Let me tell you why I blog: I do it because sharing food is my passion. I wake up for it! I LOVE creating recipes and content (it’s my job) because every single day is riveting and different. Lastly, it has encouraged me to be more of an entrepreneur. And at the age of 24 that’s pretty scary, but it’s probably also the best thing that’s ever happened to me!
So let me just start off by saying thank you! YOU all have inspired me so much — and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! I read every single email and comment; they are very much appreciated. Whether it’s inspiring you to try something completely new, teaching a new skill, or encouraging you to eat a little better, this blog has grown into something I can truly be proud of! My goodness I’ve learned so much and have met incredible people along the way (including my internet friends). The opportunities have been endless.
Now I don’t mind sharing aspects about my life on here either, because like you, I’m learning something new about myself every single day. So today I’m encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone. What’s your passion? What do you want more than anything right now? I asked myself that same question and came up with a cross between french toast and caramel rolls with a hint of orange.
Okay enough with the sappy stuff, Brunch time is serious business!
I lightened up this recipe by using less butter, unsweetened almond milk, fewer eggs, and orange juice to avoid additional sugar. You still get the awesome caramel flavor, but it isn’t overly sweet and loaded with unhealthy fats. Plus you get a pretty huge serving for under 300 calories! Oh and did I mention they taste like sticky caramel rolls? I know your begging for weekend brunch now.
Since I’m a Tastemaker for Alexia Foods, I used their Classic French Rolls in this recipe — they are incredible! At only 110 calories and with 8g of whole grains and 5g protein per roll, I’m sure you’ll love them too! I baked the rolls first, then cut them into 1 inch squares before preparing my French Toast Bake (I despise the word casserole).
The entire recipe can be prepared the night before and stored in the fridge, all you need to do is bake it up the next morning for an amazing lightened-up treat. The orange pairs perfectly with the gooey caramel and the pecans add a lovely crunch. I already know you’re going to love them. xo
*Disclaimer: I am being compensated for my partnership with Alexia Foods as an Alexia Tastemaker. All my opinions are my own.
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (pure or light)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 large eggs
- 16 Alexia French Rolls (2 packages), baked according to package directions and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, for sprinkling
- Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place small saucepan over low heat and add brown sugar, butter and maple syrup; whisk occasionally until butter is melted and combined with sugar. Pour into prepared baking dish, be sure to spread out evenly. Sprinkled with chopped pecans. Place cubed bread evenly over the pecan mixture.
- In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, egg whites and eggs. Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure to soak each cube. If there are some dry pieces, simply them down a bit to soak up some of the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to bake, sprinkle the top of the bread with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the french toast bake is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes then cut into 12 servings. When you plate, flip each piece upside-down so the caramel and pecans are on top. Serve with sliced bananas or a drizzle of low-fat warm cream cheese.