Mini French Toast with Grilled Peaches

I enjoy the weirdest things in life. The smell of black coffee, corgi puppies, and the way a Junior Mint sounds when you break it in half, just to name a few. (p.s if you’ve never broken a York Mint patty and don’t know what I’m talking about, go do it. Now. It’s a game-changer.)

I find that if you take pleasure in the little things, it gives you a much more positive outlook of life because there’s just so much more to look forward to! People might not always understand why you get so excited when you see Justin’s peanut butter, but hey, as long you’re happy right? And I think this french toast could easily be added to your list of little reasons to be happy! While physically tiny, it’s anything but small flavor-wise. Soaked in traditional cinnamony egg wash, fried to perfection, and topped with warm grilled peaches, it’ll turn your breakfast world upside down. Plus, it’s mini, and mini servings means you can eat more without feeling bad. Which is always, always a plus.IMG_4229IMG_4237IMG_4231 MINI FRENCH TOAST WITH GRILLED PEACHES

1 13 oz French baguette (or around that size)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup of half-and-half

1/2 milk (I used 2%)

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons of butter for greasing the pan

2 yellow nectarines

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

FRENCH TOAST:

1. Let bread stale for two days before cooking, this will ensure a non-soggy French toast. Slice into 1-1.5 inch slices

2. Mix eggs, half-and-half, milk, and cinnamon together a bowl until well combined.

3. Soak the bread slices in the mixture for about 2 minutes each. Meanwhile, heat up the frying pan at medium heat and melt butter.

4. Cook bread on frying pan until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.

GRILLED PEACHES

1. Dice nectarines into small pieces. Heat the grill pan at medium heat and melt butter.

2. Add peaches and allow to cook until golden brown and cooked through. You want to be able to see a bit of the grill marks on the peaches.

3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon sugar. Sautee until the sugars are well incorporated.

4. Top the French toast slices while still warm. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

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Nut Butter Trifecta Wrap

Survive the first week of junior year? Check.

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I am honestly speechless. This past first week of school has flown past like whirlwind, leaving me completely frazzled but still in one piece. As glad as I am to still be living and breathing, I’m going to be completely honest and say that this has been one rough week.

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The week started off with me learning that due to the master schedule of the school, I wouldn’t be able to run cross country during sports period anymore. I was(and still kind of am) crushed. Cross country has been my best outlet for all my pent up stress throughout the year, and it was really hard to imagine getting through the day without it. I was also really looking forward to mentoring all the newbies and hopefully setting up my spot as captain for my senior year. All my dreams were crushed due to bad planning on administration’s part, and I faced the upcoming school year with a pessimistic attitude. In other words, for three days straight I did nothing but hate on the school system and wish for the schedule making program to short circuit on itself.

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But just as things seemed to be at literal rock-bottom, life, as it always seems to do, began to turn up again. My coach and I set up a alternate work out schedule so I could run afterschool. I realized how great some of the classes I was already enrolled in were, and I got to fill in my free period with IB Flim!

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Through the good days and the bad, there’s one thing that will help you get through it all. And that one thing is the Nut Butter Trifecta Wrap. Filled with peanut, almond, and cookie butter and topped with fresh sliced banana, this protein-packed wrap will help you overcome even the toughest roadblocks. And it tastes good too.

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NUT BUTTER TRIFECTA WRAP

one knifeful of peanut butter (I used Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter)

one knifeful of almond butter (I used Justin’s Maple Almond Butter)

one knifeful of cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s Speculoos Crunchy Butter)

one banana, sliced

one whole-wheat tortilla

1. Warm up the tortilla on an ungreased pan over medium heat until its soft and flexible. This way it won’t rip when we wrap it all up.

