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.
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.
My Nana was a most extraordinary lady. Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since we lost her. As this is Holy Week there are surely parallels to be made about resurrection and new life. But frankly, they do not bring me comfort because they do not bring back her smile or her dancing or her enthusiasm for life which was contagious to those around her. I feel like I should do more here in tribute to her; I want to do more here in tribute to her, given the profound impact she has had on my life. At her memorial service I talked about how I believed that Nana’s legacy was that she taught us the language of food. She showed us how we can channel our feelings of grief, joy, and frustration into the preparation of food and use it to show other people that we care about them. It would seem fitting then, that tomorrow we plan a huge dinner in honor and remembrance of her. But the idea of doing so seems like an overwhelming task because there is simply so much to say, both with words and with food. Where do you even begin?
Answer: You begin with bunnies. Pear bunnies, to be exact.
I am a pack-my-lunch kind of girl. This would probably be a good opportunity to go off on a tangent about how packing your lunch will keep your food and caloric budget in check. You know how it is – you go out for lunch with every intention of ordering the grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette. But then you sit down and before you know it the server comes to get your order and in a moment of weakness you decide that your salad needs french fries, crispy chicken, and ranch. After all, it’s been a rough day, some crispy chicken won’t hurt. You deserve a treat. Clearly, packing your lunch that day would have been a healthier option. Blah blah blah. You know it, I know it. When it comes to rationalizing, I’m the queen. I can rationalize just about anything. A reason to eat that crispy chicken salad? Please, I could write a whole page about it. Given my proclivity for food-related rationalization it is in my best interests to pack lunch most days so that I can maintain some control over what I’m eating. This works well for me in the end because I am nothing if not a person who likes to be in control. Suffice it to say, when I find something new that works well for me to make ahead on the weekend and pack for my lunches during the week, I’m pretty siked about it.
When it comes to holiday dinners, the unofficial motto in my family is “Prepare enough food for everyone that is coming to dinner. Then make more.” I always laugh when I get cooking magazines that feature holiday dinners with about 3 things on the plate. Are you kidding me? We have three different vegetables alone! Plus salad, and bread, and a variety of meat, need I go on? So. Much. Food. Good food. Food that people you love have taken the time and effort to prepare because they know that you will savor it. How can you not sample a little bit of everything? Then perhaps a little bit more? And before you know it, the skinny pants you wore thinking that they would help keep your food consumption under control are digging into your belly and you’re counting the seconds until it’s socially acceptable to go upstairs and put on your pajama bottoms so that you can finally get some relief and when you do you want to shout “Thank you Sweet Jesus!” because in that moment you can’t imagine anything better than that blessed elastic waistband. Phew!