Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baked French Toast

Let me start by saying this is NOT my original creation.  I'm reposting it here for convenience because every time I make it, someone asks me how to make it.  The original recipe can be found at Morman Mavens in the Kitchen.  They, by the way, have a ton of other A-MAZ-ING recipes on their blog that I often resort to.  

A few notes about this recipe:

~The original recipe calls for a loaf of sour dough bread.  This option works great, but I really prefer french toast bread.  It is really important to use a dense bread, or you will have a soggy mess on your hands.  Challah bread is also a great choice.

~Do not try to make the topping with margarine.  Also, do not try to mix the butter into the topping mixture with a fork or a spoon.  Use a pastry cutter cut the butter into the dry mix, or you'll have a glob of butter mix instead of a "pebble" consistency topping.

~IF you end up with a butter glob when you make the topping, you can spoon it in small globs on top or try to spread it.  It's not optimal, but it works.

~For best results, prep this the night before you want to bake it.  This gives the bread a chance to absorb the egg.   

~I take no responsibility for the weight you will gain from this dish. 

1 loaf dense bread (I used French Toast Bread purchased at Walmart)
8 eggs
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

 1.  Grease a deep 9x13 pan (I used a lasagna pan).  Tear bread into small chunks and place evenly in the pan.

2.  Mix together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Pour evenly over bread.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.

3.  Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry cutter until it all looks nice and crumbly (pebble size works best).  Place crumb mixture in a ziploc bag and place in refrigerator.

4.  When ready to bake, take pan and bag out of fridge.  Remove plastic wrap from pan and evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (or 45 minutes if you like it more soft).

5.  Serve hot with syrup or sugar glaze (see Morman Maven recipe link for the sugar glaze - we prefer syrup). 

Final notes:
~  Microwave leftovers are just as good as the original!
~  We just scoop ours out, but you could feasibly portion control by cutting even slices... we don't do portion control in our house.
~ If you don't have a pastry cutter (we don't), there is a method to cut the butter with two knives motioning in opposite directions.  You can see this method here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Five Minute Friday - When


Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Kate Motaung for 5 minutes of beautiful, unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. Bless someone with your story.

Friday's word is...


When will I want to write again?
When will the words come? 
When will I sit in front of the keyboard and the words flow effortlessly from my fingers?
When will I be able to get all of the jumbled thoughts... the webs of words... organized into clear, comprehensible thoughts?
When will this season pass?

Wait for the Lord be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waste Transfer

                                Photo Credit: Ali Hashisho 

This weekend I went through the overstuffed garage and got rid of a bunch of stuff that I had been hanging onto for years. Most of it was trash - broken things that I had aspirations of fixing one day. In Colorado, it would have been so expensive to get rid of that stuff. We had to pay by the pound for all of the trash we wanted to dump at the waste transfer station. But here in Hawaii, I just bring it all to the transfer station and throw it away.

No questions asked.  

No money needed. 

I suddenly thought of what it means to be a Christian. I don't have to pay anything to get rid of my trash - the broken mistakes and sins of my past. I just bring it to Him, and throw it away. Can you imagine if we had to pay to get rid of our trash from the past? Lord knows I would either be broke or buried in my mistakes.  But I'm a Christian.  This means He has already paid the price for me by sending His only Son to die on the cross. The only thing I have to do is decide- make the choice - to let it all go. I have to choose to give Him the sins and mistakes of my past.  

Discarding old, broken or useless stuff is so essential to moving forward. For me this is the most daunting part of the task- choosing what to let go of, and then, actually making the commitment to let it go. Just like the material things in my garage, I found that sorting through my past was an overwhelmingly, difficult task. Rather then commit to tackling it, I chose for so many years to ignore it- tuck it all away neatly in a garage to deal with another time when I was emotionally and spiritually stronger. But my garage is really full. There's just no more room.

I decided to take an inventory of all the broken things from my past. I took 5 minutes to write down as many as I could think of. I limited myself to 5 minutes because I knew I could easily spend an hour writing this list. Some were significant events, some were seemingly insignificant things that I was still holding on to.  I made a decision to choose two items from my list to lay at the feet of Jesus. I chose to discard these two items to make room in my heart for better things. If you're an emotional hoarder like I am, you can imagine what a chore this was for me.

But I did it -
I wrote it all down.
Then I prayed.
Then I opened my bible and read.
Then I threw my two things away.

I physically crumpled my two thing up and threw them in the trash. Then and there,  I felt lighter. 
 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead
(Philippians 3:12-13 NLT)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Five Minute Friday (on a Monday) - Hold

Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Kate Motaung for 5 minutes of beautiful, unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. We need your story. You need your story. 
He needs your story. 

Today's Friday's word is was...


What do you hold on to?  Sometimes I find myself holding on to my past.  The ripple effect is that the chains of my past hold me back from what is and what will be.  It’s a conscious choice that I make.  I close my eyes and envision myself placing the key inside the lock on the shackles around my ankles.  I can visualize myself turning the key and watching the shackles fall off my feet as I suddenly rise up in the air filled with the Holy righteousness that He has bestowed upon me.  I have to choose though.  It’s my choice – the free will that the Lord has given to me.  I spend so much time and energy holding onto the past.  I allow those chains to hold me back.  They hold me back from the divine plan that I know He has for me.  God gives us many things to hold on to in life.  However, often times, He also gives us a choice in how long to hold them.  So I sit there, for endless hours sometimes, with the chains on my ankles, crying out for help.  Lord, help me break free from the chains.  Help me break free from my past.  Then, I suddenly look in the palm of my hand and see the key.  He placed it there the day He died on the cross for me.  He place it there to give me my salvation.  I must make a conscious choice to use that key.  I can choose to hold on to my past or I can choose to hold on to Jesus.  

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NASB)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Ready

Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Kate Motaung for 5 minutes of beautiful, unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. We need your story. You need your story. 
He needs your story. 

Today's word is...


     She pulled me aside and said “You are ready.”  I knew what she was talking about and had silently been dreading this day.  She wanted me to do what she had done less than a year ago – to facilitate a group of women from our church in their walk with Christ.  She wanted me to step out of the boat with my eyes focused on Him.  “I’m not ready,” I said to myself. 

     Our pastor had called for us to create 100 more small groups (called Connect Groups) like the one I was part of, to add to the already 190+ groups.  He explained how important it was to develop relationships with others who had a love of Christ – to encourage each other in our journey.  He explained that people were less likely to fall away if they had a connection with someone – or a group of people – who held them accountable and supported them.  He was absolutely right.  I had experienced this first-hand in my own life. 

     “It’s time for you to come out of your comfort zone and start doing what He is calling you to do,” she said.  I hated her words, but deep down I knew this is exactly why I love her so much – she encourages me, she challenges me, she prays for me, and she loves me.  I really didn’t want to accept her words.  I wasn’t ready.  Even though all of the whispers from Him said I was ready, my flesh told me I wasn’t.  So I pulled away – I retracted into my shell. 

      What if I fail?  What if they hate me?  What if they come once and then never come back?  I wasn’t ready for the possible failure, the impending disappointment, and the potential rejection.  I just wasn’t ready.  For almost 6 weeks I hid myself from my sisters in Christ.  I kept silent.  I mulled over it all, spending hundreds of minutes listening to my soul and my mind argue with each other.

      I am ready.  With Him by my side, I am ready.  I just need to focus on Him.  Anything He leads me to I can face.  I can do all things through Christ.  If I fail in the process, He will use my failure as a stepping stone to greater things.  Even though my flesh doesn’t feel ready, He says I am.  So I will be obedient.  I will listen to the Holy Spirit.  I will step out of the boat.  I will focus on Him.  I will come out of my comfort zone in His name and do what He calls me to do.  

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Begin

Five Minute Friday

Joining the Five Minute Friday folks with Lisa Jo Baker for 5 minutes of beautiful, unedited, raw writing. Take some time and come join us. We need your story. You need your story. 
He needs your story. 

Today's word is...


This is my beginning.

I look around and see the words of all of these amazing women, like Lisa-Jo Baker, who have been writing week after week, year after year.  But for me, it’s really just the beginning.  I only started seriously sitting down to write a couple of months ago.  I don’t even think it’s classified as “serious” writing.  But something is more than nothing, right?  I can honestly and truly say I sit and begin every single day... but don’t get very far.  I have pages and pages of writings from the last few weeks, all started, but most never finished.  I feel my heart aching to get the words out.  I struggle so hard to actually get them out and organized into something worth posting.  #fmfparty helps encourage me to finish what I begin.

I’m so very lucky.  I came upon #fmfparty from the suggestion of an amazingly inspiring woman – Marisa Slusarcyk.  She made one simple suggestion – try Five Minute Friday.  I can’t even being to tell you the emotions my heart and soul have experienced ever since that very first Thursday night. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the mere 5 weeks I’ve been participating in #fmfparty (more reading then writing), I’ve learned that you have to begin in order to get anywhere.  So, every day I will begin, even if I don’t finish.

