Happy Sunday and International Women’s Day! It’s super sunny and fairly warm (for March at least) in Chicago today, so I celebrated by eating breakfast on my little balcony! I made vegan chocolate French toast and so I decided to just pretend to be in Paris this morning - I ate the French toast with some tea called “Breakfast in Paris” and I used a fun antique plate I have with a French “independent woman in pants” that I thought was appropriate for both pretending to have a French morning and for International Women’s Day! I found this plate at an antique store back home in Stillwater years ago and thought it was super cool, and it is mostly decorative but was a great way to serve my French toast today!
This French toast turned out so delicious and you would never guess it was vegan from the texture! I used flax meal and vegan protein powder for the egg consistency. I prepared the batter last night and soaked the bread in it overnight - the bread absorbed the batter overnight and thickened a lot! I would recommend doing this if you have time, otherwise just refrigerate the batter for 5-10 minutes before dipping the bread in it. I also toasted the bread first so it would be more absorbent. If you don’t have chocolate protein powder, you could use cocoa powder, but the protein powder helps give the batter a thicker, French toast consistency. You could also use another flavor of protein powder, or omit it entirely and use my other vegan French toast recipe.
Vegan Chocolate French Toast
Makes 6-8 pieces of French toast (I made 8 but my bread slices were pretty small)
1 ¾ cup oat milk
4 tbsp flax seed
1 packet (about 1 oz) chocolate protein powder (I happened to have a sample of Garden of Life chocolate protein)
About 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Good dash of cinnamon
Splash almond extract (optional)
6-8 slices whole wheat bread - can toast them before to make them more absorbent
Toppings: berries, chocolate chunks, cinnamon, maple syrup
1. Whisk everything except the bread together in a small dish.
2. Toast your bread to make it more absorbent.
3. If preparing in advance, pour the batter into a big shallow tupperware and place the bread slices so they are as covered by batter as possible and leave in the refrigerator overnight for the batter to thicken and soak into the bread. In the above photo, you can see how much the bread absorbs the thickened batter overnight!
If not preparing in advance, refrigerate the batter for at least 5-10 minutes, then dip the bread slices in and soak evenly on both sides.
4. Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium heat.
5. Place slices in the skillet and cook until golden brown - about 4-5 minutes on each side.
6. Let cool, add toppings, and enjoy!
To celebrate International Women's Day more, I wore my “Girl Power” t-shirt while out and about! I got to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a bike ride along the lakeshore (wearing a helmet because safety first!) with one of my favorite and inspiring gal pals. It was so nice to adventure and enjoy the outdoors!
I’m also throwing in this video of an amazing contemporary master dance class I took at Dance Forever this past Friday. If you can’t guess by the song, it was a great girl-power class as well as a challenging dance class! I had a great time and hadn’t taken a contemporary combination based dance class in a while so I’m so grateful I got to be a part of this amazing class! Contemporary always pushes me outside my structured, tightly aligned comfort zone from ballet. I love challenging myself to really dig deeper into movements and release my body to make bigger, more powerful movements without fear of messing up (still working on that last part!). I had so much fun and was so inspired by the other talented women in class!
Anyways, the reason I am adding this to my International Women’s Day post is because I initially watched this video and my mistakes jumped out at me first and foremost. Granted, this was taken after an hour and a half of dancing so I was pretty tired, but my first thought was to write in the caption about how “it’s not perfect, and I messed up and here’s why, so please don’t judge…”
But then I realized - we don’t have to be perfect and shouldn’t apologize when we are enjoying ourselves and giving our best shot! This applies to everyone in many circumstances, but it is definitely something women get pressured to do too often.
This week in politics is a prime example of how women have to work harder to get ahead, and are still prevented from many opportunities. We may feel like we don’t belong in certain spaces and have to constantly justify our presence there. So we apologize and make excuses to make others feel comfortable, and not appear overly proud of our success - which we should be able to celebrate without fear of criticism and repercussion. So I reminded myself that mistakes are inevitable and part of any learning process, and instead I focused on how I felt during this dance, which was happy and empowered and fun - like the song says!
I hope you take a moment today, regardless of your gender identity, to celebrate your successes and what makes you proud of yourself, as well as to reflect on the women in your life and how we can all work together towards more equality and acceptance.