80/20 in Twenty Chai!

Usually, I would have started this column by sharing a healthy recipe encouraging good food choices and nutritional tips, but this year I’m attempting something slightly different. For the New Year (and in life in general) I believe in a ratio of 80/20 in everything we do, and everything that we eat. One must be conscious of making good food choices, and on the flip side permitting yourself to indulge in the pleasures of those foods that are not so “healthy” occasionally. I’m still a believer in good, clean ingredients when you are preparing food at home. In this “Overnight Blueberry French Toast” recipe look for ingredients that are non-GMO, zero trans-fat and contain no high-fructose corn syrup. You can even substitute coconut sugar or Xylitol instead of using white sugar. Even if you don’t use these tips, remember to allow yourself to relax and not look at those calories so you can indulge and enjoy one of life’s simple, yet complex, pleasures, food!

I love this recipe because you can make it for those lazy Sunday mornings or for a brunch you might be hosting. It’s easy and can be prepared the night before and baked in the oven the next morning for an hour.

I wish you a happy and healthy New Year filled with smiles, long hugs and meaningful moments that will last you a lifetime.

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

12 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or Arrowroot)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes; place half in a greased 13” x 9” baking dish. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes; place over bread. Top with blueberries and remaining bread cubes.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and syrup in a large bowl. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
For the sauce: Combine the sugar, water and cornstarch until smooth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in blueberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries burst, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Serve with French toast. Yield: 8 servings (1-3/4 cups sauce).

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