French Toast Casserole

Wisdom teeth extraction post-op: It was a rough weekend. Despite the fact that I had a pretty smooth recovery — minimal pain & swelling — I was still experiencing a fair amount of discomfort which made it difficult to eat non-soft foods.

However, I had a huuuuge urge to bake something — but it had to be something sweet (cause I love sweets), semi-soft (because I just got 4 teeth pulled), and delicious.

I’ve been wanting to try a recipe that was given to me by my friends’ (Lauren & Ali) kind mother and so I figured it would be the perfect time.

Saturday night, after ending a wonderful Harry Potter flick, I told my boyfriend we MUST make this french toast casserole for breakfast tomorrow. And so we did. And it went a little something like this:

I cubed a loaf of challah, while my boyfriend combined eggs, vanilla, and milk in a large bowl.

I gave him the cubed bread and he dumped it into the egg mixture and mixed it all together, like a pro!

Then we covered the bowl in saran and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, my boyfriend almost left before baking the casserole. Crazy, eh? But then I told him I’d make him a delicious vegetable omelette and he agreed to stay just a little longer (he’s not so big on sweets in the morning — weird).

Next step: I mixed together brown sugar, maple syrup, and melted butter and drizzled it over the bread mixture.

And it was ready to bake.

After 45 minutes at 350°F it looked something like this.

Golden, crispy, and just the right amount of sweetness.

By the way, I ate a slice for breakfast. Then another slice for lunch. Then another slice as an afternoon snack. And one last slice for dinner. That’s ALL I ate all day. French. Toast. Casserole. And it’s all gone now 😦

Best day ever.

French Toast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Challah
  •  7 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Method

  1. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Combine eggs, milk, and vanilla in large bowl.
  3. Add bread cubes to egg mixture, mix well, cover with saran and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next morning: Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Place bread mixture in 9 x 13 inch greased baking dish.
  6. Combine sugar, syrup, and butter and drizzle over dish.
  7. Bake in oven for about 40-45 minutes until golden and puffy.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Advertisements

Gourmet Club: Brunch

As I mentioned earlier, our most recent Gourmet Club was the best theme yet: brunch for dinner! I had been looking forward to this night for ages. Sipping mimosas while watching the sunset made this night beautiful and tasty 🙂

Now for the spread…

There was supposed to be a baked mushroom omelette which would have added a nice savoury component to the meal — but the delicous rosti made up for it:

My friend Jaime did a wonderful job preparing the rosti — don’t they look perfect?

Next up, baked french toast:

Served with a side of glazed strawberries:

Then we had some coconut pancakes,

corn muffins,

fresh berries,

and last but not least, delicious homemade granola (courtesy of Ali 🙂 )

Thanks ladies for a wonderful evening.

Yours edibly,

Elana

P.S. I prepared the sticky buns, which you can see in the picture of the spread.

Sticky Buns

I swear these buns are just as sticky as they look. But even more delicious than you would expect.

I made these buns for my most recent Gourmet Club dinner. We had the best theme yet: Breakfast/Brunch for dinner! It was a dream come true… a bit of a carb overload but still a dream 🙂

I decided to use a very easy recipe because our dinner was in the middle of the week so I didn’t have time to prepare anything too fancy.

I found a great recipe in my Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook that was perfect! I made a few changes, based on some reviews I found, but otherwise that was it.

I started these buns by combining butter, brown sugar, and pecans and placing about a tablespoon at the bottom of 12 muffin trays.

Next, I floured the table, rolled out a sheet of puff pastry, and covered it with melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans like so:

I then rolled up the sheet nice and tight, and sliced it into six pieces. I repeated this all again and placed the spirals in the muffin tray.

I baked the buns at 350°F for 40 minutes until they were golden brown.

Then I removed them from the tray and placed them bottom side up on the plate.

All done.

The buns were firm on the outside but were soft and ooey gooey in the center, just how I like them!

Here is the recipe, enjoy!

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics – Sticky Buns.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (450g) or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in fridge

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place 12-cup muffin tray on baking tray lined with parchment paper.

In an electric mixer, combine 1 1/4 sticks of butter and 1/3 cup of brown sugar until it has a paste-like texture. Place about a tablespoon in each muffin tray and sprinkle with a few pecans.

Flour a flat surface and roll out a sheet of puff pastry over top. Brush the entire sheet with 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle the sheet with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans, making sure to leave a 1-inch border. Roll up the pastry nice and tight, trim the ends, and slice into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece spiral side up into muffin tray. Repeat with second sheet.

