Start off Christmas morning with a little bit of love

features@beaufortgazette.comDecember 25, 2013 

19941222 12 Days Christmas

Next Christmas consider giving small gifts or tokens of appreciation to a loved one by practicing the "Twelve Days of Christmas."

STEPHENSON — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Today we are merry and bright.

Many folks enjoy making others feel the true spirit and meaning of Christmas, like my friend Laura Carter. She loves the shopping, the mixing up, the laughter and the general jolliness of the holiday. One can usually find her perusing area nativity scenes. In fact, she keeps them displayed in her home year round.

Laura's goal is to live a Christian life, and as she strives to reach that goal, peace and joy comes from within by showing kindness, love and respect to others.

She's especially known for lending a helping hand. She and her husband, Samuel, often invite those without family nearby to share Christmas dinner with them.

Over the past few years, Laura began the practice of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" with her husband. The two of them have been married for 40 years, and this was another way of showing him appreciation. During the "Twelve Days of Christmas," Samuel gets a little token of love or special note of appreciation each day. The idea came from Laura's co-worker and friend Marquilla Coghen. Now Laura has begun the nine weeks of Christmas with her mom, giving one token a week until Christmas.

"The excitement stays with me during the entire season so you can imagine adding a little more on Christmas morning. I am usually ready to sleep longer on Christmas morn, but there is the opening of presents, the jolly time with laughter," Laura said. "I don't want to miss a beat, so breakfast is simple but nice. Every stir, every pour, every beat carries the love that I have for the Christmas season."

Here are breakfast recipes for any time of year:

APPLE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

4 tablespoons butter

3 large apples, peeled and sliced thinly; Granny apples are preferred

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

8 slices Italian or French bread, 1 inch thick

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Melt butter in a large skillet and add apples. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, water and cinnamon and continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes, until apples are tender.

Spoon mixture into 13- x-9-inch baking dish. Cover the apples with bread slices, trimming the bread in need to fit the dish. Beat eggs until foamy. Then beat in milk and vanilla extract. Pour egg mixture over the bread slices.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it stand while oven is preheated to 375 degrees. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until bread is golden and firm.

Source: Laura Carter's personal files

CHEESY SAUSAGE PINWHEELS

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls or refrigerated seamless crescent dough sheet.

2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

1/2 cup Jimmy Dean Hearty Original Sausage Crumbles (cooked)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough into 1 large rectangle. DO NOT SEPARATE. Place on lightly floured surface. Firmly press perforations to seal if using crescent rolls.

Sprinkle cheese and sausage over dough. Roll dough starting at the short side. Cut roll into approximately 8 spirals using a serrated knife.

Place spirals cut side up on greased baking sheets. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets and serve warm.

Source: Laura Carter's personal files

SAUSAGE AND EGG BREAKFAST CUPS

1 cup Jimmy Dean Hearty Original Sausage crumbles (cooked)

3 eggs, beaten

1 package refrigerated flaky biscuits (10 count)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir sausage and eggs in a large skillet over medium heat until eggs are soft, scrambled and set.

Pull apart and flatten each biscuit and place into a greased muffin tin covering bottom and sides forming a cup. Spoon sausage and egg mixture into cups. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges of biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Source: Laura Carter's personal files

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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