccoli and Blue Cheese Vegetarian Quiche

Vegan Quiche 1

Breakfast used to be something I enjoyed. I’m never quite hungry when I wake up but my tummy starts to growl soon after my morning cup of coffee. Prior to being diagnosed gluten and egg intolerant, I would eat two scrambled eggs and piece of toast for breakfast EVERY MORNING. It was the perfect way to fuel my day. I miss those mornings.

Continue reading Broccoli and Blue Cheese Vegetarian Quiche

Gingerbread Waffles (Gluten Free)

 

I have some advice for you. NEVER work on a recipe for your blog when you are hungry. See, I made these waffles in the morning before eating breakfast. By the time I mixed up the batter, set up the waffle maker and organized the props I was STARVING. As a result, I took about 2.2 seconds to spread the batter out in the waffle maker instead of actually taking time to make sure it was spread evenly. They may not look photo worthy but they are definitely worth making.

Continue reading Gingerbread Waffles (Gluten Free)

Spinach, Bacon and Blue Cheese Quiche

The sharp tang of blue cheese and salty bite of bacon is what makes or breaks this recipe. I discovered this the hard way. I used packaged crumbled blue cheese and turkey bacon the first time I made it. There was no amount of hot sauce or ketchup that could give it enough flavor to qualify as passable.

I immediately consulted some of my more knowledgeable cheese fiend friends to do some trouble spotting. I thought I needed to use a blend of cheeses to enhance the flavor but could not figure out what would compliment the blue cheese. I’m pleased to report that the delectable Tenaya of Madame Fromage came to my rescue. Turns out the major culprit was the packaged crumbles. Tenaya suggested I pick up a chunk of Maytag blue cheese, create my own crumbles and give the recipe another try.

I suspected that another issue was the lack of fat contained in the turkey bacon. Don’t get me wrong. I love turkey bacon as a side dish or on a sandwich but it gets lost when it is mixed in with other stronger ingredients. I decided to abandon any effort for this recipe to be healthy and switched from turkey bacon to regular bacon.

The two changes completely altered the quiche. It went from forgettable to fantastic. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE CHEESE in this recipe. Also, embrace the salty, fatty joy of saturating this dish with copious amounts of regular bacon.

Adapted from Mr. Breakfast

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Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Running barefoot out the back door I would bolt from the door, around the pool and straight to our garden. I would quickly unlatch the gate and dash barefoot through the rows of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and string beans to find whatever my mom told me to pick. I would linger just a little too long playing in the garden before my mom would call me to come back in the house.

I still feel a rush of excitement when I’m at a farm or back in my parents’ garden. I love being so connected to my food. Witnessing all the hours that my parents put into caring for their garden gave me an appreciation for local food that is not “fast” food.

Alas, I am without a garden right now. I don’t have the space and my parents live just far enough away that stopping by is not convenient. I have no CSA that I can participate in so I’ve committed to make frequent trips to local farms and farmers’ markets to keep a bountiful stash of fresh produce. On a recent trip to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market I stocked up on strawberries and rhubarb. I’ll show you next week what I did with the rhubarb. For now let me tell you about the dynamic Eugenia Bone and share with you her Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe. Her book, Well-Preserved, has been a driving force in my canning adventures.

The book contains an array of gorgeously illustrated recipes written with great detail. Her book is unique in that not only does she give you a canning recipe but she gives you ideas on how to use the recipe. For example, the Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe I’m sharing with you today is also featured in recipes for Strawberry Balsamic Panna Cotta, Rice Pudding with Strawberry Balsamic Jam and Strawberry Balsamic Poached Pears. I’m thrilled that Eugenia was kind enough to give me permission to share this recipe with you. I would highly recommend her book if you plan to embark on any canning adventures.

Last year around this time I was just taking note of the buzz building around canning. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of getting back to basics. This year I am on top of my game. I have a color coded chart for when things come into season. Yep, it’s color coded. That must be the lawyer in me shining through. The chart hangs on the side of my fridge. I see it every morning. I look at it eagerly anticipating what is about to come into harvest. Things are really getting into full swing in this area. I have a long list of things I want to can this year. Eugenia’s Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe is the first of my many canning adventures. I hope to share more of my adventures with you.

