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Oh what fun we had this week on vacation in Canada!

Here’s what happened this past week:

Since my last family update, our week could basically split into life before vacation and life on vacation. Life is much better ON vacation! Haha!

So before we left last Thursday morning, my time was mostly spent with my boys, doing laundry, packing and ordering more stuff from Amazon. Ha! Story of my life. Once Gordon and I put the boys to bed on Wednesday night, we were working like crazy with the last few things to do like dishes, sweeping, finding the passports and the last of the laundry. We got to bed by 1:30, were up at 6:30 and on the road by 9. Since we don’t own a car, we got a rental car for the drive which was lovely. It’s always so nice to feel like we are part of suburbia, even if just for a hot minute.

We got in to my parents place around 4:30p and it was basically a party from sun up to sun down the entire time we were there! Outlet shopping, strawberry picking, hiking, lake swimming, family dinners, game nights, cousin movie nights, soccer baseball, trampoline dodge ball, tie dying shirts, stranger things (for everyone but me), all dressed chips (😍😍😍) and many late nights.

I took several more photos than what is pictured here, but didn’t want to post them ALLLLLL because it was a lot. These are some of my favorites.

A few things to note:

I’ve never seen or tasted better strawberries than the ones we picked this year in Ontario. Huge, juicy and sweet sweet sweet. So glad we didn’t miss the season. This is the pie we make with fresh strawberries and it is THE BEST. (If pie isn’t your thing, try this strawberries and cream cake. HEAVEN.)

My brother in law created a new card game that we got to play and ‘test’ while we were there and it was so so fun once we got the hang of it. Can’t wait to give you more details when it becomes available.

I ate so many All Dressed chips. I used to love bringing ketchup chips back to the states, but now that those are easier to find here, All Dressed are the bomb! We should have brought more than 2 bags home.

There was a Lindt outlet store 10 minutes from my parents house and holy.moly. there are some amazing flavors that exist that I never knew existed. Namely the pistachio, the salted caramel, the mint and the almond. Hubba hubba. I need to find those here immediately.

Also went to the Gap outlet and picked up a few newborn outfits on clearance for our sweet little boy! Baby clothes are the best.

We went for a lovely hike around Pink Lake in Gatineau Park and I only made it a third of the way before feeling faint and dizzy. So I turned around and walked back to the car for more water and snacks while everyone else finished. I should have eaten lunch before the hike, but I thought I could power through. Turns out being in your third trimester can be a buzz kill sometimes. All is well though, and we were all able to cool off swimming in a nearby lake. Gatineau Park is BEAUTIFUL incase you are in the neighborhood or traveling through Ottawa.

Eddie and Blake LOVED spending time with their older cousins and strangely enough when they were all sitting together on the couch playing Nintendo, they looked like brothers. It was so fun to see. We don’t get to see my sister from Arizona (with 5 kids) very frequently, but when we do, all our kids get along so well! I’m rethinking ALL vacations because going to Arizona just sounds much more fun.

Brooke was inseparable from her cousin Olivia, also 10, the entire trip. They did swimming lessons (and basically everything else) together and rocked it all.

My parents have both lost 25+ pounds and looked incredible and were full of energy. They hadn’t mentioned anything about it, but it was obvious when they were literally running around with the kids and tackling kids in the lake. I’ve never seen them so happy or energetic. They looked great! Gives me hope for my fifties and sixties!!

Overall, living far away from my family is fine and we are happy to Facetime them all, but seeing them all in person makes me realize just how much I really like them. Guess we’ll just have to visit a lot more often.

Brooke and Olivia, picking strawberries.

Brooke styled this basket of strawberries for me to photograph. Girl after my own heart. Passed swimming! Wish we could have stayed for another 2 weeks to finish another level. Pink Lake.

Telling grandma all about the four fish he saw. Ontario is beautiful! SO happy to get this girl back after 2 1/2 weeks away, getting spoiled by grandma and grandpa. And back to the city we go. Brooke was giving a fake smile because DO NOT BE FOOLED she was not happy about coming back with us. She’ll be feeling better in a few days. Here’s what is coming up this next week:

Our nanny has next week off for a trip she is taking, so she is working three days this week and gets to meet Brooke!

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow for the little nugget. Everything seems to be going smoothly 🙂 Two more months and I’ll have a baby in my arms! Eek!

I’m going to be hopefully getting the baby furniture for the nursery. Still have to figure out whether or not to get a mini crib, a bassinet or a full size crib. I don’t want a full size crib because the room for the baby is so itty bitty, but feel like that might be the best option?! UGH. Finding small yet practical baby furniture is hard.

