I returned to the city last night from 10 days in Florida visiting my parents. I left sunshine and swimming pools and ocean breezes for dirty snow piles and wind chills. I know. Boo hoo. Poor me. I’m thankful I was able to escape the madness for a bit, even if things didn’t quite work according to plan. My goal for the trip was to leave the city for the last few weeks of winter and return to the early blossoming of spring, when temperatures finally ease their way permanently into the 40’s and 50’s. Instead, it’s 5 degrees this morning with a wind chill of -10. I just got back and I’m over it already. So today, I am attempting to ease into the transition from tropical lady of leisure in flip flops and bathing suit to on the go city mom, steeling herself from the bitter winter elements in Sorel boots and the ever-fashionable Eskimo coat.
While last week’s Foodie Friday was all about light and refreshing tropical meals, this week I’m back to reality. Back to February and biting wind and cold fingers and toes and comfort food. What’s the most comforting way to start a bone-chilling day? If you ask my boys, the answer is French toast.
I’d love to say I’m awake whipping a batch up for them every morning, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret (ok, it’s probably not much of a secret if you know me at all), I’m not a morning person. I suck at mornings. I suck at keeping it all together and getting my boys together and out of the house without one of us having a complete melt down. It’s why my husband often finds me balled up in the fetal position when he returns from business trips (I’m kind of joking, but I’m kind of not). The pressure of keeping it all together for that hour and a half each morning before the boys are finally successfully dropped at their respective schools for the day is enough to send me into a full blown anxiety attack.
You see, each morning, I am somewhat like a bear emerging from its cave after a long winter. I’m disoriented. I’m cranky. I’m stiff. I’ve got fuzzy head. I need to ease my muscles and my mind into activity, and I have a process and a routine for doing this. Ask too much of me, ask my body or mind to do something before it has had time to finish its routine and acclimate to being awake, and you may just scare me right back into hibernation.
This is why, as much as I love to cook, my boys typically don’t get much of a breakfast out of me in the morning, especially on schools days, when there is a hard and fast deadline looming large. Fortunately for them and me, I’ve learned to throw together a delicious French toast that’s so quick and easy, I can even manage (on the good days) to fill their bellies with a batch before sending them off to school. It makes them happy, and it makes me feel a little less deserving of the sloth of the year award.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon French Toast
1 TBSP organic coconut oil
1 organic free range egg
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 TBSP organic brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 – 6 slices of your favorite bread (for gluten free I LOVE Canyon Bakehouse brand)
Organic maple syrup
Add coconut oil to medium skillet or griddle pan. Test the heat with a small drop of water (just a flick of water). If it sizzles, you’re good to go.
While the pan in heating, prepare the bread soaking mixture in a bowl large enough to accommodate a slice of bread by combining the egg, coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. (You can do this ahead of time and store it in the fridge to make your morning routine even easier.) Next, soak the bread slices in the mixture, making sure both sides of the bread are well covered and the mixture has time to seep into the soft center.
Place slices on the skillet or griddle and let cook for 1-2 minutes per side, just enough for the egg batter to cook and create a crispy crust on the outside of each slice.
Serve with organic maple syrup.