Yesterday I saw a post on rantingchef.com about peanut butter and jelly French toast sandwiches. Ever since then I’ve been trying to think of something creative and French-toast-related to make for breakfast. I always like to take something someone else came up with and twist it to make it my own. I detest actually following old-school recipes to the letter. That’s why I admired the idea of peanut butter and jelly French toast – two simple, classic recipes are combined into one. I was thinking of doing a Nutella French toast sandwich, but that didn’t seem interesting enough. So I kept thinking, trying to come up with something… and ended up ditching the bread altogether and making a French toast tortilla!
This is definitely a prototype recipe, because it wasn’t close to perfect – it was hard to cut in order to eat it, and a bit messy. However, the taste was great, and I’ll just have to keep working on the messiness. Or not – after all, what cinnamon treat in history has ever not been messy?!
This is the recipe for one tortilla. I’m sure two tortillas could be made using the same amount of the egg mixture, since there was quite a bit left over. Feel free to multiply this recipe to whatever quantity you please.
Easy Apple Cinnamon French Toast Tortilla
makes one serving
- 1 egg
- splash of milk
- dash of vanilla
- 1 medium flour tortilla
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 medium gala apple
- a sprinkling of cinnamon
Spray a small nonstick pan with cooking spray. Then chop the apple. I recommend chopping it into relatively small pieces so it’s easier to eat in forkfuls. Set aside the apple pieces.
Sprinkle a bit of the brown sugar on the plate you plan to serve this on.
In a small bowl, beat the egg, about 2 tablespoons of milk, and a dash of vanilla, just like for regular old French toast.
Place the pan over medium heat and dip the tortilla in the egg mixture until there is a thin coating all over it. It is kind of hard to get the egg onto the middle of the tortilla so I just put a lot of egg on the edges and let it flow to the center.
Once the tortilla is coated with egg, place it on the pan on medium heat. Use a spatula to flip it after a few seconds. Repeat this process until the tortilla kind of looks like lightly browned French toast in tortilla form.
Turn off the heat and place the tortilla on the plate. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on top of the tortilla. Place the apple on top.
Sprinkle cinnamon on the apples.
Fold the tortilla over and dig in!
I needed to use a sharp knife to cut the tortilla into edible pieces. But it didn’t taste too rough or anything; it was really ambrosial. If you don’t mind getting your hands sticky, go ahead and use them to eat this dish. (I’m imagining serving this to my family. Each person would go about devouring it a different way: My dad would use mainly his mouth with some help from his hands. My mom would try to use a fork and knife, but end up just pulling it apart with her hands. My brother would probably just use a spoon to delicately lift the apples and bring one to his mouth. Actually, he probably wouldn’t eat it at all since he doesn’t like apples. He actually said to me today, “I’d never eat anything that was apple.” There’s just no pleasing some people, is there?!)
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There are days when I feel stupid, days when I feel average, and days when I feel like I may be a genius. Most of the stupid days are days when I have to take a chemistry or a math test. The normal days are days when I might make something average, like a chocolate smoothie. The genius days are when I create something revolutionary. I think today was one of those days.
For breakfast this morning I had a cheesecake flavored smoothie. It tasted just like cheesecake in drinkable form, and even had a “graham cracker crust”. I have a feeling this is going to be the beginning of an era of cheesecake smoothies. My mom might even want one if I found some way to incorporate peanut butter. (Would that be gross or good? I can’t decide.) This smoothie will be a good compromise for me until I’m a masterful enough baker to conquer real cheesecake. (I’m not too impressed with my own baking skills nowadays, since yesterday for Thanksgiving I tried to make cinnamon rolls and they turned out like globs of wet dough so I gave up on that idea. Then I made chocolate muffins which my mom assured me were good, but I wouldn’t try one because they were gray, for goodness’ sake. Call me prejudiced, but I like my muffins to be an appetizing color.)
