Breakfast On The Go…Apple and Almond Butter Baked Oatmeal

I was recently asked about creating breakfasts on the go. What is a breakfast on the go? Specifically, this is means a breakfast you can easily pack up and take with you on a busy morning and either eat on the road or once you get where you are going. For me, this is typically a breakfast in a mason jar (like a homemade smoothie or overnight oats), but recently my creative juices got flowing when I read about a breakfast idea called baked oatmeal.

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Baked oatmeal is basically taking your favorite traditional oatmeal and making it into a casserole. Unlike regular oatmeal, which is made on the stove-top and has a porridge-like consistency, baked oatmeal is made in the oven and has a consistency similar to that of bread pudding. What is nice about this sort of consistency is that once it is cooled, it is easy to cut into pieces and take on the road.

There are many ways you can make this sort of dish, but I decided I would add two of my favorite healthy choices that add fiber and flavor and some healthy fat and protein as well. Apples, especially when baked, add natural sweetness to this recipe and almond butter makes it more satisfying and gives this dish a rich, nutty flavor. Again, this is baked oatmeal is great for an on the go breakfast, snack, or even dessert.

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Apple and Almond Butter Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup coconut sugar (great because it is lower glycemic)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups skim milk (or milk of your choice)
1  egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crunchy almond butter
3-4 diced organic fuji apples, skin on

directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 square baking dish with cooking spray of your choice and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the almond butter and mix until combined. Add the apples and stir again. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and oatmeal is set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

A New “Do-It-Yourself” Protein Bar Recipe…All NATURAL Ingredients!

Hey there folks,

I am always looking for new food creations that are easy to take on the go. As a busy person who works out almost every day, I get hungry often. I have tried many protein bars, and MOST of them have WAY too many unnatural ingredients for my taste and/or just DO NOT agree with my stomach. If you have to eat a protein bar from the store on the run, the one I do like is Greens Plus protein bar, which does not contain any added sugar, salt, soy protein, hydrogenated oil, hard to pronounce chemicals or preservatives. The link here is from Amazon so you can see what the packaging looks like, but you are best off getting them at Trader Joes, as far as freshness is concerned.photo 1

However, if you are a nutrition nerd like myself and want to take the time to make you down protein bars, here is a recipe that is super delicious with ALL NATURAL ingredients. You can play around with what nuts or protein powder you chose to add to this bar. I personally chose my friend Sophie’s Philosophie Cacao Magic powder, because it actually tastes good and only has natural ingredients as well…check out her ingredient list…it’s solid.

Try these out and see what you think. Personally I think they also make a great night-time snack for those of us who snack in the evenings after dinner and want something sweet and chocolatey but don’t want to wreck our sleep or our bodies by eating too much junk before bed.

Delicious “Do-It Yourself” Protein Bar

1 cup of fresh dates, pitted

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup rolled oats (can use gluten-free ones or eliminate entirely if you desire)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup chocolate protein powder of choice

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp . sea salt

Line a 9 by 5 inch pan with wax or parchment paper.

Put the dates in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes so they get soft.

While this is happening, put the nuts and oat in a food processor and process until they are finely chopped.

Take the dates out of the water and pat them dry. Then add them and all other ingredients to the food processor until everything is blended and sticks together. It may come out like a big ball of goo.

Place the mixture on the parchment/wax paper and use another piece of the parchment/wax paper to flatten the mixture and mold it into the pan.

Refrigerate for one hour. Then remove the mixture and cut it into individual bars. Refrigerate the ones you are not eating or even freeze them if you prefer.

Persimmons are FINALLY back in season!!

Yesterday I went for my weekly (when I am free on a Tuesday, which lately has not been often!) walk over to the Culver City Farmers Market. I am not an avid farmers market shopper. I enjoy some of the more random findings that a farmer’s market can offer from time to time, like cotton candy pluots and cactus based tortillas, but more often than not I just go to Trader Joe’s or Sprouts, because the quality is usually fine there and a lot cheaper. However this time of the year I am on a mission, and lucky for me the season started the week I decided to show up. persimmons

PERSIMMONS! Ok, you are probably thinking, what is the big deal. I just love them. They are my favorite fall fruit and their season is pretty short, from about October until February. The fuyu and the hachiya are the most common varieties found in the United States.Fuyus represent almost 80 percent of the persimmon market in the United States and are most commonly eaten raw. They are characterized by flat bottoms, a squatty shape and a slightly crisp texture. Fuyus should be yellow-orange in color and are at their best when they are slightly soft. This is the variety I prefer. Hachiya persimmons are very astringent unless they are perfectly ripe, in which case, they have a unique velvety flesh. Differing from the fuyu variety, they have an elongated, acorn shape and are slightly larger than the fuyu.

