For me, the holidays are a magical time. I love searching high and low for those perfect little gifts and wrapping them up in beautiful packaging. That being said, I also know that the search for those gifts – especially for things like host/hostess or stocking gifts – can feel a little overwhelming. We thought we’d put together a little collection of some of our favorite things to give to the food lover in your life this holiday season. We have practical things, clever things, and a bit of whimsy, too. The best part? Most of these items are under $20 and all are available online so you can do your shopping in your pajamas if you want to! There is, of course, one big splurge item in case you are looking for something extra special. None of the links below are affiliate (i.e. we don’t make any money if you click through – we just thought we’d share some of our favorites this time of year!). Happy shopping, friends!…
There’s something so warm and cozy about a good brunch, right? I always appreciate a lazy morning full of good food during this crazy holiday season. Last week I was walking through our local grocery store and saw that the dairy case was full of egg nog. Typically, it’s not the first thing I reach for this time of year (it’s so sweet!) but my husband loves it so I figured I would pick him up a carton as a little treat to kick off the holidays. As I stood there trying to decide what kind to buy, I had an idea for this delicious Egg Nog French Toast.
I’ve been making a lot of french toast lately as a quick and easy breakfast for my toddler and my four year old. I typically make a kid friendly version with a little less sugar, whole grain bread, and plenty of cinnamon. This time, however, I wanted something perfect for the grown ups – a crispy edged, soft center, sweet treat to go with a good cup of coffee and maybe some salty bacon. With that in mind, I grabbed a carton of traditional egg nog and a carton of almond milk egg nog and finished my shopping.
The next morning as I set out to test my recipe ideas, I realized that in addition to the almond milk egg nog, I had accidentally picked up a slightly un-traditional version of classic egg nog. Made by Southern Comfort (yes, the whiskey liqueur), it’s a non-alcoholic flavor twist added to prepared egg nog that is a little sweet, a little spice, and so very delicious. There’s a hint of whiskey flavor that comes out in the best way. FYI: This is not a sponsored post and I have absolutely no connection to Southern Comfort. It was really just a happy grocery accident.
As most traditional french toast recipes start with a custard mixture of eggs, milk or cream, sugar and some spices, I figured the best way to use egg nog, essentially a custard itself, was to keep it really simple and see what happened. I whisked together some egg nog, a few eggs for binding (since there aren’t actually that many eggs in commercial egg nog), and a pinch of cinnamon and a bit of salt. From there, all it took was some butter, a hot griddle, and a loaf of day old french bread. A few tweaks to the recipe and it was a winner, folks. My husband and taste tester in chief declared it a winner and I now have another reason to buy egg nog!
A few notes about the recipe: I find that all french toast recipes work best with day old bread. I like to use french bread for this recipe, though brioche is also amazing. If you don’t have any day old bread lying around, you can briefly toast up your sliced bread in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10-12 minutes and it will work just as well. I did also try making it with the almond milk egg nog. I liked it a lot, but it’s definitely not as rich or creamy as this version. If you’re dairy free though, it’s a great option. Speaking of dairy, be generous with the butter on your griddle. You can use a cooking spray if you want, but honestly, it’s just so much better with butter. And finally, when it comes to toppings, real maple syrup is amazing. So is our Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream.
Do you have any winter brunch recipes you love? Send us your favorites! We’d love to hear what you’re making this holiday season.
- 1 loaf french bread, preferably day old
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup egg nog (I used Southern Comfort classic)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon butter (unsalted) for the pan
- Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Slice your bread into approximately 1 inch thick slices.
- In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
- Whisk in the egg nog, cinnamon, and salt.
- Melt the butter on your griddle or skillet.
- Briefly soak each slice of bread in the egg mixture and then place on the buttered skillet.
- Allow to cook 3-4 minutes or until golden.
- Sprinkle the top with a generous bit of sugar and flip, cooking the other side 3-4 minutes until done.
- Keep warm and serve immediately with syrup and extra butter!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And by that, I mean it’s finally ok to play Christmas music 24/7. Yes, I am that girl and I have absolutely no shame about it. I do love Thanksgiving and all of it’s great food traditions (my favorite Thanksgiving food? Dixie Pie).but I really, really, really love Christmas. Being named Holly, I’m often asked if I was born at Christmas time. I wasn’t but that certainly hasn’t affected my love of the whole holiday season. Since it’s the day after Thanksgiving, I suppose I should be writing all about all of the ways you can use your turkey day leftovers (see this NPR article for some suggestions) but I’m still firmly in a food stupor and as we’re spending this holiday in the sunshine, we don’t have too many leftovers to worry about so instead I’m keeping this short and sweet and when I return to my kitchen in a few days, plan to live firmly in Christmas cooking land. With that in mind, here’s some Good Food Reads for your holiday weekend….
We are sleeping off our food coma and will be back later today with some good food reads. We hope you’re having a great Holiday weekend!
