Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cheesy Egg Bake

This is one of 3 recipes I used out of EveryDay with Rachel Ray for our make-ahead Christmas breakfast. The other two recipes were Mixed Citrus Salad and Brown Sugar Coffee Cake. I halved this recipe since it was just for my husband and I and our two small children. It was delicious!

From EveryDay with Rachel Ray December 2012 issue. 

Cheesy Egg Bake
Serves 8-10 Prep 30 Min Bake 45 Min

2 TBSP butter (I used Wildtree's Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil)
1 and 1/2 lbs mini sweet peppers or red bell peppers, seeded and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick. (I had roasted a few red bell pepper last week and had them in the fridge so I just used those.)
Salt and Pepper (I used 1/4 tsp Wildtree's Rancher Steak Rub)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
6 TBSP snipped fresh chives
10 large eggs
4 cups whole milk
12 slices (1/2 inch thick) white bread
2 and 1/2 cups coarsely shredded gruyere (Since I have no clue what gruyere is, I used shredded white cheddar cheese. It worked great =)

Grease a 9X13 baking dish. In large skillet, heat butter (or grapeseed oil if using.) Add the peppers and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until peppers are softened. Stir in parsley and 3 TBSP chives.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper (or steak rub). Whisk in the milk.

In prepared dish, arrange 6 bread slices in single layer, cutting to fit, if needed. Top with the pepper mixture and 1 cup cheese, the with the remaining bread. Pour the egg mixture over the second layer of bread and top with remaining cheese. (This can be made the night before and ready for the oven Christmas morning.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3 TBSP chives.

Cheesy Egg Bake - without extra chives on top

Our pretty plates on Christmas morning! Thanks Rachel Ray!

Mixed Citrus Salad

Rachel Ray had a great-looking recipe for a mixed citrus salad included in her make ahead Christmas brunch menu. I ran out of time and because the kids were sick, I made it really simple.

I simply separated "Cutie" or clementine wedges and tossed in some pomegranate seeds and that was it. The dish looked really pretty and the combination of those fruits were tasty, but I do want to try her salad recipe some time.

Note*** The photo here is of the two fruits I tossed together. Rachel's photo in the magazine looked different and very pretty as well.

Mixed Citrus Salad
Serves 8-10 Prep 45 Min

6 tangelos
4 small ruby red grapefruits
4 naval oranges
2 blood oranges
1 TBSP packed brown sugar
Pinch salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
plus 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Peel tangelos, grapefruits and oranges, removing all white pith. Cut the fruit crosswise, 1/2 inch thick then cut each slice in half. Discard all seeds. (To serve Christmas morning, transfer to resealable bag and refrigerate overnight.)

In small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of water, the brown sugar and salt to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add lemon zest and fennel seeds. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer set over a small bowl, pressing the solids to the sides to extract the liquid. Discard the solids. Let the syrup cool to room temperature, then stir in lemon juice. (This can also be covered and refrigerated overnight.)

About 30 minutes before serving, pour off the liquid from the fruit (you can drink that) and tranfer the fruit to a large bowl. Gently stir in sugar syrup and pomegranate seeds.

Again - this photo was just clementines and pomegranate seed - not this whole recipe

Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

This recipe was part of Rachel Ray's make ahead Christmas brunch. We loved it! There were a lot of steps involved and it made quite a few dirty dishes, but it was so yummy that after tasting it, I didn't mind.

From EveryDay with Rachel Ray Dec 2012 issue

Brown Sugar Coffee Cake
Serves 10-12 Prep 35 Min Bake 1 Hr 10 Min

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream (I used whole milk Greek yogurt)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs at room temperature
powdered sugar for dusting (I never made it to this step)

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (10 cup) bundt pan. Using a food processor, finely grind almonds and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in the ground almond mixture. In a small bowl, combine sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. (About 2 minutes.) Turn to medium high and add remaining 1 and 3/4 cup brown sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with sour cream (or yogurt) mixture in 2 batches. Begin and end with flour mixture. Beat just until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan. Smooth the top. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (About an hour and 10 minutes.) Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

To serve Christmas morning, wrap cake in foil and store at room temperature overnight. Before serving, transfer cake to a platter and dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Our complete Christmas brunch loosely based on Rachel Ray's menu

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How Big's Your Want To? My Weight Loss Journey

How Big’s Your “Want To?”
My Weight-Loss Journey

By Regina Cyzick Harlow

            Three stressful difficult pregnancies bore us the most beautiful and precious children in the world, but it also added more than 40 pounds to my body that hung around long after the babies were out instead of in. If you want an awakening, figure out what you weigh and what you should weigh then place the difference in a bucket or wagon or container and try carrying it around. Forty plus pounds is not just something I could carry on my hip all day, but I was lugging that extra weight around all the time.