Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding With a Salted Caramel Sauce: Dethroning My Old Favorite Breakfast Monarch


I did not discover bread pudding until about nine or ten years ago, most likely because the younger me would have heard the name and thought it sounded disgusting (I am a closet picky eater). One morning I was watching Good Morning America, and a woman had won a recipe contest sponsored by the show, I knew at that instant that I had to make it, and since then, it has become a fixture on holiday mornings in my house. It was our favorite!

Until today.

Last week, I chaperoned my daughter’s kindergarten field trip to our local orchard, Highland Orchards. They have the BEST apple cider doughnuts EVER! As I sat on the hayride with my friend Tara, the idea struck me. Why not make bread pudding with the doughnuts? I had all intentions of getting to it that weekend, but time slipped away and I never made it back to grab some doughnuts.

Let’s fast forward to this weekend. My sister just happened to mention that they were taking their kids to the orchard on Saturday. I asked her if she could please pick up a dozen doughnuts for me. Who knew this would be the text that would change my family traditions!


Late last night, as I headed to bed, I assembled the ingredients, covered them in foil, and put them in the fridge, hoping to God that I didn’t just ruin a dozen fabulous rings of cinnamon awesomeness. It was the first thing I thought about this morning when I woke up. I popped downstairs and got it into the oven. It was bubbly, and golden, and the house smelled amazing. But then I had a momentary panic attack.

What should I top it with?

I looked up recipes for a vanilla sauce, but the ingredients gave me heart failure just imagining the calorie count. Then I thought of a salted caramel sauce. As I scoured the internet, my hopes started to sink. I was out of heavy cream, and I didn’t have any condensed milk, but then, as if a gift from above, I stumbled upon a recipe by Ree Drummond on Food Network. I was in business. I grabbed a pot from the cabinet and in about eight minutes, I had the best caramel sauce to top my absolutely beautiful casserole.

The result was out of this world. My husband, who can be my biggest critic, was enamored. He asked me what I planned to call it. I told him I wasn’t sure, to which he replied “Ridiculousness”. According to him, it’s the perfect name because it’s so ridiculously good!

So there you have it. My old favorite bread pudding has been dethroned as the reigning monarch of breakfast casseroles. This new outsider has come in, with overnight success, and has pushed out the queen of my recipe box.


Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding


1 dozen of apple cider doughnuts

3 eggs

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of half & half

¼ cup of cinnamon sugar (prepared)



The night before (or at least an hour before you bake):

Grease a medium sized casserole dish.
Break up doughnuts into large pieces and place in the dish.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, and half & half.

Pour over the doughnuts, the pat them down with a large spoon making sure each piece gets dunked.

Cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator to soak.

The next morning (or hour depending how on the ball you are):

Remove the foil and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the bread pudding.
Set oven to 350˚, and place the dish into the cold oven.
Bake for about 35 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer. (You may need to adjust these times based on the depth of the dish)
At this point the top should be browned and bubbly at the edges. The cinnamon sugar should have created a crispy crust on top.

Remove from the oven and set aside for about 10 minutes.

The Sauce:

Recipe Courtesy of the Food Network


1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup half & half
4 tablespoons of salted butter
A pinch of course salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the brown sugar, half & half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir while cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, allowing it to thicken.

Add the vanilla and cook another minute stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and spoon it over each serving of bread pudding, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.


Be prepared. This will dethrone your family favorites too!



Some Bunny Loves You Pancakes


This morning I was in an Easter mood, so I decided to make the girls some bunny pancakes. They were easy & cute.

1. Make your favorite pancake batter.
2. Use a small measuring cup to drizzle the batter onto the griddle in a bunny shape. I made a large oval for the body, a smaller oval for the head, and one long pointy ear.
3. Cook the pancake completely and remove from the griddle.
4. Transfer to a plate and add the mini-marshmallow tail. I used some melted chocolate chips to “glue” it in place.
5. I added a melted chocolate eye, and a slice of Annie’s Pink Lemonade Fruit Snacks as the nose.

These are not super complicated, but it made my girls giggle on this snugly Saturday morning.

Happy Easter!



Finding Peace in Waffles

I’ve been yelling ALOT lately. My kids are out of sorts, and some days I feel like I am raising a pack of wild raccoon  They scurry around the house, eating everything, and making large messes.

By Phil Coale, AP

By Phil Coale, AP

When I attempt to correct them, they run off snickering. UGH!! Then the extreme mom frustration sets in. At this point, I usually start with my litany of punishments and rants…threatening to bring out “the big black trash bag”, “time-out”, “no friends today”, “Ollie is watching” (our elf), “Santa’s coming”, “Don’t make me call Daddy!” (the little buggers have learned that Daddy is much nicer than mommy, so this one needs to be retired…)

Usually on a day like this, I grudgingly clean it up, then get distracted with another chore, and sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon, I find my cold coffee next to my soggy breakfast. No wonder I was STARVING and miserable!

