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
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.
preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8x11-inch or similar baking dish with coconut oil.
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.
remove from the oven and serve with maple syrup.