French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Contrary to it’s name French Toast did not originate in France.  In fact it originated long before France was even a country.

French Toast is basically made with stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture then fried up for a tasty meal.  Being that bread, eggs, and milk have been staples since they started to prepare bread in some form it makes sense that it’s been around for centuries.  And of course back in the day people weren’t wasteful so turning stale bread into a meal using basic ingredients that were readily available makes sense too.

The first mention of a similar dish dates back to a cookbook attributed to Apicius back in 4th. Century Rome.  It was then called Pan Dulcis, or sweet bread, and made pretty much how we make it today.  The dish spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, specially the practice of using stale bread.  In France it was known then as it is now as Pain Perdu which literally means Lost Bread.  It is known by this name in Belgium, New Orleans, and other places where the French had some sort of presence.  We call it French Toast for the similar reason we call fried strips of potatoes French Fries; simply because it was popularized in America by French immigrants.

french toast

French Toast has become a staple on diner and coffee shop menus.  In fact it is one of my favorite breakfast foods mainly because not only is it easy to make and very tasty, I almost always have all the ingredients in my kitchen!

Now there are many fancy variations of this humble dish like the Crème Brûlée French Toast I make on Christmas mornings. Now that requires a bit more fussing.  But the basic French Toast recipe is so easy that you can make it even on weekday mornings, or at the very least on weekends.

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday so I know cooking breakfast is pretty much not on the top of your priority list.  But wouldn’t it be super sweet to wake up just 15 minutes earlier this Valentine’s Day and surprise your sweetheart with a stack of French Toast?

Garnished with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream can dress up this humble dish and make it look like you’ve been up for hours preparing it!  So go ahead, wake up your Valentine with the cinnamony aroma of fresh made French Toast!  The kids’ will love them too!  Here’s my recipe!

Ingredients:

3 Large Eggs

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Vanilla

6-8 Pieces Bread – any type will do, you can use day old or fresh, whatever you have on hand.

Butter

Syrup

Garnishes like fresh fruit, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc.

Directions:

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.

Add milk and sugar and stir well.

Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.

Melt butter in a frying pan.

Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.

Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.

Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want.

You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves.

 

 

 

 

french toast
French Toast
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french toast
French Toast
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. .
  2. Add milk and sugar and stir well.
  3. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  5. Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.
  6. Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.
  7. Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want. You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves
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Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding

Whole Foods sells an awesome Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce.  It’s one of the items in their hot bar.  It sells for around $7 or $8 a pound, and this stuff is pretty heavy.  My family loves this pudding and we usually take home a few pounds when ever we shop there.

Bread pudding is pretty basic, it’s just bread, milk, eggs, and sugar.  I decided I’d try my hand at making a bread pudding similar to Whole Food’s.  I’d also serve it with caramel sauce just like they do.  Luckily I hit it on the first try!  My family loves it, they say it’s even better than Whole Foods’.

You can serve bread pudding warm or cold; with or without the caramel sauce; and of course with a scoop of ice cream.  It’s one of my favorite comfort foods!

Here’s my recipe for bread pudding and caramel sauce.  It gives 12 generous servings.

Pudding:

12 cups baguette cubesI use day old baguettes that come on sale at the end of the day

7 cups whole milk

9 eggs

1 tbls. vanilla

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  1. Place cubes in buttered 9″ x 13″ baking pan
  2. Beat eggs, mix in milk and brown sugar
  3. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon
  4. Pour milk mixture over cubes
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven 1 1/2 hours or until tester comes out clean and pudding is set

You can serve warm or cold, with or without caramel sauce.

 Caramel Sauce:

Makes 4 cups

2 sticks butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Melt butter in sauce pan.  Add sugar and cream.  Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens.  Do no bring to a boil.  Stir to keep sides sugar from forming crystals on the side of the pan.

This Caramel Sauce can be used to top bread pudding, ice cream, brownies, etc.  I usually make a batch and just store in my refrigerator.  It keeps for about a month, just stir if the butter separates.

