I know lots of you have been anxious to get your copy of our new ‘Restore’ CD. Good news…you can now order it whether or not you are taking Soul Restoration and no matter what part of the world you are from! It’s available as a CD for those in the US and Canada, and as a digital download as well. We are so excited!! Find it here.
The response to our Apron Challenge was AWESOME!! And we can’t stop looking at the pictures – they are soooo beautiful! Thank you so much for sending them in!! This has been so fun!
We were originally going to do a blog post that included all of the pictures that were sent in, but there were so many that the post would have been too long! So we made a video….enjoy!
Okay, friends…here’s a yummy recipe that’s perfect for Christmas morning! Put it together the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning…it’ll fill your house with the most incredible smells while you sip your hot chocolate and watch the sun rise.
If pumpkin doesn’t float your boat, you can make this without it. I’ll tell you how at the end of the recipe.
Here’s what this french toast looks like when it comes out of the oven…
(I don’t think orange food ever photographs very well, but this photo will have to do.) Let’s get busy making it! I’ll list the full recipe at the bottom of this post. Note that I made a double-batch, so you’ll see two pans in these photos, ut the measurements are for ONE batch.
First cut a loaf of French Bread into about 1″ slices.
Lay them out in a generously buttered baking dish, overlapping the layers slightly, like this:
Now in a bowl, whisk together 8 large eggs, 2 cups half and half, 1 cup milk, 2 T sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and a dash of salt.
Pour this custard mixture over the bread. Go slowly and let the bread soak it up. (Note: I like my french toast more crunchy/chewy than soft and custardy, so I never use all of this mixture. I use about 3/4 and then put the rest in the refrigerator to see if I’m going to need to add it in the morning.)
Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight. (You can do this the same day, too…just dip each slice in the custard before putting it in the baking pan…it won’t have time to soak in otherwise.)
Take it out in the morning and uncover it and make a decision…if it looks like it soaked up ALL the custard and looks a little dry, add more of the custard you saved. If it looks super soupy, then you might want to pour some off. You’ll see in the photos below how it should look.
Now, take out the ingredients for the topping and put them in a bowl. You’ll need 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans, 2 T corn syrup, and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
Mix them all together until crumbly. I like to use a pastry cutter…it makes it so easy!
PS. Have you seen the old Sienfeld episode about the ‘man hands’. If you have, you know why I’m asking. *sigh*
Sprinkle the topping all over the French Toast…see how there’s just a LITTLE custard pooling around the bread? That’s how I like it…not all swimming in it.
Now bake this at 350 degrees or until golden brown. Serve with Maple Syrup or with our amazing Buttermilk Syrup from this blog post:
Pumpkin Pecan Baked French Toast
1 loaf French Bread (or two baguettes)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg for plain version)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (like Libby’s – leave out for plain version)
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 T corn syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg for plain version)
Slice bread into 1 inch slices. Arrange in a generously buttered 9×13 flat baking dish, overlapping the slices. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pumpkin puree. Pour over the bread, reserving about 1/4 if you don’t like your french toast too soft and custardy. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, take the french toast out of the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 350. Make the topping by putting the butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice into a big bowl. Combine with a fork or with a pastry cutter until it’s well-mixed and crumbly. Spread evenly over the bread.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve plain or with maple syrup or Buttermilk Syrup.
How about a super-impressive, incredibly delicious appetizer that takes only 4 ingredients and less than 1/2 hour?? You will not believe how great these are, and how EASY…
Pick up this stuff at the store: mini fillo shells, a wedge of good brie, chopped pecans, and some apricot jam.
You can probably use any apricot jam, but Smucker’s Simply Fruit is the best (in my humble opinion). And be sure to buy good Brie…Costco always has excellent cheese at a pretty good price. The Filo Shells are usually in the freezer case by the frozen desserts. (At holiday time, you might see them featured in a display of fancy gourmet stuff. ) And I forgot the pecans in this photo…that’s okay because they’re optional, right?
