Sea foam green- a cool, calm and ever peaceful experience. Pair that shade of greatness with the wildness of a deep and ocean inspired turquoise and you have magic- pure magic. Picture now a willow -tree -shaded yard with long tables donned with brown butcher paper, porcelain navy mugs, fuscia wild flowers, bright bountiful sunflowers and food- lots of tantalizing food. The corner of the sweet patio surrounded by cozy outdoor sofas and centered on a glamorous fire pit- the stones all sea blue and fiery.This, my friends, was the setting of today’s decadent brunch. My very best friend- which I have a few of (praise God)- celebrated her day of birth with a relaxing and abundant birthday brunch. I arrived at the quaint cottage at 6am and we acted like little Marthas- like Mary and Martha – running from task to task, dusting off patio furniture, picking out flowers, displaying the coffee and mimosa bar just so, and then we assembled what now may just be my new favorite breakfast item- French toast bake. If you’ve not tried it you must. You must go to the market straight away and purchase the few ingredients required and assemble this masterpiece immediately- no matter the hour- it’s a fine choice.
The morning proceeded without a hitch, several girls arrived primped and pressed in their finest Saturday brunch attire and we enjoyed yogurt parfaits with loads of fresh peaches, berries and bananas. We sipped on tropical mimosas- laden with strawberries, pineapple juice and the finest $5 champagne. We prayed and played, we decorated mugs and talked about boys and weddings. It was scrumptious.
More often than not all of Southern California races from calendar event to calendar event- not taking a spare moment to breathe and be in the moment they currently exist. We hurry ourselves from work to dates to bed and to work to gym to church. It’s a busy life we lead and it is fine and dandy when we embrace secret garden moments such as these. Where we sit, we sip, we make eye contact and genuinely listen to the souls in our presence. The moments where we let the sun sink deep into our skin and breathe the fresh ocean air wafting in from the sea nearby. These times are where life, memories, and relationships flourish. These are the times we allow to remain in our memory banks for later reference and laughter.
On that note- go plan a brunch for yourself, yourself and some girl friends, for your mom and your sisters. Sink your teeth into this take-a-moment-French-toast and enjoy life for the riches it so abundantly provides should we take a moment to gratefully receive them.
French Toast Bake:
- 15 oz. day old French Bread- cut into cubes
- 8 AA jumbo eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk ( I like Whole Food’s 365 brand!)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter ( cold)
- powdered sugar for dusting.
French Toast Bake:
- Cut day old loaf into 2′ x 2′ cubes and layer in a 12′ x 10′ glass baking dish.
- Whisk the “French Toast bake” ingredients together and pour over the french bread cubes.
- Cover with Saran rap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and no more than 24 hours.
- The day of serving: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon in a mixing bowl, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s reached a crumb-like texture.
- Sprinkle the topping onto the French toast bake and place in oven to bake for 45 minutes. Check the bake every 10 minutes or so to ensure the bake is not burning on top- if it is you may need to move the bake to a lower rack for less exposure to the superior heating element.
- Once complete, dust the bake with powdered sugar!
- The bake can be refrigerated for 3 days.