Tuesday, December 31, 2013

November 24, 2013

We meet at my house and missing were Teresa and Carol.  The theme was brunch, which sounded simple for this busy time of year.

Cocktails:  Janet, Sparkling Cranberry Blush and The Best Bloody Mary
Main Dish:  Mexican Eggs in Purgatory
Sweet:  Janet, Breakfast Carrot Cake
Sweet:  Mary, Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
Fruit:  Tonya, Yogurt Parfait
Starch:  Tonya, Best Breakfast Potatoes

Janet started us off with Sparkling Cranberry Blush.  This cocktail was sweet and bubbly.  It is also a beautiful color.  Very festive for the holidays!

I served cream cheese covered in pineapple and habanero sauce and a spicy cranberry salsa.  I also wanted to share my Christmas gift of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and Lemon Olive Oil.  Put both on the same plate and dip with bread.  YUM.  So delicious.

For sipping during our meal, Janet prepared The Best Bloody Mary which she garnished with bacon and gherkins.  OH MY!  Anything that has bacon as a garnish is a winner in my book. This recipe has a homemade tomato base that was quite healthy with tomatoes, carrots, beets, fennel and garlic.  Wow!  No need to have a V8 when  you drink this for brunch.

Janet's third contribution to our meal was Breakfast Carrot Cake.  It was divine!  I loved the almonds which gave each bite a mild crunch.  Janet reduced the sugar to 1 tablespoon and 1/4 cup, added seeds from one vanilla bean and used 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  Great, mildly sweet cake with lots of texture.

For the parfaits, Tonya layered vanilla yogurt with granola, diced apples, pears, dried cherries, dried cranberries and dried pomegranate seeds.

Tonya also brought Pioneer Woman's Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever.  These are baked in the oven which makes the potatoes crispy and cooks down the vegetables creating a delicious medley.

Mary is our bread pudding guru and today she dished up Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Pecan Crumble.  YUM.  The addition of sweet potatoes make me think this is healthy but it is really very decadent.  And I like a sweet brunch so this was perfect!

The main dish that we prepared together is called Mexican Eggs in Purgatory.  Essentially it is  sunny side eggs on top of a a tomatillo sauce.  I purchased the tomatillos at Fiesta.  What a wonderful store.  It sells EVERYTHING!  Not just products you think of being popular in Mexico but from all over the world.  I liked the flavor of this dish and it is a dramatic presentation with the eggs nestled in the green sauce. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Soup and cake

I enjoy preparing soups because they make such wonderful, filling, left overs.  I liked this chicken and black bean soup because all the seasonings were in the salsa and taco mix.  I did not add the sour cream or cheese because I did not want the extra fat.  I did add some zucchini and a can of diced tomatoes because the more vegetables the better!  This was super easy in my crock pot and the flavor was wonderful.

For dessert I wanted to use a bag of cranberries.  This cake, with the cranberry and apple compote, was healthy enough that I decided it would be a great breakfast.  I think that was a stretch but I had the super healthy soup to counterbalance the cake breakfast!

This cake was not only delicious but beautiful.  The red berries and apples were sweet and colorful.  I cooked them until the berries popped and they continued to caramelize while the cake baked.  I used almond milk instead of real milk and there were no issues.