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My Dad goes crazy for mashed potatoes. Actually, potatoes in general. And this recipe was a creation of his that he served to some of their Bed and Breakfast guests.  He prefers to just fry up his potatoes and eat them golden brown with ketchup, but I really like this simple little bake in the oven recipe for using left over mashed potatoes!

Use Left Over Mashed Potatoes in these Potato Boats

Use Left Over Mashed Potatoes in these Potato Boats

POTATO BOATS:

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves 8

What you need:

  • 8 cups of mashed potatoes(you will need 8 to 10 potatoes depending on the size; these can be cooked and mashed the day before)
  • 1 Cup of cooked chopped bacon
  • ½ Cup chopped green onions
  • ½ Cup shredded extra old cheddar cheese
  • ½ Cup shredded extra old cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Potato mix

    Potato mix

  2. If potatoes are cold, heat in microwave until they are heated right through the center.
  3. In a large bowl mix together potatoes, bacon, onions and ½ cup cheddar cheese and salt and pepper.
  4. Press 1 cup of mix in each boat (a 5 inch oven proof oval dish).
  5. Press a well in the center to hold egg.
  6. Crack egg and pour into center.
  7. Sprinkle each boat with a liberal amount  of cheddar cheese & green onion.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until egg is cooked.
  9. Sprinkle remainder of cheese and top with 2 chive sprigs.

    The 'well'

    The 'well'

Almost ready for the oven

Almost ready for the oven

Cash Back Coupon!

Almond Berry Banana Bread

Almond Berry Banana Bread

Today’s the first day of winter…and what a winter day it is indeed! Here on Salt Spring Island we’re covered in a blanket of snow that just keeps on falling. Good thing we’ve nowhere to go today because we are not going to be able to get out of our driveway.

Tomorrow we’re sending out the final Christmas brunch recipe to our Breakfast with the Broads email recipe subscribers. They’ve now got everything they need to prepare an amazing five course brunch…and today I’m going to share with you how that brunch can be ready to go Christmas morning with less than an hour of work!

The Chrismas Brunch Menu

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beverage: Fruit Fantasy

Fresh Fruit Compote with Lemon Cream

Fresh Fruit Compote with Lemon Cream

Cereal Course: Apple Berry Crisp Delight with Yogurt

Fruit Dish: Fresh Fruit Compote with lemon cream

Bread Basket: Almond Berry Banana Bread and Cranberry Orange Muffins

Main Course: Smoked Salmon Strata served with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Fresh Parsley

Christmas Brunch Preparation Tips

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You don’t want to get up at 5am to serve brunch at 9am! But, with this menu, you won’t have to. Many of the items

Cranberry Orange Muffins (Milk & Egg Free!)

Cranberry Orange Muffins (Milk & Egg Free!)

should be made ahead of time! And you could even make the bread basket items up to a week in advance, store them in the freezer, then just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them before serving!

If you do that… you can have brunch on the table in less than an hour, and have time to visit while things are cooking.

So here’s how we’d suggest you prepare this low fuss menu:

Salmon Strata

Salmon Strata


7 days before:

Bake the Almond Berry Bread and Orange Cranberry Muffins. Let them cool completely. Freeze the muffins in a large freezer bag or freezer friendly sealed container. You may actually find that the bread is either to slice frozen because it’s a bit crumbly, so freeze it whole if you’d like then slice it as it thaws the morning of brunch.

Day Before:

Make the Apple Berry Crisp and the Salmon Strata – but do not cook! Once they are ready to go in the oven, cover them and put them in the fridge until morning.

Make the fruit compote as per the instructions and put it in the fridge too!

If you really want to sleep in, set your brunch table the night before. That way you will have very little work to do in the morning.

1 Hour Before Brunch:

  1. Pop the crisp in the oven and start baking it. Since it takes about 35 minutes, and you’ll serve it about 15 – 20 minutes before the strata, you want it ready first.
  2. Take your bread basket items out of the freezer and leave them on the counter to let them thaw a bit. Slice the bread if you froze it whole.
  3. Get coffee and tea ready. You can also fill water glasses and get the table set (if you didn’t do that the night before).
  4. Prepare the compote (you will need to make the lemon cream). Put a compote and a juice drink at each table seating.
  5. Once the crisp is ready, pull it out of the oven and put the strata in.You want to let the crisp cool a little bit before serving.

