Hazelnut Crunch French Toast

hazelnut crunch french toast

Readjusting to life after vacation is difficult for everyone, but for me, the worst part has been not having french toast every day! I developed an addition to the decadent breakfast food after indulging in it frequently during my recent visit to Sanibel Island, Florida. Not that I could ever grow tired of the traditional version of french toast, but I decided to get a little adventurous this week and think of ways to mix up my go-to method using one of my favorite flavors- hazelnut.

Instead of topping the french toast with something super crazy and decadent (like a chocolate hazelnut spread), I decided to enrich the custard with creamy hazelnut flavor using International Delight creamer. The result was so delicious, I had to share my recipe with you!

hazelnut crunch french toast

This french toast makes a great companion to your morning coffee, especially if you flavor your coffee with the hazelnut International Delight creamer. But it’s equally delicious paired with black coffee or unflavored creamer as well. Or tea! Let’s not forget our tea drinkers!

hazelnut crunch french toast

To get started, make sure you have a clear area of your countertop, because you’re going to need a bit of a dunking station right next to your stove if possible.

hazelnut crunch french toast

Begin by prepping the coating of your french toast. All you need to do is chop untoasted hazelnuts using an old fashioned knife and cutting board, a nut chopper, or a food processor as I did. Then make your custard and set up your dipping station. (Refer to the recipe at the end of this post for the custard ingredients— hint: it uses International Delight hazelnut creamer for a rich, flavorful end product!)

hazelnut crunch french toast

Dip sliced bread (I used a brioche type of bread) into the custard mixture, allow extra to drip off, then coat on both sides with chopped hazelnuts.

hazelnut crunch french toast

Cook each slice of bread on a lightly greased skillet until golden brown. Don’t let the hazelnuts burn, but if bits of them get a little black, it won’t ruin the toast.

Hazelnut Crunch French Toast
Traditional french toast made with a hazelnut flavored custard and coated in crunchy chopped hazelnuts
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Ingredients
  1. thick sliced bread of your choice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1/2 C milk of your choice
  4. 1/4 C International Delight hazelnut creamer
  5. 1/4 C chopped hazelnuts
Optional Toppings
  1. butter
  2. mini chocolate chips
  3. toasted chopped hazelnuts
  4. maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the eggs with the milk and hazelnut creamer to make the custard dip. Place chopped hazelnuts onto a shallow dish. Dip one piece of bread into the mixture, allow excess custard to drip off, then coat on both sides with the chopped nuts. Cook on a lightly greased skilled on both sides of the bread until toasted to be golden brown. Take care not to over toast the hazelnuts. Repeat until all of your custard mixture is used up.
Notes
  1. The amount of slices of toast this custard mixture makes depends on the size and thickness of the bread which you use. I prefer using a light Italian bread or a brioche type of bread for making french toast.
Making Nice in the Midwest http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
hazelnut crunch french toast

The crunchy texture and hazelnut flavor of the french toast is such a delicious way to mix up one of my favorite foods. I enjoyed mine topped with extra toasted hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips, along with maple syrup and a bit of butter. It’s so good, I’m eating the leftovers right now!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

My Fitness Journey Part 2: Nutrition

fitness motivational chart

The last time I talked about my fitness journey with you, I mentioned that I wanted to be more balanced than I have been in the past and set routines that I could maintain and be happy living with. The biggest aspect of that has been being moderate with my eating. During past weight loss journeys, I have been very strict with hitting a target calorie count and getting specific macro nutrient goals each day, that honestly sucks the life out of me and makes me feel like chucking the whole plan into the dump. So this time I’ve been working on eating according to my goals most of the time, but treating myself a little most days, treating myself a lot on the weekends, and sometimes having really indulgent days but being okay with that and enjoying them when they happen, instead of feeling like a failure or mentally beating myself up as it’s happening. As long as I am progressing over time, as gradual as it might be, I feel good about the way things are going, in turn empowering myself to continue enthusiastically on my fitness journey.

