Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast
Pumpkin Spiced French Toast

It still feels like summer here on the East Coast, but fall is fast approaching. Fall is my favorite! I can’t wait for the cooler days and the leaves to change color, to be able to wear jeans without sweating to death, and sweatshirts. Who doesn’t love a cozy sweatshirt? There have been a few hints of fall this week with a couple of leaves falling and the nights becoming slightly cooler. It has gotten me in the mood. I make pumpkin muffins at the beginning of the week, and here we are making pumpkin spiced french toast. No, I do not drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, that’s yucky, too sweet, but I love the real stuff. Also, pumpkin is a vegetable, and, to be honest, I used butternut squash puree today so it’s another sneaky way for me to put veggies in everything. Toddler approved!

Top this fragrant french toast with maple syrup, coconut whipped cream, cinnamon roll topping, or anything else your heart desires.

 Ingredients

  • 2 happy eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • few dashes nutmeg
  • 6 slices whole grain bread (I used a flourless sprouted bread)
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk the eggs until uniformly yellow.
  2. Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg whisking to combine.
  3. Dip bread into batter one slice at a time, and allow to rest while your pan pre-heats. This lets the batter soak into the bread a bit which makes for a better texture.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Once the pan is hot add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add bread in a single layer leaving room between the slices. I have to cook this in 2 batches.
  7. Cook on the first side until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, flip and cook until the second side is also golden brown, a few more minutes.
  8. Serve hot with topping of choice.
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Sweet Potato Pancakes- toddler friendly

sweet potato pancakes
sweet potato pancakes

My little lovelies enjoy their pancakes. Traditional pancakes are not a nutritional powerhouse, but we can fix that! These are made with whole grains, add protein with the eggs, some vegetables, and pack in the flavor. All that, and they’re still light and fluffy! I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to be shocked by the fact that most pancakes don’t have vegetables in them (insert evil laugh here). I mix it up with the vegetables, but sweet potato, pumpkin puree, or spinach are the favorites in our house. This week will focus on the beautiful sweet potato.

For my girls I serve them plain, no butter or syrup, and then pack them to go. These also freeze extremely well and will thaw on the go if you like to do big batch cooking.

 Ingredients

  • 1 small very ripe banana or an additional 1/2 cup puree of choice, they just won’t be quite as sweet
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree, or pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour or more whole grain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 3/4 cup milk, kiefer, water, or a mixture of these – nondairy is fine

Instructions

  1. Mash banana in a medium bowl with the sweet potato puree.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla whisking to combine.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,spices, and milk and stir together. If mixture needs more liquid add it to your desired consistency. Thicker batter makes thicker pancakes, thinner batter makes thinner pancakes.
  4. Heat a large skillet, I use my biggest cast iron pan, over medium heat.
  5. Once pan is hot add a small amount of oil to prevent pancakes from sticking.
  6. Pour batter into the pan making sure to leave enough room between the pancakes to flip them!
  7. Cook on first side until bubbles that form on pancakes burst and edges start to dry out.
  8. Flip and cook until golden brown on second side.
  9. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Crustless Quiche

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • A few tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, or a few teaspoons dried herbs
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables (I used Kale, Mushrooms, and zucchini)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used unsweetened plain almond milk)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used goat guda)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet.
  4. Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the other vegetables and cook until liquid has been released and evaporated, 5 more minutes or so.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the vegetables evenly across the bottom of the skillet.
  7. In a bowl whisk the eggs and milk together until everything is uniformly yellow.
  8. Add remaining salt, pepper, and any herbs you are using and whisk to combine.
  9. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable.
  10. Sprinkle with grated cheese in an even layer over the top.
  11. Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across and it is firm in the middle, it’s fully cooked.
  12. Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.

Almond French Toast

Almond French Toast
Almond French Toast

French toast is a lovely, quick breakfast. It is one of my go to breakfasts for my toddler. By using a sprouted grain bread and add a few things I am increasing the nutritional value and converting a quick diner breakfast into a healthy start to you day.  I have a few versions, one with pumpkin to continue on my quest for veggies in everything, and this one that just adds a bit more protein and nutrients from the almonds. This french toast is filled with almond goodness and bursting in with flavor. I love to top it with plain yogurt, bananas, and a light drizzle of maple syrup.

 Ingredients

  • 2 happy eggs
  • 1 TBL milk or nondairy milk
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 slices sprouted grain bread
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl until uniformly yellow in color.
  2. Add milk, almond meal, vanilla, and almond and whisk to combine.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot melt a little coconut oil in the bottom, just enough to coat the pan you are using.
  4. Dip the bread in the egg mixture one slice at a time making sure each slice is completely coated with egg mixture on all sides.
  5. Place egg coated bread in the hot skillet and cook until golden brown on the first side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second side is also golden brown. 2-3 minute more.
  6. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.

