Tag Archives: breakfast

vegan franch toast

Somewhere along the line, my boyfriend and I started referring to french toast as “franch” toast. I don’t know how or why. It’s one of those stupid things that you can’t trace the origin of, but somehow stuck nonetheless. After enjoying “franch” toast at Herbivore in SF, we decided we wanted to try to veganize it at home. From someone who has never even cooked non-vegan french toast, this was a little unnerving for me. It turned out to be really, really simple–just how I like it!

First thing’s first, though. I can’t be certain that the bread he picked up at the store is vegan, and here’s why. I’ve trained him to be on the lookout for certain things, like whey, casein, and L. Cysteine. However, since the french toast at Herbivore was made with sourdough bread, we decided we wanted sourdough. I know nothing about bread but it turns out, sourdough gets its name from “sour culture.” I glanced at the ingredients when he arrived home this morning, which kind of made me feel like an asshole because it was like I was already second guessing him–and the word “culture” was a red flag to me. When I think of “culture” I think of live milk cultures, such as acidophilus. I know that there are certain soy yogurts that use live milk cultures, and I won’t eat those for that reason. A quick google of “sour culture” brought me to just the question I was inquiring about: “is sour culture vegan?” The consensus is maybe, but it’s complicated.

Sourdough starter (B): also known as “starter culture”, “sourdough culture” or “sour culture”. It is usually made with a mixture of flour and water inhabited by yeast and lactobacteria containing no animal ingredients. Sometimes yogurt is used in the starter. Bread made from a sourdough culture is called sourdough bread. (source)

So, maybe this sour culture was made of purely flour and water and non-animal bacteria and yeast. But there’s always the chance that yogurt was used. There’s really no telling, unless I called up the bakery and told them that inquiring minds would like to know. I wasn’t going to do that. I’m not to that point of my veganism yet–which I’ll get to in a later post.

I’m constantly learning and growing as a vegan. I have surely eaten my share of non-vegan fare, always accidentally, and each time is a lesson for learning and growing.

But, wrong post. Let’s get back to vegan “franch” toast!

Super Simple Vegan French Toast
Yields as much french toast as you can handle. Seriously.

2 cups soy milk
**use vanilla soy milk if you have it. if you don’t have it, like I didn’t, add 1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 banana per serving
sourdough bread slices
oil of choice for frying (I used coconut)

Mix soy milk (with vanilla if using plain soy milk), flour, flax seed, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl to form batter. This will be an incredibly runny mixture that shouldn’t even be called “batter,” so don’t worry when it isn’t thick. Warm oil in a frying pan or skillet. When oil has warmed, dredge bread slices in batter mixture. Fry until golden on either side. I added sliced raw bananas to mine but my boyfriend grilled his bananas with cinnamon. I was envious of his grilled bananas. But do whatchu do!

just scrumptious with earth balance, syrup, and powdered sugar

If you’re feeding a hungry family, this batter should last you. We made six slices and still had tons left over.

Do you have any funny names, like “franch” toast, for anything ordinary that you and your significant other and/or family use? (Another that comes to mind for me–as a kid, I thought pancakes were pronounced ‘pan-a-cakes’, so my entire family called them that. No one ever told me it was wrong until a friend’s mom corrected me on a Saturday morning after I slept over at their house!)

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fancy oatmeal

How do I love thee, oatmeal? Let me count the ways.

Oatmeal is a staple in my diet. It’s a great place to hide ground flaxseed to ensure that us non-animal-product-eating peeps get the necessary omega fatty acids. Not only that, oats are pretty cheap (especially when bought in the bulk section of your local grocery store), they’re a great source of fiber (the serving I ate today provided 1/5 of my daily fiber intake–and that wasn’t even counting all the fixins I added to it!), and as such, oatmeal is also quite filling. Most importantly, the serving options are endless! You can dress it up or dress it down. I love a solid oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar during the week, but when I’m feeling adventurous and I have a few more calories to spare on the weekend, it’s great to dress it up with whatever I have on hand. Oatmeal has no prejudices: it gladly mingles with granola, nuts, fruit, almond/soy/whatever nondairy milk pleases you most. The opportunities are endless.

I have rekindled my love for oatmeal due to a few rushed mornings this week. I didn’t have anything on hand to bring with me for breakfast so I stopped down at my office cafeteria to pick up some oatmeal. I don’t often visit the office cafeteria because a) the vegan options are limited and b) it’s a $$$$ drain. 95% of the time, I bring my breakfasts and lunches from home. The office cafeteria, funny enough, was the first time I ever tasted steel cut oats (this was a few months ago). Steel cut oats have become my oatmeal variety of choice ever since. My two oatmeal mornings during the week left me really craving what I’m going to fondly refer to as fancy oatmeal this morning. This variation was simply divine.