Bake the buns for about 40 minutes, until they are golden brown and the edges are firm. Cool for 5 minutes then invert onto baking tray or plate.

Yours edibly,

Elana

P.S. Gourmet club pictures will be up shortly!

Lady Marmalade

The owners of Lady Marmalade serve colourful breakfast and lunch fare in the most satisfying and appetizing way. Presentation is a little sloppy and the kitchen is a bit of a mess, but damn their food tastes good.

I only tried two dishes, but this was more than enough to know that these chefs know what they’re cooking! The restaurant’s organic brunch gives you the type of dish that satisfies ALL day long.

When you’re seated in the restaurant, make sure to note the assortment of chairs — you’re bound to find a cute chair you’d love to take home with you.

I couldn’t order anything other than one of the signature dishes so I picked Huevos Rancheritos.

This traditional Mexican breakfast comes with cheesy scrambled eggs topped with chipotle salsa, a large side of guacomole, smashed beans, and a warm wholewheat tortilla.

The dish looked totally wild and was garnished with too much parsley, but it was the flavour that got me.

I ate the best bites when I rolled a bit of each: eggs, beans, guac in the warm tortilla.The combination was unbelievable.

My bf always opts for either the classic eggs, bacon, potato breakfast or a BLT. This time it was the BLT.

The not-so-classic BLT included a poached egg, bacon, roasted tomato, red onion, spinach, potatoes, side salad, and delicious chipotle mayo.

A meal with all four food groups complementing each other beautifully is bound to always hit the spot. The side salad was a little lame and unnecessary but the BLT was bangin’!

I’ll be seeing you again soon my lady 😉

Yours edibly,

Elana

Carrot & Banana Muffins

In the first version of this recipe I made, I found that the bits of pineapple weren’t a huge hit, although the muffins did turn out super moist. I decided to try substituting the pineapple with mashed bananas and to add a 1/4 cup of skim milk to make the muffins a little bit more nutritious.

I think they turned out pretty good — the perfect breakfast muffin for on-the-go.

Here is the beautiful and moist batter:

Ready for the oven:

And ready to eat!

These muffins freeze well. I usually defrost them overnight then bring a couple to school with me the next morning.

Enjoy!

Carrot & Banana Muffins

Adapted from the Food Network website

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 & 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 8 medium carrots, grated (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four 1/2-cup muffin cups with paper muffin liners.

Whisk flours with the brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl lightly whisk the egg, then whisk in the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and skim milk.

Quickly and lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Stir in the carrots and mashed bananas just until evenly moist; the batter will be very thick.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn muffins out of the tins and cool on a rack.

Makes 24 tasty and nutritious muffins!

Now that I’ve modified this recipe, I think it is okay for me to call it my own, even if I did only change two ingredients!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Healthy Carrot Muffins

First things first, I have to give credit where it’s due so I am letting you know now that this is NOT my recipe. I found it on Google, but it actually was created by the Food Network (see link below). I was searching for a healthier muffin recipe that I could prepare and eat on-the-go on mornings that I don’t have time to prepare breakfast (i.e. mornings that I wake up at 6:30 — Geez! Culinary school is rough!).

As an avid watcher of the FN, I trusted that the recipe would be a good one. Unfortunately, I am not the biggest fan of the muffins and would recommend a few changes. I am posting the pictures and recipe anyways. Changes I would recommend are:

  1. Omit the pineapple, or, if you choose to keep it, puree it before adding it to the mix.
  2. If you do choose to omit pineapple, try substituting it with a cup of mashed bananas — for some reason I think this would taste excellent! Carrots and bananas, why not!?
  3. Add 1 cup of skim milk and omit 1/3 cup vegetable oil — a substitution I am planning to try.
  1. Muffin Batter

I recommend using a spring-action ice cream scoop for uniform muffins.

Ready to eat - tasty and nutritious 🙂

Healthy Carrot Muffins

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/healthy-carrot-muffin-recipe/index.htm

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 & 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 medium carrots, grated (about 4 cups)
  • 1cup canned crushed pineapple, drained

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four 1/2-cup muffin cups with paper muffin liners.

Whisk flours with the brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl lightly whisk the egg, then whisk in the vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.

Quickly and lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Stir in the carrots and pineapple just until evenly moist; the batter will be very thick. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn muffins out of the tins and cool on a rack. Serve warm.

Makes 24 tasty and nutritious muffins!

If you try out the recipe make sure to let me know what you think of it!

Yours edibly,

Elana