oats

Classic Baked Oatmeal

This summer, we ate baked oatmeal almost every morning. It was a hot summer, really hot, (locals said the hottest summer ever) but that didn't deter us from baking this because it was soooo good. We would mix it up the night before, and bake it in a toaster-oven the next morning. Sometimes we made it fancy by adding over-ripe mashed bananas, spice, nuts, chocolate... but mostly we made it plain, then drizzled some local honey over it. Yum. :)

The soaking of the oats overnight is magical. I've read in several places that soaking oats (or any flour) in liquid helps them become easier to digest. I knew that this was true with seeds, nuts, and beans (germinating/sprouting for better nutrition) but soaking flour was news to me. (I also read that using a slightly acidic liquid for flour is even better.) I'm still exploring this whole concept - you can learn more about it here and here. With the oats, soaking definitely gives them a fantastic texture.

I was inspired by this baked oatmeal that sounds awesome. I played with the recipe, and came up with this simple baked oatmeal that's hearty, healthy, and very satisfying. 

Here is the basic recipe:

1/4 c olive oil
2 large eggs (beaten)
2 Tbsp muscovado sugar
1 2/3 c milk
3 c old fashioned rolled oats (for gluten-free use gluten-free oats)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (sifted)

Feel free to play with the ingredients and ratios - this is a rustic forgiving recipe. Use any oil you like (coconut oil is nice too) or melted butter. You can use a milk substitute to make it dairy-free, and I think any good egg substitute would work here too. Sometimes I substitute half the milk for unsweetened apple juice - or use a combination of yogurt and water. (You can also use 2 Tbsp less milk if you like it more flaky.) Use whatever sweetener you like, more if you like things sweet, or no sweetener at all. I like the bit of flavor and browning the muscovado sugar provides. Sometimes I make a half batch in a loaf pan. Since it stores and re-heats so well, we often make a big batch (this is the big batch), keep the leftovers covered in the fridge, then re-heat pieces on a frying pan with butter or coconut oil. (My sweetie loves it this way best!)

Directions:

The super-easy way (+ nice texture):
The night before, mix everything together. Spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. (I chill the pan in the freezer before greasing it with liquified coconut oil so that the oil solidifies and sticks to the pan, creating a better barrier.) Cover the pan and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Just as easy, but a bit more work in the morning:
The night before, mix everything together except the salt and the baking powder. This creates a more acidic soaking medium - especially if made with yogurt or juice. Keep the mixture in a covered container in the fridge overnight. The next day, mix the salt and baking powder in, and spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Makes about 9-12 servings.

Enjoy!

Quick & Easy Oat Bread

I love fresh corn tortillas, crunchy baked tostadas, savoury tamales, fresh popcorn and homemade cornbread as much as the next muchacha. But sometimes I need a break from corn. Since I have limited access to ingredients here in Mexico, where corn is king, what's a girl to do? Well I recently came up with my new favorite quick bread, that's very similar to cornbread in taste and texture, but made with grounds oats. It's quick and easy to make - and keeps well in the fridge for slicing and toasting or pan-frying.

Recipe: Quick Oat Bread

Enjoy ♥

Healthy Chia Banana Bars

Healthy Chia Banana Bars 3

My favorite breakfast these days: quick, easy, tasty, filling and super-healthy. All of the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find here in Mexico. Packed with whole grains and seeds, these squares are wheat-free, gluten-free (if made with gluten-free oats), dairy-free, egg-free, low in sugar, and high in fiber. Did I mention they're delicious?

Recipe: Chia Banana Bars

In our house, we eat these so often, we call them Chia Squares. But I thought Chia Banana Bars was more descriptive. What do you think?
Healthy Chia Banana Bars 2

PS: I've been super-busy working on an exciting new baking site - more about this soon!

Classic & Toasted Coconut Granola

I'm a big fan of granola. There's something about sweet crunchy oats that's almost addictive... I generally find the store-bought stuff way too sweet (maybe that's why it's addictive), or too oily, or both - so after many experiments, I came up with this granola recipe that we love around here:

Recipe: Patty's Classic Granola & Delightful Variations
This is a lovely simple aromatic granola. You can make your own delightful variations from this basic recipe.

Variation: Toasted Coconut Granola
In my opinion, the most delightful variation of Patty's Classic Granola :-)

Health Notes: This recipe is vegan and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats). It has less fat and sugar than most store-bought granola (especially if you make the lower-sugar option) and is full of healthy fiber from oats and flax.

Gluten-Free Oats?


Photo of oat flowers (avena sativa) by Andreas Trepte

Are oats gluten-free? For someone with Celiac Disease who can't tollerate wheat gluten (almost 1% of the population), this is an important question. Adi Lucas posted this sweet comment and great question under my recipe for Spiced Pineapple Oat Cookies:

"Hello Patty and thanks for the wonderful recipe. I´m always trying to improve my stash of healthy recipes and this one works great for me! I love oats as it goes fine with the small amount of carbs I include on my daily diet. My question is the following: I have heard that oats are forbidden for celiac disease and as I have a good friend with this problem, I´d like to know what kind of oats you use in this recipe so I can tell her about it. Thanks."

Candida, Xylitol, & Spiced Pineapple Oat Cookies

I was recently on a moderate version of the candida diet (a.k.a anti-candida diet). It's a particularly difficult diet, as you need to "starve the yeast" (candida) in your system by NOT eating sugar (refined, natural, sweet fruits...), yeast, refined flours (including starches), mushrooms, fermented food (tofu, cocoa, tea), vitamins/supplements with yeast (like most B vitamins), most dairy, alcohol, vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), nuts/seeds (because they often have mold on them)... The hardest part for me was not eating nuts!

Rosemary Oat Cakes

Rosemary Oat Cakes
Lovely round cockltail crackers: oats and olive oil make these rich and flakey.

I came up with these lovely little oat crackers to satisfy my craving for crunchy savory things. These are somewhat similar to Scottish oat cakes - only made with olive oil and ground seeds instead of butter/lard. Rosemary adds a fragrant Mediterranean touch, and sesame seeds round out the rich nutty flavor.

These pretty little rounds make great cocktail crackers and work wonderfully on a cheese plate. These are fantastic as is, and even better topped with:

  • any good cheese - especially chevre
  • smoked salmon
  • wine jellies, marmalades, jams
  • nut butters
  • honey

Recipe: Rosemary Oat Cakes

Enjoy ♥