Easter morning is always a little bit hectic. You have the baskets and maybe an egg hunt and church and somewhere in there you try to squeeze in some brunch. As with any holiday, having a dish ready to be popped in the oven is the way to go. Having it be healthy, but still taste like a treat is even better! Baked oatmeal is best if assembled the night before and with this one, everything comes together fairly quickly. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you. The hardest part of assembly is shredding the carrots, which is a task easily delegated to one of your kids so you can finish the rest of your holiday preparations, which you and I both know, will probably still be unfinished as of Saturday night. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, give the baked oatmeal a try, it will be one less thing to worry about on Sunday morning.
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal got two thumbs up from my somewhat-picky husband. He was a little disgruntled to hear that the glaze was tofu-based, but it didn’t stop him from eating an extra spoonful.
…And he’s even more disgruntled now that I have told the internet that he ate anything tofu-based.
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for carrot cake? I don’t delude myself into thinking it’s healthy because it has carrots. I’ve baked enough carrot cakes to know that the carrots are not included for nutritional value. The reason I love it is because it has so many different textures and flavors going on. Carrot cake is kind of the pastry equivalent of a circus. Colors, textures, flavors, all mixed up together. Minus, thankfully, the clowns. It’s delightful, don’t you think?
Maybe it sounds strange to turn a pastry circus into a breakfast food but it makes complete sense if you think about it. Raisins, nuts, and coconut are pretty routine oatmeal additions. Pineapple is not far off. That only leaves you with the carrots and carrots are sweet so they are practically like fruit. Are you buying it? Even if you’re not, just give it a try.
I like topping mine with more pineapple and toasted coconut and a drizzle of the dairy free cream cheese glaze. Dairy free cream cheese is soy-based so if you don’t tolerate soy, then just spoon a little extra maple syrup on top; it will still be delicious.
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups of almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 T. maple syrup
- 2 T. olive oil
- 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup diced pineapple
- 1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese, softened (such as Tofutti)
- 4 T. pure maple syrup
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 2-3 pinches of salt
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 2. Beat eggs, milk, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, and maple syrup with a whisk until well blended.
- 3. Add in oatmeal, carrot, coconut, nuts, raisins, and pineapple.
- 4. Pour in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- 5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- 6. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- 7. Serve with extra pineapple, toasted coconut, and dairy free cream cheese glaze.
- 1. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.
- 2. Cover and let sit 4 hours or overnight so flavors can meld.
- 3. Drizzle on top of cooked baked oatmeal.
- A 9X13 inch pan works well for one recipe, but you could also use a square pan or a deep dish pie pan as I did in the photographs. Keep in mind that you may need to add 10 minutes or so on to the baking time if using a smaller pan since the mixture will be thicker. Check it periodically after 50 minutes and cover with foil if the top is getting too brown. If using a smaller pan, it will be FULL, so refrigerating the mixture overnight in another bowl is a good idea, then it can be transferred to the smaller pan once some of the liquid has been absorbed overnight.
I am a creature of habit. I find comfort in routines and schedules. In fact, if you called me up at 10:30 in the morning and asked me to go to lunch, I would spend the next hour and half having a serious internal struggle about the merits of going to lunch versus continuing on with my lunch as I originally planned. This inner conflict makes absolutely no sense since more often than not, what is originally planned does not actually involve any plans – at least none that can’t be changed for one day. I desperately want to be that spontaneous person that does things like make last-minute lunch plans, but internally, I resist it to my very core.
Summer vacation is here in Central Pennsylvania, woot woot! Unfortunately, this does not mean that I will be spending the next 2 1/2 months lounging by the pool or sleeping in because I have a job in an office and summer is a busy time of year for us. Despite the fact that my personal schedule remains largely unchanged, I fully celebrate the fact that we have a few months off from arguing about homework and take home folders and launching full expeditions throughout the house in search of someone’s misplaced glasses – which always happens 5 minutes before we need to leave the house to catch the bus. So in celebration of said summer vacation, we’re having S’mores Baked Oatmeal for breakfast!
I think of a recipe as something that requires measurements and specific amounts of this and that, but since this sandwich is absolved from all of that fussiness, I guess you would actually call it a non-recipe. I list below about how much of each component I use for reference but the beauty of this non-recipe is that you can use as much of each ingredient that you think looks good.
I love frozen waffles; they are so inexplicably tasty. They fall into the category of Things I Wish I Didn’t Like But I Really Do, like Doritos. Don’t even get me started on those. It is due to my great love of frozen waffles that I am so super excited about these Blueberry Ricotta Toaster Waffles. They are ideal for freezing and popping in the toaster so I can make up a batch and then have them any time I want. Best of all, I feel good about eating them because they don’t have any ingredients in them that can’t be pronounced by my 6 year old.
