The holidays are upon us and I am determined to enjoy every moment of them! One of the ways our family makes the holidays special is by using traditions to make memories from year to year. We have found some of those traditions changing. As the age of our 3 girls (12, 14 & 16 years) change, so do their interests. We used to put them to bed early, then grab them from their beds, pajamas blankies and all, and throw them into our heated car to go look at Christmas lights. They LOVED it. I remember the giggles, their ringlets & curls bouncing as Daddy carried them out to the car, & the sound of Christmas music streaming out from the car every time he would open the car door to throw another girl in! Oh what fun memories! Now we can’t imagine lifting our grown girls, or that they would enjoy being in public in their jammies. Yes, traditions sometimes have to change.
I am having my family over for Thanksgiving Brunch this year. I have 3 sisters and their families coming, and my Mom & Mother-in-Law. I’m truly looking forward to some fun family time. I have the most precious nieces and nephews, 3 are teens and 3 are under the age of 4. I can’t wait to see them all!
I’m excited to switch up our regular menu and come up with some great breakfast/brunch recipe ideas. I have a few ideas of my own that I will need to experiment with before Thanksgiving day, and I also found some amazing recipes on Pinterest that I want to try.
Here is the menu
Best Ever Cranberry Sauce
Jaw Droppinly Good Cranberry Mimosas
3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spiced Chai
Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Sauced Sliders
Oven Scrambled Eggs
Cornflake Topped Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Apple Kale Slaw With Curried Almond Dressing
Easy Elegant Yogurt Berry Parfait in a Trifle
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
After trying many different cranberry sauce recipes, this one is by far my favorite. Everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe. It is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Some cranberries are left whole, some and smashed. It is not too spicy with just a touch of cinnamon. It is perfection, and thick enough to smear on a piece of toast like a jam.
This is also a recipe from Shockingly Delicious. She takes a tablespoon of the Best Every Cranberry Sauce recipe above, puts it in the bottom of a champagne flute, adds some sparkling wine (I plan on using Moscato) & serve! Can’t get much easier than that. The color of these Mimosa’s is so pretty, & I plan on adding a spiral of orange peel to each glass to make them look even more festive.
This is a recipe I will need to experiment with. Update: I did! Here it is. I was inspired by Starbucks Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Panini– a sandwich that tastes like Thanksgiving! I will be making these for dinner next week & will post the recipe if they turn out yummy!
Sometimes simple is better. I was going to make quiche or a breakfast casserole, but with so many other rich recipes that we will be having, I thought I would keep the eggs pure and simple. I love this recipe. It makes enough for a crowd and couldn’t be easier.
This recipe has been made by our family for years. It is so far from good for you, but boy, it sure tastes good! I like to ask my sister to bring this. She makes it the best, and then I don’t have to face how junky the ingredients really are for you! Those cream of ‘something’ soups get me every time, but it IS a celebration, so bring it on.
I must have some greens on the plate at any holiday celebration. This recipe for Apple Kale Slaw is really hearty, delicious & beautiful to look at. I am going to leave out the tomatoes and add dried cranberries or maybe pomegranate seeds. Mmmm!
We always have deviled eggs at our family Thanksgiving celebrations. My older sister makes these the best, too! Her secret ingredient? Instead of using regular mustard, she uses a bit of honey mustard. The teens go nuts over these so she usually makes a couple dozen.
I may put my 13-year-old baker to work on these the day before Thanksgiving. She is a super gifted baker and would do a great job. This recipe caught my eye because they can be rolled out and sliced the night before, then raise for an hour in the morning, then baked. I like the idea of greeting my guests with the scent for freshly baked cinnamon rolls!
Gotta have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving! This recipe is my all-time favorite recipe for Pumpkin Pie. My sweet neighbors spoil us by delivering pumpkin pie during the holiday season, and it was by far the best pumpkin pie I had ever tasted. I asked for the recipe & then of course, had to write a blog post about it. It uses a secret ingredient! Click through to see what it is.
I’m so ready for Thanksgiving Day Brunch with my sweet family. Cannot wait to savor the food & the moments with them!
Call this Hashbrowns, Spinach & Tomato a pie, a quiche, or omelette–whatever you call it, call it good!
I love taking traditional meals like this one and figuring out how to make them smarter, with the right ingredients at the right price!
DO IT SMARTER
There are several things I do that makes shopping, menu planning and dinner -making smarter.
First, I look for recipes that I can revamp with ingredients that are better for my family. I use organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to dairy, and look for ways to swap ingredients for smarter ingredients.
