Chez Us https://chezus.com She cooks. He devours. Mon, 04 Jun 2018 19:13:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Portuguese Favish https://chezus.com/2018/06/04/portuguese-favish/ https://chezus.com/2018/06/04/portuguese-favish/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:05:08 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32094 One of Lenny’s favorite Portuguese recipes is this one for Favish, which is a fava bean stew.  He enjoys it so much that his mother knows to make it every time we are back in Boston.  My recipe is different than his mother’s and I only make it when fava beans are in season.  It [...]

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One of Lenny’s favorite Portuguese recipes is this one for Favish, which is a fava bean stew.  He enjoys it so much that his mother knows to make it every time we are back in Boston.  My recipe is different than his mother’s and I only make it when fava beans are in season.  It is rich in flavor and comes together rather quickly.

Portuguese Favish

When I decide to make Portuguese food Lenny often says that it is interesting to see how the same recipe that is used by his mother comes together differently when I make it.  The same holds true for this recipe.  His mother will use either dry or frozen fava beans.  To be honest, I am not a big fan of either option, as I find the dried fava a tad mealy and the frozen one holds more moisture which I feel dilutes the flavor of the recipe.

Being more of a seasonal home chef, I wait until springtime when fava beans are in season.  They require some extra work but in my opinion, ten extra minutes is completely worth it.  After I posted a photo of this recipe last month on Instagram, the fava bean police came after me saying I had completely made the recipe wrong by using fresh fava beans and by not removing the outer skin.  When I make this recipe I remove the beans from the pod and I keep the outer skin on.  When I am making a recipe that is delicate and less hearty, then I blanch the beans and remove the outer skin.  There is no need to do this with this recipe.

The rich flavoring comes from using a spicy Portuguese Chouriço and crushed red pepper.  Portuguese Chouriço is completely different than linguica.  Chouriço is made with pork that is left somewhat chunky as well it is spicy.  Linguica is also made with pork but the meat is ground of more and it tends to be smoked.  This is a brand we buy when we can find it, it is called Mellos.  If you cannot find true Portuguese Chouriço then feel free to use linguica, the flavor will be slightly different but it will give be good.

I have served with the recipe with and without eggs.  When I am making a side dish to serve with something else, I leave out the eggs.  When I want to serve as a main then I add the eggs.  That being said, I do not cook my eggs in the favish, instead, I poach and add just before serving.  I think the eggs turn rubbery and are overcooked when adding to the favish.  If I am being honest, it would not photograph very well either and you would never want to make this delicious recipe if there were grayish green eggs sitting on top.

Portuguese Favish

 

Portuguese Favish

Ingredients:

1/2 large Portuguese Chouriço, cut into small circles then cut in half

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper

2 cups of fresh fava beans, about 2 1/4 pounds

1/2 cup of vinho verde wine or water

3 eggs, optional

1/4 cup italian parsley, finely minced

How To:

In a large and deep frying pan over medium heat cook the Chouriço for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper and the fava beans into the onion mixture.  Pour in the wine, stir and lower the heat to a low simmer.  Cook until the fava beans are tender;  about 10 minutes.  Stir often.

Add the parsley, stir and the remove from the heat.

If you are cooking the eggs with the fava beans, crack each egg into the mixture and cook to your liking.  If you want to top with poached eggs like I do then poach separatley and add the eggs after stirring in the parsley.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Banana Blueberry Pancakes https://chezus.com/2018/05/21/banana-blueberry-pancakes/ https://chezus.com/2018/05/21/banana-blueberry-pancakes/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 10:05:26 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32073 I feel like it has been forever since I posted over here.  There has been a lot going on, which I do plan on sharing.  I will share that I have been craving pancakes for the past few months and they are usually something I only order when eating out.  Since I have been cutting [...]

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I feel like it has been forever since I posted over here.  There has been a lot going on, which I do plan on sharing.  I will share that I have been craving pancakes for the past few months and they are usually something I only order when eating out.  Since I have been cutting out refined sugars I lean towards a savory breakfast more often than not.  I had to give in to that craving recently and make a batch of our favorite Banana Blueberry Pancakes.

I often head over here to Chez Us when making a familiar recipe such as these Banana Blueberry Pancakes.  Much to my surprise, I have not even shared this recipe with you, which I did not realize until I began mixing.  I pulled my notes, grabbed my camera and got to work at fine-tuning a recipe we love.

As I mentioned we are trying to cut out refined sugars as much as possible so when I made some adjustments to this recipe I left out the sugar.  My theory is that the fruit, as well as the maple syrup, is sweet enough so there is no need to add more sugar to the pancake mix.  It is loaded with sweet ripe bananas and tart blueberries which is all the sweet we need.  Plus, I add a little vanilla which brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit even more.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

I tend to like lighter pancakes as well as smaller sized ones, so I do add a bit more milk to thin the batter out.  I also whip the egg white to soft peaks, this creates a lighter and more tend pancake.  Not dense or rubbery at all.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

I hope you plan on making a batch of these Banana Blueberry Pancakes over the long weekend.  I guarantee it will put a smile on your face as well as those who are sharing breakfast with you.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg, separated

1 cup whole milk + 5 tablespoons (I like a thinner batter)

1 1/2 ripe banana

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup of blueberries

warm maple syrup

butter

extra banana to serve

extra blueberries to serve

How To:

Melt the butter and then set aside to cool.

Place the all-purpose flour and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and lightly whisk to mix.

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mash together the milk and banana.  Add the egg and mix with a fork.  Then add the cooled butter and vanilla extract.  Mix together.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture stir with a fork until blended but still slightly lumpy.

Fold in egg whites, then the blueberries.

Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over medium heat. Lightly butter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle.  If you like bigger pancakes then add more batter, if you like smaller, then use less.

When the pancakes have a bubbly surface and golden brown, flip over and cook for a couple more minutes until golden.

