Tag Archives: Brunch

Brioche French Toast Casserole with Struesel Topping

Breakfast/Brunch is always a lot of fun for me. I think it comes partially from when I was much younger and my mom and I would clean and make a big breakfast every Saturday morning. The week was always super busy, and we were mostly a cereal/toaster pastry family, especially in high school when my classes started at 7:15. Sunday was church day, so Saturday was the big day. The breakfast tradition carried over into college where my roommate and I threw quite a few brunches, not to mention brinners. We kicked ass at brinner.

 This casserole was the result of me going to a brunch pot luck and not being able to find exactly what I wanted on Pinterest. So I combined the bits and pieces that I liked best. A brioche base here; a modified streusel topping there. It was almost blueberry, but I asked one of my friends her opinion on fruit options and she said anything but blueberry. So that put the kibosh on that. Apple cinnamon was my other contender so here we are. 

Ingredients:

Casserole

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 lb brioche bread
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:

  1. Cut brioche breads into cubes and dice the green apples. Layer into the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, both sugars, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over the bread and apples and cover. Set in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight, so the bread can soak up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake casserole in the 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.
  5. While the casserole bakes, whisk together the dry streusel ingredients. Melt the butter then stir into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
  6. 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking, pull from the oven, sprinkle on streusel topping and put back into the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.

* This recipe works even better if the bread is slightly stale. I unwrapped the loaf and left it in the toaster oven (turned off) overnight. I’ve also cheated and popped the cubed bread into a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning over about half way through, to dry the bread out.


Pearls Southern Comfort

Something that a lot of you know about me already is that I like brunch. A lot. Like, whoa, baby, big time. I brunch like a boss; some might call me a bross (I’m not exactly sure who exactly, but I am pretty certain I could get Andy to). Anyway, I was absolutely delighted when my brother-in-law and his new wife invited us (and other family members) to brunch with them the day after the ceremony. My favorite meal, on a Sunday Funday, in a new city, with people I like hanging out with? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sunday, we clown-cared into an Uber with Andy’s mom and dad and headed over to Pearls Southern Comfort to check out some elevated “southern style” food. As a southern girl born and raised, I felt like there was only two ways for this whole thing to go. Fortunately, everything we tried came down squarely on the positive side of things.  With a larger group like ours, we got to try a decent number of menu items. Especially since we don’t mind sharing with one another.  All said and done, I got to sample the following: Crawfish Cheesecake, Beignets, Blackened Catfish & Eggs, French Toast, and Cornbread with Hot Sauce Honey Butter. It’s hard to declare a clear favorite; the cheesecake was incredible – and not to mention my first savory cheesecake, if you ever make it to Pearls you have to try it -, but if this was going to be a regular haunt for me, I would have to go with the catfish and force someone to split the cornbread with me. Catfish is hard to do well, even in the south, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had. Same with the cornbread. The bread itself was delicious, but that hot sauce honey butter really pushed it over the top.

Not the fanciest place we ate at on our trip, but from food to ambiance, I think this was my favorite. It’s almost a little disappointing when I enjoy something as much as I did this place. When I travel I like to try new places every visit, but now I am going to have to make sure that any subsequent visits to Chicago includes a meal at Pearls or I’ll regret the missed opportunity. First World Problems, am I right?


Canopy Brunch

I’ve built a fair amount of pillow/blanket forts in my day, some more recently than you’d think. Not to long ago, I built a fort for Andy and I using our dining room table, and we had dinner in it. Next time I’ll probably put the cats in another room, but all in all, it was a lot of fun. Forts are one of those great things about childhood that seems to fall away as we inevitably “grow up”, but I don’t think we ever really lose that joy. I mean, I know a lot of women who have canopy beds, which isn’t really that different. I was absolutely delighted when I saw that the blog A Pair & A Spare created a whole beautiful brunch concept around a decorative “canopy” (which is just another word for fort). Here are some of my favorite images:

It gets even better; if you check out the original post here, there is a DIY on how to create your own gorgeous canopy. Brunch is amazing enough on its own, but fort brunch? Does it get any cooler?

 

All images from A Pair & A Spare.


Sunday Brunch: Blue Halo

Since brunch is pretty much my favorite meal EVER, I knew I was going to have to try the one at Blu Halo a restaurant that opened practically five minutes from our front door. We’ve been twice now, once with a group and once just the two of us, and I have to say we were pretty pleased both times we went.

Now I am going to go ahead and throw out the small handful of negatives I have before we get to the much more plentiful “good stuff” . 1-price, the menu is on the higher side for brunch here in town, and many of the items are worth the investment, but there are a few things that I personally felt missed the mark a bit. 2- menu options. I am a pescetarian which is a bit odd when dining out anyway, but the menu options were very limited for someone like me.  Now on to the good stuff. This place is by far the “fanciest” restaurant in the area, and the hostesses and wait staff go above and beyond to give you the best dining experience possible. Also, the place is spotless, and the staff is fantastic at keeping things cleared away and wiped down, a strange thing to note I know, but I always consider extra attention to cleanliness a plus.  To the food!Apple Jacks French Toast – this was one of the meh, menu items for me. It was super sweet, and I ended up giving most of it to Andy in return for some of his waffle.  Chicken & Waffles – Now obviously I didn’t try the chicken part of this, but Andy said it was some of the best fried chicken he’s had, and the waffles were crispy, fluffy, vanilla-y amazingness.  Shrimp & Grits – a southern staple and one of the things I was most disappointed about not being able to eat (the sauce has ham & sausage in it), but my friend ordered it and she said it was good. A little bit of heat, the shrimp were well spiced, and the grits were creamy and perfect. Steak & Eggs – This is Andy’s favorite thing he has had there yet. Flavorful chimmichuri sauce, tender steak, crispy potatoes, and peppery micro greens. I stole a few of the potatoes, and I can honestly say that they were awesome and the sauce was herbaceous; I could see how it would help balance the richness of the steak and the fried egg.  

So there you have it, a great local place, and for us, it is perfect for those weekend mornings where you don’t really want to stray too far from the house, but you don’t feel like cooking either.


Cranberry Maple Muffins

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen these days. To be completely honest, I don’t usually put a whole lot of effort when it come to dinner during the week. A lot of open this bag and reheat this frozen entree type of thing. However, a couple friends of ours have recently become parents, and we’ve been taking meals to them a few times a week. Where I am unwilling to make the effort just for us, it’s a completely different story when it comes to someone else. Mostly I make dinner items that are easily microwaveable, but I’ve also been trying to throw in hand-sized baked goods that are easily consumed in between feedings and diaper changing. This weekend I decided to whip up some Cranberry Maple Muffins.

Notes:

  • After making the Apple Cider Muffins last month, I knew I’d have to overfill the cups to get the generously sized muffins (I think) most of us prefer. With that in mind, this recipe yielded 8 muffins instead of 12.
  • I used real maple syrup (from Canada, no less), and if “maple” wasn’t in the title, no one would be able to tell it was an ingredient. It brought the needed sweetness, but if you want straight up awesome maple flavor? This is not the recipe for you.
  • This is a personal preference, but without the maple flavor being noticeable, I thought these muffins needed something extra to round out the flavor. My vote would be for some sort of citrus.