Blueberry French Toast Bake

Blueberry French Toast Bake

This isn’t just any blueberry french toast! It’s a gorgeous make ahead Blueberry French Toast Bake that’s laced with cream cheese, blueberries and topped with a balsamic blueberry sauce that will have you licking your plate. It’s delicious to say the least and absolutely perfect for your Family Day long weekend. For me living in Alberta, Family Day falls on February 19th, and as luck would have it, I have the day off.

I foresee a family day starting with a little extra sleep, not too much though! Just enough to make it feel indulgent but not enough to take away too much time of the day. Next comes the coffee, in large supply, sipped lazily on the sofa with idle chit chat and the odd flick of the cat toy. Soon after is breakfast, not our usual go to bacon and eggs but an indulgent make ahead Blueberry French Toast Bake. Crispy and eggy with speckles of cream cheese and blueberries. It’s pretty great at that, but wait, it’s topped with a bold, sweet and tangy balsamic blueberry sauce. The combination is exceptional, so if you’re lucky enough to spend the day with your family, treat everyone with a make ahead breakfast that they’ll be asking for time and again. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Blueberry French Toast Bake adapted slightly from Best of Bridge French Toast Raphael

 

Blueberry French Toast Bake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Blueberry French Toast Bake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Ingredients
Blueberry French Toast Bake
Balsamic Blueberry Sauce
Servings: people
Instructions
Blueberry French Toast Bake
  1. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Generously butter an 8"x8" pan. Spread half the bread cubes evenly in pan and dot with half of the cream cheese chunks. Sprinkle with 1/2 the blueberries. Repeat with remaining bread, cream cheese and blueberries. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375℉. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until golden and set in the centre. Remove from oven and serve with balsamic blueberry sauce.
Balsamic Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine blueberries, sugar, and 4 tbsp of water. Cook over medium heat until simmering and sugar has dissolved, approximately 10 minutes. Stir together cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp of water. Stir into blueberries and heat to a full simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and blueberry balsamic vinegar. Serve warm with french toast.
Recipe Notes

Balsamic Blueberry Sauce can be made a day ahead with the french toast and rewarmed for serving, or cooked while the Blueberry French Toast  is baking. I made the french toast in muffin tins for presentation, however they were fussy to assemble and difficult to remove from tins.  A single 8"x8" pan is recommended.

Parsnip Spice Muffins

Parsnip Spice Muffins

Give your carrot muffins a makeover with these wonderfully spiced and tender Parsnip Spice Muffins. Just like carrots, parsnips cook down to provide moisture, flavour and sweetness to baked goods. Already having a sweet note, parsnips readily take on an array of spices such as cloves, ginger and cinnamon. So get ready to fill your kitchen with the scent of baked goods and glorious spices with these gorgeous muffins.

Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Parsnip Spice Cake, I chose to lighten up the batter with applesauce and use less oil, sugar and eggs to create a relatively healthy muffin. Tender and moist with a spicy aroma and flavour. They’re particularly good with a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese for a little sweet treat, but eaten plain with a cup of tea is also a pleasure.

Parsnip Spice Muffins
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Parsnip Spice Muffins
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 12 muffin tins with parchment or muffin liners. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating after each. Whisk in applesauce, milk and vanilla to combine. Whisk in flour mixture and parsnips until just combined. Stir in pecans.
  3. Divide batter equally between prepared muffin tins using a generous 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake in preheated oven for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. In a small bowl stir together cream cheese, icing sugar, milk and vanilla to form a smooth texture. Drizzle or spread onto cooled muffins.

Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

Christmas morning is fast approaching and it brings along with it a day indulgent in food and drink. Give your day a little sanity with healthy Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal. Perfect for a hectic Christmas morning because it’s quick, easy, and feeds a small crowd, leaving you time to enjoy opening gifts, and spending time with loved ones. Healthy yet hearty enough to carry you through your day until the overeating of turkey and dressing ensues.

Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal is packed with fresh apples, dried cranberries, and spices, filling your kitchen with the aroma of baked apples and spice. The crumbly nut topping makes it indulgent and super delicious. It’s particularly tasty served warm with a dollop of yogurt or a splash of milk. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal:  Compelled To Cook

Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Baked Apple Cranberry Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Ingredients
Baked Oatmeal
Topping
Servings: people
Instructions
Baked Oatmeal
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and spices.
  3. Peel and core apples, cut into 1/2" chunks, add to bowl. Whisk in oatmeal and baking powder. Stir in dried cranberries and nuts. Pour into a greased 9"x9" or 7"x11" baking dish.
Topping
  1. Combine all ingredients until crumbly using a fork, pastry cutter or mini food processor. Sprinkle evenly over oatmeal.
  2. Bake for 25-28 minutes until set and golden in colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with milk, cream, or yogurt.
Recipe Notes

If opting for gluten free, pulse 1/4 cup large flake oatmeal in a grinder until broken down and flour like or use gluten free flour.

 

Spanish Chorizo Frittata

Spanish Chorizo Frittata

You just can’t beat a frittata for its simplicity and ease of preparation for something that looks so much more complicated than it actually is. Plus, you can make it any combination of flavours you want. My Spanish Chorizo Frittata is packed with flavour from spicy sausage, veggies, fresh herbs and smoked paprika. Many great flavours all hugged together with cheese and eggs. It’s the perfect meal served with a salad or hash browns.

Not only great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s fantastic for guests since everything can be chopped in advance. Making the final preparation a simple matter of a little sautéing, adding whisked eggs and cream then popping in the oven until slightly puffed and golden. It takes mere minutes to pull it off once the prep is done.

