Wednesday, April 8, 2009

General Conference French Toast Party

A toast to French toast!

I raise my frothy cup of cocoa
(topped with whipped cream and sprinkles)
in praise of what those chefs can do with stale bread.
I even donned my Provence apron, and created a Conference Sunday Brunch
Marie Antoinette would die for. (Oh...she did??)

Creamy Baked French Toast

1 firm loaf of French bread cut into cubes
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese cut into small cubes
12 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cube of butter, melted

Spray a 9"x 13" pan with Pam. Spread half the bread cubes evenly in the pan. Dot all over with small cubes of cream cheese. Spread the rest of the bread cubes on top. Beat the eggs, add the cream, syrup and melted butter and mix well. Pour evenly over the bread cubes. Use a spatula to press the mixture down to soak the bread with the eggs. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until set and golden brown.

Cut in squares, dust with powdered sugar,
and serve with syrup and fresh strawberries.

After brunch we got comfy for the main General Conference activity.
We rolled our cream-cheese stuffed bodies over to the TV
to listen to wise words from our Prophet and Apostles.
Pillows were propped, shoes were kicked off,
and the prime spots were spoken for.

For those unfamiliar with this LDS tradition, twice a year all the leaders of our church gather in Salt Lake City for a worldwide conference. There are five 2-hour meetings, consisting of sermons, and choir singing. Thousands of leaders and members from all across the world come to attend in the Tabernacle or the Conference Center, but it's broadcast world-wide and many locals generously let the visitors have the hard seats, while we stay home in our pajamas, sleep in, and watch it on TV. When our kids were little, our family developed some traditions to make it memorable:

Conference bingo with M & M's, coloring books with prophets to identify and beautify;
Mazes and word searches with Sunday School answers.
Lots of treats, chips and dips, soda pop, juices, and specialty main-dishes at the ready.
A few quiet toys to entertain the nursery crowd when it starts seeming long:
(puppets, wooden train, books, stuffed animal friends.)

Since each broadcast has the potential of becoming boring for little kids,
(and sleep-inducing for the big ones,)
We tried to create a family-party type atmosphere that we all looked forward to.

But it took an in-law to bring us our all-time favorite game:
Conference Brackets.
(We call it April Madness.)

Every player picks a number, which gives us the order in which we pick a Gospel Word
that we're betting will be said at the first of the talks.
The inventor of the game, and keeper of the brackets,
writes down our word and keeps track of who plays who in the Sweet Sixteen, the Final Four
and the championship rounds.

It's important to choose a popular word that will be mentioned up front by the speakers.
Faith, pray, repent, love, and serve always make the playoffs.
The first word mentioned in a talk takes the round.

Listening carefully to the Prophet, we hear him say Scott's word, "Pray."
"Pray!" we cheer.
Scott has moved on to the next bracket.
Anna wisely choose "Repent."
"Repent!" she squeals.
"So do we still have to keep listening even after we hear our word?" Pete wonders.
"Yes!" is the resounding answer,
from the younger, more faithful contingency.

Our game-meister always provides appropriate prizes.
Everyone wants to win the Monson Buck!

I lift my orange-juice glass in a toast to Conference Sunday:
If only church could be this uplifting,
and this fun, every week!


Christie said...

Do you think they were 'making brackets' in the temple when the savior went in and turned over all the tables?

Nah, probably not.

LOVE the Monson buck. I want in next year from afar.

Sheri said...

Can I come to General Conference at your house in six months?? You make everything so much fun.

anna jo said...

my word was actually faith, but whatev :) and just so everyone knows my winning prize (beating out sco with love) was one of those cherry pies you get from, like, gas stations. awesome!

it was one of the best conferences of my life. {especially the baked french toast!}

mama jo said...

you have me drooling for french toast.

Nina Lewis said...

I gained 10 pounds just reading the recipe for French toast!!! And, I'm going to make it for my family.

The Grandmother Here said...

Marty, you are the best!