I don’t know how school mornings go at your house, but in mine it can be very rushed and hectic. The small window of opportunity between 5:30 am when the alarm clock rings and when the kids pile into the car seems to speed by. I often feel like a broken record…saying the same things over and over. “Hurry up!” “Is everything in your book bag?” “Did you pack your lunch?” and the infamous… “Did you put on deodorant?!?” With all that craziness, I find little time to cook breakfast??? In addition, the kids ABSOLUTELY can’t stand school food. That’s why over the years we have come up with creative ways to make tasty, quick, yet healthy breakfast options. 🙂 This recipe is one of Chef Fresh and Chef Jess’ favorite! Although simple to make, it is full of flavor!
The beauty in this recipe is that you make it before, and can store it in the fridge for a few days! Call them cupcakes, and you’re kids will think they’re getting over and having dessert for breakfast. (lol) Little do they know that this “cupcake” is actually healthy…yet tastes like a baked smoothie.
We are FOODIES! This means that we love to eat, sample, and cook foods of all kinds. (Sidebar… they actually like frog legs?!?) However, Chef Jess pointed out to me recently that I have been lacking. “How so?” I asked? She replied that I don’t make hors d’oeuvres for them like I do when I am having a party for other people. Hmmm. Sigh… She was right! So, I decided to change this because I realized that, in her mind, “hors d’oeuvres” mean that the person visiting is really important. So, on a random weekday…. we made a charcuterie board for an extra special after school snack simply because I wanted my babies to know that they are more important to me than ANYONE else. 😉
It is super easy, and won’t break the bank! Pick out a couple of your favorite cheeses. Cheddar is a kid favorite, but venture out a bit and add another. They chose sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, and brie. Chef Jess handpicked the meats…Capocollo Salame, hard Salami, and Prosciutto. To round it out, Chef Fresh added grapes, blueberries, dried cherries, almonds, and soft garlic cheese.
“Taylor Swift is the best singer of all time!” exclaimed Chef Jess when Wildest Dreams came on during our car ride home from school. I’ll be honest, my neck is still sore from how quickly I turned to look at her to see if maybe she was running a fever. After realizing that she was ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS, I tried desperately to help her reason. “But, seriously…. you can’t tell me that Taylor Swift is a better singer than Whitney Houston???” I immediately responded. “Well, Whitney’s okay…..but she’s no Ariana Grande!” she shot back. SIGH!!!!!!!!!! Operation Music Deprogramming was suddenly catapulted into action! lol So while we “cheffed,” MY playlist played in the background. 😉
It’s been really, really, REALLY cold here in Atlanta, so my young chefs and I have been craving some heartwarming foods. The other night my minions and I worked together to make a meal so delicious that we just sat back and smiled at each other across the table. No really…it was stupidly delicious! Chef Jess (our resident meat expert) wanted to create a mock Thanksgiving meal…. sans turkey. Instead, she chose Cornish hens. Of course no Thanksgiving meal is complete without dressing (or stuffing as many of y’all call it;) So, Chef Fresh and I came up with a savory dressing with a slight kick. After all, we are Caribbean. 🙂 As the young chefs divided the task list and prepped their items, Mommy (aka The Sous) loaded Spotify, and soon the sweet voices of Aretha, Whitney, Etta, and Marvin Gaye filled the room.
As I danced around, Chef Jess prepped the hens and Chef Fresh chopped up ciabatta bread into cubes. He drizzled the cubes with olive oil, and a pinch of salt/pepper, then browned them in the oven.
The holidays have come and gone, and there is so much that has transpired…in the kitchen. 😉 We have been branching out and experimenting with different foods! Chef Jess pulled me aside a week before Christmas, and with a super-duper serious look on her face exclaimed, “We really have to get our menu together!” Talk about a role reversal! So together we brainstormed, and came up with a smorgasbord of main dishes, sides, and hors d’oeuvres.
One of the highlights was this simple, yet AMAZINGLY DELICIOUSLY SCUMPTIOUS Lamb dish. Everything is done in one pot, and all the flavors melt in such a way that makes it seem like you slaved over the stove. The truth is that you can simply forget about it once it’s in the oven. Read a book, paint your nails…or, oh yah…take time to have a heart-to-heart with your young chefs. That’s what I opted for. 🙂 Chef Jess talked incessantly about…well…EVERYTHING that’s girly. (Clothes, shoes, friends, hair, nails…blah, blah, blahbedy, blah) LOL! It’s actually funny to watch her talk like talking might be outlawed at any moment. But, our conversation became much deeper when Chef Fresh chimed in. He has no patience for her endless chatter, so he felt obligated to cut her off. (Teenagers!) But in this instance, it was actually okay. Let me explain…
He brought up a video we watched earlier in the day that was quite moving. I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I won’t go in depth about the content. But, please know that it will pull at your heartstrings. It did for me, and it apparently also did for my (sometimes) temperamental teenager. He simply stated…”I would do that for you Mommy.” That’s all it took for the waterworks to begin. My lesson in the moment is that sometimes our teens push and pull, but the foundation that we create absolutely helps to form their character.