Serve with extra blueberries and banana slices, as well as butter and warm maple syrup.

Eat.

 

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Cheesy Meatball Fondue https://chezus.com/2018/04/25/cheesy-meatball-fondue/ https://chezus.com/2018/04/25/cheesy-meatball-fondue/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:05:13 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31914 This recipe should be called cheesy meatballs.  Guess what?  I like to call it Cheesy Meatball Fondue as it is so much fun to serve to your friends.  This recipe always puts a smile on everyone’s face when you arrive at the table with a big pan full of cheese and meatballs.  It is so [...]

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This recipe should be called cheesy meatballs.  Guess what?  I like to call it Cheesy Meatball Fondue as it is so much fun to serve to your friends.  This recipe always puts a smile on everyone’s face when you arrive at the table with a big pan full of cheese and meatballs.  It is so cheesy that I can get away with calling it fondue.  Guess what else?  Kids love this recipe just as much as adults.  Winner Winner Chicken (or meatball) dinner!

Cheesy Meatball Fondue

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in Cooking Light last year.  It was the photo more than the recipe that caught my eye.  There were so many things that I did not agree with their recipe that I decided to recreate my own version.  The meatballs are made with lean grass-fed ground beef and loads of flavor such as onions, parsley, smoked chili flakes, and oregano.  The sauce is a super simple tomato sauce with some onion and garlic.  The topping is ultra creamy and rich as I used lots of fontina and mozzarella.  Pile it on, I say!

Pass lots of warm bread so you can be sure to get every last drop of cheesy goodness!

 

cheesy meatball fondue

Cheesy Meatball Fondue

** serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely minced

2 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced

28 ounce can crushed low sodium tomatoes

2 pounds lean (85%) grass fed ground beef

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely minced

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely minced

1 teaspoon smoked or regular chili flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 egg

1/2 pound fontina, grated

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

How To:

In a dutch oven or very large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the 1/2 cup of the yellow onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, rosemary and tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to a very low temperature and cook, stirring often for 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix the ground beef, the remaining 1/2 cup of yellow onion, parsley, chili flakes, oregano, parmesan cheese, and egg.  Mix well with your hands and form into meatballs.  I like the meatballs more medium sized than too small or large.  This recipe made about 30 meatballs that were medium sized.  If you like small meatballs go for it or if you like them large then go for that!

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet.  Slide into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Lower the heat of the oven to 350.

Pour about a cup of the tomato sauce into a large frying pan.  Top with the meatballs and then cover with the remaining sauce and all of the cheese.

Place into the oven and bake until bubbly and lightly golden brown – about 30 minutes.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

Eat.

 

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Cauliflower Shawarma https://chezus.com/2018/04/23/cauliflower-shawarma/ https://chezus.com/2018/04/23/cauliflower-shawarma/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:05:49 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31898 Cauliflower has become a staple in our house as we have been trying to add more vegetables to our meals.  I have been using it more often than not when creating creative and delicious vegetarian inspired recipes for many reasons.  It is easy to work with, it is filling and tasty.  Wait until you try this [...]

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Cauliflower has become a staple in our house as we have been trying to add more vegetables to our meals.  I have been using it more often than not when creating creative and delicious vegetarian inspired recipes for many reasons.  It is easy to work with, it is filling and tasty.  Wait until you try this recipe for Cauliflower Shawarma.

Cauliflower Shawarma

I am preparing you for a boatload of cauliflower recipes, this is the first of many.  I have been trying them out on Lenny and now I need to squeeze in time to shoot them all.  I cannot wait to share them.  Let’s talk about this really easy to make and easy to eat recipe.

You are aware of my love affair with the spice company NY Shuk, right?  They sent me one of their spices to try out and I am completely digging it.  I have used it on eggs, avocados, mixed with lentils and just about anything I can spice up a bit.  It is a Shawarma seasoning that is rich in flavors;  coriander, paprika, garlic, and cumin to name a few.  After marinating the cauliflower in olive oil, this seasoning and fresh lemon juice I roast it until slightly soft and slightly golden brown.  Oh, I also toss in sliced red onions that char up nicely when roasted.  Lenny loves the crispy little onion bits.

Cauliflower Shawarma

The rest of this recipe is even easier.  You can use my homemade hummus recipe or your favorite one, whip up a little yogurt sauce and then assemble.  I use lavash but you can also use pitas.  I pile on baby lettuce leaves, mint, cherry tomatoes, radishes and cucumber ribbons.

I told you this would be really easy to make.  Wait until you try it, I think you will be just as hooked as we are.  Maybe you will even add this Cauliflower Shawarma to your weekly rotation.

Cauliflower Shawarma

Cauliflower Shawarma

** makes 2 – 4 servings, depends on the size of the bread

Ingredients:

1 pound cauliflower, washed, patted dry and separated into florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon shawarma seasoning

1 lemon juiced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

hummus

lavash or pitas

baby lettuce leaves

mint leaves, a handful

cherry tomatoes, cut in half

radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 large cucumber, peeled and then sliced thinly into ribbons

How To:

Place the cauliflower florets along with the olive oil, seasoning, lemon juice and red onion into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Toss with your hands to mix the ingredients together.  Let sit for 30 minutes.

Make the yogurt dressing place the yogurt, garlic, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl.  Stir, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside until serving.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Scatter the cauliflower mixture onto a baking sheet.  Slide into the oven, then roast for 15 minutes.  Using tosses flip the cauliflower around, then roast for another 10 – 15 minutes until slightly soft and lightly golden.

Warm the lavash or pitas.  Place onto a plate.

Spread some hummus over the bread, then top with some baby lettuce leaves and cucumber ribbons, then cauliflower,  radish slices, mint and cherry tomatoes.  Then serve with the yogurt sauce.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Hummus https://chezus.com/2018/04/12/homemade-hummus/ https://chezus.com/2018/04/12/homemade-hummus/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2018 10:05:51 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31795 After posting my Lamb Shawarma recipe I realized that I have never shared my go-to everyday homemade hummus recipe.  While I have a few different hummus recipes on Chez Us, this is the one that I fall back on more often than not.  It is great for using with the shawarma recipe as well as [...]

