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Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

For the last two weeks, my weekday breakfasts have been almost identical.

Going to bed late and getting up exceptionally early to work on reports has lead to a lack of creativity around the breakfast table desk.

At least this easy, regular breakfast is still full of flavor and nutrition to get me going in the mornings.

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My new favorite: Maple Vanilla Granola with fresh soy milk.

I’m planning on making another double-sized batch of this tomorrow.

I adapted Jessica’s recipe a bit because maple syrup is so expensive in Germany. A 50/50 combination of maple syrup and golden syrup work really well together. I want to try maple syrup and agave nectar next.

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Bowl full of fruit: watermelon, strawberries and a peach.

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Coffee with soy milk in my Dutch mug.

Even though my life is less hectic with reports being finished, I’m not willing to give up this breakfast combination quite yet.

What can I say, simple suits me.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Day in the life of” post. I really enjoy looking back at my earlier posts because they were more of a journal or diary rather than ‘just recipes.’

I guess a mixture between the two is the way to go for me.

Speaking of mixtures, my dinner tonight was a wonderful mismatch of delicious recipes.

Before getting to dinner, let’s start with breakfast.

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Breakfast was a yogurt bowl using my new favorite Turkish yogurt topped with raw oats, fresh strawberries from my CSA box, ground flaxseed, raw buckwheat and slivered almonds.

Delicious.

My time at school has been very busy lately. Last week the students had to take their standardized tests which means that this week I’m very busy marking the tests. We have also been busy putting together a musical which has been a lot of fun, but a lot of behind-the-scenes stress for me.

My first break today was spent trying to work out some computer kinks with the tech guy at school. After much effort, neither my SD drive nor my scanner were properly working. Boo.

At least I was able to munch on an apple during the so-called-break.

Regular lessons continued after the break and before I knew it, it was lunch.

Although I didn’t snap a photo of my salad, it was identical to the salad I ate yesterday, so here’s a slightly blurry picture of that salad.

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All ingredients, except for the chickpeas and salad dressing came from my CSA box.

Cabbage, red leaf lettuce, zucchini, carrots, red peppers, chickpeas and a dressing made with grape seed oil, white wine vinegar, sweet mustard, salt and pepper.

Lately I’ve recognized that my produce supply is now grocery store free. All of the vegetables in my refrigerator for at least the past 3 weeks have come from my boxed delivery scheme. Really cool to be eating completely locally grown vegetables.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to really enjoy my lunch today as I was too busy arranging microphones and the sound system for my students’ musical.

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My adorable 18 students are putting on a musical performance of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. They have worked so hard to create the set, costumes, props and characterizations.

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The backdrop for the musical turned out really well, if I do say so myself. I sketched a town scene onto two large bed sheets then the kids took it away from there.

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They mixed their paints then painted the entire scene. They worked so well together by organizing themselves into ‘task forces.’ Our classroom assistant and I then went through and outlined everything with black permanent markers.

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The amazing music teacher at our school actually wrote all the music for our musical. I told her what I wanted to do, gave her a few lyrical ideas and she created something amazing.

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Today my class invited the whole school to watch their dress rehearsal. Although they were obviously nervous, they sang their little hearts out and really impressed the students and teachers alike.

I am so so very proud of these kids.

We have another rehearsal tomorrow with a small audience and then the parents’ performance on Wednesday.

Wish them luck!

After school, I went to the gym and took a new class. It was so hard but so good. While taking a shower, I could barely rub the shampoo in my hair- my arms felt like noodles.

Once finished at the gym, I came home to make dinner.

My refrigerator was getting pretty full of food that needed to be used up or thrown out. Although this meal was a real mismatch of unlike food items, the whole package was magical.

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Wild rice, tahini coleslaw, rhubarb chutney and breaded tofu.P5236948

Let’s be honest, I only made the rice to use the rice cooker I inherited yesterday from a leaving teacher. Making the rice was more fun than eating it and all but a couple bites sadly went in the bin.

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I used Mama Pea’s recipe for Tahini Slaw but omitted the peppers. Although I accidently went a little heavy on the dressing, this slaw recipe is a keeper. I love the Asian flavor from the ginger and creaminess of the tahini.

Yummy!

