Monday, April 25, 2016

Breakfast Goodies #3

I know this is a long time in coming.  So sorry it has taken me this long to post.

Here is the third and final installment of the Breakfast casserole recipes from my mother's birthday brunch.

This is the sweet one.  Perfect for my mother who has developed a bit of sweet tooth as she has gotten older (haven't we all).



Sorry for the crap photo. 

Raspberry and Mascarpone French Toast Bake

Ingredients

Casserole:
12 slices of Italian or French bread cut into pieces (Leave out over night to dry out)
2 (8 oz) containers of mascarpone
1-cup fresh raspberries
12 eggs
2-cups half and half
½ cup maple syrup

Raspberry Sauce:
1-cup raspberries
1-cup water
1-cup sugar
2 TBL cornstarch
3 TBL butter

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x12 baking dish (can also use large oval Corning Ware casserole dish).

Add half of the bread to the baking dish.  Scatter chunks of mascarpone over the bread.  Scatter 1 cup of raspberries over the mascarpone.  Top with the remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half and syrup.  Pour over bread mixture.  Cover securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the sauce:  In a small saucepan, whisk together the water sugar and cornstarch.  Bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens.  Gently fold in 1 cup of raspberries and butter.  Stir gently until butter melts.  Can be made the morning of or the day before.  If you make it the day before, just store in the refrigerator and reheat in the morning.

Remove casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove cover and bake for 30-40 minutes until puffed up and brown. 

Serve with sauce or warm maple syrup.  Both work well with this dish.




And I'm adding this photo of mom and her sister...just because.

Sisters




Saturday, April 9, 2016

Card of the Week

April is by far the heaviest Birthday month for my family.  We have eight birthdays in quick succession.  Already sent out two cards and made two more today.

Here is the inspiration I used:

And here is my sister's card:



And here is Breslyn's:



I am often surprised by how a card changes from when I start it to when I finish it.   Frequently it's quite different.  Just an evolution I guess.

Happy Saturday Everyone.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Breakfast Goodies Part 2

Now it's time for the Spinach and Gruyere Strata.  Again, this recipe originated from Cooks Illustrated.  Need to give credit where credit is due.

You all ready...Here goes:


Breakfast Strata

Spinach and Gruyere Version – Double Recipe

Ingredients (makes one 8 x 12 inch strata)
  • ·       10 – 12 slices supermarket French or Italian Bread
  • ·       10 Tbl butter
  • ·       8 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 of a cup)
  • ·       2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ·       Salt and ground black pepper
  • ·       1 cup medium-dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ·       12 bounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • ·       12 large eggs
  • ·       3 ½ cups half and half

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees.  Arrange bread in a single layer on large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes and flip.  Bake 20 minutes more until bread is dry and crisp. Set aside to cool. (Alternative option: leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side using 4 tablespoons of butter; set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Sauté shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes; add spinach and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir occasionally, until spinach and shallots are combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer spinach mixture to medium bowl; set aside.  Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to ¼ cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Butter 8 x 12 -inch rectangular baking dish with remaining 2 tablespoons butter; arrange half the buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in a single layer in the dish (can cut bread to fit).  Sprinkle half of the spinach mixture over the layer of bread.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of the spinach mixture.  Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese.  Sprinkle remaining spinach mixture and then another 1/2 cup of cheese evenly over bread.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in cooled reduced wine mixture, half and half, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.  Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap.  Place boxes of sugar or cake mixes on top of plastic wrap.  (Intent here is to press down lightly on the mixture so all the ingredients are covered in the egg mixture.)  Refrigerate overnight.


Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Uncover strata and add remaining ½ cup cheese.  Bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have slightly pulled away from the side of the baking dish, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Enjoy and make often. Preferably with the Sausage version.  It's hard to decide which version is better.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Card of the Week

I'm prepping for the onslaught of April birthdays that are fast approaching.  The next four will all have to be kid focused as four of the five grandkids have birthdays in April or early May.

