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.
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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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Meal: Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese, Gazpacho, Smoothie

So as you can probably tell, when I’m down, I cook. And not just mediocre things. The harder the better…and I’m working my way up. Now I was never the chef of the family growing up. In fact, I always dreaded hearing that call up the stairs – my mom saying “Dinner time!” really meant she wanted our help for salads, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Then I realized that if I were the one actually making the dinner, then I wouldn’t be left with the horrible tasks of cleaning up, doing dishes and the like. Success! Little did I know how my perfectionist tendencies would take hold of this idea and run with it.

So although I’ve been cooking for a while, and haven’t felt the need to take pictures or discuss, I will begin now! Planning a dinner is a lot of trouble by itself. However, my family makes this even harder. My mom is a vegan (borderline raw), my brother only eats hotpockets and hasn’t had a vegetable since he was 10, and I have Celiac. My dad eats pretty much everything. So finding a compromise for everyone is part of the challenge.

Today I made: Shrimp with tomatoes and feta cheese served over GF spaghetti (also with a vegetarian option), creamy cucumber avocado gazpacho, and then for dessert I prepared a pumpkin pie smoothie and chocolate peanut butter bon bons. “That’s a lot” you say. Well…it was. I had to bring my dad in to prep the shrimp, and my brother as a sous chef for the desserts. It was great teamwork and we finally got dinner on the table about an hour later than planned.

YUM 🙂

Recipes following –

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese:

2 lbs medium shrimps (scampi) (thawed, peeled and deveined) – omitted this in the vegetarian version
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1 red chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 scallions (peeled, chopped)
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh oregano
6 to 8 large type cherry tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes (seeded) chopped
1/2 lb feta cheese (crumbled)
3 tbsp milk – I substituted Almond milk which I assure you works just as well!

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the bell pepper, scallions and chili. Keep stirring and cook until the scallions are translucent. Add the shrimps and the tomatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the herbs, the milk and the feta and let it cook for another 3 minutes or so until the shrimps are ready. Season with freshly ground black pepper. No need to add salt in this dish (unless you do the vegetarian version). Serve with fresh bread, or white rice.

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
Inspired by Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Food

4 large organic cucumbers (if not organic, peel)
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed, plus more for garnish, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed
1 shallot, chopped
1 handful fresh basil
2 1/2 cups cold water
Salt to taste

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Then cut into chunks.  Scoop the fruit out of the avocado.  Place all of the ingredients except the salt into a blender and blend.  You may need to do this in batches.  Pour into a bowl and season to taste with salt.  Place in the refrigerator for a few hours until well chilled.  Garnish with chopped hazelnuts before serving.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
serves 2

3/4 cup cooked pumpkin (you can use canned, but fresh is much better)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
2-3 Medjool dates, pits removed (soak first if they aren’t soft)
(You can add honey or maple syrup if you wish for it to be sweeter)

Add all of your ingredients to the blender. Puree until smooth and creamy.

If your pumpkin and/or almond milk isn’t cold, you could add a handful of ice. I decided not to, so it would stay as creamy as possible. You can also add a splash of water or additional almond milk if your smoothie is too thick. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg.