You don’t have to live in Kentucky long to catch the Derby bug. We were there for about ten years, but I was hooked after our very first Derby celebration.
Did I mention that I’ve never actually been to the Kentucky Derby?
Everyone seems shocked when I tell them this. It’s a bit of a long story, but you basically have two choices – the infield with loads of intoxicated folks having a good time where you can’t even get a clear view of the race (or so I’ve been told), or tickets for the Grandstand side which, if you can even get your hands on some, are a bit expensive. Add to that, all the people I know who have gone (on the Grandstand side) and had a less than stellar time to see the big, but very short, race.
Compare that to hanging out at the local race track, Keeneland, in Lexington and watching the race on the big screen or having your own party at home. No traffic, no hot sun, you can still wear a hat if you want and there are plenty of bourbon-based beverages and good food.
What can I say? The latter won out for us every year.
Over those ten Kentucky Derbies, and within the past year, I’ve made a few favorite recipes that are perfect for celebrating the big day. Most with bourbon, some with mint and others with Kentucky classics in mind. There will be more to come in the future, but these should give you plenty of ideas for your own Derby celebration whether you need breakfast, brunch, drinks or dessert.
(Click on the recipe name to go to the recipe.)
Despite wanting a warm, high-protein breakfast, cooking every morning has become a little overwhelming. I love cooking so this discovery really caught me by surprise.
I’ve narrowed it down to two reasons. The more I cook for my work, the less I want to spend free time doing it, too. I also like to wake up and get straight to work so I can free up time to exercise in the early evening. Spending the morning in the kitchen takes away from some of my free time and slows my start to a productive day.
All of this has made high-protein breakfasts challenging, so I decided to put together a morning meal that I could bake and reheat quickly throughout the week. This baked egg breakfast is full of good stuff and it turned out to be the perfect solution.
What set it apart for me was adding the black beans. They settled during baking and became something similar to a crust along the bottom. The small pieces of butternut squash added a slight sweetness that is especially good when topped with spicy salsa before serving.
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Breakfast Bake
Makes: 9 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
¼ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup vegetable stock
¼ cup diced bell peppers
6 large eggs
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray or grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with olive or coconut oil.
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions and garlic.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions soften and the squash begins to brown.
Pour in the stock and let the vegetables simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Prick the squash with a fork. It should be tender, but not falling apart. If it is still too firm, continue to cook until slightly tender.
Cooking time varies by the size of your cubes.
Stir in the bell peppers. Cook for 30 more seconds and remove from the heat. Transfer the vegetables to a medium mixing bowl to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the cooled vegetables.
Stir to mix all ingredients. Stir in the black beans.
Pour the eggs and vegetables into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the center is firm and no longer giggles when you move the pan.
Cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 9 squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Mine keeps for up to one week.
Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish recipes and images without written permission. Just ask. I often say yes, if it’s something that benefits us both. Feel free to Pin images and share links to my posts, but please do not copy and paste full recipes or photos and share them on other sites. Confused about copyright and food blogs? Here is some helpful information on Recipe Attribution.
I know, I know. Who needs another smoothie recipe? January hit and food blogs erupted with smoothies and juices. But bear with me. This one wasn’t planned. I threw it together the other day and it was so good that I felt required to share.
Three things about me and smoothies.
First, I should admit that I can’t stand the word smoothie. I do not know why. It has something to do with the way it rolls off the tongue. So you will find me calling them shakes. And for most that I make, protein shakes. This is because I’m always throwing things in that help naturally boost the protein content, like nut butters and nut flours.
Second, I go through phases with shakes. I either crave them or I can’t stand the thought of them. Each phase usually lasts about a month. Yet another thing that I have no explanation for.
Third, I’ve found that a pinch of salt makes all the difference. I’ve put together shake combos that turned out to be so disappointing, but a dash of salt, even in a sweet shake, is all it needed to bring out the flavors.
The past week or so I can feel myself entering the crave phase. (It might have something to do with the smoothie eruption I mentioned earlier.) So I’ve been trying to come up with some combinations that are outside the yogurt and banana box. I’ve also been trying to find more ways to incorporate peanut flour because I love the stuff.
The result? This protein shake. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon with me and give it a try.
Apple Peanut Butter Protein Shake
Makes: 1 serving
1 cup milk (Any variety. I used almond, and if you make it yourself that’s even better.)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp light roasted peanut flour
1 tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 to 1 ½ cups of ice
Combine all ingredients in the blender, except for the ice. Puree until smooth.
Add the ice a little at a time and blend well, until it reaches your desired thickness.
Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish recipes and images without written permission. Feel free to Pin images and share links to my posts, but please do not copy and paste recipes or photos and share them on other sites. Confused about copyright and food blogs? Here is some helpful information on Recipe Attribution.
When it comes to grains for breakfast, I love taking things beyond oats. A little sweetness and a few spices, and almost any whole grain makes a delicious morning meal. It can really break you out of an oatmeal rut.
I’ve made Gingered Pear Quinoa with Walnuts for breakfast, but this time around I had a new grain to work with – farro. I’m familiar with farro (a version of whole wheat), but this was my first time cooking it. It’s quickly becoming a new favorite.
I also had a kabocha squash that has been staring at me from the counter for a while, so I roasted it up to use throughout the week. The puree added the perfect touch to a sweet farro dish. Despite all the winter squashes I have tried, this was my very first kabocha. The texture and sweetness can’t be beat. I can definitely see what all the hype is about.
