Sunday Brunch Day

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Fall TableThere is just something about Fall.  The crisp air, the colorful leaves, and the cooler temperatures seem to beckon you to come gather at the table.  The Fall table does not require formalities, she simply asks you to come as you are, and to come hungry.

When I was in law school and the Husband, then boyfriend, moved up here to Cincinnati, we started family dinners on Sunday nights.  It was a time to come together with family amidst all the craziness of the past week, relax together, and to reconnect.

With the Husband’s work schedule or studying often pulling him away on Sunday, we have gotten out of our little routine.  And I miss it.  This past Sunday though, schedules aligned and we brunched.

Now, I’m a breakfast person.  There is no mistaking that.  So I couldn’t wait to welcome everyone with a warm cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning.  And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to watch football than with a warm and happy stomach.  So before the Steelers play, or if you side with the Ohio contingency of my family, the Bengals or Browns, it was time to come to the table.

pumpkinEveryone has their go-to for brunch.  Whether it’s a soufflé, your grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, or strata, there’s that one dish you pull out of your back pocket to please the morning crowd.  For years mine was a Rachel Ray casserole.  We made it the morning of my law school graduation so it only seemed fitting to make this past weekend to celebrate passing the Ohio Bar.  However, I decided to break out of the mold and break into my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

On the menu this past Sunday morning was the Farmer’s Casserole and Pumpkin Bread.  It only seems fitting.  They were delicious! So next time your family gathers, break out these little numbers and they will be sure to please.  This Pumpkin Bread would also be great as gifts.

Pumpkin Bread
From Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 2 loaves.  This can be made ahead of time, which is always key for brunch.  If making the night before, after the loaves are completely cool, wrap and store overnight.

Ingredients
– 3 cups sugar
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– 4 eggs
– 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 ½ tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
–  2/3 cup water
–  1 15oz. can pumpkin

Directions
– Grease the bottom and sides of two loaf pans; set aside.
– In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
– In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
– Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
– Beat in pumpkin.
– Spoon batter into prepared pans.
– Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers come out clean.
– Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
– Remove from pans and then cool completely on the wire racks.

Farmer’s Casserole
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

This makes 6 big servings but I would suggest doubling the recipe because people will go back for seconds.  This can also be made ahead of time.  Cha-ching.  If making ahead, go through second step.  Cover, and chill up to 24 hours.  Then bake uncovered at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients
– 3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
– ¾ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or a mixture
– 1 cup cooked, crumbled, turkey sausage (the recipe calls for diced cooked ham or bacon, but the turkey was great in it and a bit healthier)
– ¼ cup sliced green onions
– ¼ cup diced red pepper
– 4 beaten eggs
– 1 ½ cups milk
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Directions
– Coat 2-quart square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
– Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish.
– Sprinkle potatoes with cheese, turkey, green onions, and red peppers.
– In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
– Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.
– Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
– Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

What is your brunch go-to?

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Happy Birthday Little Dictator

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole” ~ Roger Caras

Caesar, the little dictator, turns 4 today.  Or 28 in dog years, which is disconcerting because this now makes him the wisest oldest one in the house.  I’m assuming he’s known this for a long time and has just been waiting for this day when us humans would be forced to resign to the fact that Caesar knows best.

As he grows older, I often wonder if C$ is a little too smart for his own good.  I swear that every time I ask him to sit, stay, or lay down, the wheels in his little canine head start turning as he ponders, “if I do, what will I get out of this.”  However, if cheese, onion, peanut butter or salami is involved, his little butt is glued to the ground just waiting for a piece to come over his way. I’m not sure whether I’m more concerned about what this says about my eating habits or about his listening skills.  So if Caes was asked to impart some of his wisdom, now that he’s the eldest of the pack, I’m convinced he’d have this to say:

1.  Help out with homework, specifically, when your human is highlighting for law school.  The best thing to do is try to take the highlighter out of their hands and run with them.

2.  Fetch is much more fun if you have the humans throw it and then you just look at them so they go get the ball.  So much less work when they bring it back for you.

3.  The Dog Whisperer is the best show ever.  When its on, drop everything else to watch and listen.  It’s like dog yoga…calm submissive state.

4.  When running your human, keep them on their toes. And above all, if you see a squirrel, chase it.

5.  Take over the couch, humans like that.

6.  Take over the bed, they like that even more.

7.  Eat the same thing everyday.  No surprises.

8.  Don’t wear clothes, and don’t ever wear halloween costumes. A simple yet stylish collar will do just fine.

9.  Only listen enough to let the humans believe they call the shots.

10.  Eat more peanut butter, it’s good for your health.

Happy Birthday Monkey.

He Said, She Said

Don't worry, I don't really have a cotton candy pink phone

She said: My long run this weekend was terrible.

He said: Really? How far did you go?

15. My knees were killing me.

What do you mean?

It felt like knives in my knees every step.  (looking back, I might have been being a little dramaticl)

Well, it could be that it’s getting colder too.  Have you been running in the grass like I told you to so it helps your knees?

What?

Jaye…

What?! (laughing and then remembering the couple steps I did actually take in the grass this time) Oh WAIT! I did listen to you. I did run in the grass this time just like you told me to.

Really?

Yes!  (still more laughing) The sidewalk came to an end so I had to run in the grass for a bit.

Wait…how far?

Ummm…Maybe  quarter mile.  Then the sidewalk started again (laughing because I know full well what’s coming next).

I said 75% of your long run on a trail or in the grass.

Oh…Well now you’re just being too specific!

Maybe it’s the change in schedule, all the briefing of cases filling my brain, or drinking too much coffee and not enough water.  It could be the late nights sitting in an uncomfortable library chair, or possibly running solo without my TPFL and Nasties or maybe it’s because I really didn’t listen to the boy… but Training for the Marathon Take 2 is painful.

I am planning on running the Memphis marathon this December after not being able do do the Cincinnati Flying Pig last year after getting hurt, and have really been having a rough go at it.  Physically and mentally.  I went on my 15 mile long run this past weekend and my knees felt every step which just tore me down mentally.

My pre-run ritual now includes Advil and putting inordinate amounts of Icy Hot on my knees.  It’s getting bad people.  I’m becoming like Pavlov’s dog.  I smell Icy Hot and have the uncontrollable urge to immediately go put my running shoes on.

I know there are good days and bad days running so I’m going to hang in there and stick it out but I would appreciate a little help here…knees, I’m talking to you.

The Boy is coming up for the football game this weekend before fall break and offered to run with me for my long run.  I have the sneaking suspicion I’m going to get lovingly pushed into the grass this weekend on my long run 😉  Guess sometimes I should refer to those who are wiser on the subject.  I promise to listen next time.

Do you ever run in the grass or on trails?  How to you keep mentally strong through a hard long run?  Suggestions are welcome!