Oatmeal is probably the breakfast food that I have made the most for my kids. Hailey went at least two years straight, if not more, where she ate oatmeal every single day for breakfast. Smart girl….oatmeal is healthy!!
It’s still a favorite around here and I’ve found plenty of ways to mix it up and keep it fresh.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the oatmeal-stuffed baked apple that I made yesterday. This was amazing and I had it again today!!
Use a sharp paring knife to cut out the core and some of the apple to make a nice big “well”. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup oats, 1/3 milk (or non-dairy milk), 1 egg white, 1 T. ground flax, 1 tsp. pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Fill the apple and top with chopped walnuts or pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can stuff this into a halves of a hollowed out orange (with a little extra maple syrup and some dried cranberries) for more of an Orange Spice flavor!
Something that my kids have been loving lately is Oatmeal Parfaits. While the oats are cooking on the stove top, I get get the fruit and yogurt ready. Then, simply layer oatmeal, yogurt, and berries a few times. We like to stir a little honey into our Greek yogurt or just drizzle it on top.
If you are in more of a time crunch in the mornings, I highly recommend this recipe for Crockpot Overnight Steel Cut Oats. I have made these a couple of times and everyone loves it!!! My crockpot tends too run a little hot so I just set it on the “Warm” setting and cook it that way overnight. I also skip the butter and brown sugar and it’s still great.
If you want other ways to eat oats, check out some of these other recipes I have posted:
Baked Oat Recipes (can be made and then eaten all week long)
Overnight Oat Recipes (eaten cold or warmed up a bit in the morning)
For any new visitors to Healthy Plate Happy Family, this is the one day during the week where I show you a picture of everything that I ate during the day in hopes of showing you how to put “healthy eating” all together.
I have procrastinated putting this post together because of my colossal dinner FAIL. But I guess you will see that I am living real-life here, with chaos and changes in plans and crabby little ones, and sometimes you just have to roll with it!
First up, for breakfast, I took advantage of a nearly empty Almond Butter jar and made a pumpkin version of Overnight Oats in a Jar. Now, Overnight Oats can be made in any container you’d like. I just happen to like taking advantage of the little bit of almond butter that is left to blend in with the other ingredients.
Overnight Oats are a super convenient grab-and-go breakfast. The night before, you simply blend up 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid (usually milk or water) and leave them to combine and thicken up overnight. The flavor combinations and toppings are endless here!
Today, I went with pumpkin because I had a can of it open. Into the jar (last night) I mixed together:
Store this in the refrigerator overnight. This morning, I topped it with some raisins and chopped pecans. YUM!
I had a snack mid-morning of carrots, gluten-free rice crackers, and this Avocado and White Bean Dip. It is really tasty – like a combination of hummus and guacamole. And it is usually a little more green, but I made this a couple of days ago. Perhaps the blinding brightness of the carrots will make up for it!
After a marathon grocery shopping trip, I came home and made lunch. Today it was a massaged kale salad, one of my favorite salads. This salad took me some time to warm up to. In the beginning, I would make a smaller portion and could eat it as long as it was paired up with a sandwich or soup. Now, I’ve grown to really like it and it can be my whole lunch. I love this because of the powerhouse of nutrition – Vitamins A, K, C, calcium, fiber and loads of antioxidants in the kale, plus a little healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil to help absorb the nutrients. And I haven’t even gotten to the add-ins!
Start with a huge bowl of washed kale (stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces).
Make the dressing with a small wedge of avocado (a little less than 1/4 of an avocado), juice from a wedge of lime, 1 tsp. olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Did you get all of those precise measurements?!?!?!?
Mash them up until it sort of looks like guacamole.
Dump the avocado mixture into the bowl of kale, and with CLEAN hands, massage the dressing right into the kale leaves. This will tenderize the leaves making them much easier to eat and more palatable.
Then your huge bowl of kale will be reduced to a more reasonable looking portion like this.
Taste and adjust seasonings. I usually like to add an extra squeeze of lime to give it more of a tangy flavor. At this point, you can cover the salad and let it sit for a little while. But I don’t recommend refrigerating it for a long period of time, or it will get pretty soggy, at least for my tastes.
Top with lightly toasted nuts (today was almonds), carrots, and cucumbers. A lot of times, I’ll add diced apples or dried cranberries in as well for a little sweet contrast.
So I realized this afternoon that Darren and Hailey were going to be gone for the rescheduled Daddy Daughter Dance, so I would be having a little dinner date at home with Jake. But then he wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to play Monopoly and snuggle on the couch. Next thing I know, he was hungry for food RIGHT NOW, and I was scrambling to pull some dinner together. I could tell he wasn’t feeling well because he didn’t really want any of his usual favorites. He wanted grapefruit, then a homemade popsicle (pureed watermelon and strawberry), and then asked for a treat or a smoothie. At this point, I was starving too and I also felt like Jake needed a little more substance. So I decided to scrap my plans for a Greek salad and falafel, and make the treat/smoothie/dinner all into one dish!!!
Behold, the Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie!
Believe it or not, this thing was so filling that it turned out to be my dinner! Maybe dinner wasn’t a fail afterall?????
Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie
Mix all ingredients in a blender until super smooth and creamy. Add more almond milk to thin or ice cubes to thicken, as necessary. This made 2 decent size portions. You could scale back to 1 cup of cherries/strawberries, 1 T. cacoa, and 1 cup of almond milk for an individual portion.
So there you have it for this Wednesday!
Some people are all about the awesome deals at outlet stores. Some are really into picking up a treasure at a thrift store or garage sale. But me? I love scoring a deal at the grocery store!
I especially love the clearance produce section! Its a great place to pick up perfectly good produce for a fraction of the price (since you rarely see coupons for healthy whole foods or fresh fruits and vegetables). Some of the staples I can usually find at our store are onions, citrus fruits, and mini peppers. We have potatoes and apples a lot as well, but I prefer to buy organic versions of those.
One of my favorite things to find??? Bananas!!!! These are one of the few fruits that I am perfectly OK with eating non-organic since you don’t eat the outer part of the fruit. And even if they’re a little past their prime, they are perfect for cooking or slicing and freezing for smoothies and other frozen treats.
So this week when I found bags of clearance bananas, I cleared the shelves and brought home 7 pounds of bananas for a little over $2.00!
And I knew exactly what I was going to do with these guys!! I’ve been eyeing the Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal at Oh She Glows. My kids love oatmeal and I thought this would be a little bit more special than their typical weekday morning oatmeal topped with raisins or thawed frozen fruit.
This was SO good – like a perfectly warm and cozy treat, very filling and not overly sweet. I love all of the healthy swaps from traditional bananas foster including coconut oil for butter and a maple syrup for the brown sugar. This will definitely be something that I make often!
Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!!
Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Oh She Glows
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour (finely ground oats, I’ve started grinding mine in a coffee grinder instead of the blender)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 cups unsweetened, plain almond milk
Bananas Foster Ingredients
4 bananas, sliced (or chopped into small pieces if you prefer)
1 T. coconut oil
2 T. real Maple syrup
3 T. rum
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 banana, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish (I used coconut oil).
Combine all oatmeal ingredients in a large bowl and set aside while you prepare the bananas foster.
Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and rum to a cold skillet and heat over medium low heat. As the coconut oil begins to melt, whisk to combine ingredients. When mixture is bubbling, add in bananas and sprinkle with cinnamon. Saute for about 5 minutes, reducing heat if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Stir bananas foster mixture into oatmeal and pour into casserole dish. Place sliced bananas on top and bake for 40-45 minutes.
After I dried out from a cold and wet walk with the dog this morning, I decided to switch it up from my usual smoothie/juice for breakfast. This weather definitely called for a great big warm bowl of oatmeal!!! The recipe just makes a single portion, but I think you could probably triple or quadruple the recipe to bake up a bigger pan of it to share with the family or eat throughout the week. I love this because its not too sweet, very filling, and packs in a serving of vegetables!
Without a doubt, carrot cake is my all time favorite dessert. Next up might be key lime pie. Oddly enough, chocolate desserts usually aren’t on my radar.
I’ve tried numerous recipes to make a lighter, healthier carrot cake but just haven’t quite nailed it yet. In the meantime, I still love the flavor combination, so when I saw this snack bar recipe over at Happy Healthy Mama, I knew I could tweak it just a bit to make it more like carrot cake.
Needless to say these have been a huge hit around here!! There is so much nutrition packed into these little squares!!! Fruits, vegetables, oats, healthy fats, and Omega 3 fatty acids all sweetened naturally for an awesome on-the-go snack or breakfast!!
The original recipe called for eggs as the binder. Feel free to make them this way if you prefer or if it is what you have on hand. I decided to experiment with swapping out the eggs for a chia “egg” which is a common substitute in vegan baking. Since the kids have been eating eggs a lot for breakfast, I felt like this was a good place to reduce the egg and swap in something with a little more nutritional oomph. Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based calcium, protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. Since I haven’t made the original, I can’t compare the texture between the two, but we’ve been happy with them this way.
I have made chia gel or chia “eggs” two different ways now. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water – this will yield the equivalent of 1 egg. You can simply mix the whole chia seeds into a bowl of water or grind the seeds in a coffee grinder first and then mix with the water.
So lets make some oatmeal squares!!! Gather all of your ingredients – I love this recipe because I almost always have these ingredients on hand!
To make a chia egg, add 2 T. of ground chia seeds to a small bowl with 6 T. water. Mix with a fork and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Into a large bowl, add oats, shredded carrots, shredded apple, raisins, and spices.
Combine wet ingredients: melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Add to bowl along with gelled chia “egg”.
Mix wet and dry ingredients and press into a greased 8 X 8 pan (I greased mine with a little coconut oil).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool in pan before cutting into squares. I have also found that I prefer to take these out of the pan to sit on a cooling rack for awhile. This seems to help the bottom “dry out” a little. I store them in a storage container in the fridge. They don’t last long around here
Carrot Cake Oatmeal Squares
Inspired by Happy Healthy Mama
2 T. chia seeds, ground in coffee grinder (or sub 2 regular eggs)
2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats
2 small-medium sized carrots, grated (or 1 large carrot)
1 apple, grated
Scant 1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 Cup honey
1/3 Cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Extra coconut oil for pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 X 8 pan with coconut oil. Grind 2 T. chia seeds in a clean coffee grinder. Mix with 6 T. water in a small bowl and set aside to “gel”.
In a large bowl, combine oats, shredded carrots, shredded apples, raisins, and spices.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract.
Pour liquid ingredients and thickened chia “gel” into oat mixture and mix well. Press down into an 8 X 8 pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan before slicing into squares. Remove from pan to finish cooling on a rack.