Oh, ok…about the Lamb. lol! You will want to trim away the fattiness if your meat has too much of it. We find that this is what makes it taste kinda…well..too “lamby.” Give it a healthy dusting of salt and pepper on all sides. Massage all that goodness in! Sear it in coconut oil, and brown it on all sides. That’s the hard work. 🙂 Next, you will just need to add all the other ingredients, and put it in the oven. How easy!!!
Take the pot out of the oven when cooked, and take a second to look at how beautiful your creation is!!!! Let it rest for a while, and then remove the rosemary, thymes, and oregano sprigs. The sauce will be sooo deliciously rustic that you’ll want to put it on EVERYTHING.
Plate it to your liking by adding any starch that you love. Potatoes, rice, and polenta are some options for you. However, we decided to lighten the dish by serving it with brussel sprouts. Enjoy this dish which ever way you choose! The lamb is your star item, and your guests will love you for sharing it with them.
John 15:12….. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Faith, Family, Food… In that order.
- 5 pound leg of lamb (bone in or out)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cups of Mommy's favorite Red Wine
- 1 small 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 3/4 cup currants
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1.Make sure to preheat oven to 325°F. Generously season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil on high. Place the seasoned lamb in the pot and sear each side until dark brown.
- 2.Once the lamb is finished browning, turn off heat and add wine, tomato paste, tomatoes, raisins, cilantro, currants, garlic cloves, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour on 325°F. Then reduce heat to 275°F and braise for another 3 hours.
- 3.Once the lamb is finished, remove it from the oven. You will want to remove the rosemary, thyme, and oregano sprigs from the stock. The sauce will be nice and thick and rustic looking. Of course, add salt and pepper to taste.
- 4.The lamb is super duper tender, and will literally melt in your mouth. Serve with sauce and garnish with raisins and currants. (It makes the plate really pretty.)
- This meat dish pairs well with all types of starches (ie. rice, potatoes, polenta) However, we served ours with pan seared brussel sprouts for a slightly lighter meal. 🙂
As a mom, I am ALWAYS looking for ways to get my kids to eat healthy food. It’s not always easy or pretty! However, I’ve learned through trial and error that kids will eat anything that tastes good…or ANYTHING they help make. 😉
They learned this recipe from their Nana recently, and it has quickly become a quick go-to side dish in our home. Chef Fresh slices up the onions because Chef Jess’ eyes tear up too much. She slices the tomatoes and cukes, while I whisk up the dressing. In 10 minutes we have a really tasty side dish. 🙂
This is really great for picnics, but also as a accompaniment to a savory winter recipe that needs some lightening up. I also imagine that you could kick this up for a filling lunch by adding chicken salad or tuna salad. Yum!
Faith, Family, Food…In THAT order
- 4 large Heirloom Tomatoes (varying colors)
- 1 Vidalia onion (THINLY sliced)
- 1 English cucumber (THINLY sliced)
- 3 TBSP honey
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Slice tomatoes evenly, and THINLY slice the English cucumber and Vidalia onion. Arrange on a platter, or in a salad bowl.
- Mix the honey, olive oil, vinegar, and salt/ pepper together. Make sure to whish thoroughly. Drizzle dressing over the tomato and cucumber salad.
It’s one week after Thanksgiving, and I don’t know about you, but I honestly don’t care to eat another slice of turkey ANYTIME soon! lol Although we had a fabulous time seeing family for the long weekend, we are now back to our regular routine. Of course this means cooking together!!! YAY 🙂
As usual, I (the Sous) stayed out of the way and allowed Chef Jess and Chef Fresh to come up with different menus. I was mum even when overhearing an argument about who would cook the protein. Chef Jess wanted steak, but Chef Fresh moaned that we had eaten enough meat during the holiday. Eventually they were able to settle down and agree on a seafood dish. So seared salmon with garlic spinach and a dill beurre blanc it was!
