Perfect French Toast

We often eat bacon and waffles for breakfast on Saturday mornings, but some weekend breakfasts call for an extra special meal – french toast. It is only recently that I started loving french toast – previously when I had made it I felt like it was too soggy and too eggy. I would definitely eat it, but it wasn’t my favorite thing.

One day we randomly happened to catch an episode of America’s Test Kitchen on tv, and they were making french toast. It looked so delicious that we went out the next day to buy bread so we could test their recipe.

It was unbelievably delicious.

The secret to making perfect french toast is to use challah bread. It is made from eggs and is nice and dense. We have been able to find it at our local bakery (Stick Boy) and some of our grocery stores. Just so you know, it’s pronounced “halla”. That way you won’t feel as self-conscious buying as I did.


Slice it an inch thick and let it get nice and dry in the oven.


Soak it in the egg and milk mixture for exactly 20 seconds on each side.


Cook it with butter.


Pour on real maple syrup.


And enjoy!


Since this isn’t my own recipe, I’m not going to type it out here, but you can get it on America’s Test Kitchen website. You will have to register as a user to view the recipe, but it is free and worth it!


Matt brought me these tulips on Friday – aren’t they lovely? They’ve started opening up even more since I took this photo.

I finally took the plunge and ordered the food dehydrator I’d been wanting since last summer. After much deliberation, I decided on the Excalibur 3900. I started dehydrating things as soon as I got it!

I started with lots of fruit – oranges, limes, apples, bananas, and pears. The apple chips were so delicious I’ve almost finished eating them.

Then I moved onto crackers, and oh my.

I used Angela’s recipe over at Oh She Glows, and we will certainly be making these again. I wasn’t sure how well they would hold up because they’re just made with a bunch of seeds and water, but I think the chia seeds make a nice gel to hold them together. They are delicious with hummus and made a nice afternoon snack.




“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore.

Seriously dwelling on this food for thought today.

Attacking stress

Sorry for the silence. It’s been quite busy around here the past few weeks.

I had been working on a very large proposal at work that finally got submitted Friday at 11:23 am – right before the 11:59 am deadline. This proposal had been worked on by more than 30 people, and at least 3,800 hours had gone into the creation of it. It was worth about $60 million in food and cash, and I was responsible for pulling together all of the documents that people had worked on. It was a lot of pressure and long hours. As soon as it was submitted, I came home and took a nap!

It’s amazing how tempting it is to fall into bad habits when the stress level rises. It’s kind of a viscous cycle – little sleep, caffeine, fast food, and it starts again. I tried to focus on giving my body healthy things so that I had energy to get everything done, but I did still eat chick fil a twice!

My parents got me a sweet food processor for Christmas, and it has a juicer attachment, so I’ve been making lots of delicious juice. My favorite is still grapefruit, carrot, ginger though. I could drink it every day! The combination of tart, sweet and hint of ginger is just so delicious.


I also tried these oatmeal bars this week and can attest that they are delicious. They kept me fueled for the long days. I used honey instead of maple syrup and added chocolate chips and dehydrated blueberries. They pack a punch of energy!

Our produce share had awesome things in it this week – it was very exciting. Matt made me an avocado, tomato, spinach sandwich with a slice of provolone cheese and a hint of oregano on dense 12 grain bread. It was delicious, and I ate at least three of them throughout the week.

We also powered up on lots of fruit and vegetable smoothies.

So, here is to more nourishing foods and rest this weekend!

Grapefruit, Orange, Ginger Juice and Pear Bread

It’s cold outside. Even when our house thermostat is set for 70, I am still cold. It’s funny how winter makes you slow down. Even though I hate the cold weather, I really appreciate the opportunity to rest and relax. It’s like my own time to hibernate. I can’t stay out working in the garden until the last bit of light fades at 9. I don’t really want to leave the house once we get home from work, and if I do go anywhere it’s to Espresso so I can have coffee and read, while getting out of the house. Most days after work I come straight home, crawl under my puffy-puff (down blanket) and read or watch episodes of Netflix. I’m currently on season 4 of both Frasier and How I Met Your Mother. Seriously, what would we do without Netflix?! I’m sure it would help if we went to the gym after work, you know since we have a gym membership that we haven’t used since we started it in December, but it’s just too cold and I’m just too lazy. So instead I’ve been trying to make us more nutrient rich foods so that we’ll have energy to make it through the winter.

Grapefruit, carrot, ginger juice and pear bread – it’s what we’ve been having for breakfast this week.

The juice was made with 4 grapefruits, 10 carrots and a good inch cube of peeled ginger root. I would use more but I don’t think Matt would drink it. I love ginger – it’s pretty much my favorite thing to eat. As a side note, did you know that most ginger-ales don’t actually have ginger in them? That’s right – take a peek at the ingredients on that can you’re drinking to help settle your stomach, and I think you’ll be surprised! I like to drink Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew. It has 26 grams of ginger. Now that’s some delicious ginger-ale! Alas, this post is not about ginger.

