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Adventures of Mrs Pen

Musings from a Very Lucky Penny

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Super Healthy and Yummy Energy Bitez

I’m super excited to share this recipe. These puppies taste almost like peanut butter cookies and are good for you and make you feel perty great. Even my hubby likes them and he doesn’t like nothing but cheeseburgers.

Here’s the Scientifical Reasons These are Great
The peanut butter is a great source protein. The powdered milk gives ya iron, vitamin A & D. The oats have fiber and protein. The honey is a natural sweetener, plus some antioxidants (I’m no antioxidantologist though, so don’t quote me on it!). And coconut is so good for you man! It’s antioxidantifide, packed with nutrients and stuff. Ok, I only know that from the side of my coconut oil bottle. If you add flaxseed meal, you’re getting omega 3’s that are good for your heart and brains! (PS- if you’re a nursing mom, oatmeal and flaxseed meal, and coconut are GREAT for you. Just FYI)

And Here’s the Recipe

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1 Cup – Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup – Honey
1/4 Cup – Powdered Milk
1 Cup – Whole Oats (you can substitute this for Cheerios if you want!)
1/4 Cup – Raisins
2 Tbl – Ground Flaxseed Meal
1/2 Cup – Shredded Coconut

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1. Mix peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, oats, flaxseed and raisins together real good like with a fork or such.

Side note- My mama makes these with Cheerios instead of oats, and they’re super good. I just used oats because I didn’t have Cheerios, and since I liked em that way and oats are really nutritious, that’s my new way of making em. Also flaxseed is a random ingredient most people don’t have laying around, these bad boys taste just fine without flaxseed.

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2. Roll your peanut butter dough into 1 inch balls, and roll em around in the coconut until properly coated. As you can see, I ran out of coconut (I adjusted the recipe so you won’t!), so a few of my energy bitez are coated in more oats.

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3. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Then eat em up! Yumz!

Did I really just say “Yumz”?!
Love,
MrsPen

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This is Dang Good Horchata

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

I’m not proud of the story I’m about to tell you. One time, when I was enormously pregnant, my hubby and I visited three different fast food establishments in a single trip to get dinner. Dunkin Donuts, Sonic, and a random Sonoran hotdog truck on the side of the road on our way home from Dunkin and Sonic. What can I say, the hubs had cravings that weren’t easy to satisfy.

These cravings also required a visit to a hole-in-the-wall taco stand every single day for a gigantic cup of cold horchata. If you don’t happen to live right down the street from Mexico like us, horchata is a magical cold, sweet, refreshing rice milk drink that quenches your thirst better than anything you ever had. I’m telling ya. I never had it before I was a thousand months pregnant in the middle of the summer heat, but it was the only thing I wanted. When we moved a trillion miles from that dang magical taco shop, I had to figure horchata out for myself. I’ll add that the recipe I’m about to share with you is a bit different than the ones you’ll find elsewhere, including the recipe my mother-in-law gave me, and if anyone has a true and authentic version of horchata, it’s her. However, it tastes just like the horchata at our magical taco shop, and that what we want from our horchata. Here it is:

Ingredients
1 1/2 Cup- Rice, uncooked
1 1/2 Cup- Milk
1 1/2 Cup- Sugar
5 Cups- Water
2 Tsp- Vanilla
Dash- Cinnamon

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

1. Put Milk and uncooked rice in a blender and blend for several minutes, until rice is gritty.

2. Let your rice and milk refrigerate for at least 8 hours (overnight works well)

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

3. Meanwhile, in a separate container, add sugar to 2 cups of boiling water and stir until sugar dissolves. Now put your sugar water in the fridge to chill.

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

4. After both your rice milk and sugar water have had time to refrigerate, pour the rice milk into the container of sugar water using a mesh strainer to filter out all the rice.

5. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and 3 more cups of water. Stir well.

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

6. Pour over ice into your finest mason jar and enjoy your dang good horchata!

And that’s all there is to it! Hope you love it as much as we do!

Love,
MrsPen

Addicting Whoopie Pies with 3 Ingredients

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This whole thing was an accident. This morning after we finished our breakfast tamales, my hubs was thinking something sweet would be good, then he realized he was out of Twinkies. Then I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, and poured the cake mix in the mixing bowl then realized I had no eggs. Then I threw together the ingredients we did have and hoped for the best. And it was accidentally so good that is now officially one of my “recipes”. These puppies literally melt in your mouth. I ate too many. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients-
-1 Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix
-1 Cup of Butter
-A jar of marshmallow fluff

1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees

2. Cream the cake mix and butter together until well blended and fluffy.

3. Roll the batter into a one inch ball, and roll it through sugar, and place on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.

