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Filtering by Tag: french toast

new to the rotation


Sunday Morning.

Sunlight streams through our east-facing window.  The electric blanket has kept our bed toasty warm, too toasty for my fuzzy socked-feet sticking out from underneath our quilt.  Brian still sleeps quietly beside me, the dogs have nestled themselves into any nook or cranny on the bed they can find.  My eyes open, I stretch, and immediately start thinking about breakfast.

I've talked about my love for Sundays in the past - the one day of the week that we actually sleep in, make multiple pots of coffee to sip while laying around in our pajamas, read chapters upon chapters in our current books, experiment with some new and indulgent breakfast recipes in the kitchen.  I haven't shared any of these special morning meals lately because, well, basically every Sunday in December involved the panettone french toast that I already shared with you here. We love that dish in our house, and get our fill while panettone is readily available.

I count last Sunday as the first real Sunday of our new year.  The weekend before, the actual first Sunday, we had just said goodbye to house guests and, while we certainly laid around lazily for much of the day, there was no elaborate cooking happening in our kitchen.  It, and I, was just too tired.  But this past Sunday, after my self-imposed cooking hiatus, I woke up dreaming of stuffed French toast.

Cranberry and cream cheese-stuffed French toast, to be exact.  We happened to have a jar of Cranberry Chutney with Crystallized Ginger and Dried Cherries from Molly Wizenburg's book, A Homemade Life, in our fridge, leftover from holiday appetizer trays.  I adore this chutney, completely and totally.  I've found all manner of ways to use the three pints the recipe made, from spreading it across chevre-coated table water crackers to pairing it with thick-sliced ham, triple-cream cheese and arugula between two slices of crusty bread for the ultimate holiday leftovers sandwich. This chutney has been good to us these last 4 weeks, and I am incredibly disappointed that I didn't think to make extra batches of the spread to preserve for the cranberry-free months ahead.

As a final hurrah (the very last jar is getting heart-breakingly low...) I decided the chutney deserved a role in the first official Sunday Morning breakfast of 2010.  Paired with softened cream cheese, spread in the middle of a thick slice of bread from a French or Italian loaf that is then soaked in a simple custard before being pan-fried in butter and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar...its not a bad way to end a good run.

We enjoyed the meal immensely, and plan to add the Stuffed French Toast to our regular rotation for Sundays, substituting whatever jam we've made from the fresh fruit of the season we are in.  I hope you'll try it this weekend, and if you can still find fresh cranberries in your grocery store you should make this chutney as well.  You don't want to wait another ten months to try it.

Stuffed French Toast

serves 2 Ingredients
  • 2 slices French or Italian bread, 1-inch thick (you may want more slices depending on the size of your baguette)
  • 4 tbsp fruit preserves (or Molly's cranberry chutney)
  • 2 tbsp soft cream cheese or marscapone
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • confectioner's sugar
  • pure maple syrup
  1. Lay slices of bread flat on cutting board.  Using a serrated bread knife, slice bread horizontally through middle, stopping short of cutting all the way through, to create an envelope of sorts.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp of cream cheese and 2 tbsp preserves in each envelope.
  3. In a shallow dish that will hold both stuffed slices, whisk together eggs and milk.  Lay stuffed slices in custard mixture, turning after 2 minutes, for a total of 4-5 minutes.
  4. Melt butter in a large, non-stick skillet over moderate heat.  When butter is fully melted, add stuffed slices to skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes on each side, until deep brown and no egg runs when you press down on the slices.
  5. Serve with confectioner's sugar and pure maple syrup.
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new traditions


