Baked Apple Scrapple Pumpkin French Toast

With eight inches of snow outside my door and a current temperature of 9 degrees, it seems like the perfect time to finish sharing the stockpile of pumpkin infused treats that I apparently built up in December.

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It really didn’t seem like I was putting pumpkin into everything at the time but then, pumpkin has a way of sneaking into things. And I’m perfectly OK with that.

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I threw this together with the help of my mom and sister on Christmas morning. We’re quite a team in the kitchen and my fondest holiday memories always involve us girls cooking up a storm in there, chatting away amidst whisks and chaos.

We were all quite impressed with how this baked french toast turned out. I really can’t think of a more perfect dish for the holiday. The baking time lined up perfectly with the amount of time it took to open presents.

Another reason this was a perfect holiday breakfast: leftover stuffing bread. I happened to have half a loaf of crusty hearth bread (which made AMAZING stuffing) and half a loaf of apple scrapple bread from Great Harvest Bread Company. In a pinch, you could easily use whatever bread you happen to have in your cabinet, though. French toast is resilient like that.

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While I was slicing the apple scrapple bread, the crumbly topping kept crumbling off. I set it aside and then sprinkled it on top of the casserole with a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice before I placed it in the oven. Between that and the hidden apple chunks in the bread, it was pretty spectacular.

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Baked Apple Scrapple Pumpkin French Toast

Yields: 6 servings

  • 1 loaf of bread (I highly recommend apple scrapple!)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice + extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a brownie or small casserole sized pan with coconut oil. Cube the loaf of bread and place the cubes in the pan, setting aside the apple scrapple crumble topping as it falls off. Scrape a little more off if it’s not crumbling off on its own.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and pour over the breadcrumbs, aiming to wet all of the bread. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the casserole, along with a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it’s no longer wet. Slice and serve warm with maple syrup drizzled overtop.

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XO,

Kristin

Rainy Morning Pumpkin Waffles + A Donation

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It’s been a while, I know. I’m not a fan of blog posts that begin with apologies though because we all know the drill: holidays, work, trips, etc. It happens to the best of us, right? Any objections to skipping that part? No? Phew. Thanks for understanding, guys.

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On this cold, rainy, Friday morning, I’m curled up under about a million blankets with my coffee and my laptop, which is pretty standard for me. I’m feeling especially chilled and low-energy this morning though, which I think I can attribute to my first blood donation last night, since I started shivering shortly after the needle went in and have felt a little chilled ever since. It was actually pretty funny that it happened right away, like clockwork, and then I read later that feeling cold while giving blood is a common sensation.

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I think feeling a little chilly is a small price to pay, though, for how genuinely happy it made me feel as I was leaving. I think they must have sensed my excitement at the hospital. That, and the nurses started talking to me about Grey’s Anatomy, which tends to get me lost in a realm of sudden internal bleeding, passionate romance, and heroic saves. What a combo, right? So much more interesting than reality. In a few short moments, they had whirred me into such a euphoric state that I probably would have consented to anything. A platelet donation is what they made out with so I’ll be back there in 2 weeks with a good book and another jug of apple cider.

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If you had talked to me two weeks ago, I would have told you that I would never donate blood. I’ve spent my entire life so crippled by a fear of needles and pain in general that I never would have considered it. I have Grey’s Anatomy to thank for planting the seed in my brain and a few interesting facts I learned from googling the topic, for really giving me the resolve. Somehow, I managed to get this far in life having not a clue how critically in demand regular blood donation is. At the risk of coming off preachy, here are a few facts I learned that were really surprising and interesting to me:

  • only about 38% of the population is eligible to donate
  • less than 10% of the population actually donate
  • the average adult has about 10 pints of blood in their body
  • roughly 1 pint is given during donation
  • a single car accident victim can require as much as 100 pints of blood
  • a healthy body will automatically replenish what has been donated
  • most red blood cell donations must be used within 42 days
  • platelet donations must be used within only 5 days, hence the need for regular donors
  • only 7% of people in the US have O- blood, which is the universal blood type and is needed for emergencies before they know the patient’s blood type

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Crazy, right? I always thought there so many people donating blood, they must not need any more. Less than 10% is not what I expected to see. And a double red cell donation, which I’m now determined to do, is even rarer to be eligible for. For a female to donate, she must:

  • be at least 5’5
  • weight at least 150 lbs.
  • have an iron level of 13.3 g/dL

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I can appreciate now how rare that is since my iron levels came in right at 13.3 and I was told that I’m way above the average for women, which is about 10.3. So why is double red cell donation worth it if you qualify? It takes 6-8 regular whole blood donations combined to provide enough platelets for one transfusion. But one double red cell donation provides enough platelets for up to 3 transfusions. That huge difference is what makes me so excited about all the leafy greens and lean red meat I will be eating for the next few months.

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Don’t be discouraged if you don’t qualify for double red cell donations. Not all of us are born taller than 99% of women. I wish I were exaggerating but I actually just looked it up in the census bureau – blessing and a curse, friends. You only have to be 110 lbs. to donate whole blood and the iron level is much lower as well. So if you feel inspired after reading the facts I shared, open another tab and google “blood donations near me.” It’s as simple as that, and you definitely won’t regret it. 🙂

Now that I’ve gotten my newfound excitement for blood donation off my chest, let’s talk about waffles. Gluten free, pumpkin waffles to be precise. Amazing, enough said.

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Buckwheat Pumpkin Waffles {Gluten Free!}

Yields: 4-5 large waffles

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour (you can always grind buckwheat groats yourself)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (plus more for greasing)

In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, almond milk, and oil.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Feel free to mix in any extras like chocolate chips or pecans.

Set the waffle iron to a low setting and wait until it’s heated. Grease the pan liberally with coconut oil and pour in about 1/4 of the batter (a little less if you want to yield more waffles that are thinner). Remove the waffles as soon as the light goes off to produce moist waffles that hold together well.

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It’s never too late for pumpkin, right? 😉

XO,

Kristin