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Mystery Girl’s Weekend: Baked French Toast with Blueberries


July 31, 2012

I don’t know where I’ll be come Thursday night. Not in an esoteric, “What Am I Doing With My Life” kind of way, but as in I literally don’t know what state I’ll be spending the weekend in, thanks to our upcoming Mystery Girl’s weekend.

Picture this: Six months before you send in your money (which conveniently goes up $50 per year, allowing us to evolve from shared twin beds and PB&Js to something a bit more indulgent). Over the course of the next 6 months you get clues. A week prior you get a packing list with anticipated weather, and then less than 24 hours before your departure time you find out where you’re going. All plane tickets have been bought, all travel coordinated, menus planned, and extracurricular activities lined up. You need do nothing but show up (except of course when it’s your year to plan, but that becomes its own kind of fun).

We call it The Great Escape, and it is a highlight each year, a girl’s weekend spent with my childhood loves, women who know me better than I know myself, and who aren’t afraid to say so.

I leave on Thursday, and here are the clues I’ve received thus far:

  1. Not everyone is flying to our destination
  2. We could see a crocodile
  3. We’ll be staying over 70 feet off the ground
  4. There’s a river view and a mountain view from where we’re staying
  5. We’re going to have to share beds (yay!).

Guesses on where we might be going? States people live in are Washington, New York, and California.

Ms. Lou getting ready for the Toga party via tearing down the leaves in our backyard.

I am so excited I can hardy stand it, giggling over phone calls with Madeline and Meghan, trying to decide what Rachel could possibly have cooked up for us (so far we’ve come up with crocodile wrestling, bee keeping, and staying in a tree house with a moat around it, obviously). In the meantime though, I’m enjoying girl’s slumber parties in Seattle, Toga parties in the ‘hood, and a chance to do some beautiful cooking with whatever is freshest this time of year.

Summer Bounty from Pike Place Market.

This breakfast was the Rise and Shine element of our latest slumber party, hosted  by the lovely Liesel, and complete with Breakfast Bubbles. While I’m not normally much of a sweet breakfast person, the combination of the bread pudding with the blueberries was out of this world, and perfect when paired with some delicious scrambled eggs. Make this on a Summer Saturday morning when you want something indulgent, but not overly laborious, and good to feed a crowd.

Baked French Toast with Blueberries
Adapted from Giada on the Food Network
Serves 6-8

Beautiful Blueberry French Toast

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.
  4. Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.


  1. Love the dog photos. Ms Lou is adorable.

    • Erina says:

      Thanks Mary! I know they aren’t exactly part of your typical food blog, but our pups our a big part of our lives hence their frequent appearances here! She is pretty darn cute. We’re very lucky.

  2. I am so envious of your Great Escape Trips. I wish my girls and I would have started this before we all got married and started having kids. Not that it isn’t possible now, but the momentum of the past would have been a great motivator to spend the $ and leave your kids. And, I for one, ALWAYS love the doggie pics 🙂

    • Erina says:

      It’s not too late Alyssa! But I can totally hear what you’re saying…the fact that we’ve done this for years is definitely good motivation to keep it up. There’s one baby in the mix of the group, but that’s it for now. And I’ll happily keep those Lou pictures coming..even if we’re not presently speaking given the riding boot chewing incident. 🙂

  3. OH My that sounds soooo much fun. I wish i had a group of friends that could just do that. . .what a blast!

    • Erina says:

      I highly recommend it! It takes some planning, and budgeting of course, but it is worth absolutely every minute. The lead-up to the weekend is such a blast, and of course once all together it’s pretty much just pure magic (and lots of cocktail, snuggling, and laughing, bien sur). I’m excited to find out where we’re going!!

  4. emmycooks says:

    What a fun idea! I love it. I have no idea where you’re going but I hope that if you see a crocodile it’s in a zoo. 🙂 Have a great time!

    • Erina says:

      It really is the best. The crocodile seemed like the wild card clue to us as well, but I suppose technically she said “could” so maybe that was just to throw us off the scent!

  5. Ann Mah says:

    Wow, this sounds like so much fun! Reading this, I feel like I’M on tenterhooks waiting for the weekend. Have a wonderful time — I can’t wait to hear about where you go!
    P.S. Love baked French toast for brunch parties — thanks for a new, blueberry twist!

    • Erina says:

      You’re so sweet Ann Mah! It really is such a blast, and the anticipation is a hoot. 1 more day!!!

      Glad the addition of blueberries was up your alley. I was also tempted to take this recipe, skip the sweet, and add some ham, mushrooms, peppers, or something like that and do it as a lazy mans strata without the overnight soaking…

  6. Awww, how fun!!!! It sounds like you and your friends are going on an adventure, I love that:-) Little Toga is too precious by the way:-) I became a fan of bread pudding almost a year ago, this recipe reminds me of delicious bread pudding….and love love your recipe!!! Hugs, Terra

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