Eggnog Baked French Toast

Strange can be simple.

Simple is strange in my kitchen!

This recipe consists of simply two things: bread and eggnog.  It’s what we had for breakfast brunch lunch linner (we like to sleep) on Christmas morning.  And a giant side of champagne because all the rum Mom dumps in her eggnog would have cooked out. ;)

Eggnog Baked French Toast

We did get a little complex with the homemade eggnog and using chocolate chip brioche.  I neglected a picture, but I also made fresh whipped cream with coconut rum to top.  You don’t have to get that fancy… but it didn’t suck.

Also served was scrambled eggs with spinach and onion for protein and greens.  And bacon.  Because bacon.

Eggnog Baked French Toast and Bacon

Mom likes to set a fancy table.  This one had a gorgeous centerpiece, a charcuterie, ambrosia, and a magnum bottle of sparkling from Schramsberg.

It was so good we didn’t worry about opening presents until almost 2!

Christmas morning

It’s a little past the holidays, but why not keep celebrating and try this out?  It’s strange… but good!  Besides, the eggnog is on sale at Whole Foods! ;)


Eggnog Baked French Toast

Eggnog Baked French Toast

  • 1 loaf bread, cubed
  • 2 C eggnog

Dip cubes of bread in the eggnog.  Place slices evenly in a greased pyrex dish.  Pour any remaining mixture over the slices.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (until poofed up and golden brown on top).

Place on rack to cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Makes 8-10 servings.


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

That magnum bottle was goooooone, plus 2 more standard sized ones.  There were 7 of us!  5 of the 7 were drinking…

Do you like eggnog?  I never have… but I love it baked!

How was New Years Eve?  I have much to share!  Later…

One Big Christmas Party

Christmas as an adult is the best.

Not that being 8 was bad either…

My sisters, my mom, and I are of the age where we’ve become friends.  This makes Christmas one big party.  We weren’t interested in gifts as much as we were in hanging out, cooking, eating, and getting toasty toasting.

My sister came from Portland with her puppy, my grandparents were there, and Vegas was in town.  All of us packed in for 48 hours of fun.  Here’s how we do it in the ‘burbs of Atlanta:

Charcuterie

Christmas Eve charcuterie and cheese board while dinner cooked.

… 

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A Perfect 10

I am not-so-secretly a teensy bit Type A.

In my head, I hide it well… but no.  

1 more day until Vegas gets here for the holidays.  I Can’t Focus.  So I make lists (you’re not the only one Meghan).  Lists of things to cook, places to take Vegas, items to remember to bring to mom’s for Christmas, errands to run, random tasks to complete before Vegas gets here… it’s all fun to me though.

So today I bring you a list of fun things I’m focusing on to pass the time while waiting for Tuesday.  It’s a perfect 10.  Because I like lists of prime numbers or 10.

1. House Plant’s Mate

Flowers arrive from Vegas on the regular.  Last week’s delivery was a friend for House Plant – Christmas Cactus.  Now we both have mates from the desert.

House Plant's Desert Mate… 

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Thai Peanut Baked Tofu + WIAW

Don’t fight the festive.

My former Grinch-self is kicking me in the shins.

As advertised, Vegas and I got a tree.  Vegas did the lights (after a debate over whether wrapping or running lights up and down is better).  We hung ornaments.  There was Christmas music and champagne.

This, after being opposed to Christmas decor of years.  My former self thought it was a waste of time and money, not to mention messy.

Our tree

My new smiley-self loved every minute of it.

(And that’s not just the wine talking.)… 

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Treat Yo’ #strangebutgood Self [Holiday Cookie Recipes]

Happy Month of Indulgence!

You know it’s true.

A lot of people try to fight it… but this is the one month of the year when you have to indulge a bit.  I’m not saying go overboard with a bean feast, but don’t be trying to deprive yourself.  It will only drive you crazy.  Treat ‘yo self!

