Simple Strata Holiday Brunch

strata

Feeling stressed over the Christmas holiday?  It may be difficult to be joyful when so much of the meaning of Christmas has been lost in the busyness of “doing” and “giving gift”…let me help you recapture the moments by creating your own special Christmas and New Year gatherings with simplicity and ease.

In the middle of a very active month, I did find  blessed time to create a wonderful, yet simple, breakfast menu for my holiday guests.  If you don’t have time or energy for a big spread, a light brunch makes a perfect Christmas or New Years breakfast.

No need to  fuss too much, as long as the food has delicious fresh ingredients, drinks are warm and tasty, and your home has a charming atmosphere.   In addition to my easy menu, I cook a  big pot of potpourri on the stove for that  wonderful Christmas smell.  AND… I always have a warm wassail or cider available served in my grandmother’s beautiful glass cups. 

Keeping it simple and charming is the key to enjoying the holiday season.  Your family and friends will thank you for allowing them to savor the taste and smell of Christmas and welcome the new year in this simple yet special way.

Coffee at LuLu’s Home for the Holidays Brunch

* Savory Egg, Sausage and Cheese Strata

* Sweet Blueberry Muffins

* Fresh Fruit

* Paula Deen’s Apple and Pear Cider

*Fresh Pot of Starbucks Coffee

Strata has to be one of the easiest and fastest dishes make.  I was pressed for time this year, so it fit perfectly into my schedule.

Hope this special dish adds to the enjoyment of the Christmas holiday!

Ingredients:  12 eggs, 1 quart of milk, 1 teas. dry mustard, 1 lb. sausage, 1/2 cup mushroom, 1 cup of grated cheese, 1 loaf of French bread cut into cubes, salt, pepper, parsley.

Get your sausage browned on medium heat before we get started.  Next, layer a large rectangle baking pan with cubes of French Bread, next layer with 1/2 cup grated cheese and mushrooms.  When sausage is cooked, add the sausage as the next layer.  In a separate bowl mix together 12 eggs, milk and dry mustard, salt and pepper until well blended.  Pour egg mixture over other ingredients into baking pan and top with one more layer of grated cheese (1/2 cup) and parsley.  Cover with tin foil and chill in fridge for 2-12 hours.

After strata is chilled; bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until bubbly.  Enjoy!

Oh Christmas Tree

christmas treeAt the center of your heart is a story, a unique story told over a lifetime…through pictures, memories, words and Christmas Trees.  Every Christmas tree tells your story, from the color you choose, the ornaments you like and the tree topper.   If you are a sentimental person you may choose ornaments tied to the past that have special meaning.  If you have children, your tree will be decorated with things they have made or ornaments they love, or you may be a person who has several trees, each decorated with different themes.

The decorating of our Christmas tree has always been tied to my heart.  When my daughter was growing up, we choose ornaments that looked like family members or our dog.  As time moved on, the tree had a vintage flair and then one year I got brave and added large items like clocks, 8×10 pictures etc.  Yes, it was very artsy.

This year, my heart longed for simplicity and a new look, so I changed the large tree in the formal living area.  Not as much glitz as times past, but just a sweet and simple mix of ribbons and pinecones.

Create a memory this Christmas season with the gift of your heart on display…your Christmas tree!

Welcome Christmas

christmas door

“Welcome Christmas” begins right at your front door.

This year we decided to add a little warmth at the front door by adding silk Poinsettia, a wonderful wreath and a fresh clean welcome mat.  Keeping it simple and not too complicated gives just the right touch without spending too much. Besides, I know you are spending it on all of those new Christmas ornaments for your tree!

christmas tree 1

5′ tree next to “table for two” set up in formal living area. Tree can be moved easily to another room when needed.

The warmth at the front door is just as important as those finishing touches on a Christmas tree…It also gives a hint to the guest of what might be awaiting them inside.  I think it is fun to take the guest from a warm welcome at the front door, keep it going in the foyer and extend to other rooms in the home.

christms tree 2

5′ tree on top of living room dresser to add height and warmth

Decorating for Christmas this year took me on somewhat of a different journey.  One that I suppose is changing as the seasons of life change.  This year I kept it charming and simple.  You will find a beautifully lit and simply decorated 5′ tree in each room with garlands adorning the windows being just enough.  Candles and mercury glass add just the right touch of illumination and of course a nice pine scent.

Delight in the simple moments of Christmas…just the right amount of ambiance and sparkle to welcome family, friends and neighbors for an abundant blessing…the heart of your home!

Soft Flannel Christmas Sheets in the Master

Soft Flannel Christmas Sheets in the Master

Wintry Green Bean Casserole

Fall 2010 067A warm crackling fire, white blankets of sparkle, and crisp swirling air, conjures up a passion to create  comfort.  Imagine yourself enveloped in a warm woolen blanket and a strong cup of hot cocoa.  These are the inviting images of winter’s blessing.

Recently as I prepared a wonderful assortment of Thanksgiving dishes for my family, I decided to add this awesome wintry green bean casserole for tradition sake and because of it’s special hearty, warm and satisfying comfort. With it’s fresh ingredients and gentle mix of crème, mushrooms and white wine it satisfies like a blanket of warmth on a winter’s night.green bean casserole

Ingredients:  1 lb. fresh green beans (ends trimmed), 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 quart Mushrooms (diced), 2 thinly shredded Onions , 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs, 1/2 cup Flour, 1/2 cup Chicken Stock, Salt, Pepper and 2 Tablespoons White Wine

Place green beans on medium to high heat until boiling and remove immediately to cool water.

While green beans are cooling, mix together Panko Bread Crumbs, flour, onions in a medium bowl until well blended.  Place on a thin baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes on 325 degrees until onions are slightly crisp.  Set aside.

Gently fold together whipping cream, mushrooms, chicken stock, salt, pepper and wine and add green beans to mixture.  Pour into baking dish, top with onion mixture and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and delicious on 325 degrees.