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*Printed with permission from Eugenia Bone

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

Two things that I never turn down as a side for breakfast: bacon and bacon. Alas, this food blogging fiend is trying to eat just a wee bit healthier which means I cannot have as much bacon as I would like. However, I still enjoy a decent stack of carbs now and then. I decided to indulge a recent carb craving with these gluten-free blueberry buttermilk pancakes. Instead of adorning the pancakes with my favorite savory and salty side dish I decided to serve it with some fresh fruit. Did I miss the bacon? Ummm yeah. I’ll add another Zumba class to my weekly workout and squeeze in a side of bacon real soon.

The pancakes came out a lot thinner than other pancakes I have made. They were still incredible, just a little on the thin side. I will continue to play with this recipe to see if I can get the dry to wet ingredient ratio just perfect. In the meantime, help yourself to a stack of these pancakes. You won’t regret it.

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Bourbon Vanilla French Toast Casserole

Hosting brunch for my family feels like I’m participating in a Top Chef Quickfire Challenge. I have a limited amount of time to pull off a successful brunch. There’s no immunity at stake but I sometimes feel as if my life is on the line. My family will “eliminate” me if I don’t have everything ready in time. If I had a camera on me I would look just as hectic and hyper as the contestants on Top Chef. All burners are go!

I’ve hosted brunch on numerous occasions since I started this site. I’ve yet to take pictures of what I’ve made other than this snapshot of some dishes on the table before the crowd descended. My Bourbon Vanilla French Toast Casserole is the one dish that everyone goes crazy for. I’ve tried to switch up the menu in the past.  They were not happy with my new suggestions. Needless to say this casserole now has a permanent spot on my brunch menu.

Aside from my family, there are several ladies in the office who have been kind enough to serve as my test subjects for many of my recipes including this casserole. The first time I brought this dish into the office was kind of a fluke. I had a little bit leftover from brunch. I didn’t want to keep it in the house because it was too tempting. I wasn’t sure how well it would go over with them because it was simply leftover French Toast. I was not serving it to them as a full breakfast. It was just a small batch of leftovers.  Once they smelled how inviting the scent of the French Toast was as if wafted through the office they began to get pretty excited. They went wild when they tasted the casserole. I know that part of it was the element of surprise of being given such a delectable treat but the other part was clearly based on how much they enjoyed eating it.

Slice the bread into 1 inch slices. I used two loaves of bread for this batch because the bread was long and thin. If you are using a wider loaf of bread you will only need one loaf.

Arrange the bread in the dish. There is no “right” way to arrange it. I prefer the method pictured above.

For the following three weeks one of the women in the office asked me every morning as I walked in if I was planning to make the casserole again. She was persistent. For various reasons I did not have it on the agenda. Right around the time she stopped asking for it I found some time to make another batch.

Make sure to evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread slices. The mixture should appear as depicted above.

The next morning when you remove the casserole from the fridge the bread should have absorbed most if not all of the egg mixture.

I made an entire batch just for them because they enjoyed it so much. I wanted to text them a pic of it while I was on my way to the office but decided to wait so I could see their faces. As soon as they arrived I told them I had a surprise for them. Before I could even finish the sentence one of the women started jumping up and down and squealing. I’m not kidding. She really started to jump up and down. There is nothing better than seeing someone react so positively to something you’ve made. She didn’t even stop to take off her jacket. She bolted right to the kitchen and dived in. Apparently this batch was even better than the first batch.

I’ve provided a detailed description under each of the photographs in an effort to ensure you can replicate exactly what I made. Several people have made this casserole and it did not turn out the same for them. I believe the secret to my success is making sure that each slice of bread is completely saturated with the egg mixture. The bread will turn out dry if you do not soak each slice. It is equally important to make sure you evenly pour the syrup mixture over the casserole but you can always correct any shortcomings on that issue with a side serving of some other type of syrup.

Don’t be shy with the syrup mixture. Saturate the bread. Trust me.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

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Shiitake Bacon: Mushrooms That Taste Like Bacon

Rumor has it that this is the year for pies. Green smoothies are all the rage (posting a recipe later this month). I’ve heard that cupcakes are so last year. Bacon? So 2010. I love the idea that something can be a trend but no food, especially bacon, will fall out of favor with me. To show my love for all things bacon I decided to try to make some vegan friendly bacon.

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for months. I must admit I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms. Other recipes took priority. I recently spotted a fresh supply of shittake mushrooms and decided to give this recipe a try.