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After posting my Lamb Shawarma recipe I realized that I have never shared my go-to everyday homemade hummus recipe.  While I have a few different hummus recipes on Chez Us, this is the one that I fall back on more often than not.  It is great for using with the shawarma recipe as well as my loaded hummus bowls.

homemade_hummus

What makes this hummus recipe different from other recipes?  It is super creamy and rich.  What makes it creamy is peeling the chickpeas.  Yes, you need to spend the 10 minutes it will take to peel to cups of chickpeas to make this hummus.  I admit that there are times where I have tossed chickpeas in the food processor with the skins on but I was lazy and disappointed with the first lumpy bite.  Trust me, take the time and peel the chickpeas.

The other thing that makes this homemade hummus recipe special is the za’atar.  We had some creamy hummus at a spot in London last year and it was so good that I had to ask what made it special.  The answer, peel the chickpeas and some za’atar.

Otherwise, the recipe is completely straightforward and super easy to make.  I have a batch of this hummus in the fridge every week as it is great for quick lunches or snacks.  Sometimes I serve it with pitas or raw vegetables.  I even will smear it on bread for a sandwich.  To be completely honest, I have been known to eat it by the spoonful.

Another tip, I find that when I use canned chickpeas even though I rinse them very well, I do not need to season with kosher salt.  If I used dried chickpeas that I have precooked and not seasoned with salt, then I do need to salt the hummus.  Only to taste.

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpeas

1 medium-sized garlic, peeled

1/3 cup tahini sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon za’atar

kosher salt to taste

How To:

Drain and rinse the chickpeas very well if using canned.  I like to let them sit in the colander about 15 minutes to get rid of any water moisture.  The flavor tends to blend better that way.

Peel the chickpeas – don’t be lazy.

Place the peeled chickpeas into a food processor, add the garlic and tahini.  Pulse a few times, then add the lemon juice and water.

Pulse until smooth.  With the food processor running add the olive oil and continue mixing until very smooth;  about 1 minute.

Add the za’atar and mix for another 30 seconds to 1 minute to make creamy.

Season with salt if needed.

Place into a serving bowl.

Drizzle with some olive oil and a sprinkle of za’atar.  I also like to garnish with a few chickpeas.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

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Lamb Shawarma https://chezus.com/2018/04/02/lamb-shawarma/ https://chezus.com/2018/04/02/lamb-shawarma/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2018 10:05:48 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31496 One of my favorite meals, when we are in Paris, is the authentic Lamb Shawarma.  I dream about it the entire flight over.  Since I could not wait until I head back to Paris I decided to make some using leftover roasted lamb. This may be about the easiest recipe I have ever made or [...]

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One of my favorite meals, when we are in Paris, is the authentic Lamb Shawarma.  I dream about it the entire flight over.  Since I could not wait until I head back to Paris I decided to make some using leftover roasted lamb.

lamb_shawarma

This may be about the easiest recipe I have ever made or shared on Chez Us.  It is really about gathering ingredients and using roasted lamb leftovers.  Remember that gorgeous boneless leg of lamb I recently cooked?  I ended up getting four delicious meals out of that recipe.  This is just one of them, and the others you will have to wait until I roast another lamb.

In France, they use fried potatoes or eggplant in the shawarmas as well as some lettuce.  I opted to leave the fried food out, and I was heavy on the herb use.  Also, if you make ribbons out of your cucumber instead of circles, the shawarma rolls up easier.  We like a smear of hummus along with a garlicky yogurt dressing on ours.  You could say this recipe for Lamb Shawarma is not like the ones we enjoy in Paris.  I guarantee it is just as delicious!

Lamb Shawarma

** makes two shawarmas and how much of this and that you use is up to you

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

roasted leg of lamb leftovers, sliced thinly, just enough to cover a lavash

a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cucumber, use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons

plain hummus

fresh mint leaves only

fresh cilantro leaves only

fresh oregano leaves only

lavash

harissa

kosher salt

black pepper

How To:

Place the yogurt, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir well and set aside.

Lightly reheat the lamb the oven to 300.  Only enough to heat, as you do not want to overcook the meat.

I use a stovetop grill to warm the bread and add slight grill marks.  You can also lightly warm in the oven for a few minutes.

Spread hummus onto the lavash along with a smear of harissa.  All depending on your taste.

Top with warm lamb and cucumber ribbons, then scatter the cherry tomatoes over the top along with the herbs.  It is all by taste and how much you want to fill the shawarma with.

Top with the yogurt dressing.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

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Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns https://chezus.com/2018/03/27/cherry-chocolate-hot-cross-buns/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/27/cherry-chocolate-hot-cross-buns/#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 10:05:26 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31461 I am so in love with this new recipe for Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns and have a feeling you will enjoy too.  I decided to take my traditional hot cross bun recipe and jazz it up with tart dried cherries, chocolate, and apricot jam.  Cute little buns that scream springtime. I am always one to [...]

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I am so in love with this new recipe for Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns and have a feeling you will enjoy too.  I decided to take my traditional hot cross bun recipe and jazz it up with tart dried cherries, chocolate, and apricot jam.  Cute little buns that scream springtime.

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

I am always one to break rules with cooking and tradition.  Don’t get me wrong, tradition is nice, but sometimes some flair is even nicer.  That is how I feel about this recipe.  Two of my favorite flavor combinations is cherries and chocolate, and this recipe does not disappoint.  The apricot jam makes the dough even more flavorful and tender.  I have made this recipe a few times, and have used chocolate pieces as well as cocoa nibs.  I prefer the nibs as it does not come out as sweet, just flavorful.

