January 16, 2013

That Vegan Thing: Hearty, healthy breakfast (most) kids will like

By JEFF PETERSON

I don't know about you, but I can eat breakfast food all the time. It just gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling. When I went vegan, however, I thought eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles and French toast would be a thing of the past.

I was only eating oatmeal with fruit for several weeks before I started doing a little more research online, and lo and behold I discovered the replacements necessary to make all of my favorite morning meals.

My favorite breakfast meal right now is Orange Pumpkin Ginger French Toast with lots and lots of Maine maple syrup.

Our family loves this dish so much that it's turned into our breakfast for dinner dish. This is a perfect menu item for brunch as well. To say our children love Orange Pumpkin Ginger French Toast would be an understatement. As a father of 5, I can tell you it is tough to please all of the children all of the time, but this meal comes close. My 5-year-old thinks it looks funny, so he won't eat it. But those are pretty numbers when it comes to finicky kids.

It takes a little bit of time to prepare this, but the payoff is well worth it after you taste it and know how good it is for you. Having a hard time getting friend or family to try something vegan? Just make this, serve it up, watch them gobble the Orange Pumpkin Ginger French Toast and don't tell them it's vegan. I guarantee, they will never know the difference not using dairy or eggs. It will be our secret.

ORANGE PUMPKIN GINGER FRENCH TOAST

1 15-ounce can pumpkin or 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon arrowroot

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut in 1/2-inch slices or vegan bread of your choice

Olive oil spray

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl, except the bread and oil, until well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil baking sheet. Dip each piece of bread in the batter, coating completely, and brushing off any excess. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. When ready to start frying bread, heat skillet with oil over medium flame. Place as many pieces of bread as will fit in skillet and fry each side until medium brown or darker. Repeat until all the bread is gone.

Serve hot with Earth Balance, organic maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you please.

Jeff Peterson anchors the 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. news on WGME-TV and is a vegan.

 

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