How to Make French Toast

French toast is delicious. Cut in sticks and dipped in syrup or eaten with a fork and knife, it just seems special. This recipe is one of my family’s favorites. Try a special syrup – real maple, or even berry – for a special occasion breakfast. Lots of breads work well with this recipe, including this white sandwich bread. Enjoy!

~Katie

What you need:

French toast

Ingredients

  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 loaf sandwich bread, thickly sliced
  • butter, for the pan
  • maple syrup, for serving

Equipment

  • shallow dish and whisk
  • skillet or double-burner griddle
  • heatproof spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons

Time: Twenty minutes.

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 6-8

Multiplying the recipe: Yes! This is a great recipe to multiply for a crowd.

French Toast:

In a shallow dish, place eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Whisk until combined.

Preheat the griddle to medium-high and spread butter on the surface. Working quickly, dip each slice of bread in the custard, flip briefly, and then place the dipped slice on the griddle. Repeat with remaining bread.

After 2-3 minutes, when the bottom is nicely browned, flip the slices and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Serve with maple syrup.

French toast

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

Split pea soup is a fantastic dinner for a cold, snowy evening. It’s filling, hearty, and flavorful. This soup can be very bland, in both texture and taste. The trick is to get plenty of flavor and texture from the variety of veggies and seasonings and the shredded ham.

My favorite accompaniment is cheddar cheese toasts: Slice a baguette in 1/2″ slices and place in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle cheddar cheese generously on the bread slices and bake for a few minutes in a 400F oven until the cheese is melted and toasty.

Note that this can be made vegetarian if you use veggie broth and omit the ham.

~Katie

What you need:

Slow cooker split pea soup with ham

Slow cooker split pea soup with ham

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. (1 lb.) bag dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 smoked ham hocks (optional)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 2″ pieces
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 2″ pieces (optional – if leaving out, increase carrots by 2)
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, finely chopped and well-cleaned
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. each: unsalted butter and olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1/8 t. cloves
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 c. water

Equipment

  • colander
  • cutting board and knife
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 5 quart or larger slow cooker

Time: 15 minutes prep + 6-8 hours in the slow cooker.

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 12-16.

Multiplying the recipe: You can, if you have a larger slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham:

In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil on medium-high. Add the aromatics (leeks, celery, onions, garlic) and saute until the onions are translucent and everything is softened, 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a large slow cooker, place the split peas, ham hocks, carrots and parsnips, sauteed aromatics, and seasonings. Pour broth and water over everything and stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours, until the peas are softened and veggies are tender. Remove the ham hocks and shred the meat, discarding the bones and fat. Return the shredded ham to the slow cooker and stir.

Slow cooker split pea soup with ham

Slow cooker split pea soup with ham

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Roasted Caramelized Spiced Nuts

You know those stands that sell caramelized nuts? The ones whose delicious, sugary, cinnamon-y smells make resisting nearly impossible? Well, now you can make those delicious roasted spiced nuts at home! I know, right?! You’re welcome.

~Katie

What you need:

roasted nuts

roasted nuts

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/4 t. allspice
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 2 c. pecan halves*
  • 1 1/2 c. whole almonds, preferably raw and unblanched*

*I do sometimes substitute whole walnuts for some part of the other nuts. I prefer more pecans and almonds than walnuts, so I do not usually substitute more than 1 c. walnuts total.

Equipment

  • 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet
  • aluminum foil
  • large bowl and spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • waxed paper

Time: 5 minutes prep + 45 minutes baking.

Freezeable: No.

Serves: Makes 3 1/2 cups.

Multiplying the recipe: If you have two large cookie sheets, this is easily doubled.

Roasted Caramelized Spiced Nuts:

Preheat the oven to 250F. Grease a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet or line with foil.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, water, egg white, cinnamon, salt, cloves, allspicem and nutmeg. Stir well to combine.

Add nuts and stir to coat with the spiced mixture. Dump onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out as evenly as possible.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring after each 15 minute interval. Check more often during the final 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

roasted nuts

roasted nuts

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Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins

I love the ease of these muffins. Make up a few mixes ahead of time, and you can have them on your brunch table in 35 minutes. How’s that for making breakfast easy??

These are jumbo muffins because they’re absolutely scrumptious that way. Feel free to try the variation to make standard-size ones below…or simply slice a jumbo muffin in half and share it with the one you love. 😉

~Katie

What you need:

Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins

Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins

Ingredients

To make the mix:

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

To make the muffins:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 c. milk

Equipment

  • large bowl
  • spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • jumbo muffin pan

Time: Ten minutes prep + 20-25 minutes baking.

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: Makes 6 muffins. These muffins are twice the size of standard muffins.

Multiplying the recipe: Not unless you have two jumbo muffin pans.

Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins:

To make the mix: Layer the ingredients, in order, in a wide-mouth quart jar. Put on lid.

To make the muffins: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the butter, egg, and milk. Add the jar of muffin mix and fold to blend. Place batter evenly in greased or lined jumbo muffin pans and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin.

Variation – To make standard muffins: Place batter evenly in greased or lined standard muffin pans and bake 14-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin. Makes 12 standard muffins.

Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins

Cranberry-Pecan Jumbo Muffins

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Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges

Pork tenderloin is one of those things that seems like a fancy meal, but takes very little time and effort to produce. I have served this particular meal to visiting family several times, and it is always well-received. The potatoes are flavorful and crispy, without adding a lot of extra fat, and the pork is very flavorful. This can easily be on the table in just about an hour, and most of that time is hands-off. Bonus: only one pan to clean! What are you waiting for? This dinner practically makes itself.

~Katie

What you need:

Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges

Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • 2 1/2 lb. potatoes (about 6 medium), cut in large wedges
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t. garlic salt

For the pork loin:

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. honey

Equipment

  • large bowl and spoon
  • sheet pan
  • 2 small bowls and whisks
  • basting brush
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • cutting board and knife

Time: 10 minutes prep + 45 minutes baking.

Freezeable: No.

Serves: 4-6.

Multiplying the recipe: If you have two sheet pans.

Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges:

Preheat oven to 425F. Place potatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the egg whites, Parmesan, and garlic salt. Toss with potatoes and spread on a large greased sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Add the meat to the sheet pan. Bake another 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, oil, and honey in a small bowl. Brush the meat with the mixture. Continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, brushing the meat occasionally with remaining mixture.

Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges

Sheet Pan Pork Loin Roast with Parmesan Oven Wedges

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Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette

This salad reminds me of fall. From the fresh pears to the walnuts to the dried cranberries to the tang of the spiced pomegranate vinaigrette…I have eaten it during other seasons, but it’s just never as good as it is in autumn.

This makes a good side dish, but if you prefer to serve it as your main dish, add some grilled chicken. Note that you can combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss them with the vinaigrette – I just prefer not to, because the pear can get mushy if you do. Assembled separately, the pear stays nice and crisp.

~Katie

What you need:

Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
    • 1/3 c. olive oil
    • 1/3 c. pomegranate juice
    • 1 T. sugar
    • 1 t. cinnamon
    • 1 t. ginger
    • 1/8 t. kosher salt
  • Harvest Pear Salad:
    • 6 oz. mixed greens
    • 2 ripe pears, thinly sliced
    • 1/3 c. dried cranberries
    • 1/3 c. walnuts, preferably toasted
    • 1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese

Equipment

  • cutting board and knife
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • salad dressing cruet

Time: 10 minutes.

Freezeable: No.

Serves: 4-6.

Multiplying the recipe: Yes! You probably won’t need to double the vinaigrette, as it makes a good amount.

Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

In a cruet, mix the dressing ingredients. Shake or stir well.

On plates, arrange greens and top with remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Harvest Pear Salad with Spiced Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn is a time when I love to have soup. And even though all of my family doesn’t love to have soup all of the time, I often like to pair some of my favorite soups with other entrees so that they can try them in new ways. For me, this butternut squash soup would be a great entree with a hearty bread and salad. That wouldn’t really fly with my kids. Instead, I’ll grill some chicken, have some bread, breadsticks, or oyster crackers they can dip in the soup to entice them to try something new. Baby steps, right?

Why do I care? Butternut squash is a superfood high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, betacarotene, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Good stuff! And I think it’s delicious. Besides, they say a child needs to try something 15 times before they know if they like it. 😉

~ Theresa

This recipe was featured in the September 2016 issue of Boom Magazine.

What you need:

Butternut Squash Ingredients

Butternut Squash Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (1-1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1-2 t. salt, to taste
  • 1/2-1 t. pepper, to taste
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary, optional
  • pumpkin seeds, optional

Equipment

*If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can carefully transfer the hot soup in batches to a regular blender or food processor to puree it.


Time: 1 hour

Freezeable: Yes

Serves: Makes 3 quarts of soup

Multiplying the recipe: This is already a very large amount of soup. If you actually needed to multiply it, I would mix it separately to make sure that the pureeing was smooth across the whole batch.

Butternut Squash Soup:

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with oil. Set it aside. Using a long sharp knife, cut the butternut squash in half vertically, from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds from the opening in the bottom half of the squash and discard. Place the squash cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, until fork-tender. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh. Set aside.

While the butternut squash is roasting, prep your other ingredients. The leeks need to be trimmed and then rinsed. Cut off the dark green, and slice the white and light green parts. Fan out the layers under water to clean the leeks thoroughly. Then dice the white and light green parts. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add the roasted butternut squash and the pumpkin puree. Stir, then add the stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with rosemary and/or pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

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