I’m hopefully going to get to the gym at least twice this week. Seems doable as I type it out buuuuuttttt we’ll see how things go. Ha!

Have a great week, friends!

The post This Week at the Brennans’ appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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Making Crepes is faster, simpler and way easier than you think! Made with only 6 ingredients, this Crepe Recipe is even better than the ones you’d find in Paris! Fill with sweet or savory fillings, you will be coming back for seconds using this crepe recipe.

Crepes are a versatile and fancy breakfast, dinner or dessert but couldn’t be easier. With this crepe recipe, you can make crepes at home with simple pantry ingredients in just a few minutes with no special cooking equipment required. Enjoy savory or sweet; crepes are the ultimate customizable meal.

A Crepe Recipe better than those from Paris?!

When I made Crepes for the first time in college for myself {and by default for my roommates too} one of my roommates and best friends, Amy, insisted these were the best crepes she had ever had. She was the one who deemed these better than Paris crepes because she had just spent a semester studying abroad in Europe.

Surely she has been mistaken I thought. There is no possible way these could be better than the crepes you get in Paris. It’s PARIS. But then I went to Paris last Fall and tried them for myself and by golly, I think she was right.

Now, before I offend every French person with this statement, let me be clear: Paris crepes are good. Great in fact {!!}, especially with Nutella. But they were different and I prefer this recipe over theirs.

What is a Crepe?

Crepes are a version of a thin pancake which originated in France.

Usually, people eat crepes in two ways, savory or sweet. The savory kind is filled with a variety of things including but not limited to: bacon, ham, cheese and/or mushrooms. The sweet can be filled with fresh fruit, Nutella and topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream or even ice cream.

Here’s a variety of crepes to help inspire your crepe filling needs: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Topped Cinnamon Vanilla Crepes, Lemon Cream filled Crepes with Strawberries Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Crepes.

My Crepe Recipe

Crepes are made with a simple mixture of ingredients that you probably already have on hand! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Milk – use whole milk, or if you want low-fat crepes, use low-fat milk. One of my readers even used Almond Milk and loved it!
  • Eggs – 4 eggs to be exact! This ingredient helps bind other ingredients as well as adding that important crepe texture.
  • Sugar – even if you are making savory crepes, you are gonna want to add sugar. It helps with flavor and texture.
  • Melted Butter – or canola oil. I prefer using butter though because of its rich flavor.
  • Flour –  use all-purpose flour here, not cake flour and not bread flour. If you are looking for a gluten-free crepe try using your favorite gluten-free and gum-free multi-purpose flour.
  • Salt – this helps balance and enhance all other flavors in the crepe.
How to Make Crepes

Take these steps one at a time. It’s easier than you think! And don’t get frustrated if your first crepe doesn’t turn out. It’s the sacrificial crepe that makes the rest of them turn out perfectly.

  1. Place ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Scrape the sides and blend again briefly until batter is lump-free. Refrigerate.
  2. Preheat a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet on the stove. Melt a little butter or oil in the bottom of the pan and swirl to coat.
  3. Slowly and steadily pour crepe batter into the center of the pan, tilting the skillet around to spread the batter evenly across the bottom in a very thin layer. It takes some practice but after 3 or 4 times, you can get consistently even crepes.
  4. Fry crepes for 10-15 seconds per side or until the crepe batter doesn’t look shiny anymore; it should appear more matte and the bottom should be lightly browned. Flip crepe and cook another 10 seconds or so. Remove from pan.
  5. Repeat this process until no more batter remains.

This crepes recipe is simple and the method for pouring the batter into the pan takes some practice, but honestly, after a few tries, you’ll get it down and it is worth the time you put into making crepes.

Keeping Crepes Warm
I like to pile my crepes into a pie plate covered with some foil throughout the cooking process to keep them all warm, a trick my Mom does. Serve immediately with whatever toppings you desire. Any leftovers can be stacked and sealed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing Crepes

Yes, you can freeze crepes! Fully cook them, then stack them in between wax paper and store in an airtight container. Freeze for up to two months!

To reheat, thaw crepes in the fridge and then reheat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds (depending on how many crepes you’re reheating time may vary).

Making this Crepe Recipe Ahead

This recipe is perfect to make ahead the night before. For best results, refrigerate your batter no more than 2 days before you make them. Fry as stated in the recipe card below.

Toppings and Fillings

After reading a ton of comments about what you all like with your crepes, I decided to publish some of them in this post. So here are some sweet topping and filling ideas from readers like you!