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

 

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

 

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

The recipe comes together easily so you still have time to run to the store, pick up the ingredients and enjoy the Easter holiday!

 

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

 

Cherry Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

** inspired by this recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm whole milk (100 – 110 degrees)

1/4 cup warm buttermilk (100 – 100 degrees)

2 packages active dry yeast

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup apricot jam

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup dried cherries, cut them into halves

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or use cocoa nibs

extra butter for pan and forming rolls

1/2 cup flour – for cross

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa – for cross

6 – 7 tablespoons water – for cross

1 egg, beaten – for egg wash

1 teaspoon cream – for egg wash

1/3 cup apricot jam – for glaze

1 tablespoon of water – for glaze

How To:

In a bowl of a stand mixer combine the buttermilk, milk, and yeast, let stand until the yeast has softened about 10 minutes.  Add the egg, granulated sugar, butter, salt, and apricot jam.  Beat on medium speed until blended, about 3 minutes.

Using a dough hook, blend in 3 cups of flour.  Add just enough of the remaining flour until dough is slightly tacky – sometimes I use the entire 3/4 cup and other times I only need 1/2 cup.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of flour to mix with cherries.  Beat the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and stretchy, about 15 minutes.

Mix the dried cherries and the 1 tablespoon of flour; this helps separate the cherries and prevents them from sticking together in the dough.  I place them into a small bag with the flour and shake.

Add the dried cherries and cocoa nibs or chocolate if you are using that, give a couple whirls of the mixer and then continue to mix with your hands to distribute.  Return the dough to a buttered bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough.  With buttered hands, shape into 16 smooth round balls (about 2.5 ounces each).  Evenly space apart in 2 buttered 8 or 9 inch round or square pans.  Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until doubled and puffy, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix the paste that will be used for the cross.  Place the flour and cocoa into a small bowl and between adding the water to form a thick paste.  I had a couple tablespoons at a time until I reach the thickness I want.  You do not want it too thick or too thin.  If too thin, it will run and if too thick it will be globy.

Mix the egg with the cream and then brush the buns.  Pipe the cross paste onto the buns. Bake until a golden brown, about 15 minutes.

While the buns are baking mix the apricot jam with the water.  This will be your glaze.

Remove the buns from the oven and immediately glaze with the apricot/water mixture.

Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Serve.

Eat.

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Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb https://chezus.com/2018/03/25/slow-roasted-boneless-leg-of-lamb/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/25/slow-roasted-boneless-leg-of-lamb/#comments Sun, 25 Mar 2018 10:05:01 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31446 Are you an Easter lamb or ham person?  I can go both ways but really love springtime lamb.  This recipe for Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb is so good as well as easy to make. I always prefer to slow roast a larger cut of meat such as this boneless leg of lamb as I [...]

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Are you an Easter lamb or ham person?  I can go both ways but really love springtime lamb.  This recipe for Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb is so good as well as easy to make.

Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb

I always prefer to slow roast a larger cut of meat such as this boneless leg of lamb as I find the meat is more tender as well as flavorful.  I usually stuff the meat with cloves of garlic, but this recipe I made a bed out of the oregano, garlic, and lemons, then I laid the meat on top of it.  The aromatics slowly permeated the meat while roasting, giving it a wonderful flavorful experience.

Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb

The meat is so flavorful that you want simple side dishes to serve with it.  A big green salad with fresh herbs is really lovely.  I served creamy potato au gratin alongside this the roasted leg of lamb and it was wonderful.  This would make for a lovely Easter lunch or dinner.

Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb

 

Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb

Ingredients:

2 bunches fresh oregano

1 whole head of garlic

2 lemons, cut into halves

olive oil

kosher salt

black pepper

4  – 5 pound boneless leg of lamb

1/8 cup of water

How To:

Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 – 60 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.  The meat will cook more evenly brought to room temperature instead of being ice cold.

Preheat the oven to 325.

In a baking dish large enough to hold the lamb, lightly drizzle with some olive oil.  Break up the garlic and scatter over the bottom of the baking dish, then top with the oregano.

Lightly salt the lamb with kosher salt, then place on top of the herbs, and sprinkle with some pepper.

Squeeze two of the lemon halves over the top of the lamb and then place all four halves around the lamb.  Pour the water into the baking dish.

Slide into the oven and let roast until the internal temperature is 135 for medium rare.  I roast for 60 minutes, check the temperature and then continue roasting until it reaches 135.  I check every 30 minutes.

Take the meat out of the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve.

Eat.

 

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I Dropped Three Jean Sizes and Even Ate Cake https://chezus.com/2018/03/15/i-dropped-three-jean-sizes-and-even-ate-cake/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/15/i-dropped-three-jean-sizes-and-even-ate-cake/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 10:05:30 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31924 It is true, I Dropped Three Jean Sizes and Even Ate Cake, since October 2017, and no one likes knowing how I did it.  I wasn’t going to write about this, and I have rewritten it over and over in my mind hundreds of times before hitting publish.  I am just going to say it, [...]

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It is true, I Dropped Three Jean Sizes and Even Ate Cake, since October 2017, and no one likes knowing how I did it.  I wasn’t going to write about this, and I have rewritten it over and over in my mind hundreds of times before hitting publish.  I am just going to say it, my food blog made me fat.  I had control of lifting my hand to my mouth but ultimately, sharing something that I love, that being food and cooking, caused me to pack on the pounds.  Pounds I never realized were there even though I looked into the mirror every day.

 

I Dropped Three Jean Sizes and Even Ate Cake

I did not realize until recently how many pounds I had packed on over the course of nine years.  It wasn’t until friends, clients, and acquaintances started commenting on how great I looked.  Then they started asking the questions that come after complimenting someone who has dropped some weight.  What diet are you on?  Did you give up gluten?  Are you Paleo?  Are you sick?  My answer is always the same;  no, no and no.

