Family Favorite Breakfast Casserole: EGG BAKE

Ok, so this is not difficult and it is not gourmet, it is just good!

My Aunt makes this breakfast casserole EGG BAKE (my husband calls it ‘French Toast Casserole with Sausage & Cheese’) every holiday when we are together.  She also makes a really complicated Danish Pastry Wreath Recipe to accompany it. If you don’t have the time to make a homemade coffee cake to accompany this dish, make a box coffee cake (I love those too).

Egg Bake Breakfast Casserole Recipe

6 slices white bread/cubed
1 lb. cooked sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt

Mike all together and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a 9 X 13 pan at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes.

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Couples Interactive Dinner Party: VALENTINE’S DAY

Recently, we hosted a “Tantalizing Tapas” & “Dating-Couples Game” Dinner Party.

It was really fun and would be a great Valentine’s Day Affair!

TANTALIZING TAPAS DINNER PARTY MENU:

Small Sides to Start:

  • Toasted Marcona Almonds with sea salt (Can purchase at Whole Foods or Specialty Groceries.)
  • Marinated Castelvetrano Olives (on tooth picks) (Check out your local Olive Bar.)
  • Pickled Vegetables (on tooth picks)

    Main Dishes:

    Patatas bravas with chorizo
    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/461640/patatas-bravas-with-chorizo

    Spanish Radicchio Salad with Manchego Olive Vinaigrette (A super hit from ‘Toro Bravo’ restaurant featured on Portlandia!):
    http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2011/04/spanish-radicchio-salad-with-manchego.html#.UILkQIVgOLU

    Spanish Frittata (any filling you desire):
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/frittata-recipe/index.html

    OR

    Vegetable Empanadas:
    http://www.food.com/recipe/vegetable-empanadas-with-tomato-sauce-247508

    Dessert:

    Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/15191/vanilla+bean+panna+cottaOR

    Spanish Peanut, Buster Parfait Ice Cream Dessert
    http://www.heatovento350.com/2010/06/peanut-buster-parfait-ice-cream-cake.html?showComment=1277755726967

    DATING GAME Steps:

    1. Print out these questions below (One per-pair: Need one-side with “He Said/Partner 1” and one side of paper with “She Said/Partner 2”).
    2. Give each couple a # and divide up the couples so that questions are asked by someone who is NOT their partner.
    3. Move couples into separate rooms so they can’t hear each others answers.
    4. Ask the “SHEsaid” to the opposite partners.
    5. Then return as a group to share all of the responses.
    6. Score the questions. If the couple has the same answer, they get a point for each they guessed the same answer for.
    7. The Couples who get the most answers in-common, wins!

    ASK HER or Partner 1                          PARTNER NAME #1:______________

    *Answer what you really think (not what your partner thinks).

    1. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING AS A COUPLE? (1 POINT)
    2. WHAT BODY PART DOES YOUR PARTNER LIKE BEST ABOUT YOU? (1 POINT)
    3. DOES YOUR PARTNER PICK-UP AFTER HIMSELF OR LET IT LAY AROUND? (1 POINT)
    4. WAS IT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? EXPLAIN. (EACH WORTH 1 POINT)
    5. GIVE ONE INITIAL REASON WHY YOU THOUGHT HE WOULD BE A GOOD PARTNER? (1 POINT)
    6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR? (1 POINT)
    7. WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER COMMUNICATE BEST ABOUT (MONEY, JOB, SEX, LOVE, LEISURE, FAMILY, OR ETC..)? (1 POINT)
    8. HOW MANY CHILDREN DID/DO YOU WANT TO HAVE? (1 POINT)
    9. IF YOUR PARTNER COULD TAKE YOU ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD THEY LIKE TO TAKE YOU? (1 POINT)
    10. IN WHAT ONE WAY WOULD YOUR PARTNER LIKE YOU TO SHOW MORE LOVE FOR THEM? (1 POINT)
    11. IF YOU HAD ONE YEAR LEFT TO LIVE HOW WOULD YOUR RELATIONSHIP BE DIFFERENT? (IN YOUR EYES & IN YOUR PARTNERS EYES) (WORTH 2 POINTS, 1 FOR EACH ANSWER)

