Easy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

I don’t eat a lot of oatmeal since I became diabetic but I do enjoy it now and then. Here’s a twist on the standard bowl of oatmeal or the now in vogue baked oatmeal bowls. This is another instance where you can get creative and use whatever fruit sauce or jam you’d like to flavor the oatmeal such as apple, banana, strawberry, etc. Very easy to make; the food processor does all the work, especially if you buy pre-shredded carrots. And of course, feel free to adjust the spices to your families taste – nutmeg, coriander, etc.

First preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper, overhanging on two sides so that the bars can be lifted out of the pan when cooled. In the bowl of the food processor add:

2 cups rolled oat

Pulse until it’s a coarse texture then add:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup pitted dates (softer the better so if they are hard, soak in hot water for 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 1/2 cups fruit sauce or jam

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 generous teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse to combine before adding:

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Pulse to combine and break down the carrots. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes depending on how your oven runs. Cool in pan before lifting using the overhanging parchment paper and cut into squares. Store in airtight container or in the refrigerator. Can be frozen.

Vegan Carrot Spice Cake

I’m updating this recipe. Just spoke with my son and daughter-in-law who said it was good but it wasn’t sweet enough! I admit, I don’t like my desserts as sweet as most people so I’ll adjust the recipe so that those of you who want a sweeter cake can still use this recipe.

I love carrot cake but I love my carrot cake to be more like a spice cake with some carrots in it. So unlike most carrot cakes, I add more spices. If you don’t, feel free to stop with the cinnamon. I was easily able to divide this cake into two bowls and mix some ground walnuts into one bowl (for my son and his family) and some chopped dates and pumpkin seeds into the other for me. This cake only takes one bowl and is fairly easy to mix even for me with 2 rotator cuff tears.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 8″ baking pans (I used one square and one round so that I knew which was which!). In a medium-large bowl, combine:

3 tablespoons ground flax

7 tablespoons warm water (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)

Whisk to combine and then let sit for 5 minutes or so to form flax gel. When ready add to it:

1/3 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk or stir to combine and then add:

1 scant cup unsweetened fruit sauce (apple, pear, peach, oh pineapple would be good) [I actually only had 7/8 of a cup and it worked fine]

1/2 to 1 cup date sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir or whisk to combine. Add:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Stir or whisk to combine (by now the whisk will be having a difficult time so use a hand mixer if necessary). Add:

1 cup grated carrots

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 cup oat flour

Stir to combine adding another 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk if necessary. Stir in:

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, feel free to mix it up using chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or dates, chopped raisins, cranberries, or dried pineapple also work (Optional)

Spoon the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I would actually bake it about 5 minutes more after the toothpick comes out clean). Don’t worry if it’s slightly overbaked since gluten-free baked goods take longer to cook than regular ones, it still comes out fine.

Remove from oven and let cool, on a cooling rack, for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting or serving. For faster cooling, place in the refrigerator for about a half hour. Serves 8-12.

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

1 large or 2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are my favorites. I like other cookies but I LOVE oatmeal cookies. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that makes about a dozen and takes 3 times longer to bake then it does to mix together. Delicious, almost like eating a nut butter and jam sandwich on oat bread but even better! Use whatever nut or seed butter your family likes and feel free to use whatever sugar-free jam you have on hand as well. I had strawberry jam so that’s what I used. You can find numerous types of free-dried fruits now on-line or at the grocery store.

In a medium (8 cup bowl) combine:

1 1/2 cups sprouted rolled oats

1/4 cup oat flour

2 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir to combine. In a second 3-4 cup small bowl whisk together:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1/4 cut nut or seed butter (I used tahini)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar-free or low-sugar strawberry jam

1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries (save some whole ones to press on top of the cookies before baking)

3 tablespoons date syrup (or agave, coconut nectar, maple syrup, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Stir whisked wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until mixture is moistened and well mixed. Using a medium (or small for smaller cookies), scoop and drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart and flatten each one with either the back of the scoop or a fork. Press a piece of dried strawberry into the top of each cookie. Bake 10-17 minutes depending on size (cookies should be firm to the touch). Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. They will keep for about a week (not in my household!). They will also freeze in a vacuum sealed bag for up to 3 months. Using my large scoop, I made 10 cookies.

Alternatives:

Use 1/2 cup pear sauce, 1/4 cup cranberries or raisins, and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried apples and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup peach jam, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried peaches

Use 1/2 cup plum jam, 1/4 cup diced dried prunes

Use 1/2 cup of any jam and 1/2 cup carob chips

Use 1/2 cup pineapple jam and 1/4 cup crushed dried bananas or pineapple

Really just about any combination of sauce or jam with dried fruit or chips will work in this recipe. Just be sure to add the extra sweetener if using sauce rather than jam.

Pear Muffins

I’m allergic to apples so I often substitute pears for recipes that call for apples. This recipe also calls for apple sauce so I diced up a pear and stewed it for 5 minutes and voila! had pear sauce. Feel free to use apples instead, peaches would also work. Feel free to also vary the spices – if you prefer nutmeg to allspice, use it or ginger instead of cloves, etc. It’s a quick, easy dough to make and takes only 15-18 minutes in the oven depending on the size. If you make mini muffins, they’ll only take 10-12 minutes.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 12 or 24 (mini) muffin pan. The recipe should make exactly 12 or 24 muffins. In a small bowl (2 cup) combine:

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon avocado oil

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pear (or apple) sauce [I used chunky, I didn’t bother to blend it]

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a larger bowl (medium size 8 cups), combine:

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/3 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix until just combined, makes a thick dough. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

After mixing, sprinkle on the top of the muffins. Then let the muffins sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake muffins 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Pear Muffins

Most gluten-free muffins (and breads) are very gummy, overly moist. These are not! They have a very soft crumb but are not crumbly or overly dry. By finely dicing an Asian pear, these have a great crunch along with the spices. Just delicious! And fairly quick and easy to put together and bake (about 30 minutes altogether). Of course, apple can be used instead of pear.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 12-muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine:

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild oil)

1/2 cup gluten-free oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

4 tablespoons pear sauce (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons date sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

3/4 cup finely diced Asian pear (1 small)

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (one with guar or xanthan gum already in it)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix thoroughly until combined. Spoon into muffin cups (about 2/3 full), sprinkle with date sugar if desired and bake for 15-18 minutes until skewer comes out clean.

