"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Praline Pecan French Toast and the beginning of baseball season!

Ahhhhhh yes. That's right, folks. Baseball season has officially begun and I am ecstatic! Here's another thing you should know about me. I LOVE baseball. But not just "baseball", more specifically, the Texas Rangers.

What's that? You're surprised I'm not just another bandwagon fan of the ever-so-popular New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox because that's who everyone likes? No, no....I'm all about the Rangers. I've grown up a Ranger fan and I'll be one 'til my last day on this earth.

I'll go ahead and be honest. I haven't always been die-hard about this. I can remember going to a lot of games when I was younger and I can remember going to the new ballpark after it was built a while back, but it's not like I knew what was going on back then. I was more focused on girly things like make-up, shoes and N'Sync. My love for this team and for baseball was reaffirmed in college. I guess I was too busy to pay attention before then.

My first year in an apartment was when I really fell back in love with baseball. My roommate and I (Hi Val!) would watch all the games and do our homework in the living room. It was so nice because you could listen while studying and then look up and watch when big things were happening. One of the best things about baseball is that it is relaxing. You can sit back and enjoy the game, but it has it's exciting parts too that keep you on the edge of your seat. There's nothing more intense than the bases being loaded and your team is one infield hit away from scoring and taking the lead. Or when a homerun (or even better, a grand slam!) comes out of nowhere and the crowd goes wild.

I've completely kept up with the Rangers since then and have only become more devoted to them. I think last season I missed less than 5 games. No, I didn't go to them all, but I always watched them on tv. Daddy and I formed a habit of watching them every night. 

Two years ago when they missed the wildcard by a hair I was crushed. The next year when Salty hit that walk-off single to win the game on Opening Day I knew that season was going to be special. I had so much faith in them and told everyone that they were going all the way that year. My mom and dad, who have watched the Rangers since the 70s, reminded me that this is a team that has never gotten past the first round of the playoffs, let alone gone to the World Series. I told them this year was different.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but the Rangers went to the World Series last year :) It was AMAZING! I made sure I let everyone know that I called it and knew they could do it. It was so cool to follow the whole season and see it all pay off in the end. I was so happy for the players because it is such a great accomplishment, especially for a team it's not expected from.

Daddy and I went to Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees last year, which was when the Rangers won the chance to go to the World Series...

Best. Day. Of. My. Life!


You can't really see it, but there was confetti everywhere!

The team putting on their championship shirts and celebrating!

The banner going up!

Daddy and I were so excited! (As you can see on his face...) He's doing the claw!

I will never forget the buzz in that stadium once they sealed the deal! The sweetest part was that the last strikeout was against Alex Rodriguez (oh my, I cannot STAND him). He just watched it go by and it was a done deal! The crowd roared and it was incredible. It was really one of the best days of my life!

Okay, anyways. I'll get to the food now, but I just wanted to share my feelings for the Rangers. I love them. Bottom line. :) (In fact, I'm watching them right now!)
Alright, y'all! Last Sunday I made this french toast and it was phenomenal. I had this recipe written down in my little homemade cookbook and it did not disappoint. It was perfect because I had an extra loaf of french bread lying around after I made this olive cheese bread. (To. Die. For. Go make it now. It's one of the best things I've ever had in my life.)

This french toast is actually really easy, you just have to kind of plan in advance. It needs to chill in the fridge for 8 hours, so I made it before I went to bed and threw it in the oven when I got up. It is incredibly, incredibly good! It will quickly become one of your favorites.

Praline Pecan French Toast
Recipe from Southern Living 

1 French bread loaf
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted (I used margarine and was still heavenly)
2 tbsp. maple syrup (give or take...uhh 1/4 cup? :) I added more, let's just say that.)
3/4 c. chopped pecans
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. 2% reduced fat milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cut the french bread loaf into 10 (1-inch thick) slices. You don't need the butts. Slap some jelly on them and consider them a snack for the chef!

Stir together the brown sugar, melted butter/margarine, and maple syrup. Okay, we only had pancake syrup. Yes, I know that's not the same thing, but I wasn't about to run on over to Kroger at midnight to get some stinkin' real maple syrup. Aunt Jemima will have to do!

Okay, technically 1/3 cup of butter (or margarine) is 5 1/3 tablespoons. Yeah... a third of a table spoon. Just do your best. I guessed and sliced it somewhere between 5 and 6 tablespoons. Let's be real. An extra little bit of butter isn't going to hurt.

Feel free to add as much "maple syrup" as you like. I added a couple extra squirts into this mixture. Can't hurt, right?

You need to lightly grease a 13"x9" baking dish. I used PAM Baking spray. I don't know why, but this stuff smells so good. It smells like warm, buttery cake. Do you think PAM makes candles or room scents?  I'll look into it.

Pour in the brown sugar/butter/maple syrup mixture into this dish so it covers the bottom. Then feel free to squirt more maple syrup in the bottom and make a pretty design.

Sprinkle the pecans all over this mixture so there's an even layer.

Does anyone have a spoon?

Now, in a separate bowl, crack the eggs in and give them a whisk so they're all combined. Add the milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and stir it all together.

This is the massive bottle of vanilla extract I got in Mexico last summer. It was only $8 and it's almost gone! I'll be so sad when I have to go back to using McCormick's.

Once that's all combined, arrange the bread slices in the pan so they look like this.

Then dump the egg mixture all over the bread.

I know it doesn't look appetizing right now, but trust me, the bread is going to soak up all that delicious flavor overnight and it will blow your mind tomorrow.

Cover the pan up with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or 8 hours). 
When you get up, the bread will have soaked all that goodness up and the pan will look so different from when you saw it last.

 The bread is all saturated and has soaked up all the flavor!

Remove the plastic wrap and put the french toast in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the bread looks brown and golden. Serve while it's warm.
 Yum, yum, yum!

Once I cut myself a piece, I flipped it over so that pecan/brown sugar yumminess would be on top. Great decision!

I think you'll win over anyone with this recipe. Shoot, I'd even take this as a dessert, even though I think it's technically a breakfast dish. 

Hope y'all enjoy! The Rangers game just ended and they won 7-3 :) Now they're 6-0! Off to a good start.... I smell another trip to the World Series!

No comments:

Post a Comment