Monthly Archives: June 2014

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

We all know breakfast is the most important (and, in my opinion, most delicious) meal of the day, with that in mind I have a yummy french toast  casserole that you can prepare tonight, and bake when you get up in the morning.  I dub this scrumptious creation Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling. With thick, crusty bread, sweet, juicy apples, and tangy, sweet maple cream cheese filling, you really can’t go wrong

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

I started with some crusty pecan raisin bread from the grocery store bakery (any flavor you like is find as long as it’s a thicker, crusty bread) and cut it into cubes.

pecan raisin bread

I layered half of it in a baking dish and topped it with chopped apples (I used fuji, but any kind you have on hand is fine).

apple cinnamon french toast casserole

Then I whipped up some maple syrup cream cheese by whisking together cream cheese, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon (try to refrain from eating this with a spoon…) and poured it over the apples.

maple cream cheese filling

I topped the apples with the remainder of the bread.  Next I beat some eggs with some milk and more cinnamon and poured the mixture over top of the casserole, making sure all the bread was coated.

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

At this point I covered the casserole and refrigerated it overnight, but if you’re super ambitious you could bake it as soon as you’re done prepping it (but I definitely love sleeping way too much for that).  Bake in the oven until the top gets brown and crunchy.

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

I let it sit for a few minutes and then served it with some fresh berries, let me tell you, it was divine!  The perfect balance of sweet, I didn’t even use syrup.

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling


Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Makes 1 – 8″ square baking pan


1 loaf of crusty pecan raisin bread (mine was ~1 pound) – cubed

2 apples – chopped into bite sized cubes

4 ounces cream cheese – softened

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Fresh fruit (optional for serving)

Maple syrup (optional for serving)

– Layer half of the cubes bread in the bottom of a 8″ square baking pan and cover with the chopped apples

– Whisk together the softened cream cheese, maple syrup, vanilla and tablespoon of cinnamon until smooth (microwave for a few seconds if needed) and pour over the apples

– Top with the remaining half of the bread cubes 

– Whisk the eggs, milk, and teaspoon of cinnamon until well combined and pour evenly over the casserole, making sure all of the bread cubes are coated

– Cover and refrigerate overnight (or bake immediately if desired)

– Heat the oven to 375 ºF and bake for 50-55 minutes, the top should be browned and slightly crisp and the center should not jiggle when the dish is moved

– Let stand for a few minutes and serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup as desired



You may also like:

Orange Cinnamon French Toast

orange cinnamon french toast




Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros


Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My boyfriend came to visit about a week ago and brought some absolutely amazing cookies with him.  He knows I love all things chocolate and that coconut is one of my favorite flavors, so he whipped up these cookies and he agreed to share the recipe with all of you, so without further ado, here’s Luke with a fantastic cookie recipe!


Like Taylor said, I know she has an unwavering love of chocolate, and both of us have been trying out more coconut in our cooking so combining the two into a delicious cookie seemed like a no-brainer!  Toasting the coconut really kicks up the delicious coconut flavor (plus it makes your kitchen smell fantastic) and the melty dark chocolate chunks give it the perfect final touch.


On the topic of toasted coconut, preheat your oven and spread the coconut out on a baking sheet covered in foil.


Bake the coconut until it’s a nice golden brown (and the delightful aroma fills your kitchen).  It’s useful to stir the coconut halfway through.

While the coconut is toasting away in the oven, prepare your dry ingredients.  Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set that aside for later.


You can also cream the brown sugar, coconut oil, and butter while the coconut is toasting (don’t forget to stir and mix it!).

Next beat in the egg, coconut extract, and vanilla extract.

By now your coconut should be done so just set that aside to cool.


Take your bar of dark/semisweet chocolate (I went with Ghiardelli because I like to spoil Taylor whenever I can) and break it up into small chunks and set those aside too.


Go ahead and grease two baking sheets (or not, if you’re fancy and have silicone baking mats).

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugar/butter/coconut oil mixture.

Add in the chocolate chunks.


And the toasted coconut!


Finally, drop 2″ balls of this delicious cookie dough on your greased baking sheets and then bake – the cookies should  be a bit brown on the edges but plenty soft in the middle.


Set them out to cool and enjoy the wonderful gooey chocolate mixed with the sweet toasted coconut!






Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 18 cookies



1 cup sweetened coconut

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1  egg

1 bar of semisweet or dark chocolate


– Preheat oven to 350 ºF

– Spread coconut on a foil-covered baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, stirring halfway though

– Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder

– In a separate bowl cream together the butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar

– Beat the vanilla, coconut extract, and egg into the sugar/butter mixture

– Then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mixture

– Break the baking bar into 1/2″ square chunks

– Mix the chocolate chunks and toasted coconut into the dough

– Grease two baking trays and drop 2″ balls of dough onto the greased sheets

– Bake the cookies for 10 – 11 minutes at 350 ºF, until the edges start to brown 

Set the cookies on racks to cool and enjoy!

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

A few weeks ago I made a caprese salad that was incredibly delicious and super simple.  In fact, it’s so simple, I almost feel bad calling this a recipe.  All you need are 4 ingredients, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar.  I reduced the vinegar to bring out a sweeter, more complex, tangy flavor that paired excellently with the juicy tomatoes, rich mozzarella, and fresh basil.  This salad works great as a side for BBQs.

Caprese Salad

I used grape tomatoes so I cut them in half, basically chop up whatever tomatoes your using into bite sized chunks.  Do these same for your cheese.  For the basil I roll the leaves into a cylinder and then cut into strips that end up looking like basil confetti.  Then toss those three ingredients together in a bowl.

Caprese salad

To reduce the balsamic vinegar put it in pain and boil until it’s reduced by about half and has  a thicker, more syrup-like consistency.

Caprese Salad Balsamic Reduction

Stir everything together until well combined!

Caprese salad

Feel free to serve right away or make it ahead of time, refrigerate, and serve cold, it’s delicious either way (I may have made it the night before a picnic and had it for dinner, then ate it cold the next day…).Caprese Salad





Caprese Salad

Serves 8


2 pints cherry tomatoes (any tomatoes will work)

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

8-12 large basil leaves

1 cup balsamic vinegar

– In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil and let cook until reduced by half and has  a more syrup-like consistency (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally

– While the vinegar is reducing cut your cherry tomatoes in half (if using larger tomatoes, cut into bite sized chunks)

– Cut or  tear the mozzarella into bite sized chunks

– Stack the basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a cylinder, cut down the length of the cylinder, making ~1/4″ pieces of basil confetti

– Mix the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a bowl

– Allow the balsamic reduction to cool for a few minutes, then pour over the salad and stir to combine

April and May 2014: A Review


So.  It’s June… I’m not quite sure how this happened and I haven’t published any posts since mid-April (oopsie) but now that classes and finals are over for the semester and I have my first year of grad school finished I’m hoping I have more time to share the delicious things I cook up with all of you.  As a catch up here’s a review of what the world has been liking on my blog and some pretty great recipes I’ve found, enjoy!


My Top 5 Most Viewed Recipes (since it’s been 2 months I threw in 2 extra posts for you…)

  1. Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Peanut Butter Icing – Moist chocolate cake, rich peanut butter icing, a classic favorite for a reason!  chocolate mayo caken with pb icing
  2. Dutch Oven Strawberry Cobbler – Tangy, sweet, delicious, a perfect summer dessert. strawberry cobbler with ice cream
  3. Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler – Swap strawberries for peaches and you have another perfect summer dessert! Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler
  4. Sweet Potato Fries with Greek Yogurt-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce – Super easy, super yummy, consistently a favorite, make them now if you haven’t already! sweet potato fries and sauce
  5. Penne with Vodka Sauce – A great, tasty pasta dish. penne with vodka sauce


My Top 10 Favorite Links from April

  1. Apparently April was National Grilled Cheese Month, this Brie, Pesto, and Sweet Pepper Grilled Cheese (from Two Peas and Their Pod) looks like an excellent way to celebrate.

    Pesto, Brie, and Sweet Pepper Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe on You have to make this sandwich! It is life changing!

    From Two Peas and Their Pod

  2. This Strawberry Salsa (from Six Sisters’ Stuff) sounds like an excellent twist on the classic chips and salsa, I want some ASAP!

    Strawberry Salsa

    From Six Sisters’ Stuff

  3. I love pasta, and a one skillet dish is always great, so this Roasted Tomato Skillet Pasta (from The Grant Life) is the perfect option for a quick dinner.

    Rosted tomato skillet

    From The Grant Life

  4. Now that it’s (finally) warm out this Greek-Style Grilled Asparagus Salad with Tomatoes and Feta (From The Daring Gourmet) looks like a delicious dinner.

