Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ringing in the New Parents...

If you have a little one or multiple little ones, chances are that you rang in the new year with those sweet cherub within a 20 foot radius. Like we did. I mean, who can find babysitters on this night? No one. And then there is that part of you as a mom that wants to be with your family to be together as you ring in a new year. So the best compromise??? Ring in the new year with best friends and their baby.  Head over to their house, let them play all over the place...

 This may just be the cutest picture of the night! 

set up the pack in play, bathe those babies and put them to bed so the parents can feel a bit foot lose for the rest of the night. Which is exactly what we did....thank you Mary Rachel and David!  We had plenty of food and drinks and more friends join us. Mary Rachel made amazing party foods and I added in my aunt's famous Powdered Sugar Pecan Balls. There are addicting and have been a love of mine since the first time I ever tasted one. A few glasses of wine, martinis and champagne later along with the dance station on Pandora on t.v. made for our own fun party.

Who even needs a kid free and fancy fun night out? However, some of us ended the night strong at 2AM and some not feeling so well....the fun was too my husband.
And so our nice little family brunch that I had planned for  New Years Day was moved to 8:00pm New Years Night to let some time pass before someone could even think about food;) I made Easy Bruschetta, Nut Crusted French Toast, Spiced Apples, Mushroom Hash and with Poached Eggs (my first time to poach ANYTHING!) Although a late brunch, it was still an amazing New Years NIGHT brunch and someone even took her very first steps...

a perfect way to ring in the new year.
Pecan Powdered Sugar Balls
(passed down by my Aunt Gay, Momou's oldest daughter)

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
ground pecans
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 370. Blend butter, sugars and add flour and salt gradually. Add vanilla and mix well. Stir in pecans. Chill 1 hour. Roll into balls. Bake on cookie sheet for 18 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while hot!
So incredibly easy and addicting!
Feta Bruschetta
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup frozen chopped onion, thawed
1 (10oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 package water crackers
Garnish: crumbled feta cheese

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add spinach, peppers, italian seasoning, and salt; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in pine nuts. Spoon about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture onto each cracker. Garnish with crumbled feta. 
Mushroom Hash with Poached Eggs
2 potatoes, cooked and diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
12 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced then
2 tsp salt
2 tsp rosemary leaves
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp white vinegar
4 large eggs

Toss diced potatoes with 1 tbsp melted butter. In a large skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat, add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add pepper, mushrooms and seasonings. Cook until the onions are soft and golden. Add potatoes and heavy cream and heat until cream is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. 
Fill a large, wide saucepan with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat so water is barely simmering. Add vinegar. Break one egg at a time into a small dish, then slide it into the pan by dipping the dish into the water. Cook until yolks are just set, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs and drain on paper towel. just poached an egg!
Top each plate of hash with a poached egg.
Nut Crusted Fresh Toast with Vanilla Maple Syrup
6 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 coarsely ground whole almonds
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 loaf thick white bread (about 9 slices)
1 stick butter, plus additional for topping

Preheat oven to 200. Place a baking sheet in oven to warm. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until blended; set aside Combine brown sugar, nuts and bread crumbs.
Dup a slice of bread in egg mixture and allow excess to drip off. Lay bread on nut mixture, then flip to coat both sides. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt about 1 tbsp. butter without allowing it to brown. Cook french toast until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to let nuts brown. Place on baking sheet in oven and continue with remaining slices. Continue with the rest of the bread slices, adding more butter as needed. 

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