Reason to SMILE #371 - Would you like to know what serendipity is? Keep reading! |

Reason to SMILE #371

Reason to SMILE #371 - Would you like to know what serendipity is? Keep reading! |

It was 9:30 in the morning and my stomach was reminding me that I skipped breakfast.

I ran out of the house without grabbing anything and there was nothing in the break room at work except a bag of salted peanuts. Ewww! That would not go well with my coffee.

Hmmmm! I wondered.

I opened up my top desk draw.


There was a Snickers bar in all of it’s chocolate-y glory.

I was pretty sure it had been in there a while. Possibly more than a couple of months.

I didn’t care.

I was hungry.

It was chocolate.

So I ate it.

I am not ashamed.

And my stomach was very happy. 🙂


***What discoveries have made you SMILE? I’d love to hear about them!!!

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

Breakfast Sushi!

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

Being the newbie at work has its pros and its cons. As a newbie, when a customer approaches me and I don’t have the knowledge to help, I get to use the excuse, “I’m sorry. I’m new here. Let me find someone who can help you.” (And, yes, I shall milk that excuse as long as possible. 😉 Just kidding. Well…)

But being the newbie is not always a good thing, especially when it comes to annual employee evaluations. Apparently, being new to an industry is considered a weakness! Who’d’ve thunk it! 😉 It’s also not such a good thing when it comes to work traditions like the annual Christmas celebration.

For several years now, my workplace has been celebrating the Yuletide with a Christmas breakfast and each person is asked to bring some sort of breakfast or snack food for everyone to share. When the festivities were first mentioned, I almost had a panic attack! And my mind began to race:

Uhmm, they want to trust me to cook for them!?!

What am I gonna do? I can bring something store-bought.

No, I’m the new kid. I have to make a good impression.  

Maybe I should just quit before the holidays arrive.

No, I can’t quit. I have bills.

I’ll find something easy to cook. Oh, but that means I’ll have to wake up before the chickens!

Ugh! Don’t they know I don’t do mornings?!?! 

This went on for quite some time.

Finally, I convinced myself that my worries were complete nonsense. I was going to rock this Christmas breakfast! (Hahaha! I can’t pull that off! Sorry!)

On the morning of the breakfast, I rolled out of bed at 5 A.M. Did you read that correctly? Five. A. M. The sun was not even out! I dragged myself to the kitchen, poured a huge cup of coffee and got to cookin’.

The plan was to make the beautiful breakfast rolls you see below:


You can find the recipe here.

But first, I decided to implement “Plan B”. I put some BBQ meatballs in the crock pot. If my breakfast rolls were a flop, I’d at least have something to take to the Christmas celebration.

On to the breakfast rolls.

Now, if you’ve already taken a peek at the inspiration recipe, I’m sure you noticed that it requires making the dough for the rolls from scratch.

Yeah. That wasn’t gonna happen.

I was gonna use crescent roll dough. It would be much faster and there would be less chance for me to mess things up. Except…

While shopping for ingredients for my breakfast rolls, I did not purchase crescent roll dough. I was positive I had a can at home in my fridge.

I was wrong. I had a can of buttermilk biscuits. Yay, me.

So, my first step in making my breakfast rolls was to sandwich the buttermilk biscuits between two sheet of parchment paper and roll them out into two long rectangular shaped rows. Ugh.

The rest was pretty simple, though. I browned the sausage, scrambled the eggs and layered the ingredients on the dough.

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

Then came the tricky part: rolling that doughy rectangle layered with cheese, eggs and sausage into one long tube.

Wasn’t this recipe supposed to be easy?

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

After carefully creating the rolls, slicing them into 1 1/2 inch sections, placing them on a baking sheet and then poking in all the egg, sausage and cheese that fell out during the whole process, I looked at the baking sheet and exclaimed (to myself – no one else was awake!), “Oooo, look! Breakfast sushi!!”

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

It was at this point I knew I needed much more coffee.

Well, my breakfast rolls did not turn out quite like the Pinterest picture but I was satisfied.

Breakfast Sushi! - Looking for something to bring to your work or social brunch? Try this! (No seafood required, I promise!) |

I arrived at work with breakfast rolls and BBQ meatballs in tow. Everyone was impressed with me until…

We were all gathered around the breakfast bounty and my boss asked, “Should we say a blessing?”

An awkward silence fell upon the room. So, I piped up. “Thank the Lord for breakfast!”

There was laughter.

I was serious.

My boss pronounced a “real” blessing.

Oh, well. They’ll get used to me one day, I suppose.

