Food lovers and lovers in general: check out YourTango all month long for articles that explore the relationship between my two favorite things in life: LOVE and FOOD! YourTango is one of my favorite websites (and not just because I write for them), but because it’s is the go-to site for all the love news, advice, and love laughs that you need. During the month of October,visit Breakfast, Love and Dinner on YourTango to read about the interplay between food and relationships.

To kick off the event, we are launching a contest to search for the Next Engagement Chicken – a recipe which helped to kick-start your love life in some way. I’ve written about Engagement Chicken for Valentine’s Day before and have passed the recipe to more than a few friends who were looking to move their relationships along. Now we’re searching for the next magical recipe that helped to make something wonderful happen in your relationship.

If you have a special recipe that influenced your relationship, be sure to visit the website and enter today! And remember to check back to Breakfast, Love and Dinner throughout October to read about all things love and food.


Broccoli and Sweet Peppers Quiche

There’s something positively lovely and delicate about a quiche, a versatile egg dish that can be served for lunch or dinner. I love a nice fluffy, savory piece of quiche anytime of the year – but one piece of quiche could easily wreak havoc on any healthy diet. Here are two versions of easy quiches. The first super-healthy version is an adaptation of a recipe from my favorite former real housewife from NY, Bethenny Frankel. (I love Bethenny and strongly recommend all of her books!)

The second recipe is a basic recipe but is great for entertaining or days when you really want to indulge! Feel free to change these recipes and add or omit different vegetables and types of cheeses. I’ve also posted a recipe for an asparagus, ham and Gruyere quiche. See my other examples below.

Fairytale Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
Serves 6

1 frozen whole grain 9 inch pastry shell (Like Wholly Wholesome at Wegmans)
2 cups of fresh spinach, washed and chopped 
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of soy or almond milk
1 egg
3 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pastry shell for 12 minutes or until browned. (It will be difficult to see if it is brown since it’s a multigrain crust.) 
Add a tablespoon of the oil to the skillet over medium high heat. Saute the spinach until its wilted down, about three minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and saute the mushrooms until they’re browned.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese on the bottom of the crust. Top with the spinach and mushrooms.
In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk, egg and egg whites. Pour over the spinach and mushroom mixture and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes until it puffs up and the top is firm and golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Nutritional Info per slice: 205 cals, 14 g fat, 13 carbs, 9 g protein, 4 g fiber, 281 mg sodium.

 Fairytale Broccoli, Cheddar and Sweet Pepper Quiche
(Serves 6)

1 pillsbury pie crust 1 1/2 cups of diced cooked ham
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet peppers, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup light cream
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (I like 2% Cheddar or Colby/Monterrey Jack.)
2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the peppers to the onions and saute for a few minutes until soft. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in the microwave by placing it in a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Cover with a microwave safe plate on top. Microwave about a minute, or until the broccoli is soft. Drain the remaining water from the bowl. Add the broccoli to the pan and saute until it has some color to it, about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, half and half and cream. Beat lightly or blend with a fork. 

Place the Pillsbury Pie Crust into a 9 or 10 inch pie baking dish. Arrange onions, peppers and broccoli in the crust. Top with the sprinkled cheese. Pour the egg mixture of the ingredients.  

Bake in oven for approximately 1 hour, or until quiche is cooked through. If the top starts to brown, cover with a piece of tin foil so it doesn’t burn. Serve warm or cold.

Nutritional Info per slice: 429 cals, 29 g fat, 23 carbs, 21 g protein, 1 g fiber, 698 mg sodium.

Broccoli, Cheese and Sweet Pepper Quiche

Here are some other variations I have tried. Quiche is easy so don’t be afraid to get in there and mix up your ingredients and try different combinations! 

Broccoli, Cheddar and Ham Quiche
Broccoli and Four Cheese Quiche
Spinach, Tomato and Mozzarella Quiche


Another one of my favorite breakfast dishes is a Belgian Waffle. There’s nothing like a hot waffle with a crisp, buttery outside and moist, fluffy inside, with butter melting on top and maple syrup floating in the crevices. These waffles remind me of family vacations I used to take as a child to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. I looked forward to the early morning walks past the Boardwalk Plaza Victorian Hotel to a little breakfast stand on the boardwalk. They made huge Belgian Waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. It was always a challenge to figure out how to get it back to the hotel room without being attacked by seagulls. I also used to look forward to ordering these fabulous waffles at the Woodlands old restaurant The Left Bank at Sunday Brunch after church.

While Belgian Waffles may be good for the soul, they’re not typically good for the waistline. Traditional Belgian Waffles can top 400 calories and easily wreck a diet once you pile on all of that whipped butter and sugary fruit. If you make them yourself at home, it’s much easier to control the fat and calories. Belgian style waffles are classically topped with strawberries and whipped cream, but I enjoy them with butter and syrup as well. To keep calories down, I prefer I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (sticks) and Log Cabin Sugar Free Syrup. This recipe can also be used as a lighter edition for the base of a good Chicken and Waffles meal. (A Pennsylvania Dutch specialty – which I’ll have to make in the future.)

