Truthfully, I spent 9 days out of town with my husband's step-mother who has two types of cancer; Papillary Cirus Endometrial and Lung Cancer. It really wasn't the time or place to mess around in the kitchen whipping up something to photograph.
However, since I got home, I have been back in the kitchen...just not back at the computer! I spent most of the time that I was gone working on new menu plans for the next month. By the way, in case I have not mentioned this before; I am a total control freak plan-a-haulic. I don't recall whether or not this is a subject I've ever brought up in the blog but I'm quite good at that sort of thing. Much of my personal chef work has consisted of preparing menu plans for my clients based upon the dietary needs and or restrictions that they provide for me.
It is quite labor intensive to prepare a weeks worth of meals with their nutritional content AND provide a variety of good tasting dishes that meet a client's dietary needs. In any event, I've done it for myself for so many years that it was a natural extention to do it for others.
To begin with, I've really fallen off the wagon a bit over the last few months when it comes to certain ingredients! As a rule, I usually strive to make foods as healthy yet tasty as possible. Too much sugar and white flour have been finding their way into my recipes lately and I really felt that a exorcism was in order! The following are some of our "cleaned up" recipes from the last couple of weeks.
First up is a fantastic breakfast offering...Vegan Pina Colada French Toast.
Before I go into the particulars let me just say a word about the photos first. I am aware that there is a shadow; I'm not a professional photographer and my camera is a point and click. I have decided to stop worrying about whether or not my photos will garner praise or "clicks" because they won't...and that is okay. The recipes are the point. Clearly, readers can see that this is a lovely dish...crappy photo notwithstanding.
Secondly, I write like I speak. I'm frank, funny and literate. I may misspell a word here and there but that's more likely because of my fingernails than my education. My blog reads like a conversation around my dinner table and that is the way I like it. Thanks Lazaro for reminding me that ultimately this is MY blog, my ideas and my passion.
Whew...that felt good! Now to the recipe. My constant readers know that I am horribly allergic to eggs. I've actually ended up in the ER on more than one occasion thanks to those little devils. Consequently, many of the classic breakfast foods are out of the question for me. I may make them for the hubs and my mother but you won't find a bite of frittata crossing these lips!
I was messing around in the kitchen Sunday morning making my husband some French toast and it looked so delicious. I decided to take a stab at making a vegan French toast and to my great surprise...it actually worked and it was delicious. The bread I have used here is Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread which is a flourless bread. I really love it. This is a bread made from seven different sprouted grains. It is vegan but even though it is flourless it is NOT gluten free. Check out the website at the link above if you are not familiar with Ezekiel bread.
The recipe is really simple:
1 heaping tablespoon tapioca starch or Ener-G egg replacer
1 cup unsweetened organic almond, oat, hazelnut, soy or hemp milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
*for this version I also added 1 teaspoon coconut extract but that may be omitted if you are not making the pina colada sauce
Put the starch or egg replacer in a shallow wide bowl and add the milk. Whisk to dissolve the starch. Stir in the extract/extracts. Melt some coconut oil in a skillet or griddle. Dip the slices of bread in starch/milk mixture and place them in the heated, oiled skillet. Cook over medium low heat until toast is browned; flip and brown on second side.
I also prepared a pineapple sauce to pour over top the French toast.
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 teaspoon tapioca or non gmo corn starch
2 tablespoons Xylitol natural sweetener
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
In a small saucepan, whisk starch with xylitol until mixed. Whisk in pineapple juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Cook 1-2 minutes or until mixture is loses it's milk appearance. Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract.
When I plated this, I sliced the French toast in half diagonally and topped it with shredded unsweetened organic coconut and some fresh bananas and raspberries then drizzled it with this delicious pineapple sauce. I must say, it was wonderful!!
For lunch we've got a velvety smooth soup made with three types of roasted winter squash, coconut milk and vegetable broth and millet. This soup is so simple and yet so very delicious.
Three Squash and Millet Soup is comfort food to the max. The roasted squash is pureed to a smooth, velvet texture. The millet provides a healthy boost of fiber and protein.
6 cups of mixed peeled, cubed hard squash * I've used butternut, turban and kombucha
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon sweet yellow curry powder
8-10 scrapes fresh nutmeg
6 cups organic reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry organic millet
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 cup organic full fat coconut milk plus more to drizzle on top
salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss peeled cubed squash with melted coconut oil, curry powder and nutmeg. Cover with foil and roast until squash is fork tender.
Working in two or three batches, place roasted squash in blender or food processer with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Pulse and until completely smooth. Pour into a 3 quart kettle with lid. Repeat with remaining squash and vegetable broth. Add the millet and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer very slowly until millet is tender; about 45 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and stir in coconut milk. Heat through but do not boi. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sever with a drizzle of coconut milk on top.
Not a very good picture...even by my standards but this soup is fantastic!
There will be more recipes forthcoming. My slump is officially over! By the way, thank you so much to my new youtube subscribers! I've got new videos ready to post that I HOPE we will get to this week AND...just wait till you see the next one! Its going to be a healthy pizza dip with baked pita chips!
To all my foodbuzz friends...please don't be offened if I don't comment on any of your posts from the last two weeks. I cannot believe how many posts I had sent to me while I was on hiatus...THOUSANDS! There is no way I can possibly go through all those. I'm just going to delete them and start fresh with your new posts. I'm sorry because I really do like to check out what all my friends are cooking but this is overwhelming!