Sunday, December 30, 2012

Overnight Baked French Toast with a Cinnamon Crumb Topping

I meant to post this recipe sooner, but apparently it got buried and sadly forgotten.  It's a shame too, because this would have made a perfect Christmas morning dish.  Either way, it needs to be shared, so here goes.....

This past weekend (about a month or two ago now) my mother-in-law was in town and I was looking for something quick and easy to make for breakfast.  Of course, the usual thoughts came to mind......French toast, pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, doughnuts, bacon, etc.

After all those thoughts, I finally settled on French toast, because let's be honest.....who doesn't like French toast? 

Overnight Baked French Toast with a Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Serves 6-10 (depending on size of pieces)
1 loaf stale challah bread (or your choice)
8 eggs
2 cups milk (I use skim)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed

Lightly coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Tear the bread into pieces and place them into the prepared baking dish.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread, cover and refrigerate overnight. 

In another bowl, mix together the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Next, cut in the butter until the topping begins to come together and little pebble size pieces start to form.  Place in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the baking dish, that contains the egg/bread mixture, and evenly sprinkle on the cinnamon crumb mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how soggy or done you like your French toast. 
            *Less time = more soggy

Serve warm with butter or maple syrup!

 Adapted from: Lovin from the oven

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


One of my favorite things about going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant is the endless amounts of chips and salsa they bring to your table.  Even better than that though, is ordering up a side dish of scrumptious guacamole.  Throughout the years I've tasted many different recipes, however, when my friend Kristen brought hers over one day, I knew that I'd never follow another recipe again.  This one is definitely the best!


2 avocados
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 lime, cut into two
Bunch of cilantro, about 4 or 5 stems (more if desired)
1 Tbsp. sea salt (or more, depending on taste)

Scoop the insides out of the avocados and place in a medium bowl.  Add in the minced jalapenos, onion, and the juice squeezed from half of the lime.  Mash and stir the ingredients together until you reach desired consistency.

Add in the Tbsp. of salt, tomato, garlic, cilantro, and the juice from the other half of the lime.  Mix together until well blended.  Serve with a side of tortilla chips!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Old Fashioned Southern Pralines

Having lived in the South for quite a while now, I've had the chance to experience some excellent tasting pralines.  Whenever you walk into a candy shop in Charleston, Savannah, or other cities down here, they're always offering up a sample and I'm always willing to give them a taste.  The only down side to pralines is the fact that they're very expensive to purchase. 

Due to that fact, I've tried making them numerous times, using a variety of methods.  Some of the pralines have turned out, and some not so much.....instead I had a gooey, runny mess.  It wasn't until this past week though, that I finally found a recipe I loved!  Since then, I've followed this recipe 3 times, due to family requests, and I've also been asked, by friends, to please share it so that they could make a batch for the holidays.  That's when I decided to just share this recipe with everyone!  So here it might notice that there's nothing healthy about pralines, but that's ok it's just one reason you know they're delicious!

Happy Holidays!

Old Fashioned Southern Pralines

Makes about 20-50 pralines (depending on size)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ - 2 cups chopped pecans

On the counter, lay out a piece of parchment paper (this will be used later to put the pralines on to cool).  Tip: If you use wax paper, place something underneath so that the hot paper won’t stick to your counter.

Now, Place the sugars, heavy cream, butter and vanilla into a medium size sauce pan over medium heat.  Continuously stir the ingredients around until the mixture reaches the “soft ball stage” (238-240 degrees) on a candy read thermometer.  Once ready, immediately remove from heat.

Add in the pecans and continuously stir around until the mixture becomes creamy and cloudy in texture, the pecans start to stay suspended, and it begins to thicken a little (but not too much).  This process could take about 1-2 minutes, so don’t give up.  Once ready, drop the mixture by spoonful’s onto the prepared parchment paper.  Allow to cool completely. 

**For a different taste, feel free to add roasted pecans.  To make roasted pecans, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and fragrant.** 

Source: Slightly adapted from Picky Palate originally from The New Orleans School of Cooking

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Tis' the season for baking, right???  Well, at least that's how it would appear around here. 

However, it's a good thing, especially for my hips sake, that the new year is coming soon.  That means time for some resolutions, and a sugar detox might just be at the top of that list. Apparently, Christmas time means stuffing yourself, or others, full of sugary goodness.  No wonder Santa's always so jolly!  He never has a chance to crash from his sugar high! 

Today's recipe is one of my favorites though!  Scotheroos are a great combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and rice krispie treats.  With those ingredients, how could one go wrong?


1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice krispies
1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 oz.) bag butterscotch chips

Generously grease a 9x13’ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, combine the corn syrup and brown sugar.  Continue to stir together and bring the mixture to a boil; then remove the pan from the heat.  Next, add in the peanut butter and stir around until the mixture is completely smooth.  Once ready, pour in the rice krispies, and using a wooden spoon, stir around until the cereal is completely coated.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread around.  Set the dish aside and allow to cool completely.

Once the rice krispies have cooled, combine and melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips in a microwave safe container.  Pour the melted chocolate/butterscotch over the rice krispies and evenly spread around with a spatula.  Allow the scotcheroos to cool completely before cutting to serve.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roasted Jalapeno, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Let me preface this post by informing everyone that I'm always on the lookout for new and intriguing foods to include when I make a grilled cheese sandwich.  Ever since I was a little girl, I've been a huge fan of the original.  Mostly due to the fact that it was easy, made a quick meal, contained cheese (I can't live without that!), and we always seemed have the ingredients on hand.  Nowadays though, I find that I feel a bit more creative when it comes to making a grilled cheese sandwich.

Let that be your warning then.....This recipe is not for your typical grilled cheese sandwich.  In fact, it takes the idea of the original to an entirely new, exciting, and spicy level! 

"How?" you might ask. 

Well, first you use 2 thick slices of sourdough bread, then you add on a layer of the cream cheese mixture, followed by some roasted jalapeno peppers, bacon crumbles, and finally you top it off with a slice of cheddar cheese.  Absolute perfection on toasted bread!  What could be better?

Roasted Jalapeno, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Makes 1 sandwich, but feel free to double ingredients for more
2 slices sourdough bread (or any bread)
2 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat)
1/8 tsp. chili powder
2-3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced

To Roast the Peppers
Set the oven to broil and then place the jalapeno slices onto a baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake until the skins start to blacken.  Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.  Once ready, remove the jalapenos from the oven and immediately place into a zip lock bag allowing them to steam until cool to the touch.

To Make the Cream Cheese Mixture –
Place the cream cheese into a small bowl and add in the chili powder.  Using a hand mixer beat the mixture until smooth.

To Make the Grilled Cheese –
First, you will need to take one of the two slices of sourdough bread and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly onto a side.  Next, on top of the cream cheese spread, you will need to place a layer of bacon, followed by some jalapeno peppers, and finally a slice of cheddar cheese.  Now, just spread some more of the cream cheese mixture onto one side of the other slice of bread and place it on the sandwich, cream cheese side down.  Once the sandwich has been put together, gently butter each side of the bread. Lastly, place the sandwich into a skillet, set over medium heat, and allow to toast until the bread turns that nice golden brown you long for. This should take about 2-4 minutes per side.

Source: Adapted from Basil