Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Cooking Healthy for Me

Banana Honey French Toast Plated
Banana Vanilla Honey French Toast


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor
My tutor today is Ann from the delicious and creative Cooking Healthy for Me blog. Ann's blog is stuffed with fast and easy recipes, lightened-up to help you avoid crazy amounts of sugar, butter and carbs. And she makes it look so easy! Ann typically shares new original healthful takes on delicious recipes multiple times a week.

But it's not just the food that I love - Ann shares awesome stories. Sometimes it's about her travels abroad, sometimes about her family, and sometimes wild (but true) stories about the origination of a recipe. And honestly, even when I'm stuffed with food, I keep going back for the stories.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "I started blogging because my doctor mandated a healthier lifestyle. The blog gave me a sense of accountability and as it turns out, I like making healthy, REAL food!"
     
  2. "A new DSLR camera has entered my life and I am in love! Before blogging, taking photos was a chore - because I was taking photos of people! As it turns out, I LOVE taking photos of food! ....people? Not so much!"
     
  3. "In 2010, I was fortunate to take a 5 week crisscross country tour with Honey Bunny! We're planning one for 2013."
     
  4. "My family is chock full of US Service members! My entire family, with the exception of one sister, is connected to the military and all three of our children served. I chose the United States Marine Corps - Honey Bunny served 35 years in the US Navy."
     
  5. "I am particularly close to my sisters and we take an annual trip together...no husbands or children allowed - do we ever have fun together! We even have the same tattoo! Sister's ROCK!"

Author's Photo

There's two reasons I picked this recipe out of the hundreds of delicious eats crammed into Cooking Health for Me: 1) I love French toast but normally it's anything but good for you, so when I found Ann's healthful take, I had to try it; 2) I have a ridiculous amount of multigrain bread in my freezer and this was a perfect excuse to use up more of it!

The only change I made in Ann's original recipe was to use regular granulated and brown sugars instead of the Splenda variety. I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners, but otherwise I followed Ann's recipe instructions to the letter. And the result was fantastic - wonderfully hearty from the multigrain bread, surprisingly rich thanks to the caramelized bananas and walnuts, yet overall sweetness nicely balanced by the fresh orange juice. And the honey caramel sauce - you have GOT to try it!


Cast Iron Pan & Nonstick Pan Heating
You will need two pans. Ann recommends a cast iron pan and a nonstick pan which - and you
can see I followed her suggestion. Start heating up the cast iron pan immediately.

Sugar and Vanilla Extract
While the pans heat up, you can make the "batter" for the French Toast. It's so easy.
I used granulated sugar instead of Splenda and vanilla extract instead of paste

Fresh Oranage to be Squeezed
I also used freshly squeezed orange juice

Fresh Oranage Juice Added
I used about half an orange for the "batter" mixture

Egg and Egg White Added
You'll need one whole egg and one egg white. And that's everything for the batter.

Egg mixture whisked together
Just beat everything together with a fork. You can see I used a shallow Corning Ware pan
for my mixing dish. This made it easy to dip the bread later and avoid wasting any of the
egg mixture or needing to squish the bread into the bottom of a curved bowl

Multigrain Bread
I used two slices of my homemade multigrain bread. Because my freezer is stuffed with it!

Soaking bread in egg mixture
See what I mean? It's so easy to dip the bread into the egg mixture using this dish

Empty Pan After Soaking Bread
And there's just enough mixture for both slices of bread. No waste.

Bread Added to Hot Cast Iron Pan
Make sure your cast-iron is good and well-heated before adding the coated slices of bread
otherwise you'll end up with a sticky, soggy mess. If the pan is too hot, you'll burn the bread
instead of toasting. While the bread begins to toast, you can make the bananas...

Banana sliced on a bias
Like Ann, I cut my bananas on a bias. It looks more attractive and provides for surface area
on the banana to ensure beautiful caramelization

Banana added to hot nonstick pan
I used a non-stick pan for this part of the recipe. Make sure it's good and hot before you add
the bananas and don't move them around too much once you add them or they'll go mushy

Brown sugar added to apn
I used regular brown sugar instead of the Splenda variety

Oranage in Juicer
I again used freshly squeezed orange juice which helps to cut the intensity of the
banana sweet richness

1/4 cup Oranage Juice
I squeezed about 1/4 cup but only really needed 3 Tablespoons

Oranage Juice Added
Add the orange juice to the pan slowly and make sure most of the juice evaporates before
adding more - you don't need soggy bananas

Walnuts added to bananas
If I made this again, I probably wouldn't use walnuts because my bf isn't a fan
But they are a delicious complement to banana

Bananas caramelizing
Once the bananas are caramelized on one side, flip them over and let them caramelize on the
other side. Keep the pan very hot otherwise you'll end up with mush before the
bananas have a chance to caramelize

Caramelized bananas
Caramelized bananas with walnuts. I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it happens really
fast and you'll need to watch the whole process carefully

Flipping French Toast
In fact, the bananas are done by the time you need to flip your French Toast in the other pan

French Toast Flipped
Although cast iron helps to even out the heat, you can see there are still hot-spots
which cause the uneven browning on the French Toast

Tablespoon of Butter
While the bread finishes toasting, you can make the honey caramel sauce. You just need a little butter...

