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Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

One of my personal Secrets of Adulthood is that it is often better to just do it. Don’t bother asking! Go ahead! Do what you think is best!

This little lesson has served me well in two particular areas of my life. The first, in my work. Bosses are busy and it turns out they like it when you do brilliant things without being told or better yet, without interrupting to ask in the first place.

The second, is in my marriage. Coincidentally this is also where I learned another secret: sometimes not asking permission means you have to beg forgiveness. Like when you purchase a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer when your almost-husband is conveniently on an airplane, unreachable by telephone or email and therefore unable to weigh-in on the financial implications of such a purchase. The situation was diffused quickly once he realized that he would benefit greatly from me having unfettered access to high-tech baking equipment. But it was a close call.

Since then I’ve stuck to applying my secrets to less expensive things, like breakfast. I didn’t bother asking Jeff if he’d like a bowl of baked oatmeal for breakfast. Jeff believes that he knows what he does and does not like to eat. For instance, he does not like nuts (unless finely chopped upon a sundae or brownie) or seeds (except sesame, on a hamburger bun, and only then if there’s no other option). Had I asked, the answer would have been a firm “how about scrambled eggs?”

But because I vehemently disagree that he knows what it is he does and does not like to eat, I went ahead and made it anyway. Even with the walnuts! And the hazelnuts! And the pumpkin seeds! Jeff ate it all, with nary a pumpkin seed or a hazelnut or a walnut crumb left in the bowl. And he ate it all the next week when I made it again.

See? Sometimes it’s better just not to ask.

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from So Good & Tasty via Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 apples, peeled and diced
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts (I kept them whole but you might like them chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 cups milk (see note above)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Maple syrup, to taste, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease the bottom of a 10×8-inch baking dish and set aside.

2. Place oats, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Add milk, agave and vanilla and stir well to combine.

4. Spread the apples evenly in the baking dish. Pour oat mixture to cover the apples, then pour wet ingredients over top, making sure everything is evening soaked. Drizzle melted butter over top and bake for 30-35 minutes until the oatmeal is set and lightly browned.

5. Let cool and serve, drizzled with maple syrup.

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins
On the weekend, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Jeff and I have perfected our Saturday morning breakfast, which we take turns making: soft scrambled eggs with cheese and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt; crispy bacon and a buttered, toasted bagel from St. Urbain or Griffs — depending on where we did our grocery shopping. Saturday morning breakfast is best enjoyed on the couch and will keep you full well in to the afternoon. Or whenever the desire for a Le Gourmand cookie becomes unbearable.

Weekdays are a whole other story. I’ve never been one to linger in the morning, I just want to get up, get out and get on with my day. That means for most of my adult life breakfast has been enjoyed either on public transit or at my desk.

When there’s good fruit to be had, there’s nothing better than a mountain of berries topped with yogurt and homemade granola. As the last of the berries disappeared from the farmer’s market and mornings began to have that undeniable winter chill, I began to crave something I could really sink my teeth into. I was craving muffins.

I try to be virtuous when it comes to breakfast through the week and muffins generally sit closer to the cake side of the spectrum than say, the green smoothie side. Luckily, these muffins satisfied my carb craving without making me feel guilty. They are packed with protein and fibre, and the coconut oil gives them a luscious, buttery texture.

I made these one Sunday afternoon before our wedding, knowing that things were about to get a little crazy and I’d need a grab and go breakfast that packed a nutritious punch, lest I start reaching for the bagels and cream cheese. Then, I made them twice more before we left and once again as soon as we got home. If that’s not a testament to how good these muffins are, I simply don’t know what is.

Morning Glory Muffins
Makes 16-18 muffins
Adapted from That’sFit.ca

I’ve made these muffins both with and without liners. I highly recommend going for paper liners when making these bad boys, because they tend to be a little sticky when they come out of the oven. Make sure you let your coconut oil and eggs come to room temperature or else the cold egg yolk will cause the oil to get chunky.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup Sucanat sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rainsins
2 cups shredded carrots
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

3. In a separate, large bowl combine raisins, carrots, apple, coconut, almonds and seeds and combine. Add coconut oil and mix until well-coated.

4. Whisk eggs with juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nuts, combine well.

5. Fold nut mixture into flour and mix until no dry flour is visible.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then remove on to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer.