baguette french toast with fresh berries

Sometimes I think this blog should be called Carb lovers only. Carb-a-holics. All Things Bread. I try and I try to give up white breads, and to give up sugar (I’ve been moderately successful. Sometimes I talk myself into whole wheat pasta and pizza dough. Baby steps!).

The thing is, it’s just too delicious. And then things like baguette french toast are born.

So, this recipe. I made it for my boyfriend on a lazy Sunday morning after we’d spent our anniversary celebration the day before picking berries at Butler’s Orchard. Prepare to see another berry recipe coming soon!

We had half a baguette leftover from a delicious Italian feast he’d made two nights before. It was from Lyon Bakery, in Union Market – I work for the Market, but my love for Lyon’s products is pure and without bias. #Carbs.

This recipe is really, crazily easy. No forethought required – no need to soak the bread overnight (though I bet that’d make it even more delicious). Just slice, dip and toast. I made it with a little less than half a baguette, but it only (generously) served one. My boyfriend can eat a lot, so his plate may serve two if you have small stomachs, or if you’re making other delicious food!

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baguette french toast with fresh berries

1. Slice half an old (slightly stale, but not rock hard) baguette into 1-inch slices

2. Whisk together three eggs and 2/3 a cup of skim milk

3. Mix in: two tablespoons of white sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 a teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 a teaspoon of salt.

4. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture, about 30 seconds – a minute on each side.

5. Cook on a buttered, nonstick skillet or pan until golden brown (I burned some pieces!) on each side.

6. Top with powdered sugar, fresh berries and maple syrup.

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peanut butter greek yogurt dipping sauce

The no-carb challenge has commence. I’m on day three and my only break was the one time I accidentally had a beer in the evening. I realized as soon as I cracked it open that it was a carb and by then it was too late. I’ve been trained not to let a good beer go to waste.

Though I’m letting myself eat pretty much whatever carb-wise for lunch or breakfast, I’m also trying to eat healthier on the whole.

After all, if I’m pushing myself at night, why waste that effort in the morning?

This greek yogurt dipping sauce is amazing. Adapted from Self magazine, it’s good with apples, oranges, berries- or, hell, just eaten on its own, with maybe some granola thrown in.

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Peanut butter greek yogurt dipping

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain)

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/2 teaspoons lowfat peanut butter

2 pinches cinnamon

Mix it all together. Dip your favorite sliced fruit into it, or just enjoy on its own!

roasted strawberry buttermilk cake//swimsuit season is coming

It’s coming.

Can you feel it? Do you dread and welcome it as much as I do?

Swimsuit season.

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Also known as the season of sun, shorts, breezy tops and floaty dresses. I mean, I love it. But it’s also hard to embrace when you’re not feeling at your 100 percent best. Which I haven’t been.

I’ve just been feeling slow lately. Some days, it feels like my head is encased in a fog all day- that no amount of coffee will fix. And I feel sluggish and unhealthy, despite my frequent gym trips.

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Sometimes, the baking and eating out and pizza and pasta and candy catches up to you. Funny how that works.

So I’m instituting a healthy eating challenge for myself, as an effort to re-set my system and feel confident as swimsuit season approaches, bringing with it graduation and pictures that will Be Around Forever.

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I’m limiting myself to one day a week for sweets (so don’t worry, I’ll still be baking). I’m drinking more water, emphasizing lean protein, focusing on fruits and vegetables. And perhaps most daunting? I’m cutting out carbs – gasp – after lunchtime.

This is going to be hard. But hopefully, it’ll help me embrace other dinner and cooking options without falling back on pasta. Or pizza. Or burritos. You get the drill.

I’m not a nutritionist or a dietician. I’m not a professional. This is what works for me, but it’s probably not right for everyone.

Anyway, on my last night of carbs after noon, I went big. You have to. I started with a huge bowl of pasta and one of my favorite sauces: pepper-caper tomato sauce, which is as easy as it sounds (Add peppers and capers to tomato sauce, stir.)

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Then I moved onto the big guns, as you can see from the above photos.

Roasted. Strawberry. Buttermilk. Cake.

It’s light. Sweet. Warm. Comforting.

It made me sigh as I considered the no-carb challenge I’m taking on.

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Recipe below, adapted from Joy the Baker.

Stick around for the no-carb adventures, won’t you? Should be fun.

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

Strawberries:

16-ounces medium strawberries, hulled

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of salt

3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Place a rack in the center of the oven, to 375 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut each strawberry in half and place in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, and salt and toss the mixture with the berries.

Roast for 10-15 minutes. Put the berries in a bowl, toss with balsamic vinegar, set aside.

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar (you’re going to use these two different amounts at different times)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray a pyrex dish, set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and butter. Then add vanilla.

Combine the two, mix until fully incorporated. Then add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup of milk (not buttermilk). Mix.