Butter melted
...melt the butter...

Honey and vanilla added to butter
...add a little vanilla extract and honey - and whisk! It's a delicious sauce...

Poured Honey Caramel into Cup
I poured my sauce into a spouted measuring cup for easing pouring and when I make it again
I plan to make the sauce in the measuring cup to save on an extra dish =)

French Toast Ready for Plating
French Toast is done and ready to serve!

Banana Honey French Toast Distance
Doesn't that look delicious! I had just enough leftover orange to serve a slice to each of us

Banana Honey French Toast Plated
This was so scrumptious...

Banana Honey French Toast Finished
...and it didn't last long ;)


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • You will not need any additional syrup! Normally, I'm the first to flood my waffles, pancakes, or French toast with real maple syrup, sopping up every last bit with each ladened bite. But trust me, Ann's honey-caramel sauce provides the perfect amount of rich sweetness, so save maple syrup for another day
     
  • I used freshly squeezed orange juice and I'm glad I did - the sweetness of the banana paired with the sweetness of the honey-caramel sauce really did need the bright acidity of the fresh orange juice to balance things out
     
  • You really do want to use a hearty whole wheat or multigrain bread to stand up to the intensity of the other flavors. Besides, how else is a single slice of French toast topped with roughly half a banana going to fill you up?
     
  • I love that there's only one egg yolk in this recipe - that's all you really need to flavor the toast and it lightens the recipe considerably. I saved my second egg yolk in an air-tight container in my fridge to use later (perhaps in mayonnaise or cookies)

Other Must-Try Recipes from Cooking Healthy for Me
Maybe French Toast isn't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something deliciously baked from Cooking Healthy for Me. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!

Orzo with Chicken and Lemon
Meatloaf
Coronation Chicken Curry
Charcuterie
The Power of Cheeze-Itz


20 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, this looks so yummy; and pretty healthy too! I love the addition of orange juice.

    Thank you so much for sharing and thanks for introducing Ann. I must go visit!!!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed and do stop over and visit Ann - she has a fantastic blog filled with so much delicious food...

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  2. I am SO excited that you liked this dish! It's been a while since I made it and your instructions were SO perfect, I think we'll have it again this weekend! You ROCK!

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    1. It's all thanks to your recipe, Ann! And I know I'll be making this again because it was so easy and I didn't feel too guilting chowing down ;)

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  3. This is a tasty one, in fact it looks more like a delicious nutty roll than french toast-yum! Glad that you pulled this tasty one out from Ann's blog. She does have a talent for creating healthy meals without sacrificing flavor and this one showcases it wonderfully.

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    1. Completely agree, Tina - Ann has an uncanny knack for making healthy food utterly tempting ;)

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  4. I adore Ann. I had the pleasure of meeting her and hanging out with her at a food conference recently. She is just as sweet in person as she is online. I am glad to meet a "new to me" blogger through her. Ann this reminds me of the dessert at the brunch at Whole Foods and you'll laugh when you see Friday's post!!!

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    1. Kim, thanks so much for stopping by and although I've never met Ann, she's a terrific blogger and maybe one day I'll will have the privilege!

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  5. I love French toast and this would be a perfect recipe. Sounds so yummy!

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    1. It was awesome - it's hard to believe it's so simple and healthful...

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  6. Looks rather naughty but beautiful. Can't wait to be featured in this!

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    1. lol I'm looking forward to the feature as well, Dom! And this was surprisingly naughty but still managed to be healthful at the same time. It's kinda of shocking...

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  7. I adore the idea of using multi grain bread for a french toast, surely muc healthier. Ann has a great collection of recipes, always enjoy her blog posts too. Great choice of recipe and I am glad u shared that with us! =)

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    1. It was a privilege featuring Ann and I'm so glad you enjoyed =)

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  8. I love the concept of your Tutor Tuesday posts! It's always really wonderful when you can take some time out of your baking schedule, take a look at all your favourite blogs, and take out some yummy inspiration. And, boy howdy, that french toast is for sure inspiring!

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    1. I'm so glad you like the concept and it really is a lot of fun. For one day, I don't have to stress about my own food or any of that - I can just enjoy following someone else's masterpiece. Which is what I'd consider this French Toast to be :)

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  9. Making me so hungry. Ann is a great blogger. Her food is always inspiring us to eat healthy and she's funny! I always enjoy her posts. You cooked very well!

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    1. I know! Ann has the bet stories and is always so entertaining to read...

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  10. I haven't seen Ann's blog yet and am so grateful for this series to learn about all of these wonderful bloggers you follow. As soon as I saw the french toast, I thought OmGoodness, I gotta make that! I love that you used such a lovely looking fresh orange...I simply can't wait to try it. The type of bread is perfect and I love the nuts...I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners either, just can't get used to the taste, and always know when its lurking around : ) Great Post JW, really enjoyed it...now I have to pop over and visit Ann too, you both take great photos!

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    1. I'm so glad you're checking out Ann's blog - she's a fantastic and creative foodie and I'm always left inspired. I just can't figure out how she manages to cook so many great dishes every WEEK! I'm lucky if I can get one new dish ready each week ;)

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