I'm so excited to welcome RaeAnne Thayne to The Romance Dish today! RaeAnne has long been one of my favorite category authors and has recently branched out into single title contemporary with her Hope's Crossing Trilogy. (Read my review of the first book in the trilogy, Blackberry Summer, here.) RaeAnne's newest book for Harlequin Special Edition, Christmas in Cold Creek, is the ninth title in her Cowboys of Cold Creek series, all of which can be read as stand-alone books. Please help me welcome RaeAnne today as she blogs about Christmas traditions and shares some delicious recipes!
Our daughter moved to Arizona last December (some crazy idea about wanting to live with her new husband. Go figure!). Much to our delight, they’re coming home this weekend to spend Christmas with us. Amidst all the excitement and preparations, I’ve been thinking about some of our holiday traditions over the years, those have-to-do things our daughter will be expecting. Yes, we’ll probably take a drive to see the Christmas lights in a nearby town where some resident always goes a little overboard. And we’ll probably take the train to downtown Salt Lake City to look at the lights there and go ice skating at her favorite spot.
The one tradition I know I can’t skip this year is our usual Christmas breakfast. Every year, I spend a little time on Christmas Eve afternoon preparing a make-ahead breakfast for the next day to ease the craziness a little. I’ve been fixing the same thing for about a decade now. If I ever tried to change it up, I think I’d have mass revolt on my hands! It’s such a tradition that our daughter had to get the recipes last year so she could make the same two dishes on her first Christmas with her husband.
I love these recipes because they’re invariably delicious yet almost embarrassingly easy and because on Christmas morning, all I have to do is turn on the oven and slip them in while we’re undoing the annoying packaging on our younger kids’ toys.
Christmas morning recipes:
Make-Ahead: Farmer’s Breakfast Casserole
3 cups frozen shredded hash browns, 24 oz bag
¾ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mild salsa
1 cup ham or Canadian-style bacon, diced
½ cup green onions, sliced
4 eggs, beaten
12 oz evaporated milk, canned
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Grease a 2-quart square baking dish. Spread the potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheeses, ham, salsa and green onions. Combine the eggs, milk, pepper and salt and pour over the potato mixture in dish. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve, bake uncovered at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Optional, add extra shredded cheese to the top during the last 15 minutes of baking.
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 t vanilla extract
½ loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1 inch slices (I use Texas toast)
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream and vanilla. Dip bread slices into egg mixture and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine butter, sugar, maple syrup and pecans. Soon mixture over bread. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
My mouth is watering, just thinking about them!
What about you? What traditions do you look forward to most? What special celebrations make the holidays perfect for you? I’d love to hear!