Everything Bagel Breakfast Strata

This past weekend we went to the last home ECU game for the season.  Might I also add that will be my last mimosa-less tailgate for a very long time.  (wink wink)  Since it was a noon game, I went with a breakfast theme for our tailgate meal.  I love a breakfast casserole since you can usually do all the prep work the night before and simply cook it the morning you want to eat the dish.  I deviated a little from this recipe and next time I would do a few things differently, too.

Some changes I made to the recipe:

  • I simply toasted the bagels and tore them – I did not add butter and honestly didn’t really miss the butter.
  • Instead of bacon, I used sausage because that’s what I had in the freezer.  I think bacon would be excellent and might try that next time.
  • Instead of cooked onion, I had plans to add green onion to the casserole.  But I forgot.  Despite cutting the green onion, I completely forgot to add it to the casserole AND forgot to use it as a topping.  I missed the onion flavor a lot.
  • I felt like 2 cups of a half and half was a little out of control – so I used 2 cups of whole milk.  I don’t think it made a difference.
  • The recipe called for a mix of cheddar and gruyere and that’s what I used.  Since I couldn’t taste the gruyere with everything else going on, I think that next time I’d just use cheddar and perhaps dot some cream cheese on top before baking for that extra bagel feeling.
  • Finally, I cheated and used Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning instead of making my own.  It’s a pantry staple for me these days and I highly recommend using it on your scrambled eggs and avocado toast.


The casserole was delicious and filling and I love the texture that the bagels brought to the casserole compared to your normal breakfast casserole made with sandwich bread.  The biggest thing I missed with a little onion flavor and was super bummed that I forgot the green onion.  And like I said, I think a little cream cheese would be amazing on top.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know that this year I’m extra thankful for everything that I have – most importantly my family.

Gobble, Gobble!


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rosemary Parmesan Cream Sauce

Thanksgiving week is here!

Since I know my workouts might be lighter towards the end of the week, I hit the studio I teach at extra early for a solo Monday morning workout before I got the rest of my day started.  I love starting the day with a good workout.  Today I actually have fun plans – lunch with a college friend that now lives in Texas.  She’s here visiting family and I’m thrilled we were able to sneak in a little lunch date.  Post-lunch, I’m off to Trader Joe’s to do my Thanksgiving grocery haul so that I can get started on turkey day prep.

I had plans to share some cookies with you today but I just can’t keep last night’s dinner from you.  It was that good.  And I quote, “this is in the top 5 fall dinners ever” – Big Guy.  Yes, it was that good.

We used some of our homegrown sweet potatoes to make sweet potato gnocchi that was then tossed with the richest, most delicious rosemary parmesan cream sauce.  Gnocchi isn’t all that hard to make – it’s a simple mixed of cooked sweet potato (I used the microwave to cook and then riced them), ricotta, an egg, flour and salt.  That’s it!  Mix and then roll into “ropes” that you then cut into bite size pieces.  The gnocchi cooks in boiling water and they tell you when they’re done by floating to the top.  The sauce was made by browning butter and then adding in rosemary, cream, freshly grated parm, freshly grated nutmeg, a little but of cayenne, and some salt and pepper.


I can’t even describe this deliciousness.  The gnocchi are tender and a little sweet and the parmesan cheese sauce is perfection.  I loved the hint of heat from the cayenne.

I’m trying to figure out when I can make this dinner again – I’m thinking when my parents come to visit sometime in the near future.  My dad would LOVE this meal.

And since I teased you with a promise of a cookie recipe, I’ll be back tomorrow with that!

Friday Favorites

Well, well, well, this week sure did fly by!  Our house felt like there was a revolving door with all that was going on with our renovations/house updates.  I’m thrilled to say that floors have been installed in the downstairs, the {new} guest bedroom, the guest bathroom, the nursery and the hallways have all been painted and the {new} office is ready for dry wall on Saturday morning.  SO excited for all that’s going on.  This weekend will be all about pulling together the guest bedroom so that it’s ready for my Momma in a couple of weekends, cleaning this house because #dust, and hopefully we’ll sneak in some fun and relaxation along the way.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!  I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away.


Favorite Thanksgiving Side:  Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad.  If you’re in need of a side dish to take to Thanksgiving, may I recommend this salad that includes carbs and bacon.


Favorite Bite:  Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes.  These look delightful.  And you won’t feel bad if you eat an entire cheesecake by yourself.  Wink Wink.


Favorite Dinner:  Roasted Cranberry Brown Sugar Pork Chops.  YUM!  These would be perfect for any occasion over the coming months.


