happy friday! i’m popping in just before the weekend with this baked french toast recipe just in time for brunch. but i’m also talking about the fun topic of blood sugar - yay! here’s a little bit of how they coexist in today’s post:

like i noted in last week’s blog post, my go-to breakfast is a “fab4” smoothie. it’s routine and somewhat boring, but i’m someone who thrives in a routine. plus, it’s the first breakfast i’ve eaten in recent memory that doesn’t leave me with stomach pains and bloat, so i’m quite happy where i’m at with it. so when we’re planning on brunch where pancakes, waffles, bagels, or a baked french toast is involved, i make sure to load up on a smoothie ahead of time to keep me balanced before i eat anything that’s going to elevate my blood sugar.

i’m assuming that a blood sugar rush feels different for everyone. but for me, i can get dizzy, my heart can palpitate, i’ll likely feel depressed, reach for snacks, and/or get sleepy. it can be one, or a combination of all the symptoms, but either way i try to avoid any of them at all costs. but, if you’re not one for smoothies, or if you’re just not as sensitive as me, i’ve got a few other techniques to keep your blood sugar in check while also partaking in a perfectly delicious brunch:

  • if you’re serving brunch: prepare a few difference items, so you and your guests don’t just load up on the dish/es that make blood sugar increase. for instance - serve this baked french toast along with eggs, a big tossed salad, and sliced avocado. that way you all have an option for protein, fat, greens, and french toast.

  • if you’re attending a brunch: load up on a big hearty breakfast ahead of time that contains quality protein, some healthy fats, and greens. like i’ve already said i go for a fruitless fab4 smoothie, but a hearty breakfast could also look like eggs, greens, and avo. or you could substitute in your favorite plant-based protein instead. i’m no doctor, but this are the best techniques i’ve found so far to limit any of those non-desirable side effects of increased blood sugar.

but let’s talk more about this baked french toast! to be honest, i was always afraid to make a gluten free baked french toast. gluten free bread isn’t the best when you want it absorb water and stay somewhat bread-like. instead, it can dissolve into a gummy, gooey mess. luckily, there’s a trick i discovered here that works perfectly and saves you from any form of gooey-ness. what we do here leave the bread out a day ahead to get a bit stale, or toast the bread cubes in the oven for a bit; that way the bread is starting out a bit dry and sturdy. from there, you use it as the recipe directs and you’re delivered a perfectly delicious baked french toast.

this particular recipe comes from jeanine donofrio’s second, and newest book: love & lemons everyday. it’s a lovely recipe for this time of year when the sweetest strawberries are just beginning to come into full swing, and it’s loaded with some warming spices, making this dish both cozy and seasonal. this book is so functional and beautiful. the images alone with make you want to cook just about everything in it, but the recipes are functional and attainable without being predictable. jeanine is great at adding flavorful seasonings or tasty dressings/sauces where they need to be to make each of these recipes shine. if you’re a vegetarian, or want to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into your day-to-day, then this book is definitely one you might want to consider owning.

happy friday! xo!

strawberry baked french toast |df

print the recipe

recipe from Love & Lemons Everyday by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Matthews

| serves 6 |

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup almond milk

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 10 (1-inch-thick) challah bread slices, cubed (8 cups)*

  • 16 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing

my notes on how to make this gluten free:

to make this gluten free: substitute the challah with equal amounts gluten free bread (the heartier, the better) . i’ve seen versions of baked french toast that use sandwich bread (and if that’s all you can find, go for it), but if you can get your hands on a gluten free boule-style bread do just that.

  • stiffen the bread by cutting it into about 1-inch cubes and either leave them out overnight to get stale, or preheat your oven to 350°F and spread the cubes out onto a large baking sheet (you may have to do this in batches), toast for about 12-18 minutes, tossing halfway through, until toasty and stiff. let the cubes cool completely and proceed with the recipe.


  1. preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8x11-inch or similar baking dish with coconut oil.

  2. in a a large bowl, combine the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, salt, and pepper. beat until combined. add the bread cubes and half the strawberries and toss to coat. pour the mixture into the preapred baking dish and top with remaining strawberries and the almonds. drizzle the coconut oil on top and bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops of the bread cubes are lightly browned.