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4. Pop the tray in the oven for about 6 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies crack.

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5. Let the cookies cool, and then plop a spoonful of marshmallow fluff on em.

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6. Mash another cookie on top to make an amazing cookie sandwich.

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I took a few bites of one and then told my hubs he could have the second half. But then I ate it.

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How to Make a Fancy Magnetic Dry Erase Organization Board

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I have been meaning to put this together for a whole long time, but my little gentleman likes to demand my undivided attention at any moment that I’m not already giving him my undivided attention. Anyways its 2:00AM and at this moment he’s sleeping and I’m making Twinkies for my sweet suga dumpin and I’m waiting for them to cool before I fill them with magic so I have a moment to write. This magnetic dry erase board thing was fun to make and is slowly turning into my brain. It helps me keep track of documents I need to retain, checks to deposit, to-do lists, shopping lists, upcoming events, and most importantly, lots of pictures of my baby. It was pretty easy and I wanted to share:

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It all started with this cool frame I found at a thrift store for $3 a few years ago. It was used as a prop for photos in two of my girlfriend’s weddings and then it sat in my mom’s garage for a while.

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Then I stumbled upon this .28 gauge steel at Home Depot and remembered from my goin-ta-skool days that steel is magnetic. And then, as the guy from Despicable Me would say, the little voice in my head said, “LIGHT BULB!” And I went and dug the frame out of my mom’s garage.

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My bright idea included using my handy staple gun from my reupholstery days to staple the steel to the back, however that did not work out so well. The worst part of this is my hubs told me before I ever started that the staple gun wasn’t going to work and I was sure I was going to prove him wrong. So then I had to giggle and look cute and adorable so he wouldn’t bust out with the Told Ya Sos. No one like a gloater, honey.

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So this was when I left the whole project in the hands of my handsome handyman. I cannot tell you what he used to attach them because I was too busy thinking about how adorable he is to pay any attention. But I do know he got the screws for it at our local Ace Hardware/post office.

So in summary, here is the math equation-

Thrift Store Frame+Steel Sheets+Screws+one heck of a handsome husband= this awesome magnetic board

And in conclusion, here are the Twinkies I made tonight. I’ll let you know how they turned out once the resident Twinkie expert gives em a try.

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Also, I almost published this post with every reference to “steel” spelt “steal”. Oh how embarrassing!

Love,
MrsP

More Thxgiving Stuff – Killa Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet Potatoes are consumed at our dinner table almost every night. That is because they are the only vegetable my hubs will consent to eat. If you put something green on his plate, no sir, he will not eat it. So every night we have roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, mashed sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, or sweet potato hash browns (raise your hand if you’re hearing this in Bubba’s voice from Forrest Gump)… Anyways, my favorite of all our sweet potato escapades is sweet potato casserole. I got the recipe from my friend Bethany’s mom years ago and I know he won’t admit this, but I think it’s what made my husband fall in love with me. Its the perfect balance if sweet and buttery and crunchy (Yes that does sound healthy). I made it for our Pre-thxgiving practice feast a few days ago, and I am making it for both Thanksgiving dinners we’re attending this year. And if you ever have surgery or something and need me to make you dinner, I’m probably going to make you this. Wow I’m really starting to sound like a grandma, with her prize casserole. At any rate, this is how my prize casserole is made:

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First, I get my sweet potatoes. I usually use about three medium size taters, but these ones were galactic size so I only used two. If they’re tiny, I use 4.

Then, I soften them up. This time I did this by boiling them for about 40 mins and then letting them cool to peel them. Sometimes I just poke a bunch of holes in them with a fork and then pop em in the microwave for 15 minutes, and then peel them once they’re cool. If I’m in a hurry, I peel them first and then boil them for about 30 min, then I don’t have to cool em down afterwards.

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The skin pretty much falls off if you boil them first.

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Then I put the sweet potaters in my mixer and blend them up real good like.

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Then I add the following ingredients: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and a healthy amount of pumpkin pie spice and mix it up gooder.

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Then I spread my whole mix into a pan.