As a former vegetarian of nearly 16 years, I am still getting my feet wet in the land of cooking meat. Unsurprisingly, when I first started back into eating and cooking meat, chicken was frequently my go to animal protein source. Easy to prepare, readily available and generally a pretty healthy choice, it can be made a million different ways with sauces or spices which is great for home cooks of all experience levels. I’ve only recently come to realize that pork – and pork loin, in particular – is a similarly great option. A lean, easy to cook meat, it works well with tons of different flavors and is quick cooking for busy nights. I love center cut pork loin chops for weeknight dinners, particularly with a simple pan sauce. I’ve frequently used a basic balsamic vinegar to make a pan sauce and have loved it. So when our friends at Queen Creek Olive Mill sent us a bottle of their Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar, I just had to get in the kitchen and play! The result? These Pork Chops with Pomegranate White Balsamic Pan Sauce….
I am a carb addict. It’s true. A few years ago, I tried to do the whole low-carb thing and let’s just say, I wasn’t a pleasant person for a while. I have no problems passing up a tray of sweets, but salty carbs? Don’t get in my way. That is especially true for roasted potatoes. I love them prepared just about any way, but these Bacon Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes are my new favorite thing. As some of you may know, we’ve partnered with Queen Creek Olive Mill in Arizona to feature some of their amazing oils and vinegars throughout the year. We have been long time fans of their amazing products and I make it a point to get out to the olive mill each time I’m in the Phoenix area (I have serious cravings for the prickly pear lemonade and the olive oil cupcakes!). They recently sent us some fun product to try and the first thing I couldn’t wait to use was their amazing Bacon Olive Oil. You guys, I have been putting this stuff on everything. It’s such an easy way to add that great savory bacon flavor to eggs, salads, or in this case, potatoes. …
Now that I’ve officially eaten my weight in fun-sized candies (I’m looking at you, Twix) and the Halloween decorations have been packed away, I’m really excited to get back to cooking and eating some really good food. As many of you know, it has gotten really cold here in Minnesota and with that, I’ve tended toward comfort foods. I’m talking pastas, slow cooker burrito bowls, and everything drowning in melted cheese! I really can’t complain. For this week’s Good Food Reads, I’ve pulled together a bit of a random collection of recipes I’m hoping to make and share with my friends and family in the next few weeks. As usual, they are gathered from fellow bloggers, some magazines, and even inspired by my reading habits (see *** below!). I hope you find something that inspires you! Here are the links I’m loving this week:
Ok, first and foremost, I need to share this recipe sweet recipe from My Name is Yeh. I’d say the likelihood of me actually making these is slim to none because I don’t do well with crafty in general. But…I had to link to them because they are the cutest: Marzipan Challah Hedgehogs. Someone needs to make them ASAP and report back!
Pork and Polenta Bake. Another comfort food that’s perfect for these chilly November evenings. Talk about taking the classic midwestern casserole to a whole new level. Also, have you checked out our BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese? Comfort food with a twist!
Love these recipes for Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup and Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup. Lower in sodium and with fresh ingredients, just in time for all that holiday baking!
Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Spinach and Goat Cheese. Oh man. I can’t wait to make this one. And serve them with these Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes. YES, please.
And finally, because I’m just finishing up her great memoir, Give A Girl A Knife, here’s Amy Thielen’s recipe for Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish.
That’s it for this week’s Good Food Reads, friend. A shorter list, perhaps, but hopefully you find some treasures. Happy Cooking!
Happy Halloween, friends! Is everyone ready for some holiday fun? I’m super excited to take my kiddos out trick or treating tonight – if we can figure out how to keep them warm. It’s going to be cold here in Minnesota. As much as I love this time of year, it is definitely busy. Between fall festivals, costume parties, and field trips, we’ve had days that are absolutely full. In the midst of all that fun, I haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen cooking. And I don’t know about you, but when I get busy, I definitely tend to crazy comfort foods and quick dinner fixes. While I don’t believe in deprivation (you’d better believe I’m going to be enjoying ALL the candy tonight!), I do try to keep some balance in my eating life and often rely on a handful of healthy on-the-go recipes to sneak some nutrients into those busy days. I had a full day of errands today so after my morning yoga class, I popped home and took a look through the kitchen and came up with this Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie….
Oh, you guys. I have had the worst sweet tooth lately. Typically, I love to bake sweets and treats but primarily for others. My husband has a legendary addiction to all things sugar, but typically I lean towards the salty/crunchy snacks. As the weather has turned, I’ve found myself gravitating toward butter, sugar, and most definitely all things chocolate. Since I’ve been delving into all of these sweet treat recipes, I thought I’d share a few I’ve recently tried or am planning to make with you all for this week’s Good Food Reads: Sweets and Treats….
One of the things I find most challenging as a mama is finding healthy things to make that my kids will eat and I feel good about feeding them…and that don’t take eight hours to make and are filled with exotic ingredients that are hard to find and cost an arm and a leg. Nowhere is this challenge more evident for me than in packing lunch for my kiddos for preschool/daycare. Our school is wonderful and does have a school lunch option but for a myriad of reasons, we’ve always packed lunch for them. One of my favorite little things to include are these Apple Zucchini Toddler Muffins. Adapted from a recipe by Super Healthy Kids, these tiny muffins pack a pretty good nutritional punch and they are super easy to make. Win! …