Christmas brunch on the first day of December! — important to decorate for Christmas previous week — “pre-lit” (is that a joke term and we just didn’t understand?) tree lights choose to not “pre-light” (getting to be a yearly event), tree taken to be fixed. Christmas decorating, without tree, still looks semi-festive.
Day before — set table — make egg casserole — make and buy breads, rolls, candies –check list at end of day: all ingredients on hand for making tomorrow’s egg white fritatta, mimosas, plenty of coffee, variety of tea bags, “fragile” fruits to add last minute to fruit bowl — all is ready. Sleep fast!
Saturday morning: “Christmas Brunch. Here. Today. Yikes!” Be calm. All is in order, and my biggest helper is right here. Before leaving for somewhere “un-brunchy,” “Saint” Hubby (yes, he DESERVES that title today!) will set up the Mimosa “station” with orange juice and peach and “plain” champagne (an oxymoron?), fill water glasses, do a little sweeping (one of the many ways we miss Akela — no crumb was left on the kitchen floor for long when Akela was around!), and “greet” and take coats at the door. (While I’m busy doing the last minute stuff, like whipping up the fritatta.)
When greeted at the door by Hubby, one friend, who hadn’t seen him since he retired and since he had lost some weight and had had his gray hair cut realllly short and had grown a goatee, admired his new “look” and told him he looked like Sean Connery. Our good friend Linda couldn’t let him get tooooo big a head with THAT compliment, so she clarified it for him — “That’s the (old) Sean Connery who played the dragon — not the (young) one who played James Bond.” A nice laugh to get the group “warmed up.” After the last attendee arrived, Hubby made his exit. What would I do without him?
Brunch was a success! Food was okay too. The great company was primary and the food was secondary — just a reason to get together with a fun group of women, all of whom either retired from or are still working for the same company.
Drinks: Mimosas, Coffee, Hot Tea
Main Dishes: Sausage Confetti Bake, Egg White Fritatta and Chicken Apple Sausage
Fruit Bowl: Strawberries, Pineapple, Kiwi, Raspberries, Bananas, Blueberries, sweetened with a little sugar.
Sweet Breads: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Rolls and Cranberry/Orange Scones (both from grocery deli), Lemon Bars
Candy (what’s a Christmas meal, even brunch, without chocolate!): I set out a couple bowls of my favorite little pretzel candies — they are very festive looking and terrific tasting because of the sweet/salty combo (a great recipe to let children help with).
It was a fun time. It achieved exactly the result I was invisioning. For once, we didn’t have to hurry. (We usually have our monthly get-togethers at lunch on a week day.) The difference this time was that, after we ate, we had the luxury of being able to sit around and chat — no one waiting for our table and no one having to rush back to work! Gradually people had to leave, but it seemed everyone “lingered” as long as they could. I love lingering — we don’t seem to do enough of it in today’s hectic world. That’s what I call a great party. And, I’m soooo glad I had it — why don’t I do this more often?
How selective the memory. Now that it’s over, I won’t remember any of the frustration with decorations or nervousness about food and presentation. I’ll just remember the wonderful women and the laughter.
Thank you God for these friends (and for Hubby and his help!) Amen
RECIPES for Pretzel Candies, Egg White Fritatta and Egg Casserole follow:
2 Bags of Seyfert’s Beer Pretz-O’s (pretzels that are circles) — 2 Bags of M&M Peanuts (the Christmas ones — red and green) — 3 Bags of Hershey’s Hugs (the striped version of Kisses)
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (I hear there’s a no-stick kind now!). Lay pretzels flat to fill the cookie sheet. Place an unwrapped Hug upright on top of each pretzel. Bake at 275 degreees for 2 minutes (You want the Hugs softened enough that the M&Ms can be pushed down into the middle of them, but not so soft they run.) Remove from oven and place an M&M peanut in middle of each. Let them cool (after the pan cools, if you want to speed this process, put them in the freezer for a while) and then store them in an airtight container. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but I keep them in the refrigerator.
~~~~~~~~~~DD’s Egg White Fritatta~~~~~~~~~~~
Saute a chopped green pepper and a half cup of chopped onion in olive oil in a skillet. When they are somewhat cooked (not mushy), add a chopped tomato (no seeds) and let it just warm up for about a minute. Transfer all to a plate. Use the skillet to scramble 16 oz. of egg whites (2 small cartons). Put scrambled egg whites in a glass baking dish. Scatter the green pepper/onion/tomato mixture over the top. Sprinkle 1 C. swiss cheese over top. Broil to melt and lightly brown the cheese. Serve immediately.
~~~~~~~~Confetti Egg Bake~~~~~~~~~
BEST WHEN MADE THE NIGHT BEFORE AND ALLOWED TO “REST” IN THE FRIG OVERNIGHT .
Saute in 3 T. olive oil in large fry pan — 2 C. sliced fresh white mushrooms — 3 C. chopped fresh baby spinach. Remove from pan to a plate when mushrooms have lightly browned and spinach is cooked. Fry 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage in same fry pan, crumble as it fries, drain.Layer in the greased baking dish: 1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese — the sauteed mushrooms and spinach — the crumbled sausage — four chopped green onions — a drained 4 oz. jar of pimientos.
In medium bowl, combine a dozen eggs and 2 C. of half and half, blend well.
Pour egg mixture evenly over layered ingredients. Sprinkle 1 C. shredded Swiss cheese on top, and sprinkle with Paprika.
If you bake this immediately, bake it at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
If it’s refrigerated overnight, bake at 350 degrees but for 40-50 minutes, until knife comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 12 Servings