Baked Oatmeal


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The great thing about vegan cooking, especially in the time of a pandemic, is the know-how to cook with substitutes. There are chronic shortages of groceries, but not the desire to feed ourselves well.

Confined in a distancing bubble with teenagers, the need to eat is frequent – but so is boredom. When every morning has been leftover banana bread, waffles, cereal or a smoothie, I’ve been starting to get some shrugs. It’s been tough trying to please everyone in the middle of the apocalypse.

And yes, it’s only a Tuesday (I think) but I’ve got the time and we’re trying to stay healthy here so, I hit the pantry to see what was new. I got the glaze over when I mentioned oatmeal at first, but when I kept looking, I remembered the frozen fruit stockpiled for those smoothies and a fresh vitamin boost. So, to make it interesting, I realized if I could bake rice, I should do it with the oatmeal too.

I think mostly anything you have on hand could be replaced for the fruit in this.
We’ve been lucky to be part of Foodshare. It’s a great organization that not only delivers fresh fruit and veg to my doorstep every week, it also gives back to support the nutritionally vulnerable. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been surprised with a pineapple, so that was added to the frozen blueberries! You could try banana/blueberry, or raspberry with lemon zest and almonds or hazelnut – or if you have those, hazelnut and chocolate. Go crazy!

 

BAKED OATMEAL

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped
2 Cups Whole Oats
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 Cups Milk (Any kind)
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
2/3 Cup Pineapple, finely diced
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Brown, Raw or Coconut Sugar, for sprinkling

In a small bowl combine the ground flax with 1/3 Cup water and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds and scatter flat in a 9″x9″ baking pan.
Set the oven to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the almonds to toast (about 5 minutes), while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Peel and dice the pineapple so it is about the size of a large blueberry.
In a large bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and toasted almonds.
Pour over the milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and flax mixture. Stir well to combine evenly, then add the diced pineapple and blueberries to incorporate throughout.
Add mixture to the baking pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes.

Easy Oat Milk


Oat milk is a quick and delicious dairy alternative. If you’ve been in a modern day coffee shop lately, it’s one of the most popular milk alternatives for its versatility, viscosity and ability to froth in a latté. Not to mention it’s about the most sustainable choice. With a few patry staples, you can whip up this milk alternative faster than a run to the store.

oatmilk

OAT MILK

1 Cup Water
3 Cup Quick Organic Oats
2 Medjool Dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

 

Combine the ingredients in a blender and combine on high power until smooth.

Transfer through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Do not push or squeeze to force the liquid through. Store refrigerated in a tight lidded jar for 3 days –  or up to one week.
Shake lightly before using.

 

If you’re looking for a cookie to go with your milk, try one of these:

Greatest Grampa Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

Molasses Cookie Whoopie Pies

 

Quinoa & Mixed Grain Breakfast


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There’s a way to make oatmeal “healthier”?
It took me a couple of days, but I realized that the rice cooker makes more than, well, rice.

With the cold weather just about everyone’s been having lately, there’s been a lot of oatmeal filling the bowls around here. Since it’s the weekend, to keep things a little different, I tried a combination of quinoa and mixed grains like; cracked rye, flax and Irish oats. Fancied up with maple caramelized banana and it almost made for a showy brunch option instead of a detox meal.

MIXED GRAIN PORRIDGE WITH CARAMELIZED BANANAS

1/2 Cup Red Quinoa, very well rinsed
1/4 Cup Irish Oats, Steel Cut
1/4 Cup Cracked Rye
3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
2 1/3 Cups Water
Pinch Salt

2 Bananas
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

Rinse the quinoa well and add it along with the other grains to your rice cooker or a large saucepan.
Add the water and the pinch of salt. For the rice cooker, follow the manufacturers directions (which is turn it on) and for the stovetop version, heat to a boil then reduce to a simmer over a low heat.
Stir, then cover until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender; about 15 minutes. Stir to fluff when done.
Meanwhile, slice the bananas about 1/4″ thick on the diagonal and heat along with the maple syrup in a frying pan, over a medium-high heat.
Maple syrup will reduce and thicken. Flip bananas to cook and coat with the syrup on both sides.

Serve bananas over the prepared porridge with a splash of soy milk.

Minneolo Marmalade & Muesli Bread: A Confession.


So, I’m guessing there could be worse things do be addicted to, right?

While I’m preparing to admit that I am a marmalade junky, I find this breakfast muesli bread. I’ve suddenly become like a child who only singly eats mac and cheese or pb&j for weeks straight.

