Holiday Saga: Pumpkin & Apple French Toast (Gluten Free)

This Pumpkin & Apple French Toast is amazing! Looking for something quick and easy to make on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning? Or even New Years? Try this recipe! I found the base idea for this on With Style & Grace and adapted it a little. I took Udi’s gluten free sandwich bread, which is light, fluffy, and pliable. This worked great as the base for my french toast. I then went outside to the deck where we have coolers of Cortland apples, which are by far my most favorite type of apple from Buffalo and the Niagara area, and sliced those up for my garnish. This dish would go amazingly well with a maple or applewood bacon or breakfast sausage for all the meat eaters out there!

Pumpkin & Apple French Toast

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1-3 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (can put in pumpkin pie spice and skip the cinnamon and nutmeg steps)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Udi’s gluten-free bread
  • 2 Cortland (or another soft, sweet type of apple) apples, sliced thinly and/or roughly chopped

Method
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Place the slices of bread into the egg mixture and let soak while the pan heats up [3-5 minutes]. Spray skillet with non-stick spray in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place  bread into the pan and cook until golden brown on 1 side, approx. 2-3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes longer. 
Topping: with leftover egg mixture, toss in the apples and stir to coat. Toss these in the pan and saute until just soft. Serve on top of French Toast with maple syrup.

Holiday Saga: Spiced Pumpkin Coconut Risotto

This pumpkin coconut risotto is perfect for the holiday season! You could very well serve this next to turkey on Thanksgiving if you’re so inclined. I personally would have it in the fall rather than on a holiday celebrating America haha but that’s me! I found this recipe on FoodGawker, which I frequent ALL the time, and it tastes amazing! It’s great mostly because it’s entirely vegan! And finding good comforting vegan risotto is incredibly difficult if not impossible 😦 I do have to warn you that without the Parmesan cheese you do have to add some extra salt at the end, unless you like the tinge of sweetness – in which case, eat it up as it is! I did tweak this recipe from the original –

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin (or 1 sugar pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped (1/4 tsp. dried)
  • 1/2 tsp. red curry paste
  • generous amounts of salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • Squeeze of lime juice, optional

Directions

In a deep saute pan or pot over medium low heat, heat oil. Add onions and ginger and cook gently, until translucent. Add the rice and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and stir until evaporated. Add pumpkin and spices, stirring well. Gently pour in chicken stock and cook, covered, until rice is fully cooked and all broth is used (around 30-35 minutes), once you hit 25 minutes take the cover off and continue cooking. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lime juice over rice before serving.

If you are using a sugar pumpkin, the recipe for cooking is as follows. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with foil. Slice pumpkin in half, remove seeds and strings, and drizzle open sides with oil. Place face down on sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork tender. Scoop it out and set aside for rice.

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Holiday Food Saga

Holiday Food Saga is all about trying different recipes that are warm,inviting, and possibly worthy of using in holiday meals. The one problem with being mostly vegan is that the holidays can be a drag. Who wants to bring their own small container of Trader Joe’s soup, or a small plate of something that looks gross and unappealing (trust me, I know how all you carnivores think out there! 😉 ) but seriously…why not just volunteer to bring the sweet potatoes, stuffing, or side dishes that are healthy, tasty and frankly..appealing!

For the next couple months my goal is to bring a healthy touch to classic dishes. Saying that kind of made me sound like someone on Food Network. However…like I’ve said before, there are plenty of people who think that adding an extra veggie here or there counts as eating “healthy.” But that’s just not true. We think we can get away with eating Hot Pockets (ahem) every night, or eating out every lunch hour, but the fact is that our bodies catch up with us eventually.

In a way I think I’m lucky because I don’t really have a choice with my health – it’s either eat healthy or don’t get out of bed for a week. So I prefer that first option. Some people are too dependent on food..may in fact idolize it…to the point where they would rather wait until they have hypoglycemia, diabetes, food-induced celiac, IBS…I could go for days. Even GERD or acid-reflux is not caused by spicy foods (however it is made worse by these after you have it) as doctors used to believe, but specialists are finding that it is really fostered by eating fried foods, caffeine, and chocolate. Also eating large amounts and/or right before bedtime. Just like they’re now finding that eating animal products not only causes gout if in excess, but actually causes calcium to be sucked out of your bones – and we thought that was just soda!!

People used to think the health nuts were just that – crazy! But science is slowly but surely proving them right! My goal this week is to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives, which has been recommended to me by multiple people (both health nuts and not). While it’s always exciting to learn new things about health, I’ll be the first to admit that it IS scary.

For instance, one of my favorite foods in the entire world is Japanese Gyoza, or dumplings/potstickers, whatever you wanna call them. They’re amazing. In fact, I really love the Chinese ones, Korean ones, etc. They’re all good in different ways. However, the past 3 months I’ve been incessantly avoiding wheat gluten and this is the one food I’ve never been able to find. For those of you who are interested in eating GF, Feel Good Foods makes the only GF dumplings I’ve been able to find. They come at about $1/dumpling, but they’re very good and for me it’s definitely worth the trouble! I tried to find them online, and believe me when I tell you that paying $30 for a freezer shipping container so isn’t worth it unless you live wayy out of range of one of their carriers. Now normally I oppose this whole buying food out at the store…but I HAVE tried to make dumplings from scratch and without the gluten that works like glue holding flour together…this proves next to impossible. And very tiring. I might have made 15 in about 6 hours of being in the kitchen. So. Not. Worth it.

But I’m getting off-topic. Basically, my goal in the next 2 months is to post a recipe/day of holiday or feel-good-foods that are made healthy and possibly vegetarian and/or vegan…but no promises! Because I will say, finding foods that are tasty and comforting AND healthy is a good compromise – and usually cold-weather soups, stews, and pastas are super cheap! So I hope you join me on my saga 🙂