MODERN DAY MARTHA

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  • Breakfast Magic

    I have a special relationship with breakfast. My dad made the best weekend breakfasts while we were growing up: pancakes, muffins, bacon scrambled eggs or other treats. We looked forward to those breakfasts all week.

    As an adult learning my way around a kitchen, breakfast was first on my list to be “perfected”. I have friends who remember the evenings that extended into mornings at my little house where I would wake all my sleeping guests with Fleetwood Mac and a pile of fresh from scratch pancakes or french toast made with cinnamon raisin bread.

    During our long-distance courtship in San Diego, John and I eschewed the normal dinner/date routine and indulged in long weekend breakfasts at our favorite spots around the city. We’d linger over pancakes as big as our heads filled with fruits and slathered with butter and syrup, drinking coffee and planning our day.

    Breakfast was what brought me to professional food, in the magical roundabout way that things happen in life. John joked over one of our extended breakfasts that I could certainly “do this” gesturing to the busy dining room. I took a business class and then found a hospitality program so that I could, one day, have my own kitchen to make breakfast bliss in.

    Of course, my kitchen currently only serves five, plus a guest here and there, but breakfast still holds sway as a magical meal.

    When Maia was little she did not eat. It was a wretched experience for a foodie mom to have a child who would not eat. Her first birthday was an exercise in misery as she flat out refused our attempts to get her to even taste a dreamy cream-filled pastry that served as her impromptu birthday cake. I was at my wits end until I stumbled upon something she loved with gusto: French toast. The humble breakfast food was our saving grace at meal time.

    I made batches of toast at the beginning of the week and added nutrition by smashing bananas into the batter, stirring in finely grated carrots or zucchini, or adding apples and sauce. She ate French toast at almost every meal for months.

    She finally became a more adventurous eater, but she did survive on French toast and still loves it. At this point, we still make toast 1-2 times a week for breakfast and Maia will tell me what to get out of the fridge for her. Sometimes when we’re not fast enough, she’ll get out the eggs, milk and bread herself.

    I like to think she’s on the path to making her own magical breakfast memories.

    Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

    The rule of thumb for French Toast is one egg + milk will coat about 2 pieces of standard sandwich bread. I really soak my bread, so I get about 1 1/2 pieces per egg. This recipe is sized to make about 6 pieces. Adjust to your family as need be.

    Ingredients

    4 whole eggs

    3 tablespoons milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

    1 4-ounce container or 1/2 cup apple sauce

    ~6 slices bread (I use whole wheat–it gives it a wonderful hearty flavor)

    Method

    Beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla and spices in a shallow, wide dish (I find a pie plate works perfectly for this job). Stir in applesauce. Dunk bread into batter, pressing lightly to help really soak in the batter. Place soaked bread on a heated and oiled skillet. Cook until nicely browned on both sides.

    Serve with butter, warm syrup, or more apple sauce. Enjoy!

    6 Responses to “Breakfast Magic”

    1. Maryanne says:

      I’ve never tried french toast with applesauce… looks like we have a plan for Saturday morning.

      I always loved Saturday breakfasts, with Mom making pancakes or french toast. Unfortunately, breakfasts around here are somewhat lacking, partly due to lack of interest from the eaters. But maybe if the food was more exciting they’d be more interested? We shall have to see.

    2. Brandy says:

      I don’t even like French toast and that sounds yummy :)

    3. Jessica says:

      Yummmmmm!!! That is such a great idea! I think I am going to add applesauce to my shopping list.

      I’m pretty sure those pancakes as big as your head were from the Hash House in Hillcrest, weren’t they? I used to love to go there for Saturday breakfast. I’d willingly stand in line outside for over an house just so I could eat their food. Delicious!

    4. Becky the G says:

      Wonderful! Would love to have breakfast at your future resturant

    5. Julie says:

      We made it! Kids loved it!

    6. Valerie says:

      @Jessica, YES! Hash House A Go-Go is a must hit every time we go back to San Diego. I love the food there. Also, Cafe on Park made the most wonderful “pancakes as big as your head” and we’d go there when we didn’t have the fortitude for the wait at HH. We had a rotating cache of breakfast spots in SD. I can never tell my friends where to go to dinner there (except Sushi Deli II) but have a list of places to hit for breakfast…

      @Julie, I am so glad the kids loved it. I know my girls gobble it up. The babies managed an entire piece each the other morning. This gives me resolve to keep putting recipes up. Thank you. :)