Romantic French Toast?

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Sometimes I’m tired of eating healthy. Shocker, I know. I’m really trying to view food as fuel for my body. But food is so much more. When I think about romantic food, I do not envision a smoothie. I love smoothies, but I think one of the most romantic things is brunch. I’m a girl, what do you want? I get nostalgic about brunch. I have had some wonderful brunches in my life, not many, but a few great ones.

Jacksonville Inn in Jacksonville, OR. Croissant French Toast. I was in high school and it was a revelation. My two favorite breakfast foods in one!

Mama’s on Washington Square in San Francisco. Orange Cranberry French Toast. I was in college and again it was a revelation. I started making French toast with all kinds of quick breads. I love banana bread French toast. Now, these brunches were memorable, but not romantic. They were brunch with friends. I remember talking and laughing and having amazing food.

Five Sister’s Jazz brunch in Pensacola Florida. Fried Pork Chops, they were not a revelation. They were really good, but they didn’t change the way I saw pork chops. I was married, had a small child and a baby. I was so thrilled to sit down, listen to live music and have someone bring me delicious food. Again, it was the setting and the company and the food that made for a memorable brunch.

With food allergies dining out can be more of a hassle than a pleasure. I can’t eat French toast at restaurants anymore. I adapted this overnight French toast recipe so that I could have a memorable and romantic brunch at home. The work is done the night before so you can enjoy your coffee or mimosa or both while breakfast is in the oven.

Overnight French Toast
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Baked French Toast

1 loaf  French Bread
8 whole Eggs
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups coconut or almond milk
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

FOR THE TOPPING:

1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 pinch Nutmeg – Optional
1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with coconut oil.

Cube the bread and fill the pan with it.

Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla together and bowl and pour over the bread. Cover the pan and place it in the fridge overnight.

Stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together and then cut in the butter/oil. Pour it into a bag and put in the fridge for morning.

In the morning preheat the oven 350*. Pour the crumb topping over the top of the bread and pop the whole thing in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Make some coffee and a mimosa and snuggle while this bakes. Serve with warm maple syrup or berry syrup or anything your little heart desires, like another mimosa.

 

Spirulina Smoothie

The Loch Ness Monster Green Thickie from greenthickies.com is one of my favorite smoothies. I thought it would be horrible, I mean reading the ingredients did not make me want to try it. However, I had some spirulina powder that I needed to ingest somehow and this was a recipe from a trusted blogger. Now I find myself craving this smoothie. This morning I was craving one, but I like use fresh spinach and this thickie doesn’t call for extra greens. Luckily I was out of spinach. Perfect! Now, I would have never come up with this recipe on my own. Even though I have all these ingredients in my pantry I would not think of putting them all in a smoothie, but somehow it works.

Spirulina is one of those super foods that you buy just for the health benefits. I don’t think anyone ever said they loved the tasted of algae. When I was a little girl my grandpa took blue green algae. He didn’t put it in a smoothie or anything. As far as I know he just mixed with water and slugged it down. It was one of the highlights of trips to their funky house on the Oregon coast and one of the memories I cherish of him. He would pretend that the green slime turned him into a monster and then he would chase my sister and I around the house while we giggled and shrieked with excitement. He was such a great grandpa. I will gladly drink this smoothie in his honor.

 

2 cups coconut/almond milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup peaches
2 bananas
juice 1 lemon
1 tablespoon spirulina powder 
 Blend the milk, oats, raisins, coconut and sunflower seeds until smooth. Add fruit, juice and spirulina powder and blend again. Makes two servings.
Drink it down and pretend it turns you into a swamp monster. Chase your kids/dog/cat/husband/roommate around the house.

Berry Protein Smoothie

Most mornings I have a smoothie for breakfast. It’s pretty easy to rack up the calories, but a little more difficult to blend up protein. Obviously, whey is not an option. I have tried Sunwarrior protein powder, it is a little chalky and after I bought the chocolate flavor, I discovered I don’t care for things sweetened with stevia. I am saving up to buy the unflavored powder. This recipe uses hemp protein powder.

  • 2 cups Almond Breeze, Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Dates
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/4 cup organic Hemp Protein
  • 2 cups Strawberries, frozen
  • 1 cup Blueberries, frozen
  • juice of one lime or 1/2 lemon

I always blend my oats, dates and almonds with the milk first. Then I add the other ingredients and blend again. This makes 2 servings.

