Croissant French Toast with Cranberry Apple Sauce

french toast (1 of 1)Like almost every stereotypical “basic bitch”, I love brunch.  Mimosas and breakfast/lunch combo food served until 3pm; my dream come true ad everyone’s dream, apparently. Almost every brunch place in Denver has ridiculously long wait time. I’m sorry, but if I have to wait an hour for food then I better have my mind blown not be served soggy undercooked potatoes, I am looking at you, Jelly. In the hour I am waiting in line, I could cook something equally if not better than these overrated brunch places and I don’t have to interact with strangers.

I offered to cook brunch for two of my friends’ birthdays and this recipe made an appearance at both. I have a firm belief that I can make any “guilty pleasure”dish more decadent, a gift from growing up in a Cajun French home. Elevate your French Toast by using croissants, it will be amazing! For a fall twist, I added some chai spices and topped it with  cranberry apple sauce.

 

 

 

French Toast Croissants:

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole croissants, I used almond croissants
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 Tablespoons butter, for frying

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients besides the butter.
  2. Place croissants in bowl,and coat each croissants with egg mixture. Let croissants sit in bowl for at 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, then melt a small amount of butter.
  4. Cook the croissants on each side for about 4-5 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  5. Remove from skillet and top with cranberry sauce or maple syrup.

Cranberry Apple Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cranberries (frozen/fresh)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Heat a sauce on medium  heat.
  2. Add all ingredients, and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for about 30 minutes, add more water if the sauce dries out too quickly.

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Can You Say Burlesque?

burlesqueI did something a little crazy. After a night out with my friends, I came home and I signed up for a burlesque workshop. It may have been my one shot of tequila, but I was liberated from my self-doubt and just went for it.

It all started this past April, when I saw my first burlesque show and I left feeling empowered and accepting of my body even though I didn’t actually participate, watching women of variety of sizes seductively strip down to tasseled covered nipples opened up my world to celebrate women’s bodies in a different way.

How does this relate to the workshop? Well, Midnite Martini, a burlesque dancer, hosts an amateur burlesque workshop. At the end of the workshop, we do a group number and a solo performance, and now I am officially signed up cue the heart palpitations.

Why am I doing this? Mostly, I want to confront my fears. Over the last couple of months, I have been going through a pretty hard depression. My anxiety levels have been through the roof. I had my first panic attack in almost year. I need to make a change before I return to an agoraphobic-carrying-a-paper-bag-everywhere self, the person I was 4 years ago. The choices we make when we are at our lowest moments are the most important.

I have a terrible view of on my body. I have been the chubby little sister since I was a kid and I have hated my body since then. I love swimming, I feel completely at peace being in the water, yet when I go swimming, my towel is wrapped securely around my body until just before I enter the water and is always right near the edge of pool. I always have a bathing suit cover up, so I never have to lounge just in my bikini. I want my body hate to end; I know everyone has bad days, but I don’t want to be at war with my body anymore. I need to accept the body I have. I can blame the people who constantly told me I was fat, had “thunder thighs” or was “pleasantly plump” or I can deal with my issues and stop the vicious cycle of body hate. The idea of people not only seeing the cellulite on my thighs, but seeing my bare stomach jiggle is making my palms sweat even now just thinking about. However, I have to deal with the issues now before I waste my life worrying about what people may think of my cellulite. Because really, it is just freaking cellulite!

I have always had terrible stage fright. In the 4th grade, I ran for class treasurer and we had to make a speech in front of the student body and the parents, and I barely made it through the first sentence before running off the stage and throwing up in a trash can. It wasn’t my finest moment. And I get so nervous speaking in front of groups of people, one on one or even three on one, I am fine, but standing in front of large group people and talking and being the center of everyone focus? Yes, that’s not really my cup of tea. It’s probably why I would rather be strapped down to ant hill than have a group of people sing happy birthday to me in a crowded restaurant. My fingers are crossed that my burlesque debut will not end with vomiting.

