Carrot Cake Scones

I’ve been making scones for as long as I can remember. I used to sell homemade baked goods out of my tiny kitchen when I was in college, to help my mom with my tuition. She had already put my two sisters through college, by the time I got around to it, so I wanted to help out any way I could. I’m sure it was illegal and it inconvenienced my family because I’d be in the kitchen for hours and hours, but I did it anyway because I was a rebel like that and I actually enjoyed it most days. It was a nice break from all the homework and studying. Really it was just a way for me to procrastinate the things I had to get done. There were two items that I had to make on a daily basis because people ordered them a lot, scones and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made so many batches of both that I now have the recipes permanently engraved in my brain. It’s helpful. It got to the point where I refused to bake scones because I got tired of making them. At the time I offered the classic flavors, cranberry, blueberry, (and my all time personal favorite) cherry dark chocolate chunk. My family has since then made it a point to relentlessly try and coerce me into baking scones for them or their coworkers, and sometimes I do it. Other times, they’re not as successful. Sorry family.

I’ve taken a break from my scone strike, however, to bring you these Carrot Cake Scones. I think it’s worth breaking my promise to never make scones again, but let’s not get used to it. It’s a phase that will pass. I grate fresh carrots and mix them into my go-to scone recipe, with a few other twists, like a blend of spices, raisins and cream cheese frosting on top with chopped pecans make them taste just like a classic carrot cake. Which happens to be one of my favorite cake flavors. So if you like carrot cake and you like scones, then I don’t think I need to say anything more to try and convince you to make them. They can speak for themselves. “Make me. Make me. Eat me. Eat me.” Can you hear it? 

This is our second to last Easter Brunch Bonanza post/recipe and I’m a little sad about it. Sure, I’ve saved the best for last (stay tuned tomorrow to find out), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s almost over. I’ll still bring you awesome and delicious recipes that’ll get you excited though, and these springtime recipes from this week will now forever live online for all of your brunch needs so there’s no need to cry about it. Let’s get these scones started though, shall we? They wont stop calling out our names until we eat them. 

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Spring Eggs Benedict

I make it a point to not cook eggs benedict all the time because let’s be real, it’s a lot of work. I mean poaching eggs and making hollandaise over a double boiler? That’s some intense skills right there that I don’t always have the strength or the energy to create such a fancy dish. I wish I could do it because I think a brunch meal with a big plate of eggs benedict is always the icing on the morning cake. It’s the dish I usually get when I go to a restaurant for breakfast or brunch, mainly because I like to order things I don’t make at home on a regular basis. I’ll usually eat that and wash it down with a few glasses of mimosas. I’ve never turned my nose down to bottomless mimosas. Whoever came up with that concept deserves a holiday named after them. Anyhow, I normally save this dish for a special occasion. I get away with only making it once a year for my family by saying something like, “We’ll all appreciate it more when we have it once in a blue moon. If I made it all the time, we’d take it for granted.” If you think about it, I’m doing everyone a favor really. All I’m doing is making sure that no one gets tired or bored of the dish. That’s very nice of me. 

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice (definitely in this Fish and Chips post) that one of my sisters is extremely picky. Like doesn’t like mac and cheese because it’s too cheesy and hates peanut butter because it smells funky to her kind of picky. A weird alien pickiness that I’m glad I didn’t genetically inherit. Sorry Nick, but it’s true. Even with her crazy likes and dislikes, she happens to love eggs benedict and gave this one two thumbs way up. Now, this is really saying something. If it passed my sister’s taste test, the same sister who hates pie crust, then anyone and everyone will enjoy this dish. You can trust me on that. 

This is day three of our Easter Brunch Bonanza post and we’re just getting to the really good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Croissants and Cucumber and Strawberry Salad are great ways to start a brunch, but the real fun is in the entrée and dessert. Don’t even get me started on the cocktail. Come back tomorrow and Friday for the remaining recipes, you don’t want to miss them! I’ll tell you what else you don’t want to miss, these Spring Eggs Benedict. They’re calling out your name. Can you hear them? I can. 

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Chicken Chorizo Spicy Waffle Tostadas

Do you ever sometimes get tired of eating pancakes and eggs for breakfast and brunch, week after week? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some flapjacks and eggs but sometimes I just need something a bit more tasty and a lot more exciting. Who can eat the same thing over and over again without ever getting bored of it? Unless it’s French fries we’re talking about, then that’s another story. There’s no need to be eating pancakes every single morning of your life. Because of this yearning, I’m always on the look out for new and interesting breakfast dishes. The perfect recipe to wake us up and get us prepared to tackle the day. It’s like everyone always says, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so we should really take our time making dishes we can be passionate about. Don’t you agree?

I’ll never say no to a tostada. Plain and simple, I end up eating more tostadas in a month than I do anything else. Tostada Tuesdays are so much better than Taco Tuesdays, if you ask me. And if you haven’t tried it for yourself then you’re missing out and it sounds like a personal problem. You need to remedy that situation right away. Lucky for you I just happen to have these breakfast tostadas for your viewing/making/eating pleasure. The one component that really takes this dish further is the homemade chicken chorizo. I love chorizo but sometimes it feels super heavy to me, what with all of the spices and fat, so I happen to really love this homemade chicken chorizo as an alternative. Add some scrambled eggs (or cooked white rice) to the chorizo and just like that, you have a delicious breakfast or brunch dish that’ll impress just about anyone, including yourself. I’m here to tell you that making homemade Mexican chorizo is actually very easy to whip up. Sure, there are a lot of spices that go into the meat to give it that traditional chorizo flavor, but it’s totally worth it. It’s health(ier) and the best part is that you can store the uncooked chorizo in an airtight container in the fridge and cook it as you need it. You’ll have chicken chorizo tostadas, tacos, burritos, and breakfast sandwiches all the time.

Grinding up a big batch of it will be the best decision you’ll make all week. Making spicy waffles and layering them with all sorts of taco toppings will be the next best series of decisions in your life. Don’t fight it, just dust off that waffle iron and get to cooking some breakfast for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with eating these tostadas all alone. In fact, it’s probably for the better since you won’t have to share. It’ll be our secret, just between the two of us. The only thing that should be on your mind right now is how many tostadas you’ll be eating. It’s great to have an end goal to get you going. 

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Lemon, Poppy Seed and Blueberry Streusel Pound Cake

Okay, so the honest truth is that I had to make this cake a total of four times. Yes, you read that right. Four times before I got it right. I was ready to scream, pull out my hair, denounce pound cakes for life and give up on everything because a little ol’ pound cake was defeating me. This is why I never make pound cake by the way, because I feel like they’re always so difficult, for some unknown reason. It’s not like they require a lot of ingredients or attention for that matter. In theory, they’re kind of simple to make. Yet it’s my baking kryptonite. For those of you that think I never mess up in the kitchen, think again. Even I, with all of the baking experience I have, still make mistakes from time to time. It’s totally normal. In fact I’d be worried if I didn’t mess up because those little hiccups humble me and make me a better cook/baker. So don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t always come out right the first time. Just keep trying.  

The very first attempt of this cake, I forgot to toss the blueberries in flour so they all sank to the bottom of the loaf pan, causing a not-so-pretty wet mess at the bottom, forcing me to lose half of the cake to moisture. No good. I clapped my forehead and called myself a dummy for forgetting such a crucial step. Sure I was disappointed, but I started all over again without thinking twice about it. So off Julian went to the grocery store for me and got more blueberries and cream cheese and almonds so that I could go in for round two. I made the cake again, this time a bit faster since I didn’t have to photograph it step by step. I was thankful for that. The second time was also a failure. When I removed my precious pound cake from the oven, the center had completely caved in. I started laughing (masking the irritation) because I haven’t had a cake cave on me in many years since I started baking. I don’t know what happened, maybe I opened the door too soon or maybe there was a movement or loud bang by the oven at some point and it scared my cake into ruin? Who knows. Anyhow, I was ready to give up at this point but Julian (and my mother, through various frustrated phone calls all made by me to her) kept telling me to try again. Believe me I didn’t want to. So there I went off again to the grocery store to buy yet another box of blueberries and cream cheese and almonds and butter this time around and I got home and did it once again. Mind you it’s like 11:30 at night at this point and I’ve made this cake for a total of three times now. 

This time around I felt really confident. I told myself this was it, this time it would work. So I made it all again (with my eyes closed practically), poured the batter into the pan, topped it with the streusel and popped it into the oven. I even kiss the pan and said a little prayer before closing the oven door. I crossed my fingers and continued with some other work. I made sure to not make any sudden movements by the oven door, tip-toeing when I needed to, nor did I open it prematurely. This time around, I waited until the time was up. I open the oven door and all I saw was horror. Complete and utter horror. Low and behold, it was the biggest disaster of my entire career. Not only did the cake batter bubble over out of the pan and onto the baking sheet, but it also caved in (big time) and the blueberries sank once again. The trifecta of cake mishaps. I threw the cake away, with the pan, slammed everything shut and went to bed. I lost hope. I started looking at other jobs, getting ready to stop blogging and photographing and baking and cooking altogether—I exaggerate for the effect. Before bed Julian (and through one last phone call with my mother) convince me to not give up and just try again. Take it slower and do it carefully, they said.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I already shared some photos of the process and got you all excited about this cake on instagram, I would’ve just scratched the entire idea and done something else. I realized though, that I couldn’t just leave you guys hanging. I promised you a blueberry pound cake and by George I was going to deliver one. So I woke up super early the next morning, took one last trip to the grocery store for some more blueberries—which I single handedly have kept the blueberry growers rich—and more cream cheese and almonds and a lemon. I get home and start for the fourth time. Although this time around I changed the recipe a bit by removing an egg, adding more butter, losing the baking powder and baking soda and calling it good, making sure to toss those blueberries in flour. I poured it into the pan, topped it with streusel and put it in the oven without much hope. One hour and a half later I had the most perfect pound cake I have ever made/seen. I let it cool (in a kitchen cabinet above the sink because Napoleon has gotten into the bad habit of trying to eat anything in sight) and did the biggest celebratory dance ever known to mankind. That is the story of my adventure of making four pound cakes in less than 24 hours. I have to say though, it all paid off. This cake is pretty epic. 

