Food is love

Nothing quite says "I love you" like a thoughtful homemade meal for someone you care about. While growing up, my family centered special occasions and gatherings around a glutenous spread of both healthy and indulgent offerings. The feasts lasted for hours with each guest bringing something delicious from their own kitchen to share, often times excited to be sharing their 'oh so tasty tapioca' or 'family famous lasagna'.


Whether you are making a romantic candlelit dinner, breakfast in bed, or a sweet desert, I understand the value in this way of celebrating and hope to help you here with a few ideas and simple hacks to make the occasion stress-free.




Breakfast

Preparing a scrumptious and fancy morning meal can be done ahead of time, allowing for more snuggle time or comfortable morning conversation with your SO or family. A favorite of mine, that always gets praise, is a super easy one pan french toast bake.




The ingredients:

Bread, any kind that you have around will do. A variety creates a fun and sophisticated texture, perhaps best suited for a creative pallet. You know your audience, so use appropriate bread - for choosy eaters I recommend using sliced bread. Enough to fill a deep 8"x8" pan that can be used in the oven. 

Eggs, 6
Coconut milk, 1 can
Almond or other milk, 0.25-0.50 cup
Maple syrup, 1/2 cup
Cinnamon, powdered, 2 tsp.
Nutmeg, powdered, 1/4 tsp.
Cardamom, powdered, 1/4 tsp. (optional)
Salt, dash

Optional, fun additions:
chopped nuts, dried fruit, coconut shreds


You can get creative with this dish, adding fruits, nuts or alternative sweeteners to syrup.



How to put it together:
 
1. Prepare baking pan with cooking spray or butter option
2. Cut bread into bite-sized pieces and place into prepared pan
3. Scramble eggs, coconut milk, syrup, spices, and optional ingredients, mix softly
4. Pour egg mixture over bread, adding almond milk as needed to submerge all of the bread
5. Cover pan tightly with foil wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, until most of the milk is absorbed by the bread


My favorite thing about this dish is that it requires hours to marinate, so you must prepare it ahead of time. This will make your day so much easier!



Bake it:

When you're ready to cook your French Toast Bake,
Preheat oven to 350 and take your pan out of the fridge
Once oven is preheated, bake for 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean
Let stand for 15 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if fancy is desired 




Anytime, day or night


Quiche, it's suitable for anytime of the day or evening. A simple vegan or dairy based quiche can be served as a light meal, appetizer or side dish. There are so many variations of quiche that I won't bore you with a recipe, but suggest you search for one that meets your dietary needs as well as ingredients on hand. If you consider yourself a creative or seasoned chef, you will find success in adding leftover cooked fridge finds to your quiche. Omit the crust and your quiche and turn into a frittata!





Dinner

Sitting down together for a relaxing dinner is a favorite past-time for many because it's an ideal time for connection and a lovely way to end a busy day. Preparing an enjoyable dinner for yourself and loved ones doesn't need to be time consuming or complicated either. Here are a few suggestions that are simple and affordable to make.


- Baked Pasta with sauce and cheese, or with veggies and pesto.
- Soup, grounding and soothing while easy to enjoy leisurely.
- Roasted veggies, usable so many different ways! In tacos, on rice, in a wrap.

It will be a great benefit to prep or make your entire meal ahead of time so you can enjoy the company or others instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

Or you can make this an opportunity to cook and visit together at the same time! Tasking your audience with chopping, washing or mixing as you talk and create a yummy meal together.


Once you have your meal ready, pull out the candles and a bottle of your favorite evening beverage and sit down for a peaceful, delicious evening together!


Love,

Christine







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