Saturday, February 5, 2011

Today is John's Birthday

Today has been rather eventful for being a Saturday. We have gotten so used to our Saturday's being those lazy days where nothing really gets done and we're lucky if we change out of our pajama's into real clothes, but since it was John's birthday it was a special day.
I know I said earlier that I wasn't going to get to try a new recipe this week with everything that has been going on, but I did manage it. Last night after we finally made it home from work I got the bee in my bonnet to get something done and I decided to make something new for John's birthday breakfast because I really wasn't in the mood to wake up early and make him waffles. So I went back to and came up with this recipe:

Baked Apple French Toast Recipe
Prep Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 40 to 50 mins

4 slices thick cut cinnamon swirl bread
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
4 egg whites
2 cups lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 medium granny smith apples (sliced into thin 1/4 inch pieces)
powdered sugar for dusting
maple syrup for serving

Cut cinnamon swirl bread into one inch cubes, place in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, vanilla and milk. Sprinkle sugar over bread cubes and then add egg mixture. Stir in cinnamon and apples. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and let sit in the fridge for at least two hours. Can be left overnight. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle each serving with maple syrup. Serves 4 to 6.

This was super yummy to eat for breakfast (in fact, I think I'll have some more for dinner.) I was glad to just pull it out of the fridge and throw it in the oven this morning. I got out of bed at 7:50am (on a Saturday, are you kidding me?!) to get it into the oven and ready to eat at a reasonable breakfast time. The recipe says to cook it for 40 to 50 minutes, and me, being me, decided to cook it for the full 50 minutes (+ a few extra because the timer went off while I was in the shower) and it turned out a little too dry. I think that next time I'll only do it for the 40 minutes and add additional if needed. John was impressed.
I also had made my own cinnamon swirl bread to use in this recipe since I had some time on Wednesday night. This isn't a new recipe, since I use it all the time:

Grandma Mc's Bread Recipe:

5-6 cups Flour
3Tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 packages Yeast (or 4.5 teaspoons)
2 cups Warm Water
1/4 cup Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

Sift together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. (I use a whisk to incorporate them all together, who wants to actually own a sifter... just one more space taker-upper.) Heat oil and water together to just warm enough that you can comfortably stick your finger in it. Add to flour mixture. Mix in an additional 2.5 to 3 cups of flour. Turn out on to table and knead for 5 minutes. (or as I learned from my friend Holly, "knead until it's soft like a baby's bum.") Put kneaded dough into a greased bowl and let it raise for 1 hour. (Easy trick: turn oven to 400 degrees for 1 minute and then turn it off and put your bowl in the stove to raise. It works great.) Punch down dough and shape into the pans. Cook 2 loaves for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Slather tops with butter when it comes out of the oven.
For Cinnamon Bread: mix 1/2 cup Sugar with 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon, roll out dough slather with butter sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mix, roll up like a Cinnamon roll stuff it/them in a bread pan and bake as above.

After breakfast John got his birthday presents. I gave him Doctor Who: Season 2 and Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock for the Wii. He was very excited. I sent him off to play his new game and got to work on his birthday cake.
This year, as it turns out, we have a theme going at our house. On one hand it could be just be "British" in general, but it's narrowing down to be Doctor Who. For this past Christmas John got the entire James Bond Movie Collection (thus being British,) a TARDIS that spins and makes sounds (it's awesome!) and Doctor Who: Season 1. Where as I got a cute little ADIPOSE stress toy for Christmas and for my birthday I got a replica Diana/Kate engagement ring (yep, back to just British again,) and this adorable 10th Doctor. Here he is with the previously mentioned TARDIS:

Isn't he cute. He was made by my ridiculously talented older sister. It appears that the Doctor abounds at our house so why not keep the theme running with John's birthday cake....

If you ignore the blurry-ness of the photo, (it seems I can't hold my camera still after holding a frosting bag for so long,) the frosting job turned out pretty good.
I made the chocolate cake (out of the box) in my bread/meat loaf pan and cooked it using the bunt cake directions on the back of the box. After it was cooked I skimmed off the top with a long knife using the pan rim as my guide, and threw it in the freezer while I made the frosting. Once it cooled a bit I did the crumb layer of frosting and popped it back in the fridge to solidify. I saved out about a cup of frosting to use for the white and black for later while I tried to come up with the correct TARDIS blue. That was harder than I thought. In the end it was a lot of blue and a few dabs of black coloring and it turned out a bit blue-gray, and that was good enough for me. I used John's Christmas TARDIS for my pattern and used my Wilton frosting tips 2, 46, and 47 for the detailing. The only things not edible on this are the signs because I cheated on the notice and ambulance service signs and printed those out on just plain old paper and pasted them on with a touch of frosting.  All in all I think it is pretty awesome. Now, my fingers are black and blue as well as my tongue and lips, (from frosting, not bruising) but I had fun making it.
Sad thing is, is that John doesn't even get a piece of birthday cake on his birthday. He had to go to work at the Energy Solutions Arena for the Jazz game tonight. Yes, John does have a part time Job. Yes, he is still working at the Church Office Building. No, he doesn't need the job, he just picked it up to get us a little closer to out of debt and a little closer to a house or mini-John-or-Liz. No, that doesn't mean I'm pregnant or buying a house. Yes, I'll tell you when I am.

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