St. Patrick’s Day Green Muffins (Zucchini-Spinach, sugar free, vegan, toddler approved)

Spinach Zucchini Muffins -date sweetened
Spinach Zucchini Muffins -date sweetened

Who doesn’t love green food? Oh, yeah, toddlers. Well, except mine who things it needs to be green to be edible! These yummy muffins are packed with vegetables, take their sweetness from the dates, and are good enough I was sneaking them when my daughter wasn’t looking. These are quite green from all the vegetables and would be perfect to introduce on St. Patrick’s Day if you have a picky eater. Also perfect to bring to work to nourish you throughout the day to prepare you for your evening activities. Spread a little almond butter on these and you have yourself a meal.

Makes 12 regular muffins

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dates (about 5-7 dates)
  • hot water to cover dates
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 packed cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 TBL chia seeds
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or by lightly oiling the pan.
    2. Place chopped dates in a glass measuring cup, pour boiling water over the top just to cover the dates, and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.
    3. In a mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon.
    4. When dates are soft place them, the soaking water, coconut oil, and the baby spinach in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
    5. Pour date mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add chia seeds, zucchini, and vanilla stirring to combine.
    6. Divide the batter evenly into prepared muffin tine and bake 18-20 minutes until tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
    7. Remove from the pan and allow to cool a bit before eating.

Vegan Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry

Vegan Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry
Vegan Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry

As part of my New Year’s resolution to cook more new things I have gone back to my cookbooks. The Veganomicon is still one of my favorites, especially for inspiration. I love to page through it and soak up ideas to be turned into food at a later date. However, sometimes you just need to good from a recipe. This delightful pineapple quinoa stir fry is just such a recipe. I have made a few minor changes based on what I had in the house and the recipe below reflects those changes.

This is a lightly fruity stir-fry balanced by the saltiness of the cashews and has the pop of fresh herbs. This can be a main dish or a side depending on your goals. I served only four people as a side last time I made this, but we are all big eaters.

Originally from The Veganomicon

 Ingredients

FOR THE QUINOA

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon tamari

FOR THE STIR-FRY

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews (original recipe calls for raw unsalted)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 a medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 hot red chili pepper, sliced into very thin rounds (optional)
  • 1⁄2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh basil, sliced into thin shreds
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 cups bite-size chunks of fresh pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

FOR THE QUINOA:

  1. Combine the quinoa, juice, water, and soy sauce in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Cover, place over high heat,and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir a few times, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears plumped and slightly translucent.
  4. Uncover, fluff, and let cool.
  5. For best results,place the quinoa in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  6. If you’re in a hurry, chill the covered quinoa for at least an hour. I have also done this with warm quinoa and it comes out just fine, but it sticks to the pan a bit more.

FOR THE STIR-FRY;

  1. Use the largest skillet you have (at least 11 inches in diameter) or a wok.
  2. Have ALL of your ingredients chopped and easily within reach.
  3. Place the cashews in the dry pan and heat over low heat, stirring them, until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove the cashews from the pan, raise the heat to medium, and add the oil, red onion, and garlic.
  5. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the sliced chili pepper and ginger.
  6. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the red bell pepper and peas.
  7. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until the bell pepper is just softened.
  8. Add the basil and mint, and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.
  9. In a measuring cup, stir together the soy sauce, vegetable stock, and sugar.
  10. Pour over the quinoa mixture.
  11. Stir to incorporate completely and coat the quinoa.
  12. Continue to stir-fry for a few minutes, until the quinoa is very hot.
  13. Garnish with the chews and serve hot.

Tofuballs with Extra Veggies

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL oilve oil
  • 11/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 11/2 cups finely chopped spinach
  • 3 mushrooms, minced
  • 1 lb water packed extra firm tofu
  • 1 TBL Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg beaten (omit if vegan, or try 2 TBL aquafaba lightly beaten with a fork)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vegan bread crumbs
  • Neutral flavored oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add oil, zucchini, onion, spinach, and mushrooms and cook 5-8 minutes or until most of the water has been released and cooked off.
  3. Mash tofu in a large bowl with your hands or a potato masher.
  4. Add Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, egg, cooked vegetables, and nutritional yeast and stir together.
  5. Add bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time stirring to combine. The mixture should start to stick together.
  6. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Heat about a 1/4″ of oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet to about 350 degrees. I never actually check this with a thermometer, but you should. It should be hot, but not smoking, and when you flick a few drops of water into the oil it should sizzle and pop.
  8. Form the tofu mixture into walnut sized balls with your hands. Pack them a bit, but don’t worry if they feel loose as long as they hold their shape in your hand. If they don’t add more breadcrumbs until they do.
  9. Carefully place the tofu balls in the hot oil, and cook until one side is golden brown (3-4 minutes), flip them and cook on the other side another 3 minutes or so until golden brown.
  10. Unless you have a super huge skillet you will need to work in batches. You might need to add more oil between batches. If this happens don’t forget to reheat the oil before frying.
  11. Once cooked remove the tofu balls and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  12. Serve hot with pasta and sauce, or just eat as is. Super yummy snack!
  13. You could also bake these on an oiled baking sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes. Still good, but not quite the same.