New Year, New Brunch

blackberries-1834343_960_720Alright. So we’re almost through the holidays. I’m hoping everyone has enjoyed them! So far it seems like I’ve seen more friends and family in the past week than I have in the whole year! And of course, I have eaten way more food in this past week than I should have. But I had to! It’s the holidays. There’s one more big holiday left of 2016- New Year- and then we are onto a whole year of new holidays, new foods, and new resolutions.

Over the years, I have found that New Year traditions vary for pretty much everyone. This year, I am fortunate enough to be spending New Year’s Eve in Disney World with my family! Maybe it will be a new tradition for us *wink wink*. But it seems that yet again, the one thing all these traditions have in common is food. Do you pig out more on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day? Or both? Fortunately for us, New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday this year. And if you’re lucky like me, a ton of us get Monday off too! To me, Sunday means brunch. And also to me, brunch is best eaten after a night of celebrating. So what’s stopping you from starting the new year off right with a big brunch?!

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Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Unfortunately for me, New Year’s Day is going to consist of a few hours of travel. But I went through the Forq app and found everything I would like to try out for a great New Year’s Day brunch! First, we have the breakfast casseroles– perfect for the people that don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning after New Year! Of course, you can build off of these main dishes and add things like pancakes and home fries to make your brunch even bigger, but these casseroles could fill you up just as well! First, we have this Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole. It is absolutely perfect for New Year’s Day because like the title says, you make it ahead of time! Part of the directions is to keep it in the fridge for as little as two hours or overnight, so it’s perfect to have pre-made then just pop in the oven in the morning after a night of celebrating! This Sunday Morning Casserole has the same premise– you must refrigerate overnight. If you aren’t looking for a breakfast casserole that must sit overnight, this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is for you. With sausage, eggs, crispy tater tots, and cheese, it’s everything you could want in a breakfast! Next, we have one of my personal favorites to make– french toast casserole. I found two tasty looking recipes:

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Praline French Toast Casserole

Holiday Brunch French Toast and Praline French Toast Casserole. French toast casserole has all the yumminess  of french toast but gets rid of the hassle of having to individual batter and flip every piece! Our last casserole dish is my favorite brunch side dish: home fries. When I make home fries at home, I usually just use a dice up potato I pre-baked in the microwave, then drop it in some hot vegetable oil with salt, pepper, and garlic. But this Hash Brown Casserole looks amazing! 

But, really what is brunch without some muffins or scones to go with your morning coffee? My personal favorite are Banana Muffins. However, on New Year’s Day, some of you might need an extra boost from these Sunshine Power Muffins. The last muffin we have here is a Savory Spinach, Feta, and Peppadew Muffin. Something this different and tasty is sure to impress!

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Raspberry Breakfast Scones

Now, the scones. Obviously these baked goods can also be made a day or two before to save some time in the morning! I love blueberries in the morning, so these Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones look so tasty to me! Next, we have these Raspberry Breakfast Scones. They seem a little simpler to make than the blueberry, and look amazing too!

Last but not least, to me the holidays are not holidays without mfp_33abdfe2675655cc935977e6f58a6bb17-Ingredient-Cinnamon-Rolls-via-Minimalist-Bakercinnamon rolls. My family usually buys the pre-made kind so that the most work we have to do is preheat the oven and then frost them ourselves, but this year I am 100% going to try making these Aunt Dottie’s Rolls. I have had the pleasure of trying homemade cinnamon rolls only once in my life, and I promise you it was absolutely life changing.

Holiday Flavors

anise-1887231_960_720The holidays are here- there’s no denying it! I have personally been spending most of my paychecks on presents for all my friends and family; giving is my favorite part of the holiday season (besides the food, of course). No matter what you celebrate, there are flavors of the holiday season that no one can deny. This blog post is all about the flavors I personally think of when I think “holiday.” Yes, there are the obvious recipes that just scream “holidays,” but I’m trying to think outside the box on this one.

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Fresh Ginger Cake

The first thing I think of when I think of the holidays is ginger. I have made gingerbread cookies with my family for years. I can remember making gingerbread houses every year back in my school days with all my friends. Ginger is engraved in my mind as a holiday flavor. So, what else can be made with ginger besides cookies? Fresh Ginger Cake of course. A subtle touch of ginger makes this cake absolutely delicious and perfect for the holidays… or any time for that matter! Similar to this ginger cake are these Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones. There is something about these spices that get me excited about the holidays!

