Are you already in Thanksgiving vacation mode? We are! It’s only two days away! I’m looking forward to an agenda full of nothing but being with family, eating, relaxing and eating some more!
This time of year, I’m especially mindful of the important things in life and as I get older, the holidays are more and more about simplifying and doing less with more meaning.
It used to be more about all the fun activities I’d want us to do, but we could never seem to fit them all in! Then, I’d feel slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to go/see/do everything I had planned. So, year after year, I let go of my ‘ideal’ expectations a little more and we concentrate on the traditions we enjoy.
Some of my favorite SIMPLE holiday traditions are: 1) decorating Christmas trees in the kids’ rooms (their faces are sheer delight as they pull out the ornaments!); 2) drinking hot cocoa on a chilly night and cuddling on the couch watching Christmas movies; 3) dressing up in family Christmas pajamas (matching of course!) and driving through the neighborhoods looking at dazzling lights; and 4) baking treats in the kitchen with my kids.
And we always look forward to having Baked French Toast on Thanksgiving morning. We are typically creatures of habit and our normal breakfast is protein pancakes or waffles, or even donuts on the occasional Saturday. Thanksgiving and Christmas morning are special occasions and they always start with Baked French Toast.
BAKED FRENCH TOAST
This recipe is great because you can assemble it the night before, pop it in the fridge overnight, then pull it out to bake in the morning. Just be sure to put it in the oven early because it takes about an hour to bake.
One of Jordan’s favorite things to do is help out in the kitchen. I finally got her a tall step stool so now she can easily reach the counters. Everything tastes so much better when the kids have a hand in making it! Jordan grabbed her stool and her Minnie Mouse apron and she was READY.
The original Baked French Toast recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, but I make a few adjustments to save some unnecessary sugar and calories. I use 1/4 cup of the sugars, omit the half and half, and usually use 2% milk.
Either way, it’s delicious! You start with crusty bread – day-old is even better. Tearing off the chunks is one of the fun parts! Or eating it, in Jordan’s case.
Cracking the eggs is Jordan’s favorite! 😉
I swear I never realized how much we’d use our handy stand mixer. We’ve had this one for 8 years and use it for all of our baking. Truthfully, it sees more action in November and December than any other time of the year! And I bet we paid more than $180 for it. You can get such good deals on Kitchen Appliances at eBay.
I love this recipe because it’s as easy as mixing it up and pouring over the bread. The eggs, milk, sugars and vanilla soak into the bread for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight and make it so yummy and gooey.
Then you mix the dry ingredients for the decadent topping. Keep the flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt separate and sprinkle it on top of the bread mix just before putting it in the oven!
You can cover the dish and put it into the fridge overnight and cook it in the morning, or bake right away. We usually prepare and night and put it in the oven right when I wake up since it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to cook.
While it’s in the oven, your home will be filled with the sweetest smelling aroma that’s sure to get mouths drooling! And kids asking “Is it ready yet?!”
Holiday PJ’s are a big part of our holiday tradition, and I typically start wearing Christmas jammies in November! Why only get 3 weeks out of super cute PJs?! Isn’t this reindeer set with the comfy striped bottoms adorable?! You can find them and all your holiday baking goods (including the stand mixer) at eBay!
Doesn’t that look yummy?! For extra holiday cheer, add a sprinkling of powdered sugar and/or syrup. I like to add fresh berries with it because the combination is divine.
Jordan gave it a thumbs up! 😉
Honestly, just making this simple meal with my daughter is one of my favorite traditions of all. Seeing the joy and delight on her face during every step of this process is just priceless. She LOVED wearing the Minnie Mouse apron, and just watching her little hands cracking the eggs melted my heart.
I hope she looks forward to this every year for many holidays to come.
Aren’t we all in favor of slowing down this time of year? I’m raising my hand high on that one!
What are your favorite simple holiday traditions?
I’m proud to partner with eBay on today’s post. I mean, how cute are those pajamas?!