Berry French Toast Bake

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Well, hello! It’s been approximately eight million years since I posted a recipe. This possibly has to do with the insanity of having four children and the added bonus that right before I had Hannah in October, my real camera decided to stop working.

(I’m pretty sure it has sand in the lens and won’t retract … but it would probably cost more to fix than to replace it. Argh.)

My husband keeps telling me my iPhone will take pictures that are just as good. I don’t really think so, but they’re good enough for me, for now.

This is one of the recipes I’ve probably made the most over the last six or seven years. It’s my go-to when I want to take a meal to someone; I find that when there’s a meal train, people usually bring chicken casseroles or pasta. And that is fine and AWESOME, but I think breakfast for dinner mixes it up a little.

This Berry French Toast recipe comes from Cooking During Stolen Moments, which was one of my VERY favorite food blogs ever. Almost everything I ever made from there was a hit. Unfortunately, the site is not accessible any more. I am so glad I had this one written down in my recipe book so I didn’t lose the recipe! I’ve only adapted it slightly – mostly I just skimp on the berries because I like a lot of chewy, eggy bread. It’s delicious with fresh berries of any kind, but you could also use frozen ones – or peaches!

Serve with a side of bacon or sausage for a delicious meal any time of day.

Berry French Toast Bake

Yield: about 8 servings

Berry French Toast Bake

Delicious berry-enhanced French toast casserole is taken over the top with a brown sugar drizzle.


  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 2 to 3 c. berries
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Start with day-old bread, or cut bread into large cubes a few hours before you want to start making this and let them sit out to get slightly stale. Slice strawberries into quarters. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be left whole.

Place a layer of bread cubes in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add most of the berries, reserving about 1/2 cup. Top with the rest of the bread cubes.

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour evenly over the bread. Top with remaining berries, then dot with cream cheese pieces. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk together until the sugar begins to melt and the mixture is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon. Drizzle sugar topping over the casserole. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, covered, until egg is set.

Let sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.


To make dairy-free, use almond milk instead of dairy milk and leave out the cream cheese. If you are taking to a new mom who is breastfeeding, you might ask if she is avoiding dairy. (I usually am.)

What’s your favorite breakfast for dinner?


Thanksgiving Recipes: Cranberry Chutney and Cherry Cheesecake Pie

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I shared these recipes on Vanderbilt Wife … three years ago! They are still two of my favorite holiday recipes and make an appearance pretty much every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cranberry chutney makes canned, jellied sauce seem laughable and can be cooling in the fridge in 15 minutes. The lattice crust on this pie seems fancy but is simple; and because it is served cold, you can make the pie a day or two ahead and have extra time – and oven space – for your holiday feasts!

From our kitchen to yours, enjoy.


Cranberry, Cherry, and Walnut Chutney

Yield: about 1 quart cranberry sauce

From Cooking Light, November 2005


  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. port, sweet red wine, or 100% grape juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 c. dried tart cherries
  • 1 pkg. fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • orange rind strips, optional


Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add cherries and cook 1 minute. Stir in cranberries; Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until all cranberries pop.

Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, rind, and extract. Garnish with orange rind strips if desired. Cover and chill.

[Combine leftovers with a can of mandarin oranges and pour over raw chicken, then bake in the crockpot on low 6-8 hours for an amazing dinner!]


Cherry Cheesecake Pie

Slightly adapted from Woman's Day Magazine


  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts) (or homemade)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg white, beaten


Heat oven to 350.

Fit 1 crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Cut other crust into 1-inch strips.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add cream cheese; beat with mixer until smooth. On low speed, beat in egg and extract.

Spread batter evenly in crust; spoon pie filling on top.

Brush crust strips with egg white. Place strips over top in lattice pattern.

Bake 50-60 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Linking up with:
Sweet Tooth Friday
Mouthwatering Monday
Tasty Tuesday
Ingredient Spotlight: Cream Cheese and Fruit


Pecan Doodle Cookies

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Do you suffer from grocery amnesia? I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten halfway through a recipe and went to reach for that ingredient I was sure I had just to find it wasn’t there after all. My short-term memory is just nonexistent, so this is a regular occurrence in my kitchen.


A. Beg Send husband to store to pick up forgotten ingredient(s), while trying to maintain quality of already-cooked recipe.

B. Go to neighbor’s house. This works if you have friendly neighbors with well-stocked cupboards. If you live in a dorm with others who eat in a dining hall and are rarely home during the day anyway? Not so much.

C. Improvise or substitute.

The frequency with which I use Option C is the reason why I can’t direct my husband to just prep a recipe. It’s sad.

I was in the middle of prepping my Secret Recipe Club find for the month when I was forced to pursue Option C. Barb’s Almond Doodle Cookies looked delicious to me. And then I went to grab that bag of sliced almonds I was sure was in the freezer … and alas, it wasn’t there. Anywhere.

So I used pecans.

Fascinating story, right?

Barb’s blog, Mom’s Fridge, is full of monthly menu plans, simple recipes, and COOKIES. I love cookies. I don’t do much normal cooking anymore since we generally eat in the dining hall, but I do bake for us and for the boys who live in our dorm.

These delicious, puffy, sugary cookies will definitely be in my repertoire now. The cinnamon-pecan blend is a little unusual but absolutely mouthwatering.

Pecan Doodle Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Pecan Doodle Cookies

Adapted from Mom's Fridge


  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c. sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon, for rolling


Preheat oven to 375F.

With a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, almond extract, and eggs. Add flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until well-combined. Stir in nuts.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake on greased cookie sheet 12 minutes at 375F (do not flatten balls). Cool on wire racks.

Obviously Libbie (3) helped with making some of the cookies.