2. Slice the banana and put to the side. Slather on all three butters across the tortilla.

3. Place the slice bananas in the center of the tortilla, and wrap it all up. Enjoy!

Summer Berry and Chicken Salad

Just because the school year is right around the corner, it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to linger in summer as long as humanely possible right? Sundresses and sandals will still be my uniform until the weather no longer permits, and I’ll still be out lounging at the pool during the weekend. I think I love summer a little too much to let it go so early.IMG_3874If you’re like me and a bit attached to this lovely time of year, you can satisfy you summer (and hunger) cravings with this Summer Berry and Chicken Salad! This salad incorporates all the light, fresh flavors of summertime and is reminiscent of picnic lunches, willowy meadows, and all good things summer. It can be thrown together in minutes, and is made of simple ingredients, making it the perfect to-go lunch salad. You can take it to school and pretend you’re in some rustic countryside lunch party instead of the sad grass patch behind the history building. Sigh.

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SUMMER BERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD

1 cup spring mix

1/2 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup

1/2 medium sized avocado

1 chicken breast

1/3 cup blueberries

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

poppyseed dressing

1. Cook the chicken breast. I usually cook mine with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Pour the spring mix and spinach into a bowl/container.

3. Top with cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and chicken.

4. Add dressing to taste.

So so easy. You can even cook the chicken and slice the tomatoes the night before, eliminating even more work to put it together in the morning.

Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap

With the upcoming school year right around the corner, and by right around the corner I mean in one week (for me at least), I’ve decided to do a small series of recipes that will work perfectly for back to school. Sometimes it can be a real hassle making lunch in the mornings when you’re still half-awake, especially if you’re already running late. However, I think that time should never be issue when trying to prepare a nutritious meal for yourself or someone you love, so all of my recipes will be simple, quick, and have steps that can be done ahead of time.

One of my absolute favorite things to take for lunch are sandwich wraps. They’re portable and can be eaten on-the-go and can be filled with savory or sweet fillings, whatever you’re craving for that day!IMG_3895

For the Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap, the first thing you’re going to have to do is sauté one sliced mushroom cap and two baby bell peppers with some olive oil and salt.IMG_3898

Then you’re going to need one tortilla to use as the wrapper. I like to use whole grain tortillas, but the options are endless. (i.e spinach, sun-dried tomato)IMG_3901

Then you’re going to take half of a medium-sized avocado, spoon it out onto the tortilla, and mash it all up. After the mashing it complete, sprinkle a bit of lemon pepper to taste.IMG_3903

Place your mushroom slices on.IMG_3904

Then your peppers.IMG_3905

And top the whole thing off with a handful of spinach.IMG_3917

Wrap it all up, and you’re ready to go!

See how easy that was? And don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe. Add things, take things out, make substitutions with whatever you have in your fridge. Make it your own and have fun with it! Happy wrapping!

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM VEGGIE WRAP

1 portobello mushroom cap

2 baby bell peppers (or 1/3 large)

1/2 medium-sized avocado

1/2 cup raw baby spinach

sea salt, olive oil, and lemon pepper (to taste)

grill pan (but honestly, a plain old frying pan works too)

1. Slice mushroom cap and bell peppers. Saute on medium heat with olive oil and salt until cooked thoroughly and there are a bit of grill marks on the peppers. Take off heat.

2. Warm tortilla on the pan until warm and soft. This way the tortilla won’t rip as easily when wrapping.

3. Spoon out avocado onto the tortilla and mash up. Add lemon pepper to taste.

4. Layer on mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. Wrap it up and enjoy.

Bread Quiche

Happy Memorial Day folks! Hope your long weekend is filled with tons of BBQ and the first taste of summer. For those of you who don’t know, I am a most definitely a breakfast person. I love pretty much all breakfast food, from dutch babies to omelets, and I can never relate to people who always skimp out on breakfast, claiming that they refuse to  eat “that early in the morning”. Personally, I can’t think of anything better than rolling out of bed and having a piping hot pile of eggs and carbs waiting for you. But maybe that’s just me. It’s by far my favorite meal of the day, and it gives me that much needed kickstart to get my day going. Bread Quiche

My mom wanted to test out this recipe before she took it to her Bible study luncheon, so I made it over the weekend, and I AM IN LOVE. It strays from the traditional quiche since it lacks a crust, but do not fret my fellow-carb lovers, the bread is IN the quiche itself. It tastes great, and its really easy too! You literally just chop everything up, pour it into a baking pan, and throw it in the oven. It’s a low-maintainence dish, perfect for busier mornings. I highly suggest adding some variety to your morning meals with this quiche, you’ll thank me later.Bread Quiche

 

BREAD QUICHE:

4 cups of whole wheat bread, cubed (please do not use sandwich bread, please. I used a whole grain loaf bread from La Brea Bakery.)

