When all that is left are the bit and pieces

bits and pieces I was driving home from house sitting a few weeks ago down a road I have traveled many times. When ever I pass though this part of Lexington I always marvel at the little houses from the 30’s and 40’s which are mixed in with those  from the late 70’s-old bricks next to timbered stucco…open front porches inviting one to sit nestled next to the closed off  privacy of just an entryway requiring and invitation to cross.  I love the old growth trees that line the roadway hiding the little bungalows tucked in among them…flowers overflowing window boxes…climbing roses smothering white wooden gates…uneven stones making a pathway to magical hidden treasures known only to those which have been giving passage to the unknown.

Well as I cruised past one of these late ’70s homes I saw that in the week I had been going back and forth to work this once lovely brick with stately trees, lovingly trimmed shrubs and an almost perfect green grass has suffered a house fire.  You can see the stark black soot licking up to the trim overhang off the roof around each window…the door that has been blocked  by a sheet of plywood now standing askance…a smoke stained and singed couch discarded on the front lawn…the broken out windows. The bleakness of seeing the older owner with a small carry-on sized piece of luggage at her feet  holding up one item after another that was mounded beside her feet, deciding what small bits and pieces of a life lived were still salvageable and which of those earthly treasures gathered along a lifetime had to be laid aside…discarded long before they had planned. The purposed, forced moving forward past the tragedy thrust upon the homeowner.

I was thinking about what I had observed in my brief passing that morning as I was pulling bits of this and chunks of that from the fridge this morning.  Those little pieces of veggies and bits of meat & cheese.  It struck me that many times the dribs and drabs of  this and that found in the fridge can all be tucked into its own case providing the means to move one forward into the day. The ingredients listed here are by no means a set in stone list of  items that can be added to this Strata, other than the bread, eggs and milk everything else can be played by ear …or by what’s in the fridge I guess you could say. Last time I made this I did it as a French Toast Strata with pecans and drizzled with butter and maple syrup. YUM!  So pull out your cutting board and knife and let’s get started….

-Ham & Veggie Strata-

4-6 c cubed Day old Bread (used a sturdy bread like ciabatta or a baguette)

Ham cubed (or any leftover meat)

1 1/2c  Cheese (cubed)

6 eggs

2 1/2c  Milk

Various chopped Veggies

mushrooms, bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, celery hearts (with leaves)

1TB minced garlic

1 TS+ each Salt & Pepper

The dark brown on Lydia's egg are actually raised...

The dark brown on Lydia’s egg are actually raised…


The yolk on the right is a store egg…the dark yellow of our girl’s eggs always surprises me.

Toss the cubed bread into  a large mixing bowl. In separate bowl mix the milk, eggs, 1/2 the salt & pepper,  then pour over the cubed  bread, toss well with the milk mixture to coat the bread. Your going to want to stir it a few times while cooking off the veggies to make sure all the cubed bread is moistened…

mix  soaking


Soggy bread….shudder! the only time I will have anything to do with it!

Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon or so of olive oil when oil it hot toss in mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery hearts sprinkle with the remaining salt and sweat down. Your not looking for any brown your just trying to get rid of some of the water that will cook out.  When the onion mixture cooks down by about half toss in the remaining veggies but not the asparagus as it will turn to much of overcooked. Continue to cook  until the veggies are tender but still crisp.

go for color

Pour the veggie mixture into the bread mixture and give it a good stir. Next into the large mixing bowl you will add the ham and cheese and give it a good stir.

swimming with the bread

Spray a baking dish with a bit of oil and pour in the mixture…you want to pat it down but not too tightly or the whole thing will be like one huge brick. I usually portion out a few cups of the mixture into a smaller loaf pan so that I can slice it into wedges for The Husband to take to work for breakfast.

to press or not

Press but not too much…

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  You want the bread to be browned and the egg/milk mixture is cooked.

 Only thing missing is some O.J. and coffee and you are set!

Breakfast is served

Now go play with your food…



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One Comment on “When all that is left are the bit and pieces”

  1. James Says:

    It is fun to watch Jan working her magic in foods of all sorts but breakfast has always been one of my favorites, and this one doesn’t disappoint. If hot in a bowl or warm in a slice the is a tasty way to start your day.



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