Welcome to Coffee Break No. 2 – April!
Looking back one month ago when I introduced this “Coffee Break” series on March 1st, life looked a little different…
It’s been a whirlwind of a month, with everyone’s lives being affected and turned upside down in some way or another. I hope this post finds you and your loved ones healthy and well. And I’m hoping my blog can continue to be a source of light and inspiration during these crazy times. Since most of us are hunkered down at home and cooking way more than usual, I want to inspire you in the kitchen and share all I can to help you become a better cook now more than ever. And besides, cooking + baking are some of the best forms of stress-relief and joy, so I hope my recipes can truly bring some happiness into your life.
If you missed last month’s Coffee Break, check it out here. I’m introducing this series as a fun way to connect and share what’s happening behind the scenes, keep you posted on any new blog updates or announcements, and provide a little extra inspiration for the kitchen with recipe round-ups, seasonal ideas, cooking tips, product spotlights, and more!
williams sonoma “authentic ireland” cooking demo
At the beginning of March, I was thrilled to host a demo at my local Williams Sonoma in Chicago. I shared a recipe inspired by my recent trip to Ireland, in connection with a very exciting project I’ve been a part of with Bake from Scratch magazine, Williams Sonoma, and Tourism Ireland.
And let me just say…this event was SO much fun. So much of my work is done alone, whether it be in my own kitchen cooking away or behind a computer screen editing, writing, working on the business side of things, etc. Coming from a restaurant background where there is always action & interaction with people, I definitely miss this connection. It was such a blast to bake in front of a large crowd, share all about my Ireland trip, and meet some of you there!
A huge thank you to everyone who came out! I’m hoping to do a lot more in-person events when things get back to normal. Also, I made an irresistible Irish Coffee Soda Bread Pudding for this demo, and it’s coming to the blog in May (along with more details about our trip!).
cooking tip: keep a well-stocked kitchen
I’ve always thought a well-stocked kitchen (pantry especially) is one of the secrets to cooking amazing food at home. But now more than ever, it’s crucial. Just like most of you, I’m limiting my grocery trips to the bare minimum. I’m getting creative and utilizing exactly what I have on hand when cooking and creating recipes to share on the blog.
What makes this easier is having a pantry locked and loaded with staples – most items that are essential and then some to add a bit of extra flavor to simple dishes.
I’m working on a comprehensive guide that I think will really help you right now (stay tuned), but in the meantime, here are some basics I typically always try to have on hand…
flour and sugar
other grains – farro, barley, quinoa, couscous, orzo
broth – chicken, beef, or vegetable
curry and chili paste
oils – olive, safflower, coconut
vinegars – balsamic, white wine, red wine
wine, ground coffee, tea
nuts and nut butters
dried fruits – dates, apricots, mangos
dark greens – kale, chard, etc.
citrus – lemons, oranges, grapefruit
protein – chicken breasts + thighs, steaks, pork chops, bacon
ground meat – pork, beef, turkey, chicken
seafood – shrimp, salmon
fruit – berries, bananas, mangos
vegetables – peas, spinach
product spotlight: le creuset dutch oven
I’m currently relying on soups & stews, big pots of pasta, and large batch recipes that I can make once and eat for leftovers all week long. My go-to piece of cookware for these dishes is a signature Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I absolutely love this thing. I remember first using one back in culinary school, and have been collecting different sizes and colors ever since. There are simply so many uses for this beautiful pot. The enameled cast iron cooking surface cooks food evenly and is unbelievably durable. A piece to last a lifetime.
A few recipes for Dutch oven cooking – golden carrot soup, kale & sausage white bean soup, healthy turkey & white bean chili, and braised short ribs.
Easter is one of my favorite holidays, just behind Christmas. It’s such a beautiful spring day that feels light and so joyful. We always have a traditional Polish brunch with my mom’s side of the family in the morning and move on to a classic Easter dinner (ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus salad, warm bread, etc.) with my dad’s side of the family at night. With lots of chocolate and sweets scattered throughout the day.
It’s such a special day, with all of our loved ones getting together, and I am beyond sad that this year is mostly likely going to look pretty different. Even though most of us won’t be able to have our traditional Easter celebrations, I’m hoping I can still inspire you to create a beautiful spring meal…no matter how many people you might or might not be cooking for.
Here are some of my Easter favorites…
Chive Gougeres with Strawberry Honey Butter
Lamb Chops with Fennel Slaw & Spiced Yogurt
The Only Pasta Salad You Will Ever Need
Roasted Spring Vegetables with Tarragon Mustard Vinaigrette
refresh your kitchen: williams sonoma sale
With everyone cooking SO much more at home, it’s probably a great time to stock up on a few new essentials. I recently saw Williams Sonoma is having a huge sale – up to 70% off items. Might be a great way to find some new cookware or something special you’ve been wanting in the kitchen!
april recipe request
Send me all of your recipe requests for the month of April! I’m planning for more pantry-inspired meals, comforting baked goods, simple pastas, and fresh spring ideas. I’d love to hear anything else you might be looking for as well! Leave a comment below, send me an email, or message me on Instagram. Can’t wait to hear from you.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s Coffee Break! x Kayla