The James Beard Awards



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UPDATE: Check out the complete list of 2014 James Beard Award Winners here!


Easter Brunch


Hi, guys!

This Sunday is Easter, and aside from all of the religious meaning behind the upcoming holiday, Easter Sunday is perhaps the biggest Sunday Brunch day of the whole year.

When I was growing up, my family usually got together and had a huge potluck on Easter. For the last couple of years, my husband and I have enjoyed brunch out on Easter and as awesome as it is to have someone else take care of the meal, I’m super excited to have my family visiting for the holiday. This year I’ll be making a huge spread.

We’ll also be doing lots of other fun stuff this weekend, including dying and hunting eggs and hanging out at the beach. I can’t wait!

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a bit *too* excited about coloring eggs. Honestly, it is one of my favorite parts of Easter. What can I say? All those glasses of brightly colored water and copper wire dippers just bring out the big kid in me.


I’m also excited that my brother and sister-in-law will be beginning one my favorite Easter traditions with my nephew this year.

When we were kids, my brother, sister and I would always get a new kite from the Easter Bunny in our baskets. My nephew will be two in July and I’m sure he’s going to be stoked to fly his first kite on the beach this weekend. Maybe “the Easter Bunny” will hook me up with a new kite, too. **Wink, wink** if you’re reading this, Easter Bunny.

Anyway, back to the Easter spread.

I’ll be cooking what I like to call a country dinner instead of the usual ham and sides for the main event this year. And although I’m not going the usual route, I will be making one recipe that’s always on tap for Easter–my grandmother’s famous banana pudding.

Her banana pudding was legendary and always the first dish to be emptied within minutes at family reunions. I was lucky to spend many afternoons alongside her in the kitchen helping out, learning how to make the custard from scratch and layering the rest of the pudding just right. I’ll admit–I’ve come pretty close to perfecting her recipe. I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that I make it in the same exact “banana pudding bowl” that she did. 🙂


I’ll probably also make another dessert… I’m not sure what just yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll involve coconut. What’s an Easter treat without coconut?!

Last year, I made these champagne & coconut cupcakes that were all the rage on Pinterest at the time. They were so fluffy and a huge hit!


On to the country dinner!

The rest of my Easter menu is also straight from my grandmother’s kitchen and even though each dish is straightforward southern fare, this meal is one of my family’s favorites. This menu epitomizes “home” to me and connects me to my roots, especially since I’ve lived away from my hometown for more than 10 years now.


The highlight of the meal is my southern fried chicken. When frying enough for a large group, I like to use thick strips of chicken breast. This allows me to fry a large amount of chicken in a short amount of time. The key to this golden, flaky, moist fried chicken is that I soak the strips in a mixture of buttermilk, herbs and spices over night. Then I bread with seasoned flour just before frying.

To make this a true country dinner, I’ll also be making mac & cheese, white field corn, southern-style cut green beans, black-eyed peas and cornbread. Finally, it wouldn’t be a country dinner for my family without thick slices of fresh tomatoes, peeled cucumbers and onion wedges.

The hardest part of this meal is trying to save room for banana pudding. It’s a tough problem to have! But I’m so looking forward to it.

I hope to share pictures from my weekend later next week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your plans are for Easter weekend. What traditions does your family celebrate, if any?

Whatever your weekend brings, I hope you have a good one! (And a few mimosas!)