Yummy food encompasses a lot of what makes life enjoyable, and I want to embrace that, not restrict myself to the point of unhappiness. However, I personally need to be vigilant with how much I indulge, because a cheat meal can easily overflow into a cheat week. So I try to reevaluate what I’m eating somewhat regularly, especially when I feel like I’m majorly backsliding into old habits, and make sure that I’m still sticking with my good habits as well as cutting myself slack when I need to— mentally and physically. So let’s talk about what my general plan is and how I’ve been successful with weight loss even though I haven’t been a diet maniac.

ftiness goal chart

setting fitness goalsI started out by determining what an ideal day would look like, dietarily speaking, and planning various healthy (and low calorie) meal ideas that I can shuffle around like puzzle pieces to complete an ideal day of meals. The My Fitness Pal app is very helpful with this. You can log your meals and drinks to not only see calories, but also a macro nutrient pie chart and nutritional information for each meal and each day. It makes it easy to see how much protein, carbs, and fat you’re consuming, but also checking to see if your sugar, sodium, potassium, iron (and more) is where it should be. If by looking at your daily summaries you see that the day is a bit off from what you’d like, you can pin point what meals should be adjusted, and which meals really help you hit your targets. Then plan to adjust accordingly the next day. Once I found a variety of foods that are really goal friendly and also enjoyable to eat, I pretty much stick to the same rotation (with alterations here and there) and no longer need to log my meals to know that what I’m eating is on par with the nutrients I’m aiming for.

I don’t use My Fitness Pal every day any more, but if I notice that I’ve been overeating or eating unhealthy foods (aka cheating) more and more and feel like I’m really off track, I’ll reel myself back in by being more strict with logging my meals and staying accountable to what I’m consuming. Then I’ll ease back once I’m back in a better mindset. One thing I really like about My Fitness Pal is that I can log meals the day before, which helps me plan what and when I need to eat the next day. This is helpful on busy days so I know what food I should bring with me or where I should eat out in order to stay on track with my goals. Sometimes if I’m busy I will actually not eat, and then eat the wrong foods later when I’m super hungry. So planning helps prevent that.

planning for successOne of my favorite sayings is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That is so true with fitness goals! Plan out what meals you’d like to eat each week before you hit up the grocery store, and exercise willpower at the store, which will make willpower at home much easier. Know your weaknesses and plan to overcome them! If you know you have trouble with things like ordering takeout because of convenience, then make sure you have your fridge stocked with healthy options that you enjoy. I like to grill chicken at the beginning of the week and reheat it later with other sides I have stocked in the fridge for easy dinners. Buying greek yogurt in serving sized packages is a favorite high protein snack of mine, but I also use containers to portion out food to take on the go if I need to fly out the door and know I’ll be tempted to hit the drive through later. If you struggle with late night snacking, substitute unhealthy snacks for healthier options you enjoy— that way you’re not depriving yourself from an experience you enjoy, but rather you’re just adjusting the habit a bit. Don’t just say “No eating after 7PM,” or something extreme like that, because cravings are about more than just food. They’re about experiences and comfort. So if you enjoy late night snacking, just incoporate it into your meal plan for the day and eat as late as you want! I used to enjoy a glass of wine almost every night. Again— I was looking for the experience of relaxing and treating myself after the kids were in bed, but now I’ll usually make myself a cup of tea with honey and sip on that. I will still have a couple of glasses of wine a week, or more depending on my social calendar, because remember— you want your nutritional goals to be easy to maintain and not restrictive.

It’s important to set habits for yourself so it will be easy to get back into things after a bit of a break that happens on vacations, changes in your schedule, or a cheat day, if you will. If you’re just starting out, it might be a good idea to be strict during the entire week and then to have one meal and one dessert a week that is indulgent. The point is not to be restrictive, but to retrain yourself and set healthy habits into motion. Then after a month, you can start incorporating a few indulgent snacks or small treats throughout your week in a moderate way, making sure that you have a healthy mental outlook on your diet. The goal is to have balance, enjoy food, but to keep the reigns on your eating so you can meet your goals and be healthy! If your dietary goals make you stressed about going to parties, causes you to obsess over every meal, and consumes a lot of your thought life, I’d say you’re not in a healthy place. While you might be causing your body to be more healthy, the rest of your life is probably out of balance, and shouldn’t we be aiming for total body health?

