These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful smoky gouda and pecans. This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries

These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful smoky gouda and pecans. This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries

These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful, smoky gouda and pecans.  This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

What’s your favorite way to use sweet potatoes?  I’m honestly not sure what my favorite sweet potato recipe is, because whenever and however I devour those gorgeous orange spuds, I love them a little bit more!  A few weeks ago, I was at a café, sharing sweet potato fries with friends, and I fell even harder in love with the starchy vegetable.  These fries were smothered in smoked gouda, and as soon as I got home, I started dreaming about piles and piles of orange, cheesy fries.  Faster than you can say ‘sweet potato,’ I was chopping potatoes, shredding cheese, and dicing pecans.  These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked to perfection, covered in goopy, smoky, flavorful cheese, and topped with crunchy nuts.

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This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer! This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind "stinky cheese," avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado

This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer! This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind "stinky cheese," avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado

This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer!  This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind “stinky cheese,” avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

The husband has a theory.  He’s convinced that there are two types of people in this world– those who like blue cheese, and those who don’t.  The blue cheese lovers– these people like strong flavors, and have adventurous palates.  Blue cheese haters– well, they don’t.  He is so convinced of this that when we started dating, it was one of his first questions.  “How do you feel about blue cheese?!”  (It’s a good thing I like it, right!?!)  Is he right?   I’m not sure, but I am sure that there are people who are willing to try any new food handed their way.  People who think, “that looks weird– give me a bite!”  If you are an adventurous eater, and love strong flavors– then this Stinky French Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Avocado is for you!  Dig into pumpernickel bread filled with flavorful, and yet pungent, washed rind cheese, along with layers of tomato and avocado.

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Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese- Easy, Gourmet Mac + Cheese, Ready in 20 Minutes Start to Finish! - champagne-tastes.com

Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese is an easy, gourmet mac and cheese that's ready in twenty minutes start to finish!

Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese is an easy, gourmet mac and cheese that’s ready in twenty minutes start to finish! 

Guys, I have a confession.  Some days, I just don’t care how easy a 15 minute meal is– my brain hurts, and I don’t want to cook.  Does this happen to you too?  On those nights, my first instinct is to have the husband cook dinner.  (The cat, of course, still refuses to help either of us cook.)  If that doesn’t work– there’s Indian take-out.  If take-out falls through– I reach back into the deep, dark recesses of my kitchen pantry– and pull out a box of mac and cheese.  Not just any mac and cheese, mind you– I like the fancy stuff.  The organic, ‘let’s pretend this powdered cheese came from a cow’ stuff.

However, even the fanciest boxed mac and cheese always leaves me full of doubt.  I’m left wondering, ‘What exactly did I just eat?’ and ‘Would homemade mac and cheese really have been harder to make??’  The answer, of course, is NO– homemade mac and cheese is NOT difficult to make, and doesn’t take much longer to prepare than the boxed kind.  Plus, with homemade mac and cheese– there’s no suspicious powdered cheese packet!  This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, and is bursting with cheesy goodness.

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These Rosemary Apple Crêpes are light, delicious, and perfect for lunch. Simply stuff one French Crêpe with apple slices, cheddar cheese, and fresh rosemary, and then lightly grill.

Rosemary Apple Crêpes

These Rosemary Apple Crêpes are light, delicious, and perfect for lunch. Simply stuff one French Crêpe with apple slices, cheddar cheese, and fresh rosemary, and then lightly grill.

Rosemary Apple Crêpes

These Rosemary Apple Crêpes are light, delicious, and perfect for lunch.  Simply stuff one French Crêpe with apple slices, cheddar cheese, and fresh rosemary, and then lightly grill.

It’s no secret that I love crêpes– I crave them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and even for snacks in between!  If you’ve kept up with Champagne Tastes over the last few months, you know that I’ve been on a crêpe-binge– a crêpe-stravaganza— and have filled your phone screens and work computers with all things crêpe.  You’re welcome.  Let’s do this again, shall we?  Today– Rosemary Apple Crêpes– another simple and delicious way to fill your French Crêpes.

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These savory, vegetarian Tomato and Herbed Cheese Crepes are quick, delicious, and easy to prepare

Tomato and Herb Cheese Crêpes

These savory, vegetarian Tomato and Herbed Cheese Crepes are quick, delicious, and easy to prepare

Tomato and Herbed Cheese Crepes

These Tomato and Herb Cheese Crêpes use delicate French Crêpes filled with freshly sliced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and fresh garden herbs.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but here at Champagne Tastes, we’ve embarked on a Crêpe Journey.  The poor husband has been stuffed full of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert crêpes, and has started to mumble in French while he sleeps.  If you too want to be crêpe-crazed, and join us on our expedition into all things crêpe, the easiest thing to do is start by learning how to make French Crêpes.  Practice your crêpe technique, and keep a stack of these über thin French pancakes on hand.  Once you’ve got crêpes in your fridge or freezer– everything else will be très simple.