In the spirit of treats, today’s #strangebutgood is dedicated to some of my favorite holiday cookie recipes.  Some strange, some just indulgent, and one that’s even healthy.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies… 

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Merry Monday

Christmas ends so quickly!

So does the dessert.

I took a nice, long blog break last week to enjoy the time with my family.  It was great to take some rest… but I was excited to come back and share, and to read everyone else’s recaps!  Is anyone else still full? ;)

Our Christmas Eve was a little different this year – we went out to dinner!  That was fun, but the best part was our tradition of sharing dessert and drinks at home with some family friends.  I make something different every year.  This year was chocolate-hazelnut martinis and an amazing Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie topped with marshmallow meringue.

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie

I followed this recipe, with a few adjustments.  I halved everything to make just 1 pie.  Instead of graham crackers I mixed pretzels with ginger snaps in the crust.  I also made a simpler meringue.  Rather than doing it over heat, beat the egg whites into a fluff and slowly added sugar to keep it light. Then, I melted the marshmallows in the microwave before adding them in.  I skipped the Guinness reduction and in favor of bourbon extract.

That meringue was insanely good… I must say this is one of the best desserts to date!

 

Christmas morning was a sure sign we are all grown up – after a late night, we slept until 9am and no one touched a present until almost 10:30!  This is unheard of in my family.

It gave me time to take some pictures of my favorite ornaments.  The one on the bottom right was my great grandmother’s!

Christmas ornaments

French press coffee in hand and fire built, we dug into the bounty.  Even Honey (the dog) waited patiently for her turn to explore her stocking.

Mom out did herself, as always.  We are lucky girls!  I got a ton of clothes, a pizza stone, new towels (my only request – another sure sign of being an adult!), some cool glass bottles, make-up, chocolates… and bacon duct tape.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if it was scratch ‘n sniff tape?!

Presents

Brunch is the big-deal meal in my family.  So is taking pictures of everything we eat.

Mom staged a shot of the sparkling wine and ambrosia:

One of our most-loved traditions is the champagne brunch.  I brought a bottle of sparkling from my Napa trip – a Schramsberg Brut Rosé.

It went well with our smorgasbord.  We had ambrosia, Italian sausage and cabbage saute, local bacon, toast, scrambled eggs, mâché (greens), and mushrooms (so good sautéed in bacon remnants and fresh rosemary).

Christmas champagne brunch

Then we lounged.  We Skyped my other sister in Portland.  I napped.  I never nap… bacon and sparkling are to blame!  ;)

But we aren’t total lushes couch potatoes.  A few hours later we took Honey for a 3 mile walk by the river.  It’s pretty close to where my dad is buried, so we made a pit stop to say hi.  Honey jumped right up on the bench there to say hi.  It was really sweet.  And really cold… we hauled it back home for hot tea and to begin dinner.

Honey

Dinner was another tradition – my friend Ben and his partner came over.  Ben makes the best chocolate-coated toffee I have ever had, and every year he comes over for a meal and to deliver a bag of crack toffee.  We snacked on a cheese plate, enjoyed some wine, and prepared dinner.

Mom helped me to roast my first whole chicken.  It turned out really well!  We ate that with a spaghetti squash and bacon creation and a salad.  And more wine.  (Read: we slept in again.)

Christmas Dinner

This marvelous Christmas deserves a link up over at Katie’s MIMM!

***

I’m prepping for a NYE pairing dinner I’m co-hosting… and then I must admit I’m excited to get back on the clean eating train.

What is the big holiday meal in your family?

What was the best gift Santa brought you this year?

3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

This is for those that think my recipes have too many ingredients.

 

Not really, but it should make you happy.

These coconut macaroons are the most requested Christmas cookie I make.  Ironic, since I don’t love coconut.  But if you DO like coconut, you’ll love these.  If you don’t, you’ll still eat a couple because they really are good.  Especially after I had the brilliant idea to dip them in chocolate.

Coconut Macaroons

They technically have 4 ingredients, but I refuse to count vanilla.

