Whole Wheat Orange Challah French Toast

I love breakfast food.   In fact, I could (and have) eaten it as all 3 of my meals.  Nutritionally speaking, there is no rule about eating breakfast for lunch or dinner.  My kids swap and have lunch for breakfast sometimes (let’s just say rice and beans is one of Ethan’s breakfast favorites).  Ok, so back to the french toast.  This right here was our breakfast this morning which I made in advance last night.  I discovered whole wheat challah a few years ago in @wholefoodsmarketnyc.  I buy a brand by @zomick’s which is DEEElicious!  and already contains sugar, so I do not add anything additional to this recipe nor do I eat it with syrup or anything sweet.  This french toast is so good, in it’s own or served with fresh fruit or my blueberry sauce (search for blueberry sauce on my blog CookingforTots.com).   The addition of orange zest makes these extra special and flavorful.  Now, if you can’t find whole wheat challah, you can go for the regular white type or even use whole wheat bread.  If using whole wheat bread, don’t soak for too long as they tend to get too mushy and fall apart before getting to the griddle.  Enjoy!!

Ingredients
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups low fat or whole milk
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 loaf whole wheat challah
Unsalted butter for the pan

Directions
1. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest and vanilla.

2. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak half the loaf in the egg mixture to start.
Glaze a griddle with a bit of unsalted butter

3. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. While bread is cooking, soak the other half of the loaf.

4. Serve with my low sugar blueberry sauce, fresh fruit or light cream cheese as a spread.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Snails

How cute are these pumpkin cinnamon snails?  I know it’s been a while since I posted between  me and then Ethan getting sick.  My little Ethan had a rough week so I wanted to take this morning to make him something special for breakfast.  Here are my pumpkin cinnamon snails, think cinnamon roll but WAY healthier and has the addition of pumpkin!   I used agave nectar to sweeten the cream cheese filling.  Who else still has a few leftover cans of pumpkin in the pantry besides me? I really wanted to make some pumpkin recipes and immediately thought of this fun breakfast idea!  and besides, who said pumpkin was only for the holidays?!  Pumpkin adds a boost of Vitamin A and other nutrients to this recipe.  These rolls are quick and easy, no yeast required and no eggs! You can make this recipe totally vegan by using tofutti spread instead of cream cheese and vegan buttery spread to replace butter.  Needless to say, my kids loved having these for breakfast this morning!  Get creative and decorate these or get your kids involved! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • **make these vegan using tofutti spread instead of cream cheese and vegan buttery spread instead of unsalted butter.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl cream together the butter, applesauce, vanilla and sugar, then mix in pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.
  4. On a well floured surface, roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thick rectangle about 16 x 12 inches.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave and cream cheese.
  6. Spread the cream cheese on top of the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. Carefully roll up the dough, starting with the long side and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  8. Now take the cut ends and curve them outward to create the snail’s face.
  9. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. You can use a dot of black food coloring or a mini chocolate chip for the eyes.  Get creative and decorate these cute snails as you want or get your kids involved!

Lighter Carrot Sheet Cake

Carrot cake is my absolute favorite cake.  OK, I’ll go so far as to say it’s my favorite dessert (next to a good NY cheesecake).  There is something about the delicate carrot flavor, hint of cinnamon, crunch of the walnuts and that delectable cream cheese frosting..ahh I digress.  So I made this lightened up version as I have to be cautious of my sugar intake (yes dietitians also can have sugar issues but I promise you this one is hereditary), and I also didn’t want anything too sweet for my little ones or family on Christmas day.  Thankfully everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did making it.  This carrot cake is kinda AHHHHmazing.  I’m not a fan or raisins or crushed pineapple in carrot cake so didn’t include them in this recipe.  I did replace most of the oil with unsweetened applesauce and cut the sugar.  It was just the right amount of sweetness and balance with the frosting.  The cake itself was ever so moist and delicious.  The only timely process was shredding those carrots which I suggest doing by hand vs a blender-but try it your way 🙂  Give this a try and I promise you will not want to go back to super sweet carrot cake again!

Ingredients:

3 cups raw finely shredded carrots, not packed and drained well of excess water

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 whole eggs, whisked

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup canola oil

Cream cheese frosting

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter softened

8 oz light cream cheese

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. 
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix to combine.
  5. Fold in carrots.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. To Make Frosting: In a blender whisk butter, then add in cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat from low to high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. 
  8. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with walnuts.

