Sunday, September 28, 2014

Boozy Challah French Toast!

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Challah French Toast

Good Morning! The windows have been open for the past week and the weather is teetering on cool days and chilly nights. It's not quite there yet...still in the high 70's during the day....but we're close, and that makes me ohhhh so very happy! With this cooler weather I find myself reaching for the hot coffee more than my beloved iced coffees and gooey bread recipes are on my radar.

Here in our little neighborhood of Ghent, we were greeted with a fancy new The Fresh Market last week! I've been anxiously waiting for this grocer to open and last Wednesday I dodged the raindrops after work {along with the rest of Ghent I do believe:/} to pop in and take a look. It did not disappoint, that's for sure. Everything is brand new and shiny and the staff is in the zone with customer service! The meat counter and dessert counter were by farrrrr the most popular places to be! I couldn't get close when I first came in....so I checked out the rest of the store and swung by on the way out. One item I picked up while there was a gorgeous, golden Challah loaf that was just begging me to bring it home! The braided perfection was just too beautiful to pass up...and although I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with it, I grabbed it and ran!

The following recipe is a take on a recipe from Ina Garten. She uses orange zest for that extra zaa-zaa-zoom and I substituted some Jamaican rum instead:) You're welcome! It's very subtle, so no need to think you'll get drunk off your breakfast....unless of course you're having a Bloody Mary or Mimosa too;)

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Challah French Toast {A Recipe from Ina Garten}



6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon grated orange zest {I substituted 1 tbsp Jamaican Rum}
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it's all cooked.

Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners' sugar & enjoy!!

Stay Blessed,




Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear Autumn....

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Ohhhhh Autumn. You really are my favorite time of the year, you know that? We won't even discuss summer since it's my least favorite season. Spring is truly lovely after a long winter and speaking of winter....I love all that comes with it. Christmas, hot chocolate, snow, mittens, seeing your breath outside, perfect hair days because there's no humidity!! But autumn....wow, you really do blow me away with your beauty every year!

The days start to get a little shorter in September. The air turns slightly cooler and the food gets slightly heavier:) A lot of people get super depressed when 5 o'clock rolls around and it's pitch black dark outside....but I don't mind it! Maybe it's the fact that I'm a military brat and we had to endure change every three years. I just roll with it! There's nothing I can do about it, so I might as well embrace it....right?! I dunno.

But I do know that my favorite things do happen at this time of the year:) Here's a list of just a few that make me super excited for this change in the season and I hope you are able to find beauty in the next few months!

  • Apples + Apple Butter

  • Open windows

  • Pumpkins

  • Sweaters

  • Fall TV returns!

  • Creamy soups + Crackers

  • Bringing out the blankets for the bed

  • Thanksgiving

  • Candy Corn!!!

  • Pumpkin spice candles

  • Beautiful colored leaves

  • Crisp blue skies

  • Fireplaces 

  • Boots

Have a great weekend everyone! Hopefully it's cooling off where you are and you're able to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this season! I'll be shooting a family session at the beach and then maybe painting my living room!!

Keep in touch with me on Instagram or Twitter!!!




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

That time I vanished for 30 days.... o_O

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Well....that was a lot longer hiatus than I planned. Sorry. Life, ya know?! But I have a good reason.....I started a new job!!! My "day job" is in the medical field and the past few weeks have been about starting over and also learning all sorts of new things. It's been overwhelming and I thought I'd only take about 2 weeks off from blogging, but my creativity kinda took a hit during that time. I had all these fabulous ideas in my head, but at the end of the day or week...I had difficulty putting my thoughts into reality. So, I took the break for as long as I felt was necessary! Then the other night I was craving chocolate and coffee and I saw my boys lounging in either their favorite box or in the window and I knew my creative ways were back! Woop!!

So the following is a recipe for double chocolate chip muffins {from a former co-worker} with a side of Toffee coffee in my favorite mug and sleepy kitties =^^=  Enjoy!!!

P.S... I'm entertaining the idea of moving my food photography to a separate blog from this one. This location would be primarily for my wedding/portrait/family photography. I'll keep you in the loop and let you know if and when that change comes about!!

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Double Chocolate Chip Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


 Preparation: Line muffin wells with paper liners. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined

  2. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined (do not over mix), batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill wells 2/3 of the way up and sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.