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Category: call for recipes

  1. Tuesday, April 9

    Call for Recipes: French Toast

    I love French toast. So do my girls. Nate? Not so much. But I make it anyway because is it really that torturous to make someone eat French toast? I think not. Plus, he’s lying anyway. Who doesn’t like French toast? I mean, really.

    recipes for French toast

    Years ago I went to my friend Karen’s bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs, where we stayed at the Parker. (Side note: that hotel is funky and crazy and fun. Loved it.) The morning of our departure, we ate breakfast at Norma’s, one of the hotel’s restaurants. The entire meal was amazing. I ordered the “Crunchy French Toast.” Ever since that morning I’ve been on a quest to replicate that freaking awesome French toast. I have a few good runners-up, but nothing has matched. (If you’d like to check out the runners-up, both recipes are really good: Baked French Toast and Crispy French Toast. If you have NOT had Norma’s Crunchy French Toast, then you will definitely not be disappointed.)

    brioche bread

    On a related note, I used to always use nice, soft bread (like Brioche) for making French toast, but for the last 5 years or so, I’ve almost exclusively used crusty breads. I don’t know when or why I made the switch, but I did and and thought that all was well in my French toast world. Then we moved back to San Diego and found ourselves living near the Village Mill Bread bakery. They bake these giant, beautiful loaves of Brioche that make the most amazing French toast EVER. And just like that I’m back on the soft, fluffy bread bandwagon.

    brioche bread for French toast

    Wow. I really must love French toast because I feel like I could keep talking about it all day! But I’m going stop and give you the floor. We would love to hear your favorite ways for preparing and eating French toast. Comments, tips, and recipes are all welcome! Also, if you happen to have a recipe for crunchy and/or crispy French toast that you love, I would really love for you to share!

    French toast lovers unite!

    recipes for French toast

    (Note: Yes, I am aware that I italicized the word ‘really’ 3 times in this post. I guess I was just really feeling the ‘reallys’ today. Make that 4.)


  2. Monday, April 1

    Call for Recipes: Hard-Boiled Eggs

    We had a few requests in the weekly menu comments yesterday for a special Easter-themed Call for Recipes. Specifically, what are we all going to do with the colorful hard-boiled egg bounty sitting in our refrigerators this morning?

    Bonnie, a loyal commenter, said she trusts us more than she trusts Google or Pinterest, and I have to agree with her! That’s why I love this blog…because you all share your REAL menu plan ideas and recipes that have REALLY worked for you. So, yes, I’m sure there is a plethora of beautiful hard-boiled egg recipe collections out on the Interwebs today, but do we really trust them? Really truly? Not like we trust you!

    So, please, share with us your best, tastiest, most creative uses and recipes for hard-boiled eggs! Bring it on!


  3. Friday, March 8

    Cast Iron Skillet ‘Call for Recipes’ {and a fabulous giveaway involving butter, Le Creuset and Anthropologie!}

    This giveaway is now closed, but please make sure you read through the comments for all the great cast iron skillet recipes!

    People who use cast iron skillets swear by them. I know these skillets are supposed to be awesome, but here’s my “true confession” of the week: we received one as a wedding gift and then used it all of ONE time. Then it ended up buried in a box for a few years. And then I found it during this move all covered in rust and looking sad and ruined. Poor, neglected iron skillet that never got to live up to its potential!

    I just received a brand, spanking new, rust-free Le Creuset cast iron skillet, compliments of Land O’Lakes®. I have decided to turn over a new leaf. I am going to use my BEAUTIFUL skillet and I am going to let it do its job of making delicious food! But I need your help…hence today’s Call for Recipes! Please share your favorite recipes that use a cast iron skillet! I’m ready to get cookin’!

    And now for the giveaway portion of our program! So, why is Land O’Lakes giving me a skillet? I recently participated in a webinar with Land O’Lakes and a lovely group of fellow food blogging friends, including Ree and Maria. The topic was food trends, including meatballs and popcorn! As a thank you for participating, Land O’Lakes sent me a beautiful gift package, which we are also giving away to one of you lovely people (see below)!

    Land O’Lakes also shared with us two of their new products, Sauté Express® Sauté Starters and butter Half Sticks. I have yet to try the Sauté Express (I was planning to for this post, but time got away from me! Ree said it was delicious and her boys gobbled it up). But I CAN tell you that I love the butter half sticks. They are so handy and have already been useful in my kitchen!

    Giveaway time! One lucky, randomly-selected winner will receive one each of the following:

    To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT on Thursday, March 14. Winner will be announced on March 15. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.

