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The Toast: Making Sure it’s Loving, Heartfelt, and Entirely Inoffensive

The Toast: Making Sure it’s Loving, Heartfelt, and Entirely Inoffensive


Typically, the maid of honor and best man deliver them, and they are notorious opportunities for embarrassing stories, unpleasant insights, drunken slurring, and all manner of unwelcome revelation. For some reason, people tend to think of the toast as an opportunity to vent annoyance, unrequited feelings, or secret dislikes.

Even when the toast is appropriate and gentle, the speaker may fail to mention the best moments, the times you’re hoping to hear about. If you have a best friend that you trust, you can probably stop reading now. But if your best friend can be something of a loose cannon, here are some ideas for quashing the inappropriateness before it starts, and for gently guiding your toastmaster towards the memories you most want shared.

Talk Early and Often

The more you discuss your plans for the wedding (and, hint hint, the toast) the more likely you are to get what you want. Just be careful not to add to the anxiety or nervousness your maid of honor and best man are probably feeling about the performance. Instead, reminisce about fond memories whenever possible, giving them vetted material in the process.

Encourage them to write a draft of their speeches rather than speaking off-the-cuff, and remind them (perhaps in another context) how important it is to you to have a day full of nothing but love. If your toastmasters are having some problems (they don’t know how to start writing a speech, are worried about a stutter, or are otherwise concerned about their performances) direct them to some resources, like this list of great quotes or this inspirational story about how George VI overcame his stutter to lead England. These amazing wedding toasts from movies may help to get them in the mood.

Share Your Vision

The speeches should reflect the ambiance of your wedding. If it’s an informal affair, it’s okay for the toasts to be informal too. If it’s black tie, you may be looking for something more polished and scripted. Your maid of honor and best man will thank you for clueing them in. Preparing an inappropriately toned speech is like wearing shorts to the Queen’s Jubilee: not good.

Make Your Toastmasters MCs

If you have a particular theme that’s important to you or an announcement you want made, you can assign it to your toastmasters. The more they talk in front of the group, the more comfortable they are likely to become doing it. Have them make a few announcements before speech time to get into the swing of things. For example, have them announce to guests that everything on their tables is 100% recyclable, or have them describe the organic food options.

Not only will this make them more comfortable, it will remind them of the work you put into your eco-friendly affair and of how important it is to you that the day be perfect.


Are Quesadilla Makers the World’s Best Kitchen Gadget?

Use flour or corn tortillas, stuff them with whatever you like, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes in a quesadilla maker. Don&apost forget the cheese!

CCO Creative Commons, Pixabay


Vegan Corned Beef Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 16oz package vegan ground beef
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @sweetandsorrel on Instagram and hashtag it #sweetandsorrel so we can see all the deliciousness!


3. Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel

I know I&rsquom not the only one eyeing all those gorgeous pastries at the local coffee shop.

Though they may look extravagant, they&rsquore often relatively easy to make at home.

Frozen pastry has come a long way, and provided you let it thaw out, you&rsquoll wind up with a nice, buttery texture.

When it comes to fillings, I love this apple and sweet cream cheese option, but any pie filling would work. Chocolate would be delicious, too!


Spicy lentil soup

This spicy lentil soup is not a winter-only meal. It's the kind of dish that's going to fill you up with savory and satisfying lentils any month of the year. It's high in protein, with that addictive al dente chew of the lentils and a savory broth that doesn't need a cabinet full of spices –– just crushed red peppers, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Fun facts about lentils: they can help reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, unlike those highly refined carbs in the fast food burger you thought about ordering before you realized that this meal would be way better for you, right?


Egg-in-a-Hole

With a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, press a hole in the center of the slice of bread.

Next, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and melt a Tablespoon of butter in it. When the butter is all spread out, place the piece of bread in the skillet and crack the egg straight into the center of hole.

Cook for at least 30 seconds or so before attempting to move the bread or things could get messy. Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper to taste. After about a minute, flip it over with a spatula and salt and pepper the other side.

Now move the whole piece of toast around the skillet, soaking up all of the glorious butter. Let it cook until the yolk feels, to the touch, still soft without feeling over-jiggly. Here&rsquos the key: golden brown toast, white (not brown/burned) whites, soft unbroken yolk.

Here&rsquos the other secret: just one of these suckers is all I need to feel whole, happy and free.

Sometimes it&rsquos the simplest things that taste the best. Before I married Marlboro Man, I had to learn to make these delicious little numbers or he wouldn&rsquot go through with the wedding. Called &ldquoEgg-in-a-Holes&rdquo by his paternal grandmother who made them for him all during his childhood, I&rsquove learned not only to love them through the years&hellipbut to need them. They define comfort food, are painfully easy to make, and will turn any stressful, hectic morning into something entirely different. I&rsquom not saying Egg-in-a-Holes will change the world&hellipbut they will change your spirit. Sorta. Maybe.