  • Plum Jam – or any jam for that matter.
  • Cream Cheese and Strawberries – I love the sweet-tart flavor idea!
  • Fresh Blueberries and Pineapple – whatever is in season, pile your fresh fruit high!
  • Palacsinta: Ricotta, Nutmeg, and Lemon Filling – a sweet holiday family tradition.
  • Homemade Whipped Cream – a humble yet perfect addition to any sweet crepe.
  • Dulce de Leche – a drool-worthy addition.

What’s your favorite topping? Mine is fresh lemon juice and sugar. Plain Jane, I am.

I’ve written out all the tips I can think of to ensure success for this recipe in the printable version below. If you end up making these, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this crepes recipe as much we do! It’s a tasty one 🙂

The Best Crepe Recipe

How to make Crepes is easier than you think! Made with only 6 ingredients this Crepe Recipe is even better than Paris Crepes! Enjoy!

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (or canola oil)
  • good pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients in order as listed in a blender and blitz until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and blend again briefly until batter is lump-free. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, but 2 is ideal.
  2. Place nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat* to preheat. Melt a little butter or oil in the bottom of the pan and swirl to coat. With the hot skillet in one hand and the batter in the other, slowly and steadily pour crepe batter into the center of the pan, tilting the skillet around to spread the batter evenly across the bottom in a very thin layer. It takes some practice but after 3 or 4 times, you can get consistently even crepes.

  3. After 10-15 seconds, the crepe batter shouldn’t look shiny anymore, it should appear more matte and the bottom should be lightly browned. So, flip it over and cook another 10 seconds or so. Remove from pan and repeat this process until no more batter remains.
  4. I like to pile my crepes into a pie plate covered with some foil throughout the cooking process to keep them all warm, a trick my Mom does. Serve immediately with whatever toppings you desire.

– A few notes about making crepes: The first one usually doesn’t work perfectly. I don’t know why. Just eat this one as a quick snack and continue on. No one needs to know 😉

– You only need to add more butter or oil to the hot pan every 3 crepes or so to ensure the crepes flipping perfectly, although adding it every time certainly isn’t a bad thing!

– Practice makes perfect.*The medium to medium-high heat is an approximation because all stovetops are different. If your crepes are cooking in about 30 seconds total, you are at the right temperature.

Like this Crepe Recipe? Try these other sweet recipes:

The post The Best Crepe Recipe appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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This Monkey Bread Recipe is one for the books! Simple biscuit dough rolled in cinnamon sugar, mixed with nuts and baked up hot and sticky with a simple cream and brown sugar sauce. 

There are two people in this world: those who have had monkey bread and those who have not. For those of you who are in the “what on earth is monkey bread” camp, I’m here to save the day and quite possibly change your life. Like my brief description mentioned above, this is a sweet breakfast treat that is similar to cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. If you’re looking for something indulgent to make, than this Monkey Bread Recipe is your ticket.

But first, what is Monkey Bread?

Monkey Bread is a soft and sweet pastry made up of small pieces of baked dough that have been rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Typically its made with a pre-made biscuit dough (hiiii Pillsbury) and baked in a bundt pan. Variations include savory versions, or extra sticky versions with a brown sugar and butter glaze and pecans or walnuts.

How to make Monkey Bread

So, this is one of the easiest recipes on the planet because I take the help from the store and use the pillsbury biscuit dough. See my notes below for making a homemade from scratch version of this monkey bread.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a fluted bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or brush with butter and set aside.
  2. Open two cans of biscuits and cut into quarters. Place into a large ziploc bag or bowl.
  3. Sprinkle granulated sugar and cinnamon over dough pieces and toss to coat each piece.
  4. Add half the walnuts and coated dough pieces into the bottom of the bundt pan.
  5. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and dough pieces.
  6. Stir melted butter, heavy cream and brown sugar together in a liquid measuring cup until smooth. Pour over dough pieces in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cool 5-10 minutes.
  8. Turn upside down onto serving platter, replacing any biscuit pieces and remaining sauce or nuts. Serve warm.

The best part of this recipe is digging into the warm monkey bread with a fork. We are a bit savage and give everyone a fork and tell them to go to town. Every man for himself. There is real no glamorous or appropriate way to eat this. Just dig in and enjoy! You won’t be sorry.

A note about the brown sugar sauce you pour on top

So, in just about every monkey bread recipe out there, there is this caramel or ‘sauce’ concoction you are supposed to pour overtop all the biscuit pieces before baking, made up of melted butter and brown sugar. It’s good, but it’s definitely not my favorite.

After testing and re-testing this recipe, I’ve found the best caramel you can use is made of a little melted butter, a little more heavy cream and a lot of brown sugar, with a healthy pinch of salt to finish it off. It’s a different take on monkey bread for sure, but the results and the finished product absolutely cannot be beat.