For example, in this Hashbrowns, Spinach & Tomato Pie recipe, I use shredded potatoes instead of pie crust, vegetables instead of bacon or ham, and olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
Another thing I like to do is use ingredients that I know will last throughout the week. Organic eggs are a great thing to buy and use all throughout the week. I buy 2 cartons and hard boil one whole carton for snacks and to top salads.
I also buy a large bag of Hashbrown potatoes most weeks, as they are great in breakfast recipes and also as a quick side dish to many other non-breakfast recipes. I make sure the brand I buy is just plain old shredded potatoes, with no additives or extra oils or salt added.
A bag of shredded cheese is another ingredient I buy at the beginning of the week and make sure it stretches all week. If we have tacos, we do not load on the cheese like we used to…just a sprinkling will do. If I make a casserole, most call for 2-3 cups of cheese which is usually not necessary. I use half that amount and it rarely makes a difference except for fewer calories & more my pocket-book! I will say, it the cheese is organic like the Horizon Organic Shredded Mozzarella cheese that I used in this recipe, I am more likely to pile it on!
The last thing I do that is pretty smart is make one day a week a ‘breakfast for dinner” day. Breakfast food is so easy to make, and recipes like this one that has eggs and organic dairy & veggies can be a healthy & hearty meal.
HASHBROWN, SPINACH & TOMATO PIE RECIPE
Let’s talk about this recipe. It was a snap to throw together and was super flavorful. The colors in it are so pretty & the browning of the hash brown crust just adds to the beauty of the dish. Organic Horizon Whole Milk adds extra creaminess to the egg filling. It is really a great dish with lots of texture.
We had this for dinner last night and I really enjoyed it. It will be a recipe I make often, in fact, I am making a version of it as I type for my girls for breakfast, with no garlic or veggies. They just wanted plain for breakfast, just plain hash browns, cheese and eggs. It smells great as it is baking right now and is making me hungry!
Feel free to use whatever veggies you want. I think sliced zucchini squash or roasted asparagus would be great!
Hashbrowns, Spinach & Tomato Pie
2 cups shredded hash brown potatoes (I used frozen, straight from the bag)
Spray or grease a 9 inch pie plate; put the shredded hash brown potatoes into the pie plate. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat. Press down into pie plate and push them up the sides of the plate a bit.
Bake for 8 minutes; remove from oven & top with 1/2 cup Horizon Organic Mozzarella Cheese & set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet
Add spinach and tomatoes; cook for 3 minute sort until spinach is wilted, stirring frequently.
Add garlic & continue to cook for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and spread over potatoes.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, Horizon Organic Whole Milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.
Pour over spinach & tomatoes.
Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the pie
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Cut & Serve.
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We have been enjoying Meatless Mondays around here for quite a while now. It has been much fun creating or finding meatless & dairy free meals and desserts. It causes us to eat more plant-based & gives me excuse to mix up my recipes & pour over my Vegan board on Pinterest. I found a couple of recipes for Pumpkin bread and remixed them to come up with this better-for-you Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar Streusel Crust recipe. It is now a favorite! It is so very good that I won’t ever go back to my usual non-vegan, double-the-sugar pumpkin bread recipe.
It is also Monday night football season, so I’ve had extra fun finding meatless meals and desserts that we can enjoy as a family while having the game on. Notice I say “having the game on” instead of “watching the game.” That is because my husband is really the only one who watches Monday night football. He is in a house of girls who are not too interested, but I must say, I love the fun fall atmosphere that a football game brings to the house. It causes me to light fall candles, plug-in my fun lighty- up pumpkin & even use it as an excuse call up my friends and have them over during the week if I’m feeling social. If not, I just cozy up in the corner of the couch with my fuzzy blanket and fuzzy socks & listen to my husband cheer on his team. He is an extremely quiet guy until it comes to sports…then he gets quite animated and I find myself chuckling at him. It can be very entertaining. Oh how I love my man!
This Vegan Pumpkin Bread recipe is anther something that I just love. It pleases both the girls & guys, and is the thing to make when having people over. It is nice and girly & tastes great with a cup of coffee or tea, but also is sweet & special enough to pass as a dessert with the guys, enjoyed with a pumpkin ale.
The bread is soft and moist, you won’t miss the whole milk, butter or eggs one bit! Creamy Silk Almondmilk, thick pumpkin, and vegan butter alternative is what this bread so moist. The streusel top is a buttery brown sugar concoction that is nice and hearty, not dry & crumbly like most streusels. It seeps into the bread a bit while it bakes and the result is just—MMM.