staying motivatedAt first it’s easy to be motivated to make good decisions regarding fitness goals. At least, if you’re excited about your goals. But that goes away after a while. So it’s important to make this about enjoying the process, not about the end goal. Or you may feel like giving up. I reward myself for reaching benchmark goals and also keep a motivational chart that I fill with stickers for various achievements, such as clean eating (purple smiley), weight lifting (orange smiley), miles run (gold star), and increasing my weight or going on a family walk. The first image in this post shows me adding a sticker to the chart, which is pretty gratifying, oddly enough! Find what motivates you, whether it be blogging, following fitness bloggers, finding a gym body, or whatever, and stick with it!

nutrition staples

nutrition goalsBecause I am weight lifting, a big part of my personal dietary goals is to have a high protein diet. I used to aim for a macro nutrient ratio of 40/40/20 (protein, carbs, fat), but now I just try to hit 120-150 grams of protein each day and not really worry about my fat or carbs ratio so much. As far as calories go, on an ideal day I’ll consume around 1500, but I go over that most days because quite honestly, I struggle with eating according to my goals, but I also don’t want to stress myself out about it, so I just roll with it and figure, hey, this is a marathon, not a sprint! I’m not in a race to lose weight as fast as possible. I’m on a journey and it’s okay if I’m not perfect.

That being said, I’ve found the easiest ways to stick to my goals is to just let myself be a habitual eater most of the time. I eat the same things over and over again, and am happy with that, but I also enjoy breaking routine here and there and treating myself when I feel the need. Here are some of my go-to foods for each meal of the day, including snacks and treats.

greek yogurt bowl for breakfast

healthy breakfastMy favorite meal of the day! Perhaps because it’s always so carb laden? I often will eat these foods for snacks and other meals as well. When I’m on the go, I will make a smoothie because they are so easy to sip while driving. If it’s the weekend, I will load up on french toast. And if I need groceries, enter the peanut butter toast! Always I have coffee and never do I skimp on the cream.

  • greek yogurt bowl (I mix plain and vanilla nonfat yogurt with 1/4 cup of muesli and seasonal fruit.)
  • oatmeal (My favorite is cooked in 2% milk and topped with a swirl of peanut butter, sliced banana, and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips.)
  • breakfast quinoa (cooked in coconut milk and topped with coconut cream, honey, and seasonal fruit)
  • green egg white smoothie (I blend 1/2 banana, lots of kale, another fruit of choice- kiwi or apple usually, water, then blend in ice and frozen mango, then slowly blend in 1/3 cup egg white protein powder.)
  • french toast and fruit
  • peanut butter toast topped with 1/2 sliced banana

post-workout meal omelette

post workout mealsIt should be noted that because my schedule is different from most peoples’, considering my odd work-at-home mom schedule, that I fit in a workout somewhere between breakfast and lunch on most days. So my lunch is usually lighter and very protein heavy to fuel my muscle repair after heavy weight lifting. I usually fit in a substantial snack before dinnertime, or I’ll have an early dinner and then a substantial snack before bedtime.

My go-to post workout lunches are the following (in order of frequency):

  • egg white omelette (sometimes with mix-ins I’ll find in the fridge)
  • chicken salad sandwich— chicken salad made with mashed avocado, greek yogurt, shredded chicken, diced red onion, salt, and pepper
  • lentil or black bean soup (usually not during summertime)
  • leftovers from dinner the night before (see my dinner regulars below)

light stuffed peppers

dinnerI try to be flexible with dinners, because I usually have this meal alongside others, and especially in the Summer we grill out with friends. But it’s usually pretty easy to keep it light and protein-rich, as I’m likely to have a small grilled chicken breast with loads of veggies on the side. (Albeit some of those veggies are fried in the form of potato chips! Oops!) These are my favorite go-to dinners when I’m planning my own meals to enjoy with our family here at home:

  • grilled or broiled chicken with two vegetable sides (usually one fiber heavy and one carb heavy, such as broccoli and sweet potatoes)
  • stuffed peppers made traditionally but subbing ground turkey for beef/sausage, quinoa for rice, and adding kale
  • chicken fried rice or other stir fry made with quinoa or cauliflower rice
  • ground turkey pasta sauce served over spaghetti squash with a baked potato
  • burrito bowls with seasoned grilled chicken, black beans, corn salsa, cauliflower rice, and sweet potatoes
  • chicken wraps (usually made with a thai style peanut sauce over sliced chicken and wrapped in live edge lettuce with thinly sliced peppers and carrots)

green smoothie

healthy snacksBecause my meals are on the small side and might be pretty nutritionally comparable to the snacks I eat, I actually tend to look at my daily intake more as “meal one,” “meal two,” etc. rather than breakfast, lunch,  dinner, and snacks. So here are some of my favorite snacks that I incorporate into the rotation, but I also regularly eat food from what I’ve listed under breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my snack time as well.