Just a quick trip to the supermarket, and we each began our cooking tasks. Chef Jess was still just a little pouty that her big brother was spearheading the menu, but she did really well with chopping the herbs. It’s amazing how her knife skills have improved! Chef Fresh made me chuckle because he seasoned the salmon steaks with such intensity…like it was brain surgery. 🙂
As usual, we talked about a whole range of topics as we stood shoulder to shoulder. See…we attended church earlier in the day during which the sermon was about intentional living, and doing things that add value to others. We talked about how we can do this on a daily basis, and why this is important. I shared the idea that you never truly know what a person is going through, and gave a few examples. There was one about how there may be a kid in the class who seems to always misbehave. While everyone sees them as bad, they may actually be acting out because they’re going through something really horrible at home. It was my next example that really seemed to resonate with my young chefs….especially my son. I simply stated that it is very likely that there are some students in their class that probably only eat when they are at school because their families are unable to buy food. He looked down at the salmon that he had so carefully seasoned, and said softly “That’s so sad. That’s so sad.”
From this discussion, we were able to brainstorm ways to intentionally impact others through our kindness….Not only during the holiday season, but as a way of life.
Faith, Family, Food… In that order.
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
- Garlic Powder
- Emeril's All Natural Fish Rub
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1. In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the shallots, wine, and lemon juice. Boil the mixture until it is thick and syrupy.
- 2. Reduce the heat to very low, and add the cream, salt, pepper, and dill. Whisk in the cubed butter, a little at a time.
- 3. When the butter is fully combined and the mixture is emulsified, remove it from the heat. The sauce can be made up to about an hour before serving, and then reheated. HOWEVER...Do NOT let it bubble as you reheat.
- 1. Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and THOROUGHLY clean the leaves.
- 2. Heat butter on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is translucent.
- 3. Add spinach and water to pan. You may need to pack it down to get it to fit. Cover for 5 minutes. Uncover, and turn spinach over to coat with butter and garlic. Recover, and allow to wilt.
- 4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 1. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with pepper, garlic, and fish rub. Be careful not to go too heavy handed with the fish rub because it contains salt.
- 2. Coat the bottom of a large, cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan with oil, and place over medium-high heat.
- 3. Once the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets. Please do not overcrowd the pan. Cook, without moving. There is nothing worse than overcooked fish! So, cook the 1st side until the it is cooked about 1/4 of the way up the fillet. Flip it, and repeat for the other side. The fillet will continue to cook even after it is removed from the fire. Drizzle each fillet with some lemon juice.
- The fun part is the plating! Pick your plate, and place a serving of the garlic spinach in the center. Lay a salmon fillet on top, and spoon some beurre blanc around the bottom of your beautifully balanced culinary creation! Enjoy!
Some school nights are more hectic than others. Last night was one of those hectic ones! Both chefs had TONS of homework, and the Sous chef had several work deadlines to meet. Despite the chaotic evening, we were able to make this amazing dish. What made it most delicious was Chef Fresh’s decision to add different elements to this classic comfort recipe. He really prides himself on being the seafood expert in this house. 🙂
Chef Fresh opted not to use cheddar in the grits (The Sous Chef’s go-to favorite), and instead used smoked guyere and camembert cheeses. The richness, creaminess, and the smokiness really complimented the spice in the shrimp and crawfish sauce….which was honestly good enough to eat alone like a fish stew. I (Sous Chef) was simply floored by how yummy it was, and was reprimanded for “taste testing” (aka, sampling) too much. LOL! While Chef Jess had a lesser role, she definitely made her mark by adjusting the Cajun seasoning and suggesting a touch of fresh basil.
You would honestly think that the chefs spent hours preparing this, but it took far less than an hour! Busy moms and dads can surely whip this up any day of the week. Who doesn’t love that? So, add this to your regular menu because your family and guests will definitely thank you!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups vegetable Stock
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups shredded Smoked Guyere cheese
- 4 oz camembert cheese
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 1 pound of crawfish tails (Find in seafood freezer section of grocery store)
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (deshelled and deveined)
- 1/2 lemon
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 bacon slices
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely-chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp chopped Basil
- 2 TBSP Cajun seasoning (or more. Add to your liking)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 5 stems chopped green onion for garnish
- Hot sauce
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, and stock; bring to a gentle boil. Add butter and onion powder. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the grits are tender. Finish by stirring in cheeses, and adding salt and pepper (to taste). Add additional stock if your grits begin to harden. The consistency should be creamy. Keep warm.
- Sprinkle crawfish and shrimp with salt, and pepper; set aside. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Put aside. Keep about 5 tablespoons bacon grease in the frying pan. Add onion, and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add tomato paste to pan and stir to coat onions. Add stock; stir well. Add paprika, Cajun seasoning, basil, parsley and lemon juice. Taste sauce to determine if it has the right level of heat. Add Cajun seasoning as desired, a little at a time. Turn heat down and add crawfish and shrimp. Allow shrimp to cook in the sauce. Do not overcook Remove from heat.
