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Brunch – It’s the meal that comes with a Mimosa

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There’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then there’s BRUNCH, the meal that comes with a Mimosa. Sign me up for that one! I do love a good, hearty brunch! Aside from enjoying my darling breakfast at lunch time, brunch usually means good times with good friends and family.

Yesterday, we hosted our first Brunch to BBQ party. And it was a fantastic success, though we never actually fired up the grill. We started with a wonderful brunch and several Mimosas. Then, we lied around on the living room floor until we felt like we could move again, watched a bit of the World Cup and then headed outside for a few games of Polish Horseshoes. My sister whipped up a batch of margaritas and the festivities continued. Later in the day, we enjoyed dinner and then relaxed in the backyard until it was time to sleep. A great day!

Here are a few details on the brunch…

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

Ingredients

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Toast English muffins in a toaster. Place on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm while you assemble the other components. In a skillet over medium high heat, cook each slice of Canadian Bacon for a minute or two on each side, until it is hot and slightly browned. Place one slice on each English muffin in the oven to keep warm. Poach the eggs, according to the procedure shown here. Hold the eggs in the cold water bath while you prepare the hollandaise sauce (Recipe here). Prepare the hollandaise sauce and keep it warm above a bowl of warm water. Reheat the eggs by gently placing them in a pot of barely simmering water for about a minute. Remove the eggs and dry on a paper towel. Place one egg on each English Muffin. Top with a spoonful of hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.  Serves 4


*As a little variation, use smoked salmon in place of the Canadian Bacon. Just don’t cook the salmon or put it in the oven!

Salmon Eggs Benedict

Brunchy Beverages

Brunch and Mimosas go hand in hand. Bellinis are another brunchilicious option. Both Mimosas and Bellinis are champagne cocktails. Mimosas mix orange juice with champagne while Bellinis traditionally combine champagne with peach nectar. About 2 ounces of fruit to 4 ounces of champagne should do the trick. Substitute other fruit nectars to make your own variation. For a non-alcoholic option, use ginger ale or sparking cider instead of champagne.

Mango Bellini

Homemade Cream Cheese with Bagels

Make your own flavored cream cheese by softening cream cheese and adding your own flavors. For today’s brunch, I made scallion cream cheese by mixing in a bunch of chopped green onions and an olive cream cheese using a mix of chopped olives. Sliced Spanish olives with pimento would work great too! After you stir in your flavoring, put the cream cheese back in the refrigerator to cool before serving. A few other ideas for homemade cream cheese flavors: Smoked Salmon, Strawberry, Veggie, Blueberry, Honey-Nut, Roasted Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato, Maple, Cinnamon Apple, Cherry Almond, Spicy Pepper.

Homemade Cream Cheese

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

My sister treated us to her breakfast pizza, which as she explains, is based off of a breakfast pizza she saw offered at a Hess gas station. Imagine my surprise! Basing a dish off of something you saw at a gas station?? I suppose food inspiration can come from anywhere! I may base my next Beef Wellington off of Hess’ food offerings. All kidding aside, this pizza is delicious. It’s easy to put together and makes a great dish for guests.

Ingredients

  • 1 Prepared Pizza Crust (my sister uses a whole wheat crust)
  • 1/2 pound Bacon
  • 1 1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Allow bacon to drain. Then, crumble it into small pieces. Reserve bacon grease. Whisk the eggs together with the milk. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and then cook in a pan until scrambled. Set aside. Brush the pizza crust with a bit of the bacon grease. Sprinkle about a cup of the mozzarella cheese over the crust. Top with the scrambled eggs and bacon. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the cheddar cheese on top. Season with a bit of pepper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Breakfast Casserole

Sarah's Breakfast Casserole

A good friend brought along a breakfast casserole, a delicious mix of eggs, cheese, bread, and sausage. She explained that ever since she enjoyed this dish at a friend’s house, it’s been her go-to breakfast recipe. It’s a great all-in-one breakfast dish that’s perfect for a crowd. My mother in law makes a similar casserole, but she uses peppers and onions too. They’re both delicious. I’ll have to get the recipes to share with you soon!

Part 1 of our day was perfect!  The food, the drinks, and the company were all amazing.

Round 1 Results: Food - 0 The Gourmand Mom - 1

To be continued…

Father’s Day Breakfast in Bed: Strawberry Stuffed French Toast and Bacon

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Are there ways of knowing whether a man will make a good father? Some sort of definitive predictors? Perhaps a checklist or a DNA test? If there were such a thing, what characteristics would they test for? What factors determine whether a man will become a great father?

My husband and I met in college. We certainly weren’t thinking of kids at the time. We were just kids ourselves. Some of our earliest memories involve pitching hot dogs out of his dorm room window to watch them explode. Our attraction had more to do with each other’s beer pong skills than it did with future parenting abilities. Could I have known at the time that he would someday make at great dad? At what point in our relationship did it start mattering? Could I have been certain, even as we said our wedding vows, that he’d be as excellent a father as he was a husband?

I’m not sure it’s possible to be absolutely positive that someone will make a good dad before they actually are one. Parenthood is such a life-changing experience.  It requires more of you than you’ve ever given; parts of you that you may not have known were there. Fourteen years ago, I couldn’t have known whether my husband would make a good father. But over the years, we got to know and love each other. We grew and matured together. And, in the way that he treated me, I came to know a good man; a selfless, considerate, gentle, and kind man.

So, I suspected. In fact, I would have bet money on it. But, it wasn’t until I saw the look on his face, in the moment our first son was born, that I knew for sure. He was a father and a dad all at once, in that instant. And, as I recovered from the birth and a debilitating spinal headache, he cared for our newborn baby with apparent ease. When I was nervous and uncertain, he was a natural; calm and confident. And, since those very first moments in the hospital, he has been a loving, selfless, and devoted father to our boys. The good man, who has loved me for all of these years, turned out to be the most wonderful father.

Did I luck out or were there clues in those early days? Probably a little bit of both. Come to think of it, it probably won’t be too long before he’s hanging out the window with our kids, throwing hot dogs onto the pavement, as they all laugh along. I’ll probably join in.

So, this morning we celebrated my husband, the wonderful father, with breakfast in bed. If I were cooking for my own amazing father this morning, there’d be corned beef hash, an egg over-easy, and well-done rye toast on the menu; a man after my own heart or more likely, I after his! (Love you, Daddy!!) But, my husband’s more of a strawberry-stuffed french toast kind of guy with applewood-smoked bacon on the side.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

  • 8 slices Challah Bread
  • 1 package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 8-10 Strawberries, sliced
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Cream
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Butter, for pan
  • Powdered Sugar, for garnish
  • Maple Syrup

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto each slice of bread. Place sliced strawberries on four of the slices.  Use the other four slices of bread to create cream cheese-strawberry sandwiches. In a small baking dish, beat together eggs, cream, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.  In a pan, heat a little butter. One at a time, dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, so that it lightly coats both pieces of bread. Cook in the pan, flipping once until both sides are lightly browned.  Then, place it on the baking sheet in the oven.  Repeat until each sandwich has been cooked.  Allow the sandwiches to cook for 5-10 minutes in the oven to ensure that they are fully cooked.  The cream cheese will be melty and the strawberries slightly softened. Cut each sandwich into two pieces and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4

Happy Father’s Day to my husband, my Daddy, and all of the wonderful fathers out there!

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