Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trapper Turns Two!


Thank you for all of the love and laughter you bring to my life.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We're Still Here - Sipping Bubbly and Noshing on Cinnamon-Orange French Toast

I had a feeling this would happen. Blog every day for the month of November for NaBloPoMo, and then lack any motivation to blog at all for another month. It's been two weeks, but I've also been fighting a nasty cold for almost that long. Top that off being served yesterday with a notice my lease will not be renewed in February, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and my career still up in the air....you can imagine I'm ready to pack a suitcase, throw Trapper in the car, and head to Tennessee. Tennessee? What?!!

Trapper, are you ready to go?

Did someone say road trip?

I was semi-motivated to get back in the kitchen yesterday. All those Christmas cookie recipes have been tempting me for weeks, and I always have good intentions to bake cookies as gifts for friends, so I went shopping to stock up on the basics - butter, flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate...

I was also in the mood for Barefoot Contessa's Chicken Pot Pie for dinner (kindly disregard the intro in that blog post, as well as those photos - girls, things can also get worse), and bought ingredients to make that recipe. I ran out of steam before making the crust and opted for a "crumble" instead - pie dough crumbled onto a baking sheet and baked until golden brown. My filling was freshly made and still hot, so I simply spooned some into a bowl and sprinkled the crunchy, golden brown crumble over the top. It saved the time it would have taken to chill the dough, roll it out, assemble and bake complete chicken pot pies.

Let's see, where was I going with this blog post?

Oh, I also bought a bottle of bubbly to enjoy while cooking. However, because the Chicken Pot Pie is a bit labor intensive with roasting and cooling the breasts, and preparing the stock, filling and dough, I only had time to make the dough for one of the cookies recipes. It's still chilling in the refrigerator today, but I hope to get a few batches in the oven soon. I enjoyed a few glasses of bubbly while cooking and listening to a mix of country music on Pandora.  A glass or two of bubbly is guaranteed to boost your holiday spirit, as least for a few hours.

This morning, after soaking in a good hour of sunshine on Starbuck's patio (San Diego has been in the high 70's this weekend), I had a craving for French toast. I just happened to have bread and fresh eggs from shopping yesterday, but I wanted to make it a bit more festive to go with the rest of the bubbly. Inspired by Panera's Cinnamon Crunch bagels (I think they have a French Toast version also), I enhanced the egg dip with half and half, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean paste, and Grand Mariner. After dipping the bread, I sprinkled a tiny bit of brown sugar on the side going down in the hot, buttered pan. Before flipping the slices, I sprinkled a little more brown sugar on the other side. French toast with little spots of cinnamon crunch. No additional butter or syrup was needed - just a little sprinkle of orange zest. If you're trying to impress someone other than yourself and your dog, add a few slices of bacon and some berries.

Okay, I'm off to bake cookies. Enjoy your Sunday!