Fancy Oatmeal

Whatcha need:

1 3/4 cups water
1/3 + 2 tbsp steel cut oats (I have Quaker on hand but once I run out, I plan on experimenting with other brands)
1 banana
1 tsp earth balance
1 tsp virgin coconut oil (you can skip this part, this was really just for fun as I haven’t found a reason to use my coconut oil yet)
1 splash vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnut pieces (or nuts of you’re choosing)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
a few teaspoons brown sugar
shredded coconut to taste

Get your water boiling on the stove and then add oats. The measurements I provided were straight from the Quaker label–if you’re using a different brand, your measurements may vary. After you add the oats, it’ll take about 25 minutes on the stove top for the oatmeal to cook. Stir occasionally.

In the meantime, slice your banana into small pieces. Toss with a tsp or two of brown sugar. Melt earth balance (and optional, coconut oil) in a frying pan and add bananas. Fry for 3-5 minutes until bananas have caramelized. **as mentioned, I don’t really know if this is an appropriate use of coconut oil, but I have yet to use it in the kitchen and I wanted to experiment. It certainly didn’t hurt matters and it added a little bit of a coconutty taste to the bananas. Plus, it smells like the tropics and that is a fabulous smell in the kitchen of a midwestern apartment-dweller.

When the oatmeal and bananas are done, add the rest of your fixins: flaxseed, brown sugar, shredded coconut, walnuts, vanilla, and finally, bananas. Had I any fresh nondairy milk on hand, I’d have added a splash to the finished product. This is especially nice if you overcook the oatmeal because it adds a little moisture. This oatmeal has a wonderful medley of flavors that can totally stand on its own two feet without the addition of milk, though.

you might want to engage in some light morning stretching before digging in

Enjoy, and reap the rewards of its energy-inducing properties immediately. Happy Saturday!

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classic waffles and sausage, veganized

I’ve written about vegan waffles a couple of times but since I’ve been eating such healthy smoothie breakfasts as of late, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to enjoy delicious, fatty hearty breakfasts of yesteryear…until today! The reason we made waffles this morning is twofold: 1) I needed a break from the smoothie regimen, even if it meant a caloric explosion in my belly, and 2) my boyfriend wants to learn how to cook a few vegan meals, which I think is really cute. I was going to teach him tofu scramble, but he’s not too into tofu scramble and I didn’t want to teach him something he didn’t have any interest in eating with me. Also, we’re starting with baby steps here. He’s a really “down home” kinda guy so it just made sense that I’d teach him how to veganize something as simple and ubiquitous as waffles.

I pulled up my veganized from-the-box recipe and made a sad face. I want to make my own waffles from scratch but all the recipes I’ve found incorporated more than one kind of flour and I currently only have whole wheat in the house. Bummer! Plus, I’m big on not wasting food and I still have this whole wheat pancake mix that needs to be used…so we veganized that, minus the oatmeal part because I don’t have any rolled oats.The revised vegan waffle recipe goes as follows:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pancake mix
1 1/4 cups light Silk vanilla soymilk
1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

We simply topped with earth balance, maple syrup, a wee bit of confectioner’s sugar (some would argue that this isn’t vegan but I have to guess there are vegan versions available?), and served along side some fried soy sausages. Decadence! I was going to add some color with some sliced bananas but you know what, I just wanted to keep it simple today. There’s always next time. 🙂

I love the lighting, you’d almost not realize winter is still going on outside.

close up. mmm, calorie-laden food.

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vegan oatmeal waffles, take 2

Pre-vegan, my absolute favorite meal for breakfast was something called “Summer in Italy French Toast”, served at a local breakfast joint. They also have a “Winter in Italy,” but I always enjoyed the summer version much more–french toast slathered in mascarpone cheese, seasonal fruit, powdered sugar, and nuts. Amazing. Delicious. Fatty. And obviously not vegan.

This morning I woke up and decided to try a vegan version of this with what I have on hand. I have no idea if there’s any such thing as vegan mascarpone, but I did have a tub of tofutti cream cheese that I still had no clue what I was going to do with. I’ve never looked up a vegan french toast recipe, but I figured I could sub in pancakes instead. I had some walnuts, some blueberries, and some blackberries, and some confectioners sugar (which may not be vegan to you, but as for now, I’m not going to replace all my sugars with unbleached vegan sugars because I’m on a budget–personal choice, I’m using all this stuff til I run out).

So, I attempted to make some pancakes using my makeshift vegan oatmeal waffle recipe–except this time, I didn’t have any soy milk on hand so I used almond milk. Big problem: I don’t have a griddle, so first I attempted a frying pan. Failure. The pancakes were too flat and were sticking (despite lightly greasing the pan). So then my brilliant idea was to use a cookie sheet on the stovetop. I don’t know where I got this idiot idea, but as you can imagine, it didn’t work. I wasn’t going to waste all this batter, and I was getting increasingly hungrier, so I decided to scrap the pancake idea entirely and make waffles like last weekend. I will NOT be revisiting pancakes until I invest in a proper griddle.

You may remember that I lost a battle to my waffle maker last week. The waffles stick to it and always break, but usually they’re salvageable. Not today. The first waffle completely split in half.

Since the bottom half completely split from the top half, my boyfriend had the fabulous idea of playing this like we’d planned it and using this opportunity to stuff the waffle with the vegan cream cheese. Wonderful!

From there we attached the top half and added the blueberries, blackberries, chopped walnuts and powdered sugar.

