Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Our Valentine's Day brunch



So, this is what the spread looked like.

When you keep a well-stocked fridge, freezer and pantry, this can be pulled together with no extra trips to the store.

From left to right:

That's a fruit salad. My daughter peeled and segmented 3 oranges, then cut the segments into bite size. She added some dried cranberries and toasted almond slivers. I didn't add any dressing to it, but left it just unadorned and fresh-tasting.

Those are cream puffs. I decided to make these on Saturday, when my son mentioned that his girlfriend loves creamy things more than sweets. Cream puffs are quite easy to make. Here's the recipe that I use. The unfilled leftovers freeze well, to be pulled out and filled for another occasion, down the road. I made these cream puffs slightly smaller than my mom's recipe indicated. So it made 20, instead of 12 or 15. I thin it was a better size for a brunch. I filled them with a spoonful of frozen strawberries, each, then some whipped cream.

In the crockpot are heart-shaped pancakes. I made the pancakes before church, placed in layers in the crockpot with parchment paper in between layers, so they wouldn't all stick together in one clump, and then set the pot on KEEP WARM. They did great for a couple of hours. I noticed after more than a couple of hours that the edges became a bit crisp. But otherwise, good (and did stay warm). The syrup for the pancakes was melted red currant jelly, thinned with some water (for pink syrup).

I had a couple of packages of bacon in the freezer, bought sometime last summer or early fall. When I find a good deal, I buy a few packages and keep them in the freezer for holidays and special breakfasts.

Finally, those are mini quiches, crustless. I used 9 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk/cream to make 12 little quiches. to the eggs/milk, I added some grated cheddar, thawed frozen spinach, minced onion and 4 breakfast sausages, chopped small and fried in the skillet, first.

We also had orange juice, plus coffee or cocoa with our brunch. It all worked out nicely. I did most of the work on Saturday, so my Valentine's wouldn't be totally occupied with the brunch details. We ate in the kitchen, which turned out to be a very good thing, as our heat was out. And Saturday is our housecleaning day, so the kitchen was very neat and tidy for Sunday. Again, everything just all worked out.


This was the one meal that I cooked on Sunday. Our dinner in the evening was free burgers from Jack in the box.

37 comments:

  1. Aw, Lili! What a lovely little spread! Looks wonderful! Hope everyone enjoyed themselves, and you all got lots of hugs and kisses, too! :)

    Just two of us here, but I "invented" a new pear cobbler to make our breakfast more festive. Sara

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    1. Thank you, Sara!
      Yum. Pear cobbler sounds delicious!

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    2. It was quite tasty, Lili, and better yet, a good way to put a dent in an overage of Bisquick and canned pears we currently have! Every ingredient came out of the pantry. Love it! Sara

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    3. That well-stocked pantry is coming in handy, Sara!

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  2. So lovely Lili,What a nice special day.
    I got part of the results back on my tests. The mamogram came back normal. :) The ultra sound on my lumps on my thyroid came back suspecious. I am waiting for the insurance
    to ok a needle biopsy on the nodules on my thyroid. I have an HMO so the doctor and the radiology place need too
    send in special (urgent) request for (FNA) Fine needle Aspiration. Praying they will get the procedure (fNA) approved and results will be favorable.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. Hi Patti,
      that is very good news on your mammogram! I'm praying for good results on your thyroid. I know this waiting must be so difficult for you. Take very good care of yourself and rest in the knowledge that He has you in His hands.

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  3. Most thyroid nodules not a problem. I am believing for that.
    Patti

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    1. Something I do that helps me through bad moments is to listen to favorite praise music. I google worship songs on youtube, and just sit with my eyes closed and listen, over and over. It helps me gain a sense of calm. Yesterday, I was listening to Hillsong's Unfailing Love.
      Praying for the peace that passes all understanding for you.

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    2. Thank you Lili.:) I have perfect peace today. God works all things together for good. I am totally
      going to You Tube Hillsong. I love them. Have a really great day.
      Patti

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    3. Patti,
      Praying for all to be well. I am a 5 year thyroid cancer survivor myself so understand all too well that stress. Glad you are at peace...and yes, God gives us that peace in the midst of even our trials. After my thyroidectomy, I experienced that firsthand, which was truly a miracle in itself as someone who sometimes struggles with anxiety. Anyway, please keep us posted. Hugs to you.

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    4. Thank you cat. I did not see your post until today.
      I don't have a date for the fNA yet but it is finally authorized. Now just waiting for teck to come back she has been out sick. Most of last week.
      Thank you again for the encouragement and prayers.
      Blessings
      Patt

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  4. Looks delicious! I don't often have enough people here to warrant keeping pancakes warm in a crock pot, but I am filing that idea away for family vacations. Great idea!

