Overnight French Toast Bake

Overnight French Toast Bake

Overnight french toast bake is truly such an easy breakfast or brunch ideas, especially for the holidays!

french toast bake recipe easy holiday breakfast

french toast bake recipe easy holiday breakfast

As I covered in my Valentine’s Day post, I think holidays like this should serve as an opportunity to do nothing but enjoy the day as a family. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love a crafty present from my babies, but beyond that, all I want is time…oh and maybe some French Toast Bake…

french toast bake

Yeah, it looks as unhealthy as it is. But it’s such an inexpensive breakfast and is by far the most decadent, mouthwatering dish I’ve ever had.

I don’t normally share recipes (or at least ones that aren’t somewhat healthy) but if ever you were to break your diet over a dish, this one should be it! The best part is that this dish will cost you little money and even less time, especially since you prepare it the night before.

Chances are you already have all of the ingredients necessary to make this succulent dish and it’s sure to make for a great start to your Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations.

Overnight French Toast Bake

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
bread
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar + 3T + additional for sprinkling
Vanilla
Cinnamon

  • Melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar then pour into a 9×13 pan.
  • Mix the eggs, milk, 3t vanilla, 2t cinnamon, 3T brown sugar together.
  • Place a layer of bread down evenly into the 9×13 pan then pour half the custard onto the bread.
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon and brown.sugar on top of the bread then another layer of bread then the rest of the custard, then more cinnamon and sugar.
  • Put in fridge overnight.
  • Pull out in the morning as your oven is preheating to 350 degrees (trust me – don’t skip this step!)
  • Cook for approximately 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

If you prefer it to be a bit more like custard, you can stop there. I prefer to pull it out, slice it up so that caramel bottom runs golden sugar rivers between the slices, then put back in for 5 more minutes.

overnight french toast bake

When you dish the bread, use a spatula to serve it and flip it so that the sugary bottom is now the top. You’ll want to dish it while it’s still hot and you’ll want to do so quickly, before the sugar hardens.

I’m not normally a fan of French toast but this…oh this is so different.

The cooked sugar creates this crisp shell that serves as a perfect complement to the fluffy, rich bread underneath. No syrup is needed, though a warm cup of coffee or a bowl of fresh strawberries would certainly round out what is sure to be one of the best breakfasts you’ve ever had.

Believe me, the whole family will thank you.

What is YOUR favorite breakfast? Comment below, I’d love to know!

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12 Must Know Thanksgiving Prep Tips

12 Must Know Thanksgiving Prep Tips

On the hunt for some Thanksgiving Day hacks? You’ve come to the right place!

You can save time on Thanksgiving Day preparations (and any holiday) by implementing a few of these quick tips that I myself use every year. After all, the holidays should be about spending time with your family, not your oven.

Thanksgiving Day Time Savers

Cook sweet potatoes quickly

Microwave your sweet potatoes to save time and stove top space. Just poke with a fork a few times, wrap in a wet (not soaked) paper towel, and microwave 5-7 minutes. For a quick and delicious dessert option, you can then slice open, top with marshmallows, and stick in your broiler for 30 seconds.

Make mashed potatoes faster

Use Yukon Gold potatoes and leave the skin on. Then turn the potato vertical and use your apple slicer to cut them beforehand so they cook faster! Just like with apples, you’ll want to make sure you cut an end off so it sits flat on your board.

If your children (or significant other) insist on skinless mashed potatoes, boil them whole and the skin will rub off. Just stick them in an ice bath and let them cool down first! Second-degree burns do not make for a fun Thanksgiving.

mashed potatoes

And with potatoes, comes the gravy!

Okay to be honest – I really hate gravy. Lookin’ at me, you can tell there’s not much I won’t eat, but gravy? Mmm nope! That said, I know most folks love it, so if your family feels gravy is a must, put it in a thermos so it’s off your stove and out of the way but still stays warm.  Then you can pour into a gravy boat just before serving.

Make room in the fridge

Clear out the dressings and condiments and store them in an ice-filled cooler in the garage. This will also help ensure they don’t get lost in the crowded fridge when it’s finally time to eat!

Pre-Cut Veggies VS Cutting Them Yourself

Weigh the cost of prep time versus the cost of buying pre-cut and cleaned ingredients from your grocery store’s salad bar. Sometimes the cost of letting someone else do it is worth it! This can go for a lot of different parts of your meal, not just veggies.

Like Niki from Toots Mom is Tired says: “I always bring something store bought to the family Thanksgiving dinners. Someone has to bring the Hawaiian rolls. That person is me. I’ve also been known to pick up pies, cookies, and veggie trays. I like homemade food, but I’m aware of my own limits (skill-wise and time-wise) when it comes to cooking.”

