Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baked Blueberry French Toast

I love breakfast recipes that can be prepared the night before and popped into the oven in the morning. This is a perfect recipe if you're entertaining overnight guests or for celebratory breakfast for a special someone. The fresh blueberries added such a lovely, light flavor mixed with the french bread. I lightly dusted confectioner's sugar over each warm serving and added just a touch of maple syrup. PERFECT!!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Baked Blueberry French Toast

6 slices sourdough French bread, torn
4 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup butter, melted

Place bread into a jelly roll pan. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, half-and-half and vanilla together, pour over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight. Combine sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cornstarch together, fold in blueberries and place in a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Place chilled bread mixture on top of blueberry mixture; drizzle butter over bread. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: Gooseberry Patch "Hometown Favorites"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

With our crazy, busy weekend schedule during baseball season, I was constantly looking for items for breakfast that would be easy to grab and go. There's nothing worse than rushing tired and hungry kiddos out the door very early in the morning....well, unless those tired and hungry kiddos cause Mom to hop on her broom that early! One of the easiest options (and least mess in the car) is muffins...they're so wonderfully versatile, easy to pack for the road and made a great mid-morning snack between games. :)

Earlier this summer I fed my obsession and purchased "The King Arthur Baker's Companion". As I read through (yes, I read cookbooks like most people would read a's an illness!) I marked several breakfast recipes to try while my kids are home this summer. Since everyone in my family LOVES muffins, I chose to bake up this recipe first. These were moist and delicious and perfect for our crazy mornings. The kids raved about the banana/chocolate combination (haven't we all?) and the best kept secret is that there is just a small amount of whole wheat flour in these that makes them a "touch" healthier!!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 medium-size ripe bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup, 5 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) milk
1 cup (5 ounces) white whole-wheat flour or traditional whole-wheat flour (5 1/4 ounces)
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) chocolate chips
1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until they're smooth. Scrape the bowl down, then beat in the egg, spices, banana, and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then gently stir them into the butter-sugar mixture.

Spoon the batter into 12 lightly greased muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and after 10 minutes turn them out of the pan to cool.

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hello Again!!!

Hello again to all my fellow foodie friends!! I know that it has been an extremely long time since I posted any fabulous food on my blog, but I hope to change that pattern really soon. I wanted to briefly catch you up on the happenings of our family this summer.

First off-our son, Nathan, is blessed to be part of a travel baseball team, and the majority of the beginning of our summer was spent traveling to several tournaments in Indiana as well as a Mid-West Regional tournament in St. Louis. Most of the boys have played together since they were 6 years old and have developed not only their incredible baseball skills as a team, but also amazing friendships with one another. I do have to brag for just a moment on the success of our team.....the picture on the right is from a tournament that the boys won declaring them State Champions and the picture on the left is from the St. Louis tournament where they became the Mid-West Regional Champs!!! What an incredibly successful season for these 9 year old boys.....and their families!!! Way to go Avon Attack!!!

Our daughter, Megan, also celebrated her 12th birthday while we were in St. Louis for baseball. Let me just say, we heard several times how she has spent the LAST 4 years of her birthdays sitting at baseball games!! So, we agreed to allow her to have several girlfriends over for a pool party/sleep-over to celebrate her birthday. The girls swam most of the afternoon and evening and then enjoyed an outdoor movie shown beside the pool.

Megan had picked out these adorable popcorn cupcakes from "Hello Cupcake" but still wanted a cake too. My friend, Sarah, and I brainstormed together about what kind of cake would tie the cupcakes with Megan's outdoor movie experience. Sarah's brilliant plan was to create a cake that resembled a movie theater popcorn bucket!! As you can see, the finished product was absolutely perfect and sooooo adorable! The girls LOVED it!!! Also, we were incredibly proud to debut our first Decadent Dreams Bakery ORIGINAL!!! Sarah and I will be posting more about this cake on our blogs really soon!!

Finally, last weekend we hosted the season-ending party for the baseball team. It's always great fun to get all the families together for a cookout and enjoy backyard baseball, swimming, corn-hole and share in laughter and fun! Here, the boys are awaiting Coach Chris to talk with them and to receive their year-end goodie if two championships weren't enough!!! :)

This is the cake that Sarah and I baked for the party. It was a double chocolate chip cake with chocolate mousse between the layers and covered with delicious butter cream icing! The baseball is dark chocolate cake wrapped in homemade marshmallow fondant and the laces are piped on with butter cream. Again....more to come on this cake as well!!! Many thanks to my friend Angie for her inspiration and ingenuity on the design!!

I think that pretty well wraps up our summer so far. I have desperately missed catching up with all of you and also have been incredibly touched by the concern many of you have shown by checking up on me with my lack of foodie posts!! I'm still here...still baking...still cooking....and waiting with baited breath to share with you many fun and fabulous dishes! ;-)

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!