Here is my guiltless version of a Whole Grain Belgian Waffle. You need an electric waffle iron for this recipe, and if you don’t have one you should get one ASAP! It’s well worth the investment. Waffle irons can be electric or are designed for stove-top cooking. They have heating elements on both sides so that two sides of the waffle mix can cook evenly and at once. Most modern irons now have nonstick cooking surfaces so they’re much easier to clean. (I think that my waffle iron takes less time to clean than my panini grill.)
The bottom line is that once you have your own homemade Belgian waffle, you’ll never be able to eat those processed frozen ones again. Promise!

Fairytale Feasts Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups of Hodgson Mills Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake Mix
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Breeze vanilla almond milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1/4 cup of applesauce

Heat waffle iron according to it’s own specific directions. Place the pancake mix in a large bowl. Add the almond milk, egg, oil and applesauce. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add batter to your waffle iron in accordance with it’s own instructions.

When waffle is ready, remove it from the iron with a spatula and place on a wired rack to cool so the waffle retains its crispness. Serve the waffles immediately. Top with mixed berries, whipped cream, butter or powdered sugar – or all of the above – for a delicious, healthful breakfast.

Nutritional Information for one waffle (not including toppings): 219 cals, 7 grams of fat, 35 carbs, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 425 mg of sodium.


After a much needed break, Fairytale Feasts is back for 2012!!! I have so many wonderful recipes and food photos that I can’t wait to share with you all. Please let me know if you have any requests or would like to see some more or you’d like for me to test a certain product. I do all of this in my spare time, but am going to make an effort to update more frequently this year.
Since it is January and a notorious time for resolutions to help shed those unwanted holiday pounds, I thought I would share some of my favorite healthy recipes. I am going to start by posting my favorite breakfasts. 
I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. In fact, it’s definitely my LEAST favorite meal of the day – but I also think it’s the easiest meal to eat healthfully if you’re making it yourself. I usually have my Kourtney Kardashian Steel-Cut Oatmeal or an omelet. This breakfast omelet really helps to start my day off on the right foot. I make this all the time with all different types of vegetables, so feel free to switch it up using the formula below. 

1 egg + 1/2 cup of egg whites  + vegetable + 1/4 cup of cheese = omelet
Depending on how many veggies I use, I usually eat half of  this full omlet. If I want to eat the whole thing, I will use less egg whites and vegetables. You can’t go wrong no matter how you make it. 

One other favorite variation of mine is instead of using mushrooms and feta cheese, I use chopped broccoli and 2% shredded Cracker Barrel white sharp cheddar cheese. Before adding the broccoli to the skillet, I steam it in the microwave. 

Let me also note that I almost always use Athenos Natural Crumbled Feta cheese in all of my omelets except the broccoli and cheese as mentioned above. Feta cheese is most commonly used in Greek dishes and has been used for centuries. Feta cheese does not have a rind, and it is cured and stored in brine in large blocks for months. In Greece it is made primarily from sheep’s or goat’s milk, but large commercial producers usually use cow’s milk. Feta can range from semisoft to semihard cheese and is available here in blocks or crumbled. It’s salty and has so much flavor, and it retains it’s texture in the omelet. I prefer the regular version and not the reduced fat version. I think the regular one is more flavorful and I’d rather use less of a full fat cheese than more of a fat-free cheese. Since I use a lot of feta in my omelets and salads, I usually buy the large container of Athenos Feta from Sam’s Club.

Fairytale Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Omelet
(Serves 2)

1 egg
1/2 cup of egg whites
1 1/2 cup of chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of Athenos crumbled feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh herb of choice)

In a 9 or 10 inch nonstick skillet, saute the onion over medium-high for two minutes. (I usually spray once or twice with non-stick cooking spray). Add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash seasoning or your choice of chopped fresh herbs. Saute for a minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg and egg whites. Beat with a fork until well blended. Add to skillet with spinach and mushrooms. Ensure the vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the egg mixture. Reduce the heat to LOW and cover with a lid. Let cook for a few minutes, until the top is doesn’t run anymore.

Add the feta cheese crumbles to the omelet, and turn over with a spatula. Serve immediately alongside a piece of fruit for a perfectly balanced breakfast.

Nutritional Information for half of omlet: 146 cals, 7 grams of fat, 8 carbs, 18 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 300 mg of sodium. 


Anyone who knows me knows that there is, in fact, one thing in this life that I love MORE than food: MUSIC! In honor of this one true and unconditional love, every year I travel to Nashville, TN with my beloved crew for the CMA Music Festival, which is undoubtedly the best live country music event anywhere EVER. (Think: the Bonnaroo of Country Music).  For four nights at LP Field (the home of the Tennessee Titans), a celebration of the best of country music takes place. Artists this year included Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellem, Martina McBride, the Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton, Trace Atkins, Josh Turner and my girl Miranda Lambert. On September 1 at 8PM this event will be featured on ABC. Being present for this yearly event feels like partaking in an absolute fairytale. Sampling the best foods of Nashville is no different. I’ve posted some highlights below. 
This year we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the CMT Music Awards, which we immediately followed up with excessive pitchers of beer at from the Paradise Trailer Park. Hey, it is Tennessee after all and it was sweltering hot. But it made the greasy food we ordered all the better. Excellent grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat toast with sweet potato fries with Carolina BBQ sauce. Other members of the crew enjoyed a chili cheese dog, chili cheeseburger, and macaroni and cheese. All served on top of wax paper in paper cartons on a red cafeteria style trays. The Paradise Park is one of our favorite drinking places downtown because it’s cheap and really fun – there’s always great live entertainment and great food! 