  3. remove from the oven and serve with maple syrup.

similar recipes:

strawberry-rhubard chocolate bundt w/ chocolate whip

strawberry-rhubard chocolate bundt w/ chocolate whip

strawberry coconut kale slaw

strawberry coconut kale slaw

Strawberry Coconut Kale Slaw by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

when we were in LA for vacation last january we made a stop at the whole foods in downtown for a quick dinner.  it was the second night of our trip, and i remember amesy was particularly irritable, so a fast dinner was in order.  at the prepared counter at the whole foods in in new york, there are slim pickings, and they rarely change up what's on the menu, so i thought my decision in LA would be a quick one.  it turned out that i was wrong.  there were mounds of beautiful fresh salads and my dinner choice couldn't have been harder to decide.  i wanted to sample each dish, but my crying babe quickly brought me back to reality so i hurriedly got the strawberry kale salad.

that split second judgement couldn't have been better.  that salad transported me from my bleak winter blues, into the land of plenty where strawberries were already being served atop fresh greens.  cranky baby aside, that meal was heaven.  and apparently i'm not the only one out there that loves that particular whole foods salad. there's at least a few recipes on the web dedicated to recreating it as well!  this version here is more of a slaw.  the kale is chopped in shreds, and marinated a bit, and it generally has a lighter feel.  there's a good amount of toasted coconut shreds tossed in and more on top for good measure, along with some toasty pine nuts.  it's all dressed in a really simple honey-lime vinaigrette that i love.  it's a great salad for a gathering, and will serve up to 10 people.  this past weekend my man and i served it up to a small crowd alongside a potato salad, some grass-fed burgs, and a simple blueberry lemon cake.  all about those easy-peasy dishes ;)

happy june.  big hugs, all!

strawberry coconut kale slaw

you could easily halve this recipe.  but leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to a few days, and might i say will taste better as the days go by. the slaw can also be made the day before and be stored in the fridge.  make sure to take the slaw out an hour or so prior to serving.

inspired by whole foods

| serves 6-10 |

  • 3/4 cup toasted coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and shredded 
  • 1 tablespoon liquid extra virgin coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • fine sea salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pound strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 5 green onions, white and light green parts sliced thin

honey-lime vinaigrette

  • juice from 2 limes
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • fine sea salt & fresh ground pepper


  1. heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the coconut shreds. toast the coconut until lightly brown and fragrant, shaking the pan every now to prevent burning.  remove the coconut and let it cool.  in the same pan, toast the pine nuts until lightly browned, shaking the pan every now and then.  remove the nuts and let them cool.
  2. add the kale, oil, lemon juice, and big pinch of salt to a large mixing bowl.  massage everything until the kale has softened, about 5 minutes.  add half of the coconut, the pine nuts, strawberries, and green onions.  
  3. in a lidded jar, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and honey. fasten the lid and give it a good shake, season with salt and pepper.
  4. drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to distribute the dressing.  garnish the top of the salad with the remaining toasted coconut. 

similar recipes:

lemony fennel, radish, and kale salad

lemony fennel, radish, and kale salad

thai slaw

thai slaw

fruity shredded kale salad

fruity shredded kale salad

Dana's Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Coconut-Cashew Frosting (+ A Giveaway) by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

if you follow me over on instagram or snapchat (dollyoatmeal), then you know i've been in LA for a long weekend with my family.  my mom and i went to visit my brother, his fiance, and her family.  it was an overwhelmingly fast, but beautiful mother's day weekend made all the more special because my brother's fiance is pregnant (due this summer) and frank and i are expecting a little one as well (ours in september!)!  cousins will be born within a couple months of each other, and we all couldn't be more swept up in all the feelings at the moment.  aside from my parent's heads exploding at the thought of 2 grandchildren within a couple months of each other, we're all just taking it as it comes, and counting our blessings.  i'm still wrapping my head around a lot at the moment as well, and savoring each time i feel this babe rolling around, tumbling, kicking, and whatever else these ones do in there.  and as soon as i get my stuff together i'll be sure to share more ;)