Print out your recipes

Don’t risk destroying your tablet as you swipe through various recipes. Print out what you need and use painter’s tape to secure to cabinet at eye-level. Better yet, tape them up in the order you plan to cook and use post-it notes in between if there’s something that needs to be done prior to starting a recipe (like preheating the oven or boiling water).

Sarah from IHeartFrugal.com knows what I mean – “When I’m cooking, I always make a detailed meal planning list. This saves me from having to run back to the store where I will waste time and spend more by throwing unnecessary items in my cart. I also have some make-ahead recipes I whip up the day before so I can concentrate on cooking the turkey the day of. Cooking can be a lot of work, but if you are prepared you will save time and money!”

pretend recipe card for thanksgiving day time saver

Fix overcooked turkey

Did your bird cook just a little too long? Moisten your turkey meat slices by drizzling a bit of warm chicken broth over them prior to serving.

Have a houseful of guests coming that love to “help”?

Have tasks planned ahead of time for those that just insist on assisting. Child-wrangling, table setting, hors d’oeuvres serving, and wine glass filling are all great options to keep people busy and out of your way. While it might a bit more prep work, having a fun but easy craft ready is also a nice way to keep everyone occupied while you finish up the prep work.

Put your slow cookers to use (borrow if you need to)!

Figure out how much space you’ll need for prep work and then use whatever you have left to lay out those crockpots. There’s countless delicious dishes you can make and it’s so nice to just set it and forget it. Check out this Black Friday hack to see how I score slow cookers every year for FREE!

Skip the Mixer

This one comes from Tony of Fit2Father.com – “Wear latex gloves to mix by hand without getting yourself and your sink covered in food (plus bare hands in food is pretty gross!)” This is especially great for easily creaming together butter and sugar if you’re making cookies.

Soften butter easily

Forget to take your butter out prior to sitting down to dinner? Heat up a drinking glass by running warm water over it or by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds then place it upside-down, over the butter. The butter soften quickly and will now be the right consistency to easily cut and spread.

Don’t forget dessert!

If you plan to bake cookies, bake them ahead of time and keep them moist with apples! Store them in Tupperware along with an apple wedge and the cookies will draw in moisture from the apple, ensuring they taste fresh from the oven once your guests arrive. If you are storing them for more than 24 hours, replace the wedge daily.

Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t be a time of chaos, so hopefully with these quick tips you’re able to enjoy the day and spend time with the ones you love. 

If you want even more time savers, check out my post on Holiday Hacks!

And if you have any of your own time saver hacks, please be sure to comment with ’em below!

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Must-Have Halloween Decor for Under $10!

Must-Have Halloween Decor for Under $10!

Halloween decorating is our family’s all-time favorite part of the year!! We have an entire closet filled with totes of halloween decor in our house and I love it. What I don’t love, though, is spending money on something that only comes out for a few weeks each year. So today I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Halloween decorations – all for under $10!!

Disclaimer: The following are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission should you click through and make a purchase. This in no way impacts your purchase price or my opinion of the products.

Halloween Decorations on a Budget

First things first – if you’re not a member of Amazon Prime, sign up for your free trial TODAY! If you’re on the fence, be sure to read my article on Twenty Different Ways to Save with Amazon Prime!

Let’s kick things off right – this tombstone set shown above has 56 (!!) pieces and yes, it’s under $10!

See on Amazon

Creepy Cemetery Signs

See on Amazon

 

Trick-or-Treat Sign

How cute is this sign?!

Find it on Amazon

Halloween Pillow Covers

I’m a big fan of pillows and blankets – like seriously, if anyone ever needs a present idea for me, pillows and/or blankets are the way to go!! So when I saw these pillow covers, I knew I had to have them.

See on Amazon

Green Goblin Door Cover

 Plastic Brain Jello Mold

 We used this at our last Halloween party and it went over so well!! It’s reusable and less than $4. We even made some jello worms to go with it – so fun!

Halloween 3D Sticker


Believe it or not, this spooky sticker is ONLY $2! Such a steal!!

Get It on Amazon

Zombie Door Cover


Buried Groom and Bride Props (Set of 2)

Fun Halloween Stamps

Perfect for trick-or-treaters, gift bags, or just to have on hand for your own kids!

Haunted House Window Cover

frugal halloween decoration ideas

String Lights

Our house is ALWAYS the most lit up house in the neighborhood regardless of the holiday or season. I love using purple and orange lights to celebrate the Halloween season!

