Tag Archives: food

10 Reasons I Brunch

Brunch is super trendy right now. You probably see memes about it, pictures your friends post on your Instagram feed, and local restaurants promoting their brunch specials. Whichever day you brunch, it’s likely a lovely event with friends, yummy food, and a mimosa or two. Here are the reasons I personally love brunch.brunch.jpg

1. I love breakfast. I’ve written about this before, but it’ll never stop being true. Breakfast food is the best food. Any time of day.  So there.

2. Sunday is my busy day. It might be the most common brunch day anyway, but on Sunday, I’m often too tired by the time church is over to even consider what I’d like to do for lunch. This is where my hubby and besties come in, whisking me off to brunch.

3. The kids love it. What’s something easy your kids will actually eat at a restaurant? Brunch food. I feel like most kids love things like pancakes, waffles, French toast, and other brunchy things.

4. Mimosas. I don’t even have to explain why something bubbly and sweet is a perk, do I?

5. I love seeing my friends. What is brunch unless you’ve got all your people with you? My kids are the cutest, my hubby is the best, and our friends and their kids can complete a brunch date with their good company.

6. It’s springtime. The weather has been beautiful, the sun is gleaming but not blistering hot, and there’s usually a pleasant breeze around brunchtime. It’s the perfect excuse to eat bacon outdoors.

7. Eggs. Shall I elaborate on why eggs are the ideal food? Okay, you forced my hand. I hardly need to count the hundred ways that eggs could be prepared by even the most basic of chefs. I also don’t need to list reasons that eggs are very healthy and beneficial for your body. What I will say is this: have you ever had a perfectly fried egg?

8. I can sleep late and still not cook. Brunch on a Saturday means that I don’t have to worry about feeding the family anything right when we get up. We can snooze a little longer, and not have to rush to the kitchen to get breakfast in before we head out for the day. Brunch IS heading out for the day!

9. You can have the sweet and the savory. I’m always torn at brunch places on whether to get something sweet or something savory. I love having a veggie omelette, for example. But I know when my kids chocolate chip pancakes arrive, I’m going to covet that dessert-like dish. But I think it’s acceptable (and there’s an option on most brunch menus!) to have a little bit of both. Best of both worlds, if you will. After all, it is breakfast and lunch.

10. It’s easier than going out to dinner. Taking our kids out to dinner sometimes means that they’re already tired, or too hungry, or that they just can’t sit still any more that day. But at brunchtime, they’re still fresh, and they’re more likely to behave (or at least stay in their chairs). We want our kids to know what it means to go to a restaurant, but brunch is a great time to practice restaurant etiquette.

Well, there you have it… ten reasons I think brunch is worth doing. You can find me brunching pretty much every weekend – join me!

The Best Ever Pancake Recipe for Moms Who Aren’t Chefs

 I make hot breakfast for my kids almost every single morning. There are very few exceptions – mostly because I set a particular precedent and now they won’t eat cold cereal. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Anyway, because of this fact, I’ve gotten really creative with the breakfasts I make, specifically in the pancake department. I found that I could hide almost anything in a pancake, in a good way. I make a new-fangled pancake batter with some crazy ingredients, I scramble a couple of eggs to go with them, and serve a side of fruit. BOOM! Healthy breakfast, please and thank you.

If you want to know my pancake secrets, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Start with Bisquick (or whatever type pancake mix you prefer). I like Bisquick because it doesn’t have a ton of sugar in it to begin with, but it’s a good base so you don’t have to add things like baking powder or salt. I typically include the ingredients it suggests for pancake-making (a couple of eggs and some milk), then I flavor it with whatever mood I’m in that day.
  2. Add in vanilla extract. I ALWAYS dribble in some vanilla extract to the batter. No excuses not to. I make my own (well, my mom makes it, but I help!) so it’s extra special, but if you’re not a creative guru like my mama, regular vanilla will do.
  3. Get some fruit. Usually, I opt for whatever is overripe/soft/abounding/neglected in our kitchen. Banana works well, but we also like blueberry and strawberry, or a combination of those. Mash it or puree it, and stir it in. Do it before the milk, because it often means you need less milk, because it’s juicy.
  4. Grab some flaxseed. Or chia seed. Or almond flour. Or whatever power powder you have around. Even ginger or turmeric could hide if you have a careful hand. You can likely sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of the powders (or a teaspoon or two of the spices) without it getting noticed by kids or husbands.
  5. If you’re feeling generous, dump in some chocolate chips. Or if you’re like my family, Craisins. Sprinkles could also be fun if you’re celebrating something! Finely-chopped nuts are good, too, if your family is okay with nuts and likes a little crunch (Banana walnut pancakes, I’m looking at you.)
  6. Mix in some peanut butter or cocoa powder for a new spin on flavored pancakes. Peanut butter adds protein, of course, and makes them wonderfully thick and fluffy. Cocoa powder gives them a chocolatey tone without a ton of sugar… although I find that you need to add a little sugar (if you’re using Bisquick especially), honey, or other sweetener to combat the slight bitterness. I typically go for coconut sugar.
  7. Shape them like Mickey Mouse, snowmen, or caterpillars if you’re feeling fancy, and top them with some pure maple syrup. More flavor than “pancake syrup” (sorry, Aunt Jemima) and no artificial ingredients!

