TasteOverTime - Recipes Header - Kitchen

Recipe

French Toast with Pears in Red Wine

TasteOverTime - Recipes - French Toast with Pears in Red Wine
Basic Tastes

The use of whole grain bread adds earthiness that opposes the sweetness of the pears in red wine. (If gluten-free bread is used, choose a more savory variety.) Red wine is colorful, acidic and sweet—and also filled with the umami taste. For a sauce that is both lighter in appearance and taste, white wine or white grape juice may be substituted. Reduced-fat half-and-half supplies creaminess and a vehicle to convey the spiciness of the cloves, ginger and ground cinnamon. Coarsely ground black pepper is a surprise taste and texture addition!

Featured Ingredient

Red wine is used in this recipe for its ruby-red appearance, full-bodied fruit flavor and nutritional benefits. Red wine contains aromas, color pigments, resveratrol (a polyphenol that is thought to act like an antioxidant), procyanidins and other plant compounds. Polyphenols are found in the seeds and skins of grapes and are highest in concentrations when wine is young.

Resveratrol may help protect the body against cellular damage. Procyanidins are antioxidant-rich polyphenols that may inhibit cholesterol plaque in blood vessels. The procyanidin and resveratrol contents of red wine are linked to their reputation for heart health. Petite Sirah has one of the greatest concentrations of procyanidins.

Ho-Ho-Ho! Happy Holidays!

Want to learn more about gluten-free flours? I have just the holiday gift for you!

Click here or the button below to find a FREE PDF with the scoop on Gluten-Free Alternative Flours for Everyday Baking and Cooking!

Did you like what you read? Enjoy an expanded guide as a holiday gift from me to you!

Get Your Free Guide

To help you look good and feel great after age 50, incorporate these 50+ anti-aging foods into your diet.  Healthy benefits abound!  

The biggies contain:

  • anti-carcinogens, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants for cancer defense
  • pre and probiotics and fiber for gut health
  • monounsaturated and omega-3 fats for cardiovascular well being

Many bestow even greater wellness benefits, from mental health to physical fitness.

Introducing the top contenders...

🍓 FRUITS

Fruit “families” are jam-packed with anti-carcinogens, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants like vitamins A and C, and are fiber-rich with prebiotics for healthy digestion. These anti-aging all-stars are bursting with taste, too!

Berries – as blackberries, blueberries, caper berries, cranberries, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries

Citrus – as grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine

Gourds – as cantaloupe, casaba, watermelon

Grapes – as currants, raisins, green, red & purple grapes (and wine!)

Rose – as apple, pear, rosehips

Stone – as apricot, cherry, coconut, date, nectarine, olive (and olive oil!), peach, plum, prune

Tomatoes – see VEGETABLES

Tropical – as acai, avocado, banana, guava, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple

🥕 VEGETABLES

Brightly-colored veggie “families” offer an array of phytonutrients, super-star plant substances with promising anti-aging properties—great for skin, heart and mind. Focus on vegetable-powered cuisine starring these beauties!

Asparagus – as agave, green and white asparagus, yucca

Asters – as artichoke, safflower, sunflower

Beans and peas – as alfalfa, adzuki, black, fava, garbanzo, kidney, lima, lentils, mung, Northern, peas, peanuts, pinto, soybean, string

Buckwheat – also rhubarb, sorrel

Cruciferous – as bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnip      

Fermented – as kimchi, kombucha, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh

Greens – as alfalfa, arugula, beet, chard, collard, dandelion, endive, escarole, kale, mustard, spinach, turnip, watercress

Mallow – as cacao, hibiscus, okra

Nightshades – as eggplant, chili peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes

Onions – as chives, garlic, leeks, red, yellow & white onions, scallions, shallots

Root – as beet, carrot, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, radish, sweet potato, turnip

Squash – as acorn, butternut, cucumber, pumpkin

🧄 HERBS AND SPICES

There’s a world of phyto-nutrients in herbs and spices—way beyond ubiquitous parsley and black pepper.  Garlic, ginger and turmeric are anti-aging front-runners. Fresh is best, but dried imparts micronutrients and terrific tastes, too!

  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
🥜 NUTS AND SEEDS

Nutty and seedy reign when it comes to anti-aging disease-prevention! Revisit your favorite nuts and seeds whole, chopped, ground or pureed into “butters”.  Incorporate their health-enhancing oils for versatility!

Nuts – as almonds, Brazil, cashews, hazelnuts, Macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts

Seeds – as chia, flax, poppy, sesame, sunflower

🌾 GRAINS

Time to think earth colors and textures when choosing grains—brown and chewy usually mean wholeness and goodness for anti-aging heart and gastro-intestinal health. Organic rules!

Whole grains – as amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, einkorn, farro, freekeh, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale, wheat berries, wild rice

🧀 ANIMAL FOODS

While plant-centered eating is foremost for phytopian benefits, some animal foods boast anti-aging attributes. Fermented dairy products are protein, vitamin and mineral-rich and stomach-friendly with probiotics, and fish and shellfish are mostly low in fat and calories with disease-fighting omega-3’s.

Fermented dairy products – as buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese, kefir, ricotta, sour cream, yogurt

Fish, shellfish – as anchovies, cod, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout

☕ NOT TO BE MISSED

Some stellar items don’t quite categorize, but stand out for their anti-aging nutritive substances from A to Z—like Anthocyanins to Zeaxanthin. A smattering of promising eating and drinking at its tastiest!

  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Fungi
  • Honey
  • Teas
  • Vanilla

50+ Anti-Aging Foods for Ages 50+

Healthy (and tasty) benefits to pursue!

...with a Handy Pocket Guide for GLUTEN-FREE Supermarket Sleuthing!

Gluten is a generic name for the proteins in barley, rye, wheat, and triticale – a cross between rye and wheat. It provides elasticity to the texture of dough and helps it rise.

Gluten may be problematic for prone individuals.  Wheat gluten is a mixture of two types of proteins, glutenins and gliadins that may provoke illness in people with celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by a harmful immune response in the upper small intestine to gluten proteins, with the potential to cause intestinal damage.  Celiac disease may be treatable when gluten is totally removed from the diet.

