Category Archives: Baking

French Toast Sticks

sigh….summer feels like it is coming to a close…I suppose getting back to a routine is good…but I really could use a couple more weeks…I often wonder what it will feel like when my kids are off at college in a few years. Will Fall feel the same when I don’t have the hustle of back to school forms and shopping….it will be weird for sure. This time of year…around my birthday…was always back to school shopping. My mom would take us out to get a new Eagle’s Eye sweater…some uniform socks and shoes…a new lunchbox…some number 2 pencils and fresh crayons. I love the organization of it all…I suppose that is why when the calendar rounds the corner into mid August I start to miss my jeans, my long yoga pants…my comfy leather boots and scarves…Fall is a favorite….with summer a close second. I think the older my kids get the longer I wish summer would last.

I thought these make ahead French Toast sticks are perfect for those first busy mornings back to school. You can make up a large batch and bake them…let them cool and place them in the freezer. Pull them out as you need and heat and go. We like them best with some fresh berries on top with a little syrup or powdered sugar.

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French Toast Sticks
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 20
  • 4-6 slices off a larger bakery style bread
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray very well and set aside. Cut bread slices into thirds then set aside.
  2. In a large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dunk bread sticks into batter, let excess drip off, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, spraying the tops of the French Toast Sticks with non-stick spray before flipping halfway through.
  3. To freeze: Let French Toast Sticks cool then place onto a baking sheet and freeze in the freezer. Transfer to a freezer bag or container when hard. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.


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Great for busy mornings:)

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Thanks for all the kind words about the new table….we love it too! I am going to give you a little update on Wednesday about it and show you a few more things I have planned….Have a wonderful Monday!


Homemade Cheese Crackers

You know how you always start the school year out really strong, like everything’s really organized…. all the markers are together….the pencils are sharpened and you have this great plan for breakfast and everything’s going to go so smoothly?!? Well this recipe is in celebration of that really hopeful way to get the year started off on the right foot and have everything together. Come springtime I’m sure you won’t feel like making your own crackers for a healthy back-to- school snack, but maybe at the beginning of the school year you will be more than enthusiastic to bust this recipe out! And I will tell you this, these recipes take almost zero effort…and have big flavor :)

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This was the first time I made homemade crackers, but will not be the last. Some of the recipes I had found told me to roll out the dough– but I know the mess that involves– so I did it my own way ;)

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I used some wax paper and rolled it into a log prior to chilling it in the refrigerator. If you shape it and place it in a fairly tight roll before it chills, it will be that much easier to cut into uniform shape. I actually chilled mine overnight and baked them in the morning. Use a really sharp knife and place the crackers onto parchment paper and to cookie sheets. This recipe made about 60 or 70 crackers. Try to slice them as thin as possible. Bake them at 375 for about 18 minutes until crispy on the edges. Let them cool on the pan and then transfer to an airtight container. They will keep nicely for a week. Besides packing in lunches, these crackers are also a great afternoon snack that will keep the kiddos full until dinner. Just heat up some frozen spinach & artichoke cheese dip to go along with them. Yum!!

The fruit smoothie is perfect for breakfast too….but my kiddos loved them with these crackers. It comes together so easy using ready-made Welch’s fruit juice cocktails. The star fruit kiwi was a hit in our house. You can also add in frozen fruit (such as Rader Farms) for some easy, extra nutrition points! All you need is a bit of yogurt, ice cubes, a half of a banana, maybe some additional frozen fruit …and you’re good to go :) Another option is to pair this homemade smoothie with some frozen waffles and breakfast is ready at a moment’s notice!

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Be sure to keep you head up when you are traveling down the freezer and dairy sections in your grocery store. There are countless snack options that are quick and healthy—you can eat and go! Also check out Easy Home Meals Pinterest that is full of great ideas to get dinner, breakfast and snack time done and done!! #EasyHomeMeals

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For the smoothie:


1 C Welch’s fruit juice

3/4 C vanilla yogurt

1 C ice

1/2 banana

Optional: Rader Farms frozen fruit blend

Blend until smooth in blender.

Remember that the dairy aisle is filled with goodies to make your life easier. These homemade cheese crackers and easy fruit smoothie recipes are made to be quick and painless…and really healthy too!

I am a brand ambassador for the NFRA (National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association) & a member of the Cool Food Panel. I have been compensated for my time spent writing this post. All opinions, photos, and thoughts are 100% mine own.


Homemade Cheese Crackers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 60
  • 1 C flour
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. Sargento Sharp Cheddar (shredded)
  • ¾ t salt
  • ½ t dried mustard
  • 3 T cold water
  • .
  1. Combine all ingredients with exception of water in a food processor, until coarse crumbs form.
  2. Pulse in the water until dough combines.
  3. Place on wax paper and form a long narrow log.
  4. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 min or overnight.
  5. Slice and bake on parchment lined sheets for 18 min at 375.
  6. Cool and then store in an airtight container

Derby Pie Cookie Bar Recipe

Hey yall! Hope you had a great weekend. We had glorious weather…so we made the best of it and did some gardening and cleaned out the garage. Nice to get some things done:) I am getting ready to go through some of the creative ideas that were linked up last week. I will share some favorites tomorrow.

