To celebrate the Christmas season, I’ve asked some of my closest(and most creative) friends to share with us their favorite holiday DIY projects.  I’m excited to introduce you to my friends as well as their great ideas!  They will be sharing recipes, decorating ideas, projects you can do with your kids and more. Stay tuned for the next few weeks, and hopefully we will all be inspired to be creative this season. Make sure to leave them a comment letting them know you loved their project!

Ok, so I didn’t get them all in before Christmas, but I still want to share these with you!  I also have more than 12 Days, so I’m breaking all the rules!  Today my long time friend Stacey is sharing her mad culinary skills with a beautiful, tasty brunch.  I asked Stacey to share a meal because she is just so good at coming up with the most interesting dishes.  She hardly ever uses a recipe, and I love that she always incorporates spices and ingredients that I would never think to use.  Stacey also has the gift of decor….I knew her tablescape would be just as good as her dish!!

Stacey’s Tasty Brunch


Rustic Italian Eggs

Olive Oil
Fresh Herbs:  Basil, Thyme, Rosemary & Parsley, finely chopped, add to taste
Dried Tuscan Seasoning Blend or other Italian Herb Blend, add to taste
1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
6 Fresh Organic Eggs
Salt & Pepper, add to taste
Parmesan wedge, ready for grating
6 Individual Baking Ramekins

Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine crushed tomatoes & herbs, dried seasoning & salt & pepper.  Coat bottom of ramekins with olive oil.  Spoon sauce into ramekins.  Bake for 15 min.- 20 min. (depending on size of ramekins) to give sauce a robust rich flavor.  Remove ramekins from oven.  Reduce oven to 325°. Crack individual eggs into small dish. Make a well in the sauce with a spoon.  Gently pour egg onto the sauce.  Gently return to oven.  Bake at 350° for 15 min. until egg is thick & creamy. (Cook less if runny yolk is preferred; longer if well-done.)  Remove from oven & top with grated Parmesan cheese & fresh herbs.

*May also be topped with Pesto, crème fraiche, or other cheese of choice. Also a great dish for dipping warm crusty Italian bread.


Goat Cheese & Mushroom Tarts

2 T Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove, minced
½ Purple Onion, chopped
1 Lg Roasted Red Pepper, chopped
1 pkg Goat Cheese
½ carton Baby Bella Mushrooms, chopped
¼ c Heavy Cream
2 t Honey
2 t Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper, add to taste
*Red Pepper flakes, add to taste if you like spicy
Fresh Herbs:  Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, & Parsley, finely chopped
1 pkg. frozen Mini Fillo Dough Shells

Preheat oven to 350°.  Saute onion in olive oil until tender.  Add garlic, mushrooms, & roasted pepper.  Saute until tender.  Remove from heat.  Stir in goat cheese, heavy cream, honey, vinegar, herbs, & seasonings. Generously spoon filling into shells.  Bake for 18-20 min. until shells are golden brown. Remove from oven & top with grated parmesan cheese & parsley.
*May also use filling to top crusty bread, then bake & top with Parmesan cheese.


Zesty Shrimp Salad

2 T Olive Oil
¼ Large White Onion, chopped
1 can Quartered Artichoke Hearts (unseasoned), chopped
6 Large Jalapeno Stuffed Green Olives, chopped
24 Large Shrimp, peeled, deveined, & chopped
Fresh Herbs: Basil, & Parsley, finely chopped
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder & Red Pepper Flakes, add to taste
1 Lemon, cut in 1/2
4-6 T Olive Oil
1 Avocado, chopped & tossed in juice of ½ lemon

Saute onion in 2 T olive oil until tender.  Add artichokes, olives, & shrimp, stirring until shrimp are slightly pink.  Remove from heat. (Do not overcook shrimp  Pour ingredients into a medium bowl.  Add herbs, seasonings, juice of ½ lemon, & olive oil. Stir.  Gently fold in avocado.  Serve slightly chilled.
*May also be used as a stuffing for a fresh tomato or avocado.  Or fill a freshly baked croissant  & top with organic mayo, mesclun greens & a juicy tomato.


Orange & Five Spiced Cocoa

1 T Dark Cocoa Powder
½ t Chinese Five Spice Powder
1 T Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
Juice of ½ Tangerine
1 t Grand Marnier
1/4 c Boiling Water
1 c Half & Half, heated

Combine above ingredients in your favorite winter mug.  Combine 1 c Heavy Whipping Cream & ¼ – ½ t Agave nectar. Whip until cream is formed.  Top your cup of cocoa with cream & the zest of ½ tangerine for a festive winter treat.

These recipes are fairly easy to whip up, yet pack an impressive punch for a dinner party or brunch with friends. Enjoy this holiday season to fullest!