In contrast, gluten intolerance is a sensitivity that produces short-term bloating and/or belly pain.  It poses a lifetime of compromised immunity that tends to dissipate when dietary gluten is fully eliminated.

Gluten intolerance is on the rise for a number of reasons:  

  • Chronic invaders and/or infections
  • Genetics
  • Gut flora damage
  • Increased intestinal bacterial growth
  • Over response to otherwise harmless substances
  • Super clean environments
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Wheat alterations


🔍 TasteOverTime GLUTEN-FREE Primer and Protector!

Where’s the gluten?

Protect your diet from gluten proteins by eliminating these substances – also their byproducts and variations…

Barley

Brewer’s Yeast

Malt

Rye

Triticale

Wheat as durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, farro, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, wheatberries

Wheat Starch

🤓 TasteOverTime Pocket Guide for GLUTEN-FREE Supermarket Sleuthing

Use this handy pocket guide to detect gluten on ingredient labels – unless they’re labeled gluten-free…

Baked goods – as bars, cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, tarts, etc.

Beer and malt beverages*

Breads – as baguettes, cornbread, croissants, English muffins, flatbreads, focaccia, muffins, naan, pita, potato, quick breads, rolls, rye bread, etc.

Breadcrumbs, breading and coating mixes

Breakfast foods – as bagels, breakfast bars, cereals, crepes, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, sweet rolls, waffles, etc.

Brewer’s yeast

Brown rice syrup

Candy and candy bars

Cereals and granolas

Cheesecake fillings

Crackers – as breadsticks, cheese crackers, graham crackers, goldfish, pretzels, etc.

Cream sauces

Croutons

Energy bars and granola bars  

Flour tortillas

French fries  

Meat substitutes

Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas  

Noodles and pastas – as chow mein, couscous, dumplings, egg noodles, gnocchi, ramen, raviolis, udon, soba, etc.

Potato chips

Pre-seasoned meats

Processed luncheon meats

Quick breads – as biscuits, crepes, French toast, pancakes, quick breads, waffles, etc.

Salad dressings and marinades

Sauces and gravies

Self-basting poultry

Soups

Soy sauce

Starch or dextrin  

Stuffing and dressings

Tortillas

Wheat flour

*Some distilled alcoholic beverages and vinegars are gluten-free – except those with added colors or flavorings like dessert wines, or with barley malt like wine coolers.

⚠️ Non-Foods that May Contain GLUTEN

Items that come into contact with the oral cavity may generate gluten-based reactions – no clear rules exist…

  • Communion wafers
  • Dental and oral care products
  • Drugs and over-the-counter medications
  • Envelope flaps and postage stamps
  • Herbal or nutritional supplements
  • Lipstick, lip gloss, lip balm or cosmetics 
  • Play-dough
  • Vitamins and supplements

A lot of sleuthing…but your small intestine may thank you for it!


One of the advantages of Midwestern living was the proximity to the annual Housewares Show, with seemingly miles of equipment and décor to a foodie’s delight. I’d go early, take in cooking demos, speak with vendors about all things new and stay for bargains from dismantled booths. Those were the days!

Sigh … Covid has nearly crushed my culinary escapades, so that industry shows are all but memories. Instead, I rely on product briefings, pretty photos and recipes and my professional listservs to bring you the latest.

I tend to take excellent care of my kitchen equipment so I don’t always “trade up” for the “newest” or the “best”. Yet some items beg to be replaced and others are just too cool to resist.

Here are five heavy hitters, with upsides to splurge, downsides to not and as always, my opinions in-between...


1️⃣ Air Fryer

Upsides:

Air fryers are countertop appliances that function like mini convection ovens. A fan blows hot air around a basket filled with ingredients of similar size. These appliances crisp foods like vegetables and French fries quickly on the outside while they maintain moisture on the inside—pretty cool! Word has it nutrients are retained and fat and calories are reduced. Compelling!

Downsides:

The texture of air-fried potatoes may not match the texture of French fries cooked in gobs of oil or fat. But you may attain a certain degree of dry crispiness with substantial calorie and fat savings.

💭 TasteOverTime take: I only salvage my air fryer upon occasion for French fries, but find it adds work, not lessens it.

2️⃣ Crock Pot (aka Slow Cooker)

Upsides:

Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. Crock pots, like other slow cookers, rely on low and steady heat. This method tends to retain nutrients and minimize losses—but anything, including slow cookers, may lead to overcooking and nutrient destruction, so users beware!

Downsides:  

Best double check recipes to determine if crock pot cooking will affect flavor. With overcooking, a crock pot may muddle tastes. Unattended food may dry out or scorch. Food safety alert…watch out for any cracks or major chips!

💭 TasteOverTime take: I’ve had a crock pot since its inception because it was the thing to do. It mostly gathers dust in the garage.

3️⃣ Instant Pot

Upsides:

The madly popular Instant Pot is a one-stop, seven-option, multi-cooker culinary wizard! It functions as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan and yogurt maker. These multi-functions may help cook foods significantly faster and more conveniently than individual appliances. Because Instant Pot cooks so quickly, it may retain nutrients better than conventional cooking methods.

Downsides:

While you only have to toss in ingredients, set the settings and turn Instant Pot on to “set and forget”, it still may require longer cooking times. And you pretty much need to stick to recipes for success. Since the lid is fastened until the end of cycles, you cannot check if something is fully cooked. So if a mixture is too watery or bland you may not be able to repair it until all is said and done.

💭 TasteOverTime take: I haven’t taken the plunge despite alluring deals. I have a hard time justifying all-in-one appliances for money, space and time when I cook for pleasure.

4️⃣ Pressure Cooker

Upsides:

Pressure cookers may save energy, time, money and nutrients if you select right. Newer models are relatively easy to operate and safe. Since cooking is undertaken in a closed environment, the kitchen tends to stay cool and uncluttered. There tends to be less nutrient loss than conventional cooking; flavor is conserved and bacteria and microorganism risks may be minimized.