  • apple with peanut butter greek yogurt dip (I shared the recipe here)
  • green smoothie (recipe described in breakfasts)
  • protein smoothie made with chocolate protein powder, almond milk, and banana as shown here (great post-workout snack!)
  • vegetables with hummus (usually carrots, peppers, or broccoli)
  • rice cakes with peanut butter and banana slices
  • cooked egg whites and salsa (if I’m low on my protein goal for the day)
  • chia seed pudding (My favorite is made in a mixture of almond milk , maple syrup and cocoa powder then topped with sliced banana after thickening. I also enjoy a version made by blending together strawberries, honey, and coconut milk to add to the chia seeds.)
  • asian edamame slaw (made from this recipe)

peanut butter dip and chocolate banana shake

treat yo selfSome people go for cheesecake or pasta dishes like fettuccine alfredo, but I’m actually not the biggest fan of some basic cheat meals. (Though some of my favorites are as about basic as you can get!) I thought it would be fun to share my favorite indulgences that I’ll often choose when I’m ready to treat myself. Not all of these are necessarily bad for you, but they are more indulgent in the calorie department than I usually work into my daily diet, so I obviously don’t always eat this stuff. But I do look forward to indulging in them somewhat regularly! 

  • french toast
  • sugary cereal with milk
  • Nutella stuffed pancake balls
  • pizza
  • doughnuts
  • Mexican food
  • tortilla chips and guacamole
  • pad Thai
  • ice cream (peanut butter chocolate variations are my favorite!)
  • Oreos (double stuffed golden all the way!)
  • iced animal cookies
  • goldfish crackers
  • oatmeal cookies
  • Cheetos
  • homemade puppy chow aka muddy buddies (look it up if you don’t know! So good!)
  • cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting
  • mashed potatoes
  • cherry cobbler

Oh man, now I really want to treat myself. Maybe I’ll make french toast for dinner!

WHAT I WORE | Not Your Normal Nineties Mom

mommy fashion blogger canton, Ohio

I think it’s hilarious how people my age get sassy if not indignant about the return of ’90s fashion. Do we remember when our moms and their friends all laughed at our bell bottom jeans, ponchos, and platform shoes, dismissing our true loves with a flippant, “Oh my, those are back in style again? I remember the first time those dastardly things were in style and I said good riddance!” Were we not annoyed then, and yet find ourselves saying similar things now?

I honestly think my generation jumps at the chance to remark about how OMG we can’t believe tattoo chokers, acid wash jeans, and neon came back (and left, thank God), because we have the old pimple-faced photos lit up with the flash of our disposable cameras highlighting embarrassing versions of ourselves wearing the old fads (along with bad whispy bangs and lavender lipgloss), so finally seeing these things come back around when we’ve (sometimes) gotten our complexion under control feels a bit like a right of passage. Oh those things are back again? I can almost smell the Cucumber Melon body spray!

Well, I say now we’ve all got our chance to finally get it right! That’s not to say that in 2036 I won’t look at pictures of 2016 me wearing jumpsuits and roll my eyes out of my head. But hey, that’s half the fun of fashion, isn’t it? Here we go again!

mommy fashion blogger canton, Ohio

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S :

jumpsuit: ASOS / choker: DIY / shoes: Amazon / purse: ASOS

mommy fashion blogger canton, Ohio

mommy fashion blogger canton, Ohio

mommy fashion blogger canton, Ohio

 

DIY Chokers — Three Ways

Leather Bow Choker DIY

Well, it’s official. Chokers have made the leap from trendy teenster fad to full-blown fashion trend! Fresh off the heels of the dainty neckscarf trend of 2015, 2016 brings with it a nice mix of fresh and tired choker styles.

Now this isn’t my first time on the choker bandwagon. I distinctly remember crafting my very own black velvet ribbon choker with a little drop pearl right when I was in the third grade. And then in middle school I was all about the stretchy black tattoo choker that I think I got from Fashion Bug. (Fashion Bug!) But this time around I’m more drawn to the early ’70s chokers that feel more delicate with a slight sense of boho. 

