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.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.

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.

Chicken Vindaloo-Style

I was looking through the CHICKEN BIBLE this morning seeking a new, different chicken recipe for the chicken thighs I took out of the freezer and found this one. It was fairly easy to make allergy-free. A relatively easy stew to put together, slightly spicy, vindaloo is a mix of Indian and Portuguese styles. Very flavorful, this dish serves 4.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an ovenproof Dutch oven heat over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 1/2 pounds diced chicken thighs

Sprinkle chicken with:

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Let the chicken brown for 2-3 minutes before turning and cooking another few minutes until well browned. Remove to a bowl. Add to the pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 medium onions, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add:

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cardamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Stir to combine and cook for a minute to cook out the flour. Add:

3/4 cup chicken stock

Stir to combine. Add the chicken back into the pot and then add:

6 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms

1 small can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons diced dates (or 2 teaspoons date sugar)

Stir to combine, cover and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice.

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.

Chicken Canzanese

When I first say the listing for Chicken Canzanese in the chicken bible, I thought it was a Chinese dish but turns out it’s a very old Italian recipe. I’ve resized and revamped it for those of us with allergies. It originally made eight servings so I’ve reduced it to 4. I’ve also changed the white wine in the original to chicken stock plus a touch of rice vinegar and honey. Since I’m used to using dried herbs rather than fresh, I’ve also reflected that change in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an ovenproof skillet (about 10-12 inches), heat over medium high heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil

Add:

1 ounce prosciutto cut into 1/4 inch cubes*

Cook, stirring frequently, until just starting to brown. Add:

3 teaspoons chopped garlic

Cook, stirring often, until garlic just starts to brown. Transfer the prosciutto and garlic to a small bowl. Dry with paper towels:

4-5 chicken thighs, skin on

Dust them with pepper to taste (no salt is necessary in this recipe because of the salt in the prosciutto. Replace the skillet on the heat and add:

1 teaspoon olive oil

the 4-5 chicken thighs, skin side down

Cook until well browned on the first side (about 5 minutes) then turn over and brown on the meat side, reducing heat to medium (about 5 more minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoon of the oil from the skillet (the chicken will release quite a bit of fat). Add to the skillet over medium heat:

2 tablespoon all purpose gluten-free flour

Whisk to combine and let the flour cook for about 30 seconds while whisking before adding:

2 cups of chicken stock

drizzle of rice vinegar (about 1/4 teaspoon)

drizzle of honey (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (depending on your taste)

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

dash (1/8 teaspoon) ground cloves (or add 2 whole cloves – just remember to remove them before serving)

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional depending on your taste)

Whisk to combine and cook until slightly thickened. Add the prosciutto, garlic, and chicken (skin side up) to the skillet, nestling the chicken into the sauce. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After about 15 minutes check and see if the sauce is bubbling; if it is reduce oven temperature to 300 and cook until chicken is tender. Sauce should have thickened but if it’s still thin, remove the chicken from the sauce (move to a plate and cover) and cook the sauce on the stovetop for a few minutes until reduced to approximately 1 1/2 cups. Remove from the heat and whisk in:

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Stir to combine and then pour the sauce around the chicken. Remove the bay leaves (and whole cloves if used) before serving. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

*Prosciutto can become tough if fried when very thinly sliced so it’s recommended that a 1/4″ piece be used to cut “chunks” for this recipe. However, my deli wasn’t able to provide a “slab” of prosciutto because of shortages now due to the pandemic so I used the thinly sliced prepackaged prosciutto instead. Seemed to work alright but I simply chopped it into larger pieces than 1/4″.

Pumpkin Pie

My daughter-in-law loves pumpkin, anything pumpkin. I made a dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake for her one of the first times I met her. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a pumpkin pie without eggs. I finally found a recipe I could adapt and it’s sooooooooo good! Creamy just like the original, all those warm spices. If you don’t like maple syrup or don’t want that prominent flavor in the pie, feel free to substitute agave or coconut nectar, or even honey, or a mixture of sweeteners. I find that maple syrup compliments pumpkin (and sweet potato) very nicely. I also found 1/2 too sweet for my taste but perfect for my daughter-in-law and son.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using a pre-formed gluten-free pie crust (frozen), be sure to take it out of the freezer before you start mixing the filling so it can thaw. If making pie crust (see recipe under desserts), only one crust is needed.

Filling:

1 15ounce can of pumpkin puree (or sweet potato)

1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup depending on the sweetness level desired

1 cup non-dairy milk (NOT SOY)

1 tablespoon avocado oil (can be skipped if want fat free)

2 tablespoons corn starch (or arrowroot)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or add individual spices: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)

Whisk until well mixed, it will be thin. Pour into prepared pie crust, place on a baking sheet slightly bigger than the pie plate, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until center of the pie doesn’t wiggle when moved. (I baked mine for 55 minutes, turned off the oven and left the pie in it for 15 minutes before removing.) Refrigerate until cold before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

TIP: To avoid cracking of the pie, keep out of drafts while it cools and do not refrigerate until mostly cooled. DO NOT COVER until completely cooled.

TIP: For a slightly firmer pie, reduce the milk to 3/4 cup and don’t add the oil.