Downsides:  

This is a machine, folks! You need to read the manual and practice! The cost of a pressure cooker may be offsetting. If you cut costs, you may pay the price by poor operation.  

You can’t check inside if food is ready or if flavors are “just right”. Only certain dishes are pressure cooker recommended, so others may overcook. The sealing ring may require regular attention.

💭 TasteOverTime take: I grew up with the sound of a pressure cooker for canned fruits and vegetables, hearty soups and stews. I don’t think that I valued its usefulness until lately. I’m “processing” its virtues...

5️⃣ Smart Oven

Upsides:

A smart oven is a miniature countertop toaster oven that helps bake separate dishes simultaneously. It requires about one-quarter of the space of a traditional oven, so it saves space, energy and heats faster. The temperature setting tends to be more accurate, which is vital to baking, roasting, toasting and reheating leftovers.

A plus…smart ovens are equipped with built-in performance assessment systems to help identify hardware issues before they affect cooking.

Downsides:

Smart ovens may be more expensive than conventional ovens. They may still be susceptible to normal wear-and-tear and accidental damages. Smart ovens may be costly to repair due to complicated mechanisms and expensive part replacements.

💭 TasteOverTime take: Smart ovens are tantalizing since I've scaled back kitchen-wise and have a difficult time justifying a big oven’s energy drain. Counter space is an on-going issue as I also strive for less clutter.

What’s right? As a plant-based Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, I’ve wondered which of these do-all appliances are right for me. I love to prepare ingredients, cook, look at, smell, taste and touch my food during cooking and baking—“hands-on” in its truest sense.  

I’m fortunate to have the time and place to cook and bake this way. So I don’t need to crunch time and effort and I can’t justify costly indulgences. I’m opting out (for now) and keeping my countertops clean to chop, mince, measure, mix and more.

My idea of cool!


What you eat and drink matters to help keep your heart young and vibrant!  Focus on the following recommendations for heart-healthy eating—the basis of your TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

❌ EAT LESS:
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium
✔️ EAT MORE:
  • Fiber
  • Plant-based nutrients

HERE’S HOW…

  • Eat less fatty meats and higher-fat dairy products
  • Eat less burgers, ice cream, macaroni and cheese and pizza
  • Eat more fiber-rich fruits, legumes (beans), vegetables and whole grains

                                            and…

  • Choose fresh or fresh-frozen items without added sauces or fillers
  • Choose lower fat and sodium and no-salt-added packaged and processed foods, like canned veggies, deli meats and cheeses, snacks and soups

TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

🍎 FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits and veggies can’t be beat for heart health!  They’re loaded with phyto- (plant) nutrients and fiber.  

Look for a variety of fruits and vegetables that are primarily fresh or fresh-frozen.  Lower-sodium canned or dried may be handy additions.

Look for…

⬜ Fresh fruits, like apples, berries, bananas, grapes and oranges

⬜ Fresh-frozen and dried fruits without added sugars, like mango and raisins

⬜ Fresh vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes

⬜ Fresh-frozen vegetables without added butter, salt and sauces

⬜ Leafy greens, like arugula, kale, Romaine and spinach

⬜ Lower-sodium canned or dried vegetables

🍞 WHOLE GRAIN BREADS, CEREALS AND ALTERNATIVES

Healthy carbs are filled with fiber and loads of vitamins, minerals and other plant nutrients for cardiovascular health. Whole oats have carried a big red heart on their packaging for years.

Look for products that are 100% whole grains that should be listed first on the ingredient list.  Flax and protein are good additions. Ancient grains like quinoa, millet, fonio, sorghum, amaranth and teff are gluten free.

Look for…

⬜ Legume (bean) and alternative grain-based pastas and sides

⬜ Whole-grain breadstuffs, like bagels, breads, muffins and tortillas

⬜ Whole-grain cold and hot breakfast cereals with no added sugars, like oatmeal and shredded wheat

⬜ Whole grains, like brown or wild rice, oats and quinoa

⬜ Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous

🥛 DAIRY PRODUCTS AND PLANT ALTERNATIVES

Lower-fat dairy products provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals for heart health—and strong bones and muscles that support the heart’s vigorous demands. Besides protein, they pack calcium, vitamins A and D and potassium.

Focus on lower-fat and fat-free options.  Make sure additional sugars and sodium are scarce so extras don’t add up.

Consider substituting plant “milks”, like almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, pea, peanut, soy and rice, and their by-products that vary in protein and nutrients.

Look for…

⬜ Fermented lower-fat dairy products, like kefir, cottage cheese, cultured buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt

⬜ Lower fat or fat-free cheese, cream, cottage cheese, ice cream and milk

⬜ Plant milks and by-products with no added sugars, fortified with calcium and vitamins B12 and D, with few-to-no additives.

🥑 FATS AND OILS

Time to reduce saturated fats and choose products without trans fats for heart health!  Also time to focus on foods with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, like avocados, fish and seafood, and nuts, seeds and their oils, like almond and olive.

Best to limit or avoid tropical oils, like coconut, palm and palm kernel oils, which tend to be higher in saturated fats.

Look for…

⬜ Light butter and yogurt-butter blends

⬜ Lower-fat mayonnaise and plant-based mayo

⬜ Non-stick cooking sprays

⬜ Nut or vegetable oils, like almond, canola, avocado, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower and walnut

⬜ Oil-based salad dressings

⬜ Spreads, like liquid, soft or tub, with no trans fats and few-to-no saturated fats, with plant sterols/stanols

🐟 PROTEINS

While both plant and lower-fat animal proteins are categorized as heart-healthy, there’s a trend towards plant-based cuisine.  Choose a variety of protein-rich plant proteins and lean animal proteins—if so inclined.

Look for…

⬜ Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin and lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Eggs whites

⬜ Legumes, like black-eyed peas, black, garbanzo, lima, kidney, pinto and soybeans, peanuts and peanut butter, lentils and split peas

⬜ Pork: leg, shoulder and tenderloin

⬜ Poultry: skinless chicken or turkey breast, lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Seafood: most fish and shellfish

⬜ Tofu, tempeh

⬜ Unsalted nuts, seeds and “butters” (like almonds, cashews, sesame, sunflower, pecans and walnuts)

🍷 NOT TO BE MISSED

Lots of foods and beverages are “said” to be heart-healthy, but a heart-healthy claim cannot be used without proof.