Anyway, here is the recipe for the cheesecake flavored smoothie.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Smoothie Parfait
- 12 honey flavored Teddy Grahams brand crackers
- 1 banana
- 1 vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Yoplait brand Greek yogurt)
- 2 wedges Laughing Cow brand spreadable cheese, creamy swiss flavor
- 1/2 cup milk
- 5-6 ice cubes
- 4 Hershey’s dark chocolate chips (you know, the big kind with the foil that is endless fun to peel off)
Lay the Teddy Grahams on a plate, wrapped inside a paper towel. Use a spoon and/or your hand or another tool to crush them into little bits.
Put the banana, yogurt, cheese, milk, and ice into the blender and blend until smooth. Stop the blender and add the unwrapped chocolate chips. Blend for a few seconds. (I only did it for about four seconds but I don’t think that was enough time because three of the four chocolate chips were practically unscathed after I poured the smoothie out of the blender, so I ended up just dropping them into the smoothie whole. Oh well.)
Put enough of the crushed Teddy Grahams into the cup so there is a substantial layer on the bottom, like a crust. Reserve some of the Teddy Graham crumbs, however, for the top layer.
Pour the smoothie on top of the “crust” and sprinkle what’s left of your crumbs on top.
Some people have phobias about heights, spiders, and snakes. Some people are afraid of performing onstage, or using a public restroom. Equally pervasive in our society is the fear of sugar. There are people in the world who are deathly afraid of sugar. Some people demonize it, claiming it makes children hyper, makes everyone fat, and generally wreaks havoc on the American population. Is this sugar-hysteria fact or fiction?
I have done considerable research on this topic, curious myself as to the answers to these burning questions and anxieties. I’ve never been particularly afraid of sugar myself, but recently I saw an article in a magazine claiming sugar is so unhealthy, experts are petitioning the government to regulate it like a drug. The article accused sugar of being as damaging as alcohol and drugs, and stated that we should consume as little sugar as possible, ideally none.
It turns out that this is not true at all. Many reliable sources state that sugar is nowhere near as bad for you as many people believe. Here are a list of sugar myths, and the true facts about sugar.
Myth #1) Consuming sugar makes kids hyper.
Actually, this is not true. The American Dietetic Association, as well as the Food and Drug Administration have concluded that sugar does not affect behavior in people of any age. The reason for the myth that sugar causes bad, hyper behavior is probably because kids act this way at birthday parties and other events in which there is a lot of stimulation from excitement and other children. The fact that the kids eat sugary foods at birthday parties has led parents to believe that sugar is responsible for wild behavior.
Myth #2) Eating too much sugar makes you fat.
Well, eating too much of anything can cause weight gain. If you eat 3,500 calories above what your body needs to function, you gain one pound. These calories could be from cupcakes, or from carrot soup. Foods that contain sugar are not higher calorie than low-sugar foods. In fact, sugar contains 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram. This means that foods which are low in sugar, but still high in fat, are more calories than foods which are low in fat but high in sugar. Research has shown that overweight people generally eat fats to excess, rather than sugars.
Myth #3) All sugar is equal – and equally unhealthy.
There are different types of sugar in food. Many processed foods are made using refined sugar, which is just white sugar like you’d find on your table. White sugar is not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn’t have as many health benefits as other types of sugar. Brown sugar is also commonly used to sweeten baked goods. It is very similar to white sugar, but has a darker color and richer taste because it contains molasses, which have been stripped out of the white sugar. Brown sugar has marginally more nutrients in it than white sugar due to the molasses in brown sugar. But unless you plan to dump a huge bucketful of sugar on your oatmeal, the amount of those nutrients you will be getting from using brown sugar is trivial. Therefore, it’s really just a matter of which type of sugar tastes better to you.
Myth #4) High fructose corn syrup causes weight gain.
