Second Anniversary Brunch and Website Launch!

I am so excited to be launching this website! I had been thinking about making a website for this blog for a while, but worried that it would be too challenging, but I decided to just go for it! I have been working on this (fairly) secretly ever since graduating college, updating all my own recipes, workout videos, and other original content from my Instagram to this website. I wanted my platform to be searchable so it is easy for you to find what you are looking for, whether that be vegan recipes, arm workouts, or meditation techniques. I hope you enjoy the website! I am still learning, so I welcome any feedback.



Happy second anniversary to Barre and Brunch! These last two years of creating this blog have truly changed my life in so many ways, and I am so grateful to have you all following along with me! Not only have I learned more about living a balanced and healthy lifestyle, I have exercised and improved my abilities in creativity, taking risks, partnership. I have yet to master poaching eggs, but in the last two years I made my first birthday cake and full pie from scratch, became a certified barre instructor, led barre classes and workouts in multiple states, and have collaborated with many amazing local and national food and fitness companies.


To celebrate both this milestone and my move to Chicago to start medical school, I hosted a brunch for some of my Chicago friends! It was fun to get back into decorating and preparing food now that I have organized my kitchen!



I decided to make a DIY stuffed sweet potato spread so my guests could customize their own meal - the filling options were scrambled eggs, roasted mini bell peppers, sauteed mushrooms, blistered tomatoes, lemon pepper shrimp, crispy balsamic tempeh, spinach, shredded cheese, and avocado. I also had hummus and Greek yogurt to spread on the potatoes. So there were many different combinations possible!! If you like math or physical chemistry (or other fields involving permutations), there would be 330 combinations possible if you only chose 4 toppings. So if you chose more toppings like I did, just imagine the countless possibilities!


On my sweet potato, I put Greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, peppers, tomatoes, shrimp, tempeh, and avocado. It was very delicious (although not super photogenic haha)!

I also made homemade tiramisu with cinnamon chai oat cookies! I used coconut cream to make the tiramisu, and I loved how it gave it a slight coconut flavor. I don’t like or drink coffee, but I like tiramisu! And I wanted a fun dessert that was something I had never made before, so it was perfect!


Scroll down for all the recipes - let me know if you try any of them!


Thank you so much to all of you for following along on this personal passion project of mine. Whether you have been here since the beginning, or just started following Barre and Brunch, please know that I really value every comment and message, and am touched when people make my recipes or say they have been inspired by my blog. I have so many ideas for the future, and hope that I can continue to post regularly even once I start medical school! If you have any ideas or feedback, please reach out to me - on Instagram or via the Contact form on the About page of my site!


Recipes

Note: I made this to serve four people and we had some extra - depends on what fillings people choose! Just to let you know so you have an idea of how much this makes.



Baked Sweet Potato and Fillings

Ingredients

Desired number of sweet potatoes

Olive oil

Salt


Fillings (these are what I used, but it’s really up to you!):

Scrambled eggs (I used about 7 eggs)

About 2 tbsp milk

1 bag sweet mini peppers

1 bag Trader Joe’s Mushroom Medley

1 small box of small tomatoes

16 oz tempeh

16-20 jumbo shrimp (I used cooked and frozen to save time)

Lemon juice

1-2 cups spinach

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup hummus

1 avocado, sliced

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Salt

Pepper

Other desired seasonings (optional)


Steps

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Scrub the sweet potatoes with water and a sponge. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes until they are soft enough that you can easily stick a knife or fork through them. While baking, prepare your fillings.

3. For the scrambled eggs: whisk the eggs with milk, salt, pepper, and turmeric (optional). Heat a skillet with butter or olive oil and pour in the egg mixture. Once the eggs start cooking, gently push the eggs around on the pan with a spatula to keep them cooking evenly.


4. For the roasted red peppers: take the bag of the peppers and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I added some harissa seasoning as well. Spread on a baking tray and add to the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping the peppers halfway through.

