French Toast Casserole

I am a carb addict…there, I admitted it.  I will pass up eggs and meat any day for french toast, pancakes, hot bread, cake or cookies.  However, I’m trying to change my ways!  Last year I did so well leaving off my sugars and breads.  But now I have fallen back into the same old habits.  Greg has been doing a low carb diet for several months now and looks great. He’s my inspiration to gain control again.  I made this overnight French Toast Casserole several weeks ago.  It was delicious and even looking at this terrible, out of focus picture, it has my mouth watering.  For now, this is it though, no more high carb recipes.

I know that I will not swear off carbs for good.  But hopefully I can learn to limit them in my life.  I will try to bring you more delicious recipes, but healthier.  As always, I love for you to share your recipes with me.  My email address is

This recipe is adapted from the French Toast Casserole on one of my favorite blogs,  It’s especially good for a crowd.


French Toast Casserole
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 loaf French bread or Cinnamon Raisin Bread, sliced thick
  • 8 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  1. Combine the melted butter and brown sugar in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread slices in the dish (It's fine to overlap.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread, and let it soak in. Top the bread evenly with the pecans.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 12 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the meantime, take the casserole out of the refrigerator, and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  5. Bake the casserole until it's browned and set, 30 to 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly on a wire rack. Sift confectioners' sugar & extra cinnamon over the casserole, and serve it with maple syrup.
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Frijoles Charros

When I was growing up pintos and cornbread were served regularly at our house.  It was one of my parents favorite meals.  Honestly, I wasn’t too crazy about that meal.  I’ve just never been a big fan of pinto beans.  That is, until I tried these.  I was hooked at first bite!  They have so much flavor and my whole family loves them, which is rare.  Now, pintos are a staple on my table too, but with a twist.


Frijoles Charros
  • 2 c. dry pinto beans
  • ½ c. chopped onion, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced & divided
  • 8 c. water
  • 5 oz. chorizo
  • 5 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 2 lg. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Serrano peppers, chopped
  1. Cover dry beans with water and soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain beans. Add ¼ c. chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, minced and 8 cups water to a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat until tender (2 hours or so).
  3. In a large skillet, fry the bacon and chorizo over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and chorizo is done. Add ¼ c. chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, minced, & chopped Serrano peppers and cook a 2 - 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped & peeled tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
  5. Add the bacon mixture to the beans. Add salt to taste. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
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Chocolate Banana Smoothie (with or without Peanut Butter)

I’m not sure if this post is about the smoothie or the new blender.  I’m so excited about our new blender, a Vitamix Turboblend Two Speed.  It makes the most amazingly smooth smoothies.  I’m sure it blends other stuff well, but so far we’ve just had a “Smoothiefest”.  It came with a nice size recipe book so we have plans to try plenty more.

This morning I made a Chocolate Banana Smoothie with Peanut Butter and it is amazing.  We had already tried the same smoothie minus the peanut butter and loved it.  Since I was planning for this to be my breakfast I decided that the protein might be a good addition.  The photo is in a large cup, but this recipe makes enough for two people if you serve a little less than what I’ve pictured here.  Even filling this large cup, I still had a little left to put into the freezer for a snack later.


Chocolate Banana Smoothie (with or without Peanut Butter)
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • 2 tbsp. Nestle sugar free chocolate milk mix
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 c. ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter, optional
  1. Place all ingredients into the blender container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Start on low speed, then switch to high.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Serve immediately.
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Fried Yellow Squash

I don’t fry very often.  If for no other reason, I simply don’t like to clean up the mess it makes.  However, we are getting loads of squash from the garden and I thought I’d surprise the family by frying some.  This is something that would have been on my grandmother’s table every Sunday this time of year.  We typically grill it or roast it so this was a nice change.  I don’t like a thick breading on fried squash, so here is how I do it.


Fried Yellow Squash
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 medium yellow squash, cut into thin slices
  • 1 c. plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Slice squash and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and toss. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, pour in enough oil to reach about 2 inches and heat. (To check oil to make sure it's hot enough to fry place the handle end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if small bubbles form around the handle then the oil is ready.)
  3. In a gallon Ziploc bag combine cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. The salt will pull water from the squash so the slices will be wet. Drop a few squash slices at a time into bag and seal. Shake to coat slices.
  4. Fry the squash, in batches, until golden brown, 3 - 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Wes and I both love blueberries and crumb cake.  Wes works with a man that grows blueberries and recently went to visit the farm.  He’s now trying to talk his dad into planting 80 acres in blueberry bushes and buying a blueberry picker.  He has a lot of talking left to do to convince Greg of that!
He came home with some delicious blueberries so I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Blueberry Crumb Cake.  It is delicious for breakfast of a snack.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
  • For the streusel:
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • ⅓ c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ lb. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⅓ c. all-purpose flour
  • For the cake:
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ⅔ c. sour cream
  • 1¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
  2. For the streusel:
  3. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
  4. For the cake:
  5. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes our clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.
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