Scrumptious Vanilla-Orange French Toast

Yum yum yummy!

I heard about this idea from a friend, and thought I’d try making my own version. I’ve since repeated the recipe numerous times and it’s always a hit!

The flavour is fresh and homey– the orange is unexpected yet welcome, and the vanilla adds irresistible richness. — Not to mention cooking it will make your place smell fantastic.

Try it out and impress whoever you’re cooking for!

What you need (assuming the recipe is for 6 french toast pieces):

  • 4 eggs (about 1 extra large egg per 2 pieces of bread)
  • milk (a small dash)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • bread slices (I use challah bread for this recipe)
  • grease (butter or margarine)
  • optional: pure maple syrup (I always use this!) & icing sugar (for decorated, “professional” appearance)

What you do:

Grate the zest off of the oranges, into a shallow, wide bowl.

Add your eggs, vanilla and dash of milk to the bowl. WHISK. (I use a plain ol’ fork for this.)

Let the egg mixture sit for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 mins), since this will help infuse the egg with the orange flavour. (You don’t want to let the egg sit out too long, though, for safety reasons.)

Get out the largest pan you have. Set it onto medium-high heat. Grease it.

Working with one piece of bread at a time, dunk the whole piece of bread into the egg mixture, so that the bread is lying face-down in the bowl. Let it soak in the egg for about 3 seconds. Flip the bread over, and let it soak on that side for another 3 seconds. Immediately transfer to the hot pan***. Repeat with as many slices as will fit comfortably in the pan.

Ensuring the first side of each bread/egg piece has cooked, flip them over to cook through the other side.

Set aside cooked french toast (stacking to keep warm), and repeat the process of greasing the pan and dunking, flipping & cooking the bread with however much bread is needed to use up the egg mixture.

Top with your favourite syrup and enjoy alone or with your choice of sides!

*** IMPORTANT: The more of the egg mixture that gets used up, the more of the orange zest that will stick to your bread slices when you soak ’em. Use your finger to swipe off excess orange, since it could end up being too much to handle. (Some is okay.)

Chive Scrambled Eggs


A simple twist on a classic, this is a super easy (and yummy) recipe.

What you need:

  • eggs (approx. 2-3 per person)
  • chives (amount depends on your preference)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • grease (I use butter or margarine)
  • milk (a small dash)

Here’s what you do:

Wash and chop up some chives (amount depends on your preference).

In a bowl, beat together however many eggs you need (I usually do 2-3 large eggs per person), a small splash of milk (to add fluff), a dash of salt and sprinkle of pepper, along with your chopped chives. You can use a traditional whisk, but I just use a fork. Try to beat quickly and well, because this will add air into the eggs which adds more of a fluffy texture.

Turn a stove element up to medium-high, grease a large pan (I usually use butter or margarine), and add in your egg mixture. With a spatula, slowly mix the eggs in a folding motion (bringing cooked egg to the top, and flipping uncooked egg to the bottom of the pan). “Cut” larger pieces with your spatula.

When your eggs look just cooked, remove from heat. Don’t overcook the eggs- the heat in them will help to further solidify the egg. If you’ve never made scrambled eggs before, this may take a few trials to master– you don’t want them wet, but you don’t want them over-cooked. You’ll figure out how you like them best.

Serve and enjoy!


Easy Peasy Home Made Iced Tea

Easy Peasy and so refreshing!

The variation shown here is caffeine-free (so I could enjoy it any time of day). Try it with any of your favourite teas– the flavour possibilities are endless!

  1. Boil enough water to fill a glass jug. (Not plastic, since the heat can increase your risk of ingesting harmful chemicals.)
  2. Insert 3-4 bags of your chosen tea flavours. You may want to use more tea bags, depending on how strong you want the flavour. The tea pictured here was a combination that included 1 cranberry & pomegranate tea bag, along with 2 blueberry tea bags (and a peppermint tea bag very briefly at the start for a bit of cooling mint sensation).
  3. Let steep until jug is no longer hot to the touch.
  4. Refrigerate.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: You may decide to add a little bit of flair to your iced tea with some FRESH FRUIT, like the strawberries pictured above. I also sometimes like to squeeze in a bit of fresh LEMON, or chop up some fresh MINT.

Alternately: You may decide to slice some citrus fruits and add your favourite berries (without tea) to create a lovely (milder) fruity water.

Garlic and Sundried Tomato Asparagus

Add a little something extra to your asparagus this evening. The sundried tomatoes add a nice kick of flavour that juxtaposes nicely with the asparagus. Best of all, this is quick and easy to prepare!