If you like mushrooms you will love this recipe. The mushrooms had just the right amount of salt. They were crisp but not overcooked. You could still taste the texture of the mushroom but it wasn’t overpowering. I actually like my bacon to be well-done. I baked this batch for 45 minutes. If I make this again I’m going to add another 5-10 minutes to the baking time.

You can use the shiitake bacon as a substitute for “real” bacon in almost any recipe. It would taste great in sandwiches and salads.

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Shitake Bacon courtesy of Chef Elliot Prag at ScienCentral and The Natural Gourmet Institute

Gingerbread Waffles

These waffles are the perfect breakfast food for a crisp fall morning.  The flavor is mellow. I decided to try them with two different toppings. The first batch was topped with some spiced plum preserves. The preserves are incredible. In fact they are so incredible that they completely overpowered the mellow flavor of the waffles. The combination tasted great but could just as easily have been achieved with a regular waffle recipe.

The second batch was topped with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup. Perfect combination. The sugar and syrup did not overpower the mellow flavor of the waffles.

As you can see from the last pic my waffles did not exactly come out picture perfect. The batter turned out to be pretty thick which made it hard to spread evenly across the waffle maker. I enjoyed eating these but found myself thinking that for the same amount of time and effort I could have made another batch of pumpkin bread.

The pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things that I have made recently. There are many ways that you can transform the bread into a breakfast treat. I was thinking that next time I would make them into muffins with a crumb topping or drizzle a slice with spiced butter or a cinnamon/sugar/butter mixture to make it more of a breakfast food.

Canning 101


After reading several of Michael Pollan’s books and watching Food Inc. I became very concerned about whether I was eating real food or some genetically altered version of food. I know I won’t be able to change my eating habits overnight but I thought canning was a great way to get back to basics. Using fresh fruit from local farmers is an important part of my canning process.

I headed to Johnson’s Corner Farm to pick up some blueberries and peaches. They had an abundance of fresh blueberries from Whalen Farms and peaches from the Johnson’s Farm. Score! My first batch was a blueberry butter recipe from the lovely Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars.

While it may look great in the photo the actual batch of butter came out more like a jam than a butter. This recipe calls for the blueberries to cook on low in a slow cooker. Newer slow cookers “low” setting is unfortunately sometimes too hot for certain recipes. Within an hour the blueberries were bubbling. I tilted the lid. Still bubbling. Took off the lid. Still bubbling. I turned it to warm. Still bubbling. Needless to say I was not able to cook the blueberries as long as I needed to get the butter consistency. A taste test revealed that the flavors had not melded together. Sigh. I’m chalking this up to a learning experience and moving on.

See the peaches in the background? I intend to can some peach jam. Fingers crossed this batch turns out!

Mother’s Day Brunch

Better late than never. I’m a little behind on my posts. I still have a pic of an Easter cake that I have not posted yet. Working my way backwards.

I always plan on taking photos to chronicle my shenanigans in the kitchen. On the day of the event I end up rushing around trying to get everything done. Taking photos usually falls far down on the list of priorities. It’s hard to stop a group of people from devouring the food in front of them when you are trying to photograph the food. This was the best I could do before the kitchen was overrun.

On the table: fruit salad, assorted muffins, Tastefully Simple’s Perfect Parmesan Biscuit Mix ( mixed w/sharp cheddar cheese and a tablespoon of minced parsley) served with Sweet Pepper Jalapeno Jam, chocolate chip poundcake and Jewish apple cake.

The highlight of my brunch menu never made it to the table or in front of the camera. My family was too hungry and I was too rushed to hold them off so that I could get it all photo ready. What was on the rest of the menu? French toast casserole, quiche, slow cooked ribs and roasted potatoes. The French toast is by far the favorite part of the meal for all of my guests. The runner up is probably the quiche followed by the slow cooked ribs or the slow cooked bbq chicken I occasionally rotate into the menu.

We sipped on champagne with a “splash” of pomegranate juice. I just recently “discovered” pomegranate juice. I’m now officially a big fan.

*French Toast Casserole thumbnail photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Most pantries have a box of premixed pancake mix on the shelf. If you have a couple extra minutes to make your pancakes from scratch this is the recipe you must try. The pancakes turn out light and fluffy. The buttermilk and vanilla add a terrific flavor. You can substitute any berry for the blueberries.

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Original recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com