Favorite Sorry, I’m Not Sorry:  9 Southern Elf on the Shelf Ideas.  Buddy will be making his debut in a little over a week…


Favorite Presentation:  Bejeweled Rice. I can’t get over how pretty this all-in-one side is. And I adore the mix of flavors and textures.


Favorite Snack:  Homemade Fig Newtons.  I’m having a moment with dried figs, dates and prunes.  And I remember loving Fig Newtons (as did my Dad) growing up and I can only imagine how delicious homemade ones are.


Favorite Obsessed:  Cheers Jacquard Tailored Ankle Pant.  Y’all.  Talbots has been KILLING it this year.  I am so disappointed I can’t rock these pants this year.  I’m tempted to buy a pair and save them for next year because they are SO me.


Favorite Meatless Monday:  Pecan Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Goat Cheese Crema.  I loved this dinner so much that I can’t wait to make more stuffed acorn squash.


Favorite Spiralized:  Sweet Potato Noodles with Chai-Spiced Cream Sauce.  I have two large buckets of sweet potatoes straight from our garden calling my name!


Favorite Festive:  Cranberry Thyme Spritz.  What a pretty cocktail!  And I love the addition of elderflower to any cocktail.  I’ll be jealous if you make one of these over the holidays.


Friday Favorites

This has been one crazy, busy week!  Home renovations are in full swing and I can’t even be mad about the hammering and nailing and random men using our bathroom (hah!).  I’m glad that Big Guy is around after being gone all week and tonight we have an unexpected date night that I’m pretty excited about.  The rest of the weekend includes cheering on the Pirates and just straight up relaxing.  Relaxing = more Hallmark movies and catching up on “our shows.”  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you Monday with a little pregnancy update.


Favorite Friendsgiving:  Apple Baked Brie and Crostini Bar.  I could turn this appetizer spread into my dinner.

Favorite YAY or NAY:  Our “Rainy Day” Closet.  I can’t decide if I love this idea.  To sum it up, your kids get to pick three gifts that they keep at Christmas and the remaining gifts (except clothes) go into a closet.  And when you’re stuck inside, or your child deserves a reward or it’s just a random day, the child gets to pick a gift from the closet.  Thoughts?


Favorite Comfort Food:  One-Pot Greek Biscuits and Gravy Cobbler. How unique is this dish?  I love any and all Greek food and this looks perfect now that the cooler weather is here to stay (I think).


Favorite Combination:  Brownie Pecan Pie.  I know I’ve already picked a Thanksgiving dessert to bring to the table (literally) but I’m drooling over this brownie + pecan pie combo.


Favorite Reveal:  Oprah’s Favorite Things.  I used to LOVE watching Oprah every afternoon at 4pm.  And I really used to love her episode when “you get a car, you get car….” happened (aka she gave all the audience members her favorite things).  Not only did I love it, I dreamed of being there.  Anyways, she has some fun stuff on the list this year.  And if you don’t want to look through it all, here are the “best picks.”


Favorite Thanksgiving:  Fall Farmers Market Salad.  I usually bring a salad to Thanksgiving, along with a dessert and sangria, and I think this one might be in the running.


Favorite Gameday:  Spinach Queso with Crispy Jalapeños.  Yes, please.


Favorite Inspiration:  Favorite In-Rooms of the Month of October.  I’m loving the leopard + pink + navy room.  And that picture – take me to Italy.


Favorite Flavors:  Butternut Squash and Sun-Dried Tomato White Lasagna.  This dish screams fall.  I love that you can assemble in advance and then bake when you’re ready to eat.


Favorite Instead of Wine:  Maple Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu Trifle.  If I can’t have wine, I’ll have dessert.  And I love making trifles.



Behind the Scenes

Not everything I cook ends up on the blog.  Sometimes I honestly forget to snap a picture.  Other times, especially now with the time change, the pictures just don’t do the food justice.  But I hate to not share recipes with you especially when they are so delicious.  So here are a few recipes we’ve made at home over the past month that are just now making the blog.


Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole.  While this dinner took a little time to prep, it’s perfect for a weeknight because it can be made in advance and then cooked right before it’s dinnertime.  Additionally, I thought the leftovers were even better than the “first round.” Prep and cook this casserole on a Sunday afternoon and then simply reheat one evening for dinner.

Apple Cheddar Pies.  You must make these and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Unreal.

Snickers Bread Pudding.  So this totally happened on Saturday evening and it was everything I imagined and more.  I’ve actually never made bread pudding but I loved that this recipe is scaled down for two servings – which is perfect because it’s rather indulgent and I don’t need to eat it all week.  I used Snickers instead of Rolo’s because we had some leftover from Halloween.

