It has been another exciting 2 months since we moved to Lake Roosevelt. The kids left after Christmas and our friends Mike and Beatrice came to visit us at our new place to celebrate New Years with us. We had an amazing time showing Mike and Bea around, stopping at the local dive bar Kuks (and admiring the 80’s posters on the ceiling).
and were treated to a private wine tasting by the owners of the China Bend Winery (right across from us). Besides grapes, the winery also grows walnuts and we were lucky to pick up a box of walnuts and had fun cracking several pounds of walnuts, which we then partially turned into a delicious coating for our walnut crusted walleye dinner.
I can definitely say that this New Years was the coldest New Years I have EVER spent outside, it was MINUS SEVEN degrees and Bea, Muprhy, Luna and I were wrapped up in blankets around the bon fire while the gents were shooting off fireworks over the lake. That was a very memorable New Years night and such a treat that Beatrice and Mike spent pretty much 2 days to get from North Carolina to the most northern part in Washington to see our new place and spent New Years with us.
Then my birthday rolled around and it wouldn’t be a true birthday celebration without our friends the Sudores. We packed our bags for a fun weekend in Lake Chelan which is exactly half way between Seattle and Lake Roosevelt, the perfect place to meet. Chelan is well known for its wineries and for my birthday we went to Mellesoni winery and now I own 1/2 a case of the most amazing and most expensive wine I have ever bought…and clearly I am not a frugal person, I can not bring myself to open a bottle of this very special wine and are waiting for the right occasion to crack a bottle.
On the not so fun side…just when we thought we would be spared from Covid, Mike caught it really bad and was down for a full 2 weeks and I only caught it very mildly (at least so I think, the home test never showed a positive result for me but with body aches, a really sore throat and dry cough at the same time Mike went through very severe Covid symptoms, just seems too much of a coincidence). Thankfully now we are all back to health and life can go on.
We still have a lot of snow on the ground and it just snowed 2x this week but the day time temperatures are now up to 44 degrees and spring is on its way. I can’t wait for it to happen and finally be able to explore my surroundings with Stan – Who is Stan you might ask? The long anticipated adoption of a new horse has finally happened and fate brought us Stan, an 18 year old Tennessee Walker. Stan is adjusting well to his new surroundings and Luna is very smitten with Stan, always at his side, testing out her “heeler skills”, barking at Stan (to make him move), laying down in front of him (to keep him in place) and nipping at his heels (to really make him move). Murphy is mostly interested in the horse apples (gross) and playing frisbee in the horse corral.
Prior to Mike catching Covid, he built me the most amazing tack room. Now I just need to “girlyfy” it. One of the amazing aspects of living in the country and having a little bit of your own land is that whatever you have envisioned for your life style and living quarters, with some fantasy and handy work, you can make it happen. I have always dreamt of a “ranch” on the water and here I am ….getting up at 6:00 a.m. and instead of surfing the web and obsessing about cleaning the house, I now put on my extra dirty boots, warm jacket and beanie (an absolute must in this area in winter) and the first tasks on the list is picking up horse manure, feeding the horse, the deer, the turkey, the dogs and the cat. Sounds horrible? Not for me, I would say its good for the soul!
Now we have to beautify the barn a little bit and then off to the next “dream” – a cabin in the woods, aka home office, with view on the water. Currently I am envisioning the below. We will see how things turn out in 3 months and I will make sure to post before an after photos.
Now off to the recipe, which is actually Mike’s recipe and not mine. Since Mike is retired, he cooks me the most amazing breakfasts and as I mentioned in my last blog entry, Apple Pie French Toast is my absolute favorite breakfast these days. Don’t dismiss this recipe because it uses your standard white sandwich bread – which I know is a huge no no in the “Gourmet” kitchen and if you are really against using white bread, I am sure you can assemble this dish with brioche. I will give it a try next time I make this breakfast for a bigger crowd but for now, I have to say nobody ever suspects its made with white bread and trust me it tastes absolutely delicious.
Apple Pie French Toast – makes 4 portions @ 3 rolls of French Toast per person
- 2 Apples, cut in small cubes
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/8 cup water or apple juice
- 1 loaf of white bread (Wonderbread or similar type of bread)
- 2 tablespoons of butter (soft) + 2 tablespoons of butter for frying
- Powdered Sugar
- Peel the apples, remove the core and chop into fine/small cubes.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon.
- Mix apples and cinnamon sugar mixture in a pot and add the water or apple juice, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes until the apples are soft with a little bit of crunch. Once done, set mixture aside and let cool for 5 minutes.
4. While the apple mixture is cooling, cut off the crust of the bread (only work in batches of 3-4 slices, you don’t want the bread to dry out, then you can’t roll it up) and flatten the bread with a rolling pin, roll it as thin as you can without the bread falling apart.
5. Now fill each slice of rolled out bread with 1-2 teaspoons of the apple mixture. “Smear” a little bit of the soft butter on the shorter side of the bread edges and roll them up from the short side. Carefully press the rolled up ends together. Proceed this way with all your bread slices and apple mixture. If you have apple mixture left over, use it as topping for the fried up French Toast pies/rollls.
6. Heat up a pan with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and fry the French Toast rolls until golden from each side.
7. Before serving, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve the French Toast Pies with home made whipped cream and/or fruit salad on the side. Of course maple syrup is also a delicious addition.
There are a couple of tricks I have learned: 1. You can NOT prep the bread in advance – meaning cut off the crust of all the bread slices and then move on to other chores and come back to the bread slices and fill them later. The bread dries out in no time and then you won’t be able to roll it up and it will fall apart. So only prep 3-4 slices at one time, fill them, rub some soft butter on the edges and roll them up. Then move on to the next batch. 2. I would suggest to make as many as you have time for, fry them up, let them cool down and then freeze them in portions of 3- 4 rolls. Then at any given time when you would like to eat them , take them out of the freezer the night before and let them defrost in the fridge or take them out 1 hour prior to your desired eating time and if you have an air fryer, air fry them for 5 minutes, they come out perfect! This way you always have an amazing breakfast (or even dessert – they taste awesome hot with vanilla ice cream on the side) at hand and it will be ready in no time!. If you don’t have an air fryer, just reheat them in a pan.