These items from my 50+ Anti-Aging Foods for Ages 50+ have phyto-nutrient advantages, so they’d be good cart-friendly additions.

Look for…

⬜ Chocolate

⬜ Cocoa

⬜ Coffee

⬜ Fungi

⬜ Honey

⬜ Red wine

⬜ Tea

⬜ Vanilla

Grocery shopping at its heart-healthiest!


Though I wrote The Ultimate Keto Cookbook a few years back, it was hardly the quintessential book on the KETO DIET that’s been around since 1923 with many renditions.

Thanks to Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic, the classic ketogenic diet, based on four parts fat for every one-part protein, forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates for energy and drives weight loss.

I was an early proponent of the KETO DIET to help lessen epileptic seizures and increase weight loss for obesity. I never thought its concepts would take such hold and endurance. I think I may know why...

😃 The KETO DIET reportedly may ...
  • Restrict hard-to-control carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages
  • Dissipate hunger
  • Provide foods Americans love—loaded with fats and proteins
  • Induce quick weight loss
🤔 The KETO DIET purportedly may …
  • Improve cognitive functioning
  • Lessen sugar dependency
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Slow certain cancer progression

In today’s food and drink mania, the KETO DIET is a rock star. Any downsides?

😐 Immediate KETO DIET concerns …
  • Trouble sticking to narrow carbohydrate restrictions 
  • Exhaustion and/or cravings during early days/weeks 
😮 Long-term KETO DIET qualms …
  • Constipation
  • Gallbladder, liver, pancreas and thyroid contraindications
  • Heart disease risks
  • Kidney stones
  • Low blood pressure
  • Medication adjustments
  • Nutrient deficiencies 
  • Non-sustainability

Well supervised for short periods, the KETO DIET may induce quick weight loss and reduce blood sugar, to be replaced by a less-restrictive diet with fewer side effects. In my view, the Mediterranean Diet or DASH Diet still ranks #1 for longer-term weight maintenance and health.

To durable diets!

CANCER is the reason I am a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist today.  

After fulfilling lifetime passions in the arts and communications, I turned my attention to nutrition in hopes of uncovering a cure for CANCER.  

You see, my father died from CANCER when I turned nine and I had lots of unanswered questions.  I also had blind faith that I could change the world’s unhealthy eating habits—like what I try to achieve today.

Thus, I’ve spent a lifetime investigating the best diet for CANCER prevention to formulate the soundest proactive eating plan and tastiest preventive recipes. And I’ve come full circle to rediscover that these early food and nutrition teachings live on!

👍 CANCER yeah’s!

…with cancer-combatants, like folic acid, isothiocyanates, lignans, lycopene, sulphoraphane, and others.

Fruits – as apples, berries, cantaloupe, cherries, citrus fruits, cranberries and grapes

Coffee and tea

Garlic and onions

Legumes – as garbanzo, kidney and pinto beans, dried peas

and lentils

Omega-3 fatty acids as olive oil and fatty fish, like salmon and sardines

Vegetables – as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, carrots, green leafy veggies and winter squash

Nuts and seeds – as almonds, walnuts and flaxseeds with soluble fiber

Whole grains – as brown rice, whole oats, quinoa and whole wheat

👎 CANCER not so’s

…with cancer-causing chemicals, like amines and hydrocarbons that form when meats are cooked over open flame at high temperatures, and more.

  • Blackened-grilled foods, cured meat products, deep-fried foods, dairy products and higher-fat meats, processed meats and refined carbohydrates
  • Alcoholic products and sugar-sweetened beverages
🤔 CANCER maybe so’s

…with cancer-controversies, where diet-cancer investigations seek answers.

By choosing less processed and refined foods, healthy preparations of leaner meats and lower-fat dairy products, and an abundance of phytonutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, you’ll join my cancer-fighting crusade!

Heed the call!

At some point in my middle-American upbringing I learned that cows made milk for strong bones and teeth, and that three daily glasses of dairy milk made the grade.  

Never did I realize that it was calcium that reigned supreme. Nor that the plant kingdom stockpiled calcium in foods like almonds, black beans, garbanzos, kale, spinach and sesame seeds.

Calcium is essential for bone development and maintenance, blood clotting, blood pressure, enzyme activation, fluid balance, muscle contraction and nerve transmittance.  Too little calcium and osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease may ensue. Osteoporosis is present in almost one in five American women ages 50 or older. Calcium absorption is less efficient in aging, coupled with lower vitamin D intake, less sun exposure and medication interactions.  

Too much calcium and central nervous system and coronary disorders may result. CHOOSE WISELY!

🥛 CALCIUM CONTENDERS build your foundation…

Calcium-rich dairy foods/beverages and varieties make the grade!

  • Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese
  • Dairy milk
  • Frozen yogurt, Greek yogurt, yogurt
  • Ice cream

Fish and seafood worth the plunge!

  • Canned salmon with bones
  • Canned sardines with bones
  • Canned shrimp

Calcium-rich plant-based foods/beverages up the ante!

  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Calcium-fortified breakfast cereals
  • Calcium-fortified grain, legume  and nut “milks”
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified tofu
  • Calcium-fortified tortillas
  • Collards, dandelion greens, kale and spinach
  • Edamame
  • Figs (see Stuffed Figs in Port Wine Sauce)
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Rhubarb
  • Tahini (sesame seed “paste”)
💪 FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING cements the deal!

To make maximum use of this calcium for greatest bone mineral density, functional strength training is where it’s at.

Working your muscles may help prevent fall-related fractures. Elastic exercise bands, free weights, weight machines and exercises that lift your own weight with push-ups and squats help target large muscle groups (arms, back, chest, legs and shoulders), core muscles (abs, back and obliques) and smaller secondary stabilizer muscles.

I no longer solely depend upon calcium from bottles or cartons. Instead, I carefully integrate calcium-rich plants into my diet and consciously work my bones and muscles.

