Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy a magical Christmas morning with family and friends over sweet treats and cozy sides, straight from the kitchen of two sisters who know a thing or two about sharing good food.

LEFT Kristin Hatcher, left, and Ashley Barnes, right, soak up some quiet time (and some decadent hot cocoa) after the gifts have all been unwrapped. CENTER Tanya Eubanks, left, and Lisha May, right, dish out the hearty comfort food at a breakfast worthy of the man in the red suit. RIGHT Tanya Eubanks packs pecan sticky buns in holiday to-go boxes. Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

The giving begins before Christmas morning for Tanya Eubanks and Lisha May. Every Christmas Eve, these two sisters, who are close as close can be, invite over family and friends (anyone without a place to go) for a holiday dinner, dirty Santa and plenty of treats. But the real gift comes when guests head for the door. Lisha and Tanya have ready a sampling of festive breakfast treats packed neatly inside tiny takeout boxes. The two accomplished cooks make sure everyone will wake up to a very merry Christmas morning. “It’s usually monkey bread or a slice of quiche – just something to make their morning a little less hectic, and a little sweeter, ” say Lisha.

The sisters live next door to each other, both on family land in Wilmer, and they work together as well. They co-own Marcie ‘n Me boutique in West Mobile with their daughters, Kristin Hatcher and Ashley Barnes. It’s a real family affair, with each woman tackling a different side of the business, and in recent years the shop has grown to be a go-to for adorable gifts and decor. The store is named after the matriarch of this clan, Marceil Harrison, who died of breast cancer before granddaughters Kristin and Ashley were born. Naming the boutique after her seemed like a natural fit for folks whose family ties are at the core of their being.

Now that Kristin and Ashley have kids of their own, Christmas morning brings a new level of excitement. Lisha and Tanya have nine grandkids between them, all living in the Mobile area, so holidays at their homes are full and festive. The women sourced holiday decor from their shop and set a table that would impress even Jolly Saint Nick himself.

MB stopped by to try some of their tried-and-true breakfast recipes, perfect for your own Christmas morning or to pack in boxes to share with friends! Either way, they’re sure to jump-start your holiday spirit.

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Hot Curried Fruit Bake

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, undrained
1 15-ounce can sliced peaches, drained
1 15-ounce can sliced pears, drained
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and stems removed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain pineapple juice and reserve liquid. Combine all fruit in a lightly greased large baking dish.
2. Whisk pineapple juice, lemon juice and the next four ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Pour over fruit. Dot the top of fruit with butter pieces.
3. Bake uncovered for 55 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 10

Baked Cheese Grits

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked grits
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter, diced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine water, cream and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in grits.
2. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until melted and smooth. Pour into a greased 9-by-12-inch casserole dish.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 10

Pecan Sticky Buns

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package frozen yeast rolls, thawed

1. Combine 1/2 cup melted butter with the next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of mixture in each of 12 wells of a medium-sized muffin tin. Set aside.
2. Place 6 tablespoons melted butter in a shallow bowl. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Cut each yeast roll into 4 pieces. Dip the yeast roll pieces into the butter
and then the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 4 pieces in each muffin well. Cover with a dish towel and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to rest at room temperature in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter and removing the sticky buns. Replace any pecans or sugar glaze that fell off. Serve warm. Makes 12 buns

Creamy Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 can condensed milk
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours. Serve warm with marshmallows and optional whipped cream topping and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Serves 10 – 12

Cheese and Bacon Quiche

1 cup Ritz Cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup chopped, sautéed onion
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter in the bottom of a 9-inch round ovenproof dish. Press crackers firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides to create an even crust.
2. Combine eggs, sour cream and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle bacon, onion and cheddar cheese evenly on top of the cracker crust. Pour egg mixture over and top with Swiss cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 – 10

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