Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cream Nation!

Cream Nation is a fun new ice cream store chain and their thing is make-your-own ice cream sandwich! My three year old LOVES ice cream (duh) so when I heard about a new Cream Nation store near our house, I knew I'd have to take her. It was delicious! I got the mini ice cream sandwich and couldn't even finish it, but I am not a big ice cream eater.




Christmas 2018!

We always have a wonderful time at Christmas, especially now that we have a kiddo running around, which makes everything better in my opinion!

Delicious desserts from Two Fat Cookies, my absolute favorite bakery, located in Delray Beach.



My tiramisu! I use Giada's recipe and you can find it here.



My MIL always makes a vegetarian lasagna with spinach and mushrooms instead of meat, yum!


My parents order bacalhau (cod fish - very traditional Portuguese dish) from a local Portuguese restaurant. This year we ordered it two ways, one with heavy cream and potatoes (almost like a casserole) and the second simply baked with whole potatoes in olive oil (my favorite). My parents also traditionally cook pork loin in the oven for several hours with white wine and garlic, it is delicious!



Wine and a gingebread cookie for Santa!


 My MIL (from Calabria, Italy) cooks the traditional dinner of the seven fishes on Christmas Eve.






More sweets!


Baking our favorite red velvet "cake" cookies!



I loved making these reindeer cupcakes!


Gifts for the teachers at G's school!


Vanilla cupcakes, chocolate frosting, vanilla wafers, mini pretzels, candy eyes, and red m&ms!




Sugar cookies!





Aldi's wine, cheese and chocolate advent calendars!



L'Chloe!

L'Chloe is a new, wannabe European bakery and cafe that opened nearby. I stopped by to check it out on Christmas Eve with my daughter, and ended up confused. The location, on a pier overlooking a lake, is lovely. But the owners and staff are all Vietnamese, with heavy accents and broken English. The experience was less than authentic, compounded by the fact that the croissants were more like brioche bread, and the bubble tea was acidic. I would not return, and honestly I am not sure how well they will do in this area!




Honey Teriyaki Chicken!

I saw this recipe for Honey Teriyaki Chicken, made in a crock pot, and immediately put it on my list. You can find the recipe here. The only modification I would make in the future is to reduce the amount of soy sauce - it was a smidge too much.

Topped with white and black sesame seeds, served over white rice and steamed broccoli, this one was a hit when I had a friend over for dinner one lazy Sunday night.


Cheese Plates!

One of my favorite things to do at home is to put together a cheese plate. With my recent obsession with grocery store chain Lucky's - this has become even easier to do. In Lucky's refrigerated cheese section, they do something interesting that other local grocery stores do not. They sell blocks of cheese like everyone else, but they have a basket with way smaller pieces of different cheeses, and each one is less than $3. This is a great way to sample four or five different kinds of cheeses (brie, gouda, cheddar, etc) without spending $10 on a hunk of cheese that you might not even like after!

Another great thing about Lucky's is their wide ranging bulk foods section. Like Whole Foods, you can get different kinds of rice, dry beans and flour, but what I am more interested in is the aisle where you can get different kinds of spiced nuts, dried fruit and chocolates! I usually go for craisins, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), spicy cashews, dried figs and dark chocolate covered espresso beans.



This was a fun cheese plate my friend made one night when she had a few of us over for drinks. I love the addition of the deviled eggs - a rich, and lovely accompaniment to the meats and cheeses - and I particularly love that she makes hers with mayonnaise only (no mustard!)


Olive and fig crackers from Trader Joe's along with salted pistachios are another great way to spice up a cheese plate.


My husband loves blue cheese (not me) and one of his favorites is called Point Reyes, which can be found at Lucky's!


Delicious baked brie from Costco!




Brunch at home!

One of my favorite meals to set up for at home is brunch. I love inviting friends over, or hosting a playdate for my daughters friends (and my mom friends!) Here are some brunch staples my home is never without:

Mimosas! A nice cold bottle of prosecco (or sparkling wine) and some OJ (not too much!) I like to mix it up and get Pineapple & Orange juice together.


Mini everything! I buy frozen mini quiches (usually spinach and cheese) to keep on hand in my freezer, and I buy (or bake) mini muffins (blueberry or banana nut).


Fresh fruit and mini bagels are always a good idea (particularly with toddlers running around!)


My daughter is a big fan of croissants, so much so that once a week I go to Aldi's to grab a box of them.

Cheers!


I like having fresh flowers around the house, but I don't always have the time (or remember!) to get them. A good backup is getting some fun colorful flowers (I try to match colors to seasons) and cute vases from the Dollar Store.