Healthier Holidays and Gail’s Crudité with chili and lime

The following is a true story that I am not in the least bit proud of but have decided to share anyway.

You see, last year’s extravagant holiday eating and drinking caught up with me in a bad way and the ensuing consequences left me with a resolve to do things differently this winter.

How did this happen? Well the parties started early in December and carried on until well after New Year’s, as they do every year. Many of them were mine, including my annual cookie swap, where rum-spiked eggnog and fruitcake truffles abounded. My Board Game Café party for New Year’s Eve included a pre-party, the main party, and an after party in the wee hours of the morning.

I’m the first to admit that I took things too far. For four straight weeks I said yes to all the decadence that the holiday season had to offer – and then some. Another bowl of trifle. An additional cookie or two. A second round of drinks. After all, it’s Christmas, right?

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Sea Salt Focaccia with Radish Ramp Butter

Like each of my monthly #EatSeasonal recipes, today’s post was inspired by a couple of ingredients that are coming into their own right about now.

It wasn’t until I had worked out the kinks of the recipe and started photographing the dish, that I realized my Sea Salt Focaccia with Radish Ramp Butter would make a delightful addition to a Mother’s Day tea. Perhaps because of the blush pink spread or the sheer decadence of crusty white bread slathered with butter, but this recipe denotes a fancy tea and deserves as much.

(Oh hey, if you are going the afternoon tea route next Sunday, may I suggest these Herbed Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches and maybe these Triple Berry Scones. And then please invite me over.)

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Apple Almond Bircher Muesli with Winter Fruits

A regular brown package arrived via courier last week. Inside, all three hundred and four first pass pages of an uncorrected manuscript that is my next cookbook.

The words, the photos and the recipes all compiled together into a neat little package that has been my passion project for the last two years. What a thrill to hold the unbound pages in my hand.

I’ll get to introduce the cookbook to you soon, and share the cover as well as a sneak peek of the recipes to come, but for now, I need to pick up a pencil, put my head down and focus on these final corrections before it goes to print. Things may continue to be a little quiet here on the blog in January, but I’ll be back before you know it, along with more stories, ideas and recipes.

But for right now, let’s share breakfast in the form of Apple Almond Bircher Muesli with Winter Fruits.

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Baked Brie and last-minute appetizer ideas

I had all but forgotten this last-minute baked brie appetizer from the Simple Bites archives, when my sister unearthed it for a recent party.

She presented the brie in all its glory, bubbling from the oven and topped with toasted walnuts, and I quickly remembered just how popular it was. Party guests swarmed the table and in a matter of minutes, half the round of brie and an entire baguette was gone.

I mean, warm cheese and crusty bread, does it get any better than that?

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5-Ingredient Baked Eggs in Tomatoes on Roasted Corn and Lentils

We’ve been brunching more than usual this summer, taking advantage of our own farm fresh eggs, garden herbs and produce.

I prefer more of a savoury start to the day and find that a breakfast featuring vegetables and eggs – with coffee of course – takes me a lot further in the morning than a sweet carb-y meal.

This extra fuel is essential for keeping up with three kids all summer long; kids who don’t believe in sleeping in and are functioning at one hundred percent by seven-thirty in the morning. Oh, big breakfasts are entirely necessary.

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