Arrange the filo cups on a baking sheet. (This white glass serving tray is oven safe, so I skipped the baking sheet and did them directly on this tray.) Cut the brie into about 1/2 cubes and put one in each filo cup, like this:
Add about 1/4 tsp of apricot jam right on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with finely chopped pecans if you like. Sliced almonds are awesome on these tarts, too. Keep some plain in case there are people who don’t like nuts (or can’t have them…poor souls).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the brie is melted and bubbly and the jam is a little browned and caramel-ish. Watch carefully…the length of time depends on the cheese as some brie is softer and will brown faster. Yours might get done faster or slower…just check them every 5 minutes or so…until they look like this:
I can never decide if I like these better hot out of the oven or cooled off a bit or even at room temperature…so I always try some at every stage…I call it research. Still can’t decide! They are scrumptious at any temperature.
Enjoy, my lovely Brave friends!
Ok…so I have this crazy idea…I even put it in a little video…my first EVER. Here you go:
So are you on board with us? Are you ready to have some fun?? Here are some examples to get your imagination fired up:
Jamie thinks her favorite coffee cup is AWESOME because it flares at the top, leaving much more room for whipped cream!
Brock’s guitar is simply AWESOME……..and the music he plays with it is AWESOME too!
Chelsea thinks her soon to arrive BABY is AWESOME…but she is not so excited about how awesome it is that she is 39 weeks pregnant…
Malary loves the amazing boots she found at TJ Maxx…….Madi loves the art she makes and the art that hangs on her wall…..Max loooooves reading Harry Potter books….and Mitch…well, he loves gum and thinks it is THE MOST AWESOME INVENTION EVER!
Melody thinks Marq is awesome…
Jakes thinks going to Milan is incredibly awesome…
Angela and Tessa think having an identical twin is…awesome!
So…will you help us?? Say YES! …because it’s FUN…in fact, it’s AWESOME!
It’s so easy, too! Just leave your comment below. You can leave as many as you want, but just do a separate comment for each on as our neat little blog program will COUNT for us so we’ll know how many we have! (I know…that’s awesome, huh?)
And remember, you can also send a PHOTO of an awesome thing…just make a sign that says AWESOME and take a photo of yourself with your awesome thing and your sign, just like we’ve done for this post. Send it to email@example.com and we’ll include as many as we can in an upcoming video project that we’ll show on THANKSGIVING DAY (that’s November 25, for our friends outside of the US).
Thank you! AND…I just have to say it…I can’t help myself………..
PS…The best part is…as soon as we reach 1000 comments, we’ll randomly draw choose one winner of a FREE Soul Restoration online class!!!!…UPDATE!…Oh my gosh, you Brave Girls are SO SO SOOOOOOO AWESOME!!! You blew RIGHT PAST 1000 in just a few hours!!!! In fact, you are SO awesome that we have decided to give away 10 FREE SOUL RESTORATION workshops…1 for every 1,000 Awesome Things comments up to 10,000! We’ll use a random number generator to choose a comment from every block of 1000. COME ON, WE CAN DO IT!! We are having so much fun reading your comments and hope you are, too!! Congratulations to our first TWO winners of the free Soul Restoration Online Class …randomly chosen from the first 2000 Awesome Things comments!! From Comments 1 – 1000: Sherri Caramico From Comments 1001-2000: Lee Ann Garrett
***** LATEST UPDATE – another winner!!!! *****
From Comments 2001-3000: Christa Irell
(Congratulations, Christa! Please email me with your email address! firstname.lastname@example.org)
We’ll choose another winner if/when we reach 4000 comments. Thanks everyone!!! You are AWESOME!! ***** LATEST UPDATE – another winner!!!! *****
12-8-10 We’ve reached over 4000 awesome things! Congratulations to newest winner drawn from comments 3000-4000….DONNA PETER!!