a couple of weeks ago i was lucky enough to get my hands on dana shultz's new book, minimalist baker's everyday cooking!  i can see this book being my ultimate go-to not only now, but i'm already bookmarking recipes for the months after the babe arrives.  if you're familiar with dana's blog then you're aware that her recipes are 10 ingredients or less, take 30 minutes or so to cook, and are 1 bowl/pot recipes.  this book is a continuation of these kinds of easy-to-prepare recipes without lacking any flavor or creativity - which is such a fete!  i've been trying to curb my cravings for sweets, but when i do partake in them i prefer refined sugar-free baked goods (i get crazy sugar highs that make me feel like crap, so i can't imagine how that would make my little one feels!).  so, when i saw dana's recipe for her vegan vanilla cupcakes (they're gluten-free, too!) i was literally drooling - plus, i was dreaming of all the (eggless) vegan batter i could lick!  her recipe calls on an abundance of wholesome ingredients without losing that velvet-y, cake-y sponge that's so essential for a really good cupcake.  the frosting recipe she provides called for a few ingredients i don't keep in my kitchen, so i whipped a vanilla frosting riff off of this old recipe and added my pregnancy go-to: strawbs!!  in any event, go make these cupcakes no matter which frosting you use.  i have a feeling this recipe will be a kitchen staple for a lot of cupcake-loving peeps out there.

*enter to win a copy of Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking by leaving a comment below with your go-to craving (pregnant or not!).  1 winner will be chosen at random (open to US residents only) and will run until next wednesday, may 18.  good luck!!! :) *UPDATE - giveaway now closed.


cupcake stands provided by aheirloom

Dana's Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Coconut-Cashew Frosting | gf

a couple of notes: i substituted the cane sugar in dana's cupcake recipe for coconut sugar 1:1. also, there are 2 options for the frosting below.  the first one is from dana's book, and the second one is a coconut-cashew alternative with smooshed strawberries.

from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

| serves 12 |


  • scant 1/2 cup (115ml) unsweetented plain almond milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 flax eggs*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75ml) maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) melted coconut oil, grape seed oil, or melted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (73g) almond meal, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup (30g) gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 cup (160g) gluten-free flour blend (i used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour, plus more as needed


  • 1/2 cup (112g) vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups (140-224g) organic powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk, to thin

strawberry coconut-cashew frosting

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed
  • coconut cream from 1 15-ounce full-fat can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or melted and cooled
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk 
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 6-8 medium strawberries, more for garnish

*flax egg

  • 1 tablespoon (7g) flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37ml) water


  1. preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).  line 12 muffin tins with paper liners, or lightly grease and flour (with gluten-free flour). shake out excess.
  2. in a liquid measuring cup, measure out the almond milk, add the vinegar and baking soda, and stir.  let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. in the meantime, prepare the flax eggs in a large bowl.  let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. add the sugar, maple syrup,  and almond milk mixture to the flax eggs and beat to combine.  then add the applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. mix.
  5.  add the almond meal, oat flour, and gluten-free flour blend. beat or whisk to combine,  if the batter appears too thick, add a little almond milk.  if too thin, add a little more gluten-free flour blend or almond meal.  the batter should be thin but pourable.
  6. divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling them 3/4 full (there should be enough for 11 or 12 cupcakes).  bake for 24-31 minutes or until puffy, golden brown, and toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean. 
  7. remove from the oven and let rest in the muffin tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  allow the cupcakes to fully cool before unwrapping to avoid sticking to the wrapper.
  8. for the frosting, wipe/rinse your mixing bowl clean and add the butter and vanilla.  beat until light and fluffy.  then add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup (56g) at a time.  continue mixing until thick and creamy.
  9. drizzle in a little almond milk to thin.  the frosting should be fairly thick do as to hold its shape once on the cupcakes, so only add as much milk as necessary to make it spreadable.  add more powdered sugar if it gets too thin.
  10. frost the cupcakes generously.  sprinkles or fresh raspberries makes the perfect garnish.
  11.  leftovers keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, though best within 24 hours. 

strawberry coconut-cashew frosting

  1. place cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a high-speed blender (preferably a vitamix) and blend, adding more milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until smooth and creamy.  taste and adjust sweetness, adding the additional tablespoon of syrup if needed.
  2. refrigerate frosting for at least 5-6 hours or preferably overnight.  
  3. mash strawberries with a fork or pulse in a food processor until you have medium chunks.  press through a fine mesh sieve with your fingers and reserve the strawberry juice for another purpose.
  4. when the frosting is sufficiently chilled, fold in the strawberries and frost the cupcakes.  leftover cupcakes with this frosting need to be refrigerated. 

reprinted from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Dana Shult

similar recipes:

tiny layer cakes

tiny layer cakes

strawberry oat cacao muffins

strawberry oat cacao muffins

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compots

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compots