     

    Please share your favorite cast iron skillet recipes! Thank you!


  4. Wednesday, December 12

    Call for Recipes: Inspired Slow Cooker Recipes!

    A reader named Tony emailed me recently requesting a Call for Recipes. I LOVE Call for Recipes posts. They make me happy, seeing all your favorite recipes. I especially love it when the theme of these posts comes from one of you, which they often do!

    Tony recently found a slow cooker cookbook that was inspiring, including a recipe for cake. Tony’s reaction was, “Slow cookers can bake a cake?!?!”  So, Tony hit the keyboard and sent me a great email, including this: Almost everyone has a slow cooker from their wedding, but many hardly use them, so it was inspiring to learn that breakfast foods, cakes and other non-traditional foods were possible in a slow cooker. With the holidays coming up, having easy to prep and serve food is a necessity, but great/creative recipes for the slow cooker have been few and far between.

    Thus today’s Call for Recipes was born! Tony and I want you to share your favorite traditional and non-traditional slow cooker (a.k.a. crock pot) recipes. Tony thought it would be cool to see what ideas are out there, and I agree! Can’t wait to see your creative and fun slow cooker recipes!

    I’ll admit, my slow cooking experiences have not been very out-of-the-box. I love to make pulled pork, teriyaki chicken and pot roast with my slow cooker. These are all great recipes, but that’s about all I’ve got up my slow cooking sleeve. My slow cooker is hoping you will have something fun for it to try!

    Please note, if you have a slow cooker recipe that isn’t necessarily fun and creative but still wonderful and delicious, please feel free to share it!


  5. Wednesday, November 28

    Holy Long Recipe, Batman! (Confiture de Lait)

    Remember a few years ago when I went to the Fancy Food Show with my lovely French, food-blogging friend Vanessa? And how she introduced me to confiture de lait, a.k.a. milk jam, a caramel sauce made from milk that is a specialty item from Normandy? And how my life was never the same because from that moment on I knew milk jam existed but had no way to actually buy it? You don’t remember? Well, trust me. It’s all true.

    You may be wondering even after my roundabout description above, what the heck is milk jam? It’s just that…a jam of sorts made from milk and sugar. It’s kind of like sophisticated sweetened condensed milk. And it’s heavenly.

    Since you can’t buy it in the States, I decided to make confiture de lait myself once. And I failed. Miserably. This past month, however, I felt like I needed to give it another try, maybe using a slower cooking technique. I followed this recipe for confiture de lait exactly because it looked like it would turn out very nicely. I had a day where I was going to be home all morning and doing a bunch of other cooking anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. If I started cooking the milk around 9 am, it would be done by the time I had to pick kids up at school at 2 pm. No problem. Easy peasy.

    Yeah, not so much.

    ELEVEN hours later I had a small pot of confiture de lait. Yes, you heard me. Eleven. I picked Anna up at school then rushed home to stir. I picked Cate up at school then rushed home to stir. I dropped the girls off at dance then rushed home to stir. I picked up the girls from dance then…you guessed it…rushed home to stir. It was bananas, people. Bananas.

    So, was it worth it? Nope. It wasn’t. My milk jam just wasn’t the same as the stuff from Normandy. Mine is still good, but just not the same. And, to top it all off, once I refrigerated the confiture de lait after it had cooled, I ended up with a giant, hard, sugary lump of milk jam in the center of the container. Only half of the batch ended up being useable. Quel horreur!

    It’s story-sharing time! Tell us about the most time- or work-intensive recipe you’ve ever made. And tell us if it was worth all that time, labor and love. And, if it was worth it, please share the recipe because it must be amazing!


  6. Tuesday, October 30

    {Call for Recipes} Canned Tomato Recipes, and Hunt’s FlashSteam Tomato Deliciousness

    First off, lots of happy thoughts/prayers/positive energy to everyone on the East Coast affected by Sandy. I planned today’s post before the storm hit, but the topic and call for recipes might actually be helpful for those of you living off your pantry this week, as long as you have access to the Internet to even read this in the first place!

    Each Sunday when I plan my menu, I build my grocery list based on that menu. As a result I am a pretty efficient shopper and only buy food for that week.  We spend less money and waste less food this way, but I tend not to have much stocked away for go-to dinners. However, one of the few ingredients that I always have on hand is canned tomatoes. As long as there are canned tomatoes on my pantry shelf, I can always throw something together!

    As I have mentioned, I am currently working with Hunt’s canned tomatoes. When they first approached me, it was a no-brainer deciding to work with them. I use canned tomatoes all the time and love the Hunt’s product. You’re probably going to get sick of hearing me say this, but the Hunt’s petite-diced tomatoes are my FAVORITE and I’ve been buying them for years. The size of the dice makes the tomatoes super versatile for many of my recipes. They’re the best!

