It’s been a good week, friends.
Life as a mom of two is a constant struggle for me, so it’s not often that I get to make a statement like that. Over the last seven days, God’s grace has been palpable in ways that I have not experienced in months, if not years. I told you recently about how I was getting glimpses of his goodness, these glimmers of hope in the darkness of my soul, and now the brightness is growing. Light is flooding into the most forlorn corners of my heart, and I am refreshed.
The impetus for this unexpected change was the loving rebuke of a very dear friend. I was in a place of confusion, overwhelmed and underslept, having doubts and concerns about a decision I had recently made. We were chatting and catching up on all the happenings in our lives when she posed the question: What is Jesus asking of me in this season? Honestly, I didn’t know. Sure, I had thoughts that he probably wanted me to be better about cleaning the house or have a more submissive heart, neither of which I was particularly keen on doing, but I didn’t really have an answer. I already felt like enough of a failure without heaping on more expectation.
We talked for a bit, she kindly told me the ways in which I was being ridiculous (which I was), and toward the end of our conversation, she said something that surprised me completely. Something that made me feel so loved and cared for and not at all weighed down. Her suggestion was that in this season, perhaps God was asking me to let him love me well. To stop turning my wheels and seeking fulfillment in the wrong things and instead be still. To see friends and relationships as a means through which God intends to bless me instead of as an endless burden. To cease trying to earn approval and instead embrace the righteousness that is already mine through Jesus.
A new perspective, a shift in thought. Small, yet life-changing. I’m so thankful that in Christ I have salvation from myself and from my endless litany of self-imposed requirements. Once again, my heart agrees with the scripture that tells me that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Because, truly, it is.
Now, about this French toast. This is one melt-in-your-mouth breakfast that you won’t want to miss. Thick slices of whole wheat challah are soaked briefly in a mixture of egg and milk that has been sweetened slightly and further improved by the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Once cooked, powdered sugar makes it pretty, and the cinnamon syrup, well, there’s nothing quite like it. It was a happy accident that occurred after realizing we were fresh out of maple syrup, and my husband, who has started referring to it as “liquid cinnamon rolls”, has declared it to be a new staple in our house. It’s nothing short of spectacular.
Before I leave you the recipe, I want to highlight a couple things that I feel are essential to great French toast, and both have to do with the custard. First, be sure to aggressively beat the milk and egg together so that the mixture is completely homogeneous. There should be no visual distinction between the two components. And second, the mixture should taste good! Delicious french toast doesn’t magically happen, and flavoring the custard is key to a good tasting result. I know it’s got raw eggs in it, but just stick the tip of your finger in the mixture and have a taste. Does it taste good to you? If not, make adjustments to suit your palate.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 loaf whole wheat challah, thickly sliced (or other bread of your choosing)
- Powdered sugar
- To make the cinnamon syrup, combine the dark brown sugar, water, and flour in a small saucepan, and stir to combine. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils, then reduce the heat to medium. Allow the syrup to continue to cook for about 4-6 more minutes, until it has thickened. Remove it from the heat, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon, and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the meal.
- To make the French toast, preheat a nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat. Whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a shallow bowl or pan (I use an 8x8 Pyrex). Dipping them 1 or 2 at a time, place the bread slices in the egg mixture and allow them to soak for about 20 seconds on each side. Lift the bread from the liquid, allow the excess to drip off, and place them on the griddle. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown, and repeat the process until all of the bread has been cooked.
- To serve, sprinkle the warm French toast with powdered sugar, then drizzle with the cinnamon syrup. Optional additional toppings include butter, peanut butter, dried fruit, chocolate chips, and/or unsweetened coconut flakes. Store leftover syrup covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.