Sunday, October 4, 2015

Best Dish: French Toast Casserole

It looks like this particular MOPS group has a sweet tooth, because the sweet dish won for the second time in a row! Congratulations to Wendy Zeitler from the green table, and her mouthwatering French Toast Casserole recipe for winning the Best Dish Award!

This was the first time Wendy made the recipe, but judging by the response from the group, I have a feeling it won't be the last. A friend of Wendy's made this for a Sunday-school breakfast, and when she heard how easy it was to make, she knew she needed it in her collection. Lucky for you, she asked her friend for the recipe, and now you guys get to reap the benefits!

Wendy says she loves that almost the entire dish can be prepped the night before. "I can bake it in the morning while I'm getting ready for the day, and it's hot and ready in time for breakfast."

The casserole was such a success at the meeting, that she made it again recently for a family vacation at a beach house in Gulf Shores last weekend. "I made it for them as well, and they loved it too. We ate the whole pan in one morning. It's definitely not on the healthier side of breakfast, but it's fun to splurge every now and again. I think this will become a company and holiday staple in my house."

A quick tip if you decide to make this: make sure to use French bread, as other breads may be too crusty to soak up the egg mixture.

photo courtesy of Food Network

Baked French Toast Casserole
by Food Network (Paula Deen)

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

(combine all ingredients; blend well; set aside)

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Talk about YUM! This sounds like the perfect dish to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning! Let us know if you make it :) 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Power of Words

Hello again my fellow wonderful women! I so hope that you were able to join us at our meeting last week where we talked about he power of words.
But if not, here is the recap:
We got out tongues tied and put our listening ears on for a fun group rendition of MAD GAB. We divided the room down the middle and we listened carefully as our begrudging victims.... ahem, excuse me... I mean eager participants spouted out garbled groups of words in every meter and tone possible to try to get their group to guess what the phrase was really suppose to be saying. Funny how much being the mother of toddlers can prepare you for a game like this, since garbled sentences are the norm for most of us. It was a tight race with the right side of the room winning 19 to 15.
We then watched a very powerful video about the power of words and the effect our words can have on the people around us. Followed by a craft to encourage our own personal word consumption - bookmarks!
We also launched our own kind words campaign with the hearts that were sprinkled around our tables to be taken out into Warner Robins with the #WRsharethelove tag. Some of these hearts have been given to moms in grocery stores or left for waitresses in restaurants. Some have been passed to friends or given to someone along with a good deed. Anyway they are given, they are creating smiles. Sometimes just hearing something positive for a stranger can totally make your day.
Our next meeting is on October 14th, and we will be paining a very cute pumpkin scene with Lindsey Hopkins! Watch out for that RSVP it will be going out next Wednesday.
Make sure to put the Fall Festival on your calendar for the 28th. This is our fundraiser for this semester and we are so excited. We will be having a photo booth, a raffle, a costume contest, trick or treating, crafts for the kids, drinks/snacks, and games.
Oh and did I mention that the MAYOR, Randy Toms will be judging our costume contest?! It's true! It is so amazing to see the support MOPS has from our city officials.
Well, that's it for now ladies! Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Best Dish: Pumpkin Cake Balls

Our first week's winner at our last meeting for our Best Dish Award was Lindsay Hopkins from the Teal Table with her mouth-watering Pumpkin Cake Balls. I think we can all appreciate the pumpkin-flavored dessert, especially now with the cooler weather. And seriously, if you could've heard the "ooohs," "aaahs," and moans coming from everyone around the room, then you'd have a small taste of just how good these were. 

The best part is, according to Lindsey,  that these are ridiculously easy to make. Don't believe me? Here's the recipe: 

photo from Just Jenny Lynne

Pumpkin Cake Balls 
(inspired from Just Jenny Lynne

1 box of pumpkin cake mix
1 jar of cream cheese frosting
Vanilla candy bark

Follow the instructions on the box and bake the cake. Once cake is baked, place cooled chunks into a mixer and run it until it's a fine crumble. Dump crumbs in a large bowl; mix with around half to 2/4 of the frosting. Get your hands in there and roll into balls. (Lindsey made hers fairly large, but you can definitely make them smaller.) Place balls into the refrigerator until you're ready to dip them into the vanilla candy bark. To get a little fancy, sprinkle them with crumbled graham cracker crumbs. 

Super easy, right? Let us know if you make them and how they turn out! 
Congrats again, Lindsey, and thanks for sharing this with us! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Getting Personal with Vulnerability

Did you make it to the last meeting? We got a little deep talking about things like our feelings, building walls, and letting go. Lindsey took a big leap of faith as she opened up and spoke from the heart about vulnerability.

Vulnerability seems like such a hush-hush topic, but it's something we should talk about more often. If we admit to the areas where we're vulnerable, we can get help and maybe even find something in common with other people/women. When was the last time you were truly honest withourself ? Or when was the last time you truly felt seen for who you are. In order to be seen, we must take steps to tear down our walls. Together we can leap into a brave new world of letting down our carefully built walls, so that we may become who we are meant to be, who we are thriving to become. 

MOPS is a great place to let your guard down and be vulnerable. If you're putting walls up in your life, take a look at the heart of the issue so you can begin tearing those walls down. Getting down to the nitty-gritty is harder than it sounds, but the results will help reveal the real you and people in your life who you can trust.

Once we're vulnerable and start bringing our walls down, is when we can really start to flourish.
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom." -Anais Nin

Switching gears a bit from the heavy talk, let's talk about some fun stuff like crafts!

Our craft last Wednesday was on point and definitely went along with our topic for the week. We made affirmation frames—something that you can customize every day if you'd like. Sometimes being vulnerable means being more optimistic, or thinking about a daily verse to help you throughout the day.

Do you have your affirmation frame up in your home? Tag us on Facebook or Instagram (#WRMOPS) so we can see your creativity at work!

We also started something fun at our last meeting: a Best Dish award! I'll leave that to another post, so stay tuned for the winning dish from last week and her recipe so you can make it again ASAP!

From the whole steering team: we hope you're having an excellent week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ice Cream & Trivia (aka: August's Events)

So many things happened in August: school started again, MOPS started again (woohoo!), and we kicked things off with a fun play date and a wonderful mom's night out!

The play date for August was at Cold Stone Creamery, which was extremely timely since there's nothing better than ice cream in the middle of a hot summer's day!

Our moms and their little checked out what goes on behind-the-scenes at Cold Stone, and from what I heard, it was a fun time for everyone. Actually, it was so much fun, there were two days for this play date.

In case you missed out on this sweet treat, keep your eyes and ears open, because there may be a tasty collaboration between MOPS and Cold Stone in the very near future :)

Last week we also had our first Mom's Night Out event! We met up at Mellow Mushroom for their trivia night, and it was a blast! Each group has to name their team, so our team's name was....wait for it..."Mom's Gone Wild!" Would you expect anything less from mom's enjoying a night away from the kids?

Don't worry—except for enjoying an over-21 drink, we didn't take our team name too literally; we made sure to keep things very "PG" at our table! Lots of laughter and some new friendships were formed, and I know it was brought up several times that we should do trivia nights more often.

Want to come to our next play date or mom's night out? 
Register here so you can get invitations and information for all of our upcoming events!