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I sprinkle brown sugar (about a quarter cup) and walnuts all over, then I sprinkle another 1/4 cup of melted margarine all over it.

Next I put the whole shebang in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until the brown sugar is bubbly and it’s done!

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So that’s one of the dishes we will be serving on turkey day. Monday I’m planning to talk about two more important dishes that help us eat too much on T-day.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving day dish? More importantly, what is your favorite kind of pie??

I’m so excited for Thanksgiving I could die!
Love,
MrsPen

Turkey Roasting for the First Timer

This year I have so much to be thankful for. I’m so thankful for my husband, our baby, our friends, our church, our town, our police officer who just apologized for giving me a speeding ticket and said my baby was cute, and most of all I’m thankful for my husband again. I swear I love that man so much. Anyways, since we both have awesome families that really live it up on Thanksgiving and therefore get two feasts on T-day, I realized the only way I’ll ever learn how to cook a turkey is if I do it on a day that ain’t Thanksgiving. And that is how our First Annual Pre-Thx-Giving Practice Feast came to be.

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Last night, a handful of our favorite people braved our cow-infested dirt roads to come eat and draw on our table with crayons and spread the Thanksgiving cheer with us.

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We drank tea from mason jars. My hubs tried to give our fine mason jar collection away as party favors. I don’t know why he doesn’t like them.

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The men-folk discussed rifle-building in the Man-Cave. I went behind enemy lines to get this picture.

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Mostly we ate ourselves silly. I had so much fun that I weigh at least 5 lbs more today. And I have no regrets.

Annnyways, here is an account of my first turkey-makin experience.

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To start out, I thawed my frozen bird out in a 5 gallon bucket of cold water the night before. You must be VERY careful thawing a turkey out because bacteria monsters thrive at room temperature so if the outside thaws out before the inside does, you will end up with a very unhappy turkey.

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Next, I watched a hundred thousand of YouTube videos to learn about turkey roasting science. My favorite is Hilah Cooking’s video. I love Hilah; she taught me how to fry a chicken, how to sear a steak, how to grill a pork chop, and best of all she bears the uncanny resemblance to Pheobe from Friends. So this recipe closely resembles Hilah/Pheobe’s, with a few adjustments based on the ingredients I had on hand.

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I put together the seasoning for inside the bird- red onions, parsley, salt, garlic, and butter. Hilah added apples, which I would have been delighted to do if the grocery store weren’t so dang far away.

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Then I put together the basting sauce- chicken broth, garlic, paprika, butter, and orange juice. This odd combo of ingredients made for a sweet, tangy, juicy turkey. I used this scary looking contraption to inject the turkey with the juice, since basting really only flavors the skin. Notice, the turkey is not in sight yet. That is because once I started messing with that bad boy I didn’t touch anything else to take pictures. I prepped all this first, then prepared the operating table.

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Once I got the turkey out, I took every precaution I could think of to prevent contamination. I didn’t want any sick people, man!

This is the part where me and the turkey got friendly. To make a long story short, his name was Melvin, but you can call him SpaceRocketMan for short. This part includes zero pictures because I wasn’t touching anything besides the bird. This is what we did:

1. I rinsed and dried SpaceRocketMan off.
2. I sprinkled him with salt and pepper
3. I rubbed the cavity with half the parsley/garlic/onion mix
4. I put the rest of that mix in a bowl of more butter, and rubbed it all up under his skin. Mmmm this part was disgusting.
5. I used the syringe looking thing to inject my basting sauce all throughout SpaceRocketMan, especially in the thickest spots.
6. I put him in my roaster and poured the rest of the basting sauce all over him.
7. Right before he went in the oven, I loosely filled him with stuffing. It’s important to stuff the bird immediately before putting it in the oven to prevent contamination. Also, the stuffing was awesome! The recipe is to be shared tomorrow.
8. I stuck the thermometer in the thickest part and then put him in the oven at 375 degrees.

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After one hour, I opened the oven and basted the turkey, and then put it back in. I continued doing this every 30 minutes for a total of 3 hours. Every time I took it out, I rotated it when I put it back in, to help it cook evenly. I knew it was done when the thermometer read 180 degrees.

When it was done, I pulled it out, covered it with tin foil, and let it “rest” for 30 minutes. And then it was ready!

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And then we ate the heck out of that bird!

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These two beautiful ladies washed all my dishes afterwards. They are welcome in my house any day, day or night.

