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)

 

 

 


Cranberry Almond Granola Squares


Cranberry Almond  Granola Squares

Granola bars are one of those things I never thought about actually making myself until about 2 years ago.  But it’s pretty easy, and it’s kind of neat to customize the flavors to something you could not find in a grocery store.

My favorite kind of granola bars (or cereal bars) are Fiber One Oats and Chocolate.  I eat at least one a day, and I’m going to post a homemade version at some point.  But I decided to try out the cranberry-almond-cardamom combo this time.

One of my favorite breakfast cereals in Post Cranberry Almond Crunch, and these bars were inspired by that cereal.

You can use regular sweetened dried cranberries for this.  I like to use reduced sugar Craisins because not only do they have fewer calories and less sugar, but they also have added fiber.  You can also use cinnamon instead of cardamom if that’s what you have.  I just thought it would be interesting to change it up a little.  Cardamom is similar to cinnamon, but a little more complex and a little spicier.  There is not much in here, but a little is all you need.

 

Total Time:  1 hour and 45 minutesa

Makes: 16 bars

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 cup chopped raw almonds

1 cup no sugar added Craisins

1 ¾ cup oats

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup almond butter

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Let it fit in with enough extra room for you to pull it out later.  This will keep the granola from sticking to your pan. **see note
  2. Spread the chopped almonds out evenly on a small sheet pan. Toast until just starting to brown (3-5 minutes depending on your toaster oven).  Watch them closely so they don’t burn.
  3. Add the almonds to a large mixing bowl. To that, add the Craisins, oats, cardamom, and salt.  Toss the ingredients together with a spoon, and set aside.
  4. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, add the almond butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Whisk once or twice.
  5. Microwave the almond butter mixture in 30 second increments until runny. (Mine took 1 minute.)
  6. Drizzle the almond butter mixture over the oats. Toss together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it’s completely incorporated.
  7. Pour the granola evenly into the pan, and spread it out with your spoon or spatula.
  8. To finish spreading it out, use a flat-bottomed drinking glass (or something similar). Alternately, you can also use your fingers with a sheet of parchment paper between you and the granola.
  9. Cover the granola, and chill in the fridge for at least 90 minutes.
  10. Slice into bars, and enjoy. ***see note

**Note:  If you can, weigh down the parchment paper with a second pan of the same size.  This will help it stay put better when you’re spreading out the granola.

***Note:  You can also individually wrap these in plastic wrap to take on the go.

(inspired by Cookie and Kate)

 


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.