Breakfasts, lunches, midnight snacks are spent longing for the next time I can glob juliennes of sticky zest over my raisin stuffed sunflower bread.

As I’m leaving my local unnamed bigbox store with the oversized package of my next fix and realizing I have issues, I decided to stick to my personal claim of not buying what I can quite easily make on my own. I just couldn’t rightfully keep forking out five bucks for a bag of bread.

A little while back, with a few leftover minneolos, a cup of o.j, water and sugar, I had the marmalade covered. So now, it was on to the bread. The store bought, of course, had it’s yummy je ne sais quoi mixed in, so I was left to pick out my favourites, the first of those, being sunflower seeds. The next to impossible task was finding any that weren’t hulled, apparently they are only good for spitting but after an exhaustive search, I found some. They were salted, but beggers can’t be choosers, right? I figured I’d either rinse them or omit the extra salt.
Thanks to my son, I always have raisins, and we’re talking the big fat ones too. He just won’t accept those puny shriveled ones. – Left from the last trip to the health food store, was his half eaten bag of plump organic jumbo flames. They’re about the size of his knuckle, so I was headed for a good start. I had an apple, cinnamon oatmeal and flax, all the good müesli things.

The bread recipe is pretty basic. Taking the knowledge from Mark Bittman and his book How to Cook Everything, I keep my whole wheat bread ratios to 3:1 all purpose flour to whole wheat; doing this keeps a good crust. And that’s just what it needed to keep all the good stuff in and my globs of marmalade on safely top.

MÜESLI BREAD

1/3 Cup Flax Seeds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Organic Jumbo Flame Raisins
1/3 Cup Steel Cut Oats (precooked), or add 1/3 Old Fashioned Oats, uncooked
3 Cups Water (divided)
4 Cups All Purpose Flour (divided)
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast (divided)
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled & finely diced

Cook the steel cut oats as to the package directions, set aside.
Cover the flax, sunflower seeds, raisins and oats with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Stir to combine and leave 1 hour or up to overnight.
In another bowl, combine 2 cups of the all purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon of the yeast along with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Stir well to combine and leave the sponge to prove 1 hour or refrigerated overnight.
Combine the seed mixture along with the sponge.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of yeast granules, maple syrup, oil, salt and cinnamon.
Once well mixed, add the remaining all purpose and whole wheat flours, in stages.
Knead for 5 – 7 minutes or until the dough is springy, soft and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a clean, slightly oiled bowl. Let the dough rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two pieces. Shape into two traditional or rustic loaves, placing into two slightly greased loaf pans or onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Allow the dough about another hour to rise.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Place a pan of hot water on the lowest rack of the oven along with the loaves on the center rack.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400ºF, remove the pan of water and continue to bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, until the loaves are golden and hollow sounding when tapped from underneath.

Low Fat Granola


I wouldn’t go so far as to label myself a hippie or anything. Although I do enjoy a good amount of Canned Heat, I’m just not old enough. What I could call myself is frugal. I grew up with granola in the house but it was “Dad’s Cereal”. Which is, of course, why it was so elusive. We were told it was too expensive for us to burn through on a Saturday morning and we were much better off with the Fruit Loops within reach. However, little did my Mother know that as one of the few occasions my brother and I would get along, we would tag team to the top shelf for a sneaky handful from the protected bag of goodness.

Being the rebel that I am, I’ve continued to prefer granola over mass produced O’s, but the one tidbit of price tag always stuck with me. The giant yellow box is half the price of the tiny one I covet. Seeing you can’t stuff air into oatmeal must be one reason for the price difference and of course, that age old saying of getting what you pay for.

As frugal as I am, I tend to never order in a restaurant or buy anything food wise that I could easily make for myself at home. Granola, naturally fits into this category quite well. After recently receiving a bag each of dried papaya and almonds I hit my pantry to complete the list of ingredients.

Although filled with a little more of the good stuff than most store brands, I would call it pretty close to that shoveled childhood handful. All I need to go with it is the bravery of Lolo to commit to making my own soy milk to go with it.

LOW FAT TROPICAL GRANOLA

2 Cups Whole Oats, Old Fashioned
1/3 Cup Dried Papaya, 2 spears halved and diced
1/3 Cup Almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Safflower Oil
3 Tablespoons Blue Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Syrup

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
Toss the oats, papaya, almonds, coconut and salt together in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan combine the oil, agave and syrup.
Mix well to combine and heat until it just begins to bubble.
Remove from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well to coat.
Spread evenly over a parchment lined, edged cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Stir to mix and rotate pan.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
Shake granola lightly to break apart any large piece and leave to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.