And that was all there was to it! I would LOVE to know any hints you might have for turkey making. Thanks for reading this whole long thing and you are cordially invited to the ranch for dinner!

Love,
MrsPen

DIY Chair Reupholstery for Beginners (Or: If you give a girl a staple gun, the world is her oyster)

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

If you are a upholstery-ologist, stop reading now. You don’t want to see how I did this. The entire extent of my research for this project consisted of watching part of a YouTube video until the spotty satellite Internet we get out here went on the fritz. Well, my dad and my brother are in the furniture-making biz so they gave me some pointers. But mostly, I just made this up. Eh, it’s not rocket science, this got the job done. But let that be a warning to any furniture-ologists that might be reading this.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery
This is Uncle Davey and my baby discussing refinishing options.

It all started when I found an awesome and extremely cheap table on Craigslist. The table has 3 extensions, so it can fit approximately one thousand people at it at one time! I refinished it a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t very difficult (thanks to my brother’s guidance) or interesting, so that’s why this is the first time you’re hearing about this.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

The downside to this awesome table is the chairs that came with it looked like something I’d find in my grandma’s house.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

I knew that I didn’t care for the chairs, but didn’t have much inspiration until yesterday when I stumbled upon a store downtown that sells mexican imported building materials and furniture at outlet prices. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial for them, but this store is so cool. Anyways, I found some awesome vinyl there for $5/yard and immediately knew what I needed to do.


I happened to have all the tools I needed for this on hand: A hammer, a phillips-head screwdriver, a staple gun, and scissors.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-UpholsteryThanks for the floral print toolset mom!

To start out, I just flipped the chairs over and unscrewed the little screws that were holding the seat on to the chair.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery
Next, I put the seat face-down on the vinyl and traced the shape of the seat, giving it about 3 inches of slack on each side.

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I contemplated removing the old upholstery and replacing the foam, however the foam was still in good shape and that would have been a pain in the rump, so I opted to just cover the upholstery with my new vinyl.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

Next, I just pulled one side of vinyl over the edge of my seat and stapled it right in the middle.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery
Then I pulled the vinyl over the side parallel to the side I just stapled, pulled it nice and taught and put a staple square in the middle on that side. I did the same with the two other sides, so that my vinyl was stretched nice and tight over the seat.

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery
Then I went to town with my staple gun and made sure that vinyl was stuck to that chair for all of eternity (leaving the corners unstapled til the end).

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery
I’m not sure how to describe the corners other than that I wrapped them like I would a Christmas present and then put a few staples in there to hold it down. Then I cut away the excess vinyl and my seat was ready to be reunited with its chair!

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

A little more work with my screwdriver, and my chair was done!

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

After I finished the first chair, my baby woke from his nap, so I gave him a good page-turner to keep him busy.

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Then I just followed the previous steps 3 more times, and that’s how my set of chairs came to be!

mrspenpen DIY Chair Re-Upholstery

I learned how to spell “upholstery” and “vinyl” today!
Love,
MrsPen

A Healthy Meal for Those of Us Who Think Salad is for the Birds

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

My dear friend Channa came for a visit last week. Now I normally have a penchant for feeding people, especially when they take time out of their day to come the way the heck out to my house. However, in this case, making food for Channa was going to be a challenge. That is because she has been following the paleo diet philosophy. That means she doesn’t eat no bread, no dairy, no sugar, no nothing the God blessed mankind with so that we would enjoy life. The diet has done her well and she looks awesome, but this was particularly difficult to me because bread, dairy, and sugar are my favorite food groups. So instead of making her lunch, I asked her to teach me how to make a paleo meal. This ended up being a win-win situation because I got an awesome lunch made for me and I learned how to make a meal so delish and guilt-free that I’ve already made it 3 times since then. (yes, when I say “win-win” I mean that I won twice, not that Channa won once and I won once.) Anyways, what she made was Spicy Cilantro Turkey Burgers and Garlic Roasted Broccoli with Lemon. It’s SO good. I’m excited to share it with y’all now!