5. For the mushrooms: simply add the contents of the bag to a skillet over medium heat and sautee for about 3-4 minutes until cooked. The oil and seasonings are included in this package, which is why I chose it because it saves time when preparing a lot of food. I found them to be a bit too oily when cooked, so I sandwiched them between paper towels on a plate, then gently pressed to remove some of the oil so they weren’t so slippery.


6. For the tomatoes: Rinse and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I used a black truffle infused olive oil that I found at Marshall’s - a great deal on what is normally a very fancy and expensive item!

7. For the shrimp: thaw (either in the fridge overnight or in a bowl with water), then place in a bowl with a few squirts of lemon juice and water. Let sit in the fridge for a while (I just left them there while I prepared other things), then drain the water and sprinkle with pepper.

Before and after cooking


8. For the tempeh: Slice the sheet of tempeh into strips that are about 1-2 inches long. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a dash of turmeric (optional). Add to a heated skillet so that each strip lies flat and cook for a few minutes until crispy, then flip and repeat on the other side.

9. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and slice a strip down the middle so it opens partway. Let cool, then add fillings!



Tiramisu


This is a great nut free dessert and can be gluten free with gluten free oats. I have included options for vegan substitutes that should work well.


Cinnamon Chai Oat Cookies

Makes about 16 cookies


You could make these without the chai tea and just use plain milk as well, and they would still taste great!


Ingredients

Dry:

2 cups oats

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 tbsp shredded coconut (optional)

½ tsp allspice

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ginger

¼ tsp cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cardamom

Dash of salt


Wet:

¼ cup melted butter (could try substituting coconut oil if vegan)

1 egg (could try a flax egg if vegan)

½ cup milk

2 tea bags of chai tea

Splash of vanilla extract


Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (it was at this moment I realized I didn’t have parchment paper) and lightly oil it.

  2. Add 1.5 cups oats and the rest of the dry ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until the oats are finely ground and the ingredients are well mixed.

  3. Fill a microwaveable mug with ¼ cup milk and microwave for one minute. If a skin forms, remove it. Place the chai tea bags in the mug and let steep. I was working on making other dishes, so I ended up steeping it for 5-10 minutes, but it’s up to you. Of course, the longer you steep it, the stronger the chai flavor will be.

  4. Remove the tea bag and gently squeeze the liquid out of them into the milk for more flavor. Add this milk, the remaining ¼ cup milk, and the other wet ingredients to a bowl and mix well. I used a hand mixer because I just got one and wanted to try it out, but mixing by hand should work.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Mix in the remaining ½ cup oats.

  6. Add 1-2 spoonfuls of the dough to the baking sheet, spaced apart. Bake for 10 minutes.

  7. Let cool and enjoy, or set aside for the tiramisu!


Tiramisu

Makes about 7 tiramisus with 2-3 layers of cookie


Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese (can substitute vegan)

1 can coconut milk

About 1 ½ - 2 cups brewed coffee

Splash of vanilla extract

Splash of almond extract (optional)

Cinnamon to taste

About 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

Maple syrup to taste

Cinnamon chai oat cookies (or use snickerdoodles, shortbread, lady fingers, or other desired cookie)


Steps

1. Pour the coconut cream into a large mixing bowl, scrape off any solids on top, and chill for at least 1 hour.

2. When the coconut cream is chilled, add in maple syrup to taste for sweetness, a few dashes of cinnamon, almond and vanilla extracts, and cocoa powder.


The whipped coconut cream

3. Use a mixer to whip until it is fluffy and has the consistency of whipped cream.


It looks pretty much the same as just the whipped coconut, but I just thought it would be helpful to show what it should look like.

4. Whisk with the cream cheese and about 2 tbsp coffee until evenly combined (the mixture will still be very fluffy).

5. Place this back in the fridge to chill for at least a few hours (I chilled it overnight).

6. Pour the rest of the coffee into a bowl and dip the cookies into it, making sure both sides are evenly covered. Let them soak in the coffee for a few minutes.

7. Spoon some of the whipped cream filling into a glass, then add some cookie, then more cream... layering until the glass is full. Repeat until all the cream and cookies are used up.

8. Place the tiramisus in the fridge and chill for at least four hours. Sprinkle cinnamon and cocoa powder on top, and enjoy!



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