How to make Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Monkey Bread from Scratch)

If the super quick Pillsbury Monkey Bread version doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can totally make this recipe from scratch by using my homemade white bread recipe.

Make half a batch, let it rise and then it’s ready to use! Simply cut the dough into bite sized pieces before rolling in cinnamon and sugar and adding to your pan. It replaces the store-bought biscuit dough with everything else in the recipe staying as is.

Can I make this monkey bread recipe without the nuts?

Yes! Of course you can. If you don’t like walnuts, try pecans or almonds. OR just omit completely. The nuts are definitely considered to be an ‘extra’ and removing them from this recipe will not change the outcome.

How long to cook monkey bread

30-40 minutes total in a 350 degree oven. Of course ovens vary; some run hot, some run cold. So start checking your monkey bread for doneness after 30 minutes and adjust baking times as you go.

So, if you need a fast, easy treat in your life, or you’re looking for something special to serve during the holidays, give this monkey bread recipe a try. You never know who you’ll convert!

Have a great day, friends!

Buttery Monkey Bread Recipe

This Monkey Bread Recipe is one for the books! Simple biscuit dough rolled in cinnamon sugar, mixed with nuts and baked up hot and sticky with a simple cream and brown sugar sauce. 

  • 2 cans Pillsbury biscuits (16.3 oz. size cans, 16 biscuit rounds total)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Open cans of biscuits and cut into quarters. Place biscuit pieces into a large bowl or ziploc bag. Top with granulated sugar and cinnamon. Toss dough pieces with cinnamon sugar to coat evenly.

  3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup nuts in the bottom of the bundt pan. Top with half of the dough pieces. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup nuts and dough pieces.

  4. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk melted butter together with brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. A thick, grainy sauce should form. Pour sauce over dough pieces and spread evenly.

  5. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until dough pieces are completely baked. Cool 5-10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving platter and replace any dough pieces of nuts which may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Serve warm.

Feel free to use pecans or almonds in place of the walnuts or omit all together.

The post Buttery Monkey Bread Recipe appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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Another busy week of summer in the books! Man, we can’t wait to get back to normal life with Brookie Cookie again 🙂

Here’s what happened this past week:

We sweat our royal taneenees off on the 4th of July. You can read my post and see all the photos here. We had plenty of fun with some friends, enjoying a brunch and then going out for a dinner picnic with even more friends. It was so so humid, but fun nonetheless with sparklers, flag cakes, popits and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Haha! We’re getting so old.

We’ve switched our basement around! So I haven’t really showed or talked much about our basement situation, but we have two ‘parlor’ levels which essentially means we have two basements that aren’t connected; one at the front of our apartment and one at the back. The one at the back is Brooke’s small room with attached bathroom, washer and dryer and a door to the backyard which is just a glorified postage stamp. We don’t use it for anything right now. The front basement is much larger, with our playroom (where the tv and toys are), another half bath and then a very long and skinny bedroom which we’ve divided into two. One section for the boys to sleep at the back of the room and one section for storage, at the front of the room when you first walk in. The boys twin beds used to just run along the length of the wall at the back of the room, but after going over how to better use the space, we decided to turn their beds back into bunks (2/3’rds of the triple bunk bed!), move it towards the front part of the room and essentially switch spots with all our storage shelving. By doing this, we get more room to create a little play area for the boys with a play table, rugs, books, toys, etc.. and get a little extra room at the back of the room, by the storage shelving to create Gordon a mini gym. (Can you tell this was Gordon’s idea?! Haha!)

We have been going back and forth over whether we could even make some sort of indoor gym situation work with the new baby coming and not having enough space, but we figured it out and though it’ll be small, it will be cheaper and easier to workout for the both of us at home in the long run. I still want to get a peloton bike (I talked about this a few months ago on my instastories!!) but am not sure if we could make that fit too. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! My current gym membership only takes babies starting at 6 months old which is great, but I’d like to start working out before then.

Eddie is in Blake’s old 3T clothes I miraculously found! And both boys are in their new matching sandals. DYING to recreate this next year with another sibling!!

Since we moved everything in the basement around, I ended up finding a bin of 3T clothes that I thought I gave away. I have never been more happy or pleasantly surprised. Before I got pregnant with this baby, I was taking fertility meds and none of them were working. You might recall this post. There was a time we stopped everything and gave up and were happy with just three kids. Hence me giving away all the baby clothes I was storing. But then I got pregnant miraculously and couldn’t exactly go back and ask for everything back. So, to find a box after I thought it was all gone was a definite tender mercy.