So there were a lot of firsts in this dish, but this won’t be the last time I make it. This was exactly the type of fall-inspired breakfast I’ve been craving.
Breakfast Farro with Kabocha and Coconut Milk
Makes: 4 servings
2 cups cooked farro, warmed
½ cup kabocha puree, warmed
¼ cup coconut milk, warmed
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts for garnish
In a medium bowl, stir together the farro, kabocha and coconut milk.
Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
Divide into 4 servings and top with ½ tablespoon of chopped walnuts before serving.
*For a prettier presentation, you can mix the maple syrup, cinnamon and salt into the kabocha puree. Then layer a glass serving dish with farro, kabocha and coconut milk, and garnish with walnuts before serving.
Cream, salt and a special marble go into a sealed cup. Then shake until arm cramps, and then keep shaking. Finally, after what feels like hours to your arm, you end up with creamy butter. I can still remember the grade school experiment, as well as how good that butter tasted.
Then along came the junior high years, an obsession with the scale, and many false accusations directed at real food. This was followed by a growing interest in nutrition and fitness. Next, the work toward my degrees in nutrition.
And through all of this, there was no butter.
I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I even convinced myself that I liked dry biscuits and pancakes. I can still remember family cookouts and preparing those foil packets filled with potatoes for the grill. Knowing I was partially in charge, my grandmother would make sure I heard her say, “I want mine with butter. REAL butter.”
Now, the thought brings a smile to my face. Oh, if she could only see how much I’ve changed.
As you know, I am now a believer in real food — grassfed and pastured meats, garden grown vegetables, and yes, sweet butter. No trans-fat filled imposters make it into my kitchen and biscuits and pancakes have never tasted so good.
Naturally, when I was given the opportunity to review a cookbook all about butter, I jumped at the chance. Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer celebrates the simplicity of butter while showing how exciting we can make it.
The book is filled with simple (yet taste-bud thrilling) recipes that can turn a pat of butter into the highlight of your breakfast, brunch or dinner. Curry Butter and Coffee Butter were two that immediately caught my attention.
Then I saw the Green Tea-Sesame Butter! Despite my love of Matcha, I had yet to see it in butter. I promise you, a dollop of this gorgeous green, shaken cream will completely transform a meal.
In one of the beautiful photos by Lucy, the book shows this butter on top of grilled salmon, which I’m sure is delicious. I decided to take a little creative liberty and used it to top Japanese soba noodles which I plated as bite-sized appetizers. Either way you choose to have it, you’ll love this recipe, and the many more ways this book will introduce you to the amazing potential of butter.
GREEN TEA–SESAME BUTTER
Recipe © 2013 by Lucy Vaserfirer and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
From the author: This green-hued butter is flavored primarily with matcha tea, which gives it a subtly sweet vegetal note that complements both sweet and savory foods. It pairs nicely with seafood—particularly salmon fillets—and steamed vegetables. But it’s also delicious spread on ginger scones.
Matcha is the powdered green tea traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony and can be found at tea shops, many Asian markets, and online.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons matcha tea, sifted
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (use black sesame seeds if you want to see the speckles)
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1⁄8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Blend together the butter, tea, sesame seeds, sugar, salt, and sesame oil in a medium-size bowl. Form into a log and refrigerate until firm before slicing and serving, or use another shaping method.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review purposes from The Harvard Common Press. I was not required to write about it and I received no compensation for doing so. Thoughts are my own, and I love butter.
When presented with an open beer (minus the ¼ cup you used in a recipe), most people would drink it. It’s a logical solution and one I’ve implemented myself numerous times. But when I made the Guinness Braised Kale with potatoes and poached egg for St. Patrick’s Day, I was debating between a partial beer and cake.
Whole Wheat Banana Snack Cake with Chocolate Guinness Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×8 inch square pan.
I’m no exception.
If you’ve read my blog much at all you know that Ireland has a special place in my travel-loving heart. I’ve had the opportunity to visit three times, exploring gorgeous landscape, overdosing on amazing food and drink and even meeting bloggers.
So I can’t let March 17 pass without making something that uses a few flavors from Ireland. I’m always tempted by the incredible desserts that pop up on other blogs, but I decided to go savory.
This is a super simple meal, but the Guinness adds a deep flavor to the kale that tastes so good with the eggs and potatoes. Bonus, it’s perfectly suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Guinness Braised Kale with Roasted Potatoes and Poached Eggs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp dried dill
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 lb. kale, stemmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Guinness Extra Stout beer
¼ tsp sea salt
4 poached eggs
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, dill, sea salt and black pepper. Stir to coat the potatoes with the oil and spices. Transfer the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the potatoes. Return to the oven and bake 15 to 25 more minutes, or until the potatoes are tender with crispy edges.
While the potatoes are baking you can prepare the kale. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the kale and garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring to coat the kale in the oil.
Add the beer. Cook 30 seconds more, or until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from the heat and stir in the sea salt.
To assemble, divide the potatoes into 4 serving bowls, top with ¼ of the kale and finish it off with a poached egg. Serve warm.
I leave you with two short PSAs for this Irish holiday that we all enjoy so much in the States. # 1 It’s St. Paddy’s Day, not St. Patty’s Day. I learned this just a few short years ago, but definitely click on that link. #2 Skip the green beer and order a Guinness (or a Kilkenny, or a Smithwicks, or a Bulmer’s Cider).