Marinated Bistecca Fiorentina.  A fancy way to saying “grilled ribeye.”  The ribeye is seasoned with garlic, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest before being grilled and then finished in the oven.  A grilled lemon is squeezed on top before slicing.  We served this with White Beans and Kale.  I loved the addition of lemon with the ribeye – it really cut some of the fat and brightened up the whole dish.

My Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.  I had a random “craving” for a fried chicken sandwich a couple of weekends ago and this hit the spot.  It made a mess but was quite delicious.  I just wish we would have added some pickles to the sandwich.  The crunch of the fried crust was everything.

Brussels Sprout, Pecan and Blue Cheese Pull Apart Pizza Bread.  Perfect dinner while watching college football one Saturday.  Big Guy was a little skeptical while we were prepping the bread but now that we’ve done it once I think it would come together so much easier the next time.  I loved the flavors and have to admit we added some bacon to the mix.  Because, well, bacon.

Birthday Steak Frites:  Bone-In Rib Eye with Curry Sauce and Curly Fries.  I love fries.  But I feel a whole lot less guilty about eating them when we make them from scratch.  And while curry + steak + fries may sound weird, it was incredible.

And make sure to follow me on Pinterest – I pin EVERYTHING I make on this board so you’ll never miss out on a awesome recipe that’s floating around out there.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies

November 1st.  How did that happen?  I’m actually pretty excited to see November.  I love the holiday season.  But just because October has come and gone, don’t think I’m going to stop with the “pumpkin.”  I actually love pumpkin.  And in this mac and cheese pumpkin not only adds lots of nutrition but it makes the mac and cheese super creamy and will make you feel like you’re eating the cheesiest bowl of noodles.

The mac and cheese is made even more nutrition by adding in roasted veggies:  brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  While the veggies are roasting, start boiling your noodle water. Feel free to use whatever noodle you want – I went with a gluten free spiral noodle.  The cheese part of this mac and cheese is a mixture of gouda and cheddar.  Yum.  Go ahead and grate that so that it’s ready when you are.

When you have about 10 minutes left of roasting, cook your pasta and make your cheese sauce.  Simply sauté onion in a little butter before adding the flour of your choice to thicken the mixture.  Mix well and then whisk in chicken stock (or veggie if you want to keep it vegetarian) and milk.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg – my favorite fall spice.  This is where you’ll add in the canned pumpkin.  Stir until the pumpkin completely mixes in and then add in your cheese and stir until melted.  Finally add in the cooked noodles and roasted veggies.


Incredibly creamy and the “orange” of the pumpkin makes you feel like you’re eating Velveeta Mac and Cheese.  Except this one is a whole lot healthier.


Friday Favorites

What are you filling your last weekend of October with?  After two weekends of being on-the-go and traveling around NC, I’m happy to report we’re staying close to home.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that Friday night will consist of watching ALL the DVRed shows and whatever we don’t finish watching will be saved until Sunday.  I teach on Saturday AM and I’m hoping for a delicious dinner Saturday night.  Sunday we’re actually joining a church here in town so we’ll be busy most of the morning.  Renovations are supposed to start next week so I’m sure I’ll be helping as much as I can will moving a few things to the attic.  Like I said, low-key weekend.  I hope you have a lovely fall weekend and I’ll see you next week!


Favorite Stock the Freezer:  Healthy Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies.   I don’t plan on going crazy with stocking the freezer before BGW arrives but I think it would be nice to have some easy breakfast and lunch items on hand for Big Guy.  Carrot cake is his favorite so I’m guessing he’d love these as a start to his day.


Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Turkey Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash.  How fun are these edible stuffed bowls?  And so perfect for fall.


Favorite Wanderlust:  How to Plan a 10-Day Italian Vacation.  One day…


Favorite Sinful:  Southern Caramel Cake.  I’m literally drooling.


Favorite Remix:  Avocado Kale Caesar.  A twist on a classic salad.  I think I’d love this version more than the original.


Favorite Obsessed:  The Little Market Baby Rattles.  I can’t even handle the cuteness.  The donut, the avocado, the cupcake and the mint chocolate ice-cream cone are just precious.


Favorite From Scratch:  Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rosemary Parmesan Cream Sauce.  We’ll be harvesting our sweet potatoes soon and I know just the place to use a few of those tators.


Favorite Fashion:  J.Crew Faux Leopard Fur Vest.  My love for leopard is going no where.


Favorite Seasonal:  Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.  Halloween is just around the corner and this is probably as festive as I’ll get this year.


Favorite Sip:  Maple Honeycrisp Margaritas.  I’ll have to save this recipe for next fall because it looks incredible.