Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day 2012

I wish I could say that I've been planning a gift for Father's Day... you know, since last month. But I'd be lying. Often I will start thinking and working on things way early, but I don't seem to get anywhere until the last minute. I guess I just work a little better under pressure.

So this morning, I am surfing the web and find the cutest idea for a Father's Day gift for anyone with 3 small kids. Sure, I have two. But seeing as how they're 14 years apart, and one is out of the house, I kinda think of them both as only children. So, I take this idea and twist it around until it works for me and Sophie to do.

I'd love to give credit for the original idea, but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the blog, or find it again. The original blogger took a photo from the knees down of each of her 3 children, wearing the same pair of their father's work boots. The best photo was the last one. The only one young enough for diapers and the boots came all the way up to the bottom of the diaper. So funny!
Even though that was so cute it was giggle-worthy, the sentiment was a very serious biblical quote. I don't know the quote myself and didn't plan on using it, so I don't remember it either.
If anyone knows who's blog that idea was on, please leave it in the comments section and I'll be more than happy to link it here. :)

Anyway, since I don't have 3 kids to use for this idea I started thinking about how to do it with just one. I let Sophie pick out a pair of shoes, a shirt and a hat of Bryan's. Then I took photos of her in each item, uploaded the photos and converted them to black and white. I printed out the photos on glossy photo paper, cut them to size, and came up with the saying, which I then printed out on white card stock. I gathered a thick black frame I had stuffed in the craft room closet, a piece of red card stock (cut down to the same size as the fake photo insert the frame came with), and some double-sided tape. Then I mounted the photos and the saying onto the red background. As Sophie would say, "Waalaa!"

I think Daddy's really going to love this one. And it occurs to me now that I DO know why I can't ever get anything done before the last minute! I have a hard time not giving the presents out early. In fact, I'll be struggling not to give him this gift tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow. LOL

Here are a couple of the other photos I took but didn't make it into the final project.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Orange Cream French Toast

My family loves all things syrup related. Of course, anything that can be eaten with syrup can be eaten with jam, right? I grew up with the jam or syrup option on the table, and since I think options are a good thing, I love trying different flavors of jam and syrup. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that my five year old thinks the pancakes, French toast or waffles are the optional ingredients.

Yes, one random afternoon I walked into the kitchen to find Sophie standing on a chair with her head in the pantry, drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle! I began hiding the syrup as if it was a key to the liquor cabinet. I considered putting a Mr. Yuck sticker on it too, but realized that might send a slightly mixed message next time I tried pouring it over her pancakes.

A month or so later I was searching for recipes to use up a crate of fresh Florida oranges, and I found a delicious French toast recipe. The Orange Cream French Toast from the Timberwolf Creek Bed & Breakfast in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, was posted to by Sharon123. It's orange, it's cream, it's stuffed... does breakfast get much better than that?

I think real vanilla is a must for this recipe, so I used my own homemade Madagascar vanilla bean vanilla, along with the fresh orange zest, and we were not disappointed. Bryan was going to be the hardest to impress with a French toast recipe, because he tends to be more of a pancake guy. So, I knew this was a good recipe when he requested it again before I'd even tasted it myself! Sophie said the filling tastes like frosting and we all agreed that it tasted a bit like a frosting we would use on orange cinnamon rolls.

I meant to slice my French bread thick to make plenty of pocket room, but the loaf was sold sliced, and I didn't notice it until I was home. I made pockets in the bread as best I could, and then used a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip to fill them. The only real bump in the road was when I realized we were out of maple syrup. I gave my family some options that included both my favorite ginger syrup and blackberry syrup, but they declined everything after trying their first bite with butter only. They found this recipe to be so well balanced, that syrup was not required! Bryan said he probably won't even bother with the maple syrup next time. I was impressed that this recipe was flavorful enough to enjoy without syrup, but since orange and ginger is a classic flavor combination, I topped mine with the ginger syrup, and found it to be absolutely delicious as well.

If you don't have a pastry bag or decorating tips for filling, it's not a problem. Feel free to use a Ziplock bag with a corner snipped off, or simply use the orange cream as a spread when the French toast is hot off the griddle. This versatile recipe went immediately into our "Best of 2012" collection and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as we did! Following is my interpretation and instructions for the recipe.

Orange Cream French Toast
1 loaf day-old French bread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 orange, zest of
½-1 teaspoon real vanilla
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (approximately)
1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Orange slice (optional garnish)

The night before you make the French toast: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and the orange zest. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, crack the eggs into a glass measuring cup, measure, and then pour in an equal amount of milk. Whisk eggs and milk together with a dash of vanilla, and then pour mixture into a deep, flat bowl or a pie plate. Pour about a Tablespoon of vegetable oil onto a folded paper towel and spread the oil over the surface of the griddle. Pre-heat the griddle on medium heat or to about 350°. Slice the day-old French bread into 1-1/2 inch thick slices. Cut a pocket into each slice and fill generously with the cream cheese mixture. Dip the slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides, and then place on the griddle to cook for about 2-4 minutes. Combine the cinnamon and nutmeg, and sprinkle the cooked side of each slice with the spices before turning to cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Dust cooked slices with powdered sugar, and garnish with a fresh slice of orange, if desired. Serves: 4
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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License