I’ve been working out a lot lately. It’s been a few years, you know with having babies back to back and then not sleeping for three years. However, finally, life seems to be settling in. Both my girls are starting to sleep and I finally have the energy to work out again! It’s pretty awesome. I finally feel like myself again after three years! I’m so lucky to have such a supportive husband who is willing to do the early morning wake ups while I go work out. We also decided to train for our first triathlon together. We’re going to do a sprint triathlon at the end of June. All very exciting, but it all makes be EXTREMELY hungry!
When I get so hungry and I don’t have a plan I end up eating junk. I’m secretly a doughnut fiend and will find a way to work one into my week if I’m not careful. These little gems help a lot. I like to make them super small and eat one before my early morning workouts, and will often snack on one later if I’m searching for food but don’t know what to eat.
This is a super adaptable recipe. You can use any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, switch out the nut butter, add spices, you name it. This is a simple tasty version that I’m really digging right now.
Almond Cherry Breakfast Cookies- Vegan and Gluten Free
Brunch is in. Especially with two small children, it is much easier time to get together with friends than dinner. So, when in need of a brunch item, here is a trusty quiche. I have done a post on quiche before if you want the ins and out, the dos and don’ts check it out. For this beauty I decided to do crustless for a few reasons. One: I didn’t have time to make a crust; two: we were going to be eating the quiche with lots of buttery pastries and I thought it would be best to cut simple carbs and added fat where it wasn’t needed. I do love a good crust, but for this instance it was unnecessary.
This is a rich, savory quiche, stuffed with vegetables and topped with a bit of cheese. It has an added bonus of being gluten free. It was super fast, one pan, and traveled perfectly to our friends where we were having brunch.
2 TBL olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
A few tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, or a few teaspoons dried herbs
3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables (I used Kale, Mushrooms, and zucchini)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used unsweetened plain almond milk)
1 cup grated cheese (I used goat guda)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet.
Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Add the other vegetables and cook until liquid has been released and evaporated, 5 more minutes or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and spread the vegetables evenly across the bottom of the skillet.
In a bowl whisk the eggs and milk together until everything is uniformly yellow.
Add remaining salt, pepper, and any herbs you are using and whisk to combine.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable.
Sprinkle with grated cheese in an even layer over the top.
Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across and it is firm in the middle, it’s fully cooked.
Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.
More vegetables for breakfast?! Well, yes. And it’s vegan and gluten free. This recipe is one that I found before children from the cookbook “The Vegan Slow Cooker” It is a lovely way to mix in some vegetables for breakfast, and it tastes delicious! It’s also perfect for when you have overnight guests, or know you will have a rushed morning. It smells wonderful and is done by the time you get up in the morning. Yes, my toddler loved this!
You don’t have to sweeten this at all, and can add what you like for toppings just before serving. Nuts, fruit, milk, sweetener, anything that sounds good will be a lovely addition.
Vegan Slow Cooker Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal
Originally from The Vegan Slow Cooker
1 cup steal cut oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 cup coconut water, or more non-dairy milk
3 small carrot, grated
1/2 medium zucchini, grated
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 TBL brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Combine everything except the pecans in the crock of your slow cooker.
Stir briefly and cook on low 6-8 hours (overnight).
In the morning stir in the chopped pecans and whatever else your heart desires.
Building from the last post “pancakes without a recipe” this recipe is for gluten free pancakes. Gluten free pancakes are a bit more delicate than pancakes using wheat flour. For this gluten free recipe I used a combination of three gluten free flours to build structure. When using gluten free flours it is vital to use a combination of flour textures (buckwheat and rice) and a starch (arrowroot). The ratio here worked delightfully well, or you could use a pre-mixed gluten free baking mix.
Light and Fluffy Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes
1 TBL chia seeds
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Coconut oil for cooking.
Briefly mix chia seeds and water in a mixing bowl and set aside until the chia has jelled a little, about 5 minutes.
Mix the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside to curdle, about 5 minutes.
Once the chia seeds have started to jell, mash in the banana and stir to combine.
Add buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda, and salt mixing to combine dry ingredients without working to hard to mix them with the banana and chia mix at the bottom of the bowl.
Add the curdled milk and vanilla whisking the ingredients until they are uniformly wet and combine.
Heat your favorite pancake pan over medium heat. I use a large cast iron pan.
Once your desired pan is hot melt a little coconut oil in the pan, I use about a teaspoon per batch, and pour the batter into the hot pan. I usually make one big pancake at a time, but you can also do smaller ones and do however many fit in your pan.
