Thursday, November 21, 2013

My New Job + Creme Brûlée French Toast

I recently started working as a pediatric home health nurse.  Coming from the hospital, this has been a totally different but very rewarding experience.  I get to see it all; loving parents, cute friends interacting with my patients at school, heartbreaking stories, humble living circumstances, and best of all happy families in spite of health issues.  I recently started my own nursing journal to document the many stories I'm collecting.  We truly do have the best, "how was your day?" answers.  Because of HIPAA, I can't go into detail about my patients but I'll try my best to tell "his" story. 

He is only in the first grade, and he's the most popular kid in the class.  He has a terminal illness, but has surpassed all of the doctor's expectations.  This makes his prognosis pretty unpredictable.  Although he doesn't have most of the functions others kids may take for granted, he still teases, laughs, and plays jokes on others. 

This is why my job is so great:

I get to watch him excel in spelling and math
Everyone asks to sit by him at lunch, and he says yes to everyone-it's a race to see who gets there first. 
We play tag at recess.  There are days when I'm tired, but he'll look at me with wide eyes, a bright smile, and say, "Come and get me!".  There is no way I can turn down the invitation!
During treatment, he requests we listen to Justin Bieber's Christmas Album.
After treatment, he's dancing and singing all the words to "Baby".  It's become our tradition to play that song just before we head back to class.
We arm wrestle when we get bored during math... he always wins.
He rolls his eyes and shakes his head teasingly at me when I have my "pure luck" moments; like forgetting to bring his book to the library, spilling food on myself, you know-the usual. 

I sense that he just wants to feel normal, he just wants to be treated like any other kid.  While he does have a lot of "exceptions" (like staying in from recess if he chooses) he won't accept offers to butt in line, follows all of the class rules, and tries his best to participate in class.  It's probably no secret that I've become attached- we've become really good friends.  I'm so grateful for my job, and for the relationships I've been able to build that wouldn't have been possible if I were working in the hospital.  I feel blessed to have a job that I'm actually excited to come back to!  

Alright, Creme Brûlée French Toast.  Pretty much the best breakfast ever.  I have Micah Ricks to thank for introducing me to this warm, gooey, sugary-sweet casserole of joy.  But seriously, I'm considering making it our Christmas morning tradition, which is a big deal because my family already has a "Christmas Casserole" tradition.  This is the Lion Houses's Recipe for Creme Brûlée French Toast.  

Best part?  It's so easy, and you can make it the night before (actually recommended). I count my sleeping hours as precious, so not having to get up at 6 am to accommodate Braedon's school schedule just to make him breakfast is a plus (worst wife award? yikes).  I couldn't even snap a picture because we licked the pan clean so fast.  

[Egg Mixture]
5 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1 inch pieces (torn), to fill a 9 x 13 pan about 3 inches thick
Can use:
Crescent bread (this is what I use)
French baguette
[Syrup Mixture]
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

First, tear your bread and set aside.  It is recommended that your bread be a little dried out.

Next, make your "egg mixture".  Beat the eggs, half and half, vanilla, salt (and pinch of cinnamon if desired) for two minutes.  Set aside. 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup.  Heat and stir long enough that the sugar dissolves.  Side note: corn syrup is ridiculously sticky!  I had never used it before, spilled it all down my arm and it took me a good 5 minutes to get it off!  

Now we're ready to start layering the casserole.

Start with the syrup and distribute evenly.

Next, layer the bread.  Then pour the egg mixture over the top to coat.  Sorry for the blurry picture, I was awkwardly trying to snap while pouring...

All done!  You can cover and store in the refrigerator to bake in the morning, or go ahead and bake right away.  I waited a few hours and then decided to bake it so I wouldn't have to wake up early to have it ready in time for Braedon.  I know, worst wife.  Tastes just as great reheated ;)
We cut up some strawberries to put on top, but honestly it doesn't really need anything extra! 
Hope you enjoy!