This time of year in the Bluegrass all we talk about is Derby! Of course we’ve all heard of the mint julep cocktail and this Derby Pie cookie bar would be perfect to serve up for your Derby party (it’s the first Saturday in May;) If you’ve never had one consider doing one this year! It is a great time to celebrate spring and have some fun “betting” games during the day of “race for the roses.”Derby Pie Cookie Bars @cleverlyinspired (5)


A traditional Derby Pie has a shortbread crust…. I decided to do a graham cracker crust instead. I wanted to create a lighter version of the traditional Derby Pie. This recipe does call for a touch of bourbon… you can feel free to leave that out if that’s not in your taste. It does at a nice little hint of sweet directly from the bluegrass state:) As we say in Kentucky Go baby Go!


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Derby Pie Cookie Bar Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • half a stick of butter melted.
  • Cookie Topping:
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ C chopped pecans
  1. Press crust ingredients into an 8 by 8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.
  2. Combine and spread over crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Let cool 30 minutes before cutting.


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Good luck…GO baby GO!

Have a great Monday friends:)


Krispie Treat Layer Cake (easy Easter Dessert)

My it was wonderful to see the sun yesterday! Everyone was out walking as if were summertime! It felt so good to get out! We have projecting lately and I have a few things that are almost ready to show you….now I just have to get my pics together and write about it:) Hopefully this week I’ll be sharing a few:)

I am thinking our last wave of winter has come and gone…which is a perfect time to share a spring inspired dessert.

I really had zero reason for making this other than I had a dream that I had made a cupcake that was a rice crispy with frosting and sprinkles and I served it on Cupcake Wars and I won. Yes that was an actual dream. Probably has something to do with the fact that the peanut and I watched Cupcake Wars for a good three hours one rainy cold Saturday. Anyway when I woke up I thought it would be kind of funny or fun to make a layer cake out of rice krispie treats.

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It would kind of be fun to serve up at Easter. I think that the trick here is to do as much as you can for preparation before your rice krispie treats are ready to be poured out. I used 3 round disposal cake pans that I greased really well. I also greased three pieces of wax paper with butter so that I could press down the rice krispie treats quickly. You could always tint the marshmallows with some food color if you want a pink cake or a green or purple. I thought it looked sweet with just a few Easter candies on the top….A sweet little banner (that you can download here) finishes the cake:)

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I decided to just do traditional rice crispy treats with chocolate icing in between. Obviously this could just have your imagination running wild and do any mixture of colors or frostings.

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You’ll need a sharp knife to make a clean cut. I made sure that the rice krispie treats were cool prior to layering with icing.

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It looks really cute on a pretty cake plate. A sweet little banner that denotes springtime finish this off the top. I just use some festive straws with twine…cut into a banner…that’s it!


Have fun with it it’s just one more way to enjoy a rice crispy treat that is so universally loved!krispie treat layer cake @cleverlyinspired (5)

Mini Coffee Cake Recipe (Starbucks knock off)

My bub’s is a freshman in high school. His classes every Wednesday start an hour later….. I don’t know why….but I know that I have loved having one more hour to start my day with him every week. We have gone to breakfast….stopped for coffee…and it is a hour that we can talk without any interruptions. You know teenage boys…they don’t just pour out themselves all that easily….and this hour every Wednesday to just chit chat has been such a highlight to my week. I promised him and myself to not discuss grades, school….or things that might bring up a confrontation…but just to talk. Sports, girls, friends, food, summer, golf, winter….anything really. I have loved watching him grow into a young man this year….stepping up to the responsibilities of attending a college prep school. School is challenging….but he has met every challenge head on…giving it his all. He is becoming a leader….and it is such a reward to watch him be confident and steadfast in himself. mini coffee cakes @cleverlyinspired (4)


We have started many a Wednesday at Starbucks. He likes the coco and bagels…I like the coffee cake. One morning we discussed “why is it called coffee cake when there is not any coffee in it?” Because it taste so dang good with coffee….he didn’t want to try…for fear of a “coffee” taste. Finally I encouraged him that he would actually like it…cinnamonny and butter goodness.

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Mini Coffee Cake Recipe (Starbucks knock off)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 C flour
  • ½ C sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 6 T melted butter
  • Topping
  • ½ C flour
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1½ t cinnaomn
  • 4 T butter cubed
  1. Spray pan with cooking spray
  2. Heat oven 350
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir together egg, milk and melted butter. Mix into dry ingredients.
  5. Pour into pan (leaving top half for topping)
  6. Mix together crumb topping and divide among cakes.
  7. Bake 25 minutes until center is done


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Your’e right mom….I do like it. Well hot damn—mom was right….can I get that in writing?

You could make these in a muffin pan if you don’t have this mini loaf pan….just test for doneness a bit earlier.



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Be sure to stop in on instagram or facebook to see all the sneak peeks of the Charity playhouse. It is going to be so fun to reveal it tomorrow evening!!


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