If you’re interested im my pear bread recipe, here it is. I’ve started writing down my recipes as soon as I make them, or else I forget how I made them and I can’t recreate it. I can’t type it up for you because I have to get back under my puffy-puff and watch another episode of How I Met Your Mother, so hopefully you can read my chalk board scribbles.

Oh yeah, I cooked the bread at 350 for about 65 minutes.


It has been pretty cold and snowy in Boone the past few days. And windy. And did I mention cold? We have been running from the house to the car to work, and back at the end of the day. We haven’t really been venturing out much because it’s cold, I’m lazy, and we don’t need anything. I am seriously stocked up on groceries for a while, and I did some cooking on Monday, so we haven’t even been tempted to eat out. It has been glorious!

Oh, did I tell you that I joined a co-op? I’ll save that discussion for another day, but I will say that it has changed my grocery shopping habits, which tend to get out of control.

Anyway, to the real point of this post … we discovered oatmeal this year. Not the packs of oatmeal you mix with water and microwave. Real oatmeal – that isn’t mushy and full of weird ingredients. We eat it almost everyday for breakfast, which is a big step because before ate chick-fil-a for breakfast a lot. Oatmeal is quick and easy to make. We make a big batch at the beginning of the week and eat on it for several days. It reheats really well.


*modified from Oh She Glows

2 cups water
2 cups almond milk
1 cup steel cut oats
1 TBSP flax seeds, ground
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 TSP cinnamon
1 apple
maple syrup

Mix all ingredients, except for apple, syrup and walnuts in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add apples and maple syrup to taste. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Served with toasted walnuts.

The nice thing about oatmeal is that you can alter it to suit your palate. Don’t like apples? Try substituting pears instead and add some cloves and nutmeg for a nice flavor. Try blueberries – frozen, fresh or dehydrated. Don’t have chia seeds? Cut down on the liquids, but get yourself some chia seeds. You can find them at a health foods store -Whole Foods and Earth Fare carry them. They offer the only complete source of protein in a vegetable form. They will help you have energy throughout the day. Don’t have almond milk? Use all water instead- it will be less creamy, but it will work. Haven’t used steel cut oats before? Get some. Don’t be afraid. You can find them in the bulk grains section of many grocery stores. Sometimes they can be found in cans in the breakfast cereal section, but they will be really expensive. I order from our co-op, and I was able to get 30 lbs for $1.06 per pound. I love steel cut oats because they don’t get mushy.

So, if you are looking for a healthy, filling breakfast recipe to comply with your New Years’ resolutions, look no farther.

Holiday Break

I have to say that was the most relaxing holiday break we’ve had in a long time. I only worked half days the week leading up to Christmas, so I had plenty of time to get the house clean and get us packed up for Christmas in Spartanburg, SC. It was so nice not to feel stressed and rushed walking out the door, although somehow I was still trying to gather and wrap presents right before we left.

Speaking of things I didn’t get done this year, we didn’t really decorate for Christmas, and somehow I didn’t mind too much. I have really been feeling the need to declutter, and the idea of putting decorations all over the house didn’t thrill me. So we cut down our tree, put on lights, and left it alone! As Christmas cards came in, I did put them in the tree with clothes pins, but that was all we had on the tree. It was refreshing.

We enjoyed spending Christmas with Matt’s family in SC. His mom helped me sew some pajama pants that I was trying to give to my mom and sisters. I often feel like the world’s worst sewer, but I can only get better with practice, right?

Matt’s dad helped him build a light box for a screen printing press he is setting up.

They also spent lots of time racing cars!

As soon as we got home from the Christmas Eve service, we changed into our pjs, ate our Christmas dinner and played games.

Here is the whole family! It was a nice week – we stayed up late, slept in, ate great food, and had a lovely time with family.

After a nice, long Christmas break, we came back to Boone for a few days. I only worked half a day, so once again, I had plenty of time to get us ready for our trip to Greensboro, NC to ring in the new year with my family. We enjoyed spending a few days with my sister before she went back to Thailand!

I got a food processor from my parents, and it had a juicing attachment, so of course I made lots of juice!

I helped my mom cut out some strips for a quilt she is working on.

I didn’t finish all of the pajama pants I was trying to make, but I did finish my mom’s, and they fit great. I’m encouraged to keep working on the other pairs!

We also spent time with some relatives in Charlotte, did some shopping, and played lots of Settlers of Catan.

We came back to Boone yesterday and now have an entire day to unpack and get settled into the house before we have to work tomorrow. It has been glorious to come back rested with time to get ready for the week!

Soup for Breakfast

I particularly love holidays because I can eat whatever I want, including potato-leek soup for breakfast. With a hint of snow on the ground this morning, it just seemed perfect to eat potato soup and knit.

This afternoon we are headed to celebrate Christmas with my family. Even though I had a few extra days to prepare, I am still feverishly trying to finish some handmade gifts!