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This past week, a good looking recipe for Crispy Tofu Kabobs with Rhubarb Chutney was posted on one of my favorite recipe blogs, vegalicious.

I knew then and there that these recipes would help me put to use the tofu and rhubarb that were hanging out in my fridge waiting to be used.

Although I didn’t have panko crumbs, normal breadcrumbs worked very well. This is actually the first time I’ve ever fried anything or made a chutney.

While everything (except for the rice) was delicious, the real star of the whole meal was the rhubarb chutney.

Holy Cow!

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Spicy, sweet, warm and flavorful, this chutney rocked my taste buds.

If you have 3 stalks of rhubarb handing around, please make this chutney. It was so simple with outstanding flavor and depth.

Such a yummy, mismatched meal.

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Over the last few weeks, strawberries have burst into season in Germany.

The tiny fruit stand down the road has once again set-up-shop, ready to share the bounty of their berries.

As I approached the stand last week, the smell of strawberries was so pungent, I felt like I was walking through the fields.

In honor of the fresh spring strawberries and their very compatible  blueberry friends, I made a delicious vegan tart.

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The crust was a simple combination of almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and almond extract.

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After heating the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt together over medium-low heat, I added the almond extract then poured the warm mixture over the almond meal.

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Simply fold the mixture until well incorporated then press into an oiled tart pan. P5076197

This crust is baked for 15 minutes before adding the filling.

Speaking of the filling…

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The filling ingredients are apple juice (I used Weber,) cornstarch, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract, lemon zest, salt, blueberries and strawberries.

P5076193Half of the apple juice is whisked together with the cornstarch then set aside.

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The mixture will look quite milky.

From here on out, I didn’t take any pictures, but the next step is to cook together the remaining apple juice and zest, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract and salt until it simmers.

After that, stir in half of the berries and cook until they release their juices before reducing the heat and adding the cornstarch mixer while continuing to whisk.

Once the mixture is thick, fold in the remaining berries and place the mixture in the prepared crust. Spread evenly, cover and refrigerate until set.P5076204

Delicious, fresh and spring-like!

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Mixed Berry Tart

Adapted from Clean Start by Terry Walters

Crust

2 cups almond meal

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling

1 cup apple juice

2 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan with coconut oil.
  2. To prepare the crust, combine maple syrup, coconut oil and salt in a small skillet and heat over medium-low hear, whisking continuously until the oil is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the almond extract.
  3. Place the almond meal in a large bowl and pour the syrup mixture over top, folding to incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove crust from the oven and press down any bubbly areas of the crust. Cool the crust on a wire rack.
  5. To prepare the filling, whisk together 1/2 cup apple juice and the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup apple juice with the maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, almond extract and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add 1/2 a cup of both the strawberries and blueberries. Stir the mixture until the berries release their liquid.
  6. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk until the liquid thickens up. Remove from the heat and gently fold in the remaining berries.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, cover and refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour.

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Tomorrow is my friend Rachel’s birthday.

Rachel comes from New Zealand and one time, a long time ago, she mentioned that she really misses pavlova.

I didn’t know what pavlova was.

My kind friend informed me that pavlova is similar to a meringue and that it is always topped with fruit and whipped cream.

Filed away but not forgotten, I knew that Rachel’s next birthday treat would be pavlova… I just had to figure out how to make it first.

Luckily, a few websites guided the way, and I was able to put my own spin on a classic, New Zealand tradition.

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Although this treat is a bit time consuming, there isn’t much hands-on labor involved.

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The ingredients are quite simple. From a few household handy food items, something great can be formed.

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As a meringue-based dessert, egg whites are the star. I used organic, free range eggs.

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Pavlova is always topped with fruit. Since strawberries are in season right now, they made the most logical choice.

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Being my mother’s child, I put my own twist on the classic by including dark mint chocolate in the recipe.

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First up, mix the vanilla and white wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar then set aside.

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Using a kitchen scale, measure 6 oz of egg whites; about 5-6 eggs.

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Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and begin to beat over low speed with a hand-held mixer.

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P5106288P5106291   Gradually increase the beater speed to medium and beat the egg whites for a few minutes.

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Once the bubbles become very small and uniform in size and the egg whites form soft peaks, you’re ready for the next step.