Why have I decided to share any of this?  A friend who is beginning a diet provoked me to share what I have learned and what has worked for me as well as Lenny.  She is tired of how she looks in the mirror and how snug her jeans are.  She is planning a trip with her family to the Caribbean this summer and doesn’t want to buy shorts, let alone a swimsuit.  She also thinks the only way to lose weight is to starve herself and spend hours in the gym.

Other contributors helped contribute to the pudgy pounds creeping up on my thighs;  going through menopause at 37 and most likely being depressed over it.   Turning 40 and not being able to shake those couple of pounds I thought I should lose so I could button my jeans easier.  I mean, it couldn’t be me and all those baked treats I was making or the sugar glazed pork chops that were the biggest craze on Pinterest.  It must be my jean company, and they will change the way they made their products.  Right?  I was not the one to blame for lifting that fork to my mouth.

When I turned 49, my doctor said she wanted me to lose ten pounds before I turned 50.  That would bring me down to 145.  I put it off for six months, and then decided I should probably drop the weight before my next physical which was six months away.  Six months left, and I was finally going to do something so I wouldn’t get in trouble with her at my yearly appointment. You can read about my journey here where I reported each week what I was doing with exercise and diet.

I thought it would be a piece of cake, so to say, and guess what?  It wasn’t.  It was damn hard.  I was watching what I ate, by that, I mean depriving myself of all the food I love, and I was working out all the time.  90-minute spin sessions are no joke.  I was shy of five pounds when I went in for my physical.  She was okay with that, so I was okay with that.

Last year after spending time in Peru and Cuba, I came home and knew I needed to make healthier changes in our lifestyles.  While I was able to climb the climb to Machu Pichu, I knew I could do better, and I knew I could feel better.  It wasn’t the physical activity, as I had been doing those 90-minute spin sessions, so I was reasonably cardio fit.  It was seeing what people were eating and not eating in other countries.  Super fresh produce, and happy animals that roamed the fields.  No pesticides.  Healthy people, people who commented on how they have heard how unhealthy Americans are.  We supersize everything, in both countries the portions are small and filling.  We don’t stop and chew while we eat, we shovel our food into our faces and then wonder why we are fat and unhealthy.

I Dropped Three Jean Sizes and Even Ate Cake

Cuba December 2016

Two of our parents are diabetic, the other two are fine, besides some high blood pressure, and too much salt in their diet.  Both Lenny and I agreed, that we did not want to head down that same path and that we had to be proactive about it now, and not wait until we were sick.  Do you know how scared I am of being sick?  I can barely get blood drawn, let alone be sick.

It was a lifestyle change that we had to make.  We were not going to diet.  I hate that word, and I firmly believe it is a good thing to make long-term changes in your eating routine.

I started thinking about my past with food and my future.  I have been reading a lot about chronic illness and using food as a healer.  A few things have stuck with me:

        Chez Us made me fat – I was cooking for my audience and not for me or us, any longer.

        I was becoming lazy in the way I approached food.  I knew better. I became aware of the politics of food in my early twenties when I read the book Diet for a Poisoned Planet. I needed to rethink food and where it came from, and to make better choices.

        My friend, Maggie, made terrific changes with her diet for a better quality of life. I had to take that approach to my pantry, eating and cooking.

        I have been a fan of Seamus Mullen;  I enjoyed his cookbook Hero Foods and was intrigued with how he used food to control his RA.  I heard a podcast, where he and his doctor, Frank Lipman shared his journey and his approach to using food as a healer.  What Dr. Lippman said resonated with me – think about the word Diet, and what the first three letters are.    I grabbed his newest book Real Food and started implementing his best practices into our lives

        Darya Rose of Summer Tomato has been writing about better eating choices for as long as I have been blogging.  Her book, the Foodist, sums it all up.  You are what you eat, in a nutshell.  I always consult her site when I am confused about an ingredient or how to make a better choice.

        I had a work colleague who was a marathoner and a vegan.  She was on the heavier side despite running miles every day and couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t drop the weight.  Open her fridge, and everything was non-fat or low-fat and processed quick and easy eats.  Her freezer was full of Lean Cuisine and other processed vegan options.  I kept telling her to eat some Real Food, and she would probably feel better and would probably lose the weight.  This was twenty years ago.  I wonder where she is at now?

What I have learned since I began this journey,  people do not like hearing how I (or Lenny as he has lost twenty pounds too) lost the weight.  They don’t like hearing that I stopped eating like a jerk, and by a jerk, I mean making the wrong choices.  I wasn’t stuffing my face with ho-hos, I was making good decisions but not BETTER decisions.  I started enjoying food again, by not limiting what I wanted.  I started giving a shit more than I did in the past.  Which meant reading labels, meeting the farmers who grew my food and finding out where the animals roamed or swam.  After all, it wasn’t a diet, which I think is a quick fix to an issue. Instead, it was a journey and lifestyle change.

Last September, without telling Lenny about the changes I was going to make in the kitchen, after all, that is my domain, I cleaned out our kitchen.  Almost anything that came in a box or plastic got tossed.  I tossed out refined carbs or anything with a high salt or sugar content.  My goal was to keep sugar, refined carbs, and salt at a low.  Sugar and carbs under 150 grams a day, I average 55 – 60 grams a day now, and sodium under 1500mg.  Did you know that the average American takes in 3400mg of sodium a day?  That is a lot of sodium, folks.  I revamped everything in the pantry and refrigerator and freezer. We were going to eat Real Wholesome Food, which meant very little processed and by processed, I do not just mean frozen pizzas or cookies.  If the first three to five ingredients are not real food, then it is processed.  If you do not know what an ingredient is and cannot pronounce the word, it is most likely processed and you probably do not want to put it into your body.  You can read about our pantry staples here.

I felt sluggish the first couple days of cutting back on salt and sugar as well as refined carbs.  After a week, I felt great.  I had more energy, my thinking was more precise, and my clothes were a tad looser.  TMI, but my underwear was getting loose as well as my shoes.