    Once I actually started working with Hunt’s, I learned more about where the tomatoes come from and how they are canned. What I found out makes me like the Hunt’s product even more.

    Hunt’s tomatoes are all grown in Oakdale, California and are picked when they are ripe. All of the tomatoes go from harvest to can in a matter of hours, which means they really are canned at the peak of freshness.  I think this approach does in fact make for a flavorful canned tomato, which becomes obvious whenever I make my super fresh-tasting homemade tomato sauce.

    Here’s the other great part of Hunt’s canned tomatoes that I did not know previously. Hunt’s uses what they call the FlashSteam process for peeling the tomatoes, as opposed to using chemicals like some other brands, and there are no added preservatives.

    I tried canning tomatoes once. The peeling process about killed me. As much as I would love to can my own tomatoes every year, I simply do not have the time or, quite honestly, the energy. But canned tomatoes are a staple, so, I’m just going to let Hunt’s do the work for me! They’ve got it figured out and the tomatoes taste great. Done and done.

    Time for today’s Call for Recipes! Please share your favorite recipes using canned tomatoes! Now that we are entering the winter months when fresh produce is scarce, I’m ready to crack into the canned tomatoes more frequently and would love new recipes! And I’m pretty sure there are lots of folks on the East Coast who could use canned food recipes this week!

    I’ll kick us off with my most favorite recipe using canned tomatoes: Tuscan Tomato Soup. This is super crazy delicious soup, people. On your mark, get set, go! Share your canned tomato recipes!


  7. Thursday, May 17

    Call for ‘Recipes’: Introducing Solid Food to Baby

    I have to admit something to you. One of my least favorite parts of parenting is feeding kids…of all ages! But I especially dread the days when it’s time to introduce baby to solid foods. It involves way too much thinking, it takes FOREVER to feed the baby, it’s super duper messy, my hand cramps up from holding that tiny spoon ‘just so’…you get the drift. Of course it IS cute, don’t get me wrong, but STILL…

    Call me crazy, but I am tempted to eat that scrumptious baby! 

    Owen is finally beginning to eat baby food. He’s not that into it yet, but we’re getting there. Today we let him have his hand at toasted oat cereal, you know, the classic first finger food. I thought for sure he’d pick them up and immediately stick them in his mouth, since that is what he does with everything else that he picks up. Funny enough, he just played with the o’s for 10 minutes or so before one ever found its way to his mouth. And when he finally ate one, well, he was not such a big fan…there was a lot of gagging going on there. So funny.

    Going in for the o…

    Look mom, I’m totally going to eat this…

    Gotcha! Come on, why would I put that in my mouth? It’s food! Dirty shoes are much tastier.

    Anyway, as I struggle through this process yet AGAIN, I am thinking maybe this would be a good Call for Recipes of sorts…a call for baby food recipes, advice, tips, favorite products, anything! I’m sure I’m not the only one frustrated and/or overwhelmed by the prospect of feeding a baby FOOD. Let’s share our wisdom with one another…hopefully it will make some of our lives a little easier. Or at least we can commiserate together! And if you love feeding babies solid food, please share some of that good positive food kharma. I need it!

    All I have to offer is that avocado is a good first food and that I like the Earth’s Best Whole Grain Rice Cereal. Beyond that, I’m useless! It’s amazing what one can forget in just a few years’ time!


  8. Wednesday, May 9

    Smoothies!!!

    I think we need to do a smoothie post. Because it’s been on my mind for, well, years! I want to share a few tips, a few flavors that we love, and then open up the floor to tips and recipes from all of you!

    First, a small plug for expensive blenders. I have to say that one of the best things that ever took residence in our kitchen is our heavy duty blender. This is an appliance that I think is completely worth saving up for. We use it all the time and it can handle anything. Our previous blender, which was just your regular run-of-the-mill blender, just didn’t cut it. I don’t care if you get a Blendtec or a Vitamix, just get one. Or start saving up for one. They are awesome.

    Okay, on to technique! Do you know how to build your smoothie in the blender? After I got my Blendtec and read the instruction manual, I realized I had been putting the juice and fruit in the opposite order than I should have been! The logic my brain followed was that you should put the harder-to-blend items in first so that they get blended better…but it just jams everything up. As soon as I reversed the order of things, my smoothies improved immediately and significantly. Here is the RIGHT way to do it.

