French Bread French Toast

Can I just tell you this recipe has been on the list to make for the blog for literally almost 5 years? It’s inspired by the French toast we had on the Tahitian leg of our honeymoon, which will have been 5 years ago come September!

This French toast recipe uses French bread instead of a more transitional bread choice, which is just how we had it on our honeymoon. The combination of vanilla and cinnamon melting into the custardy goodness that soaks into the bread is just a *slice* of heaven.

10 Christmas Ornaments for Food Lovers

Every year, I look forward to picking out a Christmas tree and decorating it – preferably the day after Thanksgiving. This year, I convinced hubby it was completely acceptable to get and decorate a tree a week early – Thanksgiving was late, right?!

I love the tradition of hanging up Christmas ornaments, especially the ones that have become sentimental. Some of my first ones from childhood, some that I purchase each year since we’ve had our home, and ones that we’ve collected from trips. Ornaments are my favorite way to commemorate a vacation – it’s a great way to bring something home that doesn’t add to clutter, but still gives you the chance to reminisce. We now have one whole section of the tree dedicated just to ornaments from our favorite places!

I tend to gravitate towards ball ornaments, and usually a metallic, clear or white bauble. I love the way they sparkle! But I am 100% a sucker for food ornaments, too!

Here are my top ten favorite ornaments for all the food-lovers in your life!

Skinny Orange Pitcher Margaritas Recipe

If you asked me to pick one drink for the rest of my life, I think I’d have to go with margaritas. I mean, they’re so versatile so if you chose margaritas you’d have basically endless possibilities. As solid as picking tacos or pizza for your one food, right?

For cinco de mayo, I obviously couldn’t not serve margaritas, right? Plus, margaritas are a perfect cocktail for a crowd. You can whip up a pitcher so easily, taste and adjust as necessary and guests can serve themselves. I’ll be honest, I set out to make a good ol’ skinny margarita using OJ instead of triple sec or cointreau. Then, I really just went for that orange-forward flavor. They were deeeeelish!

Couldn’t-Get-Lobster Shrimp Mac ‘n Cheese

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it and adjust and make it work. So this mac ‘n cheese was supposed to have lobster and I couldn’t get my hands on tails, so, here we are with shrimp mac ‘n cheese. But not just any shrimp. The Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s. It’s sweet and meaty and very lobster-y.

The key to a baller mac ‘n cheese is 100% the cheese. Using good quality white cheddar and gouda gives the flavor a little tang and a lot of creaminess. And if you’re on a diet, just avert your eyes. There’s nothing light about this recipe and I mean, if you’re going to go for mac ‘n cheese, let’s just really go for it, right?

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Shortbread Cookies

Oh, guys. Get ready. This is the easiest dessert EVER. Okay, maybe not really as easy as this one from Christmas, but really. This is crazy easy and you can totally say you made it all if you wanted to. These no-bake chocolate covered shortbread cookies are a go-to of mine when I need to get something together quickly.

These cookies are dipped in chocolate and then in nuts on the edges – cute right?! Any chopped nut will work, but for St. Paddy’s I went with pistachios, ya know, to be a little more festive.

You need just three ingredients for these:

Yes – you use premade, store bought shortbread cookies! I prefer the Kebler ones, tbh, if I’m trying to pass them off as homemade. The ones that are perfect rectangles with the holes are too obviously store bought. But, I’m a terrible liar so if someone says, “I can’t believe you made these!” I cave and tell them I bought the cookies and dunked them in chocolate.

Homemade Beignets

You know when you are so sick and you want to do certain things but just cannot muster up the energy? Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling since last week! And I have less energy today than I did over the weekend when I made these beignets. But don’t worry, I’m crawling right back into bed after this.

I really was going to make beignets from scratch, I swear. And as often as I won’t let a recipe intimidate me, making a yeasted dough while sick was just too much!

Showstopping Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Occasionally, I’ll share that a recipe is one of the best things I’ve made recently. But guys, this one…this is the one. This is the best recipe I’ve got in my back pocket, and truly the most requested dishes from friends. These braised short ribs are literally showstoppers.

When I invite friends over and tell them I’m thinking about braising short ribs, they’re all over it! Everyone close to us really love these, you must try them!

The first time I had a braised short rib was at Founding Farmers in DC, about 5 or 6 years ago. All I can say is, “wow.” I mean. A revelation. Thus began my journey perfecting a red wine braised short rib, that’s a little inspired by Boeuf Bourguignon. This is a really, really excellent dish to have in your pocket. It feels elegant, it’s absolutely delicious, and everyone will love it!

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread Recipe

This quick bread is one of my absolute favorites to make, mostly because every time I do my husband is super happy. It’s the little things, right? I get why he loves this one though. I don’t really make it often, but when I do, it’s always like, woah this is freaking good why don’t I make this more often? It’s the perfect balance of orange and cranberry and not too sweet and it’s so perfectly moist. I know, I hate that word too – gotta better one?

I mean can you even? Just look at those cranberries and those crumbs? Right after this, I’m warming up a slice in the oven and making a cup of coffee and relaxing.

Most of the ingredients you will have on hand to whip this up, with the exception, most likely, of the buttermilk. And after about 60 minutes, you’ll have the most delightful bread to share for breakfast or brunch or – let’s be honest – not share at all!

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Are you all thinking, “stress free entertaining, Hailey? There’s no such thing.” Then this one is for you. Because there can be stress free entertaining and I’m going to share with you how I keep the stress down around the holidays.

 

Here are my three tips:

1. Attitude is everything.

This sounds hokey, and I used to hate when people told me “attitude is everything.” But y’all it’s so true! I choose not to be stressed. When I feel it bubbling up, I take a second to recognize that I’m getting stressed and talk myself off the proverbial ledge and make a choice to let it go.

Also, if you’re recipe is good and you don’t burn a dish, it doesn’t matter what it looks like – if it tastes good it’s gonna be okay.