I still did not think I was shedding pounds until I went to buy a new winter coat at J Crew in October.  I knew the size I was when I went through this same tedious process the year before.  I told the salesperson I needed a 6 or 8 petite, and petite because of my short arms.  She looked at me and said that wasn’t my size.  For sure, I thought she was going to go up, and she went down to a 2.  I didn’t believe her, and then she handed me a coat.  It fit perfectly, so perfect that I got it.  I had not been that size since my twenties.

I kept up this new way of thinking about food.  I cooked the same recipes I was making before but using what I consider healthier options.  I felt stronger and healthier than I have in a very long time.  I went down two jean sizes as well as two sizes in my tops, and I have lost 8 pounds.  A lot of it was belly and thigh fat.  The best part is that I feel fantastic!  I am eating everything I love and have been told is the devil (meat, ice cream, etc..) and I am only exercising moderately, which is 30 – 60 minutes of cardio plus yoga, three to four times a week.

What is working for me or us?  I honestly feel that eating a wholesome diet that is loaded with real food that is rich in fiber, little sugar or salt as well as no refined carbs is what is helping me lose weight, free energetic and think clearer.   Precisely what are we eating?  Tons of vegetables, beans and legumes, meat, fish, grains, alcohol and even a sweet or two.  Basically everything except food that is labeled, diet, non-fat, low-fat, fake foods or prepared foods.

Labels:  I read labels, and guess what?  It only takes a couple of seconds.  Stop saying you do not have time.  If I do not know the first five ingredients on a list, then I do not buy it or eat it.  I had to buy apple juice recently, and I hardly ever buy juice.  It was interesting how each brand had different amounts of sugar.  I went with the one with the lower amount of sugar which was fifty cents more than other brands but in my opinion better than the other options.

Organic produce:  I go to the Farmer’s Market and buy what is in season, and I buy tons of it.  Why isn’t aren’t there more veggie bins in the refrigerator?  We eat a hefty vegetable-rich diet 4 -5 times a week.  I hardly ever buy frozen vegetables except when I am in a pinch.  Such as frozen peas or corn.  Frozen is better if you cannot find fresh.  I never buy canned.  I think that something Green should be in every meal and try hard to do this.  It has become a game for me.

Grass-fed and pastured raised meats:   I try to limit to once or twice a week.

Dairy:  grass-fed, whole milk dairy and pasture raised eggs.

Sugar:  Unrefined sugar when I am baking, yes, I still bake and enjoy it.  I am starting to experiment with coconut palm as well as date sugars and syrups as they are lower glycemic.

Wild caught fish that is high in omega 3s:  I limit this to once a week, would buy more if it wasn’t so expensive and if I could find more reliable sources.

Grains:  I do not cook very often, maybe a couple of times a month.  Usually, it is steel cut oats or perhaps brown rice.   When I do, I try to find the heartiest and organic versions.  Never Uncle Bens or a quick cook brand.

Bread:  Yep, we eat bread and sorry to say it isn’t white.  It is from a local bakery and made from wholesome grains and fulfilling ingredients.  Never whole wheat as that is over processed, it has to be a whole grain or a really hearty rye in order for me to buy it.

Sweets:  It would be a lie if I said no.  I am not about depriving ourselves. Instead, we indulge in a good quality dessert when we do go for it.  It isn’t every day, and it isn’t a box of diet ice cream or some low-fat dessert from the store.

Alcohol:  We haven’t given up wine or cocktails, but usually enjoy on the weekends and occasionally during the week.

Water:  We are HUGE water drinkers but when we want something besides water, then we grab a komchuba.  That fermented juice is low in refined sugars and it great for your gut.

Coffee and tea:  Yep, we still enjoy both.  We have been black coffee drinkers for over 8 years.  Once you find a great coffee, you do not need to put milk of any kind in it.

Fats:  Olive oil, ghee, and animal fats are being used for cooking in our kitchen.  Better for you, and they taste better so I use less.

Sample Menu:

Breakfast – black coffee (if you find good coffee, it is easier to skip creamers and sugar), about a 1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt, loaded with fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or apples, and dates – depends on what is in season).

Lunch – dinner plate sized green salad (we buy the darkest red leaf lettuces we can find) loaded with a protein (tuna, chicken or an egg) as well as radishes, green onions, carrots, fennel, basically everything that we have in the house.

Dinner – either a veggie filled dinner or one with a protein along with a vegetable and another big green salad.

I try to balance it out – if I have yogurt for breakfast one day, then the next will be steel cut oats or an egg.  I also try to add something green to every meal and by green, I mean a fruit or vegetable.  Lunch may be salad, soup or even a sandwich but I try to keep it very green and with lean proteins.  Dinner is really our big meal and we tend to eat very vegetable heavy 4 – 5 times a week and meat or fish the other days.

The next question I get after I tell people what we are eating is if I weigh out portions.  Nope!  We fill our plate, not overflowing, about a fist full of each recipe, and we eat slowly.  Or at least we try, as Lenny eats way too fast.  If we are full, then we do not go back for seconds.

I am finding that if I eat a whole-fat instead of a low-fat diet that my body fills up on smaller portions, and it holds me over until the next meal. I am not snacking and when I do get bored or peckish then I grab a piece of fruit or a handful of pumpkin seeds.  Guess what?  I am not hungry at all.  

When I started in August 2016, I weighed 155 and after six hard months, I was down to 140.  Then I bounced back and forth between 140 and 145 for the next four months.  When I started changing our lifestyle and my approach to cooking and eating, I was at 143, that was in September 2017.  By January 2018, I had lost 8 pounds and have consistently kept it off.  I have one pound left to reach my original goal of 135 that I set in 2016.  For me, it isn’t really the weight, it is more about feeling good about myself and being healthy.  Being proactive as we age, so we do not get sick later on in life or even now.  I feel that if I have a healthy body then it would be easier to fight illness if it did happen.  So, when people ask me how I have done it, I reply that I stopped eating like a jerk!

