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.

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

I’ve often said on this blog that I’ve been searching for a bread recipe that doesn’t turn out like a brick or is gummy. That’s very difficult when eggs aren’t included in the recipe. Flax gel and other egg substitutes just don’t seem to work well in breads. I may, however, have finally found the answer. Here’s a bread recipe that I’ve just made, raises very nicely, is very easy to make, even with the yeast. It’s really not that difficult to use yeast, the correct temperature to activate yeast is between 98 and 101 degrees so lukewarm like baby formula. And it tastes delicious!

Grease an 8×4″ loaf pan. In a 2-cup bowl, heat in the microwave for 40-45 seconds:

1 cup non-dairy milk

When you take it out, stir it a little then test it with your finger or put a drop on your wrist. It should be lukewarm, your body temperature so if you put a drop on your wrist, it shouldn’t feel hot or cold. If it feels cool, put it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds more. If it feels too hot, stir with a metal spoon and whisk in:

2 teaspoons date sugar

This should help cool it down but test it again. If it already feels lukewarm on your wrist go ahead and add the date sugar along with:

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10-15 minutes. If your yeast/milk mixture doesn’t start bubbling (foaming) in the first 5 minutes, it’s no good, throw it out and start again.

While the yeast works, in a large bowl combine:

1 cup millet flour

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/2 cup tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup whole millet (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine, leaving a pit in the middle of the dry ingredients. In a small bowl combine:

5 tablespoons ground chia seeds

1 cup warm water (again test on your wrist for lukewarm)

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons vinegar

Let sit for a couple of minutes (3 or 4). Add to the dry ingredients and then add:

the yeast mixture

the chia mixture

Stir to combine wet and dry ingredients but be careful not to overmix or your bread will be tough. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan, pushing down the dough to release any air bubbles and gaps along the sides of the pan. Set in a warm place for 40-50 minutes or until dough reaches the top of the loaf pan.* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 60 minutes. Remove and cool completely (3-4 hours at least) before cutting.

*I brushed the top of the loaf with avocado oil so that the top didn’t get dried out while rising. When I removed it from the oven, I brushed it again with the oil to soften the top crust which likes to crumble with this bread.

Easy No-Bake Carob Quinoa Bites

If you’re looking for a delicious, easy to make snack, this just might work for you. It’s very easy to put together and has a wide variety of possible flavors. I made carob bites but mocha, coffee, vanilla, pumpkin, etc., etc., etc., would work. It’s very easy to do.

First, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup cooked quinoa (I packed my 1 cup measure like one would brown sugar)*

1/4 cup carob powder (or other powder of choice, see variations below)

1/4 cup date syrup (agave, coconut, maple or honey all would work depending on the flavor desired)

1/4 cup seed or nut butter (again can vary depending on flavor)

1 tablespoon whole chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the above together until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop (mine was 1 tablespoon), scoop out the mixture and drop on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 1-3 hours depending on size. My 1 tablespoon scoop produced 24 bites and they froze within 1 hour.

*Quinoa is very quick and easy to cook. For this recipe combine 1/2 cup quinoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until water is gone and quinoa is translucent.

VARIATIONS:

COFFEE: Use 1/4 cup instant coffee and delete the vanilla extract, add coffee extract or a little water if mixture is too tight

MOCHA: Use 2 tablespoons instant coffee and 2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa if possible)

PUMPKIN: Use 1/4 cup pumpkin flavored protein powder (not pumpkin seed protein powder which has no taste)

VANILLA: Use 1/4 cup plain or vanilla protein powder; I would suggest using white quinoa and white chia seeds for vanilla as well as agave nectar

ALMOND: Use 1/4 cup almond butter, a 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and plain protein powder

MAPLE: Would probably work best with 1/4 cup maple syrup, maple extract instead of vanilla and the mildest of butters, perhaps tahini or cashew with plain or maple flavored protein powder

Use your imagination! As many combinations as we can think of would be possible for these bites.

Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal. After looking though dozens of oatmeal cookie recipes, this one came out first in the ones I thought sounded really delicious and easily converted to allergen free. With a food processor, it was very easy to put together and turned out delicious! As with many cookie recipes that are allergen free, these should be flattened before baking and bake a little longer than most cookies.

In a small pot, bring to a boil:

12 ounces of dates with sufficient water to cover them

Once they come to the boil, remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, put into a food processor:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds

Blend until the seeds are well ground but not turning into butter, larger chunks are okay. In a medium bowl, blend:

2 cups quick cooking organic gluten-free oatmeal

the ground seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Place the cooled dates into the food processor along with:

2 cups cooked pumpkin or sweet potato or a 15 ounce can of pumpkin or sweet potato puree

1/2 cup of the date boiling liquid (or if a fruity flavor is desired, 1/2 cup of any fruit juice)

Blend until smooth. Add the date/pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and blend until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Let the dough sit for 15-20 minutes so that the oats and chia seeds can absorb some of the moisture in the dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-3 medium cookie sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is ready, scoop by tablespoon onto the baking sheets and flatten the cookies with the back of a wet spoon. Depending on how it’s measured, the dough should make 2 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.* Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes depending on size and thickness or until the outside of the cookie is golden brown. I found getting the cookies as thin as possible leads to a cookie that is browned and crispy around the outside and chewy on the inside. Cool on baking sheets and then store in air tight container.

*I actually used about 2 tablespoons per cookie and the dough made 29 cookies.

