Online phenomenon Tess Masters, a.k.a. The Blender Girl, offers up 100 recipes for healthy living with tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes to help boost nutrition in her new book The Perfect Blend. I’m happy and lucky to call Tess a friend. She is smart, funny and helpful. In her latest book, we have a super useful new guide to healthy and delicious living. It’s a great follow up to Tess’s other books The Blender Girl and The Blender Girl Smoothies.
The Perfect Blend functions not only as a cookbook but also as a guide for how to lead a more vibrant and healthy life. In it, Tess lays out a dozen healthy goals for readers, capitalizing on current trends such as gaining energy, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, detoxing the body, and probiotic power. Then, with her sunny and sometimes hilarious personality coming through loud and clear, Tess encourages us as she offers easy-to-follow recipes for smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides, soups, mains, and desserts. Included in this book is a guide to key ingredients, and an extensive resources section, which I found very helpful, as are the listings of optional nutritional boosters for each recipe. Tess has done it again with the The Perfect Blend.
French Toast with Caramelized Bananas
- 1 cup 240ml unsweetened almond or macadamia milk (strained if homemade)
- 1 ripe medium banana
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to serve
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon white or black chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon natural salt
- 8 slices gluten-free sandwich bread
- 1/4 cup 60ml coconut oil (in liquid form), plus more as needed
- 2 medium bananas, thickly sliced on the diagonal
- 1/4 cup (37g) coconut sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil, in liquid form
- Pure maple syrup, to serve
- 1/4 cup 60ml bourbon or rum
- 2 tablespoons crushed raw pecans or walnuts
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened dried shredded coconut
Set the oven to its lowest temperature or the “warm” setting.
To make the French toast, pour the milk, banana, maple syrup, vanilla, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt into your blender and blast on high for about 30 seconds, until well combined. Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking dish and let rest for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. In batches, place slices of the bread in the baking dish and let soak on one side for 8 to 10 seconds. Flip the slices and let soak for another 8 to 10 seconds, until evenly moistened.
In a medium skillet (that fits two slices of bread) or on a large griddle (that holds all of the slices) over medium heat, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per two slices of bread. (Resist the urge to use less coconut oil, or the bread won’t get crispy.) Add the bread and fry for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy on the edges; you may need to add more coconut oil after you flip the bread. If cooking in batches, transfer the French toast to a lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm, and repeat to fry the remaining bread, adding more coconut oil to cook each batch.
While the last pieces of toast are cooking, make the caramelized bananas. Combine the banana slices and the coconut sugar in a zipper-lock bag, seal, and shake to coat evenly. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the coconut oil, add the coated bananas and the bourbon booster, and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until nicely caramelized.
Serve two slices of French toast on each plate, topped with one-quarter of the caramelized bananas, one-quarter of the crushed nut boosters, and one-quarter of the coconut booster. Pass maple syrup at the table.
Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart