For a while there, it almost felt like this day would never come.
I can't believe that I'm sitting here writing at my desk, dressed in my sweats and my hoody, with a cup of hot herbal tea, looking out of my window into the grey, dankness that is an overcast and chilly fall morning in Los Angeles.
Finally, I feel like I can breathe.
Could it be that fall has actually arrived for us? Is it here to stay?
I've been waiting for so long to celebrate the fullness of my favorite time of year; waiting for the coolness to make it's entrance in order to partner with the already-glorious golden light of the fall to paint a complete picture of what this time of year should be.
And what a marvelous picture it is!
I love autumn.
And when I reflect upon it, I realize that it creates opportunity to enjoy so very many of those elements that I love most in life.
I love coziness; I love home-y, comforting, and nourishing hot food; I love to be able to wrap a blanket around myself in the evening; and I love the way the late afternoon light begins to change and become just a little bit dream-like, causing me to reflect upon life and renew my connection with my hopes, dreams, and desires.
Fall, for me, contains possibilities for all of the best things in life, in one season.
It contains the possibility for rest; it contains the spirit of holiday celebration; it contains the essence of everything that gives me comfort and allows me to get in touch, more strongly and consciously, with a mentality of connectedness and unity.
Fall quiets my soul just a little, and reminds me of how much I love to nurture the people in my life that mean so much to me, that they, too, may feel enveloped in care, warmth and coziness.
It provides me with a space and an atmosphere to do that, and I appreciate it's generosity.
In a complex and often-complicated existence, it's a real breath of fresh air to have those things that one holds most dear be present or contained in one space, place or season; it's a pleasure and a joy to dig into something whole-heartedly and know that each bite that is taken will have all of the most divine and delicious morsels, the very morsels that are craved, contained within it.
It's like having a bite of a puffy and golden breakfast bake hot and fresh out of the oven, with soft bits of bread, gooey cheese, eggs, a smoky hint of crispy bacon, spinach, onions and tiny, diced potatoes—all of those wonderful breakfast-y tid-bits that we love so much.
It warms up the kitchen and comforts those that partake on a weekend morning while still in their jammies and robes.
And what could be better?
May the autumn warm your heart and your imagination, and may the comfort found in good food warm your soul; and may we all be so fortunate as to find and taste the best things in life in one wonderful bite, as often as we possibly can.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Cheesy Breakfast Bake with Crispy Bacon, Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Diced Potatoes
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-6
• Canola oil
• 1 russet potato, peeled and finely diced
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• Black pepper
• Pinch paprika
• ½ loaf French bread (about 8 ounces), cubed into bite-size pieces
• 6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
• 2 green onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
• 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
• 2 eggs
• ¼ cup half & half
-Preheat the oven to 375°, and lightly mist a medium sized baking dish with cooking spray.
-Place a large skillet over medium-low heat, and add about 3-4 tablespoons of oil in; once the oil is hot, add the diced potatoes and onion into the pan, plus a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, and the pinch of paprika; cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until golden-brown and softened; spoon onto a plate, and allow to cool slightly.
-Into a large bowl, add the cubed French bread, the chopped bacon, green onion, cilantro and spinach; drizzle in the melted butter, and toss to coat.
-Add in the slightly cooled potato/onion mixture.
-Whisk the eggs with the half & half, and pour that mixture into the bread mixture; sprinkle in 1 cup of the cheese, and mix everything very well, preferably with your hands, making sure that all of the bread cubes are well coated.
-Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking dish, and lightly press down on it; sprinkle over the remaining ½ cup of cheese, cover with foil, and allow the mixture to sit for about 20 minutes to soak up the flavors. (You can even make this the night before and keep it in the fridge, covered.)
-Bake, covered, for about 20 minutes; then, remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
-Allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.