When you form balls, you’ll feel like they aren’t sticking together enough.  Don’t be scared.  Just roll them together as best you can.  The sugar will melt and bind with the egg as it bakes – just be sure to let the cookies cool before you touch them.

Coconut Macaroons

I’ve made these for a couple of years sans chocolate.  I have no idea why.  This year I melted chocolate, added some bourbon extract (yes, I put booze in everything), and painted the bottoms.

If you do this, place them in the fridge to harden before you serve them.  It’s good with the gooey chocolate, but extremely messy. ;)

Coconut Macaroons with chocolate

Linking these up to Katie’s MIMM… because cookies are marvelous.

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Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

  • 3 C sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Melting chocolate (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with (clean) hands until the ingredients are completely combined.

Place tablespoon sized dollops of batter onto a baking sheet making sure cookies are at least an inch apart.  They will feel loose, but don’t worry.  They will bind as the sugar melt during cooking.

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10-15 minutes or until edges are browned.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Dip in melting chocolate, if using.  Store up to 1 week in fridge.

***

I may not blog again until after Christmas… resting and enjoying the season is a glorious thing.  Happy Holidays!

What are your favorite Christmas Cookies?

Do you like coconut or chocolate better?  Both?

 

Strange But Good: Mexican Chocolate Cake

Dessert is my favorite part of a fiesta.

 

Christmas counts as a fiesta, no?

I made this for Thanksgiving, but it would be fantastic for a Christmas dinner, too.  Or New Years.  Or just for breakfast.

When you read the ingredients in this cake, you’ll see that it actually wouldn’t be so bad to have at breakfast.  It’s full of healthy fats and protein, and sugar-free!  This brings me to the strange.  The healthy fat in this one is avocado.  It’s good, I swear.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

 

Between the avocado, eggs, and yogurt, this is one of the lightest, moist cakes you’ll ever have.  It’s the perfect end to a heavier dinner.  You could eat half of it without blinking an eye.  Not that I would know.

The almond, cinnamon, and cayenne are the Mexican part.  If you’re concerned about the cayenne, you could leave it out.  It’s not overwhelming; it simple gives the smallest hint of “hmmmm” at the end of a bite.

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Coconut Icing

 

The icing on this cake was yet another healthy fat addition.  I whipped coconut cream into a pillow-y spread for the cake.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem stiff enough at first – it will firm up as it settles.

You can have fun with the flavors here.  I added vanilla and cinnamon, but a liqueur like Frangelico or pie spice would be excellent as well.

I know several of you made these Chocolate Avocado Cookies or these (Vegan) Blood Orange Scones… vouch for me! You really can’t taste the avocado.

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C xylitol (or other sugar substitute)
  • 3/4 C Icelandic yogurt (or Greek)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Coconut Icing

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a bundt pan.

In a small blender, mix the avocado and eggs until smoother.  Stir in xylitol, yogurt, and extracts until combined.

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet.

Once combined, add in milk and beat well.

Pour into bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan and then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Eat as-is, or ice the cake with whipped coconut cream frosting.  I used this recipe for the coconut cream whip, only I subbed more xylitol for the sugar, and added vanilla and cinnamon.

Note: Like most cakes, the flavors improve after that cake has a day to rest.  Do wait to frost it until the day of.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

My mom took home a couple of slices and called the next day (at breakfast) to tell me it had gotten even better!  I think day 2 is the perfect storm for this one.

Avocado.  Would you bake with it? Have you ever?

What is your favorite dessert for the holiday season?

 

Portland is Delicious

Portland, it’s a good think you’re tasty.

 

And sunny.  Yes, I said sunny.

A belly full of warm food and a sunny, blue sky is the only way I survived this arctic weekend.  My little sister, Alli, moved to Portland a few years ago and I hadn’t had the occasion to visit.  Apparently they hit record lows the couple of days I finally decided to pop in.  It was so cold my teeth hurt.

