Saturday, January 23, 2010

Celebration Puffed French Toast and Healthy Pancakes!

PuffedFrenchToast Happy Saturday morning! I'm sitting here on my bed (with all three boys) after enjoying a mini-celebration breakfast. Why celebrate do you ask? Well because usually at this time of year I’m so stressed out and behind in grading that I am miserable and tired (from staying up late and getting up early) but…(drum rolls please) I finished my written final exams (essays) last night. It was about 3 am when I finished inputting them into my grade book (Thad read the scores to me) and I was so excited. I was going to fall asleep to a movie about midnight after grading a bunch but when I put in the movie August Rush I got a spurt of energy and kept going until I finished one more set! WOO HOOOO! Anyway, so I celebrated by fixing myself (and anyone else who wanted to eat) some yummy Puffed French Toast from one of my favorite blogs, Our Best Bites.

This stuff is heavenly and I felt like I was eating in a restaurant the first time that I ate it (even though I was in my PJs in my dirty kitchen!) It makes enough to feed a small army (since it is very rich and you can’t eat too much) but it is delicious and freezes well. I put the leftovers on a cookie sheet or a plate in the freezer and then when they’re frozen throw them in a baggie for a quick meal. Heat them 15 seconds or so in the microwave, cover them in the cinnamon sugar mix and wa-lah, breakfast!

Puffed French Toast by Kate at Our Best Bites

Ingredients: 2 eggs
2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally (*I used regular white bread since it’s hard to find Texas Toast here, I also tried half with wheat bread today and it was delicious as well!)

Directions: In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it's just right.

Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak it both sides in the milk/egg/flour mixture. If you leave it in too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice, crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3-5 minutes per side; you really need to babysit them and make sure they're cooking correctly) and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature it will go. When ready to serve, roll each piece in cinnamon sugar.


Now that I’ve shown you a recipe that will NOT help your waistline and that is a once-in-a-while dish, here is something that I’ve made at least ten times this month (after making the mix a few weeks back), they are delicious AND they’re healthy! This recipe is from another favorite blog of mine, My Kitchen Cafe, that I found while “nesting”. The recipe is Oatmeal Pancake Mix. I love it because it’s a bit “nutty” and unique versus other pancake recipes and I love that I fix the mix once and then it’s an easy after school snack or quick breakfast later on since you leave the mix in the fridge and then just add milk and one egg and go! Sammy has been known to eat 8 or more of these pancakes in one sitting!

OatmealPancakeMix Oatmeal Pancake Mix by Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe

*Makes 10 cups of dry mix
3 1/2 cups rolled (quick) oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

To prepare the pancake mix: Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle (or by hand). With mixer on slow speed (or gently by hand), drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is just right. If it is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct (I've never had to add additional oil). Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make the pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk** (a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk will also work), and 1 egg. The mixture may seem thin at first but the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats. Heat a griddle and drop the batter onto it. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don't break, turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. As a side note, buttermilk can be frozen indefinitely for future batches of pancakes, so it's worth keeping it around! 1 cup of mix will make about 6-8 4-inch pancakes. (I usually am able get 10 or 12 of them)

**If you don’t have buttermilk you can make it by taking a little less than 1 cup of milk, adding 1 Tbs. of white vinegar, let it stand for 5 minutes and then you’ll have buttermilk for your recipe! :)

Recipe Source: Adapted from King Arthur Flour The Baker's Companion

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