Easter Brunch

One of my favorite things in life is preparing food for others - and especially my loved ones. There is something so incredible about looking across the the kitchen and seeing them enjoying a meal that I created and hearing the 'mmms' and watching them reach for more. Inevitably I get the "Ashley, just sit down," or "Ashley, here take a break," or Ashley, come eat some of this..." Which I appreciate so very much. But the truth is, I often snack a little along the way and drink what feels like gallons of water during the whole operation so I am usually not all that hungry - the process fuels me in such a way that I don't typically find myself hungry until hours later. And, I thoroughly enjoy staying in the zone - prepping and preparing each course, listening to the laughter and joy in the room and watching their faces light up with pleasure as they dig into a dish that they love. 

In this post, I'll share with you the brunch menu that I built for my family this past Easter. 

After my coffee and before the food prep, I went out to stretch my legs for a few miles. 

I love being out in the open air. I've spent over the past year in Philly - which I grew to adore, but it feels nice to be out of the city. Typically, I walk in silence but I needed to zen out a bit so I put on some Buddha Bar.

When I returned, I started on the Lemon Cardamom Macaroons because I needed them to set in the fridge. The night before I made the Almond Joy Mounds so they were set already.   

Easter Brunch at the Bailey's

Starters #1

Fresh Veggies & Herbs (Basil & Parsley) Medley with Lemon
Fresh Fruit Medley with Mint
Sweet Guacamole Salsa

Starters #2 

Bacon Wrapped Dates (AKA Paleo Candy)
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus  with slivered almonds

Mains 

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (coated in EVOO and seasoned with garlic powder and ground pepper)
Cranberry Chutney
Lemon Kale & Garbanzo Bean Salad

Dessert

Almond Joy Mounds (I added oats)
Lemon Cardamom Macaroons

As you can see, we also had a ham roast - pork for days! 

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

When preparing meals for others, I love to introduce new flavors and concepts while catering to their likes and dislikes and still make it overall healthy, enjoyable and fun...with a bit of my flare ;) 

With Love,

-AEB

No-Bake Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

This recipe came to me quickly while putting together a menu for my family's Easter Brunch this year.

I am a sucker for a macaroons and I thought it would be a nice addition for a dessert on a spring holiday. And, I love desserts that are sweet yet not too heavy.

This one seriously took about 5 minutes. Wicked easy.

Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

2 cups unsweetened unsulphered shredded coconut flakes ( I like Let's Do Organic)
1/4 cup organic full fat unsweetened coconut milk (from a BPA-free can or carton, look for those without added ingredients)
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup organic hulled hemp seeds
3 T Raw honey*
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Dash of ground cardamom

Method:

Add all of ingredients except for the coconut oil into a glass bowl, then pour the oil in and stir vigorously until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Form macaroon shapes (or whatever shape your heart desires) and place on a glass dish or wax paper, cover and let cool and set in the refrigerator. This would take at least an hour.

Yields ~ 16 macaroons

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Chevre Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

OK, I know that I post some easy recipes but I'm telling you, this may be the easiest AND was a big hit at a dinner party.

So, I'll get right on with it...

Chevre Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

goat cheese dates.jpeg

2 packages of Medjool dates, pitted (any kind of date would work)
2 packages of chevre goat cheese crumbles

This was for a large group so you could cut the amount down to suit your needs.

Method:

Slice the dates down the middle, stuff with the goat cheese crumbles (I used a very small spoon to do this) and serve ;) Store in the refrigerator if you make ahead of time.

I must admit, these were quite heavenly... 

Enjoy ;)  

-AEB

Carrot Gazpacho

I simply love researching and thinking for hours about the flavors, consistency and textures of ingredients to make a perfect recipe. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I rarely do come up with the perfect recipe. Sometimes close. Sometimes way off.

This time was quite close to perfect. Though, knowing myself, I'm sure I will make it slightly different next time. I usually have too much fun experimenting to do the same recipe twice ;)

Carrot Gazpacho

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 radish, peeled and sliced
1 tbl shallot
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
8 mint leaves (stems removed)

 

Method:

As with most recipes involving a food processor, there really isn't a method. But here is what I did: pulse the carrots, radish, shallot and olive oil. Then add in the apple cider, water and mint and blend all ingredients until well combined.

Serves 2-4 people.

This will keep well in the refrigerator for about 72 hours.

Enjoy ;)

-AEB