Leigh Goff

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Easy Christmas Morning Breakfast

By Sloane Taylor

After we entertain Christmas Eve, we tear through the house cleaning up before the kids and grands come for brunch Christmas Day. This meal is wonderful because so much can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

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Breakfast Soufflé

Hash Browns

Fresh Fruit Salad

Mini Croissants

Christmas Cookies & Leftover Desserts

Mimosas

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1 lb. (½kg) ham, bacon, or breakfast sausage

9 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups (750ml) milk

1 tsp. (5ml) dry mustard

Diced green, red, and/or yellow pepper to taste

½ lb. (57g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated

½ lb. (57g) Swiss or Gruyere cheese, or a combination of the two, grated

Diced onion to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 – 1 in. (2.54cm) slices Vienna or French bread, cubed

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Dice ham or bacon. If you use ham, set aside in the bowl you use for the eggs. Fry bacon to the crispness you prefer. Drain on paper towels. If you use breakfast sausage, fry meat until no longer pink. Be sure to break up any clumps. Drain meat in a colander while you continue to prepare the soufflé.

Add all ingredients, except the bread, to eggs. Stir well. Gently stir in bread.

Pour mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch (33 x 22cm) glass baking dish. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center has no egg clinging to it.

This dish can be assembled one or two days ahead of time. On serving day allow the soufflé to sit on your counter 1 – 2 hours before you bake it.

Leftovers are excellent from the microwave.

Hash Browns

If you need to increase the hash browns recipe for a larger group of people, it’s best to sparingly add more garlic powder. As is this recipe serves 6. Leftovers reheat beautifully.

3 russet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled

1½ tsp. (7.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

Shred potatoes on the large holes of a box grater or use the coarse grater disk on a food processor. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Allow them to soak for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and then rinse under cold water. You do this to remove the starch that makes hash browns gummy.

Transfer shreds to a kitchen towel. Gather together ends of towel and twist over sink, squeezing firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. This step creates crisp hash browns. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with garlic powder and pepper. Be sure to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, press down to form a thin layer and cook for a minute or two. Stir and then press down again. Cook until a dark golden crust forms, about 5 minutes.

Turn potatoes in sections. This is easier than trying to turn the food as a whole. Continue to fry until hash browns are crisp and browned all over, 5 minutes or so. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Fresh Fruit Salad

1 banana, peeled

1 pear, cored

1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice

¼ pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced

10 seedless red grapes, halved

10 blueberries

10 raspberries, optional

Slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Dice pear and add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

Gently fold in remaining fruit.

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

Mimosas

1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold

1 carton orange juice, cold

Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

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Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.


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Festive Christmas Flowers

from Emma Lane

I love to create festive bouquets for any season, but my personal favorite is Christmas. The holiday colors are vibrant and a joy to bring together in stunning arrangements. So let’s talk a little about how you can create masterpieces for your home and as hostess gifts. The work isn’t hard. It simply takes a little patience.

It looks easy, but the greenery for bouquets is more complicated than you might think. I’m fortunate because there is a veritable forest in my front and back yards. I deliberately refrain from trimming the evergreen shrubs out front until the holidays. That gives me a very fresh start to my bouquet which is difficult to match with store bought greenery. If you have any type shrub in your yard it will work. If not then you are forced to purchase them. I strongly recommend you visit your local nursery for the foliage you want.

There’s a combination of old-fashioned yew shrub because it holds the needles for a good while. I add cuttings from a blue spruce just because I love the tinted color. Then my secret choice for Christmas is clippings from a juniper shrub for its heady, wintry seasonal fragrance. I once made a bouquet using only juniper but quickly learned why that wasn’t a good idea. They dry out rapidly and lose the rich green color most desired. So, tuck them in to smell good but toward the back. There are plenty of other types of evergreen shrubs for possible Christmas decorations. By all means, bring them inside and test their worthiness.

Next are the luscious red berries. They grow on a native shrub named winterberry (ilex, a member of the holly berry family) in slightly swampy terrain. No, don’t go wild crafting unless you wear high waterproof boots! Fortunately, our brilliant horticulturists have propagated this shrub for home gardeners. Consider planting them in your yard. You must have a male and female to get berries and it takes patience. They are not fast growers, but well worth the effort. Plant toward the back of the garden. The bush itself is not all that attractive until the Fall berries appear. Then you begin a vigil to pick them before the flocks of robins descend during migration. Cedar Waxwings love them too, but they are so beautiful I give in just for the pleasure of watching. Winterberries are frequently found for sale at late Farmers’ Markets and in craft and florist shops. They will dry out but seldom fall off unless bumped or roughly handled.

You all know about poinsettia, the official Christmas potted flower. It’s the brackets that have the color. The flower itself is the small yellow center bloom. I personally find them boring, but one day an idea came to me. I cut them as if for a cut flower bouquet. Here are a few photos to better explain.

 

Once I bought a pink one and lightly sprayed it a tinted blue, as a blue bouquet was what the customer needed, pairing it with sprayed-gold milk weed pods.

The last one is a pale pink mixed with dried dock and milk weed pods, the red berries tucked in here and there with a brass colored vase. I’m particularly fond of this one. Christmas bouquets need not always be red to be lovely.

 

I wish you all a beautiful healthy and happy holiday season!

Emma

Enjoy the holiday season with one or both of Emma Lane’s sweet Regency Romances collections. Here is a brief intro for you.

 

Families can be troublesome, but a next door neighbor can sometimes be even worse. Caroline is a strong-willed young lady and refuses to be bullied by a handsome duke. Four sweet Regency romances to get you in the mood for the season.

Amazon Link

Winter storms swirling snow and unexpected guests on the eve of Christmas, the pungent fragrance of fresh pine boughs, springs of mistletoe hung with red ribbons, and a stolen kiss underneath the kissing ball comprise scenes of Christmas in the country. Ice skating anyone? Have a cup of wassail and toast your toes in front of a warm fire while you enjoy four short stories of sweet Regency Christmas romances.

Amazon Link

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.


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Let’s Get This Cookbook Party Started

Who doesn’t love the holidays? You get to bond with family and friends, shop till you drop for that perfect gift, decorate the house to your heart’s desire, plan a meal worthy of gracing your table, and attend all those fabulous parties. Wait…hope I didn’t exhaust you already? Yes, we ALL love holidays and celebrations, no matter what time of year they fall, but it can get a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming when it comes time to prepare for those holiday meals and parties when you’re working a full-time job, and taking care of your family’s needs.

How about some relief from the stress and pressure of figuring out what to serve your hungry guests during holiday get-togethers, events, or celebrations?

Cue a holiday-inspired cookbook written by the following thirteen busy authors, of various ages and genres: Carol BrowneHL CarpenterSara DanielDominique EastwickLeigh Goff, C.D. HershVonnie Hughes, Alicia JosephEmma LaneSharon LedwithAnne MontgomeryChris Pavesic, and Sloane Taylor. These wonderful writers have created recipes that will make your life easy and simple when it comes time to prepare tantalizing appetizers, tasty beverages, mouth-watering cookies, and decadent desserts.

The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers is your go-to recipe book for entertaining over the holiday seasons, hosting events, or celebrating that special day. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes have been tested and approved of by the most finicky family members. Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?

So why not have your cake and eat it too? Yes, pun intended. You’ve got nothing to lose, and time to gain when you download The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers. There’s a recipe for every holiday, celebration, or event in your life. Give yourself a gift this holiday season with a cookbook from thirteen writers who share their favorite recipes and tips to help relieve the stress in your busy life.

Download your FREE E-Pub cookbook at Smashwords.
Also FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.