Thank you Lisa-Jo for encouraging us all to begin something.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mistakingly Judged

He was only one step from being in the road when I passed by. I slowed and looked. I didn't see anyone else nearby. I quickly flipped a U-turn. There was nowhere to park, so I just stopped in the middle of the two-lane road, and put my 4-way flashers on. I walked up to him…

“Sweetie, are you all by yourself?”

No response.

“Where’s your mom?” I asked.

“Mom,” he replied.

“Yes, where’s your mom?” I asked again.

“Mom,” he replied as he pointed to a stray dog over by a fence.

I looked up and to the right. I saw that the nearest house was about 75 feet way, the back of the house facing us with a fenced-in backyard. It was one of many houses all connected, all with the same fenced-in backyards. Just then, to my left, I saw a moving truck pulling out of the nearest cross-road. Another quick glance around confirmed there was not another soul in sight.

Then a car started to pass us. They slowed, rolled the window down, and looked at us.

“I found him here… near the road. I think he’s too little to be out here on his own,” I said.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the woman in the passenger seat replied. “Who would do something like that? Unbelievable!” Then they drove off.

This could have been Elijah, I thought to myself.

I took the little boy’s hand. It was so small. He couldn’t have been older than 3 years. We started walking toward the fence line he had pointed to earlier.

“Hello? Hello?” I yelled.

We walked some more, hand in hand.

“Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”

Just then, about 5 houses down the fence line, I saw a man coming out of the back fence gate. He started toward us at a slow jog.

“Is this your son?” I asked, as he approached.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“I found him near the road,” I said.

“Crazy,” the man replied.

Then he reached down and picked the boy up.

“Hi Daddy!” said the boy, as the man turned and walked back in the direction they came from.

I stood and watched as they walked away.

It could’ve been Elijah.

I've replayed that event over and over in my head for about a month now. The most profound thing was not that the little boy was by himself near the road. It wasn't that the dad didn't say more than two words to me when he found us. It was that woman’s comment – “Who would do something like that?”

All I can think is… I could easily “do something like that.” Elijah learned how to open the front door on his own about 6 weeks ago. I was putting dishes away and I heard the front door open and screen slam. I went to look, and there he was standing next to the shoe rack on the front patio.

It could’ve been Elijah.

Why are we so quick to judge?

Who are we to judge?

When did we become so perfect in our actions as mothers… so free of mistakes… so holy... that we felt the need to judge every mis-step, every mistake, every sin of our fellow brothers and sisters? I hear it every day from others (and even from myself sometimes)-

“I can’t believe she allows her child to wear those clothes”…

“Why doesn't she discipline her children for behaving that way”…

“What kind of parent raises a child like that?”…

“How could she let her kid do that?”…

“What kind of mom let’s something like that happen?”…

Too often I am finding myself and my sisters in Christ asking questions just like these and not following it up with a look in the mirror. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. Even mistakes with our kids- life-altering, tragic mistakes. We need to remember - there is only one judge, and we are not that judge. He does not need us to be that judge. If we put as much energy into asking questions like “How can I help”, we would be a far better follower of Christ, a far better sister, a far better person.

That boy could have easily been my Elijah, just shy of 3 years old, who got out the front door while I was trying to get some dishes done. It wouldn't define WHO I am. Yes it would have been something I allowed to happen. Yes it could have turned into something tragic. But, the mistakes I make do not define who I am.

The mistakes you make do not define who you are.

Maybe, like me, you are that mama that allowed something terrible to happen to one of your children – because you were careless, or overworked, or tired, or overwhelmed. Maybe you are accepting responsibility for something that happened to one of them, but you had absolutely no control over. Maybe you’re that mom that sits, judged by others, for a mistake that you made or something you feel like you failed to do – seemingly never able to make up for that terrible thing that happened. If that is you, please know that there is only one judge and He died on the Cross to wipe away all of the mistakes that you and I made, and have yet to make. You don’t have to make up for your mistakes anymore.

I challenge you – if you are the one that passes judgment all too often, dig deep and try to change your heart. Every time you hear your thoughts or words being judgmental, try to follow it up with an act of kindness directed toward the one you judge. Be who Christ intended you to be – a woman or man of forgiveness, helping those in need.

If you are the one that feels judged, please pray to the Lord asking Him for His forgiveness of your mistake. He has already forgiven you, but sometimes the act of asking for forgiveness helps us with the next step, which is letting it go. Let it go, sister. What’s done is done, and you cannot go back and change it. He has forgiven you. Your mistakes do not define you. You do not need to concern yourself anymore with the judgment of other sinners- other women and men- who also make mistakes.


But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd

soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 9: 2-11 (NLT)