Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

Hello Lovely,

I’ve been putting this recipe off for months! I was supposed to do this from August, but here we are in November. I don’t know what happened or why this lost it’s appeal for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it uses so much bread that made me keep putting it off because I’ve cut bread out of my diet since going Keto. And the last bread pudding recipe I tried from Joanna’s cookbook was a little underwhelming, so I think all of that is what contributed to me not trying this recipe for so long.

One day I decided to stop putting it off and just do it! I ran to the store for some French bread and the test of the ingredients were already in the fridge. The recipe originally calls for Boursin cheese, but that's not practical for me to obtain so I had to find a substitute. I had crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge, so I used that. I had just gotten new ramekins on sale from JoAnn’s so I was excited to use those. The recipe gives 50-55 minutes cooking time and trust me, that’s a little modest. It took me an hour just to get it in the oven before the 15 minute baking time. Egg bread puddings are a lot of work, because you need the bread to absorb most of the egg moisture and I also had to cook the bacon first (the recipe also originally called for sausage but I had more bacon than sausage and went with that).

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I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but what came out of that oven was a gift from heaven! This is by far THE best breakfast recipe from the Magnolia Cookbook. I know I had given that title to the Eggs Benedict Casserole, but this was just SOOOOOOO good! Mum loved it, and so did bae (I’m still waiting on my dish back). There’s nothing Keto about this, but it packs a punch in flavour and it’s satisfyingly fulling!

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Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

  • Prep: 15 minutes

  • Cook: 50 - 55 minutes

  • Cool: None

Ingredients

  • Butter, for ramekins

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 6 large eggs

  • 4 ounces French bread (torn into bite sized pieces about 4 cups)

  • 4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 ounces baby spinach

  • 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

  • 2 teaspoons minced chives

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter four 10-ounce ramekins and set them on a rimmed baking sheet for ease of handling.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and 2 of the eggs. Add the bread and stir to coat. Let stand until needed, stirring occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  4. Stir the shallot into the skillet and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until lightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir into the bread mixture.

  6. Add the cheese, chives 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and reserved bacon to the bread mixture and mix well. It's fine if some of the cheese is in marble-sized pieces.

  7. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the ramekins from the and crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue baking until the egg whites are set, 20-25 minutes more. Serve at once.

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If you want to buy the book to try more of these recipes for yourself, check out this link below. If you do try this recipe, let me know in the comment section below and share your photos with me on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag, #LifeByOlivia.

Parmesan Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast

Hello Lovely,

Two Sundays ago, my mother gave me the task of making Sunday dinner for everyone. It was kind of last minute so the only thing we really thought of was Macaroni and stuffed chicken breast. I was going to use my cream cheese until I remembered that cream cheese doesn’t melt very well, and my family more than likely wouldn’t like cheese inside of chicken. So I had to think of something else. It wasn’t until I was actually cooking the chicken that I thought of a spinach tomato combination. This chicken was seriously easy to make. It only needs a few ingredients, and you won’t have to worry about your chicken being dry either. I took a slightly unconventional route by boiling the chicken before baking it because I found it helps to soften it.

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Parmesan Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

  • Five large chicken breasts

  • 1 cup half and half

  • Olive oil

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (fresh tomatoes are good if you don’t have sundried)

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped spinach

  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons garlic and pepper seasoning

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken breasts in the garlic and pepper seasoning, then leave in the fridge overnight.

  2. Take chicken breasts out of the fridge and boil in a pot of water for 30 minutes. Allow the chicken breasts to cool completely before proceeding.

  3. With a large sharp knife, carefully cut the chicken breasts like hot dog buns. Don't cut all the way through.

  4. Open the chicken breasts up where you cut them and layer the tomatoes and spinach. It's okay if you can't fit all of it in, you can just leave some out. Just squish in as much as you can. Stick a couple of toothpicks in near the opening to keep it all together.

  5. Place chicken breasts in a casserole dish and cover in the half and half and olive oil. This will keep it moist while it bakes. Top with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. You can put the pan in the oven at about 375ºF. Allow the chicken to bake for another 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SPINACH LASAGNA

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SPINACH LASAGNA

Looking for the best vegetarian lasagna recipe? You’re in the right place. This Butternut Squash and Spinach lasagna will become one of your favorites! Perfect as a veggie main dish for every day. A healthier version of lasagna, it’s also, a great holiday recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas! 

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Arugula + White Cheddar Quiche

Hello Lovely,

Sunday brunch is, quite simply, the best meal of the week. Whether heading out to a bottomless mimosa-soaked continental spread, or baking buttery pastries to serve with seasonal jams, the vast amount of food options makes me very happy. When my parents were together my dad would make quiches as a treat for us (mostly because it took so many eggs). I loved quiches and always could eat a whole one by myself. But as an adult I never made a quiche. I made a frittata when I lived in Tampa and a few times since moving back home, but never a quiche. So I had to fix that! Use a ready made pie crust to speed up the process!

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Today's recipe comes from Genuis Kitchen but I made a lot of changes. I wanted something that could be simply reproduced for Sunday dinner because if I don't like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I'm sure you're the same way. Also this version costs significantly less money! I served this for Sunday dinner to my friends and they absolutely loved it! The sweetness of the crust perfectly complimented the savoury flavours within the quiche. I was lucky to even have any leftovers. Making a quiche doesn't have to be difficult. So get the recipe after the jump and serve this at your next family dinner!