Brunch Time:

  1. Pop the bread basket items into the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Pull them out and put them in a basket with a tea towel wrapped around and over top of them to keep them warm… now it’s time for brunch!
  2. Seat your guests around the table, serve them their coffee and tea. Allow them a few minutes to get settled and start enjoying their compote.
  3. Put out the fresh baked bread basket items 😉 – hey, they ARE hot out of the oven, aren’t they?
  4. If your strata still has more than 15 minutes to go in the oven, take time to sit down with your guests and enjoy the compote and bread basket items.
  5. Once your strata has less than 15 minutes left in the oven, scoop out the crisp into individual servings, add a small scoop of yogurt and a mint leaf. Serve these to your guests, and take 10 minutes to enjoy yours too!
  6. When the timer goes for your strata, take it out of the oven and dish it up right away. You want to serve this hot from the oven.

Brunch and Breakfast Recipes Weekly!

Brunch and Breakfast Recipes Weekly!

This post is sponsored by my Breakfast with the Broads Cookbook Website… head on over to sign up for our weekly email recipes AND you’ll get a fantastic Brunch Planner complete with menu ideas, shopping lists, and of course, recipes! Perfect in time for your holiday visitors!!

Sit down and enjoy the praise from your guests that you pulled off a 5 course brunch in less than an hour!!!

“I, Ruth-Anne Broad certify that I have the rights to use and publish this text and pictures and I give the rights to Help Beat Sarcoma to use it.”

glass-christmas-decorations-006While on our river cruise we were entertained for over an hour by a glassblower, Karl Ittig, from Wertheim, Germany.   After the second world war Karl (a young boy at the time) snuck out of East Germany with his family and in 1958 settled in Wertheim. Karl and his family have been working with glass for six generations, since 1841. Their traditional glass making techniques are taught at the Pilchuck Glass School co-founded by Dale Chihuly (USA). The Ittigs are founders of the Eugene Glass School in Oregon, USA which teaches all aspects of glassmaking.

Galileo Temperature Guage

Galileo Temperature Guage

When we were in the shop bon-apart we bought a Galileo (density of liquid changes according to the temperature) and a few Christmas decorations. (If you read my blog on packing you know this was a major decision as packing room was at a premium!) I have enjoyed it every day as Rick and I are always ‘discussing’ the temperature.  Galileo is our proving ground to determine who is too warm and who is too hot.  I digress.  When we made our purchase one of the ‘goodies’ dropped in our bag was a bright orange paper with a glass droplet attached.  It wasn’t until I opened the bag to wrap the little decorations for Christmas that I read the paper.  I would like to share it with you.

This is the story of  a woman that lived to be very old because she never forgot her moments of

bon-apart gallery

bon-apart gallery

happiness.  She never left her house without a handful of glass stones.  She wanted to be fully aware of the most beautiful moments of the day and be able to count them.  She took one glass stone from the left-hand pocket and placed it in her right-hand pocket each time she experienced something positive, during the day (for example: she had a good old gossip with someone or saw the sparkling eyes of a child or even enjoyed a nice meal), just things that gave her real pleasure.  Sometimes two or three glass stones slipped from one pocket to the other.

In the evening at home she counted the glass stones she found in her pocket and recalled every moment she had enjoyed throughout the day.  She thought about all the nice things she had experienced and had given her pleasure during the day.  Things that had made her happy and thanked her maker for the goodness.  What is more if she was only able to count but one stone she considered the day to be successful, a day worth living.

Cordially yours  Ittig Family

I hope you enjoyed this little legend from the Ittig family.

I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday season.

Christmas is such a busy time around the house. Between guests visiting our Bed and Breakfast and our family visitors, there often isn’t much time to worry about decorations. So, I admit that I typically just grab what is handy and set up the centerpieces that are the quickest to do.

There are only a few rules that I really follow when making Christmas table centerpieces:

  1. Keep the centerpiece low so that people can still see each other and make eye contact over the centerpiece.
  2. Use some seasonal colours like gold, silver, green or red so the decorations on the table easily tie in with the decorations around the rest of the house.
  3. Use things that will appeal to the people at the table. If it’s adults only then I will use more sophisticated decorations but if there are going to be kids around the table I will tie in little ornaments that are appealing for kids like Santa figures, Elves or little snowmen.

To get started I will usually just collect a bunch of extra decorations from around the house and put them in piles:

Holiday Candle Holders

Holiday Candle Holders

Baskets or Glass Bowls or Unused Cake Stands - All Great for the base of a table centerpieces

Baskets or Glass Bowls or Unused Cake Stands - All Great for the base of a table centerpieces

I like using gold at Christmas as it ties in well with most decorations

I like using gold at Christmas as it ties in well with most decorations

Silver is another favourite of mine

Silver is another favourite of mine

Done putting up your decorations? Don't put away the leftover odds and ends - you can use them in your table centerpiece

Done putting up your decorations? Don't put away the leftover odds and ends - you can use them in your table centerpiece

So once you have an inventory of what you can use, then I am sure you will get even better ideas than these, but here’s a few of my favourite fast table centerpieces that really pull a room together and fill it with the Christmas spirit.

table-setting-idea-2a

This is really quick, simple and quite effective. You can use any color of shiny ball or even the string balls that are so popular this year. Fill the clear dish with some of the beads then add the balls, add more string beads, alternating until it as full as you want it.You can leave it at that or add other toppers or candles.