As long as I can remember, I’ve seen propaganda in stores and on t.v. commercials about how unhealthy high fructose corn syrup is. High fructose corn syrup is a cheap sweetener used in many processed foods such as store-bought granola bars and sodas. It is made of liquified corn starch with added acids and enzymes. The reason it has a bad reputation is because many people have spread the rumor that the consumption of foods containing high fructose corn syrup makes the consumer hungrier, so they end up eating even more food because the high fructose corn syrup does not fill them up and leaves them with artificial hunger. I’ve believed this myth for years. However, scientific research has thus far not found any unique connection between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. That isn’t to say that high fructose corn syrup is necessarily good for you; it’s actually no healthier or less healthy than white sugar. There is considerable debate as to whether high fructose corn syrup could be considered “natural” – the FDA has proclaimed it natural, however the process used to make it involves adding enzymes to corn starch that are not naturally there. So I guess the verdict on this issue depends on how you as an individual define “natural.” There are many foods available in stores that boast their absence of high fructose corn syrup; I often buy these products because they do tend to be organic and healthy in general. But I wouldn’t say high fructose corn syrup is the devil in edible form.
Myth #5) Sugar substitutes are a better choice than sugar.
Many people who are on diets or who have diabetes use sugar substitutes instead of real sugar in order to cut calories from their diet. Sugar substitutes can also be found in sugarfree or diet foods. They are highly controversial, and research suggests that many common sugar substitutes are actually dangerous to consume. For example, saccharin has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, though there is no concrete proof that it has the same deadly effect on humans. Another artificial sweetener called aspartame is not even a food: it is entirely composed of chemicals, which break down into formaldehyde and methanol once eaten. That’s the same yucky stuff they use to preserve ancient fish in the Museum of Natural History. I sure wouldn’t want that goop inside of me! Furthermore, aspartame has been linked to diseases such as brain cancer and attention deficit disorder. Sucralose is another common sugar substitute that has been shown to cause health problems, although it is not quite as harmful as aspartame.
On the other hand, some natural alternatives to sugar really are better for you. One example is organic honey. Honey can be used in place of the granulated sugar called for in a sweet recipe, though other ingredients may have to be adjusted to accommadate the texture change between granulated sugar and honey. A reason to choose honey over regular sugar is because honey contains natural antioxidants. Also, some research has shown that the long-term use of honey promotes healthy digestion, a strong immune system, and lower cholesterol levels.
Another well-known natural sugar substitute is stevia. It is a sweetener extracted from an herb. As long as the stevia you are using is pure stevia, with nothing added, it has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it has no effect on blood sugar levels. It is also even sweeter than traditional sugar. Yet another sugar alternative is agave nectar. It comes from the same plant that provides tequila. It has a very low glycemic index, and so is good for people with diabetes and other health problems that require one to consume low amounts of sugar.
Sources: jelly.org, medicinenet.com, real-and-healthy-food.com, netplaces.com, fitday.com, mayoclinic.com, sweetsurprise.com, naturalnews.com
I would also as always like to thank my dietician, Kerri Shwartz, MS, RD, for helping me with this article.
I bet you’re jealous, looking at this photo of an ultra-chocolatey, almost-fudge, homemade brownie which I ate last night hot out of the oven, and I still have a lot more where this came from just waiting in my fridge.
Here’s some consolation, for those of you drooling at your computer screen as your mood ring turns green with envy: at least you haven’t been zombified, transformed into one of the undead groaning in a subhuman vocalization, “brownies…must…eat…brownies…” Though you may be hypnotized by the image of divine dessert temptation on your screen, please be warned before you preheat the oven that eating these delectable brownies is certain to transform you into a brownie-zombie. As I am writing this it is the morning after I baked these, and so far I have not eaten anything that did not include a brownie since yesterday evening. I had one for dessert last night, I had one for breakfast just now, then I threw another one into my smoothie. It may be too late for me, but you still have a chance! Do not be taken over by the force of chocolate hazelnut banana goodness! Turn away from the computer screen, and do not become a zombie!
Actually, I seriously recommend baking these brownies. They are a delicious comfort food without too much fat or calories.
