I hate mornings. I always have. Since I have two boys I have experienced many early mornings. Luckily I married a guy who is also an early bird so most of the time I am able to get a little bit of extra shut-eye in here and there. The hating mornings aside, I do love a piping hot breakfast which is why I love Paula Deen’s French Toast Casserole. Not only is it prepared the night before so I don’t have to worry about getting up and making three hungry guys a warm breakfast, but it is decadent. Of course it comes with lots of butter, sugar and fat which is a prerequisite in all Paula Deen recipes, so while you may not be able to make this all the time, on the occasional Sunday or holiday, it is definitely worth it.
A couple of things to note, I deviated from the recipe on the Food Network site to adjust it to my own tastes and textures. I cut down the eggs by two and cut down the half-and-half listed to only one cup instead of two. By doing this the casserole is less “soupy” and lighter & fluffier. I also modified the Praline topping a bit, using less nuts. Some may think I am crazy, but again, this is just to my tastes. For Paula’s Exact Frenct Toast Casserole recipe, just click on this link. Yes, the image I used is from the Food Network site because no matter what I do my casserole never looks quite as pretty as Paula’s, but trust me, it is fabulous!
I have always had a love/hate relationship with granola. You see, I love to eat granola, but I am often put off by the extremely high-fat, high calorie granola that comes with the itty bitty service size. Some different brands of granola I have tried have as much as 10-12 grams of fat per serving. I love chocolate far too much to be wasting those fat calories on granola so I passed on granola for ages, until now.
I feel like the skies cleared once I started making this recipe. It is so flipping good. One of the main things I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. The base includes oats, crisp rice cereal, coconut oil and either maple syrup or maple flavored agave syrup (I am sure that honey would taste delicious here as well.) All the other ingredients can be included, excluded and/or swapped out based on what you have on hand. I included chia seeds and hemp harts in this granola recipe due to their nutritional benefits. However, if you don’t have those ingredients, by all means leave one or both of them out. Same goes for the almonds. You may also notice that I have excluded dry fruit from this recipe. I did this because I actually prefer to enjoy this granola with fresh fruit and I find dried fruit to be extremely calorie dense and overly sweet.
I have been gluten free for about a month now and I can’t begin to tell you the difference I am feeling. “Things” are moving much more smoothly in the stomach region (if you know what I am saying) and emotionally I feel world of difference. I am less irritable, snappy, I feel less anxious and just overall more peaceful. The only major change I have made is eliminating gluten so I am attributing these changes to my new way of eating.
I have to also add that prior to this I ate a LOT of gluten. All-purpose white flour, pasta, cookies, muffins and I were BFF’s. However, since breaking up with these former loves I have found different ways of taming these cravings with other options. One of my favorite recipes is those for Banana Muffins. You can find the original recipe here, which I still make for my boys, however for a gluten free and lower fat version I created this recipe. Now, they are not exactly as light and fluffy as the original version – I can’t tell you that, however they are delicious. I used gluten-free oat flour in place of the all-purpose flour which gives these a chewy texture that I love. My favorite way to pair these is with my homemade raspberry coulis and a light smear of butter.
If you are gluten-free or are considering adopting a gluten-free lifestyle I would recommend giving these a try. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how these turned out for you.
Gluten Free Banana Muffins
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 very ripe bananas, medium size
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. gluten-free oat flour
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor bowl add the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla and bananas. Pulse until smooth. Next add the baking soda and salt. Pulse 2-3 times. Add the flours and pulse 2-3 times, just until combined and then add the chocolate, if using. Again, pulse just 1-2 times to distribute them evenly.
Scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.
I recently began reading the book Grain Brain by David Perlmutter and was astounded at the scientific findings that have to do with having gluten in your diet. I absolutely adore bread, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, biscuits, muffins…you get the idea. If there is all-purpose white flour in it chances are I will want to get me a piece of it.
So when I started reading this book I knew that I had to make some changes to my diet. Now, I am not going completely gluten free, I am realistic and know that long term this will not be an option that will work for me or for my family. I am however looking for delicious options that will satisfy my need for sweets but hopefully begin to curb my addiction (and yes, I would qualify my love of this as an addiction) to these harmful carbs.
I found a recipe for Paleo two ingredient pancakes and although I was skeptical I went ahead and made them. Surprisingly, they were really tasty. So good in fact that I plan on making some for my boys as I think that they may like them as well – they are that good. The main trick to this recipe is to use bananas that have plenty of brown spots as they will give the pancakes that extra sweetness that they need. I personally like to add berries and a little maple syrup but they are plenty delicious on their own.
I highly recommend giving these a try. The other ingredient in these – eggs is an ingredient I am particularly fond of on their own and I couldn’t even really tell there were eggs in them. Give them a try…I hope you like them as much as I do.
Two Ingredient Paleo Pancakes
(makes 1-2 servings, depending on how hungry you are)
1 banana, ripe with brown spots
Optional Ingredients: Berries, butter, maple syrup
Place banana and eggs in a blender and mix for about 30 seconds until frothy.
Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (I like Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray but use whatever you have on hand) and pour the mixture just like you would regular pancakes. Once they start to bubble just flip them over and you are done.