Calcium reigns for strong bones in my life and should in yours, too!


Jacqueline TheFitFoodPro

Did you like what you read? Enjoy an expanded guide as a holiday gift from me to you!

Get Your Free Guide

French Toast with Pears in Red Wine

Recipe

TasteOverTime - Recipes - French Toast with Pears in Red Wine
Basic Tastes

The use of whole grain bread adds earthiness that opposes the sweetness of the pears in red wine. (If gluten-free bread is used, choose a more savory variety.) Red wine is colorful, acidic and sweet—and also filled with the umami taste. For a sauce that is both lighter in appearance and taste, white wine or white grape juice may be substituted. Reduced-fat half-and-half supplies creaminess and a vehicle to convey the spiciness of the cloves, ginger and ground cinnamon. Coarsely ground black pepper is a surprise taste and texture addition!

Featured Ingredient

Red wine is used in this recipe for its ruby-red appearance, full-bodied fruit flavor and nutritional benefits. Red wine contains aromas, color pigments, resveratrol (a polyphenol that is thought to act like an antioxidant), procyanidins and other plant compounds. Polyphenols are found in the seeds and skins of grapes and are highest in concentrations when wine is young.

Resveratrol may help protect the body against cellular damage. Procyanidins are antioxidant-rich polyphenols that may inhibit cholesterol plaque in blood vessels. The procyanidin and resveratrol contents of red wine are linked to their reputation for heart health. Petite Sirah has one of the greatest concentrations of procyanidins.

  • 1 cup red wine, such as Petite Sirah
  • ⅓ cup granulated white sugar + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar*
  • 3 (about 1½ pounds) firm pears such as Bosc, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup reduced-fat or fat-free half-and-half
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 slices whole grain or gluten-free (GF) bread, halved**
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Coarsely ground black pepper for garnish, if desired
  1. Add red wine and ⅓ cup sugar to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly syrupy.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat; add pears, stir to coat.
  3. Mix eggs, half-and-half, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in large lipped bowl or baking dish.
  4. Place each bread half of choice into bowl or baking dish until soaked in egg mixture. Turn and repeat until all egg mixture is absorbed.
  5. Put one tablespoon butter in large non-stick sauté pan; swirl and heat over medium heat.
  6. Add bread halves to bottom of sauté pan without overlapping or crowding; brown until golden, flip with spatula, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add remaining tablespoon butter; brown remaining bread halves on both sides.
  7. Remove browned bread halves with spatula to large serving platter; keep warm.
  8. Plate French toast and top with pears in red wine; garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.
Yield and Serving Size
  • Makes about 6 (1-slice bread) servings, each with about 1 to 2 tablespoons pears in red wine.
Nutrient Analysis
  • 312.46 calories
  • 18.75 % calories from fat
  • 6.51 g total fat
  • 2.84 g saturated fat
  • 80.33 mg cholesterol
  • 49.70 g carbohydrates
  • 5.71 g fiber
  • 6.99 g protein
  • 217.86 mg sodium
Nutrient Modifications
  • To lower calories, total fat, carbohydrates and sodium, reduce the portion to ½ slice French toast and 1 tablespoon pears and red wine.
Substitute Ingredients

*Demerara sugar with its toffee flavor, turbinado sugar with some natural molasses and caramel flavor, or brown sugar may replace the granulated white sugar, if desired. So may agave nectar (produced from the agave plant), honey or maple syrup, but in lesser amounts since they tend to be more concentrated in flavor and add liquid. Use about two-thirds cup of agave nectar for every one cup of granulated white sugar that is called for in a recipe.

**French toast can be made with any type of bread, from whole grain to gluten-free (GF). The softer, the better, but the longer the bread soaks in the egg mixture the best!

For those who need to cut back cholesterol consumption, egg whites may be used. Substitute two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for one whole egg. Commercial egg whites may be higher in sodium, so salt may need to be reduced in this recipe.  

Optional Ingredients

If chewing is not a problem then chopped nuts, such as toasted almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts or may be sprinkled over the pears in red wine before serving. Also, if calories are not an issue, then a delectable finish might be a dollop of low-fat ricotta cheese or unsweetened whipped cream. The sweetness and creaminess of these dairy products deliver additional flavor dimensions.

Why Bosc Pears?

If a pear with firm and dense flesh is desired for eating out-of-hand or to use in recipes, then Bosc pears are the variety of choice. Bosc pears are ideal for baking, broiling or poaching because they tend to retain their shape and texture more than some other pear varieties. The flavor of Bosc pears tends to hold its own against more assertive flavors such as cinnamon, cloves or ginger—the strong spices in this recipe. On their own, Bosc pears should be consumed at room temperature since their flavor may be better expressed. The creamy, off-white flesh may then transmit an intense honeyed aroma.

To help you look good and feel great after age 50, incorporate these 50+ anti-aging foods into your diet.  Healthy benefits abound!  

The biggies contain:

  • anti-carcinogens, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants for cancer defense
  • pre and probiotics and fiber for gut health
  • monounsaturated and omega-3 fats for cardiovascular well being

Many bestow even greater wellness benefits, from mental health to physical fitness.

Introducing the top contenders...

🍓 FRUITS

Fruit “families” are jam-packed with anti-carcinogens, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants like vitamins A and C, and are fiber-rich with prebiotics for healthy digestion. These anti-aging all-stars are bursting with taste, too!

Berries – as blackberries, blueberries, caper berries, cranberries, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries

Citrus – as grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine

Gourds – as cantaloupe, casaba, watermelon

Grapes – as currants, raisins, green, red & purple grapes (and wine!)

Rose – as apple, pear, rosehips

Stone – as apricot, cherry, coconut, date, nectarine, olive (and olive oil!), peach, plum, prune

Tomatoes – see VEGETABLES

Tropical – as acai, avocado, banana, guava, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple

🥕 VEGETABLES

Brightly-colored veggie “families” offer an array of phytonutrients, super-star plant substances with promising anti-aging properties—great for skin, heart and mind. Focus on vegetable-powered cuisine starring these beauties!

