Christmas 2023 Favorites Part 2

Christmas 2023 favorites

Happy Saturday, everyone!  Today, I am sharing Christmas 2023 Favorites Part 2.

This post will conclude 2023, and tomorrow, I will introduce to you my blog focus for 2024.

Christmas 2023 favorites must include my gifts of homemade vanilla extract…a success!

I explained in this July Sunday Mornings at Home how I was making vanilla extract for gifts….I made them in July…put them in a safe place…and they were ready for Christmas 2023.

I am so pleased with the richness of this vanilla.  It truly tastes just like the vanilla I bring home from Mexico.

It is now a favorite and a keeper.

Despite the fact I was sidelined most of the preparation time, I still managed to get a Christmas 2023 brunch served up with favorites.

So, let’s start with the food and then I will share a favorite gift from this year.


Christmas 2023 favorites

Our family tradition is to gather on Christmas Day Morning for a big breakfast, followed by gifts.

I do begin preparing the day before in order to make the morning manageable and not have to rise at 3 AM!

Christmas 2023 favorites

You are looking at an overnight croissant/sausage casserole; a fruit wreath; monkey bread; pumpkin bread; crisp Applewood bacon, and hot chocolate in the slow cooker.

I took several different recipes to create my own for the breakfast casserole and it was delicious…truly a new Christmas 2023 favorite.

The main recipe which inspired me was the OVERNIGHT CROISSANT BREAKFAST BAKE…and she offers a veggie version.


  1. I took six day old croissants (from our market); cut them in half; poured on a little melted butter; and placed in the oven at 450 for 8 minutes (until crispy)
  2. I buttered a 9X13 baking dish, and tore up the croissants into pieces and scattered on the bottom of the pan.
  3.  I put some olive oil in a skillet and sauteed one whole chopped onion (I use sweet yellow onions).
  4. Then I added a large handful of fresh spinach; and two large minced garlic cloves and stirred until this mixture was done…then set it aside.
  5.  In a separate bowl, I placed 8 eggs; 2 1/2 cups half n half (my version);  1/4 tsp salt; 1/8 tsp pepper; 1/4 tsp cayenne; and a dash of smoked paprika…whisked it all together.
  6. I added the spinach and onion mix to this with a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
  7.  I cooked a roll of Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage…breaking it up in small pieces.
  8.  On top of the croissants, I scattered the sausage; poured over the egg mixture; covered it in plastic wrap; and placed in the refrigerator….I actually think mine was in there over 9 hours.


  1.  I removed the dish while the oven is preheating to 350.
  2.  This is my Texas touch…I sprinkled Monterrey Jack Cheese with Double Peppers over the top before going in the oven.
  3. It takes about 45-50 minutes for it to bake uncovered.  I also let it set about twenty minutes before serving and sprinkled with fresh shredded Mozzarella Cheese when it came out of oven.


Christmas 2023 favorites

Thank goodness the grandchildren love fruit and I picked their favorites for this Christmas wreath.

I spread vanilla bean yogurt on the bottom of the plate (using a small bowl to protect the circle in the middle).

Then surrounded the bowl with blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  The green leaves are fresh mint leaves.

I also did a light sprinkling of sugar on the fruit…it’s Christmas!

Christmas 2023 favorites

The Pioneer Woman Monkey Bread has been a Christmas Favorite at our house for years…there would be an uprising if I left it out.

Though Ree doesn’t say this, I do prepare part of it the day before.

Since I make two, I cut the biscuits into two plastic bags and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.

Then I just place the bags in the refrigerator until I need them in the morning.

This year, we all ate so much at breakfast, that no one was really hungry at lunch, so I had too much food available later in the day.


Christmas 2023 favorites

Our newlyweds moved into a little house recently.

It is a trendy area of town where neighbors walk by often, and still sit out on their porches.

So, Mr. B came up with idea to gift them rockers for their new front porch.

Christmas 2023 favorites

We ordered these Birch Lane Oisin Mahogany Outdoor Rockers and they seem to be perfect for the happy couple.

My son even helped his dad put them together after they opened the wrapped boxes.

Our front porch isn’t conducive to evenings on the porch…so I am a tad bit jealous.

Christmas 2023 favorites

However, we were blessed to have neighborhood Christmas carolers….and they were amazing.

Such a joy, so they simply must be in the Christmas 2023 favorites!


Christmas 2023 Favorites

Tux has peeked out from the covers to say he is exhausted and ready to move forward to 2024!

Christmas 2023 favorites are now sealed into family memories and traditions.

But, the Season of Joy goes on as far as I am concerned.

I also am ready to move forward into 2024, and hope you will join me for a new focus and for fun.

Let me know if you have any questions about my Christmas 2023 favorites…and make sure that as you go into a new year that you…..


By Pamela Lutrell

I was encouraged to explain more about my SHOPPING LINKS page and how to use it.  (In fact I just added a few new brands to the list)

I am an affiliate for many different brands and when you click on those brands and shop, then I receive a small commission.

This is such an important income for me and my family.

I have tried to include the brands most shopped by this audience, but sometimes I miss one of your favorites.

If you will tell me what you are shopping, then I can tell you if I am affiliate for them and give you that link…if it is not already on the page.

And remember to send your recipes and home decor with pictures to  Send to email and do not try to put in comments! YOU are the best.