    1. Juice first. You can also use grapes as your juice base.
    2. Softer, unfrozen fruits.
    3. Harder fruits and frozen fruits. Say you’re doing frozen pineapple and frozen banana, put the frozen pineapple in first. Basically you want whatever is easiest to blend to go in first.
    4. Ice.
    Essentially you put the ‘liquidiest’ and softest stuff first then move up in order to the hardest items. Make sense?

    Now, on to flavors! Nate is the smoothie master in our house. He’s always blending up some sort of smoothie or “juicey” for the family and he’s quite the master! Here are the fruits and juices he most commonly uses:

    • Mango juice for the base. I also love papaya juice as the base. If we don’t have either of those, we’ll go with orange or grape, which are both nice. Apple is just too, well, apple-y for us. It’s still good in a pinch, but definitely our least favorite.
    • Frozen strawberries, frozen mango, frozen pineapple and frozen banana make the most frequent appearances in our smoothies! Oh, and when peaches are in season, we love frozen peaches!!
    • I love tossing coconut into the smoothie. Nate isn’t such a big fan of coconut, but it makes me (and the girls) super happy!
    • Yogurt…usually plain.
    • ICE. Lately Nate has been making “juiceys,” which basically means there’s no ice and the smoothies aren’t so slushy. They are very tasty and the girls like them, too…but I gotta say, I love a good, slushy smoothie! Bring on the ice!

    No specific recipes from us…our smoothies change pretty much every time we make them, which is part of the fun! We’ve also recently started adding SPINACH to the smoothies and that is a great trick! I know some of you have been telling me to do that for years…glad we finally jumped on board!

    Your turn! Please share your favorite fruit/juice combos, specific recipes, tips, anything smoothie related! Can’t wait to be inspired by all of you!


  9. Wednesday, March 28

    Call for Recipes: Low-Cost Meals and Recipes

    Recently Jenny Rose, lovely reader, sent me an email requesting today’s Call for Recipes. She is going to be quitting her job to stay home with the kids and is anticipating a tight food budget. She asked if I would ask all of YOU for low-cost recipes, and I thought that was a great idea and something we would all be interested in.

    So here we are! Please share your favorite low-cost recipes that help you stay on a budget. Also, any tips for keeping to a budget when meal planning would I’m sure be welcome!

    I’ll kick us off with a few thoughts and a recipe.

    • Ever since we started eating less meat around our house, one of the biggest impacts has been the positive impact on our wallet. Meat, even on sale, costs money…a lot more than beans and veggies. I love not having that added expense on my grocery bill every week.
    • Cooking recipes that make a lot of food (lasagna, soups, etc) always make for pro-budget meals.
    • Eat in season. Food that is in season is cheaper…and more delicious!

    I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes that has been on the blog for a while but fits all the criteria above! The Pasta Primavera recipe from one of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks is SO yummy. It makes a ton of food, uses a ton of veggies (which you could keep seasonal), and there’s no meat! I think next time I make it I am going to throw some white beans into the dish to up the protein factor…plus I think the beans would taste good!

    Game on! Share your low-cost recipes!


  10. Friday, February 24

    The greatest liquid and soft foods list in the world!

    I need your help today. As you know, I had oral surgery yesterday. Not only did it take ALL DAY (which we were not anticipating) but YOWZAH my mouth hurts. Also, I sound like a crazy person when I talk. Just ask Helen Jane. I called her last night to get some help on work and she literally laughed when she first heard me. Rightly so, my friends, rightly so. Don’t feel bad for me. If you were Helen Jane, you would have laughed, too.

    Anyway, back to the help-from-you part. I have to “eat” a liquid diet for two days and then soft foods for one week. I’ve got chicken broth, green smoothies (thanks, Cherisse!) and ice cream all ready to go, but certainly there must be other options, right? So, I’m coming to you for advice. Share your best ideas for liquid and soft meals…especially if you’ve been in this boat in the past and have experience. And if you have strong opinions on things I should not eat at this time, share those, too!

    Our goal is to create the greatest liquid and soft foods list in the world! Pretty awesome goal, eh? When some poor soul like me searches “liquid and soft foods to eat after oral surgery,” I want them to find your beautiful and comprehensive list. It’s a public service we’re performing here, folks. Now, share those ideas!

    Update 2/9/2017: I had NO IDEA when I threw this post up five years ago that the comments section would literally become the greatest liquid and soft foods list in the world. The public service worked! There are so many wonderful comments below with ideas from people in all kinds of situations. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Good luck to those of you who landed here looking for ideas. And, as always, feel free to keep the comments coming with more tips and ideas for liquid and soft foods!