    I made cranberry orange scones for our Valentine's treat and they were a hit. In fact, my husband said they were even better than the chocolate pecan scones I make and which had been his previous favorite. High praise. :)

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    1. Thank you, Laura.
      The pancakes in the crockpot worked for about the first 2 to 3 hours, and then as I said, they got crispy on some of the edges after that. It could be that the edges that touched the crockpot itself, got crispy. But otherwise, they were warm and delicious, even after several hours!

      I do love cranberry-orange scones! I can believe they'd be a big hit! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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  5. What a yummy looking brunch.
    I hope you got your heat fixed quickly. It's been quite cold here, but we're looking at a warming trend starting today!
    Jo Ann

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    1. Thank you, Jo Ann!
      We're still waiting on the furnace guy. He's supposed to be here sometime before lunch, today. Fortunately, where we live, this time of year the house rarely goes below 56 degrees. We're currently at 57 right now, so a bit chilly. Looking forward to some heat!

      I hope your warming trend brings relief to your part of the country!

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  6. Wow...your Valentine's Day brunch spread looks so inviting and special, more than a simple course meal. My husband made homemade waffles which seems like a treat in itself whenever the waffle griddle comes out. Topped with coconut oil instead of butter, and syrup.

    I'm a terrible baker (and cook for that matter) but I think I'll try your tutorial for making cream puffs. It looks surprisingly easy for such an elegant, and expensive pastry. Best is your tip that it can be made ahead and frozen. Thank you :)


    YHF

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    1. YHF, the first time I made creampuffs was junior high home ec. class, and we were all AMAZED (and very proud of ourselves) at how easy they were. DO DEFINITELY give them a shot with Lili's tutorial. I have faith you can do it! :)

      Remember, too, that you can also use the same choux paste for eclairs and puffs you fill with savory fillings (like chicken salad). There are also versions of choux paste that have cheese and/or herbs in them which are even nicer for a simple, but fancy-looking, filling-holder. Have a great week! Sara

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    2. Hi YHF,
      oh yeah, bakery cream puffs are so overpriced! The only trick, if there is a trick, is to use a heavy-bottomed saucepan for cooking the butter, water, flour and egg. Nothing sticks and scorches that way. And they are so great to just tuck into the freezer. If the frozen leftovers don't get eaten by Easter, they will become Easter dinner dessert. And, as Sara said, mini ones are also great for bite-size savory cream puffs. I fill them either with ham or chicken salad to bring to potlucks.

      That was soooo sweet of your husband to make waffles for Valentine's. Doen't the waffle iron, itself, smell wonderful when it's heating up?! Mine always does.

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    3. I appreciate the encouragement, Sara:)...will give it a good college try lol Interesting that you mentioned home ec class because that's about all the baking experience I had until my next cooking class years later as a sophomore in college which was mandatory for nutrition majors. I think I should have used that as a cue...why am I majoring in foods when I don't feel comfortable in the kitchen? But I was really into eating healthy at that time and just wanted to learn all I could.

      Yup every bit of advice helps...thanks for emphasizing the type of saucepan to use, because I would have not thought that to be important.

      I think my fear of the kitchen comes from my childhood where I was basically forbidden to be in the kitchen. My mother had no patience for having her kitchen messed or things moved around in the cupboards or refrigerator. I was scolded for even opening the refrigerator door or looking in the cupboards. Once my mom's uncle came for a visit, and in front of everyone I asked her permission to open the refrigerator, the shock that came over his face. He was furious, and said "I (pointing his thumb to his chest) give you permission to open the refrigerator door". Boy that did not go well with my mom. She had a hard life, as she so often said, taking care of her three younger brothers since her teen years, so I think she had zero patience for being a normal parent.

      YHF

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    4. YHF, I seem to have lost a response to this in cyberspace yesterday. I just wanted to say, what a blessing for you to have a husband who's comfy in the kitchen, after your bad kitchen experiences growing up. Maybe it's God's way of softening those bad memories and helping you learn and grow in harmony together. I love to read your current kitchen stories! :)

      Also, I think that the dough for creampuffs is a bit like for potstickers. It sounds weird when you read the instructions, and sometimes looks weird for a few moments in process. You think that there's no way it can be right. Then all the sudden, if you just trust and follow the instructions, and keep stirring, all the sudden it does what it's supposed to do. And then you cook it, and the result is right, too. :)

      Good luck! :) Sara

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    5. YHF,
      I think we all bring our baggage into parenthood. I'm sorry for your mom that her teen years were so hard. And sorry for you that you never felt comfortable using the family kitchen when you were growing up. Your mom was probably just trying her hardest to take care of everybody, and didn't really think about how this might affect your ability and desire to use a kitchen in your future.
      One thing I've learned, though, is whatever difficulties my own parents had with raising a family, I can now "parent" myself, and say encouraging words to myself, as if I were that child that needed parental encouragement. It is a matter of pushing aside those words of discouragement that naturally seem to pop up in my mind. And I have to do this constantly, but it does help.