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With the beaters running on medium speed, gradually add the sugar mixture to the eggs.

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Keep beating the eggs over medium-high speed until all sugar is well combined and absorbed.

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After a couple minutes of further beating, your meringue will resemble the photo above.

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Next, add the vanilla/ vinegar mixture and beat for another 2-3 minutes.

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The meringue will really start to thicken.

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Do you see a heart or two swans?

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Next up, melt your dark mint chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave) and drizzle a couple spoonfuls over the meringue.

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Take a large spoon and scoop out a heap of chocolate-marbled meringue.

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Plop and scrape the mound onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Using the back of the spoon, make a well in the mount to hold the fruit later on.

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Continue to make meringue mounds, adding more chocolate drizzle with each new layer of meringue.

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You’ll end up with some really cool marbled designs.

Place the meringues in the preheated oven then immediately turn down the temp. These will bake for about an hour. While they’re in the oven, move on to whipping the cream and making the strawberry sauce.

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To prepare the strawberry sauce, simply place 1/2 pound of cleaned and de-greened strawberries in a blender with the powdered sugar then blend.

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Voile!

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You will know the meringues are cooked when the shell is hard to the touch. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven. I’ve read that it’s best to allow them to sit and firm-up overnight before moving them.

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This may be advisable as several of my meringues cracked and crumbled when I took them, only slightly cooled, out of the oven.

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For quality control purposes, I set aside the ugly, crumbling duckling for Sebastian and me.

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As you can see, the shell is crisp but delicate…

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but the inside is soft and spongy like a marshmallow.

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To assemble, place a pavlova meringue on a clean plate, place freshly cut strawberries in the well, top with whipped cream and drizzle with the strawberry sauce.

Light, fresh, sweet and delicate.

I hope this birthday treat is a taste of home for my friend.

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Chocolate Marbled Pavlova with Strawberries

Adapted from Shuna Fish Lydon at simplerecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

Meringue:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 50 grams dark mint chocolate

Topping:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
METHOD
  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and the sugar.
  3. In a large, impeccably clean bowl, whip the egg whites and salt using a hand mixer set to low speed. Incrementally increase the speed of the mixer to medium speed until soft peaks start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, this will take approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Dribble a few spoonfuls of the melted chocolate over the meringue mixture.
  6. Scoop large spoonfuls of the swirled meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and with the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of each mound. Keep dribbling more chocolate into the bowl as a new layer of meringue emerges.
  7. Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F (120°C). Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white — not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
  8. Once fully baked, turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool and harden in the oven over night. Gently lift the meringues from the baking sheet. These will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week in a non-humid house.
  9. While the meringues are cooling, make the strawberry sauce by placing half the strawberries and the powdered sugar into a blender and whizzing until smooth.
  10. Whip the cream and vanilla sugar until soft using a hand mixer in a very cold bowl.
  11. To serve, place a meringue on a plate and dollop a spoonful of cream over the top. Scatter over a handful of sliced strawberries and then pour over the strawberry sauce. Now enjoy!

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P4055044 Sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb. Delicious!

For breakfast this past week, I enjoyed oatmeal with a fresh strawberry rhubarb sauce.

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The sauce was very simple. Just a matter of chopping up the fruit and simmering until it was tender. P4055032

I cooked the apples, lemon juice and rhubarb for a little while first then added the strawberries later. P4055041 Vanilla sugar, my new love.P4055046 Good morning, sunshine!

Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal

For the Fruit Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 apple peeled, cored and diced

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 Tablespoon vanilla sugar, or to taste

For the Oatmeal
1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup soy or rice milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 banana, mashed

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

For the sauce, combine the chopped fruits, water, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat while cooking the oats.

Separately, combine the water, milk, oats and salt. Simmer on low heat, until the oats thicken to a porridge like consistency. Remove from heat, and stir in the mashed banana and cinnamon.

Serve the oatmeal topped with the fruit sauce.

Makes 2 large servings.

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It’s been a while since I made my favorite breakfast food.

P4095252 Although I’ve been cooking with rhubarb all week, I still had quite a bit left Saturday morning. Luckily, Maria over at twopeasandtheirpod had already concocted a recipe to fix my morning sweet tooth.

