You may be looking at your calendar and thinking today is Cinco de Mayo…and you’d be right! BUT…there’s a new reason to celebrate the 5th day of May….PUBLICATION DAY! Otherwise known as “One Good Life Day.” (Ok, I totally made that up…but it’s got a ring to it!) :-) After two l o n g years, my debut book, “One Good Life,” hits bookstores TODAY! I am having trouble coming up with words to describe how I feel right now. A few that suffice (but don’t do it justice) are EXCITEMENT…TERROR…ECSTASY…HOPE…FEAR…GRATITUDE…AND WONDER. I should be covered in black and blue marks with the amount of time I’ve spent “pinching myself” lately.
To all of you who have pre-ordered the book, I just want to offer a heartfelt THANK YOU for your support. I am so excited to hear what you think. I hope you will share in whatever way you feel comfortable…comment, email, social media. I’ll take it all! :-)
For those of you who are still on the fence about purchasing the book, today’s post is designed to entice you further by offering an excerpt from it.
One of the things I really wanted to accomplish in this book was to not only share my story, but also to share more of the useful tips, ideas and advice that brought you to One Good Thing By Jillee in the first place! I am very proud of how we managed to give you both in a narrative that I think you will find unique and engaging. Here’s a short example —
Excerpt from “One Good Life” by yours truly – Jill Nystul:
My second roommate was an eighteen-year-old girl named Ally. She was an absolutely beautiful creature and sweet and fun and bright. I came to truly love her. She also broke my heart. She had so many issues that brought her to The Ark at such a tender age. I kept thinking of my own children and I was so grateful that they were all alright. Ally and I were moved upstairs to a larger room with twin beds on opposite sides of the room and our own night stands. Small shifts like this in amenities made a big difference at The Ark since the place had become my home–at least temporarily.
Ark residents were awakened at six every morning. Depending upon who the overnight house parent was at the time (a non-resident), loud music came through the speaker system in the house as our wake-up alarm. Kip, a thirty-five year old gay man, was my favorite house parent. He typically blasted Lady Gaga or Madonna and there was something fun about waking up to music that was so lively and upbeat. I’m not sure if everyone else felt as pumped up as I did by the musical selections upon awakening, but to the best of my knowledge, no one complained. I think that Kip’s enthusiasm was so infectious and his warmth was so encompassing that no one dared to complain! We’d shower, dress, clean our rooms and then go downstairs for breakfast at seven where we ate family style at several tables in one large room. All the residents took meals together in the main house, taking turns with breakfast, lunch and dinner duty. If it was my turn to make breakfast, I had to get myself up earlier than the others to go downstairs and prepare.
One morning, a male resident, Travis, and I were assigned to breakfast duty. We wanted to make French toast. Travis had his own special twist that I’d never tried before—Orange-Cinnamon French Toast! After having that delicious concoction, I have never gone back to plain French toast again. Go figure, one of my favorite recipes comes out of a stint in rehab. Just goes to show that there often is a “silver lining.”
Orange Cinnamon French Toast
Not only is this dish delicious, it’s also simple to make and is perfect for weekday breakfasts as well as entertaining houseguests. We had to make this recipe on a much larger scale than this, but here is a recipe that should suffice for a family of five!
- 6 large eggs
- A dash of salt
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- Grated zest from 1 orange (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 loaf thickly sliced French bread (or whatever bread you fancy!)
The night before you want to serve the French toast, slice bread into thick slices and leave it out to dry. The next morning, add eggs and a dash of salt to a mixing bowl and beat with fork until mixed. (Salt helps break up the yolks.) Add eggs, orange juice, zest (if you’re using it), and half-and-half into the mixing bowl and whisk together.
Soak bread slices thoroughly in egg mixture.
Place as many soaked bread slices in a lightly-greased hot skillet as will fit in single layer. Cook over medium heat until golden brown and no visible liquid egg remains, turning once. Transfer to a pan in a 200-degree oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining toast.
Before serving, dust top with powdered sugar.
Serve with maple syrup.
Note: If French bread isn’t to your liking, by all means, try a different bread, such as brioche or Italian. Just make sure it is very dry and/or stale.
To freeze French toast, cool slices on a wire rack. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze 1 to 2 hours. Wrap airtight in serving-size portions; freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, unwrap slices and heat in toaster, toaster oven or on an ungreased baking sheet in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
I still love this recipe! I challenge you to give it a try this weekend. Travis and I would be so proud. :-)
I also challenge you to buy yourself (or someone you love) a present for “One Good Life Day,” for Mother’s Day, or just because! I truly believe in the message of this book – that we can all find and live our own “one good life”….one good thing at a time.
Of course I’m am a bit biased….so maybe you’d like to hear what my friend Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman” has to say about it: :-)
Wow — what a special, amazing book! One Good Life is filled to the brim with the useful and unique tips, recipes, and advice that Jill’s faithful readers have come to love and adore. But it’s her hard-fought journey to sobriety that will capture readers’ hearts. It will be impossible for this beautiful — and very moving — book not to inspire everyone who reads it.”
Ree Drummond, #1 New York Times – bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Thank you Ree! And thank you, again, to all of you for your support of this blog and this book! Without you, none of this incredible journey would have been possible!
ORANGE CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST
- 6 Eggs
- 2 cups Half-and-Half
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 Orange Zest
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp Vanilla
- 1 loaf French bread thickly sliced
- The night before you want to serve the French toast, slice bread into thick slices and leave it out to dry.
- The next morning, add eggs and a dash of salt to a mixing bowl and beat with a fork until mixed.
- Add eggs, orange juice, zest (if you’re using it), and half-and-half into the mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Soak bread slices thoroughly in the egg mixture.
- Place as many soaked bread slices in a lightly-greased hot skillet as will fit in single layer.
- Cook over medium heat until golden brown and no visible liquid egg remains, turning once.
- Transfer to a pan in a 200-degree oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining toast.
- Before serving, dust top with powdered sugar.
- Serve with maple syrup.