Pancakes please kids almost every time you make them, so I hide all sorts of goodies in there and call them healthy. I’ve stopped measuring things entirely and just go by looks. If the batter’s consistency looks like it’ll cook up on a pan, your breakfast won’t fall flat. BA-DUM, TSSS! (My husband told me that would be funny. If you didn’t laugh, it’s his fault.)

In case you’re wondering, this is just another post about my love affair with breakfast food.

How to Go Gluten Free (Without Hating It)

This post also appeared on the Grit and Grace Project. I’m a contributor there – go check it out!

I’ve gone gluten free for several periods of time in the past few years, and even now, I’m a little gluten-less-than-usual. And guess what?! It’s not as hard – or as miserable – as you might think. Yes, you make concessions. Yes, there are foods that you will probably miss. But depending on the reason you’re going gluten free (allergens, weight loss, or to support a family member who has to make that choice), you might be surprised at how successful and even happy you can be while you’re off gluten. Here are a few suggestions to help you along in the process.

  1. Don’t feel like you can’t eat bread. Or pasta. Or whatever your glutenous pleasure is. There are plenty of gluten free breads, pastas, and even beers out there. Of course they don’t taste the same as your favorite sourdough, but they can be great substitutes.
  2. Make the effort to search for gluten-free recipes. The main reason I suggest this is because it’s much more successful than trying to leave out or substitute the gluten in your normal recipes. There are many substitutes; for instance, flour can be substituted by brown rice flour, coconut flour, almond flour, and others. But those don’t always measure cup for cup, and they don’t always substitute well, especially when you’re baking. There are many recipe bloggers that have already figured out the best substitutions, so why not just use their methods? Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  3. Stick it out. If it’s not an absolute requirement to go gluten free (ie: allergy-related) and it’s just an experiment, then it’s tempting to add gluten back in sooner, rather than later. But my advice? Stick it out for a couple of months (yes, whole months!) before you start adding it back in. Whatever your desired results are, it might take a couple of months to start seeing them.
  4. Be creative with how you eat your vegetables. Lots of types of food (Asian food, for instance) don’t have much gluten in them in most cases. Gluten free doesn’t mean salads only, or that you can’t be full after your meal. But it might mean you’ve got to be a little more creative with what your meals look like. If you usually eat a pasta of some sort with your vegetables, try eating rice instead. If you typically eat a bagel or toast for breakfast, try oatmeal. There are other grains that are just as filling as wheat.

It’s possible to go gluten-free and love it! Here are three blogs that I like to check out for delicious meals, practical ideas, and even baked goods!

Against All Grain – Danielle isn’t just gluten free, but all of her recipes are! She also has a cookbook, if you’d like it on paper.

Elana’s Pantry – Elana has some great recipes I use often (specifically for sweets/baked goods).

Delightfully Gluten Free – Cassandra is helpful with knowing what products to buy to help out your kitchen’s ingredient stock.

*Also helpful for gluten-free eating are blogs that focus on recipes for those with celiac disease.

Don’t believe all the bad things you’ve heard about going gluten-free. It’s possible to go gluten-free and love it! You’ll never know until you give it a shot, though. What do you have to lose?

Currently: The Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Monday! Are you all feeling as fat and happy as I am? I dressed in my workout attire all day today, thinking I was going to squeeze in a run or something, and nope. Still doughy from the week of indulgence. I’ll get back on the (exercise) horse tomorrow.

I’ve got a nice update full of photos for ya! I hope you had a wonderful holiday whether it was relaxing at home, traveling to see family, or hosting a million people (what we did). Thanksgiving isn’t a huge holiday as far as big get-togethers or high-stress functions (in my family at least) but we still had a big group come up from Georgia and a few friends around – including a “Friendsgiving” last night! Anyway, here’s a little about what’s going on Currently.

Eating || all the leftovers. You can see the menu we had planned here, but then we ended up with desserts on desserts, and then having a get-together with our friends last night, including even more food than we had had on actual Thanksgiving Day. Now our fridge is full of one serving of this and two servings of that, and we’re ready to just clean it out and stuff it full of salad for a while. Yikes.DSC_0033.jpgDSC_0078.jpg

Enjoying || so much time with family and friends! My parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother came up this past week, all staying for a few days to hang out with us, which was AWESOME. We also hosted some friends for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and again Sunday night for Friendsgiving, and frankly, it’s been so nice. It was all pretty low-stress and enjoyable, for which I’m extra thankful.DSC_0053.jpg

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Loving || these placemats I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond just before Thanksgiving. I don’t use placemats all the time, but these were so lovely for a Thanksgiving spread!