Okay…it looks like I’m on a breakfast kick with the recipes lately. I have this one and one more favorite (Baked Pumpkin French Toast..oooo la la!) that I want to share with you right away so that you are ready to make an incredible holiday breakfast! This one is definitely NOT something to make everyday, but how about once or twice a year?? You totally have my permission… Here we go:
I don’t even know what to say to this picture…except I’m sorry!!! Yes, it’s a good as it looks…and probably ten times as fattening. That’s why you only have it once or twice a year, okay?!? Here’s how easy it is to make…first, assemble the ingredients: thick sliced bacon, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and freshly cracked pepper:
PS…don’t be too impressed by the ‘real’ maple syrup. I’ve made this with the cheap stuff and it’s still wonderful. Use whatever you put on the kids’ Eggos…it’ll be fine.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then line a baking sheet with foil and put a rack on top. The foil is to make cleanup easy.
Lay the bacon on top in nice neat rows…(see how lean this bacon is?? …look for a good brand that’s as lean as possible.)
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. While it’s roasting, pour about 1/3 cup maple syrup into a small bowl; add a tsp of mustard and stir it together.
After about 20 minutes, take the bacon out of the oven. Flip it over with some tongs:
Now brush it LIBERALLY with the syrup and mustard mixture. Then sprinkle it with freshly cracked black pepper (to taste):
Put the baking sheet back into the oven and continue roasting the bacon until it’s as done as you like it. Check after 10 minutes, but it might take 20 or 25. Here’s how I like it:
If you want it EXTRA sticky and sweet and chewy (perfectly understandable) just brush with the syrup mixture a few more times during baking. You could even flip it over again and brush the other side.
Here’s the recipe again:
Maple Roasted Bacon
1 lb thick sliced bacon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
fresh black pepper
Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on the foil. Preheat oven to 400.
Place bacon on the rack and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the syrup and mustard. Remove the bacon from the oven and flip each slice over with tongs. Brush generously with the syrup mixture: sprinkle with black pepper to taste. Return to the oven to finish roasting to your desired done-ness (approx. 10-25 minutes). For more maple-y goodness, brush bacon with additional syrup mixture while it finishes roasting.
If someone you love doesn’t care for sweet bacon (like my husband) just roast some plain right along with the maple bacon…it just means more maple bacon for you, right?
Drain on paper towels and ENJOY!!
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about girls. About their natural strengths and gifts, and how they are so often undervalued in our world.
I am blessed with a remarkable daughter who has brought many of her joyful, creative friends into our home. To raise a daughter is to be immersed in the natural exuberance of girls. And have you met my sisters and nieces? My amazing mother? My girlfriends? All of them creative, fearless, funny, loyal, loving; all of them fierce mother bears when they need to be.
These are qualities that change lives; qualities that are changing our world.
Meet my friend, Florence, who lives in war-torn Nigeria. I call her my sister across the sea. Florence is a young widow with no formal education, and though unmarried women have little stature in her community, she is caring for six children. Some of them are her own, and some of them are orphans from the war.
Organizations that try to help communities like the one in which Florence lives have discovered an incredible, previously untapped resource. Women.
Given a chance and a little hope, a woman will find a way to take care of her children. She will do what it takes to care for others’ children, as well. (If you are a girl, you know that this is absolutely the truth.) She will joyfully support the efforts of other women.
Together, they will figure out how to clothe, feed, and educate the young and the helpless.
They will sing together in the light of their kerosene lamps and laugh and cry together as they undertake the enormous task of rebuilding their communities.
They will fill their homes with color and love as they weave their torn and broken lives back together.
Women are amazing that way. I am so proud to be Florence’s friend. And I am filled with hope when I remember the other women in my life, the joy and strength in those women.
What is it that really makes the world go ‘round, anyway? Is it money? Politics? Power? No. I absolutely believe that it’s much simpler than that (thank goodness). It’s….
hanging onto hope, no matter what
recognizing, when no one else does, when someone needs a hand to hold
searching for joy, and always finding it somewhere
creating something only you could envision
nurturing and loving those who cannot take care of themselves
being a real friend
Girls make the world go ‘round, by being brave enough to do whatever it takes to create a beautiful, light-filled world, wherever they may be.