Black Lace Spiderweb

Glow in the Dark Spooky Eye Stickers


If you’re feeling mischievous, put one of these on your bathroom mirror before bed and wait until someone wakes up in the middle of the night to go potty. hehehe

Ghost String Lights

Heh have I mentioned yet that we REALLY love lights?

Spooky Arm Yard Stakes

Pumpkin Porch Light Cover

 Keep your porch lit up but still spooky and fun!

Paper Lanterns (Set of 6)

Restroom Door Cover

 

Such a fun way to designate where the bathroom is while enjoying a bit of spooky Halloween humor!

Orange and Black Pumpkin

See on Amazon

Witches Hats (Set of 5)

You’re reading that right – you can snag FIVE witches hats for LESS than $3!!

 Hanging Halloween Decor

Zombie Figurines (Set of 18)

How amazing are these?! Use them for Halloween decor, a fun diorama (the teacher will love it, I’m sure!) or you can set up your own spooky village using the tombstone set I mentioned above.

Cute Zombie Basket

If you prefer to go the cutesy route with Halloween, this basket is a must-have!!

Zombie Head Bowl

 

 Heh and if you prefer not to go the cutesy route, this bowl makes for a great serving dish!

Realistic Skull

Last year we buried a pallet in dirt, stuck the hand stakes mentioned above in the pallet, then placed this skull at the top with a strobe light. Super cheap, but super creepy!

Mini Pumpkins (Set of 6)

 Ghost Vinyl Sticker

 I had to wrap this up with one more cute one – seriously who wouldn’t swoon over this?!

Comment below – I’d love to know YOUR favorite Halloween decoration!

Why You Need to Buy Future Presents for Your Kids

Why You Need to Buy Future Presents for Your Kids

We have totes for everything – storing holiday decorations, keeping the umpteen feral cats in our neighborhood warm during cold winter nights, planting small varieties of tomatoes, etc.

It’s not quite as bad as my mason jar habit, but it’s getting there…

Then one summer, we found an extremely value-priced Imaginext playset at a garage sale and my love of totes jumped to a whole new level.

We made the $2 plunge and bought the toy for our son, but as “luck” would have it, he was being extremely sh*tty contrary that day, so a new toy wasn’t in the cards for him. While we pondered where we could store this fairly sizeable and yet 99%-cheaper-than-new playset, my thoughts strayed to a large, grey tote we had in our attic.

So with the toy safely stashed in our 150-year-old attic, away from prying hands and nosey toddlers, we decided we’d simply give it to our son for his next birthday, which was in a few months. As per routine, we went out the next weekend to garage sales and found a really cool toy guitar for our daughter. Again, it was I think a dollar, but we don’t like the habit of giving our kids presents for no reason, so up to the attic it went.

Thus, through the magic of simulated time-travel and a knack for spotting good deals on gently used toys, the Future Present Tote was born.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission and be able to afford coffee tomorrow. And Mama needs her coffee…

But What About Buying New Toys?

When I was a kid, I’d always get a combination of hand-me-down toys and new toys for holidays/birthday. (I also got socks and stuff, but I try to block out the more sadistic traits of my family and focus on the good.)

Whether the present was a brand new doll or a tea set from Goodwill, I never knew the difference because it was always new to ME. I mean, it’s possible my toys were judging each other on being shiny and new like some Mean Girls/Toy Story crossover, but who was I to get involved?

As a parent, though, I totally understand why my mother or grandparents might have opted to give me second hand stuff – toys are expensive.

Not only is the cost an issue, but new toys are…well…sorta wasteful, don’t you think? When you buy a used toy or doll, you cut down on package waste, and you might save an item that was otherwise destined for the landfill. You put money directly into the hand of an actual person, rather than a huge corporation. And, if after their presents are opened, your child decides within a few months they no longer like Power Rangers, you are out like $10 instead of $100+.

The New Adventures of Old Toys

If you have older children, I can see why you might hesitate on giving them “used” toys, but you’d be surprised what you can find at garage sales and online resale sites that are actually in really great shape! For example, when I worked at PBS, I went on a huge Bob Ross kick and ended up buying a Bob Ross paint set.

brunette girl wearing a bob ross shirt

I was really cool in my early 20s…

Once I realized that maybe I wasn’t so great at painting happy trees, I decided to sell it — nearly new and at a third of the cost! Something like that would make for a great gift for older kids.

On the other end of things, if your children are young enough, you can also “retire” certain toys to the future presents box when they get new ones. This frees up space, reduces clutter, and allows you to keep them interested in a lesser amount of junk well-loved toys and stuffed animals. Then, after a while you can reintroduce the old toy and watch them regard it with renewed interest.

