Veggie & Ham Brunch Strata

Veggie & Ham Brunch Strata Its not too often that I get to make “extra special” breakfasts, not only due to time constraints but because my family usually likes to keep their breakfast within the pancake/waffle/egg & meat realm.

Holidays and company are the exception. I then get to try some of the “fancier” recipes I have been holding onto (and looking forward to trying!)  With this holiday season fast approaching, I can’t wait to try some new ones!

One of my favorite things to make on those occasions is a Strata. You can add so many different things to them, the possibilities are almost endless, and you can prepare them the day before, let sit overnight in the fridge and just pop them into the oven in the morning.

This is my favorite of all of the strata I have tried so far. It has so many veggies in it such as zucchini, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers, as well as ham that you don’t feel so guilty about all of the cheese (well kinda…). It is so yummy!

 As a plus, I think you hit just about all of the food groups, how could you go wrong?



Veggie & Ham Brunch Strata
Serves 12
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  1. 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  2. 3 cups zucchini, chopped
  3. 2 cups ham, cubed
  4. 1 cup onions, chopped
  5. 1 cup pepper, chopped
  6. 2 garlic clove, minced
  7. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  8. 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  9. 1/2 cup half & half
  10. 12 eggs
  11. 4 cups day old bread, cubed
  12. 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  13. 1 teaspoon salt
  14. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms, zucchini, ham, onions, peppers and garlic in oil until veggies are tender.
  3. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and half & half until smooth.
  5. Beat in eggs.
  6. Stir in the bread, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and vegetable mixture.
  7. Pour into a 9 x13 baking dish coated in nonstick cooking spray.
  8. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
From the Garden Table

Cookbook Review: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving – Canning on Sundays

Canning on Sundays

Ball Complete***I have not been compensated for this review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own***

This Sunday I am changing it up a bit. Instead of a canning recipe I wanted to talk cookbooks.

I love cookbooks. Back in the day (i.e. before kids) I used to love to curl up on the couch in the evening with a cookbook and slowly page through marking new recipes to try.

I admit, sometimes more pages were marked than not, but that was the excitement for me, so many new recipes to try!

The same happened with this cookbook. It was my very first cookbook on canning and I was so interested that I wanted to try just about every recipe!

The Ball Complete Cookbook of Canning and Preserving, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine, is the perfect first cookbook for the beginning canner as well as a great resource to have on hand for an experienced one.

The cookbook starts off with the basics, a great section on the ins and outs of canning equipment and then moves right on to it’s first recipe for good old Strawberry Jam.

In the first recipe, they take the whole process of jam making step by step, so that even the first timer can easily follow it and understands more about the process.

I speak from experience, it was the first canning recipe I ever used!

As for the rest of the cookbook, it covers many of the basic recipes from jams, jellies, pickles, mustard, salsa and chutneys.  But what is great for the beginning canner who is learning, as well as for the experienced canner, is that they also offer a lot of variations on the basics as well.

Tried and mastered the Strawberry Jam? How about trying Vanilla Strawberry, Strawberry Balsamic or Lemony Strawberry Jam?

All in all there are 400 recipes, which I believe is pretty good bang for your buck!

This cookbook is also a fantastic resource to have in any canning library.  Many tips are sprinkled through out the side bars of the recipes and in the back is a wonderful section on “The Art and Science of Home Food Preservation” as well as a “Home Canning Problem Solver” section.

So, in my opinion, The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, is a “must have” for any canning library. Whether you are a brand new beginner or a well seasoned canner you can benefit from this cookbook. Between the wealth of knowledge about canning and preserving or the sheer amount of recipes that it offers, you cannot go wrong.


Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter – Canning on Sundays

Canning on SundaysMaple Apple Butter



 A couple of months ago when I shared the recipe for Cider Apple Butter,  I told you how I had fun testing out a whole bunch of Apple Butter recipes last fall.

The Cider Apple Butter was my favorite of the three, but this one was a close second.

It’s actually really hard to even compare the two because this one has a totally different flavor, not only because of the maple but since it cooks down for such a long time in the crockpot it has a little bit of a darker taste and look.

Very unique!



Slow Cooker Maple Apple Butter
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  1. 7lbs apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  2. 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
  3. 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 1/4 cup water
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Place apples into crock pot and add all remaining ingredients.
  2. Stir to coat.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
  4. Turn to low and cook for 12 hours.
  5. Stir then puree with immersion blender or food processor/blender in batches. Be very careful it will be very hot!
  6. Cook uncovered on low for another 2-3 hours, stirring often.
  7. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  8. When it is at your desired consistency (like a very,very thick applesauce) ladle into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
  9. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and affix lids.
  10. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove and let cool undisturbed for 12 hours.
  1. Yields: 8 half pints
Adapted from Gazing In
Adapted from Gazing In
From the Garden Table