    ASK HIM or Partner 2                         PARTNER NAME #2:______________

    1. WHAT DOES YOUR PARTNER ENJOY DOING TOGETHER AS A COUPLE? (1 POINT)
    2. WHAT BODY PART DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER? (1 POINT)
    3. DO YOU PICK-UP AFTER YOURSELF OR LET IT LAY AROUND? (1 POINT)
    4. WOULD YOUR MATE SAY IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? EXPLAIN. (2 POINTS, ONE FOR EACH)
    5. GIVE ONE INITIAL REASON WHY YOUR MATE THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE A GOOD PARTNER? (1 POINT)
    6. WHAT IS HER FAVORITE COLOR? (1 POINT)
    7. WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER COMMUNICATE BEST ABOUT (MONEY, JOB, SEX, LOVE, LEISURE, FAMILY, OR ETC…) (1 POINT)
    8. HOW MANY CHILDREN DID/DOES YOUR PARTNER WANT TO HAVE? (1 POINT)
    9. IF YOU COULD TAKE YOUR PARTNER ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE THEM? (1 POINT)
    10. IN WHAT ONE WAY WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR PARTNER TO SHOW YOU MORE LOVE? (1 POINT)
    11. IF YOU HAD ONE YEAR LEFT TO LIVE HOW WOULD YOUR RELATIONSHIP BE DIFFERENT? (IN YOUR EYES & IN YOUR PARTNERS EYES) (WORTH 2 POINTS, 1 FOR EACH ANSWER)
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    Christmas Family Recipe Favorites

    • Shortbread Diamond Cookies
    • Tijuana Tidbits Recipe
    • Holiday Danish Pastry Wreath Recipe
    • Egg Bake Breakfast Casserole (served w/ above pastry)
    • Bacon+Cheese Fondue Dip Recipe
    • Bacardi Rum Cake Recipe

    Recipes –>

    [click to continue…]

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    Fast Food made Slow for a Gourmet Dinner!

    Our last Gourmet Club Dinner was a really fun one because of its Fast Food themed recipes!

    • The host assigned us each a restaurant and told us to find a dish or recipe we wanted to recreate in anyway.  They made the salad and dessert to make sure to cover those but the rest was wide open.

    We ended up doing Wendy’s Chili (being from Ohio and all, near the founding location of Wendy’s in Dublin, OH) and Frosty’s.  The Chili was good but the Frosty’s tasted exactly like the real thing (see recipe below).  This was such a fun meal and the Mini-Big Mac Sliders were amazing

    McDonald’s:

    Wendy’s:

    Carl’s Junior:

    Chick-Fil-A:

    Taco Bell:

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    Whiskey & a Pickle Juice Back? Elixer in SF

    Like Whiskey? Like Pickles? Like the Mission in San Francisco?

    Whiskey with a Pickle Back

    = Elixir

    1 comment

    Laili • Tasty Afghan Restaurant in Santa Cruz

    If you want a great local, seasonal harvest treat, seriously, try the Pumpkin Bolani (Afghan vegan flatbread with a vegetable filling) at Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz.  You won’t be disappointed in the Bolani (pumpkin or spinach) as an appetizer (sort of like an empanada or samosa) or part of the “Pick 2 Lunch Special.” See the photo above for a visual description and evidence of the three great dipping sauces the Bolani comes with.

    Laili is a downtown, upscale Mediterranean restaurant right across the street from the MAH (Museum of Art & History). It was our first time eating Afghan food and it was delicious Mediterranean style cuisine.  We have only eaten at Laili for lunch so far but we were blown away with the flavor-packed bites of everything we tried.  The garden patio is lovely as is the decor and ambiance for a special lunch.  We also recommend the Silk Road Plate and the Maush-awa soup: lentils, shelling beans, braised lamb, qurut  yogurt (also a vegetarian option).  The server suggested the lamb wrap, which we’ll try next time.  The lunch prices were reasonable and we were absolutely stuffed when we left.

    I suggest Laili restaurant if you have friends or family visitors in town who are either vegetarian, vegan, and/or meat eaters as there are options for everyone.

    101 Cooper St
    Ste B
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    (831) 423-4545

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    2 Great Spots: Toro Bravo in Portland & Lokal in Carmel Valley

    • So dark in these restaurants, photographs were tough!

    Let me say this first, having an amazing taste of this and a superb bite of that is my all time favorite way to eat. Ok, so now you know why I am featuring these two restaurants, located in completely different places, in the same post.

