The past couple of weeks have been really busy, filled with research for both school and my Masters thesis, hanging out with friends, going to the movies with my family, and trying to get to the root of my back pain.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but for a little over a year now I’ve had chronic pain in my lower back. Since months of physical therapy weren’t giving me the results my doctor wanted, he finally had me go in for an MRI. I had never had one before, but I was happy that they weren’t scanning my head because it was loud enough with my head sticking outside of the machine! All in all, it was an interesting experience. It really tested my ability to restrain myself from fidgeting or twitching. Every now and then I would feel a tingling in my toes or my fingers, which was followed with an inner chant of “Do not move. Do not move. Do not move!” One nice thing about the process was that the technician gave me a pair of headphones with what he called “top 40 songs” playing to listen to during the exam. It made me realize, however, how out of touch I am with the so-called top 40 songs. I’m just glad nothing super annoying played during the MRI..! ^_^
Having the MRI meant that I got to spend a majority of my spring break getting the results, having a procedure done, and recovering from the procedure. Woo.
The procedure was for diagnostic purposes, meaning it might not fix my pain, but my fingers are crossed! It basically involved getting six shots in my lower back. Everyone at the surgery center was really nice as well, so it was a good experience, which I really needed because I was screwed over once again earlier that morning when trying to buy a badge for Comic Con. The whole procedure took about an hour, but I can’t really be sure because I was under anesthesia.
Anesthesia is so disorienting. I was lying on my stomach, literally watching the anesthesiologist inject it, listening to him talk as he was doing it, when all of a sudden his voice was blurring or echoing–I can’t really describe it–and the next time I opened my eyes I was lying on my back in a different area with my pants half on and my shoes on my feet. After I woke up, I think I fell back asleep, but I’m not even be sure about it! There are so many other things I could say about the strange feelings that come from waking up from being under anesthesia, but instead I will just say this: it wasn’t as bad as when I had to be put under to get my wisdom teeth pulled out!
Although, the procedure was quick, it meant that I was basically on bed rest for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that meant once I was fully awake it was dinner time and I wasn’t able fall asleep again until around 4am. This in turn meant that I slept most of the following day and stayed up late that night as well.
I hope to go to sleep a lot earlier tonight, aka right after I post this.
Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist told me a few things I wasn’t supposed to do for the rest of the day, half were serious and half were jokes: don’t drive, don’t cook, don’t shop online, and don’t do my taxes.
Since I wasn’t allowed to cook, I was glad that I had some French toast in the freezer!
Freezer French Toast is comfort food for me. My mom has been making it for my family for as long as I can remember. I asked her where she got the recipe once, and she thinks it was from a radio program.
Of course she’s adapted the recipe a bit over the years and I hope to play with it in the future myself. I feel like each time we make it together we discover new tricks to try or new ideas to make cooking it even easier than it already it. But as it stands, the recipe is a great, simple, comforting make-ahead dish.
First, you beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, using either a mixer or a Kitchen Aid stand. I like using the Kitchen Aid because I can slice the French loaf while the ingredients are mixing.
Once the bread slices are laid out onto the baking sheets (which are lined with foil and sprayed with oil), you ladle half of the egg mixture over the bread, sprinkle them with nutmeg, flip them over, ladle the rest of the egg mixture, and sprinkle with nutmeg again.
Then, you stick them in the freezer uncovered for about three hours, or until hard.
When the bread is hard, put them into Ziplock bags. I highly recommend wrapping each slice in freezer paper to prevent the slices from sticking to each other. And be sure to write the date on the bag, so you can keep track on how long it has been in the freezer!
When you are ready to cook the French toast, just place the amount you want onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the slices with melted butter, bake for 8 minutes at 450°F, flip the pieces of toast, brush with butter once again, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until they reach your desired color. Watch carefully so that you don’t burn the toast!
Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or fruit—or all three! I had some strawberries on hand, so fanned a handful of them to make a simple but lovely presentation. The syrup I used was a souvenir from a family member’s wedding. Such a cute idea for a wedding guest gift!
So simple and so delicious. I really do love this recipe. Comfort food at its best in my opinion. And, since this week has turned into a week of rest and staying off my feet, I believe I will be making the rest of the batch of French toast my mom and I made together last month for breakfast this weekend.
Freezer French Toast
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 lb. loaf French bread
1/4 cup of butter, melted at time of cooking
powdered sugar (optional)
Cut the bread into slices that are about 1 inch thick. Divide the slices onto two cookie sheets lined with foil or freezer paper and spray with oil, such as Pam. Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour half of the egg mixture over the slices with a large ladle and let it soak into the bread. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Turn the slices over and repeat. Freeze on the sheets uncovered until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. Wrap the slices individually in freezer paper, or possibly wax paper, and places into Ziplock bags. Label the bags with the date and place it in the freezer.
Preheat the over to 450°F. Place your desired number of frozen slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each slice with melted butter. Bake for about 8 minutes. Flip the slices, brush with butter, and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until nicely browned.
Optional: serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or pieces of fruit.