Baked Chicken Breasts (dairy-free, gluten-free)

I eat a lot of chicken since I’m allergic to anything that comes from a cow as well as most other red meats.  So I’m always trying out new chicken recipes and this is an old recipe I found while digging around for blog posts in my old cookbooks and files.  It originally used almond flour and nut butter but I’ve updated it and removed those ingredients and added several healthier options.  It can be served with some cranberry sauce (see Cranberry Compote).  Be careful with the baking times — its a very moist breast due to the marinade but will dry out around the edges if cooked too long.  Its difficult to tell when its cooked just by looking at this chicken; take it out of the oven and check it for firmness to be sure its cooked.  Depending on how thin the breasts are pounded will vary the cooking time.  Mine were around a 1/2 inch and I cooked them 35 minutes which turned out to be about 5 minutes too long since they were a little dry around the edges.

This recipe serves 4 using two whole (versus half) chicken breasts.  Place a breast in a gallon storage bag.  With either a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer (flat edged), pound out breast until its about a half inch thick.  Repeat for the second breast.

Spray a shallow 10″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Add the flattened breasts.  In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pour over chicken breasts.  Turn over the breasts several times to be sure that all parts of the breasts have some marinade on them.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a second shallow dish (like a large pie plate), combine:

  • 1/4 cup ground flax/hemp mix
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir to combine.  Press a chicken breast into the mixture to cover.  Turn it over to coat the other side and don’t forget the edges.  Repeat with the second breast.  Place in a greased baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on thickness (for 1/2 inch breasts; for thicker breasts increase slightly).  Serve plain or with cranberry sauce.  I paired mine with the celery root and parsnip mash (see Side Dishes) which is now one of my favorite sides — can’t tell you the last time I ate a potato!

Sugar Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free, vegan)

My son’s favorite Christmas cookie is a decorated sugar cookie.  I haven’t been able to make him any in years but this year will be different (of course I have to find my cookie cutters first!).  This cookie comes out crispy and full of flavor.  My husband says the consistence was a little powdery but making sure the cookies are a little thicker and don’t get too brown took care of that problem.  Makes 2 dozen cookies (approximately).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl whisk together:

  • 1/3 cup agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk such as hemp or soy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Let sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a food processor blend:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Blend just until mixed.  Blend in:

  • 1/2 cup shortening such as Spectrum or solid coconut oil, a tablespoon at a time

When combined and mixture is crumbly, add the liquid and blend until well mixed.  Be sure to stir the mixture so that any flour on the bottom of the processor gets blended as well.  For drop cookies, drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets either lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Flatten with your palm or a lightly oiled or silicone spatula.  If rolled cookies are desired, drop the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, place another sheet on top, flatten and wrap.  Refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out and baking.  Bake between 10 and 15 minutes depending on how thin the cookies are or how large.

Orange Sugar Cookies:  Substitute orange juice for the milk and add grated rind of one orange to the dry ingredients.  I also added 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, delicious!

Strawberry Sugar Cookies:  Reduce brown rice and millet flours to 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup ground dried strawberries.

Savory or Sweet Seed Crackers (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free)

Sometimes the best comfort food is something small, quick and within reach.  These seed crackers fit that need for me since I can’t have anything pre-made like store-bought cookies or crackers.  The savory crackers go well with hummus, guacamole, or other dips and even with some non-dairy cheeses.  The sweet ones are tasty by themselves or with some hemp cream.  And with both of them, you can vary the herbs and seasonings to fit your taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the savory or sweet crackers, put in your food processor:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water

Process until blended and the rice is broken down, adding small amounts of water as needed.  The amount of water used will depend on the moisture in your rice and quinoa. The mixture should have a dough consistency.  Remove half from the processor and form into a ball.  Make a hollow in them middle and add herbs such as:

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Need herbs into the dough.  Place dough on a piece of greased parchment the size of your baking tray (preferably one without sides so you can slide the rolled out dough onto the sheet easily, before and after baking.  Place a second greased parchment sheet on top and using a rolling pin or heavy can, roll out dough until very thin.  The thinner you can make it, the crispier the crackers after baking.  Place on baking sheet, remove top layer of parchment and bake 20-25 minutes.  Remove from over, flip over (this is always difficult for me and I usually end up with some of the dough underneath so I have to pull it open again but if you’ve cooked it long enough, this is easily accomplished), and cut into cracker sized squares.  Put back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crackers are crispy and browned on the edges.  If you have some that are thinner than others (usually the middle of my crackers are slightly thicker), remove the thinner ones and continue cooking the thicker ones until they are dry and crispy.

For the sweet crackers, you should have left half the dough in the food processor.  Return the bowl to the processor and add:

  • 2 tablespoons carob or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hulls

Process until well mixed; you shouldn’t need to add more water but if you do, add it by tablespoons being careful not to get mixture too wet.  Remove from processor, and follow rolling and baking directions above.

 

“Healthy” Chicken Tenders (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free)

My husband has always been a big fan of the deep-fried, breaded chicken tenders while I didn’t find them that appetizing.  They always seemed so tough and stringy to me.  These chicken tenders are as far away from that as you can get; delicious and healthy!

Place 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders in a bowl and cover with your favorite milk.  Let sit while you make the breading. Preheat oven to 400 degrees if using a conventional oven.  My Cuisinart convection/air fry oven does a beautiful job making these crispy while keeping them fat free.  And they came out so tender, juicy, while remaining crunchy on the outside.

Mix

  • 1/3 cup ground golden flax
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (make sure they don’t have any sugar in them)
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (I used approximately a 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Prepare an 8×10″ or 9×11″ baking dish by spraying with a non-stick spray.

Dip each chicken tender into the coating mix and place in the prepared pan.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until chicken feels firm when pressed and coating is a golden brown.  In my Cuisinart, I air fried them for 6-7 minutes and then turned them over for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce; honey mustard or marinara.

Honey mustard dipping sauce:  whisk together 1/4 cup of your favorite mustard with 3 tablespoons of honey (or agave or coconut nectar).