Pour into dish and scatter the roasted strawberries on top. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool to room temperature before slicing to serve, top with powdered sugar.

growing up and breakfast sandwiches

I find myself, of late, waffling between two thought processes.

In one, I imagine what my life is going to be like in a few short months. I imagine myself going to a job I love every day, being challenged, taking on new and exciting projects, decorating a new apartment in a refreshingly different part of town.

Sometimes I even let myself wonder if I’ll get a dog.

But soon enough, the second thought process comes rushing in. This one’s filled with doubt and the desire to cling to what I know and what I’ve been good at. What if I can’t figure out my real passion? What if I’m no good at it? What if I can’t make rent, cover the bills, or even land a job to begin with?

In those instances, I can do one of two things. I can go to the gym – which really, honestly, helps. But if I’m in no mood to leave the comfort of my couch, I can also make a breakfast sandwich.

Don’t laugh. There’s a deli on GW’s campus that makes the world’s most perfect breakfast sandwich and I’ve grown to associate it with pure comfort. But consistently purchasing them is expensive, as well as unhealthy, so I’ve developed my own facsimile. Feel free to mix and match – add meat or avocado. My version is vegetarian, but I see nothing wrong with some slices of bacon!

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Easy breakfast sandwich

1. Scramble two eggs until they’re done the way you like. While scrambling, put two slices of wheat toast in a toaster oven.

2. Put your eggs atop one of your pieces of toast and sprinkle with lowfat shredded mozzarella cheese.

3. Continue to toast until the slices of bread are crisp and the cheese has begun to turn golden at the top.

4. Add salsa (my condiment of choice) to the slice of bread without the eggs and cheese.

5. Slap it together into a sandwich form, slice in half, eat while it’s hot!

cinnamon buns

It finally feels like fall in the District! It’s cold and cozy, sweater and hot apple cider weather. It’s my favorite kind of weather, because it feels like home, the sort of crisp air that usually means leaves are changing in New England and we’re getting close to the season of snow and pond skating.

It’s also the kind of weather that calls for warm, delicious comfort food- cheesy pasta, hearty soups and piping hot baked goods.

I’d never attempted to make cinnamon buns before, and it ended up being more of a process than I expected. Not that it was hard – this recipe is surprisingly easy – but it’s just a long undertaking.

Lots of rising and rolling and waiting around. I will say that the dough hook on my KitchenAid did all of the kneading for me, and what a lifesaver that was.

I ran into some struggles rolling the dough- it didn’t seem to want to stick together at the end, and my seam was a little uneven.

I gave myself the “first time ever making this” mulligan and accepted that the final product wouldn’t look as perfect as professional bakeries. And I may have run a tiny bit of water between the seam so the dough would stick- I think I added too much flour during kneading, making it less sticky than usual.

I also didn’t have the exact pan called for in the original, so I crammed my rolls into cake pans. The key to baking these is to push them together in the pan so there’s barely any room (the below picture is an unfinished pan). They’ll bake together, but not so close that you can’t pull them apart.

And though eating these – warm, gooey, delicious – is the best part, a close second is how good your apartment will smell during the baking process.

It smells like winter, in the best way possible.

Lastly- don’t skimp on the glaze! I’m not huge on cream cheese frostings, but it makes all of the difference here.

And though these buns will keep for a few days, make sure to heat them gently before eating each time, otherwise they’ll harden and not be as tasty.

In my opinion, straight outta the oven is the way to go.

the hunt for the perfect blueberry muffin

I’ve always really loved fruit, and cooking with fruit. In fact, my first venture into the kitchen by myself – aka, one that didn’t involve licking the batter spoon of whatever my mother or father was making (though we have plenty of pictures of that happening) – was something I made up called “Apple Delight.”

It basically involved cutting up an apple (or asking someone to wield the knife for me), loading a diabetes-inducing amount of cinnamon and sugar on top, and putting it in the microwave for a minute. Sort of a poor man’s substitute apple pie filling. I, of course, thought I was a culinary genius.

My family suffered through that for a long time. Thanks, guys- hopefully I’ve paid some of it back with better baked goods more recently.

My point is that baking with fruit has always been one of my favorite adventures in the kitchen. I especially love summer berries- there’s something about biting into a freshly baked whatever with a juicy, fresh summer berry inside.

More recently, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect blueberry muffin recipe. I went through a phase of not eating breakfast, and now I try to get at least a little something to start the day, even if it’s just a yogurt.

But because I’m a huge fan of bready breakfast goodness, muffins are up there on my list. And blueberry muffins are at the forefront. So when I stumbled across this recipe touting the “perfect blueberry muffins,” I had to try.

But they weren’t too perfect, in my opinion. Though my friends loved them, I thought they were a little too dense, and lacking a critical crumble on top. So, anyone got a good muffin recipe?

But side note, how amazing are the Canada-themed plates from CB2 (which is literally my favorite homegoods store on Earth)?! Mounties! HOCKEY PLATE! I’m too obsessed.