This overnight creme brulee french toast tastes absolutely amazing and feeds a crowd! Which is totally important because you'll need to invite your kids friends over to eat this. We also included allergy friendly adaptations.
Each week my daughter and her friends get up early during the school year and participate in an activity. They come back starving. Most of the time there is a small space of time between when they come back and school starts. My daughter asked if they could come over and have breakfast and the tradition started. And now they bring my son along.
They now rotate houses but I make sure that they are always invited to our house too. I feel strongly that kids and teens be exposed to different positive households.
Why is this so important?
TEENS ARE LOOSING CONNECTEDNESS: Our kids are loosing a sense of connectedness with each other. We have seen the statistics and they are staggering. I recently just read a report showing that teens are having more relationships where they aren't even meeting the person they are dating in person. I would've seen this article a year ago and laughed until my own daughter kept telling me she was dating a guy that she met through another friend. They never hung out and only talked on the phone or online because of their busy schedules. But they were "dating."
In other ways, teens opt to reach out online, by text or other means of communication instead of face to face. My son hangs out with his friends a lot and communicates with them through online gaming. Times are changing but teens statistically continue to stuggle with feeling connectedness. It may be uncomfortable, but that connectedness many times needs to come with face to face interactions.
TEENS NEED TO SEE THAT THERE IS MORE OUTSIDE THEIR WORLD: Growing up, I spent a lot of time around others tables for dinner. I can remember opening a bottle of ranch and sending ranch dressing flying across the table and into the eye of my friend's older brother and watching his reaction to me. I can remember spending dinner with another friend who had nine siblings. Chaos at it's finest but his Mom was amazing and taught me so many lessons. I can remember going into homes and seeing how parents interacted with each other. Watching some Dad's leave tired Moms who watched kids all day, made dinner and now cleaned up by themselves in the kitchen while they went off to watch TV in their bedroom far away from their wife and kids. I could remember other Dad's helping in the kitchen, watching husband and wife talk and laugh together at the sink. In those moments you start to see there is more outside of your own world. You as a teen start to see what you want your family and home to look like one day.
Our family is probably nothing anyone wants to aspire too. At least I thought it wasn't. When my daughter volunteered our home I kept thinking of who would want to come to my home...I had one freaking failed marriage under my belt and now my ex had passed away. What in the world did I have to offer these kids at this point besides it being my job to fix everyone else's problems as a counselor?
I would learn more than they ever would. They don't come to our house and see us as broken. They see our house like my kids see our house. It's a place they come and feel comfortable. It's a home. Dogs run around at their feet wanting them to pet them and play with them. A younger sister is there to annoy them. And a teenage brother is playing video games and harrassing his older sister. I'm doing dishes in the kitchen, pretending to not hear the conversations going on or monitor the situation. I'm the fly on the wall, bringing out more pancakes and bacon. But the best thing to hear is that these teens feel just as safe and comfortable and are having just as fun as they would at anyone else's home.
But by my kids going into other kids homes and me having these teens over, they are seeing that we aren't taboo, we aren't scary. And that families look very different but act and are very much the same.
TEENS NEED TO BE READYED FOR THE REAL WORLD: You would'nt think that going to have a meal at someone else's home is a prep for the real world but it is! Soon your teen will be off to college and heading out the door. They are going to be exposed to different roommates, different ways of eating, college girlfriends and boyfriends families, and roommates with different values and beliefs. Remember when I flipped the ranch dressing into the eye of my friends brother? Usually he showed a huge disdain for me. I was another pain in his butt when I would come to visit. But that day, he could see that I was in shock. My apology was heartfelt. He accepted my apology and said it was okay then went to flush his eye out. Real world lesson through the flick of the ranch dressing bottle. My other best friend growing up was Japanese and I was shocked when I got served a bowl of rice for breakfast. What do you say? What do you do? How do you react? Learning all of these lessons when I was younger helped me as a young adult. I could remember my friends Mom teaching me that I needed to leave food on my plate so her Mom wouldn't keep filling me up with more food. i learned that rice wasn't so bad for breakfast. And I'm glad that I learned these lessons while I was young so I was ready when I was older.
IT'S A GOOD TOOL FOR PREVENTION: Being a parent who is involved in your child's life is important! It's also a good tool for prevention of things like underage drinking, sex, and drug abuse. Teens need to know that you support them and are involved in their life. There aren't exceptions to the rule. Just because I'm a single parent doesn't mean I can be a hands off Mom. Sometimes I'm exhausted but I was exhausted married and single! So I guess the responsibilty of parenthood falls to anyone in any situation. Be involved with your kids!
And now I get to watch a new generation grow up. And it is a blast to feed them. They eat a ton but I love it.
This overnight creme brulee french toast is a simple and easy meal to make and enjoy for a large crowd of hungry teenagers, a potluck or a family gathering.
OVERNIGHT CREME BRULEE CASSEROLE
A delicious french toast made easily the night before with a rich brown sugar brulee and the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy in every bite!
- 6 tablespoons butter (can use dairy free substitutes)
- ¾ cup brown or coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (you can substitute, but nothing is better than real maple)
- 1 loaf french bread, cut into slices and then cubed (approximately ¾ inch cubes)--can substitute gluten free
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk (can substitute dairy free)
- 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Whipped cream for topping--dairy free can be substituted
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Cover and heat for one minute. Stir and then continue to heat at 30 second increments until butter is melted and mixture is smooth when mixed.
While the butter mixture is cooking, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Pour the butter mixture over the tin foil, spreading evenly.
Arrange the bread pieces close together in a single layer and evenly throughout the pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, vanilla and salt. Pour mixture evenly over the bread, then cover and refrigerate eight hours or overnight.
when ready to cook, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes (keep the mixture covered for the first 20 minutes and then uncover and bake open the last 15-20 minutes). French toast is done when the top is golden brown and the egg is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and top with whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe
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