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Glamping: Vegan Red Lentils with Spinach | Palak Dal

Glamping: Palak Dal (Red Lentils with Spinach)

Glamping: Vegan Red Lentils with Spinach | Palak Dal

Glamping: Red Lentils with Spinach | Palak Dal

“Glamping”– or, Glamour Camping– is the perfect way to enjoy time ‘with nature,’ while still feeling happy and full at the end of the day.  This series of “Glamping” recipes will focus on cooking outdoors, with recipes as exciting and fulfilling as your camping trip.  

If you’ve spent your day scrambling over rocks, looking for trail markers, and guzzling bottle after bottle of Gatorade-infused water, by dinnertime you’re probably ravenous!  Chances are, those snack bags of trail mix haven’t left you full and satisfied, and what you really want (and need) is a delicious, flavorful meal to end the day.  For those of you camping, however, getting that meal might be a little trickier.  When you find yourself at a campsite without electricity, refrigeration, or an oven– have no fear!  With a little preparation, you can easily end your day by devouring a bowl (or two) of Indian-style Red Lentils with Spinach (or Palak Dal).

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Vegan Black Beluga Lentil Salad- Easy to prepare, 10 Ingredients

Beluga Lentil Salad

 

Vegan Black Beluga Lentil Salad- Easy to prepare, 10 Ingredients

Beluga Lentil Salad

This Beluga Lentil salad is easy to prepare, vegan, and the perfect warming dish for fall and winter.

Have you noticed my lentil obsession?  I’ve been on a lentil-cooking crusade lately, scouring the area to find as many kinds of lentils as possible.  I’ve eagerly devoured red lentils, French green lentils, regular green lentils, and now– black Beluga lentils.  This Beluga Lentil Salad is vegan, easy to prepare, and only uses 10 ingredients.

These special, tiny little lentils get their name because, at a glance, they look like Beluga caviar.  Unlike the pricey fish eggs, black Beluga lentils are extremely affordable, fairly easy to find, and are perfect for both busy weeknight dinners and fancier gourmet-style meals.  You could, of course, attempt to pass these lentils off as caviar to unsuspecting guests at a dinner party.  It would be hilarious, and your faux-roe ruse will either last less than a second, or make everyone think you’re able to afford a heaping bowl of caviar.  The jig might be up when they remember they’re sitting in your teensy apartment and not a rambling mansion.  In any case, your guests will be thrilled with the lentils, because they are fantastic.

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Glamping: Vegan Chana Masala - A delicious, fast, camping friendly meal

Glamping: Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

 

Glamping: Vegan Chana Masala - A delicious, fast, camping friendly meal

Glamping: Chana Masala

“Glamping”– or, Glamour Camping– is the perfect way to enjoy time ‘with nature,’ while still feeling happy and full at the end of the day.  This series of “Glamping” recipes will focus on cooking outdoors, with recipes as exciting and fulfilling as your camping trip.  

A few months back, the husband started gushing about nature.  That’s right, he wanted to go camping.  To be more specific, he wanted to go on an epic, multi-week, national park-hopping, cross-country hiking and camping trip.  While I admitted that this sounded amazing (and exhausting), I had never been camping before.  Ever.  That’s right– he was taking this city-diva into the wilderness.  To be honest, I wasn’t incredibly worried about sleeping in a tent, or showering in a bath-house, or getting a little dirty.  My main worry was, you guessed it– the food!  I assumed (correctly, I might add), that a lot of the national parks are fairly isolated, with limited restaurant access.  We decided, of course, to go anyway and make it work.  What followed was a whirl of food planning, trip planning, and then eighteen days of driving, hiking, and delicious campground cooking.

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French Lentils with Dijon Vinaigrette

French Lentils with Dijon Vinaigrette

French Lentils with Dijon Vinaigrette- Vegan, Easy to prepare, & Perfect for a side dish or main course

French Lentils with Dijon Vinaigrette

Every time I try a new kind of lentil, I fall in love all over again.  These delicious little legumes come in a rainbow of colors and flavors, and are used in dishes all over the world.  Your local grocery store should carry a few kinds of lentils– at the very least they’ll probably have green or brown lentils.  If, however, you want to branch out into the vast and exciting world of lentil-ness, (yes, that’s a technical term… okay no, no it’s not), try buying a bag of red lentils, beluga lentils, or the fancy-schmancy French green lentils.  And yes, before you ask, the reason French green lentils are different from regular green lentils, is that they come with alluring accents and little tiny berets.  Really.  (No, not really.  Of course not).  This recipe for French Lentils with Dijon Vinaigrette is vegan, simple to prepare, and bursting with flavor.

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Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza- Thin Crust Gourmet Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese, Fig Jam, and Fresh Rosemary

It’s time for pizza!  Everybody loves pizza– even if someone says they don’t, there is probably at least one kind of pizza they would, in fact, love.  Pizza means choices, and not just for toppings.  Some love the goopy, deep-dish Chicago-style pizza.  Others prefer huge, thin slices of hand-tossed New York-esque pizza.  There’s also the traditional Italian Margherita pizza, and a newer favorite– the gourmet pizza.  These tasty slices are usually on a thin crust, and have flavorful, non-traditional toppings.  One of my favorite gourmet pies is this Rosemary Fig Pizza.

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