Another one of our Nashville staples is Rippy’s BBQ for multiple reasons including cost, convenience, atmosphere, speedy service and most importantly: AMAZING food!  This year we were a little disappointed because Rippy’s featured a special events menu which meant that our favorite Nashville sandwich of all time, the Pork Loin Sandwich on Texas Toast, was unavailable. (The horror!) But we still enjoyed their pulled pork bbq with a side of baked beans with jalapeños.  The cornbread is also a must have at Rippys – it’s as light and buttery as a pancake. 
One of our favorite things to do when we visit Nashville is to take a trip on the General Jackson Showboat.  This river cruise is an amazing way to enjoy the gorgeous TN weather. Good food, good drink, good company … there’s nothing better. We enjoyed a traditional southern bbq buffet on the outdoor deck before putting the bartenders to work inside. It was ridiculously gluttonous but worth every cent and every calorie. I attempted to capture the essence of this luncheon in one dish, seen below. 
A tossed mixed green salad, hot house grown cucumbers, grape tomatoes, blue cheese, croûtons and ranch dressing. (For some reason, it seems like everyone in the south LOVES Ranch dressing. It’s everywhere! This one tasted particularly fresh and may have been homemade.) To my delight, there was a fresh tomato and basil salad. “Rachel’s Sour Cream Baked Potato Salad” was absolutely amazing! I’ve never had this before and am wondering this twist on the potato salad is a southern trick? Rachel, if you are out there reading this, I would love this recipe! 🙂 
For the entree, we were treated to Coca-Cola Braised Beef Short Ribs, Buttermilk Fried Catfish and Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. (Loved the gumbo – but I think that mine was just as good!) The sides were country herb roasted yellow potatoes, country style garden vegetables. For dessert, a vanilla bread pudding. 
The view from the General Jackson boat was beautiful but it was a little bittersweet as well. Remnants of the devastating flood were evident along the riverbanks of the Cumberland and it really saddened my heart to think about what the people of Tennessee went through and how much they have lost. Our driver tearfully told us how she lost all of her furniture in the flood. Thankfully, half of the proceeds of the CMA fest benefited flood victims of Middle Tennessee.  To learn more about how you can help: click here to visit the Red Cross; click here to visit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; and click here to visit Feeding America

All the barbecue in Nashville can seem a little bit overwhelming at times, so thankfully we were able to scour out a few places where we could find real lettuce, vegetables and other edible items not swimming in barbecue sauce, sugar and mayonnaise.  One of my favorite salads was the Hummus and Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Chicken from the Big River Grille.  It’s a heaping pile of lettuce with roasted red peppers and tomatoes topped over warm grilled flat bread and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. I was very happy with this salad. 
Our server also recommended trying the Smoked Tomato Bruschetta with fresh basil and asiago cheese, claiming it was the best in at least 5 states.  As soon as she said it, I knew it probably wasn’t but I appreciated her recommendation and ordered it anyway. The capers in the bruschetta were a nice touch, but I wasn’t really crazy about the fact that the tomatoes were not served directly on the bread and they were room temperature. My family has been making bruschetta from home grown Pittston tomatoes so I am a little bit spoiled and bias. But I enjoyed this dish nonetheless. I also included a pic of the lemons I ordered – which tasted like little pieces of heaven squeezed into my glass of cold water on a 98 degree day. I cherished those first few sips.
My only problem with this restaurant was that we waited a ridiculous long time for our food and an eternity for our check. But it was the CMA Fest and they were understandably extremely busy. (Or maybe people in the south just aren’t as rushed as we are? I’m not sure.)  But props to the the Big River Grille for even being open after the devastating flood! I’d go back again. And I’d get the Hummus and Goat Cheese salad. 

Another option to try if you are looking for a salad is Tazza Restaurant which is on Church Street downtown.  This place got mixed reviews online but I enjoyed it and would go back again. It was an Italian pizzeria and we felt at home inside. My Mediterranean Salmon Salad with strawberries and creamy feta cheese was refreshing and crisp and the service was really great. Our server was so sweet and really tried to give us some good suggestions about what to order. 
Another highlight of our trip was the Josh Turner fan club party. For $35 a ticket, we enjoyed an intimate private concert by Josh, one of my favorite country artists.  We were pleasantly surprised that this price even included a catered Cracker Barrel Country Style Breakfast.  I tried biscuits and gravy for the first time in my life – they weren’t bad either! he servers looked shocked when I firmly passed on all the hot fruit toppings though – the idea of hot fruit on pancakes is not appetizing to me, but apparently it’s a huge thing in the south.

Hope you enjoyed my pics! Check back soon as I will be posting more on my fairytale feasts from Nashville soon! 🙂