The other reason I’m super excited about these waffles is because waffles in general make me think of my very special friend, Pam. I’ve had Pam on the brain even more than usual because a few weekends ago I was supposed to see her but Winter Storm Jonas put the kibosh to that, and I was totally bummed. So bummed in fact, that I ate half of a giant stromboli, seemingly under the impression that all of the gluten in the dough would somehow glue together my broken heart.
In the end, the stromboli was insufficient in making me forget my very great disappointment about my trip being thwarted by snow, so I did what I always do when my plans go to hell in a hand basket — I retreated to the kitchen.
And made waffles.
Can we just take a step back from the flavored yogurt craziness that has completely taken over the dairy aisle? It has gotten a tad out of hand. This week I found several varieties that had over 25 grams of sugar per serving, which for comparison purposes, is about the equivalent of a package of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. I’m convinced that the yogurt aisle is part of a conspiracy by the grocery industry to make people eat dessert that is packaged to look like health food.
I have started bypassing all of the premixed flavors, no matter how tasty and healthy they sound, and stick with the big tubs of plain yogurt so I can flavor it myself. Right now, I’m loving this cranberry raspberry puree. I make it in big batches (shocker) and freeze it in smaller one cup containers (of course). It’s a solid plan because you’re getting all of the benefits of the fruit you choose, but none of the extra stuff you don’t need. I make it a bit on the less sweet side, because then we can control how sweet we’re going to make it, usually by drizzling a bit of extra honey on top, if at all.
The holidays are over friends. OVER. And thank God for it. You know every year I tell myself that I’m going to do better; I’m going to retain some microscopic bit of self-control so I can avoid diving headfirst into the bottomless cookie tray for the duration of the season. Inevitably, I fail. Partly because I simply love cookies and all of the other treats that go along with the holidays, partly because work is always busy and our family is always sick for the month of December which is a bad combo, because I then self-soothe with said holiday goodies.
I used to beat myself up about it, but I’m working on bringing an end to that nonsense. Instead, I spend my time looking forward and trying to get back on track with eating healthy and taking better care of myself. No more watching Hallmark movies until way too late so I’m too tired to get up and do my workout in the morning. No more stress-eating sugar cookies, even if they are really pretty. Why is it that bad habits develop in the blink of an eye, but undoing them is painfully slow process?
I’ve always been a girl that loves sprinkles. Get me a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles and I was good to go. I spent my high school years working at our local Dairy Queen and we had a giant plastic container full of rainbow sprinkles. It was pretty great, if you like your sugar to come in several artificial colors.
I consider granola to be a more grown up substitute for rainbow sprinkles and while I put it on ice cream (No I’m not kidding. No, it doesn’t make ice cream healthy. Yes, it is very tasty.), I get much more mileage out of my granola than I ever could with my beloved rainbow sprinkles. A pretty firm exception here is sprinkles on top of cookies and cupcakes. Granola is not a good substitute there! A little bit tossed on top of my oatmeal or layered with fruit and yogurt are my favorite, but recently I even put some on top of my mom’s leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving which was also delicious.
Whole grain breakfast bake with ginger and pears that you prep the night before. It sounds like a win to me! I originally made something like this with apples and cinnamon and I decided that the same concept would work just as well with pears and ginger. It turns out I may actually like this variation even better.
Baked oatmeal is a great breakfast when you have guests around the holidays (or any time for that matter!) because you can get it ready the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning. That way you don’t have to get your butt out of bed super early to cook them breakfast, and they don’t come into the kitchen in search of coffee only to find you slaving over the stove, which in turn makes them feel obligated to help. Let’s be honest, they don’t want to help. Chances are they didn’t sleep well because they aren’t in their own bed, or not in a bed at all, and all they want is some caffeine in an extra large mug to help get them motivated to face whatever their day will bring. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
I love making frittatas. They are the answer to every single food serving conundrum:
What do I feed our out of town guests?
Eek! It’s the end of the month and my refrigerator is practically empty!
Where else can I attempt to hide this excess of zucchini?
Making a frittata is as easy as making scrambled eggs. You move the eggs around a bit but before they are cooked through entirely, you sprinkle some cheese on top and put the whole pan under the broiler. The cheese gets all melty and the whole thing puffs up and it looks ten times more appetizing than a pan of scrambled eggs. Since you finish cooking the egg mixture under the broiler, it all comes together enough that you can cut neat little wedges to serve it instead of heaping a glob of eggs on your plate. Even if you’re only making it for yourself with end of the month leftovers, it’s still nice if your food actually looks like you want to eat it, don’t you think?