Steel Cut Oatmeal

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It seems like I keep going on a “break” and then coming back again. I’ve decided that, if nothing else, I’d like to start blogging again as a mechanism of saving the recipes that I make all the time. Let’s be honest. It’s a good referene, especially when I can pull up a recipe while out and about (clarification: I’m at the store and completely forgot to check if I need any ingredients for the recipe I’m making). There may or may not be any frequency to my posts, but here’s hoping the ones that go up are our ‘keepers’.

Both of us start our jobs really early here. The hubbs goes in at 5:30. I start at 6:30. Considering neither one of us are the best morning people, you can imagine that this translates into both of us eat breakfast at work. Over the last few months, we both fell into the habit of grabbing a granola/protein bar for breakfast for convienence. One of the downsides (I realize there are many), I would be hungry again in a couple hours. Regardless of how you look at it, 9:00-9:30 is too early for lunch.

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In an effort to get back to more ‘real’ breakfast food, I decided to return to my old breakfast of choice, oatmeal. For years, I would make my own oats at home (usually microwaved) with cinnamon and unsweetened applesauce. I still do this on occasion, however I really enjoy it when I plan ahead enough to have a pot of these steel cut oats prepared.

They probably take 35-40 minutes from start to clean-up, however much of this is hands-off time. The trade-off for that time is that I get 4 servings of pre-prepared oatmeal that just has to be heated up in the microwave at 6:30 in the morning. Perfect. Most of the time, I just reheat, however you can add a splash of milk or water when reheating if you want more of a creamy texture. Top with blueberries (fresh or frozen, if frozen just add before heating) and/or a sliced banana, and I’m a happy (and full) girl!

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(Printable Recipe)

Steel Cut Oatmeal
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients: (about 4 servings)
1 cup steel cut oats
3-1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk or almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the steel cut oats and salt. Stir.

Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes. You will need to stir the pot occasionally or the oats will stick to the pan.

When the oats start to thicken. Add the milk, applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the oats thicken to your desired consistency.

You can serve immediately or measure out into 4 containers. If saving, refrigerate until use. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (can add a splash of milk or water if desired). Top as desired. Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Almond Granola

lighter summer granola with blueberries

Well, the hubbs has finally joined the Greek yogurt club. The bad news about that was he didn’t forecast this decision. A fridge void of Chobani when that is one of your go-to work breakfast options definitely starts the day off on a sad note. I think it was that night he told me, “Those Chobanis are good. I had 2 the other day!” 🙂

We do tend to go through quite a bit of granola with our morning yogurt. This is one of those recipes that I cannot believe I haven’t shared. This granola is a workhorse in our breakfast rotation, and I have no idea how many times I have made it. Enough that I now essentially have the recipe memorized.

lightened-up granola finished

This recipe is originally from Oh She Glows, and the base of the recipe is still pretty similar to Angela’s although I’ve made a few adaptations to make it fit our tastes. Largely reducing the amount of brown sugar called for in the dry ingredients. We usually like things sweet here, but I promise you won’t notice a difference. As with most granolas, it is pretty easy. Especially so, as the “sauce” portion of this one doesn’t need to be cooked on the stove. The bake time is an estimate of 20-25 minutes, and I find this is true for me as well. Each batch varies just a bit in the time it needs in the oven. Just watch the pieces of oats and almonds. When you see them browning, it is done. The pieces may still seem a little soft, but it will crisp as it cools.

With some Greek yogurt and berries, I could absolutely see this as an addition to Easter Brunch. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Lightened-up Almond Granola
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:
6 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup uncooked millet
6 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 to 2 tsp. Kosher salt
6 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a couple large sheet pans with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (oats through salt). Mix well.

In a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl, mix the applesauce, honey, and almond butter. Microwave, for 30 seconds at a time, and stir until the mixture is uniform and smooth. Let cool slightly and add the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until all the oat mixture appears to be coated with the almond butter mixture. Divide between the prepared pans spreading the granola in a single, even layer in the pan. I usually have to use 3 pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove the granola when the pieces begin to brown. It will go from brown to burnt quickly (especially on the edges) so watch it closely. The granola will crisp as it cools.