4 eggs, completely whisked together

1/2 of a large tomato, chopped

1/2 of a onion, sauteed

1 1/2 cup of spinach

4 pieces of thickly sliced turkey, chopped

4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly grease baking pan to prevent sticking. Put bread cubes into the pan

3. Evenly spread tomato, onion, spinach, and turkey on top of the bread. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly on top.

4. Pour milk into the eggs and mix well.

5. Pour egg mixture into the pan and make sure most of the food in the pan is immersed in the mixture.

6. Place in oven and leave to cook for 45 minutes. Take out to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

NOTES:

– Spinach can be replaced with cooked broccoli or asparagus

– Feta can be replaced with blue, cheddar, or mozzerella

– Turkey can be switched out for bacon or ham or omitted

 

 

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Taking a super quick break from the overwhelming load of European history that still needs to be memorized to post this super easy, super quick Southwest Quinoa Salad.Southwest Quinoa Salad

It’s quick and healthy, perfect for providing the nutrition you need to take your exam in your best condition without taking up too much of your study time to prepare! The red quinoa and fresh veggies complement the light dressing that goes with it, and it’ll leave you satisfied and ready to get on that “all nighter I refused to start studying two weeks earlier whoops” study grind. Or maybe that’s just me.Southwest Quinoa Salad

But not all is horrid and stressful in the kingdom of Christine. Because after one month of waiting with a side of anxiety-induced nail biting, I finally got notification that I have been accepted onto my school’s yearbook staff! I’m so grateful for the opportunity that’s been given to me, and I’m psyched to be able to take part in creating the book next year! But until then, I’ll just be eating Southwest Quinoa Salad, drowning in study material, and craving summer.

SOUTHWEST QUINOA SALAD

1 cup red quinoa cooked according to package

1 14 ounce can of black beans, drained

1 14 ounce can of yellow corn, drained

4 green onions, diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 large red bell pepper, diced

1/4 large green bell pepper, diced

Juice from 2 limes

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

 

1. Cook quinoa according to package.

2. After cooking, allow to cool completely (about 15 minutes) and then transfer to large bowl.

3. In another bowl, mix together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, and salt.

4. Add black beans, corn, onion, bell peppers, and cilantro to the quinoa.

5. Add dressing and toss to coat evenly.

6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Naan Flatbread Pizza

ITS FINALLY SPRING BREAK!!!! I needed this break so badly, I’m more than ecstatic that it’s finally here! Time to do fun things like beach trips and adventuring as Nature unleashes her beauty on everything around us. Or, if you’re me it’s time to finally clean the mountain of clothes that you’ve been ignoring for the past month. Heh.IMG_1634

But spring has sprung, the flowers are blooming, and it’s time for some good ol’ spring cleaning. As cliche as it is, I really do set out to clean and reorganize all my junk. During the hustle and bustle of the school year, I get really busy, and one “I’ll put it back later” becomes a hot mess of my stuff being strewn all across my room and the rest of the house. So, every year, during spring break, I go through a massive clean-up.  My yearly clean-up schedule starts with cleaning my room, then clearing my closet and dresser of old clothes, and finishes up with a reorganization of my desk and backpack. It may not seem like much, but due to the amount of negligence I give all of this during the year, it becomes a three day endeavor. I absolutely hate cleaning, but I’m also scared in being buried alive in my trash, so I always up doing it. IMG_1643

However, this year I’m going to spice things up a bit. Not only am I going to do physical cleaning, I’m going to do some emotional cleansing as well. I tend to be the type of person to forgive but never forget, and as hard as I try not to, I do hold things against people. And I’ve realized it makes me overly resentful towards people, and that the negativity seeps into other parts of my life as well. So in lieu of spring being the time of new beginnings, I’m going to wipe the slate clean, forget about past faults, and face people with new optimism and kindness.IMG_1639