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Decorating || for Christmas, of course! I haven’t gotten everything up yet (or even out of the attic) but it’s coming along. For the first time, we strung lights up on our front porch columns today, so I can’t wait for it to get dark and see our work light up! DSC_0325.jpg

Planning || Christmas music for the next few services. My women’s service is having their big Christmas feast and lessons and carols this Thursday, so I’m thinking through what music should be where, etc. And we’ve already begun Advent (I can’t believe it!) so the Sunday services have to include a fair amount of carols from now on, too. I LOVE IT!

Baking || our annual Christmas sugar cookies! We do them every year at least once during the Christmas season, and I’m hoping to get a second time in with some friends in a couple of weeks. I always love how they turn out!

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Well, those are the highlights from our busy week. Who else hosted their Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite Christmas decoration to put up?

Our Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow, I’m hosting my family for Thanksgiving. My mom and dad have been here all week, and Mom’s helping Hubby and me get things all ready. It is going to be a beautiful blend of traditional things in my family meeting the gourmet tendencies of Hubby’s family. It’s going to be some kid-friendly items, and some things that my kids likely won’t touch. I’m really  excited.

Here’s our list of things we either have/made already or are making tomorrow:

Prime Rib
Honeybaked Ham
Chicken and Dressing (For you northerners, that is not inside the chicken. The chicken is in the dressing.)
Green Bean Casserole
Potato Salad
Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Onion Pie
Cranberry Salad
Kale (prepared in the southern style of collard greens)

I know. No turkey. But don’t those other meats sound SO GOOD? And a little GBC can’t go wrong, especially coupled with potato salad, and cranberry salad. What’s a southern Thanksgiving without something called “salad” that doesn’t include lettuce?

My aunt is also bringing homemade rolls and various desserts… including her amazing rum cake (yum?!) and at least one meringue pie. FOR THE WIN.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Are you hosting or traveling? Either way, I hope you have some fun plans!

My Love Affair with Breakfast Food

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: breakfast is my favorite. 

I grew up in a household that made sure breakfast was important, healthy, and delicious. There was usually a carb involved, probably some eggs, maybe a cured meat or a sweet item. But there was always plenty of it, because my brother and I came hungry. 

You see, it was love at first sight with me and breakfast food. And it has been ever since. If I’m at lunch at a restaurant that also has a brunch menu, I don’t think twice about which menu to choose. If a restaurant serves breakfast all day, it’s a no-brainer. When I visited Texas and became aware of breakfast tacos, my life was changed forever. 
In related news, brunch is pretty trendy nowadays. We’re all “Let’s get brunch!” and “Brunch is for lovers!” and “Mimosas!” I agree with those things. But do you know what you’re typically doing at brunch? Having breakfast later in the day. Breakfast is the heart of brunch. 
I’ve done my best to instill the love of all things breakfast into my children as well. They love bagels or biscuits. They love French toast. They love scrambled eggs and fruit. They REALLY love pancakes and waffles, especially when I flavor them with strawberries or pumpkin. They don’t even need the sweet things in their breakfast. They will, of course, gorge themselves on cinnamon rolls. They will also eat a mountain of grits. 
In short, breakfast is the king of meals. It doesn’t matter when you eat it, or what it looks like. All things breakfast are greater than all other things. Pair the breakfast item with coffee during the week, or a mimosa on Saturday, and you’ve got a perfect way to start your day. I’m pretty sure there’s even some science to back it up. 
Breakfast, I love you. 

This post is a part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November. 

Currently

Happy Monday evening! Yesterday after church, I drove to Raleigh to spend a few days with my friend Katelyn. She had back surgery two weeks ago, and her hubs had to go back to work, but she wasn’t quite ready to be on her own. So here I am, babysitting my friend! We have been catching up, grading papers (she’s a third grade teacher!), resting, and meal planning for when I leave tomorrow evening. Hopefully she will be fed at least for the week! 

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on besides all this…

Pretending || to be a tourist in my home town! I read a post recently about having wanderlust, but not being able to travel, and being a tourist wherever you live instead. I liked the idea a lot, and so I mentioned it to Hubby and figured we would try it! Trying new restaurants, walking whenever we can, and taking pictures as if you were on vacation. In. The. Bag. 

Wearing || boots and skirts! It’s not really cool enough here to wear boots, but when I got dressed for church yesterday, I couldn’t say no to the boots. They were looking longingly at me… or maybe I imagined it. Either way, my pencil skirt and blouse NEEDED some boots to complete them. 

Enjoying || being back in the fall groove with my Thursday morning women’s service. They break for the summer, and so we’ve started back up, and this past Thursday, got to meet the new ladies in my small group!

Relishing || the last few days (weeks?) of summer sunshine. It’s already light for less hours a day, but the sun is still warm. And as much as I love fall, I also love the sun. So I’m soaking it up while it lasts. 


AND! Just because I noticed this post looks like I’m a mom of only two, here’s a picture of the baby, who could probably walk if he wanted to but he is too lazy. 

I hope your weekend treated you well, and that you have good things going on this week!