      But you brought up something very interesting. I always liked cooking, my sister not so much. But what I had that she didn't, was a childhood friend whose mom let us cook practically anything in her kitchen that we wanted. Every Saturday morning I went down the street to my friend's house and we cooked something. My own mom was a little apprehensive about kids cooking, not terribly so, but felt she needed to supervise constantly, and really didn't have time, with my baby brother needing attention in those years. But perhaps that's the difference between myself and my sister -- that I had this place I could go and learn by experience, and she didn't. Children cooking really do make a huge mess, and I can understand why a parent might be reluctant to allow it.

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    6. Thanks so much for your understanding, Sara and Lili :)...was a bit apprehensive about saying what I did yesterday. Going off topic AGAIN and talking about unpleasant psychobabble AGAIN, so that's about all I'll say on the subject, at least here in cyberspace. But my husband, is and has always been the only person who truly understands me, and I do believe, like Sara said, he was sent to me from God to help me cope with my inadequacies. Your story too, Lili, reminds me of my childhood, where I always hanged out at our neighbor's home and watched TV. That's another thing, you don't know how bad I felt knocking on their door when they were home, just because my mother forced me to go out to play everyday, whether I wanted to or not. She would say "if you don't go out, they won't call you next time and you'll be sad." So as an antidote to that, I'm stubborn as a mule today, not wanting to see anyone if I don't have to. There's just too much that went wrong with my childhood....to fix at my age. I understand what you're saying about being your own parent and saying encouraging words to yourself. One therapist suggested I carry a doll, and since retiring I'm doing that. It brings so much comfort. The story behind this one, is I cried so much as an infant, the neighbors complained and told her "your baby only cry", so I thought what a crybaby I was. Then when we moved away briefly to Portland, my mother told me that she cried when she saw a neighbor sitting outside all day in her porch carrying her baby, because she couldn't do that for me. That's when I realized that she didn't carry me, and that's why the neighbors complained that I cried so much. Also her incessant stories about how her younger brother would come home from work, wash his hands and carry me, she felt eternally grateful that he could do that for her. I wondered why she kept repeating that story to me so often, I guess she had a lot of guilt. I do believe she felt that crying was good for a baby, and she was so busy tending to the household with five men, my dad, her dad, and her three brothers, who had time to carry a baby, and as a baby I wouldn't know better. There's just too much more...as my husband said, she was so worn out taking care of others and had many misconceptions (including having no faith in medical or dental sciences), she really shouldn't have been a parent.

      YHF

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    7. Sending you BIG hugs, YHF. Sara

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    8. Oh, YHF. I am so glad you have the husband that you do. (((YHF)))

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    9. Thanks for giving me your ear for a brief moment. Hugs :)

      YHF

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  7. Lili your brunch looks delicious. I'm sure your family appreciates all the effort & love you put into it!
    My hubby worked Sunday so no brunch for us but I made a special dinner, I found lobster tails on sale so I surprised him with those for dinner.
    Rhonda

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    1. What treat, Rhonda! I've never bought lobster, ever. My husband would fall off his chair if I bought it. I'm glad you found a good sale on it for a special meal!

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    2. Mine almost fell off the chair too!

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  8. Looks delicious! Good to know about pancakes staying warm in a crockpot. That info may come in handy someday. :)

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  9. Your brunch looks so good. I cannot get my family to enjoy breakfast for brunch, lunch or supper!

    We also had a Valentine's dinner with roast chicken, mashed potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli mix, salad and strawberry/rhubarb jello. No dessert.

    I had a ton of leftovers as well as spaghetti leftover from Friday sitting in my fridge. I was so happy to have a choice for meals and hubby and daughter could warm stuff up on Monday since I spent 4 hours in the ER with my mom and dad. Mom is not always well and she had chest and back pain and they thought a heart attack. They ruled that out quickly thankfully and I think it is indigestion, constipation and just plain didn't feel well. She also suffers from Trigeminal nerve disorder or maybe S.U.N.C.T. Nobody in West Michigan has been able to help her get this under control. She is getting more and more frail and even has glimpses into heaven where she sees her two infant sons and they are calling out to their mommy...

    We're hanging in there though.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm so sorry that you mom is having these health issues. I hope that the doctors can alleviate her pain. Also, you make sure you take some time to take care of yourself. Having a close family member ill is taxing on those around them.

      Your Valentine's dinner sounds so yummy -- no dessert needed. (The jello is kind of a dessert, right?)

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  10. Had people over for dinner last night and had an orange and dried cranberry salad because I had them already. Thanks for the idea.

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