December 29, 2014 12:00 PM

Entertaining, Food, Travel and Home

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Pumpkin Caramel French Toast

Perfect for New Year’s Day brunch! The country star loves this sweet recipe by her friend and owner of IveyCake bakery in Nashville

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

6 large eggs

1½ cups almond milk (unsweetened)

Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

½ cup pure pumpkin puree

½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

½ tsp. salt

1 (1 lb.) loaf challah or brioche bread

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Toasted pecans

Sliced bananas

Whipped cream

1. For the caramel sauce, combine 5 tbsp. water and sugar in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Gently swirl the pot; after about 2 to 3 minutes, the mixture will start to bubble and turn a light shade of amber. Once the mixture is dark amber, turn off the heat and add the cream. Whisk to combine. Bubbles will subside upon cooling. Whisk quickly until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Slice the challah in ¾-in.-thick slices. Soak slices in the egg mixture for 4 minutes, turning once.

3. Heat butter and oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat, and cook each slice 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Serve hot with warm caramel sauce, pecans, bananas and whipped cream.

Serves: 6 to 8

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Butternut Squash Soup

The chef shares a ‘quintessential cold-weather’ dish from his new DBGB restaurant in Washington, D.C.

2 butternut squash

Olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

1 sachet (3 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf and ½ tbsp. coriander seeds)

½ cup orange juice

¾ cup crème fraîche

3 sprigs fresh sage, leaves only

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the center. Slice the squash in half from stem to bottom, and scoop out the seeds. Rub olive oil on the flesh, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each half in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake squash for 1½ to 2 hours, or until tender. Remove and rest at room temperature.

2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add onion, garlic, ginger and the sachet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not browned. Unwrap squash and scoop the flesh into the pot. Add orange juice and 1 quart of water and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

3. Extract and discard the sachet, and transfer squash mixture to a blender with the crème fraîche. Puree until smooth (and pass through a fine-meshed sieve, if desired), and pour into a clean pot. Bring to a simmer, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Just before serving, chop the sage leaves; ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish with the chopped sage.

Serves: 6

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes

The Superfood Salad

The food activist and author of The Family Cooks creates a satisfying meal filled with ‘cold- busting vitamins and energy-giving protein’

Crunchy Kale & Quinoa Salad

Per serving: 385 cal., 20g. fat, 44g. carbs, 6g. fiber, 9g. protein

1½ cups uncooked quinoa

½ cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/3 bunch of basil, chopped

1/3 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

½ cup dried cherries (no sugar added)

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 cups chopped kale, stems removed

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cook until al dente, as you would pasta, 10 to 11 minutes. Drain well and cool.

2. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss.

3. Add the cooled quinoa and toss.

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

HEALTH BOOST!

Quinoa: This protein-packed, gluten-free grain is mild in taste and rich in texture.

Dried berries: Cherries, blueberries and cranberries are full of antioxidants to help fight cell damage.

Nuts: Almonds and walnuts help suppress hunger and curb your appetite.

Kale: The dark-green leaves are high in fiber, which aids in digestion.

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