I made these yesterday evening, after a discouraging cookie failure earlier in the day. I made cookies that were flat and hard, and my mood matched the gray rainclouds outside.
I am learning that baking is really a trial-and-error activity, and I just need to get used to the fact that about 60% of my baking attempts are errors. Maybe someday I’ll be really good at it, but for now I should probably put things in the oven on the assumption that they won’t turn out, so I can be pleasantly surprised if they do, and I won’t be too disappointed if they are total failures.
Oh, who am I kidding? No matter what, putting in the effort to bake something and having it be a flop is always going to be disappointing. I just have to do my best to learn from my mistakes.
Thank goodness these brownies turned out well, because I might have gone completely insane if they didn’t. I tend to overreact to stuff like this.
If you need a homemade brownie fix, and aren’t too concerned about becoming a chocovore zombie, go ahead and check out this page for the full recipe for fudgey nutella banana brownies.
And here is the smoothie I made this morning using a brownie:
Chocolate Mint Apple Nutella Banana Brownie Smoothie
(it sounds weird, I know. You just have to try it to get how the flavors totally work together!)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I used Trader Joe’s brand cocoa)
- 1/2 cup Stonyfield Organic Minty Chocolate Chip flavored lowfat frozen yogurt
- 4-6 ice cubes
- 1 chocolate Nutella banana brownie (about 1/16 of entire recipe. I’m sure any type of chocolate brownie sould work just as well. If your brownie doesn’t have Nutella in it I suggest adding some to the smoothie to get the chocolate hazelnut flavor.)
Place all ingredients in blender, except for the brownie. Blend until smooth. (You may have to stop the blender a few times to cut the frozen yogurt chunks into smaller pieces so they can get blended more easily.) Then add the brownie in several pieces, and blend for a few seconds to get brownie chunks floating throughout the smoothie.
I read a post on Gobluka a few weeks ago about a smoothie made using oat milk. This seemed interesting. It gave me the idea to make a smoothie using regular milk, but to toss some oatmeal in there as well.
I tried it yesterday morning, and it turned out great – it was reminiscent of some kind of multigrain cereal breakfast with lots of fresh fruit. Except instead of keeping the fruit and cereal separated, they were together at last, a symbol of food group diversity and community. (I’ve been having to write a lot of essays lately and my brain seems to be immersed in the whole symbolism thing, perhaps a little too deeply. 🙂 ) Anyway, here is the recipe for an oatmeal smoothie.
Mixed Berry Pomegranate Oatmeal Smoothie
I know I often use seemingly obscure ingredients in my recipes. Most of the things I use can be found at any Whole Foods market. It is also totally possible to make a similar recipe using more common ingredients. Any type of oatmeal would probably work great in this smoothie, for example.
- 1 banana
- 4-6 strawberries, chopped in half with the leaves cut off
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 Chobani brand blueberry flavored Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 packet Three Sisters brand pomegranate oatmeal
- 5-6 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except the oatmeal in blender until smooth. Stop blender and add the oatmeal, using a knife to push it down into the mixture. Blend for 10-15 seconds or until oatmeal is mostly chopped, but it’s okay if there are still visible bits of oatmeal in the smoothie because this adds to the texture.
Pour into a large glass and take a sip, feeling the nutrients flow into your body!
When I first made this recipe, I was certain it was a failure, because the dough was not very dough-y. It almost acted like batter and was hard to roll into a swirl shape. Probably something I did wrong. Also the recipe was a special yeast-free recipe (I have a feeling only master bakers can work with yeast properly; I wanted to avoid trying) so the fact that it purposely didn’t include yeast may have had something to do with it. Anyway, I was on the verge of throwing them away as soon as they were done baking, but my mom convinced me to just keep them and try them in the morning.