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my protein and calcium intake. I should hide the calorie counter because I don’t think calories are created equal. I don’t want to make food choices based solely on calorie count. Anyway, I haven’t found a better way to add more protein to my diet.

Turkey Enchiladas…um, I can’t wait

I remember sitting alone at the kitchen table, I was seven or eight years old. It was dark outside, I was watching the reflection of the TV in the sliding glass door. The dishes were done, kitchen cleaned, light turned out. In front of me was the only plate not in the dishwasher. On this plate the remains of enchiladas, cold and congealed stared up at me. I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished. I hated enchiladas! They were too spicy, my mom used too many onions, I just didn’t like them. Oh, how times change! Of course I chop my onions finer and I try to make them a little milder for the kids, but I still use the same recipe my mom always did. This is my favorite enchilada sauce recipe. It was originally from a hippy cookbook my aunt had. My mom got the recipe in the early eighties and made it her own. By the time I was old enough to help in the kitchen I loved these enchiladas. We use the red sauce for turkey and the green sauce for fish. Oh great, now I also have a craving for halibut enchiladas. Break out the Vitamix, it’s sauce time!

So, is this why my hair is falling out?

Eating vegan this summer was great for weight loss, energy and over health. I actually like salad now. When my aunt was visiting she asked how I was getting enough protein. Protein? I eat nuts, seeds and beans everyday. I was sure that was fine. But…On an (I thought) unrelated note my hair has been falling out. Now, I have thick hair and have always had little wads of hair in the drain after my showers. The last few months I have had handfuls of hair come out when I shampoo and more fall out when I comb and brush my hair. I wasn’t really worried, but now I can feel a difference in the circumference of my ponytail. My hair is thinning. There are many reasons for hair loss. Physical trauma is one. I haven’t been in a car crash or had any other trauma. Stress. Hmm, well having my husband gone all summer was a bit stressful. Aging is another reason for thinning hair. I refuse to age, so that can’t be it. Also, not getting enough protein can cause your body to shut down hair growth. Well, how much protein am I supposed to be consuming? Turns out a lot! Using several protein calculators and charts from several websites, I found that I should be taking in any where from 65-90 grams of protein daily. How many grams of protein in a 1/4 cup of almonds? 6 grams. 6? So my smoothie that I thought had me covered nutrition wise was lacking a bit. So, what do I do now? Yesterday I added hemp powder to my smoothie. It didn’t change the taste too much, but it did make it feel like I added sawdust. I needed a drink of water to wash my smoothie down. Today I added Sunwarrior brown rice protein powder and it was good. No bad taste, no gritty or sawdusty feeling and 16 grams of protein! 16! Plus the 6 grams from my almonds. 22 grams of protein for breakfast is not a bad way to start my day. Wait, this makes two smoothies so that’s only 11 grams of protein. Tomorrow I’ll make it with two scoops of protein powder and see how that goes.  This is harder than I thought it would be. I better find some more supper-foods. Quinoa, you’re on the list! Now I just have to figure out how to get the rest of the protein I need and hope that in 6-9 months my hair is back to healthy!

Haystacks – Chili Salad

HaystacksA while ago I made a big pot of chili. Now, I could eat bowls of chili for days, but sometimes a little change is nice. My mom used to make haystacks because it was a quick and easy meal. The best chili is simmered for hours, but the chili on top of the haystacks can be made in half an hour. Just throw your chili ingredients into the pot and bring to a simmer. Or better yet, use leftover chili. Use your favorite traditional recipe or try this vegan chili recipe.
There isn’t really a recipe for haystacks, more like instructions.
Ingredients:
Chili
tortilla chips
lettuce, chopped or shredded
cheese (Daiya cheddar shreds, at our house)
sour cream (Tofutti for us)
avocado
salsa
olives
Instructions:
Cover a plate with tortilla chips (I like to crumble mine), cover with cheese. Spoon hot chili over the chips, cover with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, olives, any other toppings you like. It is up to you how closely your haystack resembles a salad or nachos.

This is an easy idea to adapt to any special diet. Use vegan chili, and dairy-free cheese and sour cream for a filling vegan dinner. Use dairy products and meaty chili for the omnivores or any combination that works for you.