Being a working mom can be hard.  Really hard.  I don’t mean in the way of juggling the responsibilities of a job with those of being a mom because that kind of goes without saying.  For me the really difficult part is the emotional aspect of being away from my kids during the day, particularly now that Andrew really realizes my absence and misses me.  Every single morning he says hopefully, “You don’t have to go to work today?!”  Breaks my heart every time.  Thankfully he’s such a good natured little guy that he understands I’m doing what I have to do.  Those days when I do have to leave, I walk out the door to a loud, “Love you, Mom!  PEACE OUT!” and see his profile pressed up against the window when I drive away.  Even better, when I return home I am greeted with a very enthusiastic run-jump-hug-kiss-tickle routine and immediate, “Mom, will you come play upstairs with me?!”

On the blessed weekend days when we are able to be home together as a family, I love to make something, anything, that Andrew considers “special breakfast” (i.e. something we wouldn’t have on a weekday).  A couple weekends ago I decided to try a baked French toast because it was something new and I knew Ben would love it. In the past I’ve had lukewarm feelings toward French toast because it is often made so badly.  I’m happy to say though that all four of us loved this special breakfast.  Andrew gobbled up his, and then swiped a good deal of mine in classic toddler form.  Ben had only good things to say and has talked about it many times since. Caroline provided a constant undertone of growling anytime her mouth was empty because hello, Mom, an empty mouth is unacceptable!  And I loved it because not only did it taste great, but it was prepped the night before in less than 10 minutes with no additional effort required in the morning.  Anything this simple that allows me a little extra snuggle time with my sweet munchkins is a win in my book.

  • Yield about 4 servings


For the French toast:
4 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half (or milk)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash grated nutmeg
1 small French baguette*, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-6 cups)

To serve: 
Confectioners’ sugar
Maple syrup
Fresh berries


  • 01

    Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl.  Whisk briefly.  Add the half-and-half, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the bowl.  Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean pod.  Add in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk well until the mixture is evenly combined.  Stir in the cubes of bread until evenly coated.

  • 02

    Lightly grease four individual oven-safe serving dishes (or a single casserole dish – your call.  If you go this route, you will likely need to increase the baking time until the center is baked through).  Divide the bread-egg mixture evenly between the dishes.  Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least two hours or up to overnight.

  • 03

    When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Remove the plastic wrap from the dishes.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed up and light golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Serve as desired with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and fresh berries.

  • 04

    *In case you’re in the habit of making your own French bread, one of these baguettes was the perfect size.