Nutty Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal Cups

Nutty Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal Cups

This is my first recipe featuring vanilla bean paste, and I have to say, it’s something I’ve been dying to cook with.  I didn’t even bother looking in stores for it because, when it comes to specialty foods, Amazon always has the products I’m looking for.  This is the kind I bought.  Vanilla bean paste is a blend of vanilla beans, vanilla extract, water, and sugar.  Vanilla bean is one of my top 3 favorite dessert flavors (along with lemon and chocolate). 

I like this paste for several reasons.  First, it’s cheaper than buying vanilla bean pods.  Vanilla bean pods are about $6 a piece.  You get about 50 times that many pods’ worth in one 4 ounce jar, and a whole jar is only $15.  Vanilla bean paste has a longer shelf life than vanilla bean pods.  Plus having it in a jar, as opposed to in beans, makes it way easier to use, so I have a reason to put that intense vanilla flavor into everything. 

From here out, expect many recipes using vanilla bean paste!  I just got my first Bundt pan, and I’m planning a vanilla bean and something (to be determined) flavored Bundt cake with vanilla bean glaze.  Doesn’t that sound good? 

For these oatmeal cups, you can substitute out any or all of the coconut flavors if you like, but I love coconut.  The recipe I adapted this from uses canola oil, regular milk, regular sugar, etc.  So you can do that in equal proportions if you like. 

I made these using reusable silicone muffin cups.  I like these because I think they’re cute, they’re reusable, and they won’t ever rip and leave paper in the muffin or cupcake.  Whether you use these or paper liners, muffin liners are a must for this recipe.

You can keep these in the fridge for about a week, and just heat them up for 30 seconds to 1 minute before eating.  If you like, add a little extra milk when serving to thin it out (I always like to do this). 

 

Total Time:  1 hour and 15 minutesgood

Yield:  18 Muffins

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

2 eggs

¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup unrefined coconut sugar

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups coconut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

3 cups old fashioned oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ sweetened flaked coconut

½ cup slivered almonds, plus more for topping

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line your muffin tin with 18 muffin liners.
  3. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to break the yolks apart.
  4. Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and coconut sugar. Whisk together until the sugar has broken apart and dissolved.
  5. Add the applesauce, coconut milk, vanilla bean paste, salt, cinnamon, and ground flax. Whisk until combined.
  6. Add the oats, baking powder, flaked coconut, and slivered almond. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine.
  7. Add ¼ cup of the oatmeal mixture to each muffin cup.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

(adapted from The Wholesome Dish)

 

 

 


Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

This recipe is a take on Ina’s Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup.  When you eat this soup, it feels like eating a big cozy bowl of chicken noodle soup or mashed potatoes.  It’s full of vitamins, especially Vitamin A, which is good for your skin, hair, and nails.  It’s seriously low in fat and high in fiber.  You can easily make this vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  It’s also gluten free and elimination diet friendly.

I love making a big batch of this and eating it throughout the week.  It freezes well, too.  I don’t give a specific amount of the chicken broth because I think it’s best to add it gradually until it’s the consistency you like.

Ina always recommends making your own chicken stock, but I have never done that.  I don’t want to say never, but I don’t really see myself doing that.  I always buy chicken base—similar to bouillon, but it’s a powder.  For this soup, I put water in my tea kettle.  I put the ratio of 2 teaspoons of powdered base per cup of water.  When the water boils, I pour it over the base into a glass measuring cup.  That way the base dissolves completely, and you can mix hot broth with hot vegetables.  

Total Time:  90 minutes15966111_412154012456574_7851803339849164156_n.jpg

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash

2 sweet potatoes

1 pound of carrots

Olive oil spray

Salt and pepper

8 cups of chicken broth

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel, seed, and dice the butternut squash into bite sized pieces. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and carrots (all about 1 inch dice).
  3. Spray sheet pans with olive oil spray. Arrange the vegetables on the tray.  Spray with more olive oil, and sprinkle with salt in pepper.
  4. Cook the vegetables in batches. For each batch cook for 40-50 minutes.  Take them out and turn them halfway through.
  5. Add the vegetables in batches to a food processor. Puree the vegetables on their own for a minute or two so the broth won’t splash up when you add it.  Add chicken broth, and puree until you reach the desired consistency.
  6. Serve on its own, or with croutons or crusty bread and a dash of olive oil and cracked pepper.

(inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe)

 


Spiced Pear + Coconut Oats

Spiced Pear + Coconut Oats

(vegan, gluten free, elimination diet-friendly)

This is not turning into a health food or vegan blog.  I love cookies and cheese way too much. However, you may have noticed I’ve done a few healthy recipes lately, including Grain Bowl Basics and Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Cups.  I actually do eat really healthy most of the time, but I don’t like to say a certain food group is totally off-limits.  Even as a write this, I’m thinking about the Turkish Delights I’ll be making in a few days for another post.  I try not to eat too much junk, white carbs, red meat, etc.  Over the holidays, though, I gained about 7 pounds back of the 20 I’d lost!  But with just about a week of healthy eating, I’ve already lost 4 of them.  It’s not too hard, but it does take discipline, and I know it’s a lot easier to catch myself now than it would be to wait until I’d gained 10 more pounds.  So there’s that.
There’s also me reading about and preparing for the Elimination Diet to see what is giving me stomach troubles (I talked a little more about the Elimination Diet in the last 2 posts).  The Grain Bowls, Chia Puddings, and this oatmeal are all Elimination Diet-friendly.  Certain things, like the chocolate shavings on the pudding or the grape tomatoes in the grain bowls are not, but I really did those more for the camera.  You can always add those to your food of course, but it won’t be Elimination Diet-friendly. 

