Pound Cake French Toast

One of the things I love the most about the Rochester area is the abundance of locally owned, amazing restaurants. I mean, who wants to cook for one with all of this goodness at my fingertips? I tend to do the healthier thing during the week, by eating a bowl of oatmeal or a Clif bar for breakfast at work. But come the weekend, I want something big and satisfying and a little unique. Thank you, Country Club Diner, for teaching me about pound cake French toast!

Wait, pound cake French toast?

Yes, and it is just as lovely as it sounds.

See, French toast used to be one of my favorite breakfasts when I went out. Give it to me plain, with cinnamon swirl bread, or stuffed. But now my body can no longer handle the yeast in the regular bread, so I have to enjoy alternatives when they pop up. This restaurant does a great job coming up with fun alternatives. I have had cinnamon bun French toast, frycake French toast, and a few times over the past year, pound cake French toast. Early in 2017, I treated myself with this luscious lemon pound cake French toast, served with blueberries.

I am guessing that they are using a prepackaged lemon pound cake, instead of making their own, just for the sake of ease. I do believe they have made some of their own loaves in the past, though, such as a lemon poppyseed one that I had last year. I remember double-checking ingredients on that one before trying it. I say if you’re good at making your own pound cake and want to control your ingredients, go homemade all the way. Otherwise, you can easily find some good, solid pound cake at your local bakery or grocery store. You don’t want a crumbly one, or it won’t work right.

To prepare the pound cake French toast, you do it in the usual way. Cut a nice, thick slab of pound cake, like you would want a nice, thick slice of bread for regular French toast. Dip it in some whisked raw egg to coat it. You won’t need to add anything like sugar or vanilla to the egg, because the pound cake is already lusciously sweet and flavorful.

Cook the egg-covered slice in a stovetop pan, browning it on both sides. Serve immediately. I like the garnish of fresh fruit on top of the pound cake, to give it even more flavor. Plus, fruit at breakfast is always a nice touch. They serve it with Country Crock, because this place never serves real butter. (I would prefer real butter, but you don’t need it.) You can also pour some syrup on it, but trust me, you won’t need that, either. A good pound cake is already moist. And as I said, it already is sweet and has good flavor.

The other part of this breakfast that I like at this diner is that the pound cake French toast comes with your choice of eggs, meat, and potatoes. I have been married to scrambled eggs since about birth. I like their bacon better than their sausage. And one of the servers there taught me a couple of years ago about the joy of home fries with onions, and theirs are always done to perfection that way. All of this food keeps you full for about the entire day. In fact, I almost had to take part of that pound cake French toast home!

And even with the cup of flavored coffee, the bill still comes to under $10. You just can’t beat that.

So which flavor would you like to try? I say the possibilities are endless. Another one I remember having sometimes over the past year or so was a raspberry pound cake, served with fresh berries on top. So many combinations are available. Let me know how yours turns out and what flavor combination you try to make!

 

Stacking Stones for Inner Peace

 

stacking-stones-sodus

No doubt you’ve seen those stacks of rocks when out and about. More and more people are stacking stones when out in nature, and people are asking why. I have heard of the practice being done to create harmony in a garden. Hikers in the wilderness use these stacks to alert other travelers of trails. Some create cairns as a memorial to a loved one. Mostly I have heard of the practice as being something Zen, to create inner peace.

Pictures of these creations always draw me in, but I had never before tried to do it. Then this summer, I had a very emotional trip back home. So much good happened on that trip, but it is always very difficult for me to go there. My mother is deep into Alzheimer’s disease and my father has been gone for just over five years now. This last trip, I went to the cemetery to pay my respects to my daddy and to my grandmother, who had passed away a mere eight months before him. And then I had the horrible pain of having to leave my mother. I live far enough away, now, where I don’t always know when I will be able to return. I know our remaining time together is short, so I milk all the time that I have with her.

I returned home late on a Sunday night and had to get up Monday morning to work a two-hour shift at one of my part-time jobs. Getting back into the swing of things after being gone for almost two weeks is never an easy thing. Though I’d had my spiritual cleansing of a weekend of Pearl Jam shows in Chicago, and a full afternoon to bask in the beauty that is the Toledo Art Museum, I still felt like something was lacking. Summer was almost over, and it had been so hot, I hadn’t done as much hiking as I usually like to do.

