Happy May! I hope you are doing well. I mentioned in my previous post that this Easter, I hosted my first official brunch for the family. Well, I am happy to report it was a success. Since it was brunch, I made a made a mixture of sweet and savory dishes, and a mixture of breakfast and lunch dishes. Here we go… The first new recipe was for a french toast casserole. I am not a huge fan of breakfast food in general. I eat eggs, and I love love love veggie bacon, but I usually don’t eat those things in the morning. As I am sure you remember from previous posts, my favorite breakfast is a left over dinner. Also, I cannot and do not ever have sweet things for breakfast…it makes me feel so queasy. I’ve had this issue since I was a kid, and therefore don’t usually eat traditional breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, french toast, cereal, etc… That said, ever now and again, I crave french toast. Unfortunately, I am french toast snob, meaning I am super picky about french toast. I haven’t found a recipe to date that I love, or one that satisfies the craving. I am always hunting for french toast like the kind they serve at “Fireside Inn” on Grand Lake in Presque Isle Michigan. Side story, our good friends Tia and Derrick Carriere introduced us to Fireside Inn back in 1997. We went for a weekend trip and loved it. For the next ten years we went to Fireside every October, with the same group of friends (Tia, Derrick, Jeannie, Rob, Dean, Brianna, Chuck, & Nicole I mean you guys☺) and we always had a blast. The “Fireside weekend” tradition unfortunately dwindled away, but I am happy to report that we are all still good friends. Better yet, all our kids are good friends. Anyway, as part of the weekend package, we’d get breakfast at the lodge, and there was always french toast on the menu. I still don’t know why, but that french toast is always the french toast I compare all other recipes too. For example, if we go out to breakfast and Dan orders french toast, I always try a bite, and I usually end up saying “…yeah, it’s okay, but it isn’t as good as Fireside.” All these years later I still miss Fireside’s french toast, and consider it the yummiest french toast I have ever eaten. I think perhaps it has something to do how much I loved our Fireside trips, and how much I love the faces that were around that BIG breakfast table. If you are interested, here is a link to Fireside’s website: http://www.firesideinngrandlake.com/home.html
Anyway, as far as breakfast food goes, I don’t usually enjoy sweet, but since I was also serving savory fare at the brunch, I knew I’d be okay. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to make it for Easter brunch. WOW! It was really really good, and received rave reviews from the family, BUT is it as good as Fireside’s french toast? Well…it’s a casserole so I couldn’t really compare it to Fireside’s french toast. That said, I would definitely make it again, and Dan gave it an A++. Here is the link to the recipe that I used:http://tomatoesonthevine-velva.blogspot.com/2011/01/french-toast-souffle.html FYI: I used King’s Hawaiian bread in my casserole…YUM.
The next recipe I used was for cheesy hash brown potatoes. I have made this recipe before, and we liked it so I decided to make it for the brunch. I love love love cheesy potatoes, and this recipe really satisfies. It’s pretty simple to make, and I usually have all the ingredients. The only substitution I make is the type of soup used. As a vegetarian, I obviously don’t use cream of chicken soup. I always substitute cream of potato instead. Here is a link to the recipe that I used:http://nancycreative.com/2011/02/24/cheesy-hash-brown-potatoes/
The next recipe was for a breakfast casserole. I usually make this type of casserole at Christmas. I put it together beforehand, and then whilst we are opening gifts at the crack of dawn, I can pop the casserole in the oven to bake. This recipe is very similar to a few different casseroles that I have made in the past, as it contains eggs, cheese, and sausage…or in our case veggie sausage. As a side note, since I am unable to find veggie sausage crumble at the grocery store, I have to make my own. I use Morning Star Farms veggie crumble, and then season it with fennel, salt, pepper, and garlic. This casserole has a crescent roll crust, and is spiced with salt, pepper, and rosemary or oregano…YUM. This recipe also got rave reviews and it was my Dad’s favorite dish of the day. He actually told me that if all vegetarian food was this good, I could “turn him.”;) Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.branappetit.com/2011/11/16/breakfast-casserole-blog-for-a-cause/
Next I made blueberry banana muffins. I love love love me a muffin, so I decided to make muffins for the brunch. These muffins do not contain a ton of sugar, and are actually quite healthy. That said, I only gave them a B. They were okay…just okay. I’ve definitely had better, and I’ve actually made better. I am not sure if I’d make these again. Next time I make muffins, I’ll probably use a different recipe. Everyone seemed to like them though as I didn’t have a ton left over. Here is the link to the recipe I used:http://sukarah.com/2013/04/healthy-blueberry-muffins.html?_szp=420538
In addition to the muffins, I also made apple cinnamon scones. These were so good. I actually think that these may be the best scones I’ve ever made. Ryan helped me make them, and we had a ton of fun in the kitchen together. I love baking with the kids, and I also love that I got another chance to use my awesome scone pan. I got it a few years ago, and I still love it as much as the day I bought it. It is made by Nordic Ware, and BONUS it’s made here in the States. I especially love that all the scones get a nice crispy edge, and they are always perfectly triangularly shaped. This recipe was simple to follow, and I had all the ingredients on hand except for the cinnamon chips. When I was shopping for the groceries for the brunch, I wasn’t able to find cinnamon chips, so I used butterscotch chips instead. The result? Perfection. I LOVED these scones, and will definitely make them again. For the record, I will always use butterscotch chips as they made the scones taste really caramely. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/10/05/1005-fresh-apple-cinnamon-scones-tis-the-season/
The last recipe I used for my Easter brunch was pumpkin kibbeh. This is a recipe I featured in my last post. The only difference between this recipe and the previously featured recipe is the cooking method. Instead of shaping the pumpkin kibbeh into balls and then frying them, I spread the pumpkin mixture into a baking dish and baked it. I doubled the recipe so I could have a top and bottom layer of the pumpkin kibbeh. I used the same stuffing recipe, and it was my middle layer. I am happy to report that it came out great, and everyone liked it. Personally, I prefer the fried kibbeh balls, and when I use this recipe again, I will prepare the kibbeh that way.
My first Easter brunch was a success. All the food was really yummy, and we had a great day. The kids went for a walk down our road, and whilst they were gone a magical “lollipop garden” sprouted up. They were convinced that I had done it, but of course I vehemently denied it. I mean really?? Like I’d “plant” lollipops…yeah right. 😉 Once the kids picked all the yummy lollipops, we exchanged Easter baskets, and then had an old fashioned egg hunt outside. My “brother from another mother” Jim and his lovely wife Kim, hid all the eggs outside and then sent the kids on a hunt to find them. They had a blast. Lastly, we had our annual egg war, and this year my Dad had the winning egg. It was a really great day filled with family, laughs, and of course some really yummy recipes. I hope you try the recipes. Enjoy! ♥♥