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Arugula + White Cheddar Quiche

INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 12 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese 
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 graham cracker crust

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. In large skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter, app. 5 minuets or until just soft. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in 6 oz. cheddar, mushrooms, and arugula. Mix well; place into pie crust.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over arugula mixture, poking holes to allow the egg mixture to seep inches.
  5. Bake 15 minutes. Top with remaining 6 oz. cheddar, continue baking 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.
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Green Recovery Smoothie 101

Hello Lovely,

You may have seen your co-worker downing a glass of green liquid pulp and wondering why would any one drink that. I have never been a lover of green smoothies. They’re green, icky and bitter. At least that’s what I used to think until a friend of mine showed me how to make them properly after a workout. I couldn’t believe spinach was actually in the smoothie. It tasted so good! She told me of a variety of ways you can make a green smoothie and how they make diets easier. After all, these green smoothies are a quick and easy way to get large amounts of fruits and leafy greens into your daily diet. If you don’t want to eat your veggies, why not drink them? I promise you, it CAN be tasty!

So what the heck goes in this smoothie you ask? Well, it’s a pretty simple (and tasty) combo: leafy greens + fruit +  liquid-base … and maybe some fancy superfood toppings like chia seeds or flaxseed. It may seem like a crazy diet fad, but honestly once you try a green smoothie, you’ll most likely become insanely addicted (like us)! And there is nothing better than downing 2 cups of spinach a day in a delightful fashion. And if you want to get all scientific, dark leafy greens contain: high-quality amino acids, important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Fancy lingo aside, fruits and vegetables are good for you!

Ready to start blending?

You can use any green for your smoothie. Spinach, kale, romaine, bok choy, swiss chard, collards or dandelion all make great choices. Then choose your liquid base: water, coconut water or any milk of your choosing. Then it’s your fruits. Choose your fruits based on what you want this smoothie to do. You can use any fruit like bananas, mango, apple, berries, orange, avocado, peach, pear, pineapple or grapes.

This smoothie is a combination of 2 cups spinach, 1 cup Lactaid milk, one banana and 2 apples. That’s it! Nothing else needed. No added sugar because the fruits add sufficient natural sugar. I call it my recovery smoothie because your post-workout cocktail should be potassium and calcium rich in order to preserve muscular energy.

GREEN SMOOTHIE BLENDING TIPS:

1. Tightly pack 2 cups of leafy greens in a measuring cup and then toss into blender.
2. Add 1 cup of your liquid base and blend together until all leafy chunks are gone.
3. Add 3 cups of fruit and blend again until smooth.
4. Pour into a mason jar (or cute cup of your choice).
5. Gulp or sip like a rock star!

 

Vegan Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Hi friends!

Today marks the beginning of an exercise journey that I can't guarantee will last, but I will definitely try my best, given my television schedule. I mean Bates Motel is now back on Mondays, Pretty Little Liars and Switched at Birth are almost done on Tuesdays, Empire is almost done on Wednesdays and Amazing Race returned on Fridays. Let's not forget the blazing heat that has already returned and spring hasn't officially sprung yet!

So as a light snack, I decided to make one of my personal favourites, a grilled cheese sandwich. I guess you can say I'm getting a head start on National Grilled Cheese Month, which is next month. Can you believe that grilled cheese is so awesome, it gets its own month?! But even better, than a traditional girlled cheese, I added a cool, filling twist. Trust me, this is not your mama's grilled cheese! It's fresh, fun and cheesy! It's a great combination of flavours. Imagine a spinach dip between two buttery slices of bread. Absolute bliss!

So I'm celebrating the start of my workout regimen with a sandwich. Grilled. With cheese. A lot of cheese.

SPINACH & MUSHROOM GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

  • 2 slices veggie mozzarella cheese

  • 2 medium mushrooms, diced

  • 1 tbsp margarine

  • 1 tbsp hollandaise sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic and pepper seasoning

  • 1 handful fresh spinach

Directions:

  1. Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Sautee mushrooms in non-stick skillet with garlic and pepper seasoning.

  2. Assemble sandwich (bottom layer cheese, then spinach, then the other slice of cheese, topped with mushrooms and drizzle hollandaise sauce over the inside of the sandwich).

  3. Cut the amount of margarine in half and coat the pan with half.

  4. Place the sandwich in the pan over the last bit of margarine before it completely melts.

  5. With the fire on medium, cover the pan and allow the cheese to melt.

  6. Cook and flip the sandwich until golden.

  7. Remove from heat and serve immediately.  

Wild Berry Salad

Who am I? When did I become the kind of person that makes salads? This is so foreign to me! I mean I am not hating on the salad eaters, but do you ever feel like when a girl is eating a salad, secretly she’s imaging that it’s a slice of pizza, or a thick juicy burger? I get that are actually people out there who genuinely enjoy eating salads (hi weirdo’s) but I am just not that girl!

 

It’s day four of my detox and I think I’m doing well. I’m still on the fence about whether detoxes really work. I’ve noticed more bumps springing to the surface of my face and that is not good at all! It’s the opposite of what I expected. Maybe I’m doing this detox wrong. I’m following Little Spice Jar’s guide and she laid it out like this:

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Oatmeal

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Eggs

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Pancakes (ahem, maybe just 1)

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Hash browns + light breakfast quiche

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

I drank my Very Berry Spinach Avocado Smoothie yesterday and I actually licked the jar. It was really that good!

Update: I just rubbed my chin and I don’t feel the bumps I felt before. Maybe they just shifted to my cheek. Hmm, I’ll keep up with this and see what happens.

Wild Berry Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls spinach

  • ¼ cup blueberries

  • ¼ cup strawberries

  • ¼ cup diced apples

  • 1 fish fillet sliced in semi-thick strips

  • Sesame seeds (optional)

  • Salt and black pepper for taste (optional)

Directions:

Prepare ingredients on your cutting board. Toss ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over salad if you choose to use it. Top with Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing and serve!


I hope you like this recipe. Stay on the healthy track and you’ll be ready for Valentine’s Day in no time!


XoX,

Olivia