I thought it was okay, but nothing special the first time I tried it. However, my mom insisted she liked the rolls, so I put them in the freezer. After a couple days in the freezer, I tried one again and suddenly realized – I loved it! It had a great texture, not too hard or too soft, and the caramel filling and glaze were perfect compliments for the baked apple chunks. Why did I not recognize the delectability of these pastries before? Maybe it was being in the freezer; maybe my tastebuds miraculously became more accurate in a matter of days. It’s possible they really were nothing special to begin with, but the pastry fairy visited our house overnight and sprinkled some of her magic “great taste” dust on them out of the kindness of her heart. 🙂 But whatever the reason, these are good! I am aware the apple chunks may look a little gross to some people, but they taste great. Feel free to omit them if you are a fruit-in-pastries-hater.
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
makes 9 individual rolls
for the dough:
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup milk
for the filling:
- 2 tbsps caramel topping
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- about 1/3 of a Granny Smith apple, chopped into little cubes
for the caramel glaze:
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp caramel topping
- 1 or more tsps milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet or a 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray.
To make the filling, combine caramel topping, sugar, cinnamon and as much diced apple as desired in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in softened butter. (I actually melted mine completely before adding it; maybe this is why the dough was so soft.) Stir in milk.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Press it into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Spread filling on dough, being careful not to tear the dough. Roll the dough into one long scroll, then use a sharp knife to slice it into 9 small rolls.
Place rolls on prepared pan or cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
To make glaze, mix powdered sugar, 1 tsp caramel topping, and as many teaspoons of milk are needed to achieve that glaze consistency. Spread glaze on rolls when they are done baking.
Yesterday, in honor of Halloween, I started the day with a chocolate smoothie, which included a chocolate bar I got at Whole Foods. I actually as a rule do not eat the type of candy you’d get on Halloween because it has so many unnatural ingredients and virtually no valuable nutrients. I also don’t even like a lot of those candies. I did go trick-or-treating this year with friends, but I plan to donate my bag full of candy. (I’m going to throw a toothbrush in the bag as well, just to set a good example.)
Anyway, the candy in this smoothie contains 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving. That’s significantly more than the fiber and protein in those granola bars you can buy at the store. Finally! An excuse to eat candy for breakfast!
The smoothie was very chocolatey, with some almond flavor from the candy and the almondmilk I used. It also had a hint of pumpkin and spice in the background.
Most of the chocolate bar got ground into little bits, but there were several larger pieces that I scooped from the bottom of the cup with my spoon and chewed. (I always drink my smoothies with a spoon and a straw; each tool is specialized for a certain aspect of professional smoothie drinking.) This smoothie is good to make for yourself if you like chocolate candy or experience severe chocolate cravings!
Chocolate Almond Banana Smoothie
(For lack of the creativity to come up with a better name at the moment)
- 1 banana
- 1 carton Silk brand chocolate almondmilk
- 2 tbsps Grandma Hoerner’s pumpkin butter
- 5-6 ice cubes
- 1/2 Theo brand organic fair trade cherry and almond flavored dark chocolate bar
Place all ingredients in blender except for the chocolate bar. Blend for a couple minutes. Add the chocolate bar, broken up into 6-8 pieces, and blend for another 15 seconds or until it is in small bits. If there are still some large chunks that is good. (In my opinion.)
This is a picture I tried to take of Artemis popping up to steal my straw as I was photographing the smoothie. It’s blurry because she moves very fast (and I’m not exactly a master photographer to begin with ) but you can kind of see her sneaky little face, determined to obtain one of her favorite playthings. I took three straws from Whole Foods the night before, and she stole two of them total – my mom gave her one to play with that evening and she took one in the morning (as you can see.) So it’s a good thing I took a bunch. She loves to chase them around the house, then rip open the paper wrapping with her teeth to discover the fascinating plastic straw inside. Unfortunately, she has a habit of chewing on plastic, so we have to take it away from her after she rips it open. She looks at you with these endearing, wistful eyes, like, “why did you take my toy away from me?”
As you can see, if I was a parent I’d probably spoil my children. Speaking of being spoiled, why not go ahead and spoil yourself with this dark chocolate bar smoothie?