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Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones

Speaking of holiday spices, a potential drink for the holiday season is Cranberry Ginger Fizz. Make it even more perfect for the holidays by garnishing it with a sprig of rosemary as suggested as well as a few extra cranberries and a candy cane stirrer!

Cranberry is another flavor my mind automatically travels to when I think of the holidays. I am going to blame my mom for this one; every holiday season she would go through at least three cranberry chutney scented candles! bread-1702907_960_720Cranberries are incredibly festive and perfect for the holidays. They add that perfect pop of color to make everything they are included in a beautiful dish! Take this Cranberry Almond Bread, for example. The cranberries inside make a gorgeous addition! If you prefer cranberries as a dessert, these White Chocolate Cranberry Bars are a great treat.

Obviously peppermint is a holiday flavor. There are tons of recipes that call for peppermint. My personal favorites are when peppermint is combined with chocolate. For example, I love sprinkling crushed peppermint candies or candy canes on top of my brownies. Or, you could go all out and use this recipe to make these Perfectly Peppermint Brownies! If brownies aren’t your thing, you could always make these Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls.

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Ultimate Eggnog Recipe

Last but certainly not least, we have eggnog. Recently I have seen eggnog used as an ingredient in tons of dishes. For example, these Eggnog Cookies are absolutely delectable. Eggnog is an ingredient in both the cookie and the frosting! The last recipe I will share is this Ultimate Eggnog Recipe. Not only is eggnog a great ingredient to use, it is even better if you make it yourself. I had the pleasure of trying homemade eggnog at a holiday party this past week, and it truly gave me a new appreciation for it!

There are tons more holiday inspired recipes on the Forq app. If you have any favorites, please share!

Cookies Cookies Cookies

bake-1786926_960_720Happy December! Thanksgiving has passed, so now we are in the heart of the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And what comes with the most wonderful time of the year? Food! Thanksgiving kickstarted this time of eating, and now we must continue. I have found that the most prevalent food around the holidays seems to be cookies.

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Decorated Christmas cookies

I love cookies. And I love them even more around the holidays. Some of the fondest holiday memories I have include cookies. Eating, baking, decorating… Traditions have been formed around something as simple as cookies. The day before Christmas Eve, my mom, dad, brother and I would gather to make a batch of gingerbread to leave out for Santa. The very next day on Christmas Eve, my grandmother would wake up insanely early and bake hundreds of sugar cookies for my extended family to decorate with bags of icing. As I got older and more capable, it became more and more of a competition of who could make the most creative cookie. And of course, there were purposeful mess-ups that just had to be eaten that second. Not to mention the plates and plates of cookies my family would receive as gifts or exchanges of cookies… We could have lived off of cookies in the month of December- we practically did!

What cookies are you going to make this holiday season? This week I will be uploading my family’s gingerbread recipe to the Forq app– you should too! If you don’t know what cookies to make this year or are looking to try something new, the Forq app has tons of recipes that people have shared!

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Sugar cookies with sprinkles

Let’s start with some classics. When I think of the holidays, I think of Roll Out Sugar Cookies.  Yes, they take time because they have to be refrigerated, but it’s so worth it! They’re super easy to make festive for the holidays because you can get a cookie cutter literally in any shape. You can just sprinkle some holiday colored sprinkles or colored sugar on top, or get the whole family together and frost them.

Another popular holiday flavor is ginger, like these Gingersnap Cookies. There’s something about the spiciness of a cookie that warms your bones from the cold and gets you excited for the holidays. Another classic cookie that requires some spice are Snickerdoodles. They’re chewy and beautiful and bathed in cinnamon sugar; what could be better!

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Linzer Cookies

Next, we have the classic Linzer Cookies. I’ve grown up with these around Christmas time, but I have not yet gotten the chance to make them myself! There are tons of variations as well, so I’m sure that there’s one that suits you! You can always switch out the jam in the middle to your favorite; mine has always been blackberry. They go perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. Another cookie that reminds me of these are Stained Glass Cookies. They are similar to the Linzer Cookie because they too have a shape in the middle; they are sugar cookies with a shape in the middle filled with colored sugar to look like “stained glass.” Super festive!

Next, let’s talk about some lesser known (but still super tasty) cookies! These Cranberry-Orange Pinwheel Cookies are delicious and beautiful! The coloring on them makes them perfect for the holidays. These Buttery Pecan Cookies also remind me of the holidays. They remind me of a buttery pecan pie.

These are only a few of the many cookies on the Forq app. You should definitely check them out, and even upload your own to share! I have my favorites, but I’m constantly trying out new cookies every holiday.

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