This recipe mixes up in a snap. All ingredients except the flour and baking powder are combined together in one bowl. You then simply wisk in the dry ingredients, pour in a pan, and top with streusel.
It is a great way to keep things simple on a Monday night. Serve with a crockpot of vegan chili & call it good. Your home will smell, taste, look and sound like fall while eating this if you make it on a Meatless Monday Football Night!
Do you have any recipes that can be remixed for #MeatlessMondayNight?
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (can use wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup of vegan buttery spread or butter if you are non-vegan, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease & flour one 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Bread- in a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredient through salt & whisk to combine. If coconut oil re-solidifys, no worries, a few small white clumps are ok.
Stir in the flour and baking powder until just combined, don’t overmix. Batter is quite thick.
Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
Streusel Crust – in a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour & toss with a fork until mixture combines and crumbs and clumps form. This is a moist streusel, but if your seems very moist and is paste-like, add another 1-2 tablespoon flour, as needed to dry it out.
Evenly sprinkle the streusel topping over the top, using your fingers to break up large clumps in necessary.
Bake for about 40-44 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
Allow bread to cool in pan, on top of a wire rack, for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto the rack to finish cooling completely.
Slice bread with a serrated knife in a sawing motion, going over any stubborn patches of the crust a few times, taking care to be gentle to not compress the loaf. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.
To freeze, wrap completely cooled loaf in plastic wrap, then place loaf inside a gallon-sized plastic zipped bag. Bread will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 6 months
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
This tea is going to provide you with a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins & minerals. It is full of vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc & magnesium.
It can help calm & relax, burn calories, and is detoxifying. It is also rich in fiber –and that’s just naming a few of its benefits! If you are looking to add more nutrients into your day, ditch the coffee & try matcha. I buy organic matcha powder and a little goes a long way!
Matcha powder can be enjoyed in so many ways. Here are some ideas of how you can enjoy matcha:
• Creamy frothy coconut milk matcha latte (recipe below)
• Matcha milkshake over ice
• Matcha chia cereal (recipe below)
• Added to your green smoothie
• Throw some into your baked goods
If you have never tried this amazing green powder before, why not give it a try?
Here are 2 simple recipes for you to make using matcha:
1 cup of coconut milk (or any nut milk of choice)
1/2 tsp of matcha powder
Small amount of hot water to blend
~Heat your milk on the stove or use your coffee machine
~In a cup or small coffee plunger, add your matcha powder & mix a small amount of boiling water in and give it a good stir to break up all the lumps. (A tiny whisk would be helpful, or for the matcha enthusiasts you can actually buy a bamboo matcha whisk also called a chasen. But that is totally optional. I just use a fork.)
~Once you have whisked the powder well then add your hot nut milk. I like to use a single serve coffee plunger when making matcha. I then use the plunger to plunge up and down fast to create lovely frothy milk. If you do not have a coffee press, simply heat the milk using your coffee machine
~Serve in your favourite cup or bowl. Add sweetener of choice as matcha does have a slightly bitter taste. I use stevia but coconut nectar or raw honey would work great also.
I wanted to rename this recipe Renee’s Awesome Coffee Cake, because the recipe is from my sweet friend Renee. She served it to me one day with a cup of coffee, and I was in coffee cake heaven. I decided to keep the original name, despite what the cake means to me, which is memories of sitting with my dear friend in her dining room and getting loved on several times now with this same cake recipe. Renee was sweet enough to share her recipe with me, so of course I had to share it with all of you.
This cake is so very good. It is dense but moist at the same time. The crumbly top is a sweet cinnamon-sugar streusel type topping. My favorite thing about this cake is that it uses ingredients already on hand and can be thrown together in a super fast and easy way. It is a great recipe to bring out when you have unexpected guests and just need to whip something up that will make the whole house feel warm and inviting because it smells amazing! I love to make it on a Saturday morning, as it is a great way to get the family to roll out of bed and sit around the table eating slow, for some quality morning time together.
Gramma’s Crumb Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons coconut oil (original recipe calls for shortening, could also use butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Cut in coconut oil (or shortening or butter). Reserve 1/2 cup of dry, crumbly mixture and set aside. Place beaten egg in a measuring cup and add enough milk to equal one cup. Add vanilla & combine with flour mixture, mixing well. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and sprinkle with reserved dry mixture. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar (use your judgement, I used about 4-5 tablespoons of butter) Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Serves 8.