As Brian and I prepare to host Christmas, my mind has been transported to the past. To holidays spent in my childhood home.  Where there are three trees laced with ornaments positioned around the house. One with the automated Hallmark variety that buzz and hum (Dad’s tree), one with the sentimental decoration handed down for generations (Mom’s tree), and one in my own room filled with trinkets that symbolize those things that are important to an adolescent girl; horses, soccer, kittens, music, turtles, Winnie the Pooh. We rarely turn on an overhead light, relying instead on the soft glow from the multi-colored bulbs wrapped carefully around each branch of the three trees. The dark blue-green front door to our home acts as the backdrop for an elaborate wreath hung with artificial fruit. On the mantle are candles of all sizes and shapes interspersed with greenery and every one of my little girl stockings (I am an only child, and have several). There are little dishes of candy dressed in jewel-tone wrappers scattered around the house for sneaking when my parents aren’t looking and, outside, a light display that rivals Clark Griswold’s abode. On Christmas Eve we host a party, providing a stop for friends and family visiting our neighborhood to view the houses strung with lights and the luminaries lining the streets. We dress up and fill the dining room table with an assortment of cheese and crackers, sliced fruit, miniature cheesecakes and fresh cookies baked and decorated by my momma and I earlier that day. Christmas carols spill from the stereo as the adults mingle inside and the children busy themselves outside. I run around the yard with my friends, playing hide and seek behind Santa’s workshop and even Santa himself, and think that no little girl can be as lucky as I, who gets to live in this holiday wonderland. Over time these holiday traditions have shifted with the changed structure of my family. Decorations were divided and dispersed between two different houses, those two piles having been joined by the piles of new family members years ago. My childhood home is still owned by my daddy, and Brian and I still visit for at least a portion of most Christmas’, but there are only aspects of the place that are familiar this time of year. Little reminders of the past that pull at my heartstrings and remind me of the little girl running amongst wooden elves and twinkling trees. Part of me is sad for her, the young Andrea who still believes in Santa and his magic sleigh. She who thinks that all future holidays will be just like this one, who doesn’t know that the wonderland she is experiencing is meant just for her, at that moment in time. And yet, another part of me feels the joy of a challenge - a challenge that Brian and I are tasked with together. To invent our own traditions, to collect our own meaningful decorations, to create our own wonderland. For ourselves, and for our future children. I think we're off to a good start. Although this tradition is borrowed from my momma and stepfather, we've adopted it for our Christmas morning breakfast as well, sharing it two years ago with Brian's family.  In fact, we've expanded the tradition to not only include Christmas morning, but also at least two weekends between Thanksgiving and the 25th of December. Panettone is an Italian dessert bread containing candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins.  It makes for an incredible French toast.  You'll find it in boxes at most grocery stores from Thanksgiving through the New Year.

Panettone French Toast

serves 4 Ingredients
  • (1) 1-1/2 pound panetone loaf
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  1. Slice panetone loaf into (4) equal disks, horizontally (about 1-1/2 inches thick).
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.  Pour into shallow dish.
  3. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Test to see if the butter is hot enough by dropping a bit of egg mixture onto the skillet.  When it sizzles, the pan is ready.
  4. Lay a slice of panetone in the egg mixture.  Pick up the slice, turn it over, and lay it back in the egg mixture.  Remove the slice immediately and place in the skillet.
  5. Fry the panetone for about 3 minutes on one side, until nicely browned.  Flip the slice and brown the other side, another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside while you fry the other pieces.  (I place an oven-safe dish in the oven and turn it to 170*.  The slices keep warm in the oven while I fry the others.)
  6. Repeat for other 3 slices.  Serve with powdered sugar or pure maple syrup.


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merry merry!


Merry Christmas Everybody!!!  I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday with family and friends, full of good cheer, good food and good company!  :) I've been debating how to handle my posts these next couple of days because there is going to be so much good food consumption happening.  My stepfather is an AMAZING cook and we always have so much fun eating the fantastic meals he prepares.  My mom, my hubb and I help too... :)  So I think what I will do is post my food journal entries with meal images, but then do some extra separate posts for specific recipes that deserve their own space.  The recipe posts will be sporadic and will trickle in over the next week. Let me start with our Christmas Eve...  I got up and went for a run!!! had been nearly a week.  Yikes.  I've got lots of mileage to make up and I plan on taking full advantage of the lovely warm weather we are having. Breakfast:  The hubb and I met my best friend / college roommate and her fiance for breakfast at a restaurant on Cocoa Beach called The Omelet Station.  I had pancakes and a fruit salad on the side...the food was ok, but the highlight of the meal was definitely catching up with my best bud.  Sadly, I got NO PICTURES!  I don't even care about the food pictures, I didn't get any pictures of me and Jackie!!!  So so so sad.  She's off in Jamaica now, lucky girl, so I totally missed my opportunity.  :( Lunch:  My momma put together a salad for us, it was just what I needed!  It had ham, pickles, green olives, a little cheese and balsamic dressing. 081224-l1 Dinner:  We were with my stepfamily in Daytona for their Christmas Eve tradition.  This was the first time that the hubb and I participated because we typically spend Christmas Eve with my dad and other stepfamily (the hubb and I have 4 families total...).  There were all kinds of goodies coming out of the kitchen that I munched on throughout the evening.  We don't have a set meal, people just graze...its lovely.  :)  Here's a small sampling, I wasn't on top of the food pictures for the evening: antipasti tray 1 crescent roll wrapped sausage 2 homemade chicken tenders (unbelievably good...I had several!) 3 cream puffs (also amazing...) 4 And the family in front of hiding my grandmother's Christmas tree! 51 It was a lovely evening, and we were exhausted by the time we got home.  I wrapped up a few last presents and then crashed! Christmas morning was supposed to start with another run, but I just could not drag my bootie out of bed and when I thought I hit snooze I actually turned my alarm off.  :(  Oh well.  We'll go later...or tomorrow... Breakfast:  The tradition in our family is to have panettone french toast [recipe to come]. I'm sure you've all seen the boxed panettone loaves in the supermarkets, they've become very popular.  When we first started making our Christmas breakfast my stepfather had to search the state to find a loaf, and now they are everywhere!  I guess we're trendsetters...  :) Panettone is a fluffy Italian bread that contains candied orange, citron and lemon zest. 11 I think this may be my all-time favorite breakfast.  I look forward to it every year.  We spent last Christmas with the hubb's family and we had to introduce them to the tradition because there was just no way I could go a year without it.  I realize I could make it on other days around the Christmas holidays, but its just not the same for me if I don't have it Christmas morning!  This morning I also had two slices of bacon and some orange and tangerine slices. After breakfast we opened presents!  So much fun to be with my hubb, momma, stepfather, stepbrother and sister-in-law.  I received some wonderful, thoughtful gifts, but I think my favorite is my new KitchenAid Mixer!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My current KitchenAid is a 28-year old hand-me-down from my Momma.  Its almond-colored...oh yeah.  It only has 3 of its original 10 speeds and puts off an interesting electrical smell whenever I use it.  It almost died while I was making marshmallows last week and I was nearly in tears.  So, needless to say, I am SOOOOOO EXCITED!!! 21 My hubb gave me some fantastic new bread baking tools that I opened while we were still in Virginia so I don't have any pictures to share now, but I will because they will go so well with the new mixer! Lunch:  Our second Christmas food tradition (we have lots of food traditions...I told you, my family is ultra food-oriented!) is to make Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo [recipe to come].  My family has a very strong love for New Orleans (the hubb and I even got married there!), which I will write more about when I post the recipe for the gumbo. 41 Christmas food (or drink) tradition #3 is MOJITOS!!!!  My family does live in Florida, and when you have 80* Christmas' mojitos are completely appropriate.  Trust me.  :) 31 5 There are so many wonderful smells coming from the kitchen right now...we are going to have a fabulous afternoon meal here in a couple of hours that I will post later tonight.  For now, I'm going to fulfill Christmas tradition #4, which is the afternoon nap!  :)
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french toast + marshmallows...


