Rise 'n Shine

Every once in a while, I yearn for the days when I was able to lay in bed on a sunny weekend morning until the welcomed scent of freshly brewed coffee, sizzling venison sausages and delightfully warm French toast tempted me to wander downstairs for a sampling. Okay, I'll admit it. I usually yearn for such days! This month, I present the next best thing to having your breakfast made for you.

This month's recipe for Fruit Medley French Toast is a terrific way to enjoy breakfast in the morning without much fuss. You simply need to put together the ingredients the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning. Then, grab a newspaper and a cup of coffee or, better yet, pop back into bed for a while until it's ready!

While other fruit combinations can be used for this recipe, I really suggest trying it as-is first. Then, once you've mastered the perfect combination of fresh and dried fruits, feel free to play around with the ingredients. Just make sure that you have enough moisture to soften the dried fruits and saturate the French toast. Otherwise, your recipe will end up dry or, worse yet, burnt. On the other hand, if you use too many moist ingredients, you might end up with French toast soup or an under-cooked breakfast.

While this breakfast can stand on its own, some simple breakfast sausage or a couple slices of bacon will also be nice accompaniments. But, really, all you need is milk and coffee to call it breakfast ... or lunch ... or dinner. It all depends on how long it takes you to get out of that bed!

Fruit Medley French Toast

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 large sourdough loaf, cut into 3/4" slices
  • 1 small can mandarin orange slices
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 c. dried apple slices
  • 1 c. dried cranberries

Lightly spray a 9 X 13" baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the slices of sourdough bread on the bottom of the pan, taking care to cover as much of the bottom as possible.

Carefully drain and reserve the mandarin oranges; put the juice in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, orange rind and cinnamon to the mandarin orange juice. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the baking pan.

Evenly spread the apple slices, dried cranberries and orange slices over the top of the bread. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, place the baking pan in a cold oven set to 350 degrees. Bake, still covered in aluminum foil, for 45 minutes or until the French toast is golden brown.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 60 minutes