    Over the past two weeks we were lucky enough to be in both Portland, Oregon to photograph a wedding at Mt. Hood and the next weekend at a birthday in Carmel Valley, CA (and Big Sur). We ate at two spectacular places, Toro Bravo and Lokal.  There is a reason that I am mentioning both of these restaurants in the same post (and it is not because both served Padrons). Both spots specialize in really creative, local, and seasonal small plates, meant to be shared by your table. We found that both restaurants were fun and exciting because the dishes that we weren’t that excited about ordering, ended up being our favorite dishes, offering an element of luck and surprise to our feasts.  These dishes were of course recommended by our servers and if you know me, I always ask for the servers’ opinions.

    Yes, both of these restaurants serve seasonal, farm-to-table unique and fun dishes.  However, Toro Bravo is much more of a Spanish Tapas style place than Lokal (even though T.B. serves a variety of dishes that are not necessarily Spanish).  Toro Bravo serves good, inexpensive Sangria to share with your table and that worked well with the shared, family style meal.  Lokal offers good beers on draft for $3 each (half pints) and they also had a local Rose on draft when were there too. I just got this idea, that Lokal should serve pitchers or carafes of beer & wine, in an elegant manner, as a way to follow through with the ‘share’ eat and drink exercise.

    Be sure to save room for desert, at both place!

    Anyways, check out some of the amazingly creative dishes offered when we were there.  Definitely know that they both change the menu frequently.

    Lokal:

    • Crab Hot Dog: Local Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Pistachios, on a bun
    • Bones: Marrow, Shitakes, & Bread
    • Beet Salad: Beets, Coconut/Goat Dressing, & Balsamic Spheres
    • Wedge: Iceberg, Blue Dressing, Blue Cheese (this had the MOST amazing dressing, very garlicky and green from parsley)
    • Sardine Bocadilla: Monterey Sardines, Mojito Aioli, Toast
    • Chicken Wings: Deconstructed
    • Fat Albert: Pork Belly, Negro Chili Sour Cream, Steamed Bun, & Cilantro

    Make a Reservation to eat at Lokal.  They have two seating times, 6pm and 8pm.

    Recent Articles about Lokal:

    SF Gate – “3 new Monterey-area eating places”

    • Monterey Weekly: Lokal Crisp Character: Lokal Restaurant slathers unique personality on Carmel Valley’s plate.

    LOKAL 13752 Center St., Carmel Valley •659-5886 • www.facebook.com/lokalcarmel/info • Open for breakfast/lunch Tues. – Fri. 7am-3pm, and Sat. 9am-2pm; Dinner Thurs.-Sat. 6pm-late

    Toro Bravo:

    • Octopus a la Plancha “Becerrita”*
    • Fried Potato Salad with arugula & peaches
    • Salt Cod Fritters with aioli
    • French “Kiss” (Foi Gros stuffed Soaked in Port Date)
    • Charcuteria Board: Duck Liver Pate, Chicken Liver Pate, French Kiss, House Cured Chorizo
    • Drunken Pork with avocado salad
    • Braised Lamb, Apricots & Coriander with house made noodles

    *Red, our favorites

    Get to Toro Bravo before they open, at least 1/2 hour before so that you don’t have to wait for a table.  They get super crowded, have a really long wait, and don’t take reservations (only available for 7 persons or more).

    Toro Bravo, 120 NE Russell Street
    Portland, OR 97212
    503.281.4464

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    Some of the Best Pancakes we’ve Ever Eaten • Ella’s in SF

    • Fluffy Pancakes with Corn and Bacon

    There aren’t many food items that keep my husband full. These pancakes were so delicious that he ate all of them, which is not the surprising part, the surprising part of this was that they kept him full ALL day.   Zazie is just about our favorite breakfast spot in SF, along with crowds of other people, but these pancakes at Ella’s were awesome! Just about everything I’ve eaten at Zazie is amazing (one of my favorites is the Mexican Eggs Benedict, ridiculously good).

    I would check and make sure they have these when you go, because it appears that they change their pancakes and menu every week or so (Pumpkin Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes, White Corn Pancakes etc..).

    500 Presidio Ave
    (between California St & Masonic Ave)
    San Francisco, CA 94115
    Neighborhoods: Lower Pac Heights, Laurel Heights

    (415) 441-5669

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