Happy Challah Day!

I started the Challah on…Sunday night (right? I don’t remember what day it is today, which makes it hard to remember what day yesterday and the day before were). This is an amazing bread. I use Smitten Kitchen’s Challah Bread recipe, primarily because I have never screwed it up. I know braiding can seem a bit daunting, but it’s easy, YouTube it! Yes, even you can do a 6 strand Challah braid.

See?

Pretty isn’t it?

Baking bread from scratch…it is hit and miss for me and it totally depends on the weather. Sometimes I can’t get bread to rise to save myself, other times, it comes out perfect. However, this recipe has never failed me. Try it. It also yields a very delicious moist bread sure to please any picky eater (even an 18 month old that doesn’t like chocolate or most other foods). And if you’re a crazy busy mom like me, homemade bread is easy to throw in a bowl, let it rise as you go about your day, show it some aggression (a.k.a punch down), let it rise again, then bake. Easy peas-y.

Like I said…Bake.

Perfect Challah! Since I had two I decided to eat one. ‘Carbs’ is my middle name, I love ‘em.

Yummmmmmm….

I know, I said there was a story behind all of this, and there is.

My husband, who is super duper awesome and puts up with my crazy antics (and bought me a set of Stainless Steel pots and pans…it’s true love, he likes to eat, I like to bake (and cook though I’m not nearly as good as that as I am baking)), surprised me right after we got engaged, and took away my cell phone. There is no other way to say this, but to admit, I am uber plugged in. I’m a Navy Wife. I have to be. The only communication I have with my husband 95% of the time is through email so, my smart cell phone is my lifeline, not to mention I live 6,000 miles away from my family and friends…I NEED my phone. So that was a shock. Cell phone-less and a bit bewildered about the events that were unfolding before me, I got in the car with him and he drove. He drove to Bar Harbor where I feared he was going to force me to go hiking again (another story for another day). Instead, he drove to this really sweet Bed and Breakfast, The Atlantean. If you’re ever in Maine, I highly recommend staying here. I was stupified (See: Harry Potter, Stupefy Spell). In we went, he had a great weekend planned. While I still feared the hiking almost all weekend, it didn’t happen. Instead, we went down the street for a couple’s massage, went to see Apocolypto (what a blood bath, but…marriage is give and take, so I let it go), went to Geddy’s and drank SeaDog Blue Paw until we were silly (this is when my husband tried to push me into the street and then blamed it on a parked car or leaves, or something), and ate some cabbage, it was sooo awesome. The one thing that really stands out from this weekend is. French Toast.

Pineapple Upside Down French Toast, to be more specific. It.Was.Amazing.

I set out to replicate it, or find a suitable substitute since I was unable to obtain the recipe.

I found a recipe from another Bed and Breakfast and it is a very very close match, though I think adding a pinch of nutmeg makes it a spot on match for what I had at the B&B in Bar Harbor. They served in ramekin’s, which can definitely be done with this recipe, but…I only have 3 ramekins (I guess #4 had it with my baking and ran away…I went through a stint when I was pregnant with my youngest where I baked chocolate souffle everyday for about a month). So I went with the baking dish. Like I said, add the cinnamon and then a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and nutmeg were made for each other. And use Challah bread (I’m sure you were wondering, What does Challah have to do with that story? The French Toast…gotta have Challah). I can’t stress it enough. Make it, buy it, however you acquire it, use it.

Also, let it sit overnight. Having people over for brunch? PERFECT! You don’t have to do much in the morning, just throw it in the oven! Easy as pie (pie, which isn’t easy at all…so whoever coined that phrase had no idea what they were talking about).

Before:

After!

It is SO delicious. Funny though. I live in Hawaii, do you think I could find Hawaiian crushed pineapple? No. Weird? Yes.

A note on the plate. I wanted these plates soo bad (they are from Target, haha), but none of the Target’s in Maine had them (which is where we were living at the time) and they couldn’t find any available in New England, so we drove….to Montana. You might think I’m joking, but, I’m not. And guess what? I’ve never used them. Well, maybe once, but it’s rare. I thought the French Toast deserved to be on one of them, since both signify some really great memories with my husband. I won’t stay much more about the dishes (because my husband is probably cursing them), other than, they are reallllly pretty. Maybe when we move we’ll switch to using these.

But. There ya have it. Challah Bread and Pineapple Upside Down French Toast. We went back to the B&B before we moved from Maine…just for the French Toast.

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