I did some much needed retail therapy this week. After having to return, rebuy and then return some items for the living room and now entry, boys room and baby’s room, things are finally coming together. Still working away on finishing things so they’re *just so* but happy about the progress we’ve made.

Since this is the summer of limited technology for my kids, Gordon bought a ton of sports equipment to use inside and out. A lot of footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, frisbees and more. On Friday morning and then again on Friday afternoon when Gordon got home from work, we went out practicing those baseball skills. Gordon grew up playing baseball and loves it as a sport and wanted Blake to at least experience it. If little league was a thing here, we’d totally do it…maybe there is and I can’t find information about it anywhere, but regardless, we are trying to give him a few sports skills because he enjoys being physical and using his body so much. (Same with Eddie.) Truth be told, I wasn’t much help (hiiiiii pregnancy) but I’m great at documenting it all.

The sweetest daddy helping Blake learn the ins and outs of baseball.

Speaking of no technology, I got my boys these Kiwi Co. Crates and they have been such a fun addition to our summer. I was hesitant to shell out more money for something that would potentially get thrown out down the road, but we got our first boxes and we all totally LOVED them. They are science based activities, according to age level. Blake got an ‘Arcade Claw’ and Eddie got a bunch of rainbow themed crafts to do. Since I ordered from them and actually totally dig them, here is a 50% coupon off your first box. If you are running out of ideas for your kids this summer/are bored out of your minds, this might be a great option for your kids! Probably also makes a great gift from the grandparents.

Saturday afternoon was spent on Roosevelt Island, exploring this little spot in the city Gordon has been wanting to check out for weeks. I mostly just wanted to ride the tram to say I did it, but man was Roosevelt Island the prettiest, quietest little spot in the city! It’s like it was the best of both worlds. Quiet, hardly any cars, cool breezes because you’re right on the water, with easy access to the city. It was pretty darn idillic. If they had a better school/restaurant/grocery store situation, then we’d love to eventually live there. But we have a pretty great set up here that we aren’t ready to part with.

Blake honing in on his photography skills.

I got my boys new sandals and they showed up in the mail. LOVE love love Natives. I keep raving about them because that’s how much I love them. I have gone through so many different pairs for my boys and Brooke. Brooke is starting to grow out of them a little bit because they aren’t ‘cool enough’, but they still are the perfect summer shoe for Blake and Ed. These are the exact ones I got for my boys to change things up, though the Jefferson style is the one I continue to rebuy because I love the look.

For those who continue asking, here is the link to the mattress, couch and ottoman I have (and love!)

Is it water or sweat? If you guessed mostly sweat with a little water, then you’d be right. Coming up this next week:

Lots of laundry and packing because we are going to get our Brooke!! We have been missing her tons and tons, so it’ll be great to get her back in my arms again, even if it is just for a hot second.

And of course our vacation with my side of the family up in Canada! Can’t wait to go strawberry picking, eat a few timbits and go canoeing on the lake…if I can fit the life jacket over my belly 😉

cutest little cuddle bug.

The post This Week at the Brennans’ appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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Get this quintessential potato salad recipe, filled with boiled potatoes, onions, celery and tossed in a vinegary mayonnaise dressing. Easily adapt to how you like it best!

This is the basic, very best potato salad recipe you never knew you needed until now! Whether you’re grilling turkey burgers or baking ribs, this potato salad is the perfect summer salad for parties, potlucks and BBQs.

This potato salad recipe is truly one of the best recipes I have. It’s such a crowd-pleasing classic in my book. Perfect for gatherings of any kind and easy to make well in advance. Plus, with this paired down recipe, you can omit and add what you want, making it exactly how you like it.

The Best Potato Salad Recipe

This recipe is based on an old recipe card (with no measurements) from my Grandma and a traditional vinegar-based German potato salad recipe.

Like I mentioned above, German potato salad is a vinegary, potato side dish served either warm or cold. In northern Germany, the addition of mayonnaise is added in, thus mirroring more of an American spin on this classically European dish.

There are a few things that make this recipe unique: (1) marinate the potatoes in a vinegar mixture for 12-24 hours (2) exclude hard boiled eggs, mustard and pickles (3) stir in the mayonnaise right before serving.

Adapting this Potato Salad Recipe

A typical American potato salad features hard boiled eggs with a dressing filled with relish, mayonnaise, dijon or yellow mustard and maybe even some sweet pickles. This recipe does not have a lot of those ingredients, however, because this is very much of a basic recipe, those ingredients can get added in seamlessly. Here are a few other tasty add ins:

  • crumbled bacon
  • hard boiled eggs
  • fresh dill
  • blue cheese
  • chopped dill pickles
  • roasted red peppers
How to make a Homemade Potato Salad

These steps are very simple, but the trick is giving yourself enough marinating time. The longer this sits, the better it tastes! When in doubt, make this an extra day ahead.