At least the food was good. 😉


The Power of a Breakfast Casserole

Wouldn’t you know it! As soon as I write a “How To” on maintaining happiness (Check out Happiness Is… A Keeper), the devil begins his attack. (That’s his M.O., though.) My focus has been the target and as I mentioned in my previous post, focus has a huge effect on our happiness.

Focus, KJ. Focus.

So, what do we do when our focus becomes a little blurry? I find it helpful to spend time doing something I love. It gets my mind off the negativity and boosts my spirits which always helps me tune in to the important things of life. Oddly enough, cooking has become one of my go-to refocusing tools. (Yeah. Completely surprised me, too!)

Okay, devil! I’ve got a skillet and I know how to use it!

This morning, I hit the kitchen around 9:15. I had my heart set on a breakfast casserole but first, I had to find a recipe. That always takes some time. Pinterest has way too many choices. I finally settled on Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole from “The Slow Roasted Italian”. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that this recipe was my inspiration. I didn’t quite follow it. (It’s amazing I ended up with something edible. I really have no idea what I’m doing! 😉 )

 Breakfast Casserole by KJ

First, I gathered all the ingredients – well, almost all. I kinda grabbed stuff as I went along. But here is a list of the ingredients I used:

1 lb. ground mild sausage
Half bag of frozen diced hash brown potatoes (it’s all I had in the freezer)
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 green peppers
1 medium onion
2 cups of shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese (almost 2 cups – again, I used what I had)
1 tbsp. Minced garlic
Salt and Pepper

How to (and how not to, in some instances) prepare:

Preheat oven to 350º. The recipe called for a temp of 375º. I have no idea where I came up with 350º but it turned out fine.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking oil and set to the side.

Defrost ground sausage. So, I didn’t plan ahead and the sausage was in the freezer. On top of that, it turned out to be 2 pounds of sausage. I only needed one but had to defrost all of it. I guess I’ll find something to cook with the remaining sausage tomorrow.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee. This is going to take a while!


While waiting for the sausage to defrost, chop the onion and peppers. One of my peppers was a hybrid – half green, half orange. (Genetic engineering? Hmmm…) I only chopped the orange side so really I only used one and a half peppers.


Once sausage is defrosted, add to a skillet along with the chopped onions, peppers and minced garlic. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.


Scoop out meat and vegetable mixture, allowing the grease to drain back into the skillet, and spread into the casserole dish. You can use a slotted spoon or one of these handy scoops: (I’m not gonna tell you what I think this scoop looks like. You may lose your appetite. But, I promise, I bought it in the kitchen department!)


Drain some of the grease from the skillet until there is about 3 tablespoons remaining. (Just eyeball it, I guess. ??)

Return skillet to stove and add hash browns. Cook according to the package instructions: spread in single layer in pan, cover and allow to brown for 4 – 7 minutes on each side on medium-high heat.


While hash browns are browning, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl. I repeat, LARGE bowl. It’s hard to whisk when you’re worried about sloshing egg all over your counter like I was!


Switch to whisking with a fork because plastic whisk ain’t cuttin’ it. (Note to self: Find metal whisk! Where is that thing?)


Check stove for cause of burning smell. Ugh! This is why I can’t do two things at once while cooking.


Salvage the non-burnt potatoes and spread over the sausage and vegetables in the casserole dish. (Oops, I missed a burnt one or two!)


Spend five minutes or more scraping out skillet while it’s still hot. (I learned that at the Japanese steak house where you not only get a fun show and great meal, you get a kitchen clean up lesson, as well!) Now, where was I… Oh, yeah.

Next, pour egg mixtu- – No, wait. That’s not right. I’m forgetting something. The cheese!

Next, sprinkle cheese on the casserole.


Now pour the egg mixture as evenly as possible into the casserole.


Bake for 35-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean. (I actually knew that before I started all this cooking nonsense. 😉 )

Use baking time to clean up your mess.


Reheat coffee for the third, maybe fourth, time and then wait.


Beep, beep, beep. Look at this beautiful casserole! It was yummy, too!


It took me 2 and a half hours to make (I told you I don’t know what I’m doing!) but by the time I was done, the thing that was stealing my attention no longer mattered. In fact, my only distraction at the moment was the rumbling of my tummy.

But that was quickly remedied. 🙂


A Year of Smiles – Day 298


… or for lunch or really anytime. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – no matter what time you eat it!

The best thing about breakfast, though, is I don’t need to follow a recipe to prepare it. In fact, I’ll have you know that I am a master chef when it comes to cooking omelets. They are delicious! Well, they’re delicious to me and my family doesn’t seem to mind them. That makes me a master chef, right? 😉

Aw, c’mon! You gotta at least give me that SMILE! Hehe!