This was my view coming in:

Portland snow

 

The snow did melt, and the sun came out to stay!  The first order of business was to eat.  Alli collected me from the airport and we went right to Tasty ‘n Sons where we ordered everything item of #yolkporn we could find…. 

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Strange But Good Holidays

Christmas Eve traditions are special.

 

That doesn’t mean the tradition can’t be #strangebutgood!

Every year we have family friends over for desserts and drinks after dinner.  And every year I make a different dessert and drink.

Exhibit 1:

In my version of heaven, cookies have the nutritional merits of spinach.  My German Chocolate Chip Cookies do not qualify as spinach, but they do have a few redeeming qualities.  I’m declaring these #strangebutgood because they are a cake-turned-cookie, and it’s a little strange for a holiday cake-cookie to be sort-of healthy.

 

German Chocolate Cookies 1

The most important lesson I have learned when you are trying to make a dessert a little healthier is not to go too far.  You’ll see here that while I made some subs, I still left some “real” flour and sugar in.  This is important if you’re going to be sharing with people who aren’t used to eating like a blogger.

The healthier subs were spelt flour and NuNaturals’ new Tagatose sweetener as a sugar alternative for some of the sweet.   The most important redeeming quality is that they taste delicious… which they were.

German Chocolate Cookie bite

Like the cake, these cookies are a combination of chocolate and coconut.  I loved the chewy bits of coconut against the melt-y chocolate chips.  That with the crunch from the nuts made the texture in this cookie fantastic.  I used macadamia nuts because they are my mom’s favorite, but almonds or cashews would go well here too.

My healthy changes went undetected.  In fact, I never told anyone they are healthy-ish.  Don’t be afraid to sneak a little #strangebutgood healthiness into your cookies!

 German Chocolate Cookies

German Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C NuNaturals Presweet Tagatose
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C flour
  • 3/4 C spelt flour
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1.5 C unsweetened coconut flakes

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Stir dry ingredients into the butter mixture, until fully incorporated.

Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut.

Spoon batter on to parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.

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Exhibit 2:

As much as I like to try new things, my favorite cocktail is a classic Manhattan.  It’s one of the oldest cocktails.  It’s a simple mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.  With a marinated cherry (don’t forget – it’s the best part!).  With my favorite drink in mind, this year I created Christmas in Manhattan.

A week before Christmas Eve, I poured a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon into an empty ACV bottle (typical blogger…) and added 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 cups of fresh cranberries, sliced in half.  I took another 1/2 C of the cranberries, stabbed a hole in them, and covered them with Gran Marnier.  Both mixtures were then stored in a cool place for the week.

What resulted on Christmas Eve was a cinnamon-laced, festive, #strangebutgood interpretation of my favorite classic.

Christmas in Manhattan cocktail

Christmas in Manhattan

  • 2 oz. Cranberry-Cinnamon infused bourbon
  • 1 oz. Domaine De Canton (ginger liqueur)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth 
  • 3-4 drops orange bitters
  • Gran Marnier-soaked cranberry, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker add all ingredients and shake vigorously.

Pour into a martini glass (or short glass). Add a Gran Marnier-soaked cranberry for garnish and serve.

Makes 1 drink.

Note: I like this drink straight up, but you could add a splash of water or serve over ice if you prefer.

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Want to Join?

All you need to do to join this link up is create a concoction that is Strange But Good, post it with the Strange But Good logo, and link up to your recipe.  (See below for code.)  In the Strange But Good post each week, you’ll see a link to add your own recipe and picture at the bottom of the page.  I’d prefer you use a new strange but good dish, but if you realllly have a good previous one you can add it.

Not a blogger?  You can play too!  Send me an email with a picture of your food and a brief description by noon on Thursday and I’ll include it in Friday’s post (too late this week, obv… but next week it’s on!).

 

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instragrams of your creations. :)




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This is the last dessert or drink thing I post for a while.  I swear.

Do your families/friends mind if you make a healthier versions of foods?

What are some of your tricks for lightening up recipes?