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Banana Chocolate Chip French Toast Casserole

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My mom makes the world’s best banana chocolate chip pancakes and they have become the centerpiece all of our best family celebrations, especially holidays such as Christmas or Mother’s Day.  As we approached last Christmas I started to feel sad that E wasn’t going to be able to eat the pancakes.  I had tried to do a dairy free version the year before (when I was avoiding dairy while I was still breastfeeding) but they didn’t come anywhere close to my mom’s and that was before we were eliminating soy and egg, which are of course major players in the deliciousness.

As I scoured the internet trying to find an allergen-free substitute I came across Strawberry Banana French Toast Casserole on C Mom Cook.  It wasn’t too hard to make it a little less healthy by switching out the strawberries for Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.  And it was amazing!  It’s definitely not the same as pancakes but it provides the right flavors and the proper amount of carbs to serve as a base for any good celebration.

This recipe also holds a special place in my heart because our trial of it was E’s first taste of chocolate.

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December 2013: E’s first taste of chocolate!

It is also a really easy recipe to put together.  E helped me make it for the Mother’s Day Brunch that we hosted this year and we both had a ball.  He was able to help me put everything into the blender and loved watching it get pulverized. The sneaky little boy also stole tastes along the way, which was fine because it was completely safe for him!

The casserole held its own on a table that was covered in quiches and pastries, which is a testament to its yumminess and E had something that he could enjoy with the rest of the family.  I hope that you and your family enjoy it as much as we do

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E was not interested in waiting until the end of the photo shoot to enjoy this breakfast treat!

Banana Chocolate Chip French Toast Casserole (Egg-Free, Dairy Free, Soy-Free)

Ingredients

  • Approximately 4 cups safe bread cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or any other safe milk, coconut milk would be awesome)*
  • 1 banana*
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chia seed*
  • approximately 1/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips
  • 2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar (to taste)
  • Soy Free Earth’s Balance Buttery Spread to grease the casserole dish

Directions

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl.

In a blender, combine the milk, banana and ground chia until smooth and creamy.

Pour the milk mixture over the bread and gently mix to coat all of the bread.* 

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Grease a casserole dish with Earth’s Balance and carefully pour the mixture (and any of its extra liquid) into the baking dish, cover and set it aside.

Allow the mixture to rest at least 15 minutes, but, if you wanted, you could prepare this the night before and put it into the refrigerator at this time.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you refrigerated your casserole overnight, remove it from the refrigerator about half an hour prior to baking.

Sprinkle the top with light brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes.

*Depending on the type of bread and amount of bread that you use, you may want to double or triple the milk mixture part of the recipe.  I recommend making it a batch of liquid at a time and then adding more if it looks dry.  We prefer it a little on the wet/mushy side so I tend to use more of the liquid mixture.

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The pictures really don’t do this recipe justice 🙂

This recipe was (very slightly) adapted from the Strawberry Banana French Toast Casserole on C Mom Cook.

 

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Dairy, Soy, and Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

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I feel like I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit lately so to make up for it I baked cookies!

I love chocolate chip cookies!  There are few things in life better than a homemade chocolate chip cookie.  They seem to be the perfect fit for any situation so I always try to have the ingredients on hand.  You just never know when you’ll want (or need) to whip up a batch.

I think I make a pretty good chocolate chip cookie and I have even been told that they are the best part of our Christmas party menu (which is fairly elaborate).  I love that people enjoy them as much as I do and love to share them (after some are safely put aside for my own enjoyment, of course).

Sadly, after E’s dairy allergy diagnosis, baking just wasn’t as fun as it used to be.  Besides, I barely had time for a shower when E was an infant, let alone baking.  Also, as I started to spend more and more time in the kitchen making safe foods for E, it didn’t make sense to waste time baking something he couldn’t eat.  Not to mention the fact that I was depressed that he might never get to eat my cookies.   So I went a long time without baking cookies.

By this past Christmas we had a pretty good grasp of FPIES and E’s allergen and I was feeling fairly confident about my E-safe cooking skills.  So I decided to adapt “my recipe” to be safe for E*.  With a bunch of substitutions they turned out well and we thought they were pretty tasty.  I’ll admit, they aren’t quite the same as good ol’ buttery, eggy, milk chocolatey cookies.  But I like them and still manage to eat way too many.

Also, E loves them! Words cannot describe how full my heart gets while watching him finally enjoy one of my cookies.

cookie eatingDecember 2013: E’s first taste of a chocolate chip cookie! 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free (can also be Barley-Free)

Makes about 60 cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (before we passed barley I used white whole wheat flour, which also worked)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 chia “eggs” = 2 tbsp chia seed + 6 tbsp water

1 10 oz bag Enjoy Life Mini Chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375º

Make your chia eggs: Grind the chia seed and add the water.  Let sit until you are ready for them (at least 5 minutes).

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat Earth Balance, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy.  Slowly add the chia eggs a tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add the flour mixture.

Stir in the mini chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes then move to a plate to cool completely.

Enjoy!

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*Ok, true confession time: “my cookie” recipe is actually the recipe that is on the package of Nestle Toll House Morsels.  I dare you to find a better recipe that can even hold up to all of my substitutions!
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m so excited to have found this idea for an easy, healthy, safe Valentine’s Day treat for my little Valentine.  E and I had so much fun pushing heart cookie cutters through strawberries to create a great holiday-appropriate snack.  He ate almost an entire carton of strawberries and I didn’t have to worry about sugar or calories or allergens.  Who needs chocolate?

Strawberry Hearts

 

*I know I saw this idea online somewhere and I’m sorry that I don’t remember where.