Eggs Benedict

I don’t do brunch enough. And for that, I am missing out. It’s a great weekend meal that goes hand in hand with mimosas and breezy California weather. Every time I go out to brunch, I see couples and groups of girlfriends at nearly all of the tables. Occasionally, there will be a family brunch, which is totally cute! What a lovely way to start the weekend by catching up with loved ones.

Then comes the hard choice: sweet or savory. No matter which route you go, very likely you’ll want the other one you didn’t pick. C’est la vie. Usually, I go with savory. Most likely some sort of eggs benedict with a side of potatoes. Every so often though, I get a sweet crepe or Belgium waffle and I am completely in heaven.

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With a little extra time on a past Saturday, I decided to make my first attempt at brunch at home! Timid and shy and scared am I to face the world of poached eggs. Let me tell you, nothing to worry about it. It is cake. Don’t get the fancy-shmancy brunch places scare you into thinking this is beyond your egg-cooking skills. You got this!

I found two of the best and easiest recipes for eggs benedict from Pioneer Woman that you’re gonna love. It’ll completely change your weekends.

Eggs Benedict
recipe from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
3 egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
salt and peper
Cayenne pepper
4 whole eggs
2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
4 slices Canadian bacon, warmed in a skillet
Dash of paprika

Directions
Add the egg yolks to a blender. Add in the lemon juice and blend for several seconds. With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Turn off the blender and add in a little salt and pepper and cayenne. Whip it again until combined. Set this aside for a minute.

Next, poach an egg by gently cracking an egg into simmering (no bubbles) water.

Leave the egg alone for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, and then remove it with a slotted spoon and carefully place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

To serve, place a buttered, toasted English muffin half on a plate. Top the English muffin with a warm slice of Canadian bacon. Place the warm poached egg on top. And then pour on some warm hollandaise. Sprinkle a little paprika on top.

Breakfast potatoes
recipe from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
12 russet potatoes
EVOO, for frying
Butter, for frying
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
Salt and black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.

Place the hot potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch pieces.

Heat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Next, put a tablespoon of canola oil in the skillet. Add in some butter and the onions and saute until they start to turn brown. Next, throw in the cooked diced potatoes and the peppers. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then stir them around, slightly pressing them in the skillet. Cook without stirring for 5 to 7 minutes. You want to make sure the pan is hot enough to crisp the potatoes. Add more butter to the pan as necessary for moisture.

After several minutes, use a spatula to flip the potatoes over and cook on the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes.

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Year of the Goat

Happy Chinese New Year!

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A little late on the holiday but this past Thursday was Chinese New Year! It’s a year of the goat/sheep/ram (the translation isn’t all that accurate from Chinese to English for this one). New year celebration for my culture is very similar to the American New Year. It’s a big party for NYE, followed by three consecutive days of food and family. I also get money – a symbol for prosperity and luck – in red envelopes from my mom. The Chinese New Year is focused around family. Big gatherings and bonding time over lots of delicious food.

It’s my favorite tradition and one I plan to keep for my own family.

Happy New Year!

Love day

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I don’t think of myself as a romantic. Then Valentine’s day comes, and my heart is so full with love. I like the red hearts and cheesy cards, and as you already know, adore the abundance of chocolate. But I think what gets me more and more over the years is seeing people in love. All my friends and family post on the social outlets their Valentine’s day engagements and everyone is so in love. Even my single friends are out celebrating and having a grand ol’ time on Single’s Awareness day.

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Each day is Valentine’s day and I don’t need February 14th every year to remind me of that. However, it’s nice to celebrate love and happiness. Sometimes we need that one day a year to remind us of the abundance of love God has shown us through the people in our lives.

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My husband and I keep it pretty low key every year on this love day. All the restaurants are completely crazy busy and expensive so we usually cook or order take-out. Since Valentine’s day was on a Saturday this year, I had time to make nice breakfast of eggs benedict. No Valentine’s day is complete without chocolate and a nice bottle of something. This year, we pulled all the stops and had chocolate bundt cake, strawberries, and champagne for dessert. Recipes all coming soon!

Sending you all lots of love xo

Fortunate accident

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Lentil, sausage, and kale soup

Lentils are one of my husband’s favorites from his childhood. I’ve made variations of this soup with different recipes both on the stove top and in the slow cooker. This is our new family favorite!

The base of the soup all starts the same – lentils, sausage, carrots, and onions. This recipe doesn’t call for chicken broth, but instead crushed tomatoes. There’s surprisingly a depth of flavor that comes through from the hot Italian sausage and the tomatoes! This soup is great for the cold winter months because it’s hearty and thick – it can stand as a meal all on it’s own.

Lentil, sausage, and kale soup

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons
4 cloves garlic minced
sea salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
28-ounces water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of shredded kale

Instructions

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

Just 5 minutes before the lentils are cooked, add the kale and cook until the time runs out.

If you like your soup less thick, just add more water!