French Toast made with Panera Bread


Recently I went to Panera and placed an order for fresh bread for a sponsored post I did on Instagram.  I was given a gift card to purchase the bread. They were out of the bread I ordered online. They gave me Challah bread instead and told me people liked it for French toast. So what did I do? I went home and made some French Toast and let me tell you, it was amazing! Thanks Panera for such a good idea.

French Toast made with Panera Bread

Makes 6-8
  • 1 fresh bread loaf, Challah bread from Panera, cut in to 6-8 pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs salted butter melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Heat skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes
  2. Beat egg
  3. Whisk in butter, milk and vanilla
  4. Whisk in sugar, flour and salt
  5. Cook on each side until golden brown
  6. Serve with your favorite toppings
*Any bread will do
*I used strawberries, whipped cream and powered sugar for toppings


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The Perfect Avocado, Ham, Tomato and Cheese Grilled Panini


Grilled panini's are one of favorite lunch items to make.  I like them ten times better than plain turkey and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Want to know the secret ingredient? Believe it or not it's not the panini press, they can be made without, it is fresh bread.  I've tried to make panini's with bread from a loaf, but it does not work, it does not taste the same.  It does not get as flat either. I really like using the avocado and stone ground mustard in the panini instead of regular mayonnaise and mustard. The avocado provides a spread inside, and is much healthier than mayonnaise and the stone ground mustard  provides a depth of flavor with a hint of sweetness.


Avocado, Ham, Tomato and Cheese Grilled Panini, Printable Recipe
  • 1 fresh bread loaf
  • stone ground mustard
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 slices ham
  • 4-5 slices of cheese
  • canola oil
  1. Slice the fresh bread into panini slices.  Cut the loaf the width of the panini's.  Cut four slices from the cut loaf.
  2. Slice and add the avocado on one side and spread the stone ground mustard on the other.
  3. Put on the cheese, turkey and tomato slices. Place the two halves together.
  4. Turn the burner on a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cover the pan with a thin film of oil.
  5. This step is important, Using a pastry brush coat one side of the panini.
  6. When the pan is hot, the oil starts to smoke, place the coated side of the panini on the skillet. 
  7. Coat the other side of the panini.
  8. Cook 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown, pressing down with a panini press or a heavy pan. Enjoy!
*Use canola oil or a high heat capacity olive oil, otherwise it will not brown well.
*If there is no panini press a heavy pan can work as a press.

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Amazing Steak and Cob Salad

I made this cob salad recipe up when I was shopping in the fresh section of the grocery store.  I love cooking with seasonal ingredients and love getting inspired by seeing what is at the grocery store. It happens to be the time of year again for corn and peppers.  I chose an orange pepper to give a little color to the salad and ham instead of bacon because ham is not as crunchy, but provides the same pork flavor in the salad. The egg creates a nice softness and adds a nice flavor to the salad. 


We have really come to enjoy cooking steaks around here since we learned how to cook them. With steaks and roasts being about the same price as ground beef we have been cooking them a lot more. My local grocery store was having a sale on steaks for the 4th of July so I picked them up and saved a ton.  I have included some of the tips I have learned cooking steaks.


Cob Salad
1 corn on the cob
1 boiled egg
2 slices of ham
1 orange pepper
1 head of lettuce
  1. Fill a pan with enough water to cover a corn on the cob, but do not put it in yet.  Heat the water to boiling and put in the corn on the cob for 10 minutes.
  2. Put an egg in a pan and fill with water 1 or 2 inches over the egg.  Heat the water to boiling over medium heat.  When the water is boiling remove from heat, cover for 12 minutes.  Remove the water and fill the pan with cold water to stop the egg from cooking more.
  3. Add oil to a pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot add the ham.  Brown slightly on both sides.  Chop up the ham.
  4. Slice the orange pepper.
  5. Chop up the lettuce.
  6. Combine the ingredient and toss the salad.
  7. I like to dress this salad with Buttermilk ranch.
Seasoned Steak
1 steak, any cut will do
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Leave the steak out 30 minutes before seasoning.
  2. Combine the salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Spread the salt and pepper mixture on the steak.  Press the mixture into the steak.  See above picture.
  4. Turn the over to 375 degrees F.
  5. Heat oil in the pan.
  6. When the oil is hot place the steak in the pan with meat tongs. Do not touch the steak in the first 4 minutes.  When the steak has achieved a nice brown sear turn the steak over with the tongs.
  7. Sear the other side.
  8. Place in the over until the desired doneness is achieved.  It will be anywhere from 2-10 minutes.  Do not over cook.
  9. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes.
Seasoned Steak
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Fresh Raspberry Greek Yogurt

My dietitian recently told me to eat more yogurt.  She recommended Chobani Greek yogurt.  I bought the fruit flavors for a few months. It was okay, but I found the fruit flavors lacking, the fruit didn't taste right. I had a thought to make my own yogurt from fresh fruit and see how it compares.  And let me tell you I bet this yogurt is better than any of those flavored yogurts out there.  It would win in a yogurt tasting contest hands down. It is super simple to make too.

Fresh Raspberry Greek Yogurt, Printible Version
  • 3-4 fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 plain Greek yogurt
Crush and stir the berries with a fork to release the juices.
Add the yogurt and sugar and stir.
Enjoy the freshest yogurt ever!
*You can put in other fruit besides raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, whatever you have in the house.  I have also made it without any fruit and it tastes pretty good plain, with a little sugar too.

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The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

These pumpkin cookies are so delicious!  I like to make this recipe every fall for the holidays.


I like to use real pumpkin, but canned pumpkin works too. I like to get my pumpkin fresh from a farm, cook it up and make the cookies. I even had enough extra this year to make pumpkin chocolate chip ice cream.

This is a sugar pumpkin, because it has black spots on the outer layer.  The smaller the pumpkin the better.

The following method may be used to prepare any winter squash. To prepare the pumpkin the pumpkin for cooking, cut the pumpkin in half, a butcher knife works well, put the pumpkin in a cake pan with about 1/2" of water.  Turn the oven to 375 and cook the pumpkin for 30-45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork tender.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin with a spoon and blend in blender. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin. If you don't use it all you can freeze the rest and save for more cookies, a soup, bread etc.

Pumpkin Cookies
The recipe is based on a recipe from Vicki at SunGold Farms.

Makes 4 dozen cookes

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups or 15 ounce can of pureed squash or pumpkin
2 1/2-2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and squash. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices; add to mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden.

*This recipe can be used with almost any winter squash. See instructions above on how to prepare.

*Baker's tip, the dough is pretty runny, but because of all the baking powder and soda, they rise up quite nicely.



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