And to help with the cleaning process, what would be better than Naan Flatbread Pizza? It may not help with keeping your kitchen clean, but the result is worth it! It’s an super easy entree idea, and since it’s such a versatile dish, you can vary it in so many different ways. Enjoy, and best of luck with your spring cleaning!IMG_1638

NAAN FLATBREAD PIZZA

Veggie:

1 naan flatbread

a generous 1/4 cup of shredded mozerella, jack, and parmesan cheese mix

1/4 cup of diced bell peppers1/4 cup of spinach

1/3 cup of pizza sauce

1. Pre- heat oven to 375 degrees Fahreinheit

2. Get the naan and spread pizza sauce evenly over it, leaving a half-inch borde to create a crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the sauce, then add chopped peppers and top with spinach.

4. Put on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is crispy and cheese is melted.

5. Take out of oven, slice, and serve hot

BBQ Steak

1 naan flatbread

a generous 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, jack, and parmesan cheese mix

1/4 cup of argula

1/4 cup of steak, cooked and sliced

1/3 of your favorite BBQ sauce

1. Pre- heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Get the naan and spread BBQ sauce evenly over it, leaving a half-inch border to create a crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the sauce, then add steak and top with arugula.

4. Put on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is crispy and cheese is melted.

5. Take out of oven, slice, and serve hot.

NOTES:

– I literally made these with whatever I had leftover in my fridge, be creative and concoct your own variations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Fried Rice

For those of you who are not already aware, this is the beginning of Sadie’s season, Sadie’s as in Sadie Hawkins Dance as in ‘girl asks boy’ dance. And as you may or may not be able to tell, I’m not happy.

Usually, when these dances come around, I can most easily avoid them with the simple fact that no boy is going to ask me. Because the fact of the matter is that I’d much rather stay home by myself or go out with friends than have to pay a hundred dollars for an outfit I’m going to wear once, waste two hours doing hair and make-up that will most likely end up smeared and flat by the end of the night, go back to school on a weekend, and do it all with a boy I may not even like. (Pity dates. I’ve seen it happen more than once.) And let’s not even get started on the awkward post-dance syndrome where you and your date won’t be able to make eye contact with each other for a least a couple days.

I’m sure some people have had amazing experiences with school dances. The whole “Prince Charming will sweep you off your feet and take you to senior prom” cliche had to have originated from some truth, I suppose. Maybe I’m just biased because I’ve heard way too many “worst night of my life” stories, but dances just don’t seem that great to me. Personally, I’d rather just have a night in with a couple of friends, movies, and food.

So for the next time you’re feeling like you just need a night in, but fear the food baby and MSG-induced bloating that comes with good Chinese take-out, whip up some of this Quinoa Fried Rice instead! It’ll leave your tummy happy and your body thanking you for not forcing it to process all the bad stuff.

Quinoa Fried Rice:

{approx. 4 servings}

1 cup uncooked quinoa

3 chicken tenderloins, cooked and chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3  scallions, chopped and divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1. Rinse quinoa a few times in cold water

2. Bring quinoa and water to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until fluffy and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on a frying pan over high heat. Add garlic to the pan. Add carrots, onions, and scallions and cook thoroughly, about two minutes.

4. Add rest of the olive oil and quinoa to the pan. Stir fry until mixed thoroughly, about two minutes.

5. Then add eggs and finish scrambling. Stir-fry until thoroughly incorporated, and then add the chicken.

6. Add the oyster sauce and stir-fry until evenly mixed. Feel free to add more or less oyster sauce to your taste.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingforkeeps.com/2013/03/27/quinoa-fried-rice/

NOTE:

– You may need more olive oil to keep it from burning. Or maybe that’s just because I need a new frying pan.

– If you like spicy, make sure to add Sriracha hot sauce on top when you eat it. It’s a match made in heaven and no other hot sauce complements fried rice in the same way.

– Chicken can easily be omitted be make a vegetarian dish

Kick back, relax, and enjoy!