February 2018

** disclaimer I am not a dietitian or nutritionist.  I read a lot, I ask doctors a lot of questions and I try to follow best practices that work for us.  I have talked to my doctor about what we are eating and she has said that it seems to be a good balance of everything and to keep at it.  We have used this approach since September 2017 and it has worked for both Lenny and myself.  He has lost about twenty pounds and I am shy of one pound of my twenty pound goal. 

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Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies https://chezus.com/2018/03/14/tahini-chocolate-chip-cookies/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/14/tahini-chocolate-chip-cookies/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 10:05:23 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31226 I am a spoon licker.  Every time I make hummus, I lick the tahini spoon and wonder about making cookies with it.  I finally set aside some time to get baking, and these delicious Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies were created.  A match made in cookie heaven. I don’t make cookies as often as I should or [...]

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I am a spoon licker.  Every time I make hummus, I lick the tahini spoon and wonder about making cookies with it.  I finally set aside some time to get baking, and these delicious Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies were created.  A match made in cookie heaven.

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t make cookies as often as I should or would like.  If we had kids, I could definitely see there being more cookies around our house.  With two people it just doesn’t make sense, or does it?  Usually, when I get a craving for cookies or want to work on a new recipe, I gift a lucky person a box full of delicious cookies.  Do you ever get cookie deliveries in the mail?  I hope it puts a smile on someone’s face.

Pour yourself a tall glass of milk as you will want to enjoy it alongside these lusciously rich Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I tried this recipe out on some friends, and they all loved them.  No one could figure out what the added flavor was, but they all loved it.  When I told them Tahini, they all agreed that they never thought to use sesame paste beyond hummus or salad dressing.  I think sesame adds a warm and inviting flavor to baked goods, and especially when mixed with bittersweet chocolate.  The cookie is slightly crunchy around the edges and moist in the middle as well as very flavorful.

Enjoy!

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats and then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table! 

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, 4 ounces

1/2 cup tahini

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

11.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, I like Guittard

1/8 cup flour

How To:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the chocolate chips together with 1/8 cup of flour.  Set aside.

Sift the 2 cups of flour, baking soda and salt together.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and tahini together until combined;  about 2 minutes.  Add both sugars and mix until light and slightly fluffy;  no more than 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla, then an egg at a time, mixing well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on the lowest speed.  Mix only until combined – do not over mix.

Fold in the chips.

Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using a 1 3/4 inch diameter cookie scoop.

Dampen your hands and flatten each ball of cookie dough slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve.

Eat.

 

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Cauliflower Green Curry https://chezus.com/2018/03/11/cauliflower-green-curry/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/11/cauliflower-green-curry/#comments Sun, 11 Mar 2018 10:05:53 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31222 If you are vegetarian and come over for dinner, most likely you will be enjoying this recipe for Cauliflower Green Curry.  It has become a regular option for dinner as it is so easy to make.  What makes it so easy to make?  I use a pre-made green curry paste to save time.  You could also [...]

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If you are vegetarian and come over for dinner, most likely you will be enjoying this recipe for Cauliflower Green Curry.  It has become a regular option for dinner as it is so easy to make.  What makes it so easy to make?  I use a pre-made green curry paste to save time.  You could also make your own green curry paste if you have a favorite recipe.

Cauliflower Green Curry

We have been trying to eat more vegetarian dishes during the week, and ones that do not include pasta.  Why do most vegetarian cookbooks always add pasta to the mix?  I have been working on some vegetable heavy recipes over the last few months, and this one is a regular.

It is a snap to make, and you can have dinner on the table under thirty minutes if you decide not to serve with rice. With rice, you will need another fifteen minutes, which still is not bad.  I have made this recipe using a pre-made green curry paste, as well I have made my own paste.  I use this recipe and I leave out the fish sauce.  It doesn’t take long either, but it can be hard to find some of the ingredients.

The rest is so easy, and basically, it involves cooking everything together and then enjoying.  I like to serve it with toasted unsweetened coconut flakes as well as toasted pumpkin seeds.  It gives the Cauliflower Green Curry some great texture.

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats and then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table! 

Cauliflower Green Curry

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee

2 pounds cauliflower, stemmed and cut into florets

2 – 3 tablespoons green curry paste – depending on how much curry flavor you like;  we prefer 3 tablespoons

15 ounces full-fat or light coconut milk;  we prefer the full-fat as the curry thickens up more

handful cilantro washed, patted dry and roughly chopped

1 lime cut into slices

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

serve with pre-cooked rice

How To:

Heat olive oil or ghee over medium-low heat.

Add the cauliflower, stir and cook until like golden brown.

Add the curry paste and stir, then mix in the coconut milk.

Stir well, and cook over low heat until the cauliflower is fork tender and the sauce is thickened.  This step will take about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve over rice if desired.

Top with cilantro, coconut flakes, and pumpkin seed.

Serve.

Eat.

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Occasions To Gather https://chezus.com/2018/03/08/occasions-to-gather/ https://chezus.com/2018/03/08/occasions-to-gather/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 10:05:09 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31199 I have been dying to tell you about a cookbook project that I have been involved since last September.  It is really hard for me to keep a secret so I am thrilled to share the news with you today.  Occasions to Gather is officially hot off the press and ready to share with the world. [...]

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I have been dying to tell you about a cookbook project that I have been involved since last September.  It is really hard for me to keep a secret so I am thrilled to share the news with you today.  Occasions to Gather is officially hot off the press and ready to share with the world.  It is gorgeous and full of easy to make as well as delicious recipes.