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Good Morning Margaritas

Down in New Orleans, there’s a place called Elizabeth’s and if you ever find yourself in the Bywater area and are looking for a great breakfast/brunch restaurant, then you have to pay Elizabeth’s a visit and try it for yourself. Get one of everything on the menu. There’s fried catfish with grits that are to die for. Although, fried catfish is always a yes in my book. Biscuits the size of your head that could also double as pillows, that’s how fluffy and soft they are. Oh, did I mention they make praline bacon. Candied praline bacon. For real. You’ll probably want to order that by the dozen. You would think that out of all the things Julian and I tried there, one of the food dishes would probably be what stands out the most to me. That isn’t the case. In fact, my favorite thing was the cocktail I had. They offer a “Morning Margarita” that is incredible. I know this because I had about twenty, and I still dream about them. Always a good sign. So of course, that’s where the inspiration for this breakfast margarita came from. 

I know what you’re thinking though, “A cocktail for breakfast?!?” Well, yes, I can’t say anything other than yes. I’m not suggesting you have this drink and only this drink for breakfast though. I’m suggesting this cocktail to you to go alongside some potatoes and eggs, or some pancakes. You have to eat some solid foods first thing in the morning, I know that. Maybe you’re like me though, and LOVE eating breakfast for dinner. (I do that all of the time, especially when I don’t feel like cooking after a long day of cooking, which is often). So the next time you’re having an omelette or a breakfast burrito in the evening for supper, remember this margarita. It’s sure going to remember you. It’ll tempt you and wave at you until you decide to include it on your brunch menu. You better listen to it. 

It has all of the flavors I love in margaritas, especially that salt rim on the edge of the glass. You can serve it on the rocks, like I did, or go crazy and blend up a big batch of it to make frozen margaritas. Breakfast margarita party! There’s no right or wrong, there’s just give me and give me more. 

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Steak and Avocado Breakfast Burritos

I’m going to be completely and totally honest with you and confess, right here right now, that I’m not really much of a breakfast eater. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to love breakfast…for dinner or lunch or even brunch. I love a good brunch. It’s one of my favorite weekend meals—that is when I’m not having a love affair with lunch or dinner. I especially love the brunches that involve mimosas or Bloody Marys. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good morning cocktail, but we’re not talking about that right now. There’s always something that comes up and prevents me from eating in the morning. I know a lot of people who wake up super hungry, and the first thing they think about as soon as they open their eyes is what they’re going to eat for breakfast. I wish I could be like that, unfortunately most of the time I’m running around with so much to do that eating doesn’t even cross my mind, which is totally weird since my job is centered around food. You’d think I’d be eating all of the time! 

My mom doesn’t believe me when I tell her that sometimes I completely forget to eat breakfast. It just slips my mind, cross my heart and kiss my elbow. One minute I’ve just woken up, crossing off tasks from my to-do list left and right like a boss, and all of a sudden the next minute, it’s dinner time which also happens to be my first meal of the day. That’s awful kids, don’t do that. Although, as long as I’m being honest, I feel like even if I did remember to eat in the morning, I wouldn’t be able to have a heavy meal before work. I would get so sleepy if I did, and then I’d somehow find myself back in bed for a quick catnap and I wouldn’t get anywhere and my entire day would be shot. So really, when you think about it, it’s a good thing I don’t eat breakfast most weekdays. On the rare occasion that I do, I’ll have a granola bar or a handful of almonds or a bowl of cereal or a pb&J and call it good. I know that’s not much of a breakfast but I’m sure it’s better than nothing at all, right? Just lie to me and make me feel better about my life choices. 

Hey! It’s a new year so we should definitely be taking better care of ourselves. I’m saying this more for me than I am for you, but if you’re the same as I am and don’t make time for the most important meal of the day, then this goes for you as well. We’re all about making resolutions this time of year and in 2015 I’ve decided to make more of a conscious effort to slow down in the mornings and make a better attempt to eat more breakfasts. To eat all of the breakfasts. I’ll still enjoy my pancakes and hash browns for dinner every now and then, because that’s when they taste the best for some reason, but I’ll also start to incorporate them more in the morning, when they’re supposed to be eaten. One way to ensure I start eating before work is with a breakfast burrito. Nothing screams “GOOOOOOOD MORNING!!!!” more than a flour tortilla filled with potatoes, eggs, steak, avocado and cheese. Am I right ladies and gentlemen? I’m totally right. 

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