03-06, When Vegan is Va-Voom

When my imagination collides with my kitchen – Roasted Pineapple & Coconut French Toast

I credit the crisis that kept us indoors with many things circa March 2020. While navigating Netflix, I happened upon a couple of documentaries that convinced me I’d be better off vegan. My family was shocked. My friends thought I was crazy; but, what stunned my friends most is that everyone who knows anything about me realizes I’m a die-hard foodie.

“You? Vegan?” they said. “You won’t make it. Vegan food is too bland. You’ll get tired of carrot sticks and lettuce – especially with the way you eat!”

In some ways, they were right. And in some ways, they were very, very wrong.

Food is only as bland as the imagination of the person preparing it, and foodie that I am, I didn’t intend to thrive on carrots and lettuce (though I like them in a wide variety of ways)! I’ve spent the last ten months of my life trying to imagine (and study) the most innovative and delectable ways of preparing vegan dishes that make me melt from the inside out. And the one above? Well, this is my latest creation! I literally imagined it for three weeks before attempting to compose it the way I saw it in my dreams.

Gracing this plate is my Roasted Pineapple Cream Cheese and Toasted Coconut French Toast. For the batter, I used an egg substitute called Just Egg and vanilla almond milk with cinnamon. I seared it on a flat skillet with vegan butter, using rustic Italian loaf for my thick sliced bread. Meanwhile, I was roasting large cubes of pineapple in the oven. On my stove top, I was simmering more butter with almond milk and sugar, which made a bubbling, liquidous foam. It finished like a glistening glaze!

Moments before the dish was done, I toasted unsweetened coconut flakes until they’d achieved a nutty brown color. I placed the French Toast on one of my favorite plates. In between the slices was maple syrup infused vegan cream cheese, softened and sweetly melting. I stacked the cubes of roasted pineapple, drizzled the foam-like glaze, added three pillows of almond whipped cream, sprinkled the toasted coconut throughout my little dreamscape and dusted it with cinnamon. It…was…heavenly. #sigh

Antics aside, I’ve learned a number of things along my little nutritional journey. Lesson 1 – Often, things quite literally, aren’t as they seem. Lesson 2 – (I’m reminded, by my mom that) I can’t let the opinion of others determine nor influence my choices, especially when they are mis- or underinformed. Though advice here and there is to be valued, ultimately, decisions for me are also by me. And last, but not least, Lesson 3 – when pursuing a new venture in unchartered territory, approach with fervor, confidence and a willingness to learn from trial and error.

My efforts haven’t been perfect. I’ve certainly tried some things that I’ve vowed never to endure again (smile), but I’ve also made some things by which I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve even wowed my crew of four sons and my meat-loving husband. I practice. I study. I read. I learn. I try, and I get better. The vegan life for some may be simple and plain – and if that suits them, so be it. I joy in their satisfaction; but, for me, I’m still enamored with cuisine – the relationships it strengthens, the stories it tells, the creativity it compels, the history it heralds, the flavors it unearths…the love it reveals. I said all of that to say, I’m enjoying my journey, and my vegan adventures are anything but uninteresting. My vegan life is …va-voom (#smiling).

#roastedpineapple #mapleinfusedvegancreamcheese #toastedcoconut #rusticitalianbread #frenchtoast #buttersugarfoamglaze #cinnamondust #literacylove #vegangirl #vavoom carlamichelle

9 thoughts on “03-06, When Vegan is Va-Voom

  1. MMMM that absolutely sounds and looks delicious but I just can’t be bothered to be vegan, but I understand why you’re doing it. It just sounds like a lot of cooking and preparation for something that is consumed so quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was great, but one of the reasons it took so long is because this is one of the more task oriented dishes (smile). Among the things that I love about being vegan ironically is the simplicity.

      Most of my “regular” dishes are so easy to put together, like avocado toast and cherries. No cooking required! I grew up eating many raw and/or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables, (and I liked them) which is much faster than a lot of the preparation required with most of the meat and dairy based dishes I had before. So it eased my transition.

      The best part is that I feel dramatically different. So far, so good. It’s definitely been a blessing. Thank you so much for reading!

      ~Carla Michelle


  2. Your writing made those sensory details so vivid! Now I’m going to be craving coconut-pineapple french toast! I also love this line about all that cuisine holds: “the relationships it strengthens, the stories it tells, the creativity it compels, the history it heralds, the flavors it unearths…the love it reveals”


  3. Love this line at the end: “I’m still enamored with cuisine – the relationships it strengthens, the stories it tells, the creativity it compels, the history it heralds, the flavors it unearths…the love it reveals.” So powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! In rereading it, I have to say it’s my favorite part – because I have so many images connected to every phrase.

      Food forges ideals that are unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. It is a precious part of my past and present with my family and friends (and at times, even strangers). I’ve used it in every classroom I’ve ever taught – and I find the results to be unparalleled. #priceless ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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