 

Occasions To Gather

This cookbook project was a collaboration that came together, thanks to Blurb and Sunset Magazine.  The recipes are from me, as well as other talented food influencers from the Bay Area;  Todd of Honestly Yum, Sarah of Snixy Kitchen, Paulina of Potato Chips are not Dinner and the lovely ladies at Dadascope Communications.  It wouldn’t be an Occasions to Gather without Cazadores tequila to spice things up.  The cookbook is full of tequila-based recipes that pair wonderfully with Mexican influenced recipes.  One of our favorite margarita recipes even made the cover.

The idea behind this project was to gather people together to celebrate life over a meal.  One of the most important things for Chez Us is to connect with loved ones, and over a meal is the best way to do that.   Giving back to those in need is also important to us, and one of the many reasons this project spoke to us.  All proceeds from the book will go to Feeding America.  We have worked with Feeding America, in the past, and could not agree more that this is an organization who cares about the community.  Hunger is closer than you think, and every community, even your community is facing this.  It could be your co-worker or even a neighbor who is struggling to feed themselves or their family.  No one should be in this situation, and we hope the proceeds of this cookbook can help feed many.

I have been dying to tell you about a cookbook project that I have been involved since last September.  It is really hard for me to keep a secret so I am thrilled to share the news with you today.  Occasions to Gather is officially hot off the press and ready to share with the world.  It is gorgeous and full of easy to make as well as delicious recipes. This cookbook project was a collaboration that came together, thanks to Blurb and Sunset Magazine.  The recipes are from me, as well as other talented food influencers from the Bay Area;  Todd of Honestly Yum, Sarah of Snixy Kitchen, Paulina of Potato Chips are not Dinner and the lovely ladies at Dadascope Communications.  It wouldn't be an Occasions to Gather without Cazadores tequila to spice things up.  The cookbook is full of tequila-based recipes that pair wonderfully with Mexican influenced recipes.  One of our favorite margarita recipes even made the cover. The premise behind this project was to gather people together to celebrate life over a meal.  One of the most important things for Chez Us is to connect with loved ones, and over a meal is the best way to do that.   Giving back to those in need is also important to us, and one of the many reasons this project spoke to us.  All proceeds from the book will go to Feeding America.  We have worked with Feeding America, in the past, and could not agree more that this is an organization who cares about the community.  Hunger is closer than you think, and every community, even your community is facing this.  It could be your co-worker or even a neighbor who is struggling to feed themselves or their family.  No one should be in this situation, and we hope the proceeds of this cookbook can help feed many. Not only is this cookbook inspirational and gorgeous to look at, the layout of the recipes is very unique.  It can be tough to figure out how to pair recipes with beverages, especially tequila.  Occasions To Gather makes it easier by breaking down the chapters into parings;  such as a Laid Back Birthday Bash complete with margarita cake or a Picnic Lunch served with an amazing Caribbean Pork Torta or how about joining us for Poker Night complete with Avocado Margaritas.  Definitely very fun ideas for your next gathering.   I hope that you enjoy this cookbook and that it will inspire you to cook and share a meal with the ones you love.   Occasions to Gather is available from the Blurb Bookstore for $29.99. All proceeds from this book will benefit Feeding America.

Not only is this cookbook inspirational and gorgeous to look at, the layout of the recipes is very unique.  It can be tough to figure out how to pair recipes with beverages, especially tequila.  Occasions To Gather makes it easier by breaking down the chapters into parings;  such as a Laid Back Birthday Bash complete with margarita cake or a Picnic Lunch served with an amazing Caribbean Pork Torta or how about joining us for Poker Night complete with Avocado Margaritas.  This book is full of fun ideas for your next gathering and has something for everyone.

I have been dying to tell you about a cookbook project that I have been involved since last September.  It is really hard for me to keep a secret so I am thrilled to share the news with you today.  Occasions to Gather is officially hot off the press and ready to share with the world.  It is gorgeous and full of easy to make as well as delicious recipes. This cookbook project was a collaboration that came together, thanks to Blurb and Sunset Magazine.  The recipes are from me, as well as other talented food influencers from the Bay Area;  Todd of Honestly Yum, Sarah of Snixy Kitchen, Paulina of Potato Chips are not Dinner and the lovely ladies at Dadascope Communications.  It wouldn't be an Occasions to Gather without Cazadores tequila to spice things up.  The cookbook is full of tequila-based recipes that pair wonderfully with Mexican influenced recipes.  One of our favorite margarita recipes even made the cover. The premise behind this project was to gather people together to celebrate life over a meal.  One of the most important things for Chez Us is to connect with loved ones, and over a meal is the best way to do that.   Giving back to those in need is also important to us, and one of the many reasons this project spoke to us.  All proceeds from the book will go to Feeding America.  We have worked with Feeding America, in the past, and could not agree more that this is an organization who cares about the community.  Hunger is closer than you think, and every community, even your community is facing this.  It could be your co-worker or even a neighbor who is struggling to feed themselves or their family.  No one should be in this situation, and we hope the proceeds of this cookbook can help feed many. Not only is this cookbook inspirational and gorgeous to look at, the layout of the recipes is very unique.  It can be tough to figure out how to pair recipes with beverages, especially tequila.  Occasions To Gather makes it easier by breaking down the chapters into parings;  such as a Laid Back Birthday Bash complete with margarita cake or a Picnic Lunch served with an amazing Caribbean Pork Torta or how about joining us for Poker Night complete with Avocado Margaritas.  Definitely very fun ideas for your next gathering.   I hope that you enjoy this cookbook and that it will inspire you to cook and share a meal with the ones you love.   Occasions to Gather is available from the Blurb Bookstore for $29.99. All proceeds from this book will benefit Feeding America.

I hope that you enjoy this cookbook and that it will inspire you to cook and share a meal with the ones you love.

 

Occasions to Gather is available from the Blurb Bookstore for $29.99. All proceeds from this book will benefit Feeding America.

Occasions To Gather

 

disclaimer:  I was compensated for the time as well as my recipes that were used in the cookbook project.  All sales proceeds will benefit Feeding America.  

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