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We have started attending the Wednesday night services at our church, instead of Sunday mornings, and it has been a perfect fit for our family.

We now have one day of the week where we have no obligations and nowhere we have to be – and have designated it Family Time. Due to our busy schedules during the week, we are rarely able to find quality time all together, for any significant length of time, so we value these precious Sunday hours. They have been devoted to exploring our beautiful Natural state and surrounds, being outside for a hike, or spending a leisurely morning cooking a fun and extravagant breakfast, reading the Sunday paper and just collectively spending time sitting and talking around the table.

Although mornings during the week typically are an enjoyable, connective time for our family, it does have a sense of urgency, and breakfast is usually something very quick and easy to prepare such as a fried egg or frozen waffle, not the relaxed meals we are able to take the time to make and savor on the weekends.

BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST STUFFED WITH APPLE, RAISINS AND PECANS

brioche french toast stuffed with apples and raisins

1/2 cup pecans

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup golden raisins

pinch of cinnamon

one 12-ounce loaf of brioche – cut into 12 slices, heels discarded

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons canola oil

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350F. Spread the pecans on a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes. Let cool. Finely chop the pecans and transfer to a bowl. Add the applesauce, raisins and cinnamon.

Spread the filling on 6 of the bread slices, top with the remaining slices and close.

In the pie plate, beat the eggs with the cream, sugar and vanilla. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture and transfer to a baking sheet.

In each of 2 large nonstick skillets, melt half of the butter in the oil. Add the French toast and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 5 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, December 2011

www.foodandwine.com/

BLACK PEPPER AND PARMESAN FRENCH TOAST WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE PATTIES

black pepper and parmesan french toast

1 1/2 pounds ground pork

1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

4 eggs

2/3 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese

pinch of nutmeg

8 slices bread

2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter

warm honey, for drizzling

Heat oven to 200F.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, wine, fennel seeds, garlic, onion, sage, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Form into 8 small, thin patties.

Heat a skillet over medium-high. Add the patties to the skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the sausage patties to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Wipe the pan clean and reduce the heat to medium.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of pepper, the cheese and nutmeg. Coat the bread in the egg mixture. Brush the skillet with the melted butter. Cook the French toast, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 5 minutes.

Divide the French toast among plates and serve with the sausage patties drizzled with warm honey.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, March 2014

www.rachaelray.com/

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