Gâteau Au Yaourt: Yogurt Cake!

Just about every week, my friend Maxine and I get together to let our toddlers play. We usually make a small lunch and have some adult conversation (much needed when we are both surrounded by children all day). Our husbands are both active duty, so it is nice to have someone to relate to! We talk about all kinds of things. Our conversations go from God, to music, to food, to, “Don’t touch that!” and, “Quit putting your feet there!”

She recommended a book to me called Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. I absolutely love it so far. It is quite funny, and it also has some interesting points when it comes to child rearing!

In this book, I learned that there’s a national snack time in France called goûter (gu-te), which means “to taste.” Sweets are typically served during this time, and gâteau au yaourt, aka yogurt cake, is a popular choice. What I have below is roughly translated from a recipe in the book, plus or minus a couple of ingredients. I cut down the sugar, added some citrus zest, and incorporated a glaze at the end. I hope you love it!

Yogurt Cake

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You will need:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

To begin, preheat your oven to 375*F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch cake pan of your choice. Round, square, loaf, etc.

For the cake: Combine the yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in one bowl. Stir until creamy and completely mixed together.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a third of the mixture at a time, ensuring everything is mixed together. Once you have added the last third, combine gently just until everything is mixed. Do not over mix this or it will come out very tough.

Pour the batter into the greased cake pan, smooth it out, and bake for 30-35 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely (~30 minutes).

For the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl until it forms a glaze. 2 Tbsp of liquid doesn’t seem like much, but just keep stirring until it combines. If you end up stirring for forever and it is still very dry, you can add in 1 or 2 tsp of lemon juice or milk to thin it out. Once the cake is cooled, pour the glaze over the middle and let it run over the sides. I won’t blame you if you lick your fingers! It is that good.

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This cake is bright from the lemon, perfectly sweet without being too sweet, and has an excellent texture. Slice the gâteau au yaourt and enjoy your very own goûter with tea, coffee, friends, and fellowship.

I hope you love it!

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.

Ephesians 1: 17-18

 

 

 

 

French Toast

Happy Sunday! My husband is in town for a visit over the long weekend. He is across the country doing some training, and we sure do miss him when he is gone. I decided to whip up one of my favorite breakfasts while he is here, french toast! I love to make this with brioche or challa bread. Either of these breads can be used for this recipe. This will make 8-10 1” thick slices, and this recipe is probably a bit different than your standard “dip and cook” method. I promise you, every step is worth it. Here we go!

French Toast

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You will need:

  • 1 loaf of Brioche or Challa bread
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional, but delicious!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-6 tbsp butter

In a blender or large bowl, add the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Blend or beat with a mixer until it is thoroughly combined. You do not want to see any egg whites separate from the yolks. Pour this mixture into a 9×13 dish.

Slice your bread into 1” thick slices. Dip one side into the custard mixture and then flip it over and nestle it into the dish. Repeat with all of the bread slices. They are not going to fit all nice and pretty into the dish in a single layer. You will end up with some layered on top of each other, and that is totally okay. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours. This will ensure that the bread absorbs all of the custard mixture.

Once you are ready to cook, warm a skillet over low heat. Let it warm for 10 minutes, or until butter lightly sizzles on the surface. You do not want this to be too hot or the french toast will be very brown on the outside and uncooked on the inside. Melt 1-2 tbsp of butter in the skillet. Gently lay the french toast right on top of it. The soaked bread will feel like a dense sponge. This is exactly what you want!

The french toast needs to cook at a low heat for 5-7 minutes per side (if your stove knobs have numbers- put it at a 2 or a 2.5). To ensure a nice even cooking process, flip the french toast and rotate it around the pan every 2-3 minutes. Once the french toast feels firm and is golden brown on the outside, take it out and proceed to cook the other pieces. I can fit 3-4 pieces in my skillet at once. I would avoid adding anymore than that unless you have an awesome griddle pan that has a lot of space. If the french toast is getting too brown, reduce your heat. There shouldn’t be any dark brown spots on it at all if you are cooking it at the right temp.

You can keep these warm in a 200 degree oven, or you can serve them as they cook. I like to add fruit, maple syrup, and a light dusting of powdered sugar to ours. However, these are great without anything on them.

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I hope you love this recipe! It is a favorite in our house, and it’s quite convenient to make. You just prep it the night before and go straight to cooking when you are ready.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.

Luke 6:23

 

 

Egg White Breakfast Cups

Happy Sunday, and Happy Feast day of St. Blaise! St. Blaise worked hard to improve the physical and spiritual health of his people. He is the patron saint of sore throats…something we have been battling here in my house for the last month it seems. Anyone else with big families deal with the month long viral attacks?!

Pertaining to the physical health aspect of St. Blaise’s life, I decided to whip up a healthy breakfast idea to help you with your health journey. I like to make these egg cups on Sundays and have them for the rest of the week. They are so easy to whip up, and they warm up perfectly. I hope you love the recipe!

Egg White Breakfast Cups

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You will need:

  • 16oz carton of egg whites
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 scallions (green onions), dark green ends chopped only.
  • 5-6 slices of honey ham, (or cooked bacon, turkey, or meat of your choice) chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium vine ripened tomato, chopped. (I discard the seedy inside to reduce excess liquid.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

To get started, preheat your oven to 325*F. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. I prefer to use a silicone muffin pan with this recipe as it guarantees nothing will stick. You can also make this recipe in an 8×8 casserole dish and cut into squares. Either way, grease your vessel with non-stick spray!

Add all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl. Give everything a gentle stir. Spoon into the muffin cups ensuring each cup has the same amount of solid ingredients. Spoon the remaining egg white liquid into each cup. If you are using a small casserole dish, you can pour everything into one dish and spread it out with a spoon to make sure each part of the dish is evenly layered. This recipe makes enough for 12 full muffin cups.

Bake at 325*F for 25-30 minutes. Let the cups rest for 15 minutes before removing them. You can eat them now, or you can let them finish cooling completely to be packed in a container for the fridge. These are easy to warm up. Just pop a couple on a plate or paper towel, microwave for 45 seconds or so, and eat! Enjoy them alongside some fruit, toast, or just by themselves. I usually eat 2 or 3 in a sitting. They are pretty delicious, so don’t be surprised if you end up reaching for more. Have a blessed week!

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Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!

Psalms 24:7

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

I am certain that my family could live off of soup and bread alone. We go through a ton of soup and bread, and we are totally content with doing so. It’s a meal that gathers family around the table to eat, converse, and pray together.

This soup is simple, tasty, and nutritious. I am using a recipe of mine for the chicken stock portion, but if you don’t have time to make homemade, store bought is totally fine.

I hope you love it!

Chicken Noodle Soup

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You will need:

  • 6 oz egg noodles
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp salt

In a 4-6 qt Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic until you begin to smell it cooking. You don’t want it to get brown, or it will taste bitter. Add in the 1qt water, and bring to a simmer. Add in the chicken breasts, and cover, and poach for 20-30 minutes at a low simmer. Once the time is up, remove the chicken and let it cool. Strain off any fat that the chicken has released into the water. Once the chicken is cooled, you can shred it or cube it into small pieces. Your prerogative.

With the water still in the dutch oven, add in the chicken stock, salt, egg noodles, and chicken. Cover, and let this cook on a low simmer for 10-12 minutes. Once it is done, add in the parsley and lemon juice. Give it a stir and a taste. If it needs more salt, go ahead and add it. Same with the lemon juice!

Serve by itself or with some crusty bread.

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Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalms 19:15

 

 

Chicken Stock

I find comfort in making foods from scratch. Each ingredient has its own special purpose, and they all work together to create the perfect medley of tastes and smells. Chicken stock is a staple in my home, and it’s an item that everyone should know how to make.

A homemade stock can really brighten up a typically ordinary dish. For the longest time, I had no idea what the difference between stock and broth was. It’s pretty simple- stock is made with bones, and broth is made with meat. Stock is a rich addition to any soup, gravy, or casserole. It also comes in handy when we are called to fast, or when we choose to for growth in spiritual discipline. It is a delightfully nutritious beverage to aid in sustaining our energy during liturgical seasons of abstinence.

Chicken Stock

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You will need:

  • 1 whole chicken (~7 lbs)
  • 10 sprigs of parsley
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 sprigs of dill
  • 2 onions, skin on, quartered (the skin will turn the stock brown)
  • 3 carrots, skin on, cut in half cross ways
  • 1 head of garlic, skin on, cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into thirds
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp whole peppercorns

Add all of the ingredients to a large stock pot (you want to aim for a pot with 8-12 quart capacity). If you cannot fit it all into your pot, try butchering the chicken to individual pieces.

Add in 3-4 quarts of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let this hang out for ~4 hours uncovered. Turn off the heat, and carefully remove the solids. Strain the liquid into quart containers, and let it cool overnight in the fridge. The fat will accumulate at the top and solidify as the stock cools. You can remove it with a spoon and discard, or you can keep it and use it for cooking. Totally up to you! The stock will be gelatinous, and that is exactly what you want. This recipe will yield 3-4 quarts depending on how much water you were able to fit into your stock pot

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If you don’t plan on using this immediately, pop it in the freezer. I transfer a container from the freezer to the fridge at the beginning of the week slowly thaw so it’ll be ready for me when I need it. I use stock quite often, so having a quart ready to go is convenient for me. I also keep the salt very low in this recipe. I prefer to salt my dishes as I’m cooking.

I hope you love this recipe. It is simple, and it makes a wonderful addition to your cooking repertoire.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.

Psalms 19:8

 

Dutch Oven Bread Boule

Can you believe we are already half way through January? It snowed here for a few days and it has been absolutely beautiful outside. Snow will always be magical to me. I am 31 years old and still love it! Also, it gives me an excuse to make lots of soups, breads, and hot cocoa.

Today’s recipe is super simple. It is a Dutch oven bread boule (French for “ball”) that anyone can master. It is no knead, and you do not need any sort of special mixers or contraptions. Just prepare it the day before you plan on eating it. That’s the only caveat. Bread is a staple in our house, and it is a food I thoroughly enjoy making. Bread is not only delicious, but the whole process of making and eating it is a spiritual experience that always makes me think of Jesus and how he gave his bread to remember him by. It is a food to be shared and eaten with friends and family. I hope you love it!

Dutch Oven Bread Boule

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You will need:

  • 3 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • optional: 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp dried herbs
  • 4-6 QT Dutch oven
  • parchment paper

To begin, add the flour, yeast, and salt into a medium sized bowl. Stir together. Slowly pour in the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon (or your hands). Form into a ball as well as you can, and transfer the dough to an clean ungreased medium sized bowl. This will double in size, so make sure your bowl is big enough.

Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and set it in a dry place away from any cold draft. I like to put mine on top of the dryer. Sounds weird, but it’s always warm in there and it’s the perfect setting for rising dough. Let this hang out for 18 hours.

Once the time is up, you should see a bunch of little bubbles on top of the dough. This is how you know it’s ready. The dough will also have a fantastic sourdough smell to it. Although this is not a true sourdough, it comes quite close.

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Preheat your oven to 450* F with the Dutch oven inside. You’ll want to heat the Dutch oven for 20-30 minutes to get it nice and hot.

As the oven preheats and the Dutch oven gets hot, go ahead and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pull the edges in on itself to form a round ball. Dust the top with flour. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper that is big enough to cover the bottom of your Dutch oven (the parchment will probably come up the sides of the Dutch oven, and that is totally fine).

Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes as your Dutch oven heats up. After it rests, score a large X into the top of the dough roughly 1/4-1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches long. Lightly spritz or brush the dough with water. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and if you wish- dried herbs all over. Lower the dough into the hot Dutch oven and put the cover on. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

If you want an extra crispy crust, turn off the oven, take the Dutch oven out, remove the bread, and put the bread back in the oven straight on the rack while the oven cools down (about 15 minutes). Remove the bread and let it cool for 30 minutes before you cut into it. Isn’t it beautiful?

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This bread is easy and does not require any special skills or equipment. Any size dutch oven will work. The smaller the Dutch oven, the taller the bread will be. The larger the Dutch oven, the flatter the bread will be. Baking time does not change. I used a 4qt Dutch oven this go around, but I have also used a 6qt and it came out perfectly.

I hope you love this recipe. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.

1 Thes 2:13

 

 

 

Tomato Soup

Happy New Year! I hope and pray that this Christmas season has brought you closer to Christ. We enjoyed spending time with each other doing a lot of nothing. I think that’s the best time…just being together without the rush of trying to be in a million places at once.

I put out a vote over on Instagram to see what the next recipe should be. Tomato soup was the winner! This recipe is incredibly simple,  and it is always delicious. It is also completely appropriate for the snowy weather we are having here in Northern Virginia! I hope you love it.

Tomato Soup

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You will need:

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (32oz)
  • 1/4 c heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried basil

Bring a 4-6qt pot to medium heat. Add the olive oil, butter, onion, salt, and pepper. Saute the onion until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir around for 1 minute.

Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bubbly. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, basil, and chicken stock. Cover, and let all of this simmer on low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. I love using fresh basil and typically just put the whole bunch in and let it steep. Also, don’t be thrown off by the sugar. It is necessary to help the tomatoes reach their full potential. It really does add that little something extra that cuts through the acidity and gives it a great taste.

Once it is done cooking, carefully transfer the mixture to a blender (if you used whole basil- make sure to remove it before blending). Blend it until it is smooth. (If you have an immersion blender- go ahead and use it here). Transfer the soup back into the pot. Give it a taste and determine if it needs more salt, more sugar, more pepper, etc. Simmer this on low for an additional 20 minutes uncovered.

From here you can serve it as is. To step it up a notch, you can add in 1/4 c heavy cream to make it velvety smooth (this is my personal favorite). You can also leave it as is and make a soup bar with fixings like heavy cream, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, croutons, chopped onions, ground beef, cut up grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh herbs, etc. It can really be served however you want it.

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This soup is very easy to make. It also freezes well and reheats perfectly.

I hope you love it!

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

Matthew 4:16