  1. Boil the potatoes whole until fork tender. Drain and cool in a colander until they are warm enough to handle with bare hands.
  2. Peel potatoes using a butter knife or spoon and dice into large bite size pieces.
  3. Make the marinating liquid: stir vinegar, water, salt, pepper, sugar and onion together in the bottom of a bowl until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add warm potatoes to marinating liquid and stir gently to coat well.
  5. Stir in celery and parsley flakes, cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
  6. Stir in mayonnaise and any extra add-ins before serving.
  7. Serve cold.
Best Potatoes for Potato Salad

I love using large Idaho potatoes for most recipes, including this potato salad recipe. Yukon golds, red potatoes and even fingerlings are great options as well.

How to cook Potatoes for Potato Salad

I know what you’re thinking: Idaho potatoes for potato salad? Won’t those fall apart?

Well, typically a starchy potato is best for recipes meant for lots of cooking like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes or baked potatoes. BUT, boiling the potatoes whole until fork tender and dicing up afterwards is the trick in keeping the potatoes together in this potato salad recipe.

Can you make Potato Salad ahead of time

Yes! You can make it ahead and I’d even recommend making it ahead for best results. The longer this sits, the more delicious it becomes, so don’t be afraid to make this up to 4 days in advance.

Next time you have a get together, give this a whirl and see how many compliments you get because there are bound to be a few!

Grandma's Potato Salad

Get this quintessential potato salad recipe, filled with boiled potatoes, onions, celery and tossed in a vinegary mayonnaise dressing. Easily adapt to how you like it best!

  • 12 Idaho potatoes
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes (if you use fresh, add it in right before serving)
  • 1/2 large onion (diced finely)
  • 5 ribs celery (washed and diced)
  • 1 1/4 cups real mayonnaise (use a full fat good quality one)
  • any extras: hard boiled eggs, bacon, dill, blue cheese, roasted red peppers, etc..
  1. Boil (whole) potatoes until soft- a knife should be able to be inserted easily. Drain potatoes and let cool 20 minutes or so.

  2. In a large bowl, combine water, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, parsley, onion and celery together. Set aside.

  3. Peel warm potatoes (skin should come off really easily using a butter knife or spoon), cut into large cubes and place into vinegar mixture in bowl. Stir to coat warm potatoes in marinating liquid. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.

  4. Before serving, stir in mayonnaise and any extra ingredients you'd like (crumbled bacon, dill, boiled eggs, dill pickles, etc..). Keep cool until ready to serve.

Love this Potato Salad Recipe? Try these other family favorites:

The post Grandma’s Best Potato Salad Recipe appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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Never a dull moment at our house!

Here’s what happened this past week:

We finally had the last day of school (HALLELUJAH) for Brooke and Blake. I love when they are in school because of the schedule and predictability the school year provides but this year in particular seemed to drag on and on. Pretty sure this is how I feel every year come June (haha!). But so glad it’s over. Except now it’s summer and I need to figure out what to do with these rascals every day. What a double edged sword summer break is.

Like I mentioned in last week’s update, Gordon left for Asia for work. So this whole week has been happening sans daddy. I’m grateful it was a busy week because it kept my mind off the fact that I was pulling everything off solo. Busy weeks do have their perks.

On Tuesday, my Mom came into town with three of my nieces and nephews (who flew here from Arizona) and took in a few NYC sites before taking said nieces and nephews plus Brooke back to Canada for a few fun weeks with just Grandma and Grandpa. They are getting spoiled like crazy, getting taken to water parks, amusement parks, shopping trips and more every single day. I tried to FaceTime Brooke a few times and she didn’t want to talk to me because she didn’t want to miss out playing with her cousins. Can’t blame the girl. She is getting the royal treatment.

Before they left for Canada, I was able to take them all biking in Central Park. We rented some bikes and away we went. It basically just got me super excited to buy our own bikes! We have been renting bikes here and there to size Brooke up and figure out what would be best for our boys. We will most likely buy our bikes in Canada once we are there visiting. Brooke also went to a broadway show with her cousins, went to shake shack, showed them times square, columbus circle and Lincoln center. (It’s still amazing to me that all these sites are our normal.) They all had fun but when asking the Arizona cousins if they’d like to live in New York with us, they all were definite no’s. Haha! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Not even our cup of tea at times, but we are certainly getting used to it and loving our time here more and more.