It gets a grainy texture if stored longer.


Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce
Print Recipe
Super yummy bread pudding, my favorite comfort food. The caramel sauce makes this bread pudding exceptional. Make extra sauce to pour over ice cream!
Servings Prep Time
12 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time
90 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time
90 Minutes
Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce
Print Recipe
Super yummy bread pudding, my favorite comfort food. The caramel sauce makes this bread pudding exceptional. Make extra sauce to pour over ice cream!
Servings Prep Time
12 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time
90 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time
90 Minutes
Ingredients
Pudding
Caramel Sauce
Servings: Servings
Instructions
Pudding
  1. Place cubes in buttered 9" x 13" baking pan
  2. Beat eggs, mix in milk and brown sugar
  3. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon
  4. Pour milk mixture over cubes
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven 1 1/2 hours or until tester comes out clean and pudding is set
Caramel Sauce
  1. Melt butter in sauce pan.
  2. Add sugar and cream.
  3. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens. Do no bring to a boil.
  4. Stir to keep sides sugar from forming crystals on the side of the pan.
Recipe Notes

 

This Caramel Sauce can be used to top bread pudding, ice cream, brownies, etc.  I usually make a batch and just store in my refrigerator.  I keeps for about a month, just stir if the butter separates.
It gets a grainy texture if stored longer.

 

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Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Mango

Mango season in Hawaii is from May to July.  When we’re lucky we get a bumper crop of mangoes.  During the summers when mangoes are abundant we eat mangoes every which way we can think of, those we can’t eat fresh we freeze and turn into different mango desserts, our favorite is mango bread.

Here is my favorite recipe for mango bread.  I’ve been baking them for over 20 years!  Bake some for the family and bake extra for friends.  They make great gifts!

You can make this bread ahead of time and freeze.  Wrap each loaf in foil and place in freezer safe ziplock bags.  They will keep in the freezer for 6 months.  Just remove from freezer and thaw out before serving.

By the way “Ono” means tastes good in Hawaii!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup oil

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups diced ripe mango

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
Add remaining ingredients, stir well.  Batter will be thick.

Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.

Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.

To freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.
I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix.  When I’ve doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn’t get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.

 

The Best Mango Bread Ever
Print Recipe
This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
The Best Mango Bread Ever
Print Recipe
This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Mini Loaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Batter will be thick.
  4. Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.
  5. Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.
Recipe Notes

Mango Bread CollageTo freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.

I don't recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix. When I've doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn't get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.

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Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps.  We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off.  I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat.  So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe.  We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan.  Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
Marinade Ingredients:
1 tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Corriander
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 lb. thin sliced boneless beef short ribs
Extra olive oil for sauteing
Extra spices for taste adjustment (optional)
Pita or Nan bread
Hummus spread (you can use my Sun dried tomato/Roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus you prefer)
Dill pickle spears
Lettuce, tomato, any other veggies you prefer – optional
Directions  for Marinade:
1.  Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
2.  Seal bag and knead until it’s well blended – break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices.  You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
3.  Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
4.  Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
5.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight.  Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade.  The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
Cooking and assembling directions:
1.  Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
2.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
3.  Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
4.  Heat some olive oil in large pan
5.  Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute – DO NOT SKIP this step, it’s what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
6.  If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute.  I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
7.  Spread one side of bread with hummus
8.  Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
9.  Fold sides over the filling and serve
10.  Enjoy!
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Ingredients
Servings: Wraps
Instructions
  1. Directions for Marinade: Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
  2. Seal bag and knead until it's well blended - break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices. You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
  3. Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
  4. Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight. Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade. The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
  6. Cooking and assembling directions: Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
  9. Heat some olive oil in large pan
  10. Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute - DO NOT SKIP this step, it's what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
  11. If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute. I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
  12. Spread one side of bread with hummus
  13. Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
  14. Fold sides over the filling and serve
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