Fantastic Deals and Where to Find Them

Where to stock up on future presents is probably the most fun part of the whole experience, aside from the money you’ll save. We love spending a Saturday morning perusing garage sales during the summer – it’s a great way to score deals while also enjoying sunshine and exercise as a family! Typically, we find some decent things in the fall, but those first spring garage sales are where it’s at.

People are very eager to clear their house out after winter, and especially since Christmas’ excesses and new toys are somewhat still lingering, you can get some really cool stuff dirt cheap.

save money kids clothing article link

Another opportunity is Facebook’s Marketplace feature. As your kids’ birthdays approach, run a few casual searches on their favorite things and you’d be surprised at what you can find. We picked up a Doc McStuffins playset for my daughter for $1 that would normally go for $30 were it brand new. It’s in pristine condition, not missing anything, and the family was happy to get rid of it as their children had grown out of it.

Granted, it’s a bit bigger than the tote, but the concept still holds true – she got it for Christmas and ADORES it.

Give Totes a Chance

This isn’t the first nor last time I’ll wax poetically about the usefulness of totes, so you might as well get on board. Pick up a tote and pick a hiding spot, because this method of money saving is a keeper.

The only downside is of course that if you don’t hide it well, and I mean really well, it’s like a time capsule treasure chest for sneaky little hands. Aside from that, though, get yourself a future presents tote and start saving money for your future in the present.

Oh and also you could use it to…

Totes My Goats!

brunette girl hugging goats happily

Sorry, I had to…

Do you buy your kids presents way ahead of time and then hide them?

Do they ever find them or do you consider yourself a parenting ninja? Share your secrets in the comments below!

My Top 6 Gift Ideas for a WAHM

My Top 6 Gift Ideas for a WAHM

As a work-at-home mom, I don’t ask for much — just quiet children, a clutter-free work space, a muse that never shuts up…ya know, simple things.

That said, I’ve been blessed with two VERY vocal children, a folding table shoved in the corner of our guest room, and a brain that thinks about sleep more than writing. So rather than dwell on that which I’ll never have, I want to share with you what’s on the top of my gift wish list as a work-at-home mom and why I love them so. I’ve picked out these gift ideas specifically for work-at-home moms, but I’d be willing to bet ANY mom would love them!

Please know that some of these links may be affiliate links, which just means you’ll help fund my coffee habit should you choose to click through and make a purchase.

Unique Gift Ideas for a Work-At-Home Mom

Noise Cancelling Headphones – $30

Oh please, oh please, Santa, bring me a pair of these! It’s so hard to focus on writing a blog post when I can hear my children downstairs begging for attention. Note: Their dad is with them, but they’re like that guy you were into Freshman year of college who only started liking you back after he found out you now have a boyfriend.

Fun Twisty Tripod – $15

I have a regular ol’ boring tripod and it functions fine, but this one looks SO fun!! Not to mention it would make my life oh-so-much easier when I’m trying to do a livestream on my “desk” and I have to put the keyboard on the floor in order to make space.

Ring Light – $10

Remember when I mentioned the whole “sleep vs work” issue? This ring light could fix all of that! Well okay maybe not ALL of that, but hey, it’d at least make the bags under my eyes look a little less frightening for young children. 

Inspirational Mug – $10

I am a mug addict. There. I said it. But you know what? I’m also a coffee addict, sooo…

Oh and if you’re going to pick up a mug, you may as well grab a mug warmer, too. Heh because if you give a mouse a cookie… 😉

Bulletin Board Paper – $10

This one seems weird, I know, but stick with me – I use bulletin board paper ALL the time to map out work plans, goals, blog posts, etc. I can tape it up high enough to keep away from the kids and won’t run the risk of misplacing it. Plus it’s big enough that once you’re done, you can take a picture of it and then toss it to the wolves children to shred. Errr or maybe don’t do that, unless they’re also willing to sweep it up later, which in that case, send them to my house next.

Another great one is dry erase paper – did you even know that was a thing?! It is. And it’s amazing. Find it here.

A Warm Meal – $17

I am such a huge fan of Blue Apron, especially during the holiday season. Not only do they save you time (no meal planning, no grocery shopping, no worries) but they offer such DELICIOUS options, often times things you can’t get in your area. I’ll never forget one of our first meals from them, it was a breakfast tostada with watermelon radish and oh. my. goodness. It was heavenly and immediately ensured I’d be a repeat customer. Yum.

I could continue on down the list of things you should buy for the work-at-home mom in your life, but I’m confident this will at least give you a decent head start on what to buy. Oh and if you want to buy something for your favorite blogger (that’s me, right?) send it to: PO BOX 694 Springfield, IL 62705 (I’m only like half joking…)

I would love it, though, if you’d comment below and tell me one thing YOU’RE hoping Santa brings you this year!