Cook on one side until the sides of the pancake are starting to look dry and the cooked side is turning a delightful golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Flip pancake and cook until the second side is also golden brown, about 1 more minute.
What is important for successful gluten free pancakes?
Texture (the ratio and combination of flours, and combination of wet and dry ingredients, a leavening agent, and other ingredients to add structure)
Flavor (Salt, vanilla, and banana in this recipe)
Toppings (maple syrup, molasses, butter, or other)
How I decided what to use for this recipe:
I wanted gluten free pancakes as Wolfie may or may not have a sensitivity. I also wanted a yummy pancake with light texture and just enough flavor to stand up to the butter and maple syrup. Texture was the most important thing here. I used three gluten free flours for a light texture, and both banana and chia seeds for structure.
Here it is; the first post as Happy Food Ninja. Because today is Mother’s Day I have decided to make this first post the all important OATMEAL! I can feel the excitement. My mom came to stay with us when Wolfie was born and opened the world of oatmeal to me again. I had been eating oatmeal, but apparently I was eating it all wrong! I had been focusing on only the flavor instead of the all important texture. The texture makes such a difference in this basic dish. To achieve the correct texture you must heat the liquid before adding the oats.
Today we are starting with a recipe for Almond Apricot Oatmeal, then a brief discussion on how to make delicious oatmeal without a recipe. We will also go over how to create your own fabulous oatmeal flavors.
Almond Apricot Oatmeal
2/3 cup water
pinch of salt
5-6 dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp almond extract
a handful of roasted and salted almonds
Heat water, salt, and apricots in a small saucepan over high heat until it starts to boil
Reduce heat to medium and stir in the oats and almond extract.
Cook over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Scoop oatmeal into a bowl, stir in butter and syrup to your taste, and top with almonds. This makes one serving.
What is important for successful oatmeal?
The oat to liquid ratio: 2 parts liquid to 1 part oats
Heating the liquid to boiling before stirring in the oats.
The rest is up to you. You could make a sweet oatmeal like the recipe in this post, or a savory oatmeal like this recipe. Oatmeal is a bit like rice, in that it has a basic flavor of its own, but takes to other ingredients, and the flavor changes drastically depending on what you add. You could use any edible liquid as a base. I have used water, milk, tea, vegetable broth, juice, and combinations of those. You then add flavoring. Flavoring consists of extracts and spices. Finish the pot with your add-ins like fruit and nuts.
How I decided on what to add for this recipe
I got the idea from eating my car snack of almonds and apricots. A delicious combination for a snack. I happened to be thinking about breakfast while snacking (pretty common in my world to be thinking of my next meal while eating the current meal), that is where the idea started. The next morning I made my oats with apricots, and did a taste before adding sweetener and the almonds. I thought it needed a bit of something extra. I added almond extract to heighten the baked-good quality of the oats. I then added butter, maple syrup, and finished it with roasted, salted almonds. The whole dish brings me back to a scone I once had. That’s it. It started with an idea, and it grew bit by bit with me tasting along the way and adding things to develop the flavor I wanted. You can do the same with any flavor combination you can come up with.
How Does It All Work?
Your first layer of flavor.
Milk. It will give you a creaminess, it will also start to add a touch of sweetness. If you are using a sweetened non-dairy milk like a vanilla soy milk it will be a very different, sweeter, oatmeal than if you used an unsweetened milk or water.
Water will let the oats shine through. You will have a basic oatmeal base that you can easily flavor with other ingredients.
Juice will start the sweetness and give a base of the flavor of the juice. Let’s say you use apple juice. You will have the start to apple oatmeal. You could then add apple pieces and cinnamon to make apple pie oatmeal.
Vegetable broth. As in my oatmeal with kale and walnuts vegetable broth is the base for a great savory application. It starts shifting oatmeal from sweet to savory from the start. The oats will soak up the flavor from the broth and become something reminiscent of risotto.
Adding a bit more flavor.
Extracts such as vanilla or almond give a hint of those flavors. You could really mix it up here depending on what you have hanging around. A little mint mixed with cocoa powder for mint chocolate oatmeal, some almond as in this recipe to give the oats backbone.
Spices. Ohh, now we are really getting into it. Remember that oatmeal can be sweet or savory. Frequently it is sweet and eaten for breakfast. A common spice to add is cinnamon. Easy and delicious. You could go crazy and try every spice in your cabinet one at a time. The would be a great way to get to know your spices, and the versatility of oatmeal:) If you are attempting to create oatmeal to mimic a recipe such as apple pie, look at that recipe and add those spices to your oatmeal. I like to add them at the same time as the oats.
