French Toast Baby

french toast

I love living in my almost 100 year old house that is just a tad chilly in the mornings this time of year.  I put on my Uggs (knock offs), wrap up in a fleece something-or-other, make my coffee (my mouth is watering right now) and think about what’s for breakfast.

French toast baby.  Who doesn’t like French toast?  Actually I have a finicky nephew who won’t eat it but I still love him (even though he’s clearly very weird.)

Just like when I make pancakes, I make a TON of French toast–I literally use an entire loaf of bread or more at a time–that keeps great in the fridge or freezer for the next crisp fall morning.  Assuming not everyone is interested in mountains of breakfast stuff, however, I will now present to you a recipe for, like, a normal amount of French toast.  K?

Michelle’s Buttermilk French Toast:

Ingredients: few slices of bread (getting old is dandy) 4 eggs, 3/4 cup butter milk, two tsp. vanilla, two tsp. sugar, tons of cinnamon.  Additional options include a dash of almond extract (careful with nut allergies,) dash of nutmeg, pumpkin spice, stuff like that.

Directions: Set bread aside.  Whisk everything else together and  dip each piece of bread completely into the mixture.  Then place the soaked bread onto a heated cooking surface with a little oil (forgot to mention that in the ingredients)  Cook both sides on a medium heat.  Top with maple syrup or delicious other things like powdered sugar or tasty jams.  My mouth is watering again!

Tips: as I mentioned above, bread that is getting a bit dry is fine, in fact some folks like it better as it will soak up all the buttermilk-eggy mixture even better.  My favorite bread to use is a hearty whole wheat sour dough.  I like the sour dough contrast with the sweet syrup or whatever… so good.


Breakfast Introspection


Before I begin, check out my monthly post on Hometown Pasadena!

Tomorrow my youngest child turns six.  Of course he’s all excited about getting older (OK, yes, and getting presents.)  For whatever reason, I always get a little teary the day before my children celebrate another year of life.  My mind drifts back to what I was doing the day before they were born.

In Grayson’s case, with a scheduled C-section, six years ago today, I knew it was the last day of my pregnancy.  With a one-year-old and two-year-old at home with me (I know, right?), being a 38 year-old pregnant woman with a 10 lb. baby in my belly I was mostly focused on gettin’ that kid out.  FAST.  I seem to recall a tearful checkup with my OB where I pretty much begged him to move up my delivery date by a week as I just didn’t think I would make it to the finish line.  He didn’t.  I did.

The aching back, insomnia, swollen feet and baby shoved so far up my rib cage I couldn’t bend forward to even wash the dishes by this point… all those memories have dissipated by now.  Mostly now I think back and realize that six years ago today I was pregnant for the last time in my life.

I felt then and still do feel so incredibly lucky to have carried three amazing little people in my belly.  From the first to the third I marveled at them from the moment I looked into their brand new eyes.  I kept them in the hospital room with me and despite exhaustion and the opportunity to rest before returning home, even with my not-so-little guy I held him and gazed at him constantly.  Just couldn’t get over the miracle of the whole thing.  Still can’t, really.

Tomorrow I’ll be awakened early–I know it–by an eager kindergartener who can’t wait a moment longer to open his gifts.  But today I will sip my coffee for just one extra minute and bask in these quiet memories.

Introspection French Toast

Ingredients: for every 3 eggs, 1/4-1/3 cup butter milk, dash of sugar, dash of vanilla, 1/2 dash almond extract, few shakes cinnamon.  Bread of any kind. (I don’t really measure–sorry Teri and Lisa.  These measurements should work though!)

Directions: Put bread aside.  Mix everything else together.  Dip bread into mixture and cook on griddle.  Serve with butter and real maple syrup whenever possible.

Tip: I often make this recipe with a dozen eggs and an entire loaf of bread.  Freezes great, pop it in the toaster and wah-lah!  French toast any time you want.  Life contemplation is optional.

I Lied… But it’s OK!

avgo soup

Yesterday I was featured on the mega-blog Hometown Pasadena (enough shameless self promotion… geeze Michelle!)  You may not have even realized my terrible deception about which I’m reluctant to speak… but I really must come clean.
My avgolemeno soup recipe has more than 10 ingredients.  There I said it.
On my profile page right here on this very blog I clearly state that I turn a blind eye to any recipe with more than ten ingredients… Sigh… obviously not the whole truth.
BUT–It’s OK!  Honestly.  There are two reasons why: The avgolemeno ingredients are so rudimentary (milk, egg yolks, rice–stuff like that!) that even though, technically, the list exceeds 10 items, it will not require a trip to the exotic spice store or even the grocery store for many folks.  You likely have most of the stuff on hand.  The second reason why my seemingly reprehensible behavior is OK is that this soup is so incredibly delicious that if you make it there’s no way you can’t forgive me.
I considered altering the information on my “about Michelle” page to reflect reality, but I just couldn’t do it.  I mean, I may be a liar, but I’m not dishonest!
I thought you’d like to know that I have been invited to be a regular contributor to Hometown Pasadena’s weekly Mangiamo feature.  You can look forward to a delicious little something from me the last Tuesday of every month!  (and might I add: Wooo-hooo!)