Well, I decided to STOP. BACK OFF. RELAX. I came to the realization that I am not Donna Reed. I work full-time. I have a blog. It is Christmas, and I am married to a UPS driver (pretty much out of commission until after the holidays). I stood on the knowledge that I am generally a clean person, my friends and family know this. My children are good kids, who usually listen. This circus is temporary!

Coffee?? Where was my coffee? and my waffle? I made a healthy breakfast for myself, but have yet to eat it. I WILL HAVE MY WAFFLE!

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I grabbed my warm coffee, and my crisp waffle, at 9:00 in the morning, and I settled into my cozy nook in the kitchen. Isn’t that why I bought myself leather chairs with ottomans? I enjoyed my breakfast, smiled at my children, and found my missing inner peace.

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So, here is the recipe for my “Peace Waffles”. Try them. Put your feet up. Let your kids make a mess. Be a happy mom.

I’m glad I did.

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The Steps to Inner Peace Through Waffles…

1. Start with a multi-grain waffle (I like Van’s)

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2. Toast it in the toaster.

3. Spread a layer of peanut butter on top. (any nut butter would work)

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4. Top with a sliced banana.

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5. Sprinkle with pecan halves.

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6. Serve with coffee, or tea.

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7. Eat it in peace!

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Peace Waffles


  • 1 multi-grain waffle
  • 1 small banana
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of pecan halves


1. Start with a multi-grain waffle (I like Van’s)

2. Toast it in the toaster.

3. Spread a layer of peanut butter on top. (any nut butter would work)

4. Top with a sliced banana.

5. Sprinkle with pecan halves.

6. Serve with coffee, or tea.

7. Eat it in peace!

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Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole

The worst realization on a Sunday night is that you are not a stay-at-home mom, and that in a few short hours, you will be squeezing your very tired tootsies into unforgiving heels and stiff clothes. Pair that with the sound of the alarm clock and people who do not know how to merge onto the busy bypass, and you have the reasons why I long for retirement…

On a sleepy Monday morning, the next best thing to my principal calling to tell me that it would be completely appropriate to wear yoga pants and flip flops to work, is something yummy and warm to eat for breakfast. Enter my Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole.

I do not have one extra second in the morning. I have my routine down to a pretty smooth system, except for the 3-4 days a week that I cannot find my keys, so I need breakfast that is super quick. What I believe is the best thing about this recipe is that you make it Sunday night, and go to bed in the yummiest smelling house on the planet. Then, pack it in individual servings so that you can just pop it into the microwave before work and feed your body something much better than a meal bar and a cup of coffee.

The recipe is posted below. Please try it; be creative. If you do not like the ingredients that I used, switch them out for what you do like. Your body and mind will be happy that you did 🙂


1 cup of steel cut oats
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
3 1/2 cups of milk (any variety, but I prefer coconut or almond milk)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of dried cherries
**you can change up the added nuts and berries to your liking


1. Grease an 8×8 baking dish
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
3. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees

** serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
*** when reheating, place in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle with milk or half and half, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and re-heat for 30 seconds. Enjoy with a nice warm cup of coffee or tea.



Testy about Tests

‘Tis the season for standardized tests. Those of you with school aged children, or those of us that teach them, understand that this is the time of year that schools put kids through the ringer with tedious standardized tests. Whether you are taking the PSSA’s, Terra Nova’s, ACT’s, SAT’s, PSAT’s, Elemeno P’s (just kidding), it is an exhausting endeavour. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help your student.

First, ensure that they go to bed early and get a good night’s rest. A shower at bedtime may help them to relax and sleep well. Second, discuss any stress that they may be experiencing and keep the week’s schedule simple. We don’t want them focused on friend or family drama. Third, plan stress busting activities for afterschool free time. Surprise them with some new outdoor activities like jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, water guns… Fourth, keep morning routines simple and free from chaos. Pick out cozy clothes the night before and pre-pack their backpack before bedtime. And finally, feed them well.

As your Food Fairy, and resident teacher, I have a few ideas for snacks and breakfast that will boost your learner’s testing energy.


  • eggs– dippy, scrambled, omelets, or Quiche
  • bacon, sausage, or ham
  • oatmeal
  • cheese
  • yogurt with granola
  • pancakes
  • french toast


  • cheese stick
  • peanut butter crackers (be aware of your school’s allergy policy)
  • apple slices
  • granola bar
  • fruit like grapes, berries, or a banana
  • small crackers or pretzels

Foods to Avoid–

  • High sugar foods such as candy, cookies, soda, pies
  • Sugary cereals
  • Any foods that may upset their stomachs– (be wary of fiber bars that may make them have to “go” during testing)
  • caffeinated beverages

Here is a recipe that my daughter has requested for her testing mornings. I plan to make some things ahead so that they just need to be reheated in the morning 🙂 Good luck!!!

Hash Brown Quiche

**adapted from a Paula Deen recipe


  • 3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup cooked sausage crumbles, or bacon crumbles, or diced ham
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the Quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

PS…This is also a favorite in my house for Christmas morning, and dinner on a cold rainy night.