Here was my inspiration from CAS(E) This Sketch:


And here is my version:


I was trying for a "guy" card.  I think it will work.  Happy carding.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Breakfast Goodies Part 1

After the big Saturday night party to celebrate Mom's 90th Birthday, we hosted a family breakfast out at the farm.  So thankful that everyone was able to make it and enjoy a few more hours together before my Minnesota family had to fly back home.  

For our breakfast I made three breakfast casseroles:


They are, in order from front to back:
  1. French Toast Bake with Raspberries and Marscapone
  2. Spinach and Gruyere Strata
  3. Sausage and Monterey Jack Strata
After, several requests, I've promised to post each of the recipes here.

Today we are going to start with the Sausage and Monterey Jack Strata.  It seems to be the most popular and if you only get around to making one...this is it.  The original recipe came from Cooks Illustrated.  I've made a minor adjustments to accommodate my families tastes.  This is also a double batch version, so you can cut this recipe in half and make a smaller version.

Always best to time this so that you are pulling the strata out of the oven while your guests are standing around your kitchen.  It comes out of the oven all puffed and brown.  It looks amazing.  After it cools and couple minutes and falls back down to earth, but it sure does make a fantastic first impression.

And as for taste...well there is nothing quite like it.

Breakfast Strata

Sausage and Monterry Jack Version – Double Recipe

Ingredients: 
  • ·       10 – 12 slices supermarket French or Italian Bread
  • ·       6 Tbl softened butter (approx)
  • ·       1.25 pounds of bulk breakfast sausage
  • ·       6 medium shallots, minced (about 1/3 of a cup)
  • ·       Salt and ground black pepper
  • ·       1 cup medium-dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ·       12 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
  • ·       12 large eggs
  • ·       3 1/2 cups half and half
  • ·       4 Tbl minced fresh parsley leaves

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees.  Arrange bread in a single layer on large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes and flip.  Bake 20 minutes more until bread is dry and crisp. Set aside to cool. (Alternative option: leave slices out overnight to dry.)

When cooled, butter slices on one side using 4 Tbl of butter; set aside.

Fry sausage in medium nonstick skillet of medium heat, breaking sausage apart with wooden spoon, until sausage has lost raw color and begins to brown, about 4 minutes; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently until softened and translucent, about 1 minute longer. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, 2-3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Butter 8 x 12-inch square baking dish with remaining 2 Tbl butter; arrange half the buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in  a single layer in the dish (can cut bread to fit).  Sprinkle half of the sausage mixture over the layer of bread.  Sprinkle ½ cup cheese on top of sausage mixture.  Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese.  Sprinkle remaining sausage mixture and then another ½ cup of cheese evenly over bread.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in cooled reduced wine mixture, half and half, parsley and 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.  Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap.  Place boxes of sugar or cake mixes on top of plastic wrap.  (Intent here is to press down on the mixture so all the ingredients are covered in the egg mixture.)  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Uncover strata and add remaining ½ cup cheese.  Bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have slightly pulled away from the side of the baking dish, 1 hr and 20 minutes. 

Here's a better view of the Sausage Strata...photo bombed by my cousin Leslie.

Now all you have to do is cut into squares and serve.  

Enjoy.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Card of the Week

Had a quiet moment and was able to make another card.  You know...you can never have too many "Happy Birthday" cards at the ready.

Here is the inspiration from CAS(E) this Sketch:


And here is my version:



Happy Wednesday...Happy Carding.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mom's Birthday Card

Just finished making Mom's 90th Birthday card.  Wanted it to be pretty special and I sure hope it is.

I used the CAS(E) this Sketch as my inspiration:



So....let's just say, I started from this point and drifted off a bit.  Here is my version:



Not sure how often Mom checks out my blog anymore.  Let's just hope she doesn't check it for a bit.

Happy Sunday....with Chili in the crockpot.  All good.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Card Day

I got two cards made yesterday.  How fun is that.

Participating in the CAS(E) this Sketch challenge again.

Here is the inspiration:



And here are my interpretations:






I really enjoyed this sketch.  I even tried to do a version with paint graduated from light to dark, but it just didn't turn out how I envisioned it, which isn't all that unusual.

Happy Snow Day.