birthday weekend. the food.

(Saturday Breakfast of Greek/ Mediterranean Omelet with gyro meat & Vanilla Lattes – from a local coffee shop)

My birthday was Sunday and the weekend was both beautifully festive yet wonderfully casual. We had dinner out Friday with friends, then I had breakfast with a friend on Saturday and lunch with a friend on Sunday. For my actual birthday, I just wanted a no fuss day to do some cooking and relaxing and such a sweet day it ended up being.

I tried my hand at a couple of new recipes.

For breakfast, I made Joanna Gaines’ Orange Scones. The scone itself is lighter and more cake-like (not as heavy and less dense) than other scones I’ve had. The combination of the maple and citrus flavors in the glaze is amazing and compliments the “lighter” texture of the scone perfectly.

And then for dinner I made Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers and for desert Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake. This cake was definitely a special treat for all. Each bite was comparable to eating lightly sweetened pieces of fudge – so delightful! We celebrated extra by giving Mr. Tate his very first few bites of chocolate cake.

If only, the dirty dishes on your birthday would magically disappear. The only unenjoyable bits of the day.

Orange Scones Magnolia Table Cookbook – Joanna Gaines

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake – Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook – John Whaite

*I used dark chocolate cocoa for the icing. The original recipe calls for regular cocoa powder. I also added truffles (from Aldi).

Now, tis’ the time for a sugar detox. 🙂

Happy Monday!

recipes. a few of our favorites for the Lenten season.

Lent. The forty days of fasting, prayer and service leading up to Easter, beginning Ash Wednesday. When I was younger, I never really “got it”. I didn’t enjoy nor welcome the solemnity or extra giving of myself these several weeks before Easter were supposed to require. After all, shouldn’t our days always include service, prayer and giving of ourselves. Why were “these” so special? However, the more years I gain the more I understand. It’s kind of like that new start and those resolutions we make at the start of a new year. “Lent comes to reawaken and shake us from our lethargy.” – Pope Francis

Here are some foods we enjoy all year round but also nicely fit into the Lenten season.

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Recipes:

1 – Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This recipe is my “go to” and has it states there are many different variations. Feel free to leave out the cream, add greens or beans, etc. On this particular occasion I left off the hot sauce because I was sharing with the baby (my first photo).

In my second photo, I didn’t use the cream and instead of making it a purĂ©e I just used the pulse setting and chopped (and then added a little cheese).

2 – Honey Ginger Shrimp

I found this recipe of Ayesha Curry’s a week and a half ago and have already made it twice. The flavor is just so fantastic! Not to mention, the whole recipe from start to finish takes less than thirty minutes and requires few and simple ingredients.

3 – Wild Rice Soup

I love this soup! And even though it’s called Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup it’s perfect for a cool Spring day as well (especially those ones leading up to Easter requiring no meat). It’s packed full of veggies and really so delicious.

Plus, most of the ingredients are common and ones you might already have in your fridge or pantry.

Variation: Add baked and then shredded chicken. I did this a couple of times this past winter.

4 – Southwestern Frittata (minus the meat)

(from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef (or negate for a meat free Lenten meal)

1/2 cup diced sweet potato, peeled

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 1/2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup diced zucchini

10 large eggs, beaten

(salsa, chopped cilantro or sliced avocado for serving)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In an ovenproof 10 inch skillet over medium heat, sauté the beef, sweet potato, onion, taco seasoning and salt for 6 minutes, until the meat is mostly cooked through.

Add the spinach and zucchini and cook for 4 more minutes.

Pour the eggs into the pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the eggs have puffed up and are cooked through.

*I have also transferred all to a glass baking dish before adding in the eggs (like the above photo). Which perhaps makes it not as much “frittata-like” but a bit fluffier and just as tasty.

5 – Lime and Thyme Carrots with Salmon

(from John Whaite’s Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook)

*not pictured

Ingredients:

14 ounces baby carrots

4 banana shallots

Juice of 2 limes

4 sprigs of thyme

4 salmon fillets

(sea Salt and coarse black pepper)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the carrots in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Peel the shallots and slice them in half lengthwise, and add them to the pan along with the lime juice, thyme, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.

While the carrots are roasting, season the fillets with a pinch of salt and pepper. After the carrots have cooked for an hour, remove the foil and place the fillets into the roasting pan. Return to the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

All of the meals in this cookbook are simple, yet feel really special!

6 – Breads or Pizza (veggie and cheese)

Breads topped with preserves or butters or paired with baked or grilled veggies is also another favorite.

I’m definitely still working on my bread making skills but these are a couple simple, less time consuming recipes that we like (that have turned out ok enough to eat 🙂 ).

Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread

Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

And we love this thin crust pizza dough recipe.

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“Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.” – Pope Francis