- To serve, ladle the grits into individual bowls. Spoon the crawfish/shrimp mixture over top the grits. Sprinkle with chopped bacon, and garnish with green onions.
- We are big fans of spicy food, so we add a couple dashes of our favorite hot sauce. However, you can easily omit this is your palate doesn't care for heat.
- •½ cup brown sugar
- •½ cup honey
- •¼ cup coconut oil
- •4 cups old fashioned oats
- •½ tsp nutmeg
- •¼ tsp salt
- •1 cup dried cherries
- •2 cups flour
- •3 Tbsp white sugar
- •1½ tsp baking powder
- •1 tsp baking soda
- •¼ tsp salt
- •2 cups buttermilk
- •1½ tsp vanilla extract
- •½ tsp ground nutmeg
- •1 egg
- •¼ cup melted butter
- •8 slices of cooked and rough chopped Bacon
- •1 cup Chocolate Chips
- 1.Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- 2.Combine brown sugar, honey and coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often until sugar is dissolved.
- 3.In a separate bowl, pour brown sugar mixture over oats and add nutmeg, dried cherries, and salt. Stir until oats are evenly coated.
- 4.Spread granola mixture over a cookie sheet (sprayed with pam) and press mixture down.
- 5.Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
- 7.Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking apart and into pieces.
- 8.Store in air tight container.
- 1.Melt the butter and set aside to cool down slightly.
- 2.To a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to combine all dry ingredients well.
- 3.In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg, and egg. Whisk to combine. Add melted butter and whisk again.
- 4.Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add cooked bacon, and chocolate chips (leave a little of both for garnishing), whisking and stirring to mix it all together. Once it's combined, stop mixing. If you mix too much, the pancakes won't be light and fluffy.
- 5.Heat a large skillet or griddle over MED-LOW heat. Add a bit of butter to the preheated griddle and spread it out.
- 6.Use a ¼ or ⅓ cup measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter onto the griddle or skillet. Slowly pour it onto the surface, circling outwards to make a nice circle.
- 7.Let the pancake cook about 2-3 minutes. You'll notice bubbles popping up on the surface of the pancake, if the edges look set, carefully flip the pancake over. Cook another 2 minutes on the other side.
- 8.Place the cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and keep it in a low heat oven (175-200 degrees), until you're ready to serve.
- Plate your yummy and fluffy pancakes by topping with crumbled bacon, chocolate chips, granola, and syrup.
- Make the granola days before and store. The kids can eat it as cereal for breakfast before school, or as a healthy snack. You will also have it handy to add to your most amazingly fluffy buttermilk pancakes on the weekend!
- 1 (8 ounce) package Lo Mein noodles
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 orange pepper, chopped
- 2 cups String Beans,
- 6 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Scallops
- 3 Small Lobster Tails
- 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, oyster sauce, and a pinch of the ginger in a bowl. Cover, and let sit.
- Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops on each side for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and cover. Add steak to pan , and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside. Cook garlic and ginger in the same skillet until fragrant. Add vegetables to the skillet; cook and stir until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Stir flank steak into the vegetable mixture, and turn off heat.
- Boil Lobster tails until appropriately cooked. Remove and chop. Let sit.
- Cook Lo Mein noodles in the boiling water until cooked through but firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle sesame oil over it, and toss to coat. Add to beef and veggie mixture.
- Add soy sauce mixture to noodle/veggie mixture. Toss until everything is coated.
- Plate by adding scallops and lobster on top of pasta mixture! Garnish with scallions and Enjoy!!!
- Make it spicy if you want! 🙂
- 4 thick cut pork chops, bone in
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for marinating pork chops)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for searing pork chops)
- 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
- 1 Persimmon, diced
- 1 cup diced red pepper
- 1 cup diced green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped Jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded (Remember that the seeds are what make it spicy hot...so add as many seeds as your palate can tolerate.)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 large lime
- Steak Seasoning
- Onion Powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, persimmon, red pepper, green pepper, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Put in the fridge for now.
- Season pork by sprinkling steak seasoning and powdered onion on both sides. (BE CAREFUL to GENTLY sprinkle the steak seasoning because it is salty. Drizzle with olive oil, massage into meat, and let marinate for 15 mins.
- Put olive oil in frying pan, and on medium/high heat. Cook the pork chops for 4 minutes on each side. Make sure to cook chops until the internal temperature is about 135-140 degrees. Then let the pork chops rest for about 10 minutes.
- Serve rested chops with a healthy helping of the chilled salsa on top!
- Remember that the jalapeno seeds are what create heat. So...add as many seeds as your palate can tolerate. ALSO...mommies and daddies...PLEASE have your young chefs use plastic gloves if they are dicing the jalapeños. 😉