Asparagus – as agave, green and white asparagus, yucca

Asters – as artichoke, safflower, sunflower

Beans and peas – as alfalfa, adzuki, black, fava, garbanzo, kidney, lima, lentils, mung, Northern, peas, peanuts, pinto, soybean, string

Buckwheat – also rhubarb, sorrel

Cruciferous – as bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnip      

Fermented – as kimchi, kombucha, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh

Greens – as alfalfa, arugula, beet, chard, collard, dandelion, endive, escarole, kale, mustard, spinach, turnip, watercress

Mallow – as cacao, hibiscus, okra

Nightshades – as eggplant, chili peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes

Onions – as chives, garlic, leeks, red, yellow & white onions, scallions, shallots

Root – as beet, carrot, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, radish, sweet potato, turnip

Squash – as acorn, butternut, cucumber, pumpkin

🧄 HERBS AND SPICES

There’s a world of phyto-nutrients in herbs and spices—way beyond ubiquitous parsley and black pepper.  Garlic, ginger and turmeric are anti-aging front-runners. Fresh is best, but dried imparts micronutrients and terrific tastes, too!

  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
🥜 NUTS AND SEEDS

Nutty and seedy reign when it comes to anti-aging disease-prevention!  Revisit your favorite nuts and seeds whole, chopped, ground or pureed into “butters”.  Incorporate their health-enhancing oils for versatility!

Nuts – as almonds, Brazil, cashews, hazelnuts, Macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts

Seeds – as chia, flax, poppy, sesame, sunflower

🌾 GRAINS

Time to think earth colors and textures when choosing grains—brown and chewy usually mean wholeness and goodness for anti-aging heart and gastro-intestinal health. Organic rules!

Whole grains – as amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, einkorn, farro, freekeh, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale, wheat berries, wild rice

🧀 ANIMAL FOODS

While plant-centered eating is foremost for phytopian benefits, some animal foods boast anti-aging attributes. Fermented dairy products are protein, vitamin and mineral-rich and stomach-friendly with probiotics, and fish and shellfish are mostly low in fat and calories with disease-fighting omega-3’s.

Fermented dairy products – as buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese, kefir, ricotta, sour cream, yogurt

Fish, shellfish – as anchovies, cod, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout

☕ NOT TO BE MISSED

Some stellar items don’t quite categorize, but stand out for their anti-aging nutritive substances from A to Z—like Anthocyanins to Zeaxanthin. A smattering of promising eating and drinking at its tastiest!

  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Fungi
  • Honey
  • Teas
  • Vanilla

50+ Anti-Aging Foods for Ages 50+

Healthy (and tasty) benefits to pursue!

What you eat and drink matters to help keep your heart young and vibrant!  Focus on the following recommendations for heart-healthy eating—the basis of your TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

❌ EAT LESS:
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium
✔️ EAT MORE:
  • Fiber
  • Plant-based nutrients

HERE’S HOW…

  • Eat less fatty meats and higher-fat dairy products
  • Eat less burgers, ice cream, macaroni and cheese and pizza
  • Eat more fiber-rich fruits, legumes (beans), vegetables and whole grains

                                            and…

  • Choose fresh or fresh-frozen items without added sauces or fillers
  • Choose lower fat and sodium and no-salt-added packaged and processed foods, like canned veggies, deli meats and cheeses, snacks and soups

TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

🍎 FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits and veggies can’t be beat for heart health!  They’re loaded with phyto- (plant) nutrients and fiber.  

Look for a variety of fruits and vegetables that are primarily fresh or fresh-frozen.  Lower-sodium canned or dried may be handy additions.

Look for…

⬜ Fresh fruits, like apples, berries, bananas, grapes and oranges

⬜ Fresh-frozen and dried fruits without added sugars, like mango and raisins

⬜ Fresh vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes

⬜ Fresh-frozen vegetables without added butter, salt and sauces

⬜ Leafy greens, like arugula, kale, Romaine and spinach

⬜ Lower-sodium canned or dried vegetables

🍞 WHOLE GRAIN BREADS, CEREALS AND ALTERNATIVES

Healthy carbs are filled with fiber and loads of vitamins, minerals and other plant nutrients for cardiovascular health. Whole oats have carried a big red heart on their packaging for years.

Look for products that are 100% whole grains that should be listed first on the ingredient list.  Flax and protein are good additions. Ancient grains like quinoa, millet, fonio, sorghum, amaranth and teff are gluten free.

Look for…

⬜ Legume (bean) and alternative grain-based pastas and sides

⬜ Whole-grain breadstuffs, like bagels, breads, muffins and tortillas

⬜ Whole-grain cold and hot breakfast cereals with no added sugars, like oatmeal and shredded wheat

⬜ Whole grains, like brown or wild rice, oats and quinoa

⬜ Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous

🥛 DAIRY PRODUCTS AND PLANT ALTERNATIVES

Lower-fat dairy products provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals for heart health—and strong bones and muscles that support the heart’s vigorous demands. Besides protein, they pack calcium, vitamins A and D and potassium.

Focus on lower-fat and fat-free options.  Make sure additional sugars and sodium are scarce so extras don’t add up.

Consider substituting plant “milks”, like almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, pea, peanut, soy and rice, and their by-products that vary in protein and nutrients.

Look for…

⬜ Fermented lower-fat dairy products, like kefir, cottage cheese, cultured buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt

⬜ Lower fat or fat-free cheese, cream, cottage cheese, ice cream and milk

⬜ Plant milks and by-products with no added sugars, fortified with calcium and vitamins B12 and D, with few-to-no additives.

🥑 FATS AND OILS

Time to reduce saturated fats and choose products without trans fats for heart health!  Also time to focus on foods with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, like avocados, fish and seafood and nuts, seeds and their oils, like almond and olive.

Best to limit or avoid tropical oils, like coconut, palm and palm kernel oils, which tend to be higher in saturated fats.

