1602 285th Ave. NE
Isanti, MN 55040

Phone: 763-444-8206



Guys Baked French Toast

The past couple of years we men of the house have made desserts for the Christmas holidays (click on the keyword:recipe).  This year we are going to be unpredictable (just like you know who) and make Christmas 
morning breakfast!

We’ll go with one of my favorites—Baked French Toast.  Tip:  this goes over just as well at the hunting shack.  Butremember you have to work it up the night before!

Start with a hint from the title and get a loaf of, what else, French bread—at least an arm’s length one.  Slice it into 1 3/16th inch slices.

Take a cake pan and lube it well with spray lube (if you don’t you will be making a very sticky mess for the wife to clean up and, after all, it’s Christmas so be thoughtful (at least for today).

Then take a couple of Tablespoons of corn syrup, a stick of butter (best) or margarine (at Christmas?), and about a packed cup of brown sugar.  Simmer it in a sauce pan on the stove for a couple of minutes.  Then pour it into the lubed cake pan and spread it out so nobody gets cheated.

Add the slices of French bread—okay to squeeze them together a bit to eliminate the open areas (the French are too ornery to make their bread square).

Then in a separate bowl mix together several (5) eggs (no shell bits please), a teaspoon or so of vanilla, and, give or take, a cup and a half of milk.  Sprinkle in some salt, some nutmeg, and lots of cinnamon (personal preference).  Then spoon the gook over the French bread, making sure to give all the slices equal treatment…then sprinkle on lots more cinnamon.

Cover, shove in the fridge and go back to the game.

The next morning crank up the oven to about 350 degrees and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or so.

When you remove it from the oven quickly flip it upside down on a plank before the caramel sets up.  (If you don’t do this the first time you make it, you will the second time.)

You can serve it with syrup, but you hardly need it.  It’s almost as much caramel roll as French toast.  The family can take a vote on which they think it really is.

Everyone will want seconds, so figure the above recipe will feed about six.  I always double it because it’s so good warmed up in the zapper.  Do you call two arms of French bread a hug?

I already have a recipe in mind for next year—can hardly wait.  Hint: think game time!


New patio and firepit

Shown is the new firepit and patio area that Greg installed this fall.  We'll have a campfire in it on weekends during the Christmas season.  We still have to cut another half dozen stumps and install our antique tractor seats on them.  This year we are also preparing Christmas carol songsheets in which the lyrics are in the same order as the music playing on the overhead speakers.  There will be no excuse for not joining in with Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Mitch Miller, and the rest of the gang!



Pinestead Creek Nature Trail

This year we are adding a nature trail along the east end of our creek.  It’s the part of the creek that is totally wild so it has taken some work on our part to clear enough trees (and lots of deadfalls), brush, and waist-high grasses.  It will go from the driveway area along one side of the creek and back again on the other side.  The total length will be a little over 1/3rd mile.



A Visit to the Worlds Largest Christmas Tree Store

On our way to the National Christmas Tree conference in Ohio, Helen and I stopped at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland–the world’s largest Christmas store.  It’s an “all day” experience as the store is close to two acres in size and the highly decorated grounds are over 20 acres. Everything is first class.  We spent as much time looking up at the fantastic Christmas displays as we did looking at the merchandise.  It’s located in Frankenmuth, Mich; a great little european style Christmas village in itself.  Photos take in so little of it.  Here are just two, we could have taken dozens.


Earth Day 2011

Earth Day

Today is earth day (Friday April 22nd) and we are celebrating by planting at least 1000 trees–more if the heavier rains hold off.  This is great planting weather: a high in the 40’s, a light mist, but also some wind.  Can’t say, out in an open field on an open tractor and planter, that its great people weather.  The picture is of the first batch of new trees and there are more to come.  We’ll be at it for a couple of weeks so, for us, Earth Month would be a more descriptive term then Earth Day.



Wisconsin Presentation

Phil & Helen traveled to Weston, WI (next to Wausau) last weekend to attend the  Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association (WCTPA) annual winter meeting.  Phil was a guest speaker, speaking in favor of the upcoming Christmas tree grower vote on establishing a USDA approved/monitored national Christmas tree sales checkoff.


The checkoff of .15 cents per tree sold would raise funds to support marketing and research.  It would provide a central pool of funds, administered by an elected board of Christmas tree growers, to more effectively promote real Christmas trees over fake ones.  It ould also fund research into reducing rotation times and improving needle retention.  It would be similar to checkoffs operated by the beef and the milk councils.