WARNING: I used real candles a couple of years ago and spent hours picking off the wax so I suggest either the battery operated candles  with just the the tip sticking out or putting candles on either side.

Fast and Easy Christmas Table Cenerpiece

Fast and Easy Christmas Table Centerpiece

One more really fast table centerpiece ideas for you… use an inverted cake server. In the top section (which is normally the bottom of the cake server) put a candle (if real use one of the 2-3″ diameter, 8-10″ in height so it will burn all during dinner) or some other Christmas decoration.  Surround it with coloured Christmas balls.

table-setting-idea-1a

On the lower section add some greenery – I used artificial for purposes of demonstration but live is much nicer.  I used a glass grape cluster but the possibilities are endless.  If there are children you may want to add a small Santa, miniature toys or something appropriate.  If you have holly, fill the top and bottom with holly and just a couple of small balls or none at all.

Small Ornaments will make your Christmas Centerpiece more interesting for kids

Small Ornaments will make your Christmas Centerpiece more interesting for kids

table-setting-idea-1c

I hope you have a beautiful, warm and wonderful holiday season.

Give the Gift of Tickets for Christmas:


Great Tickets at StubHub.com!

The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – and on such short notice. Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. Four o’clock, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize. 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing; I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9 I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?

– The Grinch, from How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Even the Grinch feels the pressure around Christmas time! Between shopping, decorating, parties and getting ready for those parties – it just seems that there isn’t a moment to spare. And, if you are trying to figure out what to feed your out of town guests, then it just gets worse.

We were thrilled to hear from some of our readers last week, thanking us for the holiday menu. Catherine wrote us an e-mail nearly the minute we sent out last week’s menu saying: “Wonderful, I have a daughter, son in law and two grandchildren arriving from California and son and daughter in law joining us for an early Christmas. Now I know what I can do for a brunch before they go over to Vancouver for Christmas.”

We probably won’t get all of the recipes posted on the blog, but you can always sign up for our weekly brunch recipe by e-mail to make sure you get them all!

Holiday Brunch Recipe Almond Berry Banana Bread

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: Makes 1 large loaf

What you need:Almond Berry Banana Bread Ingredients

* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup mashed rope bananas (3 medium bananas)
* 1/2 cup low fat french vanilla yogurt
* 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup slivered almonds

What you do:

1. Grease your large loaf pan or line it with wax paper.
2. Preheat oven to 350oF.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the egg, vanilla, bananas and yogurt until it’s all well blended.Mixing Ingredients
5. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a spoon, stir it all together just until blended.
6. Stir in cranberries and almonds.Mix in the cranberries and almonds
7. Scrape batter into the loaf pan.Banana Bread ready for baking

8. Bake for 1 hour. Check the center with a toothpick. If it’s still wet, cook for another 10 minutes. Toothpick inserted into center should come out dry.

A quick peak in the oven to see if it's ready... not quite so back in it goes

A quick peak in the oven to see if it's ready... not quite so back in it goes

9. Turn upside down onto a cooling rack. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

It helps to have a clean up crew on hand… when you slice the bread it’s a bit crumbly. Thankfully my helpful dog Bram was there to clean the floors of any crumbs.

bram

Great Holiday Gifts and Stocking Stuffers:

LUSH Bath bombs

finalPreparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8

What you need:

Apple Berry Crisp Delight Ingredients

Apple Berry Crisp Delight Ingredients

FRUIT FILLING:

  • 5 Cups of sliced apples
  • 1 Cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 Cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon flour

TOPPING:

  • ½ Cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ Cup flour
  • ½ Cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine grated orange rind
  • ¼ Cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 Cup chopped hazelnuts

What you do:

Ok - so I didn't have raspberries. I used blackberries instead.

Ok - so I didn't have raspberries. I used blackberries instead.

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a greased 8 inch baking dish, mix together fruit layer ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, with a fork, mix together the topping ingredients (Except for the hazelnuts).

The tasty topping is mixed together

The tasty topping is mixed together

4. Spread the crumbly mixture on top of the fruit.

5. Sprinkle hazelnuts on top and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Ready to go into the oven...no hazlenuts though!

6. Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or whip cream. Sprinkle

with cinnamon and garnish with a mint leaf.

Appleberry Crisp (Full confessions – I used Blackberries as I didn’t have raspberries AND I didn’t have any hazlenuts…but YUMMY was this delicious and it took no time at all to prepare!!)

