Saturday mornings. Steady rain against the window. Freshly washed hair. Warm coffee. Early morning Skype with friends across the ocean. The likes of Josh Garrels and Audrey Assad playing in the background. These are a few of my favorite things.
These kind of mornings are renewing for the soul because I think it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and rush of life, even on breaks. There’s endless options on Netflix and Breaking News updates on CNN, and my smartphone always promises an anesthetic pleasure that never makes good.
But setting aside time to be slow, to stare out the window, to take my time writing a blog post or a lesson plan. That is important. I read a blog post on one of my favorite blogs, Storyline, which is run by Don Miller and his team. It talks about celebrating the small, and it’s got me thinking about what I consider small or ordinary. How are those things significant? What makes them significant? Why should they be significant? When did my glorification of the big and flashy begin?
So one of my slow things is to spend time in the kitchen, making food that will delight JD. His favorite food group is breakfast, which happens to be my favorite, too. I think it’s a lot of people’s favorites.
This is challah. It’s a braided bread eaten in many cultures, and you can buy a loaf at your local Whole Foods. Hungarians know it as kalacs, and JD nearly fainted when he saw it for the first time in the States. It has that effect on people. It is typically made with eggs, so this is not a purely plant-strong meal. But like I’ve said on the blog before, we do eat some non-plant-strong foods such as eggs and certain kinds of fish from time to time. It’s just not our norm.
I’ve posted before about French Toast Casserole, and while that is a time-friendly, delicious option, it’s definitely worth it to stand by the griddle and dip my finger in the batter as I flip the challah slices. Even more than the warm heaven that fills my mouth and makes my taste buds sing “Hallelujah” is the joy that spreads across JD’s face as he sees the pile of French toast awaiting him. Husbands are such good food audiences. And warm challah makes my stomach happy.
This recipe below takes about 40 minutes altogether to make, and there’s enough time between flips that you could clean up the kitchen, read a blog post, or water the plants. Or you can sneak tastes of the apple butter and stare into the steam of cinnamon heaven and daydream. Your pick.
Challah French Toast with Homemade Apple Butter
Makes 1 1/2 loaves of challah
French Toast Ingredients:
14-oz. package of silken tofu
2 c. soy/almond milk
4 tbs. honey or maple syrup
4 tbs. flaxseed meal
2 tbs. chia seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 loaves challah, sliced
Apple Butter Ingredients:
5-6 apples, sliced (leave the peel on!)
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 c. honey
For apple butter, dump all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook it on low for 5-6 hours (I did it overnight).
In the morning, throw the mix in a blender and blend until smooth. That’s it!
For the French toast, heat the griddle at 350 degrees.
Blend all of the ingredients (except the challah). I use a hand blender, but you could put in a blender. If it’s not already, pour the mix in a bowl or pan big enough to dip the bread in.
Dip a slice of the challah in the mix until it’s completely covered. Then place on the griddle. Let it sizzle for 3-4 minutes. Then flip. It should be a golden brown. If it’s still tofu-y, put it back on that side for another minute or two. If it’s too brown, flip it earlier.
Once it’s done, scoop some warm apple butter on a piece of French toast and sink into your happy place.
What’s your favorite French toast topping?