Happy New Year 2015


It’s 2015 and I haven’t made a resolution – – not sure that I am going to make one this year. That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals, it just means that I’m not sure resolutions are successful.

Even though I haven’t made an “official” resolution, my goal to make yummy and healthy (mostly) food still continues.  Cooking for two people is a challenge. Most recipes are written to serve four or more.  Plus, I get tired of leftovers and like to cook new dishes.

For a New Years Day brunch, my original plan was to make a New Orleans inspired dish, since my husband is from that area of Louisiana.  My first choice was Bananas Foster French Toast from a recipe in Taste of Home magazine, but the bananas weren’t cooperating (still too green). So, after searching through other recipes, I decided on Pecan Praline French Toast. It may not be 100% healthy, but it certainly qualifies as delicious!  Here’s my version – –

Pecan Praline French Toast with Apples

Serves 4 – 6

1/2 loaf of French bread (I used a day-old baguette)

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I like the taste of dark brown sugar; if you don’t, use a total of 1/2 cup light brown sugar)

1/4 cup firmly pack light brown sugar

3 T butter

1 T Maple syrup

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/2 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup milk (I used 2%)

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I had it on hand – you can also use 1/2 cup of milk in total)

1 T granulated sugar

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract


1. Lightly grease an oven proof dish. I used a round flat-bottomed ceramic baking dish from Pampered Chef. You could also use a cast-iron skillet or any other dish of your choice.

2. Melt butter (microwave on 1 minute works great!). Add the both of the brown sugars and the maple syrup. Stir until combined and pour into your prepared dish.

3. Sprinkle sugar mixture with the pecans and arrange the apple slices on top of the nuts.

4. Slice bread into 1 inch pieces and arrange over the pecan and apples. Cut, as necessary, slices to make one layer of bread in your pan.

5. Using a whisk or fork, mix together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour mixture over the bread. Cover dish and chill bread overnight (or at least 8 hours).

6. Remove bread refrigerator and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the top is a golden brown.

7. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the bread and invert onto a serving plate.

Pecan Praline French Toast with Apples

Pecan Praline French Toast with Apples

This recipe makes its own syrup – – see photo – – and if you want, serve with additional maple syrup. For a delicious brunch, add your choice of sides. I decided on bacon (who doesn’t love bacon) and a fruit salad (the healthy part).

Peach, Asian Pear and Cranberry Salad

Peach, Asian Pear and Cranberry Salad

The original version for 8 to 10 people was published in Southern Living [February 2011] and you can find their version here.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think. My husband went back for seconds – – so I know he thought it was yummy and then told me that I started a new tradition today – – “full breakfast every morning.” Good thing I knew he was just joking.

May 2015 be filled with blessing and joy for you and yours!

The Pampered Chef Mini-Baker


Me Want Cookies!


It’s cookie baking time! I’ve been baking cookies all week for the Christmas holiday and for a Cookie Walk bake sale at the church I attend. Already made are English Toffee Brickle Drops, Spiced Shortbread, and White Chip Macadamia Nut. Today’s baking menu is for Loaded Chocolate Chip cookies and Gingerbread Thumbprint cookies.

I was searching for an existing Loaded Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, but didn’t find one that I liked. So, being a creative cook, I took a traditional chocolate chip recipe and made modifications. The end result was a cookie that was crisp on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. Best of all, they are not overly sweet. Here’s what I did –

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!


Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen



  • 1 cup unsweetened butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar – packed
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar – packed
  • 1 – 1/2 cups good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup caramel bits
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until creamy and combined well. Medium speed about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix on medium low speed until well mixed.  Tip: crack eggs into a separate bowl first to avoid shell chips in your batter.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Slowly add dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Use a mixing spoon to stir in the chips, coconut, cranberries, and caramel bits.
  7. Drop batter onto prepared baking sheets using a one inch scoop or teaspoon.
  8. Bake 11 – 12 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Cool 5 minutes on sheets and transfer to cooling rack.
  10. Eat and enjoy!
Baked Cookies

Baked Cookies Ready to Eat – – Yum!!!

I hope you give these cookies a try and let me know what you think. Just transferred the last batch to the cooling rack, now it’s time for a clean-up and then onto the Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies (using apricot preserves instead of the blueberry jam).

Happy Baking!