Note from mom:  I use toasted almonds instead of hazelnuts as I like the flavor.

Poor Bram – he knew the whole time I was preparing this delicious apple berry crisp that he wouldn’t get any. He just sulked and sulked – looking at me with those big brown eyes.

Bram

GET GREAT DEALS ON ANY HOTEL – WITH BIG DISCOUNTS FOR STAYING 3 or MORE NIGHTS:


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Get Ready for Christmas Visitors with our Brunch Menu
Get Ready for Christmas Visitors with our Brunch Menu (Photo by Jason Floyd)

At Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway, guests during the holiday season are treated to a festive five course brunch. And Mom suggested that we spend the next few weeks covering the recipes that would go into that festive brunch. So this week, in our weekly recipe e-mail, I laid out our five course brunch and sent the first two recipes. I won’t put all the recipes up on the blog, because there has to be SOME benefits to being a newsletter subscriber, but I will give you the menu and a few of the recipes.  If you want all of the recipes, sign up to get the Breakfast with the Broads weekly email recipe.

Each week until December 22nd, we will give more recipes, some tips and table setting ideas, so that you are all set for the holiday season!

And the best part is – you don’t have to wait until the 22nd to start using these recipes. They are so versatile, you can amaze your family and friends with one recipe (take it to a potluck or just treat them on Sunday). But, you can wait until you have ALL the recipes for the whole menu and then dazzle and delight them by creating the entire brunch for them!! And with some make ahead tips that we will give you, and some table setting examples my Mom will make, we will be sure to give you everything you need to make it as easy and stress-free as possible so you can share the holiday spirit and delight in being the Rachel Ray or Jamie Kennedy of your household!!

Wishing you wonderful moments around the breakfast/brunch table this holiday season,
Julie

Anne’s Holiday Brunch Menu:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
268b_ad125xbroads_lowqual1
Beverage: Fruit Fantasy
Cereal Course: Apple Berry Crisp with Yogurt
Fruit Dish: Fresh citrus compote with lime cream
Bread Basket: Cherry Banana Muffins and Cranberry Orange Muffins
Main Course: Smoke Salmon Strata served with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Fresh Parsley AND White Cinnamon Toast Cutouts

Coming tomorrow… the recipe for the Apple Berry Crisp with Yogurt! 🙂


bright-lights-stanley-park-026When Julie picked us up at the airport on Saturday she said she had bought tickets as a surprise, but wouldn’t tell us where or what they were for. Until we arrived in Stanley Park we had no idea what to expect.

Bright Nights

Bright Nights

Bright Nights in Stanley Park is organized by the Park Board and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ and raises money for the Burn Fund.

The million plus lights are brilliant, bountiful, beautiful, dazzling, mesmerizing, a great way to remove yourself from the everyday hustle and bustle and get you into the Holiday Spirit. Although it was difficult to take pictures while riding the rails, I really enjoyed the train ride through the forest, the International Village and Santa Land etc. listening to the Christmas tunes which changed to match each display. Of course my attempt at singing likely sent shudders through the rails but I do know that I had fun! My apologies to anyone who heard me!

A new theme at every turn

A new theme at every turn

After the train ride we walked through the Farmyard to pet some of

A Magical Evening for All

A Magical Evening for All

the smaller animals, then along  the woodland path which took us past the many animated displays. The pictures I took were clearer, but I also enjoyed the effects of the ones from the train. Of course as we walked by the concession booths we had to check out the freshly roasted nuts and organic popcorn. They had hot chocolate too but it was such a warm evening we didn’t need a warm up.

Entry to Bright Nights light display is free. There is a small charge for the train ride but it was a very pleasant tour that shows off many different displays that you can’t see from the walking path.  On your way out, if you are so inclined, there is a donation box by the entrance for the Firefighters’ Burn Fund which helps burn survivors and their families. A great way to show appreciation for the hard work that went in to organize and set up the beautiful light show for each of us to enjoy.

http://vancouver.ca/parks/events/brightnights/index.htm

This is their website for more information on Bright Nights in Stanley Park

bright-lights-stanley-park-0674

I can’t remember if I was to Photoshop with clothes on or off………..Thanks for a brilliant evening!!

This post is sponsored by my Breakfast with the Broads 268b_ad125xbroads_lowqualCookbook Website… head on over to sign up for our weekly email recipes AND you’ll get a fantastic Brunch Planner complete with menu ideas, shopping lists, and of course, recipes! Perfect in time for your holiday visitors!!

FREE BRUNCH PLANNER

Brunch planning tips, theme ideas, menus, shopping lists and recipes all free in the Breakfast with the Broads Brunch Planner. Sign up and get a new recipe every week by e-mail. Breakfast will never be boring again!

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