Before I get on with the recipe, I must acknowledge that this simple recipe goes by as many different names as the human beings who eat it. While I insist the original name is &ldquoEgg-in-the-Hole,&rdquo here are the different incarnations that have cropped up since:

Egg-in-a-Basket
Chicken-in-a-Basket
(flawed logic, but just wait for the next one)
Frog-in-a-Hole (what gives here? Frog? It&rsquos an egg, sirs.)
Toad-in-a-Hole (ever hear of warts?)
Egg Basket
Bird&rsquos Nest Egg
Toad Hole
Egg Hole
Pop Eyes
Egg Toast
Private Eyes

Bird&rsquos Nest Egg-in-a-Hole Basket Toad Chicken Frog

And the list goes on and on.

But really? It doesn&rsquot matter what you call it. Just make it! Then eat it! And you, too shall know the allure of probably the simplest breakfast dish next to oatmeal.

To begin, grab a slice of bread. You can use storebought white, wheat, or you can get fancy and use brioche or challah. But only if you live in a city. This happens to be Earthgrains Honey Wheat bread. It&rsquos the best I could do this morning.

With a biscuit cutter (preferably, a rusty, worn biscuit cutter that reveals the frequency with which you make biscuits) or the rim of a glass, press a hole in the center of the bread.


Classic Brioche French Toast

French Toast is an essential part of any brunch - and I'm sharing all my tips & tricks for making the BEST French Toast! It's never eggy or soggy, it's quick to make, and it tastes absolutely heavenly!

Keyword Easy French Toast, French Toast Recipes, Easter Brunch Recipes, Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf good quality brioche bread we love Aldi's and Trader Joe's brioche!
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Prep: Whisk all ingredients together in a large, shallow bowl. Heat griddle or pan over medium high heat and spray well with cooking spray or use butter to grease.

Cook the French Toast: Working with a few pieces at a time, soak each piece of bread on both sides for about 8 seconds if using the thicker brioche (from Trader Joe's). (yes, I counted haha!). Shorten this if you're using a thinner bread like the Aldi's Brioche or something else entirely. We want the bread to be moistened through but it shouldn't be falling apart from being so wet.

Fry on heated and greased griddle/pan until golden brown - flip and repeat.

Serve + Store: Enjoy immediately! Serve with butter, maple syrup, fruit, powdered sugar, or anything else your heart desires.

Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in microwave.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Serving size obviously depends on a few things here - amount of slices of bread in the loaf you use, how many slices each person eats, etc. The TJ's bread has 12 slices and I estimated 4 servings (3 slices per person). The good news is that you can absolutely double this recipe if you need to feed a larger group!


Sick of Avocado Toast? Try These 10 Avocado Recipes Instead

We love avocado (and it’s not just a summer crush). But smearing it on toast day in and day out, year-round — even if it’s a fancy avocado toast recipe — can definitely lead to some… well, boredom in the relationship. It happens! But if you’re not quite ready to move on to, say, sweet potato toast, there are plenty of other creative avocado meal options. Incorporate the benefits of avocado (Tasty! Healthy fats! Full of fiber! More potassium than bananas!) into your regular rotation with these ten avocado recipes that don’t involve toast.

1. Avocado + Egg Breakfast Pizza: Expanding your horizons beyond avocado toast doesn’t mean you’ve got to give up the green stuff for breakfast entirely. Also, pizza? For breakfast? And it’s healthy? Count us in. (via The Kitchn)

2. Avocado Buckwheat Pancakes: Indulge in a big ol’ stack of fluffy flapjacks that are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and everything else you love about avocados, thanks to the addition of avocado puree in the batter. (via Kitchen Kemistry)

3. Smashed Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich: Who needs the boring ol’ tuna and egg salads you can get at any deli when you can make a chickpea version instead? Avocado replaces mayo as the creamy binding agent. (via Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen)

4. Shrimp Stuffed Avocado: The beauty of these stuffed avocados (and there are more versions here) is that you don’t even have to scoop them out. Think of it as an all-natural, edible bowl. (via Brit + Co)

5. Avocado, Watermelon, Pomegranate + Feta Salad: This summery, fruity salad is a little bowl of avocado heaven. Except you don’t have to worry about spitting out the seeds. (via The Carousel)