Look for…

⬜ Light butter and yogurt-butter blends

⬜ Lower-fat mayonnaise and plant-based mayo

⬜ Non-stick cooking sprays

⬜ Nut or vegetable oils, like almond, canola, avocado, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower and walnut

⬜ Oil-based salad dressings

⬜ Spreads, like liquid, soft or tub, with no trans fats and few-to-no saturated fats, with plant sterols/stanols

🐟 PROTEINS

While both plant and lower-fat animal proteins are categorized as heart-healthy, there’s a trend towards plant-based cuisine.  Choose a variety of protein-rich plant proteins and lean animal proteins—if so inclined.

Look for…

⬜ Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin and lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Eggs whites

⬜ Legumes, like black-eyed peas, black, garbanzo, lima, kidney, pinto and soybeans, peanuts and peanut butter, lentils and split peas

⬜ Pork: leg, shoulder and tenderloin

⬜ Poultry: skinless chicken or turkey breast, lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Seafood: most fish and shellfish

⬜ Tofu, tempeh

⬜ Unsalted nuts, seeds and “butters” (like almonds, cashews, sesame, sunflower, pecans and walnuts)

🍷 NOT TO BE MISSED

Lots of foods and beverages are “said” to be heart-healthy, but a heart-healthy claim cannot be used without proof.

These items from my 50+ Anti-Aging Foods for Ages 50+ have phyto-nutrient advantages, so they’d be good cart-friendly additions.

Look for…

⬜ Chocolate

⬜ Cocoa

⬜ Coffee

⬜ Fungi

⬜ Honey

⬜ Red wine

⬜ Tea

⬜ Vanilla

Grocery shopping at its heart-healthiest!


What you eat and drink matters to help keep your heart young and vibrant!  Focus on the following recommendations for heart-healthy eating—the basis of your TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

❌ EAT LESS:
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium
✔️ EAT MORE:
  • Fiber
  • Plant-based nutrients

HERE’S HOW…

  • Eat less fatty meats and higher-fat dairy products
  • Eat less burgers, ice cream, macaroni and cheese and pizza
  • Eat more fiber-rich fruits, legumes (beans), vegetables and whole grains

                                            and…

  • Choose fresh or fresh-frozen items without added sauces or fillers
  • Choose lower fat and sodium and no-salt-added packaged and processed foods, like canned veggies, deli meats and cheeses, snacks and soups

TasteOverTime Grocery List for the Young at Heart!

🍎 FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits and veggies can’t be beat for heart health!  They’re loaded with phyto- (plant) nutrients and fiber.  

Look for a variety of fruits and vegetables that are primarily fresh or fresh-frozen.  Lower-sodium canned or dried may be handy additions.

Look for…

⬜ Fresh fruits, like apples, berries, bananas, grapes and oranges

⬜ Fresh-frozen and dried fruits without added sugars, like mango and raisins

⬜ Fresh vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes

⬜ Fresh-frozen vegetables without added butter, salt and sauces

⬜ Leafy greens, like arugula, kale, Romaine and spinach

⬜ Lower-sodium canned or dried vegetables

🍞 WHOLE GRAIN BREADS, CEREALS AND ALTERNATIVES

Healthy carbs are filled with fiber and loads of vitamins, minerals and other plant nutrients for cardiovascular health. Whole oats have carried a big red heart on their packaging for years.

Look for products that are 100% whole grains that should be listed first on the ingredient list.  Flax and protein are good additions. Ancient grains like quinoa, millet, fonio, sorghum, amaranth and teff are gluten free.

Look for…

⬜ Legume (bean) and alternative grain-based pastas and sides

⬜ Whole-grain breadstuffs, like bagels, breads, muffins and tortillas

⬜ Whole-grain cold and hot breakfast cereals with no added sugars, like oatmeal and shredded wheat

⬜ Whole grains, like brown or wild rice, oats and quinoa

⬜ Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous

🥛 DAIRY PRODUCTS AND PLANT ALTERNATIVES

Lower-fat dairy products provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals for heart health—and strong bones and muscles that support the heart’s vigorous demands. Besides protein, they pack calcium, vitamins A and D and potassium.

Focus on lower-fat and fat-free options.  Make sure additional sugars and sodium are scarce so extras don’t add up.

Consider substituting plant “milks”, like almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, pea, peanut, soy and rice, and their by-products that vary in protein and nutrients.

Look for…

⬜ Fermented lower-fat dairy products, like kefir, cottage cheese, cultured buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt

⬜ Lower fat or fat-free cheese, cream, cottage cheese, ice cream and milk

⬜ Plant milks and by-products with no added sugars, fortified with calcium and vitamins B12 and D, with few-to-no additives.

🥑 FATS AND OILS

Time to reduce saturated fats and choose products without trans fats for heart health!  Also time to focus on foods with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, like avocados, fish and seafood and nuts, seeds and their oils, like almond and olive.

Best to limit or avoid tropical oils, like coconut, palm and palm kernel oils, which tend to be higher in saturated fats.

Look for…

⬜ Light butter and yogurt-butter blends

⬜ Lower-fat mayonnaise and plant-based mayo

⬜ Non-stick cooking sprays

⬜ Nut or vegetable oils, like almond, canola, avocado, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower and walnut

⬜ Oil-based salad dressings

⬜ Spreads, like liquid, soft or tub, with no trans fats and few-to-no saturated fats, with plant sterols/stanols

🐟 PROTEINS

While both plant and lower-fat animal proteins are categorized as heart-healthy, there’s a trend towards plant-based cuisine.  Choose a variety of protein-rich plant proteins and lean animal proteins—if so inclined.

Look for…

⬜ Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin and lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Eggs whites

⬜ Legumes, like black-eyed peas, black, garbanzo, lima, kidney, pinto and soybeans, peanuts and peanut butter, lentils and split peas

⬜ Pork: leg, shoulder and tenderloin

⬜ Poultry: skinless chicken or turkey breast, lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)

⬜ Seafood: most fish and shellfish

⬜ Tofu, tempeh

⬜ Unsalted nuts, seeds and “butters” (like almonds, cashews, sesame, sunflower, pecans and walnuts)

🍷 NOT TO BE MISSED

Lots of foods and beverages are “said” to be heart-healthy, but a heart-healthy claim cannot be used without proof.

