Thursday, February 17, 2011

I heart Brunch

I do brunch. A lot. But still not as much as I'd like to. So, as part of my little happies project, I have vowed to have more brunches because you can never have too much of something that makes you feel warm-gooey-happy inside.

In my definition, brunch equates a mish mash of all of the following: time set aside from the hurriedness of life, relaxation, yummy food, lots of smiles, loss of the track of time, comfy clothes, and full hearts.

Yes, dinners are memorable, but you can't argue that probably every brunch you've had you walked away with a bigger smile, grown fondness for the companion you were with and a slight skip in your step. (And not because of too many mimosas!)

This past weekend was no exception. On Friday my friend Kim and I took some time away from our little guys to have brunch at an adorable spot right by the water. We feasted on stuffed french toast, eggs, fruit, bacon, tea and delicious coffee. (Full disclosure: I was the one who had the stuffed french toast and bacon).

Were we happy to have a break from the kiddos? Oh yes! But, who did we talk about the entire time? The kiddos. And, you can bet that when we left we were both excited to get back to them. Why? Because we had the small break and each other to remind us of just how good we've got it.
(Kim - Had a great time! I'll only think of you when I take things "bird by bird.")

On Saturday, my friend Allison drove two hours (!!!!) to have brunch with me. She won even more points when she ate two helpings of my Banana-Walnut French Toast Squares and tried mango for the first time.

Allison - beautiful, sweet and an amazing mommy!

We sat and talked and talked and talked with no concept of the time. (See? This is what happens at brunch!) We talked about working together at Gourmet magazine, how kids have changed our life, birthday parties, food, decorating and funny stories about our husbands. I'm smiling typing this and can't wait to do it again!

Then, (drum roll please) on Sunday I had brunch yet again with my friends Kiersten and Kim in the city.

I had the most marvelous baked eggs with ham and cheese along with a thick-foamy-yummy mocha latte.

When these arrived at the table I was feeling a lot of hot-diggity!

At this brunch there was no topic that wasn't discussed. We laughed....a LOT and I was reminded why I am so blessed to have these two girls in my life.

Kiersten - Gorgeous and sweet

Kim - As sweet and adorable as she is beautiful

Kiersten and Kim are both single and keep me in touch with my former self--that girl I was pre-kids. Dating, Fashion week, wine, traveling, good food AND they even listen to my post-kid stories about pacis and poop and act as if it's the coolest story they've ever heard (and yet I know it's so NOT). 

This brunch was so much fun that Kiersten and I took it well into the night and had our friend Steve (aka Syzcher) join us. 

We got a little silly

On the ride home I reflected on the weekend and my heart was full. Brunch with good friends is sometimes a much needed escape from the real world when we are required to be on a time clock, wear freshly pressed shirts and constricting ties, and eat egg whites with dry toast. But, if we didn't have those obligations, we wouldn't appreciate the warm-vanilla-stuffed-french-toast brunch days of life quite so much. 

(A huge thank you to Dave who was more than happy to keep the kids so I could enjoy this rare weekend where I got to focus more on my role as a friend vs mommy. And, as much as I'd love a brunch-filled-weekend every weekend, I have this wonderful hubby and two little guys at home that make the days I can't do brunch just as special.) 

"He expected pages and pages of bright pictures of pancakes of every variety shown in plain stacks, or built into castles or bridges or igloos, or shaped like airplanes or rowboats or fire engines. And pitchers of syrup to choose from -- partridge berry syrup, thimbleberry syrup, huckleberry syrup, bosenberry syrup, and raspberry syrup. Then there would be cheese plates and cheeses a la carte. Creamy cheeses, crumbly cheeses, and peculiar little cheeses in peculiar little clay pots."
Michael Hoeye (Time Stops for No Mouse)

And, what brunch post would be complete without a fantastic hot-diggity brunch recipe? These banana walnut french toast squares are delish and so easy to make.

Banana Walnut French Toast Squares:
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (17.5 oz) can Pillsbury Grands! Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup
Banana slices
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat eggs, bananas and granulated sugar with wire whisk until well blended.
  2. Separate dough into 5 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 equal pie-shaped wedges. Gently stir dough pieces into egg mixture until well coated. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; spread evenly.
  3. In medium bowl, mix flour and brown sugar. With fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle mixture over dough mixture in dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is puffed and set and edges are deep golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix icing and syrup until blended.
  5. To serve, cut into squares; place on individual serving plates. Drizzle icing mixture over each serving; garnish with banana slices.

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