I never realized that oats weren’t gluten-free on their own.  I figured that because it was just oats, it was naturally gluten-free.  To do the Elimination Diet, I only had to get a few things at Whole Foods, but most of it is available at any grocery store these days.  I did get some gluten-free quick cooking oats (by Red Mill), some unrefined coconut sugar, white quinoa, almond butter plus some red lentil and chickpea pastas all at WF, but that’s about it.  The reason I got the quinoa and almond butter there is because I like WF’s generic brand 365 Everyday Value.  I think the quality and price are both better than at a regular grocery store.

I added some ground flax to the oatmeal too.  I order it from Amazon in whole seeds and grind it up in one of these.  Once it’s ground, I store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Flax seeds are full of Omega-3 fats (great for brain function and also found in foods like salmon and eggs).  One tablespoon of ground flax has 37 calories, 3 grams of fat, 57 grams of potassium, 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. 

So here’s my take on a gluten-free, nutrition-packed, vegan, Elimination Diet-friendly –yet still warm and satisfying –oatmeal breakfast.

Total Time:  15 Minute1.jpg

Serves:  1

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Ingredients

2/3 cup water

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 pinch of salt

½ cup gluten free quick cooking oats

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 fresh diced pear (shown sliced only for photographic purposes)

1 ½ teaspoon coconut oil

Toasted Coconut (see below)

Directions

  1. Bring the water, coconut, and salt to a gentle boil.
  2. Add the oats, flax, cinnamon, and ginger, and reduce heat.
  3. Once the oats have begun to absorb the liquid, add the diced pear.
  4. Turn off the heat, and stir in the coconut oil.
  5. Top with toasted coconut.

For the toasted coconut, you’ll need:

A handful of unsweetened flaked coconut

Directions

  1. On a toaster oven-sized sheet pan, add a handful of unsweetened flaked coconut.
  2. Place it in a toaster oven, and turn on.
  3. Watch it carefully for 2-3 minutes and pull out of the oven just as it starts to brown.

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Cups

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Cups

This recipe is another during my Elimination Diet. I’m writing this the day before I start the diet…I had plans to take pictures this morning, but the fog is so dense, I’m afraid I won’t get any good ones.  The reason I’m trying the Elimination Diet is because I get a lot of stomach irritation, and I’m curious to see if there’s any one food group that’s affecting me. 

The Elimination Diet is no dairy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, nightshades, white carbs, beef, pork, shellfish, processed food, soy, peanuts, eggs, and certain fruits like grapes and bananas.  It’s pretty extensive, but not exhaustive.  You can still have meat, most vegetables, and non-white non-gluten carbs. 

I made a similar pudding last year, but with regular cow’s milk.  I tasted this version along the way and adjusted the flavors to get it as rich-tasting as possible.  Just because you’re on a special diet doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to feel indulgent.  This recipe makes four 8 ounce portions, and each portion has about 260 calories if you follow my recipe exactly.  These are vegan free, gluten free, and Elimination Diet-friendly.  The puddings set up in 6 hours and will keep for about 5 days. 

Chia seeds are interesting little things, aren’t they?  Remember back in the 90s, Chia Pets?  It’s the same thing, except this time, we’re eating them.  Each serving of this pudding has 3 tablespoons of chia seeds.  The seeds are what helps the pudding become pudding.  For every 3 tablespoons, there are 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 180 mg of potassium, 15 grams of fiber (!), NO SUGAR, 9 grams of protein, plus 24% of your daily Vitamin A and 18% of your daily Iron needs.  Pretty impressive.

When I made these last year, I stored them in glasses with plastic wrap, but that was before I got my half pint mason jars.  I keep finding new reasons to love and accumulate mason jars.  I started using them for salads, but have since used them for homemade beauty products, salad dressings, and now for these puddings.  It’s homemade portable pudding cups tailored exactly to your specifications.  Plus– they’re spill-proof. 

You can top them with anything you like—I suggest toasted unsweetened coconut, almonds, fresh mint, or chocolate shavings (though chocolate shavings are not vegan or Elimination Diet-friendly).

 

Total Time:  6 hours, 15 minutes (hands-on time 15 minutes)

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Serves: 4best

 

Ingredients

3 cups of cold unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons of unrefined coconut sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

12 tablespoons of chia seeds

toasted coconut

  1. Add the coconut milk to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sift the unrefined coconut sugar and cocoa powder together to remove any lumps. Add them to the milk.
  3. Add the chia seeds to the milk mixture.
  4. Use a whisk to mix everything together thoroughly.
  5. Using 4 half pint (8 ounce) mason jars, add the mixture evenly to each jar.
  6. Put the lids on the jars, and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  7. Garnish with toasted coconut, mint, almonds, or chocolate shavings (non-vegan, not Elimination Diet-friendly). Puddings will last about 5 days in the fridge.

 

 

For the toasted coconut, you’ll need:

A handful of unsweetened flaked coconut

 

Directions

  1. On a toaster oven-sized sheet pan, add a handful of unsweetened flaked coconut.
  2. Place it in a toaster oven, and turn on.
  3. Watch it carefully for 2-3 minutes and pull out of the oven just as it starts to brown.