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.
The first time I tasted green curry, my mind was blown. Believe it or not, I had no idea that curry sauce existed that didn’t contain the curry spice blend. The spice curry is actually a blend of other spices including turmeric, cumin, and coriander, among other things. But Thai green curry has an entirely different flavor profile that includes really bright ingredients like lemongrass, galangal (a relative of ginger), cilantro, chilies, and lime leaves. I love food and I love learning about food, but Asian food knowledge is not particularly in my wheelhouse. As much as I enjoy different varieties of Asian food, I don’t eat it often. This is entirely due to the fact that many of those cuisines use ingredients and sauces that often contain shellfish, to which I am highly allergic. The sensitivity of my allergy is such that even using the same cooking utensil for my boring old chicken after using it for a batch of shrimp can create a problem, so I have come to avoid certain restaurants because the risk of cross-contamination is so great.
Pumpkin is a tricky ingredient. By the time November rolls around, we are conditioned to think that everything we eat needs the pumpkin spice treatment. We get used to the sweet and warm spiced flavors that often accompany pumpkin, so adding it to your smoothie or coffee sounds like a good plan, but have you ever eaten a spoonful of plain pureed pumpkin? It’s really not so awesome. However, if you don’t sugar it up first, pumpkin is super healthy. Pumpkins are low in calories and high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals, so it is well worth your time to seek out savory pumpkin recipes that don’t require lots of additional sugar to make it palatable.
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.
To say that I am a creature of habit would be to grossly understate my proclivity for following the same routine every day, whenever possible. It probably sounds boring, but I find comfort in routine and it allows me to feel like I am in control of my day. Sometimes having control over my day means figuring out how to deal with something I don’t seem to have any control over. Case in point, every day, around 3:00, I find myself looking for candy. Chocolate, to be specific. Preferably dark chocolate. With something else mixed in to give it some texture. Every day is the same, and every day I end up raiding the blasted candy bowl sitting on our reception desk. At best, I get a mini Krackel bar and at worst it’s the last piece of rock hard caramel that is only left in there because other people with apparently more discerning tastes wisely decided to invest their calories elsewhere.
It was with this exact scenario fresh in my mind that I started experimenting with a snack mix of some sort. Dark chocolate was key. If I was eating chocolate, I may as well add some things to give it texture, so in went the oats and chia. The roasted almonds make it all just a tad bit salty and the dried cherries give it some extra sweetness. I pack 2 T. of it in a little container and it is just enough to fulfill my chocolate fix in the afternoon and help me to avoid the dreaded office candy bowl.