The Healthy Hat: Butternut Squash

I wouldn’t really call this a recipe, but it’s amazing. I have literally been eating this by the handfuls. I followed my mother-in-laws easy steps to get this simple side dish. Baking it in the oven makes it a little crispie.

butternut squash

Baked Butternut Squash

Time: 30 minutes
Oven: Pre-heat to 400 degrees

Take butternut squash and cut into squares (they sell this at Costco already prepared). Then, place into a bowl. Toss squash with 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil (depending on how much squash you have). Then, lay the squash squares on to a dark cookie sheet (not too close together).

Season with salt and pepper. Place the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes (flipping every 10 minutes). Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then enjoy!

The Wife Hat: I made Blueberry French Toast Casserole and it was good

Nothing compares to Vanilla-Crusted French Toast (recipe here) but this is still very tasty. For Ryan’s birthday, I baked Blueberry French Toast. You can prepare it the night before and then stick in the oven that morning. Saves time (which I love).

Next time, I might make my cream cheese a spread versus cubes and try it with Challah bread. Assuming it cooks the same. Enjoy!

Blueberry french toast blueberry french toast3 blueberry french toast Blueberry French Toast Casserole (recipe from

Makes: 8 servings
Prep 25 mins
Chill 2 hrs to 24 hrs
Bake 375°F 50 mins
Stand 10 mins


  • 12 slices dry white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • Two (8) ounce packages cream cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup
  • Blueberry-flavor, maple, or maple-flavor syrup


1. Place half of the bread cubes over the bottom of a well-buttered 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle cream cheese and blueberries over bread cubes. Arrange remaining bread cubes over blueberries.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs with a rotary beater; beat in milk and the 1/2 cup syrup. Carefully pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and cover dish with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, and topping is puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with blueberry-flavor or maple syrup.


To dry bread slices, arrange bread in a single layer on a wire rack; cover loosely and let stand overnight. Or cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes; spread in a large baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool.

The Travel Hat: The St. Regis Bloody Mary

St. Regis is known for a lot of things: signature Butler service, five-star resorts, their unique heritage … and, the Bloody Mary.

After all, it was in The St. Regis New York (circa 1934) where the first Bloody Mary was poured. Deemed too racy a name for the hotel’s guests, it was first called the Red Snapper. Fast forward 79 years and every St. Regis hotel and resort, worldwide, has its own version of the Bloody Mary.

I was looking through the recipes (found here) and I have to say, the Aloha Mary from The St. Regis Princeville Resort and the 7452 Mary from The St. Regis Deer Valley looks delish!

I just might have to give these a whirl. Are you a Bloody Mary fan? If so, flip through the St. Regis Bloody Mary recipes. I think you’ll find some you really enjoy.

st regis princeville bloody mary recipe(illustration by Bil Donovan)

ALOHA MARY by The St. Regis Princeville Resort (Kauai, Hawaii)


  • Juice of half a lime / 15 ml fresh lime juice
  • 10 drops / 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch wasabi powder
  • 2 drops sriracha
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5 g celery salt
  • 1 oz / 30 ml premium organic Hawaiian Ocean® Vodka
  • 3 oz / 90 ml Clamato® juice
  • Kauai guava wood smoked sea salt
  • Sea asparagus, for garnish
  • 1 lime wedge, for garnish

Combine lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, wasabi powder, sriracha, pepper, celery salt, vodka and Clamato juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour over ice in a Collins glass rimmed with guava wood smoked sea salt. Garnish with local sea asparagus and wedge of lime.

St Regis Deer Valley Bloody Mary Recipe(Illustration by Bil Donovan)

7452 MARY by The St. Regis Deer Valley (Utah)


  • 1 oz / 30 ml Vodka 7000’ (High West Distillery)
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 oz / 60 ml tomato juice
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 2 pinches celery salt
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • Black lava salt

Celery foam for garnishing:

  • 48 oz / 1.5 l celery juice
  • 24 oz / .5 l green apple juice
  • 3 tbsp / 20 g wasabi powder
  • 1 tbsp / 6 g salt
  • 2 tsp / 4 g Xantana
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 bunch of parsley leaves picked

Mix first seven ingredients and pour over ice into a stemless chardonnay wineglass rimmed with black lava salt. Blend together remaining ingredients and fine-strain. Garnish with celery foam and serve.