I ended up signing Brooke and one of her cousins up for morning swim lessons while she’s there in Canada since they do daily swim sessions for two weeks at a time. Way better (and cheaper!) than here in the city. I’d love to get Blake into a swim class, but that didn’t end up happening this year. Poor Blake is still not a fan of water in his face. I’m hoping goggles with the nose plug thing will do the trick for him. I swear 95% of parenting is making educated guess after educated guess.

I’ve tried calling and Facetiming Brooke, but she doesn’t really want to talk to me on the phone because she feels she will miss out of all the cousin fun. I miss her a lot and to my surprise, Blake and Eddie both have mentioned how they miss Brooke too. By golly, they DO love each other! Our family dynamic is certainly different without her.

Last Day of 4th Grade for my beautiful girl!

Oh! AND! My little sister flew into town on the same day Gordon left and stayed with me almost the exact number of days my husband was gone which was a definite perk. She was a little under the weather a few of those days which explains the lack of photos, but man was it nice to have her here!

On Thursday and Friday, we packed lunches and snacks and I took my boys to two different splash pads and sweat like crazy. It was super fun for the boys and I found some nice shady spots where I could just sit and continue sweating like crazy. They were staying nice and cool in the water and at one point I went over and ran through the fountains myself because it was necessary based on how much the backs of my knees were sweating. Blake either got brave or so fed up of the heat that he started dumping small cups of water on his head. Considering how much he HATES getting water in his face, this was SHOCKING for me to witness. So, again, I will be taking him swimming with goggles in Canada and HE WILL LIKE IT.

Since I’m pregnant, sweating and fed up 81% of every day, we have been getting our fair share of ice cream. Since Wednesday, we’ve been to 5 different spots in the city because I need something to keep me sane, plus its a good bribe for the boys. Whatever it takes to get me through summer.

Baby boy continues to wiggle and push his way around my insides which is both amazing and also super annoying. One day he’s up in my lungs and I can’t breathe and other times he is way down low that I waddle. He’s getting to the point where he’s big enough to do both, so that’s GREAT. Something else to look forward to. Ugh! Don’t get me wrong, I love being pregnant, especially with a sweet, healthy and thriving little boy, but man is it a great feeling to get this baby out of me and regain full lung capacity. My first few breaths after giving birth are almost as glorious as the baby’s.

Brooke and her cousin Olivia.

And finally, I have somehow found the time and energy to test and retest a few brand new recipes for my 2019 Christmas e-magazine. I did one back in 2017 and really loved how it all turned out that I’ve decided to do another one because life isn’t busy enough. Ha! As long as I get it all done by the time baby shows up!

Resting on a Sunday afternoon because MAMA TIRED. A German Pancake or “Dutch Baby” for my Christmas e-magazine! Wheee! Here’s what is coming up this next week

My part time nanny starts this week! Hooray for fun adventures she will take my kids on this summer! She’s only working 2 days per week, so nothing crazy, but very much needed in order for me to feel like I’m getting ahead.

4th of July! We are doing lots of fun festivities with friends and I’ll be baking up a few tasty treats too! Gordon even has the day off of work. Wheeee!

I’ll be filming a few recipe videos on Friday, so hopefully in the near future that project will be done and I can spill the beans on what I’ve been cooking up these past few months.

The post This Week at the Brennans’ appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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This creamy, cheesy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe is a fast and delicious dinner! Made with homemade or store bought pesto, heavy cream, rotisserie chicken, pasta and topped with tomatoes. 

If you love pesto, buckle your seat belts because I have a fabulous Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe that is to die for. It’s a fast dinner, especially on lazy summer nights or busy school nights that does not disappoint! Cook your pasta, drain, then heat up your sauce ingredients for about 5 minutes before tossing all together and serving. It seriously doesn’t get easier than this! Bonus points for using this amazing homemade pesto.

How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta

This recipe start to finish is about 15 minutes. If you don’t have any rotisserie chicken, feel free to brown some diced chicken breasts in a little olive oil OR just omit all together.

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water. Any short cut variety will do! I used rotini.
  2. Reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid, drain pasta and set aside. Place hot pot back over medium heat.
  3. Whisk together pesto (homemade or store bought) with heavy cream to create a sauce.
  4. Toss pasta and shredded rotisserie chicken in sauce, using the cooking liquid as needed to thin out the sauce.
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with fresh tomatoes if desired.
How to make Pesto Pasta lower in fat

This recipe is pretty decadent and heavy with the tomatoes brightening and lightening it up, which is why I strongly suggest adding tomatoes into this finished Chicken Pesto Pasta as listed below.

If you’d like to cut your calories even further, don’t use the heavy cream but make a bechamel sauce instead using 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon flour and 1 cup milk. To this white sauce, whisk in the pesto.

