Maple Dijon Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Salad

Maple Dijon Sweet Potato SaladI love it when I can combine several of my favorite foods and flavors all in one place and have it result in something really delicious – which is exactly what happened here.  I started off wanting to experiment with a cold sweet potato salad with a fall vibe, thinking along the lines of a vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.  Then I added Dijon mustard for some extra tang.  Then maple syrup just goes with bacon, and bacon goes with everything, so that was thrown in.  And then a friend of mine told me about a roasted sweet potato and Brussels sprout dish she made recently, so I shredded up some Brussels sprouts and put them in the mix.   And viola, sweet potato and Brussels sprout salad was born, and I am immediately loving it.   Eat a little as a side or a lot on top of some greens for a quick lunch or dinner.

Maple Dijon Sweet Potato Salad

 

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Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

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.   

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

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. 

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

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.     

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
Serves 8
Our favorite flavors and textures from carrot cake come together in this good-for-you but still-tastes-like-a-treat baked oatmeal, with a dairy free cream cheese glaze. Gluten free & dairy free.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
45 min
Baked Oatmeal
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3 cups of almond milk
  3. 1 tsp. vanilla
  4. 1 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp. salt
  7. 2 T. maple syrup
  8. 2 T. olive oil
  9. 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
  10. 1 cup shredded carrots
  11. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  12. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  13. 1/2 cup raisins
  14. 1/2 cup diced pineapple
Glaze
  1. 1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese, softened (such as Tofutti)
  2. 4 T. pure maple syrup
  3. 3 tsp. vanilla
  4. 2-3 pinches of salt
Baked Oatmeal
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Beat eggs, milk, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, and maple syrup with a whisk until well blended.
  3. 3. Add in oatmeal, carrot, coconut, nuts, raisins, and pineapple.
  4. 4. Pour in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. 5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. 6. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. 7. Serve with extra pineapple, toasted coconut, and dairy free cream cheese glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. 1. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. 2. Cover and let sit 4 hours or overnight so flavors can meld.
  3. 3. Drizzle on top of cooked baked oatmeal.
Notes
  1. 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.
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Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Sausage, White Bean, & Winter Vegetable Soup

Sausage, White Bean, & Winter Vegetable Soup

How are we feeling about the holidays friends?  Thanksgiving is over and it is full steam ahead towards Christmas.  Like it or not, that train is moving and it’s moving fast, so I guess it’s time for us all to jump on!

I’ve talked to people that have all of their shopping done already.  Some of them even have their gifts wrapped!  

I am not one of those people.  

We got our first holiday card in the mail yesterday.  

I was tickled that I even got my cards ordered.  Getting them addressed and in the mail is a whole other story.  If I were you, I wouldn’t wait by your mailbox in anticipation of receiving it.   

I’m seeing pictures on Facebook of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, holiday mantles, and outdoor lights.  

We are getting ready to replace the flooring in most of our first floor, so I am using the anticipated dirt and dust as an excuse to keep all of our decorations in the crawl space.  

Elves on the Shelf have already made appearances in many homes and are getting up to their usual holiday hijinx.  

Our elf, Rosie, has shown up after the incessant questioning by my kids of when she would come and has unceremoniously plopped herself in the usual boring and uncreative spots.  

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Wild Rice & Chickpea Tabbouleh

Wild Rice & Chickpea Tabbouleh

There are certain recipes that I gravitate to when I know my schedule is going to get hectic.  Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken is definitely one of them, but right next to it at the top of that list is this wild rice salad.  I love that it holds up for several days, so it fits well into a meal prep day and gives you a few different options for lunches and/or dinners throughout the week. 

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Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

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.

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Chilled Cucumber Bruschetta Soup

Chilled Cucumber Bruschetta Soup

Recently, we celebrated Bert’s birthday and my uncle in-law gifted me with a whole bag of cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes from his garden. Given that I have a notorious black thumb, any time that someone wants to pawn off their garden surplus on me, I am so very happy to oblige. I’ve been thinking about a chilled cucumber soup lately, and then Uncle Joe showed up with a whole bag of cucumbers!  Clearly the universe decided that chilled cucumber soup needed to make an appearance here at Always Daydreaming, so here we are.

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Summer Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad

Summer Blueberry Kale Salad has so much good-for-you stuff going on.  We’ve got the kale, obviously; blueberries, which we know are packed with antioxidants; plus some healthy nuts and seeds, shredded carrots, and for sweetness a few dried cranberries.  Everything is tossed together with an easy peasy honey balsamic vinaigrette.  

Some people fear raw kale because on the stalk, it’s tough and you may not know what to do with it.  But really, making a raw kale salad is no more difficult than any other kind of green salad, except for this one thing:  add the dressing to the greens alone first and mix it well.  When I say “mix well” I mean it, no gentle tossing.   This isn’t baby spinach or field greens.   Your hands are your best utensils so wash up and use them to “massage” the dressing into the greens.  The idea here is that by “massaging” the kale with the dressing, the you are breaking down the kale just enough that it becomes tender and delicious.  You know you’re doing the right thing when you see the kale turn from a dull, dark green to a bright, shiny green.  

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Pineapple & Cucumber Salsa

Pineapple & Cucumber Salsa

The 4th of July is just around the corner folks!  I feel like once the 4th is over, summer flies by so fast and before you know it we’re shopping for school clothes and gearing up for fall sports.  June passes by at a normal pace and come July and August, time moves at warp speed, what’s that all about?  Lucky for us, the 4th is one of those rare holidays that seems made for lazy days outside, hanging out at the lake, by the pool, or in your backyard with a sprinkler.  A fun drink and snacks are all you need! 

The downside of cutting wheat and dairy from my diet is that it really eliminates a large chunk of appetizer and snack options. As we all know, the best appetizers include warm, gooey cheese and/or bread, preferably both. Sure there are options out there, like marinated vegetables or antipasta kebobs, or something else along those lines. But sometimes what you need is something that you can throw in a bowl with a basket of dippers and be done and if that is your goal, then salsa is where it’s at.  And that is exactly why salsa is the answer to my snacking and appetizer conundrum. I make it for everything, all of the time, all year round.

Pineapple & Cucumber Salsa

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S’mores Baked Oatmeal

S'mores Baked Oatmeal

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!  

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Chipotle Taco & Quinoa Bowl

Chipotle Taco & Quinoa Bowl

Every day I pick my kids up at the babysitter after work and every day I get the same cranky question:

“Moooooom, what’s for dinner?”

They’re not even completely inside the car before they’re hounding me about what we’re having to eat.  And for the record, it’s not just a casual question.  There’s no “Hey Mom, how are you?  What’s for dinner?”  or “You’ll never guess what happened at lunch today!  By the way, what’s for dinner?”  No, there is none of that.  It is a daily query, raised with the explicit expectation that they will be disappointed, so it is therefore asked in a tone dripping with contempt.  Dripping, because there is so much disdain for the as-yet-unknown dinner, it can’t be contained by a simple question.  As they sit there in the backseat, every part of their being is exhibiting a hostility with regard to the dinner, that mind you, I haven’t even disclosed yet.  But when I respond with  “We’re having tacos!” then I get cheers and all is well…for the time being.

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