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Good memories with Cooking Light

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Sweet berries top this delicious French bread from Cooking Light.
Sweet berries top this delicious French bread from Cooking Light.
Lisa Boykin Batts | Times
Posted

I’ve always enjoyed reading a variety of food magazines, and at one time was subscribing to four or five.

I let all of the subscriptions expire five or six years ago. I had gotten out of the habit of reading the magazines as soon as they arrived, and months later I would find them still in the plastic bags they were shipped in.

For years, my sister, Susan, gave me a subscription to Cooking Light each Christmas. She introduced me to the magazine. Not only did she try a lot of the recipes, but she also went to a Cooking Light luncheon club with her friends when she lived in Maryland. I loved hearing how they would all bring recipes from the current magazine.

We both stopped reading the magazine, though, as we lost interest in many of its features.

But about two years ago, Cooking Light sent me a very good deal, and I subscribed again just to see what it was all about. Once again, I enjoyed reading the editor’s notes, finding out about new food trends or discovering new cooking utensil “finds.” I always checked out the Dinner Tonight features and the seasonal recipes.

When my December issue came last week, I quickly removed it from the plastic bag to see a glorious holiday dessert. I was not prepared for the simple text on the page: The Farewell Issue.

Cooking Light will no longer publish a print magazine each month. Instead, some of the magazine’s favorite features will become part of EatingWell, starting with the January/ February issue. Although Meredith Corporation made the announcement about two months ago, I had missed it.

In her December Cooking Light column, Ann Taylor Pittman, executive editor, said Cooking Light will maintain an online and social media presence and will continue to publish the special interest publications I enjoy so much.

All of that is nice, but I will miss the magazine. It’s always sad when a publication ends.

I am thankful for many good Cooking Light recipes that I continue to make, including Baked Potato Soup and Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies. Both are family favorites. Many of those recipes were also shared with my readers in this column over the years. Remember Monday Morning Potato Rolls and Bread from 2009? Chocolate Decadence from a 2011 column was another good one; I made it for Valentine’s Day using a 2009 Cooking Light recipe.

Over the weekend, I pulled out the December issue and made one of the recipes, Berry-and-Walnut French Toast Casserole. I bought the ingredients before Thanksgiving and let the bread get a little stale. The recipe is easy to mix up and so delicious the next morning. This would be a good recipe to make for Christmas this year!

I’m sure I’ll continue to look for recipes on the Cooking Light website, and I am always stopping at grocery store checkout lines to see the special interest publications. I’ll have plenty of old Cooking Light magazines to thumb through again and will look forward to seeing EatingWell in a few weeks.

Berry-and-Walnut French Toast Casserole

1 (8-oz.) day-old whole-grain crusty baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes

Cooking spray

1 ripe banana

1 cup 2 percent reduced-fat milk (I used skim)

3 large eggs

3 large egg whites

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed berries, thawed

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Arrange bread cubes in a 13X9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Using a fork, mash banana in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk, eggs, egg whites, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined. Pour mixture over bread cubes; toss to coat. Sprinkle berries over mixture. Cover with aluminum foil; chill 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine walnuts and brown sugar in a bowl. Add butter; using your fingers, mix until crumbly. Remove foil from chilled bread mixture; sprinkle bread mixture with walnut mixture. Replace foil cover.

Bake at 375 degrees until casserole is set, about 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes.

Cooking Light

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