Baked Oats and Pumpkin Puddings

I’ve been looking at all kinds of recipes for baked “oats”. But none of them have actual oatmeal in them, they all use oat flour. So here’s my alternative. I’ve added some quinoa flour and oat protein powder to the mix to increase the protein content of the pudding as well as increasing the sweetener a little because the flour, at least in my opinion, overrides the taste of the pumpkin and spices. I didn’t think of it until after they were in the oven but adding some roasted pepitas would some crunch.

As a reminder for those of you new to my blog, there are a number of allergen-free recipes here to make your Thanksgiving dinner allergen free such as gluten-free gravy (and fat free), string-bean casserole, vegan pumpkin pie, and a delicious mushroom and Italian sausage stuffing (which I made this year with a loaf of that quick and easy oat bread on the blog).

Lightly grease 6, 6-ounce ramekins and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together:

1 can pumpkin puree

1 cup quinoa flour

3/4 cup oat flour

1/4 cup pumpkin protein powder (or any protein powder you use, vanilla or even chocolate would work)

1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey, coconut nectar, date syrup, etc.)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup dairy-free milk (any will do but I would advise against using soy)

1/4 cup roasted pepita seeds

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Whisk until smooth then scoop into the ramekins to about 1/2″ from the top. Dust top with more pumpkin pie spice. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until set.

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

It’s that time of year again! Time to pull out the gingerbread recipes along with all the pumpkin and spices. Here’s a very easy ginger cookie recipe that takes very little time to throw together and only 10 minutes to bake so in a mere 20 minutes you’ve got cookies – just as quickly as any tube of cookie dough you buy in the grocery store. And oh so delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons warm water

Stir to combine and let sit for a minute or two until a gel forms. Add:

1/2 cup pepita butter (or sunflower butter, tahini, etc.)

1/3 cup date sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand mixer, mix until fully combined. Add:

3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Using a spoon, mix in the dry ingredients. This is too thick for the hand mixer. When combined, using a small cookie scoop, place scoops on the prepared baking sheet and flatten. Makes about 15 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

I do love gingerbread but I also love pumpkin. This cake doesn’t have a pronounced pumpkin taste – the ginger overwhelms it so if you want more pumpkin taste, reduce the amount of ginger you add. It’s wonderfully moist and delicious served with a vanilla frozen dessert or a non-dairy whipped cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 square or round pan (to take the entire cake out of the pan to serve, cover the baking pan with parchment paper and then grease). In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons aquafaba*

*Add 1 teaspoon aquafaba powder to 3 tablespoons hot water. Don’t have aquafaba powder or a can of chickpeas handy? Substitute 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until a flax gel forms. In a medium sized bowl (at least 3 cups) combine:

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup hot (the hotter the better) water

Mix until the molasses and honey are fairly thin. In another medium size bowl (at least 6 cups) sift together:

1 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (or nutmeg)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.

Pork Chops with Pear Sauce and Sautéed Endive

Mostly I eat chicken but occasionally I’ve have some pork and I find it difficult to find creative ways to cook it, a plain pork chop can be so boring. Here’s one I adjusted from one I found online. I added the endive which goes great with both the pork chop and the pear sauce.

First, make a batch of pear sauce (see recipe under sauces) except instead of adding the ginger, add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice (per cup of pear sauce/about 1 pear). Additionally, add about 1 tablespoon of date syrup (or 2 teaspoons of honey or agave nectar).

In a 10″ skillet, heat over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Blot dry:

2 1″ thick pork chops (or a little thinner or thicker if preferred just adjust the cooking time)

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (granulated works best). Add to the hot oil and sear on each side (about 1-2 minutes per side) then reduce heat to medium low and cook, uncovered, for about 5-6 minutes per side or until the pork is firm to the touch. Set aside and let sit off the heat for approximately 10 minutes to rest.

While the pork rests, heat in 12″ skillet over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2 medium sweet onion, dice

6-8 medium to large endive (slice off the lower stem end and then quarter)

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder then cook stirring occasionally so that the onion doesn’t burn. After about 3-4 minutes, reduce heat to medium low and cover so that the lower cores of the endive soften and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until the endive cores are softened.

If you’ve premade the pear sauce as I did, heat in a small pot until hot. Pour half the mixture (about 1/2 cup) over each pork chop. Serves 2.

Carob Chip Zucchini Bars

Grate the zucchini and put in a colander for about an hour before starting these bars to get out some of the liquid out of it or the bars will be too wet and get gummy. I weighted the grated zucchini down with a plate and a large can of tomatoes. Then blot between some paper towels. Makes 16 bars.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (or 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg)

In another medium sized bowl combine:

3/4 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce) unsweetened

3/4 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar)

1/3 cup avocado oil (or other light oil)

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini (2 small zucchini)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well with a large spoon. Stir in:

3/4 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips)

1/2 cup hemp hulls (or chopped walnuts if nuts are possible)

Pour or spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading as evenly as possible so that the batter cooks evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pan. Cool completely before cutting.