6. Spicy Jalapeno Guacamole: Guacamole is a classic summery dip for a reason. (And we’ll take any excuse to eat chips.) Kick your guac game up a notch with this twist on the basic recipe, and get ready to tell your Chipotle guy you’re done paying extra for it now that you can make your own. (via Natasha’s Kitchen)

7. Avocado Tabbouleh: This colorful Lebanese salad will satisfy your cravings for avocado and Mediterranean food. Although a little hummus and falafel on the side never hurt anybody. (via Cookie and Kate)

8. Avocado Gazpacho: Summer is the season for cold soups. Try this creamier take on a traditional Spanish gazpacho. (via New York Times)

9. Blackened Fish and Avocado Tostadas: Blackened tilapia is the perfect pairing for avocado and corn salsa, and the baked tostada is a flavorful step up from your basic fish taco tortilla. (via Woman’s Day)

10. Avocado Banana Smoothie: This heart-healthy and dairy-free smoothie is the perfect morning wake-up (or afternoon pick-me-up) drink. (via POPSUGAR)

What’s your favorite way to eat avocados? Show us by tagging us in your food photos on Instagram!


Barbecuey pork butt

Photograph: Romas Foord for Observer Food Monthly

It’s embarrassingly childish of me to find this name funny, but I do, and that’s why I’m keeping it. Pork butt is what Americans call pork shoulder, although my butcher says that it is more properly the blade bone part, which is why I have specified so in the ingredients. What I’ve made below, though, is essentially pulled pork, and I’m sure any part of the shoulder would do just fine.

The real treat about this – apart from the ease of preparation and the joy of eating – is that you cook it for such a long time in a low oven, that not only does your house smell magnificent (I put this in late at night, and come down at breakfast to be heralded by it), but you don’t need to do anything when the hungry hordes arrive, except shred it. But I have also given an option for a shorter cooking time, should that make life easier.

If you have a double oven, ask the butcher to give you the scored rind too, snip it into pieces with kitchen scissors and roast in an oven preheated to 220C/gas 7 for 25 minutes, then turn them over for a final 5 minutes. Serve alongside the pork. This is very, very good squidged into baps.

Serves 8-10
pork shoulder 2kg, boneless and rindless from blade end, with a good layer of fat remaining, rolled and tied
soft light brown sugar 2 x 15ml tbsp
Dijon mustard 2 x 15ml tbsp
sherry vinegar 2 x 15ml tbsp
sea salt flakes 2 tsp
Chinese 5-spice powder 2 tsp
hot chilli powder 2 tsp
garlic 4 cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced

Line the base and sides of a small roasting tin, just large enough to take the pork, with a double layer of foil, sit the pork in it, fat-side up, and let it come to room temperature, which takes about 40-60 minutes, depending on your fridge and the weather. When it’s almost there, heat the oven to 250C/gas 9.

Mix the sugar, mustard and vinegar in a bowl, stir in the salt, 5-spice and hot chilli powder, then add the garlic.

When the pork is ready to go into the oven, mix the rub ingredients together again (I use a rubber spatula for this, and for smearing the pork joint) and cover the pork joint with as much as you can. The barbecuey rub may not look very appealing at this stage, but that need be of no concern. Put the smeared pork into the very hot oven and leave for 10 minutes – by which time the top will be beginning to burn in parts – then turn down the oven to 100C/gas ¼ and cook for at least 12 hours, or up to 18, tenting with foil after 14-15 hours.

Alternatively, after a 10-minute blast at 250C/gas 9, turn the heat down to 150C/gas 2 and cook for 5½-6 hours, tenting with foil after 3 hours.

Remove from the oven, untie, discard any bits that are too blackened to eat (though the burnt bits are my favourite) and pull to pieces with a couple of forks. Pour over some of the juice (though you might want to spoon off a little of the fat first) and serve immediately.

STORE NOTE
Cool leftovers, then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in an ovenproof dish, covered with foil – or wrap the pork in foil, if small portions – in an oven preheated to 150C/gas 2 for about 30 minutes (timing will depend on quantity) until piping hot. Add a splash of water, if needed, to prevent it from becoming too dry.


Tips & Tricks for this Peach Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast recipe:

  • Start with room temp or almost room temp cream cheese. It keeps the cinnamon cream cheese filling from being lumpy.
  • Do not overfill each slice of bread. Depending upon how big your bread is, you probably only need about 3 Tablespoons of filling.
  • Bread that is a day or two old works great for french toast in general, but also for this cream cheese stuffed french toast. The bread is sturdier and slightly drier, which means it will hold up better with both the filling inside and the custard mixture it is dunked in.

Who wants a fork?? (Need some other brunch recipes? Check out this Southwestern Potato & Sausage Casserole and this Herb, Bacon and Egg Strata .)