    Greek salad recipe asparagus tomatoes feta cheese red onions vinaigrette dressing healthy

    From The Daring Gourmet

  5. I absolutely love breakfast food and this Chorizo Green Chile Breakfast Skillet (from Host the Toast Blog) will be making an appearance on my breakfast table in the near future.

    Chorizo Green Chile Breakfast Skillet

    From Host the Toast Blog

  6. Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese (from The Endless Meal) looks like a creamy, rich, delicious version of my favorite food!

    Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

    From The Endless Meal

  7. I need this Bacon and Cashew Bourbon Caramel Corn (From Brown Eyed Baker) and I need it now!

    Bourbon Bacon Cashew Caramel Corn | #recipe

    From Brown Eyed Baker

  8. These Chipotle Turkey-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (From Pink Parsley) look absolutely amazing!

    From Pink Parsley

  9. I love salmon, and this Spicy Garlic Lime Baked Salmon (from A Spicy Perspective) sounds like a great recipe.

    Dinner Tonight: Spicy Garlic Lime Oven Baked Salmon #salmon #dinner #recipe

    From A Spicy Perspective

  10. I’m not sure how I managed to have only one dessert recipe in this roundup but these Carrot Cake Cheesecake Crumble Bars (From Wicked Good Kitchen) look like an amazing concoction combining two delicious desserts into one yummy bar!

    Carrot Cake Cheesecake Crumble Bars by ~ Just like a cross between carrot cake, cheesecake and Oatmeal Carmelitas! Our Carrot Cake Cheesecake Crumble Bars are packed with flavor and everything you dreamed they would be. The perfect Easter dessert treat—especially for a crowd! #bar #dessert #recipe

    From Wicked Good Kitchen

My Top 12 Favorite Links from May (I added because this is a very, very, overdue post.  Okay, actually it’s because I tried to narrow it down to 10 but just couldn’t pick which 2 I should eliminate, I’m indecisive like that…)

  1. I’m kind of obsessed with s’mores and I’m totally in love with this variation – Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Graham Cracker Cookie S’mores (From Half Baked Harvest).

    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip + Graham Cracker Cookie S'mores |

    From Half Baked Harvest

  2. I love using my crock-pot and this Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili (From Simply Stacie) looks like a great recipe to try.

    Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili #ChickenChallenge

    From Simply Stacie

  3. This Blueberry Sailor Tea (From Tattooed Martha) needs to make an appearance at my pool, like right now.

    Tattooed Martha - Blueberry Sailor Tea (3)

    From Tattooed Martha

  4. Roasted Chicken with a Sweet and Spicy Tamarind Ginger Glaze (From Creole Contessa) sounds like a delicious take on a classic chicken dinner.

    From Creole Contessa

  5. Who wouldn’t love these homemade Strawberry Cupcakes (From Treats)?

    From Treats

  6. Everyone loves a good cocktail and this Fresh Whiskey Sour (From Everybody Loves Pretty) looks like an amazing classic!

    Fresh Whiskey Sour3

    From Everybody Loves Pretty

  7. I want to try this jazzed up version of a granola bar, Trail Mix Peanut Butter Bars (From Deliciously Sprinkled).

    Trail Mix Bar Recipe

    From Deliciously Sprinkled

  8. These Red White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles (From The View From Great Island) are super adorable and look like the perfect summertime treat!

    Red White And Blueberry Popsicles | The View From Great Island  Great for Memorial Day and the 4th of July1

    From The View From Great Island

  9. I want this Eggs Benedict with Bacon, Avodaise, and Harissa (From Closet Cooking) for breakfast pronto!

    Eggs Benedict with Bacon, Avodaise (Avocado Hollandaise) and Harissa

    From Closet Cooking

  10. This Dark Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream (From Love & Olive Oil) will most definitely be appearing in my ice cream maker this summer.

    Dark Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream from @loveandoliveoil

    From Love & Olive Oil

  11. One of my favorite meals at my college dining hall was the breaded ravioli, so I got super excited when I saw this recipe for Toasted Ravioli (From The Pioneer Woman), I’m definitely going to try it out.

    Toasted Ravioli

    From The Pioneer Woman

  12. Oh my decadence!  I don’t even have words for how delicious these Bacon, Beer, and Potato Chip Cookie Bars (From Life, Love & Sugar) look!

    Bacon, Beer and Potato Chip Cookie Bars

    From Life, Love & Sugar


Feel free to share your favorite links 🙂