I quickly decided to head east. Chimney Bluffs State Park is one of the most beautiful places you will ever go. The massive spires of clay constantly change, and yet stay the same as the elements slowly erode them.

Peeking through the trees at Chimney Bluffs from the trail.
Peeking through the trees at Chimney Bluffs from the trail.

With the right light, the orange color provides a stunning contrast to the blue of Lake Ontario.

The clay spires of Chimney Bluffs from the woods trail.
The clay spires of Chimney Bluffs from the woods trail.

They are just as majestic and awe-inspiring from the beach.

Looking up at Chimney Bluffs
Looking up at Chimney Bluffs

And speaking of the beach, it is a treasure trove of rocks and stone and other natural debris that has washed ashore or fallen from above.

rocky-beach
Rocks and driftwood on the Chimney Bluffs beach

I have always been drawn to rocks and stones. I blame that on my father, who always used them in his landscaping. But I also cannot help but feel some kind of connection to them. Every time I go hiking, I usually find a rock or a stone to carry with me as a sort of talisman on my journey. There’s no shortage of options.

The rocky beach of Chimney Bluffs
The rocky beach of Chimney Bluffs

On this trip, I kept finding rocks to carry with me, but I still wasn’t quite feeling that sense of connection and peace that I usually get. The day was perfect, not overly hot like the rest of the summer had been, and the lake was a perfect blend of blues.

And then I stumbled upon this formation.

Talk about stone-faced!
Talk about stone-faced!

I chuckled to myself and kept on walking, but then suddenly felt the need to make my own creation. I was drawn to a dozen different stones on the ground and felt compelled to try stacking stones on one of the boulders. Instant peace. Apparently it was radiating peace, because I had barely finished when someone stopped and asked if she could photograph my creation. Of course I said yes. And then I sat watching the blue waves of the lake as the backdrop to my creation. A total zen moment.

My stacked stones
Stacking stones brought me such inner peace

You can also see video of the waves crashing behind it, as well as many other traveling adventures here.

Is stacking stones for everyone? No.

Did stacking stones cure what ailed me? Not permanently, but it has helped me to continue on my personal journey of finding peace and happiness in my life.

Should I try stacking stones? That’s up to you. If you are in a place where you can find stones and feel compelled to give it a try, then do so. If you have to force it, it isn’t going to work. You have to open up your heart and mind to feeling the balance. It’s going to take some careful balancing to get them to properly stack, as well as patience to find the right ones, but it is worth it in the end.

What are your experiences with stacking stones? What do you do to find your inner peace?

Behold the Maple Bacon Donut

What’s that you say? A maple bacon donut? Some people immediately wrinkle up their noses and say, “How gross!” Others clamor for a taste, or beg to know where to find one. Well, I found them locally, and they are yummy.

maple bacon donut whole

Yes, this gastric delight can be found at Donuts Delite in Rochester, NY, home to some of the most original donut designs I have ever seen. It has been around for decades and is a familiar place for locals. They also serve a great brunch and are home to one of the many Salvatore’s Pizza franchises.

The first time I heard about this donut, I was a little skeptical. I mean, I like maple-flavored bacon. I like donuts. I would have never thought about putting them together. I remember when chocolate-covered bacon became all the rage and was skeptical of that. I received some as a holiday gift from one of my students’ parents and decided it wasn’t that bad. A nice mix of sweet and savory. So, I figured I could give this a shot.

My first maple bacon donut, as pictured above, was good, but the bacon was a little gummy for my taste. I am a fan of crisp bacon, especially if it is going to be on something like this. I need that kind of a flavor. Several weeks later, I decided to give it another shot. Just look at how wonderful this looks.

bacon donut top

You take that first bite and are greeted with a mouthful of maple flavor from the frosting. Keep on going and you are greeted with the creamy maple filling and then the bite of the savory bacon topping. It’s so rich and so naughty and yet so good.

You may want to split your maple bacon donut into two pieces, but it may be hard to resist the flavor. I wouldn’t recommend eating one every single day, but allow yourself to indulge here and there. If you’re local, you will want to go in the morning, as these do sell out quickly. And then be sure to take a walk around any of our fabulous walkways or trails to burn it off. Really, you won’t be sorry. Or at least, I am not sorry.

maple filling

Have you ever tried a maple bacon donut? Do they exist where you are? What is one of your favorite indulgences?