Christmas Cranberry French Toast Casserole

 

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project here today to bring you a breakfast recipe idea for Christmas morning.

The holidays are perfect for make ahead casseroles, especially when you’re talking about Christmas morning. The last thing you want to do is slave away in the kitchen making breakfast while everyone is having fun unwrapping gifts. There are many great French Toast recipes out there but I was really wanting to come up with a festive seasonal dish that I could make the night before and just pop in the oven with maybe a  pan of bacon and in 30 minutes you have a great Christmas breakfast. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to waste any precious memories. You will be there for every smile and laugh.

Cranberries are an untapped resource for breakfast recipes in my opinion so I decided to create a recipe that used homemade cranberry sauce in a French Toast Casserole. The color is festive and the flavors echo the holiday perfectly. Just pour half into a 13×9 glass baking dish and then top with cubed Italian bread and the egg/mixture. Just remember to take the casserole out of the fridge the morning of and let it come to room temperature.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I wish you peace and blessings in the coming New Year.

Cranberry French Toast Casserole

1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup water

1 orange

1 lemon

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 16 oz loaf Italian bread cubed

5 eggs

2 cups half and half

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the juice and the zest of the orange and lemon. Let it come to a simmer and when the skins of the cranberries split apart lower to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. When the sauce thickens take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish. Pour half of the cranberry sauce into the bottom.  (reserve the other half to pour  over the top for when you serve the final casserole)

Add the cubed Italian bread on top of the cranberry sauce. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla until combined. Pour on top of the bread evenly. If you are making this the night before then cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Make sure you let it come to room temperature the next morning.

Put in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. You’ll start to see the cranberry sauce bubble and ooze up through the bread. When you cut and serve, invert the slices so the beautiful red cranberry sauce is the first thing your family sees. Enjoy!

 

Mashed Cauliflower and Kale for Thanksgiving.

I’m grateful for delicious local produce.

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project back again to share a delicious side dish for your Thanksgiving table, mashed cauliflower and kale.  A month ago I was excited to write about Oxfam’s GROW method and how eating locally and seasonally can be an amazing adventure. I am privileged to be able to do a Thanksgiving post in honor of the GROW method thanks again to my neighbor’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. She has continued to hand off leftover produce from her box and I’ve been busy creating recipes to utilize them.  What better time to put this into practice than this week: one of the biggest eating holidays of the year.

So in this installment we have cauliflower and kale making an appearance for my Thanksgiving table. One of my favorite side dishes is mashed potatoes. It’s comforting and delicious. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t have ton’s of nutrients though. So why not achieve the same comfort food equivalent with a few new ingredients. Cauliflower is a great substitution to achieve the velvety texture of a mashed potato. It’s also in season. Kale is another great seasonal green that you can add to it and it’s also packed with Vitamin A. It’s a great way to sneak greens into your diet. First you roast everything together with some olive oil and 4-5 cloves of garlic and then you blend them with a little warm milk and Parmesan cheese. I challenge you to tell me this dish isn’t as comforting and it’s straight from my CSA (well my wonderful neighbor’s CSA) box, grown from our local Tant Hill Farm. I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mashed Cauliflower & Kale

4-5 small heads or 1 large head of Cauliflower

1 large handful of roughly chopped Kale

4-5 cloves of garlic peeled

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Olive Oil

Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Break up Cauliflower (see pic 2)  and add Kale, and garlic cloves to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over them until everything is lightly coated. Spread onto sheet pan and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stick into oven for 30 minutes. Take out the sheet pan and put aluminum foil over it for about 10 minutes. Put entire mixture into blender or food processor with warm milk and Parmesan cheese and pulse until smooth. (If you want you can add another 1/4 of milk if you want it more smooth and less thick) Check to see if you need to add a bit more salt or pepper. Serves roughly 2 people as a side dish so make sure to double/triple it if you want to use it for a large crowd!

A Seasonal Fall Salad in Honor of World Food Day

 

Hello all! It’s Tiffany again visiting from The Nesting Project here to share a seasonal fall salad recipe in honor of Oxfam’s efforts to promote their GROW method. When I was first asked to talk about this subject I was so excited mostly because my next door neighbor who was going on vacation, asked me if I wanted to have her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box while she was away. I happily agreed!

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. And whether you know it or not today is World Food Day. There is still so much hunger and poverty across the globe. Their GROW method is a way to reduce food waste, buying products locally to ensure small scale farmers have the ability to get a fair deal, cooking smart to reduce waste and wasted energy, buying food in season and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, and eating less meat and dairy to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

In honor of their efforts I wanted to post a recipe that embodied at least one of these methods. With the help of my next door neighbor and her CSA box I chose to create a seasonal fall salad. The fall is usually when the weather get’s cooler and I’m thinking about comfort food. But from a seasonal produce perspective, salads are a great idea. With the cooler weathers brings beautiful salad mixes. And I was fortunate to get a beautiful bunch of mixed greens. I was fortunate to also get Kale, Garlic and Kohlrabi from Tant Farm in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I added some local carrots and goat cheese and I realized I had the makings of a great salad. Not everything in a salad has to be cold. So I decided to slice the Carrots and Kohlrabi thin and roasted them in the oven. A mandolin comes in handy when you need to slice veggies thin plus you can store it vertical taking virtually no space.  I topped the salad with some locally made goat cheese and some shallots that I fried until crispy. It was a delicious take on a seasonal healthy salad. I know where my food came from today. Do you?

 

Root Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots (Makes 2 salads)

2 carrots sliced thin

1 kohlrabi sliced thin

2 bunches fresh mixed greens

2 ounces goat cheese

2 shallots sliced thin and fried until crisp

Slice the carrots and kohlrabi and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Put in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. (The carrots may take a few minutes longer if you want them crisp). Wash the mixed greens and put in two salad bowls. Top with carrots, kohlrabi, shallots and goat cheese. Use your favorite vinaigrette. (Apple Cider Vinaigrette would work well)