All you need:

  • a bunch of asparagus
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pushed through a garlic press
  • 3 sundried tomatoes (canned), chopped
  • (sea) salt and fresh pepper (to taste)
  • olive oil (approx 1/2 tbsp)

What you do:

  1. Cut the hard bottom ends off the asparagus and wash.
  2. Bring a small amount of water to boil in a large skillet (about a cm high).
  3. Lay asparagus into the water and cook until they begin to soften and colour has turned bright green (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Remove asparagus and drain water from skillet.
  5. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet and add the garlic and sundried tomatoes. Stir around.
  6. Add the asparagus, grate in your pepper and season with salt to your taste.
  7. Turn asparagus in pan to fully coat all of them. (I used tongs to make this easier).
  8. Remove from heat and Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread (Mmm!)

I’d never heard of such a thing before my neighbour shared one that he had made, but I immediately threw out all unfavourable preconceptions upon tasting this unique and addictive concoction.

The name of this dish may not lend itself to overwhelming desire or salivation, but, dear readers, I heartily suggest you try it. It’s sweet, rich, moist, full of wonderful flavour, and a cinch to whip up!

I substituted the recipe’s original call for 1 cup walnuts or raisins, and instead used walnuts AND dried cranberries.

* I  also often substitute the walnuts with white chocolate chips (when baking for folks with nut allergies). You can also substitute the “fillings” with a cup of whatever else you like! *

I liked it so much that I whipped up another batch the next day to share with family and neighbours on Thanksgiving weekend.

This flavour-packed loaf also freezes very well– just thaw out on the counter afterwards and enjoy!

 

Here’s all you do:

Instructions: In a large bowl with a whisk, mix well in order given; pour into 2 lightly greased bread pans (can be disposable). Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

(You’ll know it’s ready if a toothpick stuck inside comes out clean. If goopy batter clings to the toothpick, keep the loaf in the oven until that no longer happens.)

Ingredients:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 cup oil
  4. 3 cups zucchini, grated (about 2-3). *You DON’T have to peel them*
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. 3 cups flour (all purpose white OR whole wheat)
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. *slightly* over 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 3 teaspoons cinnamon (do not add any more)
  11. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  12. 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Makes 2 loaves

Hassle-Free, Never-Fail Tomato Salad

What the title claims is true. My mom likes to make this salad for our Sunday family dinners and I’ve loved it each and every time. I tried to make it recently and it turned out perfect. So scrumptious, so juicy, so tasty… and so easy!

Here’s what you need:

  • Tomatoes, chopped into roughly 1.5″ chunks (the delicious-smelling kind with the vines still attached when you buy them)
  • Fresh Basil, chopped (a good handful)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper (freshly ground into the salad)
  • Goat Feta Cheese (made into small-medium chunks)

Here’s all you do:

  1. Throw tomatoes, basil, and feta into a large salad bowl and mix with your hands. Don’t worry if the tomato juice starts to get over everything– that’s part of it!
  2. Drizzle some balsamic over the salad (enough to go around the circumference of the bowl and a bit).
  3. Grind some pepper over the salad.
  4. Mix again and enjoy!

Hot Brown Sugar Apple Granola over Ice Cream

The air is getting cooler outside and the scent of  burning firewood has begun to linger during recent evenings.

When Autumn calls, hot apple pie topped with ice cream is always a welcome dessert. Don’t have the time to make one? Not a problem! This dessert incorporates a few of the delicious flavours of that favourite Fall staple and can be quickly whipped up for all to enjoy.

Here’s all you need:

  • Ice Cream (I used Pralines N’ Cream, but French Vanilla would work)
  • 2 Apples (peeled, sliced)
  • Brown Sugar (I used about 3 tablespoons)
  • Vanilla Extract (about a teaspoon)
  • Pre-Made Granola Cereal (I love Quaker Harvest Crunch “Original”)

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a lid-covered pan with raised sides (or pot with lid), heat apples over medium heat until softened to your liking.
  2. Add Brown Sugar. Mix to coat.
  3. Add Vanilla. Mix to Coat.
  4. Turn off stove and remove from heat. Cover.
  5. Get your ice cream scooped into bowls.
  6. Add granola into the apple mixture, stir gently, spoon over ice cream. (Wait until you’re ready to serve to put in granola so it stays crunchy and doesn’t get soggy.)
  7. Dig in!

The combination of smooth and crunchy textures, along with the varied temperatures and rich flavours make this dessert so delectable to eat.