We thought she would die…we thought she was brain damaged…we thought she was blind…we knew her jaw was broken. This is how Missie looked when we brought her home later that week…wired jaw, random shaving, eye stitched partially closed, huge lump of dental cement in her mouth to keep her jaw stable…
At Brave Girl Camp, she spent most of her time sleeping in her crate, coming out for just a few minutes to eat and do her business and be loved up by the oh-so-wonderful Brave Girls there.
She let me treat her eyes for the first several days, then one day she started growling and biting at me when I came near her. She fought me and scratched at me and shook and cowered and yelped and cried. For 3 days I was unable to get any medicine in her eyes..I tried being loving and kind, I tried being sneaky, I tried holding her down (impossible with her broken jaw), my Mom tried…we tried everything. When she returned to the Vet for a checkup, the results were terrible…her eye was swollen and painful and it looked like she would lose it completely. The medicine was critical, and if I couldn’t find a way to get it in her eye, she would be blind
Now I know that dogs live beautiful lives all the time with just one eye, but all of us were determined to save her vision so her life could be the best it could be…so she could return 100% to how she was before the accident. I suppose some of it was my own well-deserved guilt for not protecting her as well as I should/could have. I had let her out to chase squirrels and knew the risks of the road nearby, but somehow thought it would never happen to her….lots of regret. Lots of determination to make it right.
The frustration was that with her broken jaw, I had to be so careful with her…there was going to be NO forcing her to allow the drops and ointments. No holding her down. No wrestling with her.
I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but one day she just decided to GIVE IN.
She just sat there and looked right into my face (with her one good eye and her funny smile, lol)…and she decided to TRUST ME. She allowed me to help her without fighting me…no more scratching and growling and crying and hiding. Just trust and submission.
When I took her back to the Vet the next week, there had been significant improvement….it looks like her eye will heal completely. We all cheered and celebrated!!! Even Missie was caught up in the excitement and stood up on her back legs and did a little twirly dance right there in the exam room.
So…what have I learned from this little experience?
1. Often what is required in order to heal is that we just stop fighting and scratching and crying and just give in…TRUST…ACCEPT the help we need without running from it…(SUBMIT to our Healer)
2. Life can totally take you by surprise. One moment you can be running around in the sun chasing squirrels, and the next you can be stopped in your tracks by a big mean truck that leaves you bloody and beaten.
3. We need to watch out for each other. We need to be the neighbor who drops everything when she sees someone who needs help…someone who pounds on door until she finds help. Not a weak or selfish or too busy ‘well-intentioned’ neighbor who drives by and sees a tragedy and ‘feels bad’ but DOES NOTHING.
4. When we’re battered and hurting, it’s okay (and necessary) to give ourselves time to rest and restore. In fact, there is no other way to recover or heal.
5. We must do everything we can to protect those we love from dangers that WE know are there, but that they might not be aware of. I have great regret that I failed to do this and caused my little dog such pain. It is not enough to have good intentions…our responsibility to those in our care is to do everything we can to protect them. Tragedies and accidents will still happen, and we have to accept that…but our responsibility and our joy is still to do all we can to take care of each other.
My Mom always said that animals have souls and feelings and emotions of their own…and I’m sure she’s right about that.
Now it’s your turn…I’d love to hear your stories of brave pets and what you’ve learned from them!
They just drove away….my daughter Kallie, her hunkie and oh-so-wonderful husband, Jeff, and my little man…my 18 month old grandson, Jackson. This summer they have lived on our property in an rv they have lovingly made into a little home (http://www.weliveinanrv.com)…and today they’re headed back to Utah. Kallie is due to have a baby in October, and she needs to get back to their home to feather her nest and rest; Jeff is applying for his dream job.
I should be happy that things are going so well for them, I guess, but all I can feel is…WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! They are taking Jackson with them!!! How can they do that to me!!!!
