My family began a really awesome tradition several years ago: Christmas Morning Brunch.
When I was little, my entire family joined together for a big lunch of turkey and ham at my grandparents’ home in Harper Woods, Michigan. Over the years, a lot of us moved away and had families of our own. My grandparents have passed away and there really aren’t a lot of traditions my family still holds. I think we were all searching for a way to replace the old, much loved and missed tradition and we were excited to fill that void with Christmas Brunch. What is a little unique to us is that we actually celebrate it a week before Christmas Day, give or take; we always do it on a weekend. Once I had kids, I just found it hard to fit in all of our extended families into one day, so my mom was happy to help me out by celebrating a little early. Bonus: she gets one-on-one time with my kids and I do the cooking and cleaning!
I love to cook, and I find breakfast food is by far my favorite. I change it up some every year, but it is always brunch. My mom usually makes a dish and brings it, too. They come the night before, we have an easy dinner, and watch a Christmas movie. The kids go to bed super excited for “Christmas morning.” The next morning we get up to yummy crock-pot smells, we enjoy coffee and mimosas and open gifts. My kids get to really take their time opening their gifts from “Ya-ya and Papou” and my mom and step-dad get to enjoy the kids’ excitement.
Last year I made from-scratch cinnamon rolls and they were amazing! They take a lot of work, and you have to start the day before, but they are so worth it. If you want to make them, I used this Classic Cinnamon Rolls recipe. Be sure to read the entire recipe a couple days before so you aren’t surprised by some of the steps/ingredients; there you’ll also find a link to another recipe that is the base for the actual rolls. They really aren’t hard and your family will think you hung the moon!
This year I will be making Monkey Bread instead of cinnamon rolls, back by popular demand. I polled the family and they all agreed they really wanted it again this year, after not having it the last two years. It’s actually easy to make, and I get the kids involved rolling the balls in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. They love to do it, and it frees me up to work on other dishes. I use this recipe for Monkey Bread and I add chopped pecans to the syrup before I pour it over.
I am super excited to be making a new quiche recipe this year. We make quiches every week at work and I have a new appreciation for them. So comforting but healthy, and you really can add anything you want to it. This year I am making a Spinach and Gruyere quiche, with a twist. I found this recipe for Spinach Quiche. I think it sounds amazing and you can make it just as the recipe calls. But I am going to change it up by shredding a sweet potato and roasting it in the oven. Then I will follow the rest of the recipe, omitting the Canadian bacon and adding the roasted sweet potatoes. For the crust, I am making a simple whole wheat crust instead of the hash brown crust. My mom doesn’t eat a lot of meat, and my oldest doesn’t like bacon, Canadian or otherwise, so tweaking this yummy recipe to fit our family better just makes sense.
We always have fruit for our Christmas Brunch so this year I am trying to use seasonal fruit and I will just toss it together at the last minute so it is as fresh as possible. Many fruit salad recipes call for sugar, but I don’t like to add sugar to my fruit; my kids love to eat fruit just the way it is, so I certainly don’t want to interrupt that. But to make it more salad-like, I use honey and lemon to dress it up.
Christmas Brunch Fruit Salad
- 2 apples, chopped
- 2 ripe bananas, sliced
- 2 kiwis, sliced
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- lemon zest
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Just toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve!
Maple sausage links and Maple Pepper Bacon will add some sweetness and spiciness to our brunch! You can always just buy the bacon already seasoned, but I think it is extra special and extra delicious to do it yourself. Plus you will already have the maple syrup and it’s really easy to do!
I will have two crock-pots going this year, too. One with Hot Cocoa, and the other with Christmas Morning Oatmeal. I will put the cocoa on that morning when I first get up, but the oatmeal I will start before bed the night before and the lovely Christmas smells will help wake the house up early.
Christmas Morning Oatmeal
- 2 cups steel cut (or old fashioned) oats
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup cranberry juice
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup walnuts (if desired)
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp maple syrup (only the real stuff will work!)
Toss the apples in the syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place in bottom of crock-pot. Top with cranberries and butter. Combine juices, water, salt and oats then add to crock-pot. Cook on low eight hours. Before serving, toast the chopped walnuts in the oven at 375F for about five minutes. Serve oatmeal topped with the roasted walnuts.
- Champagne or sparkling white wine or sparkling white grape juice
- orange juice
- cranberry juice
- orange slices
In a Champagne flute, add ice. Fill half way with champagne, then finish filling with equal parts orange juice and cranberry juice. Place an orange slice on the side of the glass and toss in a few cranberries. You can have just as special a cocktail without alcohol, too! Sparkling grape juice is delish this way, and no headache afterword!