These items from my 50+ Anti-Aging Foods for Ages 50+ have phyto-nutrient advantages, so they’d be good cart-friendly additions.

Look for…

⬜ Chocolate

⬜ Cocoa

⬜ Coffee

⬜ Fungi

⬜ Honey

⬜ Red wine

⬜ Tea

⬜ Vanilla

Grocery shopping at its heart-healthiest!


Jacqueline TheFitFoodPro

French Toast with Pears in Red Wine

Recipe

Category:
Breakfasts
Prep Time:
About 45 minutes (including the red wine sauce)
Technique:
Browning
Equipment:
Measuring cups and spoons, medium saucepan, stove top, large lipped bowl or baking dish, large non-stick sauté pan, “flipper” spatula, large serving platter, pepper mill

I love French Toast with Pears in Red Wine because it can play double or triple-duty. It can be prepared with whole grain or gluten-free (GF) bread, and with eggs or vegan with egg-substitute and plant-based fat. The red wine sauce is also deeply delicious over simple cake or Greek yogurt. A “twofer” or “threefer” depending upon your liking!

From an economical standpoint, the use of leftover bread, eggs and ripe fruit makes sense to help to avoid food waste. From a nutritional standpoint, the use of whole grain bread, protein-rich eggs and spiced fruit lifts nutrients, flavor and spirits! And then there’s the wine…

French Toast with Pears in Red Wine can start or end the day depending upon one’s attitude about wine consumption! Grape juice may replace the wine, and honey or agave nectar may be used instead of granulated sugar with similar results. Canadian bacon or low-fat sausage may raise the protein bar and expand this dish into a fuller meal, if desired.

TasteOverTime - Recipes - French Toast with Pears in Red Wine
Basic Tastes

The use of whole grain bread adds earthiness that opposes the sweetness of the pears in red wine. (If gluten-free bread is used, choose a more savory variety.) Red wine is colorful, acidic and sweet—and also filled with the umami taste. For a sauce that is both lighter in appearance and taste, white wine or white grape juice may be substituted. Reduced-fat half-and-half supplies creaminess and a vehicle to convey the spiciness of the cloves, ginger and ground cinnamon. Coarsely ground black pepper is a surprise taste and texture addition!

Featured Ingredient

Red wine is used in this recipe for its ruby-red appearance, full-bodied fruit flavor and nutritional benefits. Red wine contains aromas, color pigments, resveratrol (a polyphenol that is thought to act like an antioxidant), procyanidins and other plant compounds. Polyphenols are found in the seeds and skins of grapes and are highest in concentrations when wine is young.

Resveratrol may help protect the body against cellular damage. Procyanidins are antioxidant-rich polyphenols that may inhibit cholesterol plaque in blood vessels. The procyanidin and resveratrol contents of red wine are linked to their reputation for heart health. Petite Sirah has one of the greatest concentrations of procyanidins.

  • 1 cup red wine, such as Petite Sirah
  • ⅓ cup granulated white sugar + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar*
  • 3 (about 1½ pounds) firm pears such as Bosc, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup reduced-fat or fat-free half-and-half
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 slices whole grain or gluten-free (GF) bread, halved**
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Coarsely ground black pepper for garnish, if desired
  1. Add red wine and ⅓ cup sugar to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly syrupy.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat; add pears, stir to coat.
  3. Mix eggs, half-and-half, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in large lipped bowl or baking dish.
  4. Place each bread half of choice into bowl or baking dish until soaked in egg mixture. Turn and repeat until all egg mixture is absorbed.
  5. Put one tablespoon butter in large non-stick sauté pan; swirl and heat over medium heat.
  6. Add bread halves to bottom of sauté pan without overlapping or crowding; brown until golden, flip with spatula, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add remaining tablespoon butter; brown remaining bread halves on both sides.
  7. Remove browned bread halves with spatula to large serving platter; keep warm.
  8. Plate French toast and top with pears in red wine; garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.
Yield and Serving Size
  • Makes about 6 (1-slice bread) servings, each with about 1 to 2 tablespoons pears in red wine.
Nutrient Analysis
  • 312.46 calories
  • 18.75 % calories from fat
  • 6.51 g total fat
  • 2.84 g saturated fat
  • 80.33 mg cholesterol
  • 49.70 g carbohydrates
  • 5.71 g fiber
  • 6.99 g protein
  • 217.86 mg sodium
Nutrient Modifications
  • To lower calories, total fat, carbohydrates and sodium, reduce the portion to ½ slice French toast and 1 tablespoon pears and red wine.
Substitute Ingredients

*Demerara sugar with its toffee flavor, turbinado sugar with some natural molasses and caramel flavor, or brown sugar may replace the granulated white sugar, if desired. So may agave nectar (produced from the agave plant), honey or maple syrup, but in lesser amounts since they tend to be more concentrated in flavor and add liquid. Use about two-thirds cup of agave nectar for every one cup of granulated white sugar that is called for in a recipe.

**French toast can be made with any type of bread, from whole grain to gluten-free (GF). The softer, the better, but the longer the bread soaks in the egg mixture the best!

For those who need to cut back cholesterol consumption, egg whites may be used. Substitute two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for one whole egg. Commercial egg whites may be higher in sodium, so salt may need to be reduced in this recipe.  

Optional Ingredients

If chewing is not a problem then chopped nuts, such as toasted almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts or may be sprinkled over the pears in red wine before serving. Also, if calories are not an issue, then a delectable finish might be a dollop of low-fat ricotta cheese or unsweetened whipped cream. The sweetness and creaminess of these dairy products deliver additional flavor dimensions.

Why Bosc Pears?

If a pear with firm and dense flesh is desired for eating out-of-hand or to use in recipes, then Bosc pears are the variety of choice. Bosc pears are ideal for baking, broiling or poaching because they tend to retain their shape and texture more than some other pear varieties. The flavor of Bosc pears tends to hold its own against more assertive flavors such as cinnamon, cloves or ginger—the strong spices in this recipe. On their own, Bosc pears should be consumed at room temperature since their flavor may be better expressed. The creamy, off-white flesh may then transmit an intense honeyed aroma.

Jacqueline TheFitFoodPro