*Recipes courtesy of

The Culinary Hat: What Diet?

Some days you just want to throw your diet out the window and eat something like this. Click here for the recipe to these Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars. Sign me up!

Photo by Two Peas & Their Pod.

The Culinary Hat: Grilled Herb Scallops

My scallops are in the refrigerator marinating as we speak. I picked up a copy of Good&Fresh Magazine by Better Homes and Gardens and found so many great recipes for “eating right”. I thought I would whip these up tonight. If you’re interested, please find the recipe below. Super easy.

Grilled Herb Scallops with Balsamic Syrup

Preparation time: 20 minutes  |  Marinate: 2 hours  |  Grill: 6 minutes


– 8 fresh or frozen sea scallops (about 1 pound)
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint
– 2 tablespoons snipped fresh italian (flat-leaf) parsley
– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
– 2 cups baby angula (I used a spring mix of arugula and baby spinach)


1. Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels. Place scallops in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a small bowl stir together oil, mint, parsley, the 2 tablespoons vinegar, the cheese, lemon peel and garlic. Pour marinade over scallops. Seal bag; turn to coat scallops. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, turning bag once or twice.

2. Drain scallops, discarding marinade. Thread each scallop onto a 6-inch skewer.*

3. For a charcoal or gas grill, grill scallops on the greased rack of a covered grill directly over medium-hot heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning once halfway through grilling time.

4. Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan bring the 1/2 cup vinegar to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until vinegar is reduced by half.

5. Serve scallops with arugula. Drizzle with the reduced vinegar.

*Tip: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes; drain before using.

Makes 4 Servings. Per serving: 244 cal., 15 g fat (2 g sat.fat), 28 mg chol., 478 mg sodium, 11 g carb. (6 g sugar), 0 g fiber, 15 g pro.

The Culinary Hat: White Chicken Enchiladas

I’m making these tonight, Easy & Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas. When I find recipes online, I make sure I read through all of the reader comments before preparing. Sometimes readers leave some of the best tips. And for someone who isn’t good at cooking (I once put salad in the freezer to chill it just a bit) I need all of the user tips I can get.

Wish me luck!!!

View the recipe & the step-by-step photo tutorial on Food Family & Finds.

The Culinary Hat: Easy Dinner Recipe

If you know me, you know I’m no culinary expert. My bridesmaids once asked Ryan what meal I cooked the best and he replied with, “Ugh. She makes a good salad?” Rude.

That said, I was super excited when I came across a recipe that I could make, Tender Grilled Pork Chops. I just mixed up 4 ingredients and my husband grilled it. If you like Pork Chops, you’ll love this. Recipe >

The Hostess Hat: Chicken Enchilada Dip

Superbowl Sunday is coming our way, which means tons of dips, chips and people gathered around the big screen. Well, my dear, I have the perfect dip for you. It’s incredibly easy to make (says the girl who can barely boil water) and it’s delicious. Here is my mother-in-law’s recipe for Chicken Enchilada Dip.

Preparation time: 9 min (I chop slow)  |  Cook time: 30 min


– 2 (12 oz) cans chicken breast
– 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
-4 oz Mayo
– 4 oz sour cream
– 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
– 4 oz can diced chilies (I buy the El Paso canned chillies)
– 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

Instructions (can you handle how easy this is?)

Mix all together. Put it in a 9×9 dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until it bubbles). Remove from oven and sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top (just to make it look pretty). Serve with tortilla chips.

I’m not lying when I say everyone loves this dip.

I serve the dip in the 9×9, but you could dish it into pretty bowls, like this. Nana’s Tortilla chips are the perfect pairing. Enjoy!