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Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Recipe adapted from twopeasandtheirpod

For the Pancakes:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup soy milk, plus 2 Tablespoons
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 flax eggs ( 2 Tbsp. ground flax mixed with 4 Tbs. water and set aside to thicken)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Compote:

1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 fresh lemon
2 cup strawberries, cut into quartered pieces

1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy milk and lemon juice. Set aside for 15 minutes to sour the milk.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Add the canola oil, flax eggs,vanilla extract, and lemon zest to the soy milk mixture.

4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a spatula until combined. Don’t over mix. The batter will be thick. Let the batter set 5 minutes.

5. Heat a griddle pan or non stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour about  1/4 of  a cup of pancake batter onto the hot griddle pan, spacing out the pancakes a few inches from each other. When the pancakes start to bubble up, flip and cook until pancakes are lightly browned.

6. To make the compote: Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Add the rhubarb and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until rhubarb is soft. Add in the vanilla sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the strawberries and cook for another two minutes.

7. Serve strawberry rhubarb compote over hot pancakes.

Serves 4

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While at the farmer’s market yesterday, I spotted a gorgeous loaf of fresh French bread.

P4034770Although this recipe contradicts my goals for Lent, the beautiful, crusty, soft French bread was screaming out to me. It was screaming, “stuff me!”

So that’s just what I did.

P4034849Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

 This recipe, from Tasty Kitchen, has been on my Recipe Wish List since last Spring. It was due time to finally make this decadent breakfast.

P4034768 French bread, strawberries, milk, butter, cinnamon, cream cheese, strawberry jam and eggs.

P4034773 First thing, slice the bread into thick, 1.5-2 inch slices.

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Next, slice a pocket into the middle of each slice of bread. Be careful not to cut through the sides or bottom.

P4034778P4034784Set the sliced bread aside and begin to chop about 1 cup of strawberries.

P4034787Sprinkle the berries with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

P4034791Stir to combine then set aside.

P4034797     Next up, place cream cheese and strawberry jam together in a bowl.

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Give the two a good stir to combine into a creamy mixture.

P4034802 To make stuffing the bread a little easier, I combined the strawberries and cream cheese mixture.

P4034803It’s stuffing time!

P4034806Carefully spoon 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry cream cheese mixture into each slice of bread.

P4034807Give each stuffed slice a little squeeze to seal the opening.

P4034809P4034810Oh the potential!

P4034812    Once the bread is ready and waiting, it’s time to make the egg mixture. Since I was using the whole loaf of bread, I added an extra egg along with the 1/2 cup milk and tablespoon of cinnamon.

P4034815 Just beat it.

P4034817Only coat as many slices at one time as can fit in your frying pan.P4034819

 After about 20 seconds, flip the bread to coat the other side.

P4034821 Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.

P4034823 Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

P4034824 Flip to cook the other side. I stuffed a couple of slices with plain strawberries. This was also good, but not as good as the cream cheese stuffing.

P4034836Dust the cooked French toast with powdered sugar and a fresh strawberry before serving.

P4034842 Devour.

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Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Adapted from tastykitchen 

Ingredients

1 loaf French bread

1 cup fresh strawberries, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon sugar

3 Tablespoons strawberry jam

1 package cream cheese (4 Oz), at room temperature

3 whole eggs

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup milk

2 Tablespoons butter

Method

  1. Cut the French bread into 1/5-2 inch slices. Carefully cut a pocket into the middle of each slice being careful not to cut the sides or bottom. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries and sugar then set aside. Cream together the cream cheese and strawberry jam then add this mixture to the fresh strawberries. Fold to incorporate.
  3. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry mixture into the pocket of each slice of bread. Gently squeeze together the opening to seal the mixture inside. Set aside.
  4. In a shallow baking dish, whisk together the milk, eggs and cinnamon until well combined. Place 2-3 slices of stuffed bread into the batter at a time. Be sure to only coat as much bread as can fit into your frying pan at a time. Let each side sit in the batter for 20 seconds before flipping to coat the other side.
  5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick grying pan over medium high heat. When hot, place the egg coated bread into the frying pan and cook each side until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Upon cooking each batch, add another 1/2 tablespoon of butter.
  6. Dust the cooked French toast with powdered sugar and top with fresh strawberries to garnish.

Sunday morning brunch just got better.

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