Happy Saturday bloggies!  I hope you've all had a wonderful first 1/2 of your weekend...mine was super-productive.  Sadly, the productivity did not include my training run.  :(  I've been bummed about it all day.  The hubb and I had the alarm set to go, but my honey was feeling under the weather so we postponed our long run 'till tomorrow.  I'm crossing my fingers that the ice they are predicting tonight will not happen so we won't be deterred again, especially since the hubb is feeling much better tonight.  :) Breakfast:  Instead of going for a run I made an indulgent breakfast, Eggnog French Toast with cranberry "ketchup".  Yummy!  No butter or syrup, just cran ketchup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 081120-b1 This was easy, I just combined:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
Whisk it all together, soak your bread in the mixture (I used whole wheat), and brown in a nonstick skillet until both sides are golden. For those of you that would like the cranberry "ketchup" recipe, leave me a comment on this post *letting me know specifically that you want it* and I'll email it to you.  Its SO GOOD!  You all will love it.  Erin let me know that the recipe is straight from a cookbook so we can't publish it because of copyright issues. After breakfast I rushed off to a morning hair appointment then ran crazy errands all day.  I think I visited nearly every single store in Charlottesville.  The traffic and crowds were insane!!!  I'm glad to have accomplished everything on my list today though so that I don't have to go back out in the madness tomorrow... Morning Snack:  I grabbed this while standing in a check-out lane at Target.  See what happens when you forget to pack your wind up with overly-indulgent Chocolate Drizzled goodness.  Its actually a tiny, one-portion bag...and I ate the whole thing. 081220-s2 Next time I'll remember my larabar... Lunch:  I never expected my errands today to take 6+ hours, so come 2:30 I was STARVING!  I stopped in my favorite gourmet specialty food store, Feast!, and grabbed a prepared sandwich.  No picture, I inhaled it far too quickly.  It consisted of local chevre, artichokes, arugula, sundried tomatoes and olive tapenade on a baguette.  I assure you, it was tasty. Afternoon Snack:  When I FINALLY got home I grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge...I'm still in clean-out mode and want to finish all perishables before we leave town on Tuesday.  I'm so very spoiled after discovering greek yogurt...this regular was way runnier than I like. 081220-s1 Dinner:  We needed something quick and easy.  The hubb ordered a pepperoni, onion and black olive pizza, of which I had two pieces minus the pepperoni and the crust.  I also made a leftovers salad with napa cabbage, broccoli slaw, celery, hearts of palm, alfalfa sprouts, dried cranberries and light ranch dressing. 081220-d1 And a glass of cabernet. 081220-d2 Oh!  While I was out and about today I found a few exciting things... 081220-larabars1 FINALLY!  The holiday-flavor Clif Bars, PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE Larabars, and a Cashew Cookie Larabar!!!  Yay!  Now I feel like I'm part of the club!  :) The hubb and I have been busy this evening with Christmas prep as is typical these days.  Here's one of our activities...Homemade Marshmallows!  They are going in gift boxes for friends and family.  I'll post more about them tomorrow when they are finished. marsh-1 Have a fabulous Sunday!
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