So go crazy with your favourite meats, veggies and potatoes to create your own signature frittata. It’s also a great dish for those watching their carbohydrate intake as there’s no starchy crust and it can be made without meat for a great vegetarian option. I opted for a frittata with a Spanish flare full of sausage and a few of my favourite veggies. It’s delicious and I hope you enjoy it!

Recipe source for Spanish Chorizo Frittata:  Compelled To Cook

Spanish Chorizo Frittata
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Spanish Chorizo Frittata
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-28 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Heat olive oil in 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Add chorizo and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach, roasted red peppers and herbs, cooking until spinach has completely wilted, approximately 2 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, cream, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Pour into skillet and stir 2-3 times. Sprinkle with cheese and stir just to combine. Allow to cook on stove top over medium low heat undisturbed until starting to set around the edge, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake for 15-16 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.

Red Currant Raspberry Jelly

Red Currant Raspberry Jelly

Just a touch of tart and a whole lot of berry sweetness is what this gorgeous Red Currant Raspberry Jelly is. Sadly, fresh currants are very seasonal and a little difficult for me to find. Many years ago I had a neighbour take me to a friends who had many berry bushes including black currant. From those black currants and raspberries I made a jelly. It had fantastic flavour and a deep rich red colour. It became my husbands new favourite thing to put on toast. Needless to say it didn’t last long and ever since he has been asking me to make it again.

My first problem was finding fresh currants, so I sent out a post on Facebook. I will admit that even though I’m a blogger, I am not a big fan of Facebook, rather I’m not a big fan of having to have a personal profile to have a blogging page. But on this day Facebook became my hero, if only for a short time, because right away I had a co worker tell me where I could find currants. Currants that were merely minutes away and I was thrilled to say the least.

Since I’m only an occasional canner and the first currant jelly was made well before my blogging days of saving everything and making notes, there was no recipe to be found. So I adapted/combined the raspberry and currant jelly recipes from Bernardin canning books. The result is a gorgeous vibrant red jelly that’s sweet with just a hint of tartness from the currants and rather fantastic on a toasted english muffin. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Red Currant Raspberry Jelly:  Compelled To Cook

 

Red Currant Raspberry Jelly
Print Recipe
Servings
9 250ml jars
Servings
9 250ml jars
Red Currant Raspberry Jelly
Print Recipe
Servings
9 250ml jars
Servings
9 250ml jars
Ingredients
Servings: 250ml jars
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy pot add currants, raspberries and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, mashing fruit as it cooks down. Remove from heat and strain through several layers of cheese cloth or pour into a jelly bag. Allow liquid to drip out over several hours or preferably overnight. Gently press solids to retrieve the last bit of liquid, being careful not to over squeeze the fruit as squeezing the fruit will bring out the bitterness in the skins.
  2. Prepare canner, jars, snap lids and bands and assemble all necessary equipment such as tongs and towels prior to starting. Wash and rinse jars, snap lids and bands. Place jars on a rack in your canner. Fill with water to 1" above the jars. Heat until water reaches 180℉. Keep warm until ready to use. In a small pot add snap lids and cover with water. Heat until water reaches 180℉, keep warm until ready to use.
  3. To a large heavy pot add 7 cups of sugar, 6.5 cups of juice, and 2 tsp lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil and add pectin. Continue with a rolling boil for a full minute. Remove from heat and skim foam. Immediately pour hot jelly into prepared jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe rim and top with prepared lids, screwing the bands to finger tight. Place jars in prepared water bath canner, cover with lid and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for your altitude (see notes). For me it was 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow canner to sit for 5 minutes before removing jars to a towel lined rack. Allow jars to cool undisturbed.
  4. Remove bands and clean jar tops if needed. Re attach bands loosely and label as desired. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Altitude Chart

1001-3000  Increase time by 5 minutes

3001-6000  Increase time by 10 milnutes

6001-8000  Increase time by 15 minutes

8001-10000  Increase time by 20 minutes

Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters

Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters

Yes, It’s back to school and my latest Costco coconut cluster obsession makes a debut as a back to school snack or yogurt topping. I’m not sure how long they’ve actually been sold at Costco, I’ve only purchased them in the last couple months. Being a coconut lover, I was in heaven either snacking straight out of the bag or crumpling them on coconut yogurt. So tasty, addicting, crunchy and sweet, I just had to make my own. Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters are my version, which happens to be very similar but with the addition of almonds. All it really takes is a large bowl, a few great ingredients and 25 minutes for these amazing clusters.

I admit I can be a Costco junkie! My last obsession found at Costco was tomatillo salsa, and I practically drowned myself in it before making my own version with grilled vegetables Grilled Tomatillo Avocado Dip But now that I’ve conquered both I look forward to my next great Costco find that I can make at home. So whether you’re just trying to fill the lunch bags or love a good smoothie or yogurt topping, you’ll want to bake a batch of Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters to have on hand without having to run out to Costco. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters: Compelled To Cook

 

Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
32 clusters 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
32 clusters 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
32 clusters 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
32 clusters 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: clusters
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325℉ and line baking sheets with parchment. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle with corn syrup and toss gently to fully combine. Drop approximately 2 tbsp of mixture onto lined baking sheets and with slightly damp fingers form into low clusters. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before removing.
  2. Store clusters in an airtight container for several days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Recipe Notes

I've tried honey, agave and corn syrup in this recipe.  I found that the corn syrup resulted in a crispier cluster that held up better when frozen and the honey and agave result in a slightly softer cluster that tends to break apart more easily.  All are good options depending on your sugar preference.