DIY Chokers

I had distinct ideas about what kinds of chokers I would like to add to my necklace collection, but I had a bit of trouble finding the perfect ones in stores. But I mean, if you’re going to DIY anything in your wardrobe— this would be it! They’re easy, fun, and completely wearable. These chokers vary slightly in skill more more complex to absurdly simple, but all of them are pretty quick to whip together and look great with lots of different sartorial styles.

DIY Fabric Flower Chokerromantic flower choker DIY

I love the Carrie Bradshaw vibes of this choker. It would fit in with a salsa dancing costume as easily as it would with a button up shirt and jeans. It can also be as bold or as subtle as you wish— just change up the ribbon width, size of flower, and color scheme to suit your own taste.

DIY Fabric Flower Choker

Supplies:

  • crepe or silk fabric
  • ribbon
  • ribbon end crimps (in width to match your ribbon)
  • two o-rings
  • one clasp
  • short chain
  • fabric scissors
  • pliers
  • lighter or candle flame
  • Not shown: embroidery floss and darning needle

DIY Fabric Flower Choker

Step One: Cut your ribbon to the length you need (a bit shorter than your neck circumference), then add the ribbon crimps to either end and close the crimps with pliers. Add an o-ring and clasp to one end and then an o-ring and the short chain to the other end.

DIY Fabric Flower Choker

Step Two: Cut your fabric into shapes as shown above in a variety of sizes.

DIY Fabric Flower Choker

Step Three: Hold the fabric shapes over a flame until the ends begin to curl up. Do not touch the flame to the fabric— just the heat will do the trick. After you’ve gone around the edges, it will have a petal look to it.

Step Four: Stack the petals you made from largest to smallest and stitch them to the ribbon with embroidery floss. As you stitch, make french knots on the top of the flower. You may also chose to create a fancier necklace by using a bead or some sort of bling for this detail.

DIY Fabric Flower Choker

DIY Bolo Style Choker DIY Bolo Style Choker

This style of choker makes me feel way more rockstar than I ever will be. It’s great with lower cut tops, but also looks cute draping over the front of a high-cut shirt. You can adjust the length of it to your own taste and add charms to the end that fit your personal style.

DIY Bolo Style Choker

Supplies:

  • cord
  • two charms
  • three crimp covers
  • two o-rings
  • one clasp
  • two crimps with rings attached
  • fabric scissors
  • pliers

DIY Bolo Style Choker

Step One: Cut a length of cord to be about 25-30″ in length then add charms to either end. Do this by looping the cord up through the charm’s o-ring then fastening the cord with crimp covers. Then trim away the excess cord.DIY Bolo Style Choker

Step Two: Hold the cord around your neck and determine about where you’d like the bolo fastener to be placed. Then use a crimp cover to fasten it. After fastening it, cut open the back so you can next add a clasp and chain.

DIY Bolo Style Choker

Step Three: After double checking that the neck circumference of the choker is appropriate for you (it should be a bit smaller than your actual neck circumference), add crimps to the end of the cord. Then add an o-ring and clasp to one end and an o-ring and short chain to the other end.

DIY Bolo Style Choker

Leather Bow Choker DIYleather bow choker

This is my favorite of all the choker styles I’m sharing today, and the simplest to make! I love how delicate it feels, and how easy it is to switch up the style a bit by changing materials (ribbon, satin cord, leather cord, etc..) Adding crimp covers to the end makes it feel more polished, and offers another opportunity to add style details to this choker.

Leather Bow Choker DIY

Supplies:

  • cord (I used faux suede)
  • crimp covers or any details you’d like to add to the ends

Leather Bow Choker DIY

All you need to do to make this necklace is trim the cord to the length you’d like for your bow and use pliers to fasten end crimps to either end of the cord. Then tie it in a bow around your neck and you’ve made yourself a choker!

Leather Bow Choker DIY

If a choker can make the stretch from 1950s dresses and shell tops to 1970s jumpsuits, I think they’ve earned themselves a place amongst my wardrobe. I think these DIY versions will be right at home with my style, considering how much wear they’ve received already. Do you think you’ll give making one a try?

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