Comfort Food Friday!

Finally made it to the end of a looooong week and felt it was time for some French Toast Casserole action. This is a HUGE favorite for our family, so I thought I would share it with you in case you could use a little warm comfort casserole goodness for your weekend, as well…

If you would like to skip the steps & head straight to the recipe, click on the title for a printer-friendly version:

Heavenly French Toast Casserole

This is a super simple recipe – just keep in mind that you need at least 8 hours of refrigeration to get the light and fluffy consistency – 24 hours if you can be patient enough for the melt-in-your-mouth version.

Prep Time: 15 – 20 min

Chill Time: 8 – 10 hrs or up to 24 hrs for ultimate joy

Cook Time: 40 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp softened butter, used to grease your dish 
  • 12 slices of sandwich bread, or sliced French baguette or loaf bread 
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Using a piece of plastic wrap to cover your fingers, generously grease a 9″ x 12″ casserole dish or pan (or a similar size is fine) with the softened butter.

* * *

Lay your bread slices across the bottom of the dish, then arrange a second layer on top. If you are using a baguette in your recipe or another kind of flavored or uncut loaf, make your slices approx. 1″ thick, if possible. Challah bread is incredibly dreamy in this recipe!

* * *

In your mixing bowl, whisk your eggs so they are blended but not frothy. I take this step before adding the other ingredients because it can be difficult to tell if you have broken up all of the yolks once the other ingredients are combined.

* * *

Then add the remaining ingredients and continue to whisk together until well blended but not bubbly. When choosing your cream, I typically use heavy or whipping cream when I am using 2% reduced fat milk. Light cream or even Half and Half may also be substituted for healthier options.

* * *

Carefully pour the mixture over your bread slices, trying to cover all of the edges. Using your whisk or a spoon, gently press the bread into the egg mixture allowing it to absorb more of the liquid. Any slight indentations left by this process will be cooked out in the final stage of preparation.

* * *

Cover your dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 – 10 hours or overnight. I find that the longer I chill the dish (up to 24 hours), the casserole becomes lighter and fluffier in texture, almost like a custard!

* * *

The next day, remove your casserole from the fridge while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. I like to let the dish sit for a good 10 minutes or so while I grab a coffee, so it’s not such a temperature shock from the fridge to the oven.

* * *

Remove the plastic wrap & bake the casserole uncovered on the center rack for 40 minutes until lightly golden on top. Expect it to puff up in the oven as it bakes, so adjust your racks accordingly.

Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.

* * *

Serve with your favorite maple or flavored syrups, fresh fruit or dessert toppings.

Bon App├ętit!

Let Hope Rise

I wanted to share a beautiful shot of the NYC skyline that I took en route to the Hudson Valley on March 22nd. I spent the afternoon moving my oldest daughter out of her dorm when her college closed their residence halls at the prompting of Governor Cuomo’s directives. We are on Day 10 of our self-quarantine which later became mandated by our state of Maryland, and thankfully all is well with our family of six. While we hear more each day about the progression of COVID-19 in our world, we hold on to our faith and lift prayers for all of the incredible men and women putting their lives on the line each day in the hospitals and clinics, those who are working in so many essential roles and the friends and families who are fearful for their loved ones – those who are working on the front lines or those who have begun to show symptoms. We pour out our deepest sympathies for those who are grieving the sudden loss of someone dear to them in the midst of this pandemic, who have succumbed to the virus or have suffered other illnesses or injuries. We pray for the millions staying at home to help get our country through this season as safely and quickly as possible, for the countless businesses and people who are out of work and suffering through the uncertainties that lie ahead and for peaceful resolutions to domestic disturbances that erupt in the midst of so many social and personal anxieties. You are in our minds and hearts, and we pray that the hardships we experience will ultimately make us stronger as individuals, bring us closer as a community and more united as a country. May you be abundantly blessed, protected and grow in Spirit and health. Lord, flood the earth with Your Amazing Grace & Miraculous Healing Power, in Jesus’ Precious Name. God Bless America. God Bless Canada, the UK, Europe… God give us Peace between the many cultures in our World! Amen!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: #3 – Pick a Topic

I’m just jumping into the CFFC with my 3 topic picks…

Birds... in Newport, Rhode Island at the Newport Bay Club & Hotel
Whales… on a rainy day in choppy waters, a gorgeous Minke Whale
breached 3 times off the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in Pleasant Bay
(wonderful time with Captain Mark’s Whale & Seal Cruise!)
Road… the long and winding Cabot Trail along the breathtaking Cape Breton coast!

Good Morning Sun

I love to watch the sunrise especially this time of year when I can basque in its glow through bare branches. I am always in awe of the beauty and the sense of calm I feel in the moment. It’s the quietest part of my morning while my family sleeps and the day is still full of possibilities. It’s my opportunity to express gratitude for all I have emerged from, and the blessings I have not even hoped for or imagined. It’s a kiss from Heaven that stirs my faith to courageously face the day.