I took Jackson for a little walk this morning. He wanted to show me the birds…I took him down the road to look at the cows. I cried all the way there and back. My little man has changed so much since they came in May…he has learned to walk, he has learned lots of new words, he can now reach the door knob without getting on his tippy toes.
All summer long I’ve seen Jackson’s cute little pudgy face every morning, fed him countless bananas, picked up a gazillion toys from the floor, gone on lots of little outings, taken countless walks, coerced many tiny kisses, cuddled every time he’d let me, tried to memorize how his little hand feels in mine…because I’ve known that it was a once-in-a-lifetime summer, and that there will NEVER be another summer spent with this little guy at this time in his life.
I tried very hard to make it count…to make memories….to take nothing for granted…to be intentional…to be aware and grateful for these sweet months. Because I knew that it would be over all too soon, and that some things you only get to do ONCE.
So I’d better be paying attention.
These darn kids….they come into your life and you love them and then they have the nerve to just drive away…..*sigh*….. I’m going to indulge myself with a good long cry today. And probably again tomorrow…
I’m getting ready to tell my son, Jake, goodbye in a few months. He’s now a man and has important and wonderful things planned that I’m so thankful for. I remember holding HIS little hand and trying to memorize how it felt…thinking that I didn’t know when the last time would be that he reached over to hold my hand. When was that last time?? When did he get to be such a grown up young man?? When was the last time I rocked him or sang him to sleep??
Why can’t I remember any of the frustrating, exhausting, confusing, infuriating, hard days of raising him? I can only remember the sweet days.
So…very soon I’ll watch him go out the door and drive away and I’ll be so proud and happy of the life he is beginning…and then I’ll go have a good cry.
I’d do the whole thing all over again in a heartbeat….
Calling all Brave Girls! Today it’s YOUR turn….would you take a minute today to leave a comment and tell us two things:
1. What is the bravest thing you’ve had to do or face in the past year?
2. Imagine that you’re 100 years old and you’re being asked about this experience…what have you learned that would help someone else facing the same thing?
We can’t wait to read your stories….
Hi, everyone! This is Kathy, and this is the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing to share some of our recipes from Brave Girl Camp! We’re going to begin with a camp favorite…something I call Yogurt Creme…
I am perpetually fighting the ‘battle of the bulge’ and trying to eat healthy whole foods, and while I love salads and fruits and vegetables, sometimes what I REALLY want is something creamy and rich and smooth and cold and oh-so-satisfying. This Yogurt Creme is everything I love, plus it’s packed with protein and calcium and low in fat! Add some fresh berries and it’s gotta qualify as a super food, right?!?
We’ll start by making Yogurt Cheese out of plain yogurt…and that in itself is a magical creation that we can use in lots of different recipes…but we’ll save those for later.
It’s easy to make Yogurt Cheese with a few simple tools and a little patience….
Start with a large container of natural yogurt…make sure no pectin or gelatin has been added or it won’t strain. You can use low fat or no fat if you like, but here’s what I’m using today:
You’ll also need a strainer, a fairly deep bowl, and some cheesecloth. A colander will also work. You can find cheesecloth right in your grocery store by the housewares or in the canning section. At my local megamart I go to the sewing section to find it.
Cut a piece of cheesecloth big enough to line your strainer and hang over sides like this:
Add all the yogurt…it will be thin and watery (yuck in my book – but a magic transformation is going to happen!):
Bring up the sides of the cheesecloth to completely cover the yogurt.
A yellow fluid (I think it’s whey???) will start to drain out immediately. This is a good thing because this liquid is what makes plain yogurt sour and kind of nasty…we don’t want that stuff.
Now cover the whole thing with a towel and set it aside for 12-24 hours…until about 1/2 the volume has drained away. You can refrigerate it if you want, but I never do and I’m still kicking.
After 12-24 hours, unwrap your yogurt and you’ll discover that you’ve made what is called…Yogurt Cheese!