Four years ago, I was in a terrible place; I wasn’t sure how I would keep living, but I made a radical change. I packed up my life and moved to a place where I knew no one, didn’t have a job or really much of plan, but I wanted to make a change, follow my passions and not be tied down by fear and insecurity. This burlesque workshop will challenge me; it will push my boundaries and force me to deal with someone of my issues that I usually mask by my self-deprecating humor. And I will keep repeating this sentence to myself because I know it is true: “This class will be fun, and I will meet some wonderful people”. If I say it enough times, I will believe it.

dita

 

 

 

The Kitchen

When I first moved to Boulder, everyone recommended The Kitchen and their many various restaurants (The Kitchen Next Door and The Kitchen Upstairs). I was a little hesitate, mostly because I was poor and the menu seemed kind of pricey. Then I discovered their happy hour menus and fell in love with their food. It was simple, clean and the menu was really transparent. The origins of most the food is listed on the menu and it’s mostly local ingredients.

I have eaten at the Kitchen (Upstairs and Next Door) many times, but have never eaten at their Denver location. Thankfully, it was very similar almost identical to the Kitchen in Boulder. Dining at The Kitchen is like dining a family farm, the decor is so earthy and eccentric.

My main reason for dining at the Kitchen is their dessert dish: the Sticky Toffee Pudding; it is the only non-chocolate that I adore. It is the perfect dessert. The cake is spiced beautifully and the brown sugar pecan sauce has so much flavor and provides the perfect amount of crunch. The warm pudding and cold vanilla gelato are a divine combination. If you haven’t tried this dessert, do so immediately, you are missing out on a masterpiece. Seriously, get in your car or a plan and get this dessert. I promise it will not disappoint.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding – $8

kitchen (1 of 1)Marinated Olives – $6

kitchen (1 of 1)-3La Quercia Prosciutto & Burrata Sandwich – $14

kitchen (1 of 1)-4Portobello Sandwich – $11

kitchen (1 of 1)-2Roasted Organic Beet Salad – $11

Starting Over with a Juice Cleanse

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Almost three years ago, a young woman decided to make a big life change, she was moving from her Larose, Louisiana to Colorado, that young woman was me. I had never lived anywhere besides to Louisiana and wanted to experience something different and have an adventure.  My plan was to stay in Colorado for six months to complete a culinary school program, and then move back to Louisiana or possibly somewhere new. But then something magical happened, I started feeling really connected to Boulder and did not want to leave.

 

So, I stayed in Boulder, wrestle a lot of demons, and fix some serious bad habits in my life, but in the back of my head, there is a little voice saying “you’ve always wanted experience living in a big city; now is the perfect opportunity, what are you waiting?” That voice in my head is a bit of a pusher. I began to think of new cities to move to; my lease ends in March 2014, so it was perfect timing. Like it was meant to be, something amazing happened, I got a job offer in Downtown Denver.

 

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Everything seemed to fall into place; I gave my two weeks notice, said goodbye to some truly remarkable people and the place that was my security blanket since I moved to Boulder. I thought this new job would be challenging and exciting.

I never anticipated how hard starting a new job can be; the first week was brutal, second was worse. I was completely humbled. Then all of my bad habits starting creeping back and years of hard work was all undone in a couple of weeks.

With a bunch of affordable fast food within walking distance of my new job, I started eating my feelings again and drinking vast amounts of coffee, three cups a day at least and I felt terrible. Then, slowly my shopping addiction which took two years to break came back in a full swing. Almost every day over the last month, I tell myself I need this or that, and it just CANNOT wait. But, the absolute worst thing to resurface is my skin picking.  It is my darkest secret. Anytime I get stressed I start to pick at my skin, finding any little bump and turning it into an open wound. This Monday I hit my limit. I looked at myself in the mirror and counted eight scabbed over cuts just on my face.

I had been stopping by a cold pressed juicery (Pressed Juice Daily) near work for a while and thought maybe a juice cleanse would be the radical change I need? So, on Tuesday I made the decision to do a two-three day juice cleanse depending on how I feel.  I spent the week phasing out caffeine which is one of the hardest parts of cleanses for me. The most difficult part will be giving up sugar. Sugar, well chocolate, is my weakness.

I was going to purchase all of my juices through Pressed Juice Daily in Denver, but there was no way I could carry sixteen bottles of juice on the bus. I will purchase their juices on Monday because they are fantastic. For the weekend, my juices are from SolJuice, and they delivered right to my door. I decided on the “Green Cleanse” which is five green juices and one nut milk. They have another option that is mixed with fruit juices, but when I eat too much fruit I get shaky.

Today is Day One. I am sipping on my first juice which consists of kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, apple and lime. My spirits are high or maybe I am just high off of the kale juice…

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