Other. I was trying to come up with an other category and all I could think of was cocoa powder. I love to add cocoa powder, peanut butter, and top with non-dairy milk. Ohh, so good. If you can think of something else to add to this category let me know!
Add-ins (now we’re going crazy)
Adding texture and amping up the wow factor.
Nuts and seeds. I feel nuts and seeds are an important part of oatmeal. I like the textural difference of the crunch they add. I use both whole nuts or seeds as well as nut and seed butters depending on the day. Nuts, seeds and butters also add some needed protein and healthy fats to keep you full. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, I could go on. Just add them.
Fruits and veggies. I frequently add fruit to my oatmeal, and every now and again will add a vegetable. My go-to is raisins, but the possibilities again seem endless. You can go fresh such as a little grated apple, or dried like the apricots here. Dates add sweetness and can be used to replace other sweetener like maple syrup in the finished product. Grated carrots for carrot cake oatmeal, apple for apple pie, raisins just because.
Butter or oil. Well why wouldn’t you add butter, or your version of butter. Often Earth Balance Buttery Spread for me. Butter adds salt and a bit of richness that I think oatmeal needs. I will add this to most every oatmeal recipe I make. For some you could also use an oil. I would use coconut oil to help boost the coconut flavor in a coconut almond oatmeal, or olive oil for a savory base.
Sweeteners. Most often your oatmeal is topped with something sweet like maple syrup or brown sugar. Both are awesome. Sometimes you don’t want to add sweetener for a variety of reasons. If you still want it sweet you could cook some chopped dates with the water and mashing them a bit before you add the oats. It will give a delightful natural sweetness. Also boosting the other flavors like the spices and extracts will reinforce flavor on your palate without the actual sugar.
Milk and yogurt. This is yet another way to add dimension to your bowl of plain oats. The milk can add a coolness that will excite your palate and totally change your dish. Yogurt will do the same. Dairy or non-dairy versions are both good here. You can, of course, stir them in, but you could also leave them a little loose on top. When you do this, and get a spoonful of hot oats with the cool creaminess, your mouth will wake to the sensation. The cream will also add balance to a rich oatmeal like the chocolate peanut butter deliciousness.
As I write this I feel I could go on and on, but I need to stop. Please comment with your favorite oatmeal combinations or ideas. Happy eating and Happy Mother’s Day!
I have to tell you something. The real reason I posted about making almond milk was so you could make these muffins. Since I posted that recipe on Saturday you must have soaked your almonds Saturday night and made almond milk yesterday. Today you are wondering what to do with the leftover almond pulp. Making these muffins is the best thing you can do with the pulp.
These almond banana muffins are flavorful, dense, moist, slightly sweet, crave worthy, and incredibly full of healthy stuff. They are also gluten-free, vegan, soy free, and have no added oil or sugar. What? and they taste good? They do. Especially when slathered with homemade almond or walnut butter. These are perfect for traveling and the last for several days maintaining their delicious texture. This recipe started from this recipe from the Minimalist Baker.
As strange as this meal sounds, it is quite delicious. Wolfie is sensitive to something and I have been on a major elimination diet to try and figure it out. One of the things I have been eating a lot of for breakfast during this time is oatmeal. Well I’m just plain sick of sweet oatmeal and I needed something savory for breakfast. This has been my go-to breakfast for the last few weeks. It would also work for a dinner if you called it oat risotto or something fancy like that. I was hesitant to try a savory oatmeal, but I needed the salt. Ohh, do I love salt. I am now looking forward to breakfast again. Anyway, here is a wonderful entry to the world of savory oatmeal, and one of the healthiest breakfasts you can find. This combination is one that actually keeps me full for several hours unlike most anything I eat in the morning. This is also gluten free if you make sure to use gluten free oats. I hope you enjoy it.
Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Walnuts
2 1/2 cups chopped kale
1 TBL olive oil, or 1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds (toasted if you desire)
1 TBL nutritional yeast
salt to taste
Heat large skillet over medium heat.
Add oil or water and kale, sauteing until tender, 7-10 minutes. -If you cook the kale in oil it will get a bit crispy and yummy bitter like kale chips. If you want your kale more tender as if steamed use water.
While kale is cooking, heat vegetable broth in a small saucepan to a boil.
Once vegetable broth is boiling, add rolled oats and cook, stirring occasionally until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Once oatmeal is cooked remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast.
Add salt to kale to taste, then place kale on a plate, top with cooked oatmeal and nuts.