Baked Oatmeal To Go

baked oatmeal to go close

Anyone have any good tips on how to consistently work out in the morning? With the new job, I’m working longer days, so I’d love to knock my workout out in the morning before work. My problem – this involves being at the gym to workout at 4:30 AM. Doable in my world if I have to do it once. Four times a week… going to be a struggle.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, most mornings, even if I’m not trying to get to the gym before work, there is not much of a chance that I am going to have time to actually cook something. I tend to get out of bed at the last possible minute to give me enough time to get out the door, so grab and go is a great philosophy in this house. With my much earlier mornings in mind, I pulled this recipe out for some make-ahead breakfasts and was surprised to realize that I had yet to blog on it.

baked oatmeal to go in pan

baked oatmeal to go

The recipe is from Leanne of Healthful Pursuit, and I have already lost count of how many times I have made these. They bake in a muffin pan to allow for individual servings, and at 2 “muffins” a morning, one recipe lasts most of my week. They keep well in the refrigerator, and I just reheat them after I get to work in the mornings. They smell great coming out of the microwave due to the cinnamon, and I often get comments asking what I am eating. One thing to note, the texture of these is going to be different from a traditional muffin. With oats, little fat, and no flour, you will not get a traditional crumb. The other thing about these is the batter. It will seem a little runny. Do not worry. They will bake together. I use an ice cream scoop to spoon it into the muffin liners and fill them as full as I’d like my muffins to be. No need to worry about the 1/2 to 2/3 full rule here. As far as add-ins, one of my favorite things to add into these are blueberries. I add them to the batter rather than just as a topping, and I have had success using both fresh and frozen berries.

I made a batch of these this morning for work Friday and this weekend, so we will see if I get any comments at my new place. Maybe looking forward to breakfast will actually get me to the gym at 4:30 on Friday morning? Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Oatmeal To Go
Adapted from Healthful Pursuit

Ingredients:
1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water, sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 over-ripe banana
1-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could use any milk)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (or other desired mix-ins)
muffin liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.

Place the egg/flax egg, applesauce, banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in blender or food processor. Blend until just combined.

Place the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries or other mix-ins. Spoon into the muffin liners using an ice cream scoop. It is okay to fill the liners pretty full. The muffins will only rise slightly while baking. There should be enough batter for 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Eat warm or cool completely and store in the refrigerator until needed. To reheat: remove the liner and rewarm in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Rhubarb Berry Baked Oatmeal

rhubarb berry baked oatmeal after baking

Things have been a little quite around here. If anyone reads (or tries) to read this little blog with any regularity, I do apologize. I had a job opportunity that presented itself prior to the completion of my residency, so I am doing double duty right now. Residency during the day, job #2 on nights and weekends. I am telling you this not as an excuse, but more as a statement of fact. There hasn’t been much for cooking around here, and what is accomplished is being made by the hubs!

So what do you do when you find yourself needing to pack a day’s worth of food before you set off in the morning. Plan. Plan. Make things that travel well, and plan some more. I have talked about liking baked oatmeal due to it’s portability before. It keeps well, reheats well, and has definitely made for some oohs and aahs at work. 

rhubarb berry baked oatmeal fruit

This recipe adapted from Nutmegs, seven was born out of the necessity to use some of the rhubarb that had been living in my freezer for quite some time. I knew it would work well for my portable breakfast, but I really had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did. Now if anyone will send me some of the rhubarb they have overtaking their backyard, I’ll be forever grateful. I have a month’s worth of breakfasts left to pack before I’m done, and rhubarb is almost impossible to find down here! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Rhubarb Berry Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Nutmegs, seven

Ingredients:
400gm of rhubarb, thawed if frozen
1 pint blueberries
2 Tbsp. honey
200 gm old-fashioned oats
15 gm sliced almonds
15 gm chopped pecans
60 gm brown sugar 
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
475 mL (2 cups) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim milk)
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. 
Spread the rhubarb and half the pint of blueberries over the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with the honey. Set aside.

Mix the oats, nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, applesauce, and extracts. Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the rhubarb. Pour the egg mixture over the oats, making sure the pan is equally covered with the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the oat mixture has set and turned a little crunchy on the top. If saving for future meals, cool completely before packaging. This makes 6 breakfasts for me. Otherwise, serve warm.

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Bananas

banana-berry baked oatmeal after cooking

It will not be a surprise to anyone that knows me well to hear me say that morning and I are not great friends. My dad has a quote that he’s seen 4:00AM more often from the night side than the morning side, and my natural tendencies lie much more on his night owl side of life. Unfortunately, in being a resident, I’ve learned that alarms set before 5:00AM are much more common than I prefer.

I tell you that to set the scene for my morning route. Basically everything from my lunch to my gym bag needs to be grab and go. This includes breakfast as there is a slim to none chance that I am going to have time to cook anything in the morning. Out of all the quick breakfast choices I plan, this baked oatmeal from Skinny Taste is one of my favorites. It’s highly adaptable – I’ve made it with different berries, different nuts, different sweeteners, and even different milks and it always turns out great. Better yet, it keeps well in the refrigerator, allowing me to make it ahead and have single serving breakfast options ready to go in the refrigerator.

banana-berry baked oatmeal clsoe
banana-berry baked oatmeal

A minute or so in the microwave at work, and I have a healthy, delicious, warm breakfast. Can’t beat that for so little work. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Bananas
Adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:
2 over-ripe bananas, sliced (can use frozen bananas that have been thawed)
1-1/2 cups blueberries (or any combination of berries)
1/4 cup honey, divided
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup chopped or sliced nuts (I like almonds)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
pinch of salt
1 cup fat-free milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer over the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the berries over the bananas. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. In a separate small bowl, mix the milk, egg, and vanilla together. When the banana mixture has finished baking, spread the oat mixture evenly over the top of the bananas. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats, covering the entire surface of the dry mixture. Sprinkle the remaining berries and nuts over the top. Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes or until the top of the oatmeal has set.

Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Makes 6 servings. Can reheat oatmeal squares in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Fruit and Nut Granola

For breakfast, I am typically an oatmeal girl. Give me a container of oats, applesauce and cinnamon, and I am a happy girl. Better yet if I can add some sliced bananas on top. The hubbs, not so much. He really is not a picky guy, but oatmeal is not his thing. He tells me it’s a texture issue more than anything.

Since he’s not as happy with that container of dry oats as I am, I am constantly on the lookout for quick, homemade breakfast ideas for him. If my description of my oatmeal above tells you one thing, mornings and I are not the best of friends. If it is going to take me longer than 5 minutes to make in the morning, I am not going to have time to do it, making eggs and really anything that needs to be cooked out of the question.

Enter homemade granola. Something that can be made at home, can be made ahead of time to be a quick meal in the morning, and something that he enjoys. Sounds like it meets all the requirements! 

Granola is something that I have actually made before. I have a great pumpkin granola recipe that I make again and again throughout the fall, but I really wanted to find a recipe that was less seasonal and more universal. In looking through the recipes that I have saved from other blogs, I realized I have had this recipe from Natalie at Oven Love saved for almost a year. Her description of the granola sounded great – full of chunks, low in oil/butter, and using nuts and flaxseed to boost the nutritional value. One note on the flaxseeds – if you want to get the nutritional benefits, they need to be ground. Overall, I am happy to report that this recipe was a hit. Now if I can just keep up with making it! Enjoy!
(Printable Recipe)

Fruit and Nut Granola
Adapted from Oven Love (originally from Chocolate and Carrots and Gourmande in the Kitchen)

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1-1/2 cups puffed rice/wheat cereal
2-3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed 

1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups mix of nuts, chopped
1 cup dried fruit (mix of raisins and cranberries, or whatever you’d like)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 large, flat baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed cereal, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, brown sugar, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

Pour the granola on the baking sheets, splitting evenly between the two sheets. With your hands, squeeze or pinch the oats together into small/medium clumps leaving space on the baking sheet between the clumps. Bake for 20 minutes. 

While the granola is baking, chop the nuts and mix together in a small bowl. When the granola is finished baking, flip it with a large spatula and split the nuts between the baking pans. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until completely dry and brown. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheets. Once cool, add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

SRC: Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Wow! I cannot believe that it is already time for the The Secret Recipe Club again! Time certainly flies!! This club, hosted by Amanda at Amanda’s Cooking, has grown a ton already. The club is in it’s 4th month, and this is my 3rd trip along. It has been loads of fun, and I have already met several bloggers whom I may not have otherwise run across. 

This month my blogger was Anna from Sweet Anna’s. She is definitely a woman of my own heart saying that she makes rice krispie treats often. Those little bars got me through college! Her blog is filled with fun recipes and adorable pictures/stories about her two boys, and I had a great time reading through her posts! Since I am still trying to get into my new work schedule, I decided on making Anna’s Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal. I love steel cut oats, but making them on a weekday morning might be a little out of the picture for me 🙂 The idea of the recipe is to improve the process by cooking them in the slow cooker overnight, so that by the morning they are ready to eat. Sounds great! 

The recipe turned out pretty good. I decreased the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup and the oatmeal was plenty sweet with less sugar. There was still quite a bit of water leftover after the 8 hours of cook time. Stirring it up helped quite a bit, but I would try to decrease the amount of liquid next time. One thing that I noticed was different from oats cooked on the stove was the texture. The ones from the slow cooker were a little more smooth where oats cooked on the stove seem to have a little bit more chew to them. While I do like the chew that you get from the stove method, you certainly can’t beat the convenience of having breakfast ready when you get up! 

Enjoy and be sure to stop by and check out Anna’s blog! 

(Printable Recipe)

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
Adapted from Sweet Anna’s (originally from The Hill Country Cook)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter

Stir everything together in the slow cooker. The cinnamon will float on top of the liquid. Turn on low and cook for 8 hours (while you sleep!). In the morning, there may still be liquid on top of the oats. Stir them and they will thicken a little as they sit. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for future mornings 🙂

Yield: 6 servings