Spicy Cilantro Turkey Burgers

First, we chopped up a quarter cup of red onions, a plump jalapeƱo, a cup of cilantro, and two cloves of garlic. I have a Pamper Chef chopper, so this took like 2 seconds, but if you’re looking for a shortcut, I think this could be lightly blended in a blender or food processor.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

Then we added all our choppings to a bowl with 1 pound of lean ground turkey, squeezed a lime all over it and squished it up with our hands. When I say we, I mean Channa did that.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

Then we (and I mean just Channa again) formed the meat into patties. We (excluding me) poured some olive oil into a skillet. Once the oil was hot, we put our little patties in the skillet and cooked them about 3 minutes on each side, or until brown all the way through.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli
Yep, this is a picture of me and Channa both equally cooking the hamburger patties.

Roasted Garlic and Lemon Broccoli

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

Meanwhile we made the broccoli. Now let me tell you, I’ve never been one to get excited over vegetables but this broccoli is to DIE for. Seriously its the best broccoli I ever had. I think my husband would even like it if he would give broccoli a chance.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli with Lemon

First, we preheated the oven at 400. Then a chopped up a bushel of broccoli (It’s called a bushel, right?) and 3 cloves a garlic. Now I recently made dinner for 9 people, and to save time I just bought a bag of fresh broccoli florets from Dole and then I could save some time and skip chopping and cleaning the broccoli (if you choose to clean the broccoli you have to dry it thoroughly or it will get soggy in the oven).

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

We spread the broccoli and garlic out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled a little salt and pepper on it, and coated it with a little olive oil. And it went in the oven for 20 minutes.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

When it was done, we squeezed the juice of one lemon and the zest of one lemon peel on it. (I have a confession- when I’ve made this since then, I couldn’t be bothered to do the lemon zest, just the juice. Channa will be disappointed in me for my lack of fanciness.)

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

Once the burgers and broccoli were done, Channa plated them with a few slices of avocado and we thoroughly enjoyed out healthy meal.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

I did convince her to lay her paleo convictions aside for a bowl of homemade pumpkin ice cream afterwards. I don’t think she regretted it.

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This is my lil cutie checking the situation out.

I feel skinnier already!
Love,
MrsPen

Tuesday Breakfast Tutorial: Crockpot French Toast (Or: How to Wake Up to a Hot Breakfast)

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I chose this for today’s breakfast because I had a loaf of bread on the fritz and I haaate throwing food away. What is cool about it, though, is this morning when we woke up, breakfast was ready! No cutting, frying, cooking, and a pile of dirty dishes left for me to wash! It felt like Mother’s Day (hint hint honey).

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

So last night, I started out by mixing 6 eggs and two cups of milk in the crockpot bowl. And added a healthy pinch of pumpkin pie spice.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I threw in the loaf of bread, cut into quarters.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I mixed the eggs, milk, and bread up real good and popped it in the fridge for a few hours.

Side Note: Next time I make this, I’m going to mix some blueberries in this concoction. Or pumpkin! Or cream cheese! The sky is the limit. Let your imagination run wild!

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

In a separate bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Side Note: Next time I’m going to add more of this mixture… Let’s say 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar. My hubs said this was the best part.

Ok here’s the tricky part… If your crock pot has a timer, just set it to start on high 4 hours prior to when you want to eat (or to cook for 4 hours and then switch to warm until you’re ready to eat, however your crockpot works.). My crockpot doesn’t have any kind of magical setting; LUCKILY, I do have a 4-month-old who wakes up all night. So when he woke me up at 5:00, I put the pot with the bread concoction in the crockpot, threw in about half a cup of walnuts, and layered the butter/brown sugar on top. I put a paper towel over the top and then put the lid on it (this is to prevent the condensation from making your french toast soggy) and put the crock pot on high. Sorry folks, at 5-in-the-morning I wasn’t concerned with taking pictures.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

When we woke up at 9:00, the house smelled like delicious breakfast!

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

Now I just took a giant scoop, added powdered sugar and warm syrup and devoured! Yum.

Today’s Recipe:
6 Eggs
2 Cups- Milk
Large Pinch – Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Loaf- Bread
1/2 Cup- Butter or Margarine
1 Cup- Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup – Walnuts
Optional- half cup berries or cream cheese or pumpkin

-Mix eggs, milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a crockpot bowl.
-Slice Bread into quarters and mix into egg mixture
-Optional- add berries or whatever extras you want to bread mixture.
-Refrigerate for a few hours.
-Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix butter and brown sugar
-Once the bread mixture has chilled, put it in the crockpot, layer walnuts and brown sugar mixture on top.
-Cover with paper towel and lid and cook on high for 4 hours.

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