Rotisserie Chicken Substitutes?

While I love the ease and simplicity of having this pre-made option in the fridge, NOT having rotisserie chicken on hand isn’t a deal breaker for making this recipe. Here are some other options:

  • Cut and brown up a boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
  • Brown 1/4-1/2 pound ground chicken or turkey to add in
  • Try grilling a small steak, slicing and serving on top with the tomatoes
  • Or just omit all together and make this a vegetarian meal
Other Pesto Recipes you will love:

So, there you have it, folks! A delicious meal done in about 15 minutes that will please even the pickiest eaters! The creamy sauce with the basil and nutty flavors from the pesto, along with the cheese was out of this world delicious! And, because I already had the pesto made in the fridge, this whole meal was done in a snap.

Have a great day, friends!

Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

This creamy, cheesy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe is a fast and delicious dinner! Made with homemade or store bought pesto, heavy cream, rotisserie chicken, pasta and topped with tomatoes. 

  • 1 pound rotini (or other short cut pasta)
  • 2/3 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup reserved hot pasta water
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • fresh tomatoes
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Pour in pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain pasta.

  2. Return hot pot to medium low heat. Whisk heavy cream together with pesto. Toss with pasta and chicken, using cooking liquid as needed to coat every noodle. Taste and add in salt and pepper as needed.

  3. Serve with fresh diced tomatoes (optional).

The post Chicken Pesto Pasta appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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For a flavorful, fresh and fast sauce for pasta or chicken, try this Pesto Recipe! Made with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil pesto never disappoints.

I don’t know about you but I love basil pesto. It’s a fast, uncooked, garlicky, cheesy, basily sauce that is so, so versatile! And so much better than store bought. Whether you’re grilling chicken or tossing it with pasta, this pesto recipe is one you need in your life.

First of all, what is Pesto?

Pesto (also known as Basil Pesto or Pesto Sauce) is a raw sauce from Genoa, traditionally consisting of fresh basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Pesto was and still is typically used as a sauce for pasta, but nowadays can be used as a versatile sauce for chicken, pasta, salad and roasted vegetables.

Pesto Sauce Ingredients:

Like I mentioned above, there are only a small handful of ingredients needed to make this mean, green, amazing sauce!

  • Fresh Basil– I lightly pack the leaves into a measuring cup and add to my blender.
  • Pine Nuts– lightly toast in the oven or on stove top to bring out more flavor.
  • Garlic– add as much or as little as you’d like.
  • Parmesan Cheese– where possible, look for real parmigiano reggiano cheese (the rind is stamped with its name).
  • Olive oil– extra virgin is best, but I’ve also used avocado oil in a pinch as well.
  • Salt & Pepper– salt for seasoning, pepper for flavor and a mild, spicy kick,
How to make this Pesto Recipe:
  1. Add the main ingredients to a blender or food processor: basil, nuts, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper.
  2. With the blender on, slowly stream in olive oil to create a thick pesto sauce, about 1/2 cup. Add more if needed to create the consistency desired.
  3. Delicious on pasta, chicken, vegetables or turned into a salad dressing.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Storing Pesto

I have found the best way to keep this pesto recipe fresh is by placing plastic wrap directly on the pesto sauce, followed up with the tight-fitting lid for an airtight container. This keeps your pesto a bright green color PLUS it holds that garlic smell in with the pesto instead of all over your fridge.

Freezing Pesto

Once you have your pesto recipe made and stored in their airtight containers, it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months, though don’t be surprised if you never have leftovers because it is so darn tasty on everything!

Ways to use this Pesto Recipe
  • Marinate chicken or pork chops
  • Spread over thick slices of toasted french bread or ciabatta for garlic bread
  • Add to an antipasto platter
  • Drizzle over Burrata cheese and serve as an appetizer (my favorite!)
  • Spoon over sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella as a new take on Caprese Salad
  • Toss roasted veggies in this sauce
  • Brush onto corn on the cob

Regardless of how you use this pesto recipe, you are sure to love it! This is our new family favorite recipe that you most definitely need in your arsenal.

Pesto Recipe

For a flavorful, fresh and fast sauce for pasta or chicken, try this Pesto Recipe! Made with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil pesto never disappoints.

  • 4 cups fresh basil (loosely packed)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 6 oz parmigiano reggiano cheese (cut into chunks)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (give or take a few tablespoons)
  1. Place all ingredients, except olive oil into a blender or food processor.

  2. Turn blender on and slowly stream in olive oil until ingredients turn into a thick paste or sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

  3. Use as desired or spoon into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Dinner Ideas using Pesto:

The post Amazing Pesto Recipe appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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