Christmas 2023 favorites


  1. I was hoping to hear an update on the vanilla extract. Glad to hear it turned out well! Count me in with the grands … I love berries; they are my favorite fruits. Unfortunately, this time of year the strawberries around here are … well, let’s just say not very red, but the raspberries, blueberries and blackberries have been super. Your casserole cheese choice would beat Gruyère in our house any day :).

  2. Love your sharing these favorite traditions and new ones! Great start to the morning! Will send photos to the email mentioned shortly! Happy New Year!

  3. Love your idea of a Christmas breakfast though we continue to have a Christmas Eve meal with my pans of lasagna, one son’s Greek salad, my cheesecake, and banana pudding. I’m glad to see your vanilla production was successful. The color is certainly deep, and no doubt the flavor is good. I often make egg “ muffins” which the grandchildren like with ingredients like a breakfast casserole ( no bread) but cook in muffin pans. Then the servings are individual and I also serve them with fruits and sometimes grits. An easy make ahead protein.

  4. I have a breakfast casserole from a Junior League cookbook that I always make. It’s easy to do the day before.
    My Christmas menus have been evolving. We used to do 3 meals on Christmas – hot chocolate and sweet rolls, a lunch/snack and then a 4-5 p.m. Christmas dinner.
    That worked better when the kids were little and got up early. Now that they’re grown and sleep late, or are dealing with their own children at their place before coming to our house I’ve dropped the early breakfast – and gone to brunch and a later dinner. We had tea/drinks around 4 to tide us over.

    It’s not what my Mom used to do but it seems to work for my family.

    The monkey bread looks good! I don’t drink alcohol so I can’t do a ‘dry January’ but I am giving serious thought to a ‘sweet roll-free January.’ Maybe I can squeeze a little monkey bread in before that starts up.

  5. Your breakfast looks amazing! I need a casserole change up, so I’m trying yours next time.
    I’d love your Homemade vanilla too! (I didn’t see instructions in your July post). Would you share your success??
    Have a fun and blessed New Year!

  6. Wonderful, well planned recipes! Christmas brings such special joy! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to moving forward!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Celia! The vanilla has exactly the richness of the Mexican vanilla I was going for. Bourbon over vodka was the right choice!

  8. That Monkey Bread is so good! I have one son that will stand strategically by it to have bites throughout gift opening!

  9. Sorry about that Cindy! You take 6 vanilla bean pods, and slit them through the middle. Put all of them in the bottles and the bottle link is in the July post. Pour your bourbon over until full…seal the bottle and tuck away for six months. The Buffalo Trace bourbon was a perfect choice and I am so glad it was recommended.

  10. Oh, your casserole sounds so delicious! What a great gift the rockers are for the newlywed couple to enjoy for years to come. Our own festivities made a quick pivot with my father needing to be admitted to the hospital last Saturday…but, thankfully, we were able to bring him home yesterday and he is on the mend from pneumonia and weakness from it. I look forward to your plans for the year ahead, and making my own as well. Top of my list is to not have my husband and father competing in 2024 for who can spend more time in hospital!! I’m praying for health and serenity.

  11. Pam. My attempt at making vanilla, years ago, resulted in something that looked like weak tea with no personality. I want to try your version. You used the 50 pack of vanilla beans and the whole bottle of bourbon for your batch. Is that correct? Thank you.

  12. Well, sounds like that belong at the top of your list, Connie! Pneumonia is so serious. I hope he is much better. On another note, this casserole is delicious!

  13. Pretty much…I made several of these bottles. It is 6 split open pods to a bottle of bourbon. I did have to leave a taste of the Buffalo Trace for Mr. B. It looked weak as early as Dec 1, but by Christmas was this rich dark color. We tasted it and compared to the last of our Mexican vanilla and it was exactly what I was going for.

  14. I have refrained from making homemade vanilla because I will only use Mexican vanilla. Once you try it you don’t go back! I’m so glad to hear that your version tastes like the Mexican vanilla. Now I must try it. The dishes you had with the fruit wreath look so familiar. They are lovely. Do you know where they are from? The breakfast casserole sounds delicious!

  15. Pamela, thank you for your always en-joy-able posts. I look forward to reading your positive outlook on life, fashion, trends and traditions continuing in 2024.

  16. I have had those dishes for years, Jeanine. They originally came from our grocery store…HEB. Since that is the only place I do my grocery shopping, I was able to build a nice set over the years. It has been a long time since then and I have not seen these anywhere else. Mexican vanilla is my favorite and that was the goal when I decided to try it. With the Buffalo Trace bourbon it worked!

  17. Thank you, Virginia, that is so kind of you…I am looking forward to what I have planned for 2024. So glad to have you here.

  18. Hi Pamela, Thanks so much for sharing your holidays. I enjoyed all your decor, the centerpiece and family tablecloth and fun in yesterday’s post too. Overnight strata casseroles were always a favorite of my mom’s and often requested. Yours looks delicious, I haven’t made one with croissants yet. I had to give the food just a quick glance today, as I haven’t had lunch yet, ha.
    Congrats to the newlyweds on their house. Early in our marriage we had a bungalow with a porch, right near the downtown in our little city. People lwere always stopping by to say hi. I learned never to hang out in my bathrobe, ha.
    Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
    Brenda 🙂

  19. They live very near downtown San Antonio. It’s a very trendy, lively area. I would love that front porch for morning coffee. I am so glad for them though that they have it. Thanks Brenda!

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