Apple, Cranberry Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

If you’re following my posts, you may know that I love baking muffins.  Truly, I’m always looking for a good variety of quick on-the-go breakfast options and these oatmeal muffins fit the bill. I recently made a quite delicious blueberry oatmeal muffin which included flour but wanted to make another flourless version.  These muffins were meant to be bars but I wanted to create individual portion sizes and a muffin tin worked perfectly!  Get creative with mix-ins. I added chopped Granny smith apple, dried cranberries and cinnamon.  The flavor is just right without being overly sweet.  I also added crispy brown rice cereal but it didn’t create the layer of texture I was hoping for (really due to the addition of milk here), but you can leave it out and add about an additional 1/2 cup of oats or until the mixture is thick.  These are gluten-free, heart healthy and low in sugar!

Ingredients:

3 cups quick cooking or rolled oats

 

1 cup brown rice cereal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 overly ripe bananas, mashed well

1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk or dairy alternative

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 egg + 1 egg white, whisked

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place muffin liners in a muffin tin. Set aside.
  3. Combine oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine agave, banana, milk, vanilla, egg and egg white
  5. Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix until moist.  Do not overmix!
  6. Fold in chopped apple and cranberries.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Leek, Apple and Cornbread Stuffing

Who says stuffing is only for Thanksgiving?! I love to recreate  a Thanksgiving meal all year round-at least a healthier version.  Stuffing is always a MUST! and I just love this combination of apples and leeks.  You can make this totally vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  I do go the extra step and make fresh, homemade cornbread that is low in sugar and includes yogurt! I’ll post that recipe separately.  If you buy a store-brand cornbread, just be sure to read the nutrition facts as some are super high in fat and sugar.

As I write this post, my mouth is watering thinking of the delicious flavors in this stuffing.  You must try it a protein such as turkey, chicken or tofu, along with a salad.

Ingredients:

2 whole leeks, white part only, roots trimmed and cut into rings

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 Granny smith apple peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
1-8×8 cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or low-sodium vegetable stock)                                          salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Fill a large bowl with water and add the leeks, swish around with your hands to get the sand out from in between the layers.
  3. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add the leeks, celery and apples.
  4. Sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning every now and then, until softened.
  5. In a large bowl combine the leeks, apples, celery, cornbread, and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake  uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Strawberry Banana Gelatin with Chia Seeds

I decided to make my Strawberry Banana Gelatin with chia seeds last night and once again, the kids loved it! You can get creative with your own fun mix-ins!  I’ve always loved jello as a kid, but knowing what I know now about its ingredients, I stay away and wanted to create a healthier naturally sweetened version for my kids. This gelatin is super easy to make and seriously delish! Get creative and add in your child’s favorite fruits! With a dollop of light whipped topping, this dish is still way lower sugar than regular jello! Great way to get your kids to meet their recommended fruit intake! 😋

Ingredients:

2T (or 2-.25oz packs) of unflavored gelatin

1.5 cups organic apple juice boiled

1/2cup organic apple juice cold

1 banana sliced

6 large strawberries chopped

2T chia seeds

Directions

  1. in a large mixing bowl, pour in the cold 1/2c of apple juice.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatine over it. Let it set for a couple of minutes while you boil the other 1.5 cups of apple juice.
  3. After its boiled pour over the Apple juice gelatine mixture in the bowl.
  4. Whisk well, couple of minutes.
  5. Now take your fruits and place them in a glass baking dish, I used an 8×8 but any dish around that size will work and if it’s a larger size dish, you may just get thinner pieces.
  6. Pour the apple juice over the fruit.
  7. Add in chia seeds of using. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!!

Food Art for Kids!

Struggling to get your kids to try some fruits and veggies?  Well try presenting it in a fun and interesting way!  Recently, I was totally inspired to get more creative with meals for my little guys.  Here are a few ways I’ve taken their typical breakfast or snacks and recreated them to be more appealing and attractive (which also results in better eating for most kids as well!).  So I hope this inspires some of you to get a bit more creative with meals for your kids! My kids really loved these especially the rainbow and grape christmas tree!

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