Andrew and Amy drove up from D.C. on Saturday morning. They arrived in time for a late lunch and then we spent the afternoon catching up and catching naps. It was so good to see them; they had been in Europe when Joe's illness struck and they just returned few days ago. Their plan was to stay and help Joe out with things, fix us a dinner, and leave after Sunday brunch.
Sunday brunch. Hmmmmm. Sunday-or-holiday brunch is famous in this house. Usually there is a fresh fruit mix, breakfast meat, a scandalously rich egg-cheese-cream concoction of some sort, something sweet, coffee, juice, and other varied dishes. Pretty much my culinary specialty. But Sunday brunch under the new regime? This required some thought.
Sherry and the kids came over and were their usual entertaining selves. A&A cooked an amazing dinner for us -- lean pork chops, couscous, Sherry's bran muffins, Amy's big salad, and Andrew dazzled everyone with grilled fresh pineapple with sauce. Oh, my!
Made the brunch all the more challenging. But I was up to it! Fresh fruit, coffee, juice -- so far, so good. Turkey bacon -- check. Took one of our favorite french toast casserole affairs and spent some time translating it into low-or-no cholesterol and felt really good about my effort! It is one of those things you make the day before and pop in the fridge and bake in the morning.
Here's the plan, in case you, too, are watching cholesterol:
Strawberry French Toast
1 loaf Arnold or Pepperidge Farm white bread cubed (couldn't bring myself to substitute whole wheat)
10 eggs beaten (Eggbeaters)
1-1/2 Cups half-and-half (Did you know there is actually a fat free half-and-half?)
1/2 Cup melted butter (acceptable cholesterol-free margarine)
1/4 Cup maple syrup (just fine)
8 ounces cream cheese (substitute fat free cream cheese)
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups strawberry preserves (used 1 cup of preserves and one cup strawberry all fruit)
Put half the bread cubes in a sprayed 9 x 13 pan. Dot with the cream cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes. Mix eggs, half and half syrup, butter. Pour over top, pressing bread in to soak up the juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next morning bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. While it is baking, make the sauce from the berries and preserves, heating until melted and smelling wonderful.
It came out of the oven looking golden and beautiful. The sauce was in the pitcher, the table beautifully set, Joe had made a magnificent fruit dish. When I carried the pyrex casserole to the table, I dropped it, shattering the dish, spilling juice, scaring everyone, and ruining my wonderful creation. And I pretty much fell apart, totally out of proportion to the situation.
Honna had warned me that this would happen at some point. I hate it when she's right about this stuff.