Tag Archives: oatmeal

Spoiling Myself

Last month, I spent a few days at my parents’ house in Laredo, Texas.  It was such a treat.  My folks got to see my changing pregnant body in person and I got a little spoiled.  I got plenty of attention, and had a couple of generous escorts to shuttle me around and take me shopping.

But, besides their company, I most enjoyed the food.  Both my parents are talented in the kitchen and they always make sure I have my Texas favorites, so I ate really well.  Plus, while I love cooking, this pregnancy makes me tire easily and I try to avoid staying on my feet for too long, so having someone else not only do all the cooking, but all the clean-up, too, was like visiting a spa.

It was nice to come home and see my husband (who spoils me in different ways) and pets, and sleep in my own bed again.  (I missed you body pillow!)  However, I do miss waking up to ready-made food.  It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes I’m so hungry when I wake up I can’t think straight and trying to put breakfast together can be a lot of effort.

So, I’ve been trying to prepare some breakfast items in advance that way I don’t have to exert much energy or brain power to feed myself first thing in the morning.  And, while I can’t have my parents cook for me right now, I can enjoy their recipes.

This recipe is a hearty breakfast bread that my mom shared with me last year.  It makes wonderful toast and provides protein, fiber, and potassium – you know…good stuff.

Toasted Almond and Apricot Bread
Makes 1 loaf

7 oz dried apricots
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp canola oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped natural almonds
1 heaping cup rolled oats or 1 cup oat flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt

Coarsely chop apricots.

Heat orange juice in small saucepan until it boils.  Stir in brown sugar and apricots.  Remove from heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to medium frying pan and use it to brown the almonds.  Stir and toss the nuts so they toast evenly and are lightly browned.

If you don’t have oat flour, add 1 heaping cup of rolled oats to a food processor and blitz until it resembles flour.

Beat the eggs until frothy.

Mix in remaining 2 Tbsp oil and buttermilk.

Thoroughly blend the all-purpose and oat flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in toasted almonds.

Add dry mixture to egg mixture and blend well.

Stir in apricots and their juice.

Pour the batter into a well-greased 9-inch loaf pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean and top is lightly browned.

Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling.

The bread will keep several days in an airtight container, or may be frozen.  To freeze, after completely cooling, wrap the loaf in foil and store in a plastic zip-top bag for up to 6 months.

I really enjoy it toasted with butter.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Personal

Late Night Snack Bars

I didn’t feel comfortable giving new parents Dave and Wendy only a casserole dish of macaroni and cheese.  I mean, they also need dessert, right?  Yeah, I gave them a fruit salad, but they need a treat, too.  How about something hearty to give Wendy some energy after late-night feedings?  Okay, so maybe some oats…add some nuts…chocolate is expected, of course…

Chocolate Oat Snack Bars
Makes about 30 bars

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans (or other nut)

Set aside 2 Tbsp of butter for use later in the recipe.  Beat remaining butter with sugars until well mixed. Beat in eggs and 2 tsp of vanilla.  In a separate bowl, stir together oats, flour, and baking soda.  Gradually stir this dry mix into butter mixture and stir until well blended.

Press about 2/3rds of this dough into the bottom of a 15x10x1 inch baking pan, and set aside for a minute.

In a medium saucepan, combine the reserved 2 Tbsp of butter, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate chips.

Cook over low heat until the chocolate melts and stir gently until all the ingredients are blended.  Remove from the heat and stir in nuts and 2 tsp vanilla.

Spread the chocolate over the dough.  Then, using your fingers, dot the remaining oat mixture/dough over the chocolate.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.

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Filed under Snacks

Vacation Recovery

You know how it can be when you are on vacation.  You don’t always eat what you should, you certainly don’t exercise like you should, and you usually drink way too much.  Well, my husband and I just returned from a mini-vacation and we are feeling the effects.

On the drive home, we swore we would be eating salad all week.  I even suggested we start having a meatless meal at least once a week this summer.  Then, we unloaded the car, walked the dogs, took a nap, and promptly ordered pizza.  With sausage.

I awoke this morning with a renewed sense of discipline, however.  I wanted to make a nice bowl of oatmeal with apple, but I decided it was a bit too warm for that.  (We live in an older house and the air conditioning doesn’t work as well as we would like.)  So, I thought oatmeal muffins would be a nice compromise.  We still get some of the heart healthy fiber, but in a lighter portion.  Plus, I added flaxseed!

Now, about that salad…

Post-Vacation Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 8 to 12 regular-sized muffins

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/8 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and flaxseed.

Make a well in the center and add beaten egg, milk, and canola oil.  Stir until moistened, leaving the batter somewhat lumpy.

Lightly spray muffin tin with cooking spray or line with baking cups.  Fill each well no more than 2/3 full.  I elected to make smaller muffins to better control our portions, so I filled each no more than 1/2 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden in color.

These are best served while still warm, but the muffins will keep in an airtight container for a day or two.

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Filed under Breakfast

Lighter Side of Breakfast

Breakfast is important to me. I’m just not myself without starting my day with coffee, a newspaper, and a little something to eat. Just ask my husband… However, I don’t usually like a heavy meal in the morning, so muffins are perfect. I can make them one morning and they last for several days and provide just the right amount of sustenance.

This recipe is a favorite in our house…in fact, my husband regularly requested them when we were dating.
Oat Bran Applesauce Muffins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oat bran cereal (I use Hodgson Mill)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs or 4 egg whites
1 cup applesauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper, or grease muffin cups. Mix all ingredients until well-blended. Spoon into muffin tin and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
These are best warm. You can expect them to keep for two to three days in an airtight container.

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Filed under Breakfast