The batter was a little dry so we had to add syrup, which is totally different from the Summer in Italy French Toast–the mascarpone and fruit were a great syrup substitute. All in all, this was tasty. It would have been better with pecans or sliced almonds, but walnuts were what I had and they weren’t terrible. I would have also liked to puree the fruit to avoid using syrup completely–I think this would be good with strawberries instead of blackberries. Since this is completely unhealthy, I probably won’t experiment with the recipe for a while–maybe by the time the summer fruit rolls in, I’ll have purchased a griddle. 🙂

What creative ways have you used tofutti cream cheese? I still have quite a bit left and I don’t want it to go bad…

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improvised oatmeal vegan waffles

I’m still batting what seems to be the week-long headache from hell. I’m not sure what’s causing this–could be the change of diet, or this site suggests I might have sleep apnea. Well, I don’t think I necessarily have sleep apnea, but I do have very bad allergies that make it difficult to breathe. As a result, I’m probably snoring at night (I’ve been waking up with an extremely dry mouth the past few nights–red flag that I’m probably sleeping with my mouth wide open). I’m going to try to take my neurologist-from-yester-year’s advice and take some vitamin B12 and D supplements–he surmised that my lack of anything else fatally wrong with me could point to a vitamin deficiency that is playing a big role in my frequent headaches. Especially now, I assume that’s got to be the case–I haven’t done anything to ensure better consumption of B12 in this past week, so I suppose it’s time to start.

So, since I woke up with an aching head yet again, I sent my boyfriend to the store to pick up a few quick things to make some improvised vegan oatmeal waffles. I didn’t feel up to looking up a recipe from scratch, and since I’m not in possession of any “binders” (like flax), I figured the easiest route would be picking up premade mix that doesn’t require the addition of eggs and we’d be good to go. A few weeks ago, when I wasn’t trying to eat a vegan diet, I improvised and made these waffles by simply adding a few ingredients to the box mix and some oatmeal, and they were delicious! I wanted to replicate that.

Well, if you’ve ever tried to make vegan pancakes or waffles from the box, you’re probably shaking your head and saying, oh, you naive little thing. It’s damn near impossible to find vegan mix in a typical grocery store. Everything contains whey! and casein! I figured there had to be SOMETHING–whole wheat mix, perhaps? And that’s the conclusion my boyfriend had, too. He arrived home with Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Blend. All is fine, right? Wrong. He failed to read the instructions–which require an egg!–and with my previously mentioned lack of binders in the house, I had to improvise. Here is what ensued. By no means am I a chef, but my intuition is starting to really kick in in the kitchen. I think these were the best vegan waffles I could have come up with given the circumstances.

Improvised Vegan Box + Oatmeal Belgian Waffles

Yields: 2 to 3 large belgian waffles

Note: The waffle instructions are on the side of the box. Do not follow the pancake instructions, which are in plain view on the back of the box.

1 1/4 cups pancake mix
1 1/4 cups milk (I used Silk vanilla soy milk)
1 egg (I substituted 1 extra tbsp soy milk in place of the egg)
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix until all large lumps disappear. Then, add:

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (I used Quaker)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle cinnamon to taste (I use quite a bit)

At this point I tasted the batter. It wasn’t quite sweet enough for my taste. So, I added:

1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)

Then, the batter was a little too thick, so I added:

1/8 cup water

I gave the mix one more big stir and added it to my waffle iron, which I had already preheated and oiled with vegetable oil. A note on waffle irons: I don’t know about you guys, but my waffles ALWAYS stick to the iron and trying to remove the waffles in one piece is a huge challenge. I love my waffle iron (it actually isn’t mine–I got it for my boyfriend for his birthday because he wanted one so badly, and this one seemed really high-quality and a little bit on the expensive side, so I had no idea the waffles would have such a major sticking problem). We thought the problem was skimping on the vegetable oil when preheating the iron, so we now dump a gratuitous amount of oil–so much so that oil spills out from the sides. It’s disgusting. And it still doesn’t help the sticking, especially today (I assume this is because there was nothing binding the waffles besides soy milk, so the batter was maybe a little looser and less willing to detach from the iron in one piece).


The aftermath–oil spilled everywhere, batter spilling out of the sides…it isn’t pretty.

After fighting with the waffles to get them out in one piece (they didn’t look too badly beat up by the end of it), I served them with some Smart Balance light margarine and maple syrup, some southwest spicy hashbrowns, and a cup of coffee with Silk soy creamer. This batter really absorbs syrup, so if you like your waffles syrupy, you might be pouring it on a few times throughout the meal!


I made two (one for my boyfriend and one for me), but I’d say there was enough batter left to make one more full waffle.

I’ve made several vegetarian-friendly waffle recipes in the past (a few from scratch–including pumpkin spice waffles, which my boyfriend loved), yet he said to me this morning that these were perhaps the best waffles I’ve made. Now, granted, this is largely from a box, full of preservatives, and not healthy at all–but it just goes to show you that it IS possible to “veganize” familiar meals, even enough so to please your omnivore love. 🙂 He didn’t even think it tasted like soy milk!

What familiar meals have you “veganized” lately?

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