Hello my fine friends! Happy 2019 to you. How’s the weather where you’re at? Here in Wisco, after a long weird warm spell, we have returned to our regularly scheduled January-in-the-midwest programming, with highs in the teens and twenties. I woke up this morning wanting something warm and comforting, and birthed this easy, delicious, Vegan Sweet Potato & Apple Baked Oatmeal out of my oven.
Baked oatmeal is a favorite comfort food of mine. I used to love the hot stepping bowls of Baked Oatmeal at Alterra (RIP) in Milwaukee. I’ll spare you my opinions on the current state of the now-Collectivo chain, and delve into the details behind this luscious, wholesome version of baked oatmeal you can easily make at home.
This Vegan Sweet Potato & Apple Baked Oatmeal starts with rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill, but any will do). From there, mashed sweet potato (I used canned Organic pureed sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin would also work) adds an umami depth and richness, complimented with a healthy, hefty dose of cinnamon.
I sweeten the deal with a shredded apple and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup. Baking powder brings the fluffiness, salt provides some balance, and nuts add both crunch and lasting satiety.
Hello friends! Quick disclaimer: I came up with this recipe in summer and wanted to ‘save it’ for pumpkin season, but re-take better photos. Photos never happened, but here’s the recipe regardless, with a few mediocre pics! I still wanted to share the recipe, because these easy and scrumptious homemade pumpkin peanut butter granola bars are worth whipping up.
Now, if you’re not into pumpkin spice, fear not. These are not pumpkin spice-y. In fact, the pumpkin flavor is pretty subtle.
Rather than act as the main showboat of the recipe, pumpkin acts as a binder for these granola bars and ensures they stay nice and moist and chewy (the way granola bars should be, in my opinion).
When paired with your favorite nut butter (I used peanut, but use whatever suits your fancy), a splash of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of salt, you’ve got a satisfying, sweet-and-savory way to mix up your snack game.
These are made with a secret ingredient – chickpeas! Now, before you abandon this post convinced I’ve gone mad, I promise you can’t really taste them. This is not a sweetened hummus bar (though I’d probably be down to eat that too). This is a neutral-based soft baked bar that is packed with protein, fiber, and flavor.
I’ve done the whole bean-based cookie dough thing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Only recently did I think “hey, maybe this will taste good baked!” So here we are.
For years and years, I’ve wanted to make pistachio butter.
Honestly. This idea has been on my mind since probably 2010. As a nut butter lover, I’ve always wanted to make pistachio butter, which is noticeably lacking from most grocery stores. And when you do find it, it’s noticeably much more expensive than most other nut butters.
So I’ve wanted to DIY pistachio butter since my undergrad days. Why did I never pull the trigger, you ask? Well, probably because I only had a $12 Food Network brand mini food processor and a very dull blender inherited from grandmother to work with.
Sometimes I think I could live off of potatoes and bananas and things to dip them in. Seriously. I eat both pretty much every day and never tire of them. The best.
One of my favorite ways to eat bananas is sliced up, topped with cinnamon, hemp hearts, oodles of nut butter, and/or granola. My sister coined this creation “banachos” and the name just stuck (at least in our circle).
This is less of a recipe and more of an idea. I want you to make banachos with whatever you like to eat bananas with.
Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.
Perhaps it’s a combination of stress of an 18-credit graduate school load, figuring out my summer practicum, some pressing family issues, or the mundaneness I sometimes feel after working on something (whether it be school work, work work, projects, or applications for practicums) from morning til evening with little relief.
Once I cross one thing off my list, it seems, 6 more pop up.
But today, I was back on the grind. And today, comfort came in the form of Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars.
I love a sweet but not-too-sweet breakfasty nibble, filled with oats, nut butters, and sometimes fruit to snack on in the afternoon with tea and to have to pack for snacks during the school week.
I wanted something with a soft bottom, a yummy fruity center, and a scrumptious oatmeal crumb topping. Crumb toppings are one life’s finest pleasures, as far as I’m concerned.
I was trying to decide what to bake when I remembered the clearance frozen strawberries I purchased at the store yesterday, and the idea for a Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Bar with an oatmeal crumb topping came to me. And just like that, I knew I had to make some.
Don’t you love it when you turn on the oven, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, hope for the best, and the result turns out amazing? Same here. And that’s exactly what happened with these Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies today.
So this blog post is rather spontaneous. To be honest I’m in the middle of a few others that are more intensive in terms of scope and research required (think nutrition and sustainability).
But I’ve done so much grueling brain-sucking work this weekend I decided to take a break and make some cookie muffin things and they turned out so yummy I decided I’m extend said break by snapping a few phone photos (I need to get out my real camera…I’ve just been so damn busy the past few weeks) and toss them (figuratively) on the blog.
The plus of spending so much time on the grind this weekend for work/school is that I suppose I learned a lot. Including that school is hard, I have a lot of self-reflection to do with professional development/relationships, having a working kitchen is very therapeutic to my existance and that people definitely notice dog hair in jam photos. Oops.
I love me a PB&J. Or an almond butter and J. Both are wonderful. And something I feel I appreciate more as an adult than as a child. Anyone else? Okay, maybe just me.
While I’m a nut butter fiend, I also appreciate a scrumptious jam or jelly. The issue, I find, with many at the store is that they’re so darn sweet.
I’m all about desserts, but when it comes to breakfast foods like yogurt, jams, and oatmeals, I’m very turned off but overly sweet things. Hence, I seek out sweetened-with-only-fruit jams (Crofter’s Organic is my favorite brand, and Trader Joe’s has some good options, as well) or I make my own homemade chia jam.
Chia seed jam is the easiest thing ever. All you do is add chopped up fruit, chia seeds, and a hint of lemon juice if you’re feeling fancy. If you want to up the sweetness factor, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of sugar, honey, or syrup.
Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.
Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.
Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.
The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.
It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.
A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.
Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.
I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).
If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.
Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.
Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.
Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.
I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.
2 cups oat flour (can make with 2 cups rolled oats processed in a food processor or blender until fine powder forms)
Note: I also made these with 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup spelt flour. This was also wonderful!
1/4 cup ground flax (can sub chia seeds)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can sub canola)
1 cup almond or soy milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, left to sit for at least 10 minutes
1/2 cup apple sauce or 1/2 mashed banana
1/2 cup – 1 cup brown sugar (depending on level of desired sweetness); can also sup 1/3rd-1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a cup or bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle, at least 10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together well.
4. Add apple sauce, melted coconut oil, sugar and/or maple syrup, almond milk + vinegar mixture to bowl with flour. Mix gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
5. Grease or line a 12-tin muffin tray. Fill each spot about 3/4ths of the way full with muffin batter. Place into the oven for 25-35 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool (or don’t) and enjoy. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days, and/or freeze.