Persimmons are high in vitamin A and zea-xanthin, good for skin and eye-sight respectively. They are also high in beta-carotene and lutein, good for fighting cancers and oxygen-derived free radicals. Persimmons are also great source of vitamin C, folic acid, B-6 and thiamin, which helps with circulation and carbohydrate metabolism.

Ok, so enough on the background. I bought myself a bag an brought them home. I washed one off and ate it, and then I decided I wanted to try to make something with persimmon. Instead of looking up recipes, I made up my mind pretty quickly. After eying the popsicle molds in my cupboard (as it has been unseasonably hot for October!) I decided I wanted to try to make a popsicle with persimmon in it, so this is what happened. This came out pretty good, except I would probably skip using the greek yogurt and just use coconut milk because the yogurt made the popsicles taste a little sour. Otherwise, a healthy treat and very easy to make.photo 1

PERSIMMON COCONUT POPSICLES

1 persimmon, chopped

1 single serving of Greek 0% yogurt (optional)

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1 cup almond or coconut milk

2 tbsp. honey

Blend in high powered blender until desired texture is reached.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze over night.

Enjoy!

Berry Topped Oat Nut Butter Pancake…You Know You Want It!!

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to making my own breakfast, especially when I am in a hurry in the morning or have to be somewhere early and just don’t have time to make a fuss. My typical go to breakfast is a green juice/smoothie I make in my Vitamix every morning. I pour it into mason jars and take it with me. Sometimes if I know I have to go somewhere super early, I will make it the night before and have it ready to go for when I leave in the morning. photo 1

But like most people, I get bored of my routine and sometimes I want something heartier…like pancakes. Who doesn’t love pancakes? My love of pancake goes all the way back to childhood. I remember going to International House of Pancakes ( I think it was still called that back when I was little?) with my parents once in awhile, and my favorite thing was the buttermilk pancakes that they would make into a Mickey Mouse face…anyone remember those? They would do whipped cream and berries for the face?

Anyhow, times have changed…and pancakes are not considered healthy anymore…or are they? Of course if you end up at the Griddle on Sunset Boulevard , each pancake is the size of your head and usually covered in some sort of caramel and ice cream confection. So no, that is not going to work for a healthy lifestyle. Or the waffles at Beach 26 near Marina Del Rey smothered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce? Hmmm…not so much. Not to say that these indulgences should not be shared with a friend once in awhile, but I wanted to stay realistic and came up with something that you could legitimately eat every day if you wanted.

You could also put this pancake in tupperware and take it with you to work. I actually had a busy day when I created this and had to go somewhere right after I made this pancake. I didn’t want to waste it so I put it in tupperware and ate it about an hour later. It was fine. Though I do not recommend topping the pancake with frozen berries if you are taking it somewhere, because they will make the pancake very mushy. Put those in a separate tupperware if you want to have them.

This recipe is for one person, but you could definitely make it for two people. I also only made ONE big pancake, and you could make 2-4 small ones. Berries are optional, but I did like the added sweetness they gave the pancake. feel free to use fresh ones. When I created this I did not have any fresh ones in my refrigerator, so I used frozen.

Berry Topped Oat Nut Butter Pancake

non-stick cooking oil spray

1/4 to 1/2 cup of rolled oats

2 egg whites

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 heaping spoonful of almond butter ( you can use peanut to cashew butter if you desire)

1 tbsp. raw organic honey

cinnamon, if you desire

1/4 cup of fresh or frozen berries

Put all the ingredients, minus the berries and spray, into a high powered blender or food processor first and blend until the texture is batter-like.

Take a cooking skillet/saute pan and spray in with the non-stick cooking oil spray. Turn your stove on to a medium heat level ( you don’t want them to cook too fast or you may burn them!) and pour the batter on. The batter may be pretty thick so you might have to spoon it onto the pan. There is no set time for how long you cook the pancakes, I would say roughly 2 minutes on each side.

After the pancake is cooked, set it aside and add the berries. If you use frozen berries, heat them in the microwave or on the stove for about 1-2 minutes and the pour them over the top of the pancake.