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When All Else Fails There is Pumpkin Spice

I don’t know about you, but I literally feel like I’m running in place lately. I just cannot get ahead and I absolutely hate that feeling. It’s been hard to wrap my head around all the things I have coming up. So, in typical me fashion I find comfort in food. I know, it’s not good to eat your feelings, but I’ve also been told it’s ok when you are at least aware that you are, and that you are making the conscious decision to do say. It may not really be the best, but I am going with the second piece of advice and consciously deciding to eat my feelings. It’s not all bad, I mean it lead me to these beautiful pumpkin spice French toast sticks. A while back I made this version and loved them so much I almost ate the entire plate, or I did eat it all, my memory is blurry….. But in all honesty, they were really….really….good. While we were on vacation in August, I made a batch of the pumpkin cream cheese muffins, and we were talking about how good they would be in French toast form. The original chat included a  variation of stuffed French toast, which may come later. But for now, I wanted something that didn’t take a lot of time to whip up that hit the spot for the pumpkin spice craving, and was easy to follow. Then this recipe was born. It’s an adaption of the first recipe. I warmed up the spices a bit and used pumpkin pie spice in the topping. Not only did the house smell amazing, there were happy tummy’s in the house. #winning!

Pumpkin Spice French Toast Sticks

Pumpkin Spice French Toast Sticks

Ingredients

For the French Toast Sticks

For the Streusel Topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut the bread into 3 sticks. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and spices. Dip the bread sticks into the egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the flour, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice to a small bowl and mix to combine. Add in the butter and work together using your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Remove the french toast sticks after 9 minutes. Flip them over and top with the streusel mixture. Place them back in the oven and bake another 9-10 minutes or until they are golden and streusel is set.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Serve with maple syrup, confectioners sugar, fruit, if desired. Or, eat them plain because they are amazing as is!

Notes

Everyday I’m Brusselin

I have been so busy lately, I had to skip my usual Friday post. The hustle is real in my life and it all surrounds work, traveling (for work) and normal family chaos. The upside is this work trip is taking me to places I’ve never been and will make for some awesome blog posts, I’m sure! I am so excited to explore all the foods in London, Geneva, Zurich, Milan, and Munich. What trip would be complete without a visit to Oktoberfest? Once this trip is over, things should start to settle, slightly. Though thinking ahead to November we kick off a super busy end to this year. Birthdays, Disney, Holidays, so much fun, and so much Serenity Compound. But back to the food, what a comeback…Brussels sprouts?!  Yes! I know, not everyone is a fan, but I have come to love them. To a point that If they are roasted, or better have some bacon on them, I would choose them over chocolate. This recipe is a new one. I actually found it while I was on vacation. I was looking through a cookbook and it said serve these to someone who doesn’t like Brussels sprouts, and they will love them. Ok maybe not exactly, but basically. So I had to try them. I will admit, at first, when I was mid-making them, I wasn’t sure. I mean I was way out of my comfort zone with sprouts. I roast them mostly, but sauteed, not so much. I was more than pleasantly surprised when I tasted them. The ginger is so delicious in this. The original recipe called for water rather than broth, but I loved it with the broth. It added another layer of flavor that was fantastic. Honestly, I think anyone who wasn’t a fan of sprouts, would definitely enjoy them after this.

 

Shredded Gingered Brussels Sprouts

Shredded Gingered Brussels Sprouts

Instructions

  1. Trim Brussels sprouts. Cut sprouts in half, then cut crosswise, into thin slices.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown lightly. Add oil and toss to coat. Stir in the onion, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Add broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Notes

Barely adapted from Taste of Home.

Fancy Pants Roasted Chicken

If you want a roasted chicken recipe that takes minimal effort, uses minimal ingredients, is weeknight friendly, and tastes fancy AF, this is for you. I love recipes that call for “pretentious onions” aka shallots. I love me some shallots! I absolutely love the flavor they add to any recipe, so I was thrilled to find this roasted chicken recipe called for them. I didn’t need much more convincing than that. Life has been a bit crazy as of late, so feeling a little fancy without the fuss is a nice dinnertime escape. I shouldn’t even say a nice dinnertime escape it’s more of a dinner must. The original recipe for this chicken calls for chicken thighs. I usually make this with boneless/skinless chicken breasts and have enjoyed them every time. Maybe a bit lighter, but certainly just as tasty. We had this with sweet potatoes and broccoli, but a rice pilaf and some sugary green beans….or really anything….would be great. So if you are feeling like me, needing a little comfort and a whole lot of fancy AF, then you need to give this recipe a shot.

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a baking dish combine the oil, vinegar, soy sauce and shallots. Whisk to combine. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the baking dish and spoon some of the liquid and shallots over the top of each piece of chicken.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the chicken. Spoon additional liquid and shallots over the tops of each piece of chicken and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Annie 

 

Game Day Eats

As the weather gets cooler, kind of, and various sports are starting up, I felt like making my first chili of the season was appropriate. I’ve tested a few different recipes in the past and this concoction that I made seems to satisfy all the flavor requests, a hint of sweetness, slight spice, and more veggies! That last one is my request. It’s also fantastic if frozen or eaten as leftovers. What’s more, this is a perfect crockpot dish. I just brown the meat the night before and then toss everything into the crockpot before I head to work. When I get home, dinner is done. Perfect! I generally eat mine with a healthy side of tortilla chips, but you could opt for some corn bread, or even have a little over some brown rice or quinoa. This chili is super filling so a little goes a long way, too.

Instructions

  1. Brown meat in heavy stock pan over medium high heat. Once cooked through, add in the onion, green pepper, jalapeno, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add in seasoning, beans and sauce and let simmer for at least an hour.

Notes

A Berry Good Smoothie

 

I am SO late to the protein shake game, but I’m not going to apologize for that. I have tried various protein shakes, and they are awful. Also, they are not that filling and I’m still hungry an hour later. But, I am trying to be healthier so I decided to try my hand at a smoothie that incorporates protein powder. I happened to get a hemp protein powder that does not taste half bad. I went with vanilla, and used vanilla almond milk (sweetened – I mean baby steps here) and honestly I could barely taste the protein powder. What I like about a smoothie vs a shake is I am controlling the ingredients and the fruit combinations. Since school is back in session, more kids are at daycare, and we are now all exposed to more germs, I’m boosting my immune system with a triple berry threat. To make my breakfast a bit more filling, I usually have a piece of whole grain toast with some peanut butter to help hold me over. It’s also a great, fast breakfast and something I can easily eat/drink on my ride into work.

Berry Vanilla Smoothie

Berry Vanilla Smoothie

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to your blender, and blend until smooth.

Notes