For the recipe for the fabulous bowl of soup you see above, please either click on the Hometown link in this post, along the side of my home page, or tucked into the recipe page under soups.

Punchline Breakfast

(Quick pre-waffle information!  Tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 29th I, Michelle Calva-Despard, will be the featured foodie on Hometown Pasadena’s Mangiamo!  Check me out!!!  And now back to your regularly scheduled recipe.)


I can’t recall the joke, but it has something to do with two pancakes and what one says to the other when something unfortunate has occurred.  Punchline = How Waffle!  Picture this being delivered by a perky seven-year-old who just bought her very first joke book and you’ll see why I’m smiling.

I did something this weekend that I’m afraid I can’t recommend you try at home… unless you know a lot of people who like waffles.  Come to think of it, doesn’t everyone like a good waffle?  OK, so go ahead and octuple my recipe.  See how it blesses your life!

I made this silly mountain of waffles in honor of a lazy Sunday morning and for my niece who turned eight.  What do you get the eight-year-old who has everything?  Waffles!  And home made whipped cream on the side…

Best Waffles (this recipe is already doubled for your convenience!)

Ingredients: 2 cups flour (I like whole wheat,) 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp, baking soda, 2 eggs, 2 cups buttermilk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup veg. oil.

Directions: mix and pour baby!  I sometimes have to thin the batter a tad with a splash of milk.  Also, even though my fancy waffle iron swears nothing will stick to it… not the case.  I don’t like cooking sprays (have you read those ingredient lists!?) so I quick-wipe my iron with a paper towel dipped in oil between waffles.


I LOVE Breakfast!!


I Love Breakfast!

This week at our house we’ll be eating delicious, healthy and easy-to-make (always!) breakfast sandwiches.  I call them “Michelle McMuffins” but you can personalize yours if you like.

At my house we take breakfast very seriously.  I always have.  I could never understand the old, “I’m just not hungry in the morning,” answer. 

WHAT!!!??? You haven’t eaten in roughly TWELVE HOURS and you’re not hungry’!!!???  Seriously.  How is this possible?

And then, not only am I hungry, but I’m HUNGRY (I’m going to be using a lot of CAPITALIZED and italicized font today!  Plus a lot of !!! and ???  See how serious I am about breakfast!?)

How can one go out and conquer the world on a small bowl of cereal or a slight piece of toast with butter?  If you can, kudos, but  Michelle no comprende.  I need something substantial, baby!  A typical breakfast for me is something like the following…

First, a cup of good coffee with milk.  Gotta start on the right foot.  Then I like a good grain/protein mix like toasted up pancakes from the other day, good oatmeal with raisins and fresh chopped nuts (that recipe coming soon), or, perhaps Michelle McMuffins!!!

Do you want the recipe now?  OK, OK!

Ingredients: 1 egg, Whole grain English muffin, few pinches of shredded cheddar cheese and a slice nitrate free ham

Directions: While the English muffin is toasting, I cook the egg over-medium (over-hard for the kids) in a fry pan.  I have a toaster oven so when the muffins are close to being done, I put a little cheese on one half and the piece of ham on the other.  Alternatively you could heat the ham and cheese with the egg.  When the egg is done, slide it between the two muffin halves, ham and cheese and wa-lah!  Girlfriend, you’ve got yourself a McMuffin! 

Tips: Sometimes I use whole grain sliced bread instead of an English muffin.  For this I cook up the egg and then layer it with the ham and cheese between two slices of bread.  Then I put the bread back in the pan with a little butter and cook it like a grilled cheese sandwich, flipping onto both sides.  Go easy on the cheese and the butter to keep the fat levels down. 

And just in case you’re interested, I always round out my first meal of the day with some kind of fruit, usually something de-lish from the farmers market.  This week my fruit bowl options are pears, oranges and apples.  Pear is sounding kinda nice…

And just in case you’re even more interested, I’m not kidding one bit about how much I love breakfast.  Like, I am seriously bummed about my upcoming annual physical because not only do I have to fast (fast!?  Yikes!) for the blood test, but I couldn’t get in before 9:00 am!!!  How in the world am I supposed to wait so long to eat!?  I may have to stash a Michelle McMuffin in my purse that day… 

I hope nobody smells it in the waiting room.

What is that scent !!!???