Morning Baked Oatmeal

About a year and half ago, I tasted a baked oatmeal dish made by a friend. It was the first time I had ever had a baked oatmeal breakfast, and it was so good I knew I had to try to make it myself! From the original recipe (which called for about ¾ cup of sugar, 2 eggs and cup of cow’s milk), I’ve since experimented and made some changes to reduce its sugar content and make it fully plant-based, while keeping it delicious, super-satisfying and filling. I’ve even added in some cooked red lentils to make it more nutrient dense, but you can leave this out if you don’t have it readily available in your home. This is now a recipe that is a family favorite which we make frequently in our household. As you can see, it is very versatile and you can really customize it to make it special for your family!

Morning Baked Oatmeal  

Recipe by: DietitianMom
Prep Time: 20 min
Bake Time: 30 min

Base Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil (any kind!)
  • 1 flax egg
  • 3 cups rolled or quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup fortified plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar (adjust as desired)
  • ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup of cooked lentils (drained well of liquid)

Then choose your additions (whatever you fancy!):

  • ¼ -1/2 cup of fresh/frozen berries
  • Other fresh fruit like mashed banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, diced pears or apricots
  • ¼ cup of other dried fruit like chopped dates, apricots, currants, chopped dates, figs, cranberries or prunes
  • ½ cup of chopped walnuts/pecans or other nuts like cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, almonds or hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C
  2. Rinse a half cup of red lentils with water in a small pot. Drain the excess water, then refill the pot with about 2 cups of water. Heat on medium stove fire setting until pot contents are on a gentle boil. Turn down the fire and let cook with a gentle bubbling boil for about 10-15 minutes. Drain the cooked lentils well and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Prepare the flax egg: mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water in a cup. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before whisking the mixture quickly for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix all the base ingredients together (either the night before or the day of – see below) and then add in at least 3-4 additional optional ingredients from the list!
  5. Bake in an 8 x 8 pan for 30 minutes. Remove immediately and let cool slightly before serving.
  6. Portion into serving bowls. Eat the baked oatmeal by itself, or with a ½ cup of fortified plant-based milk poured over it, like a cold cereal!

Add a little bit more fortified plant-based milk if you need to before baking, if it is looking very dry. I usually combine all the ingredients together the night before and let it sit in the fridge (this helps to soften the oats and also makes breakfast the next morning easier!). Then in the morning, when I’m preheating the oven, I just add in fresh chopped fruit to the mixture before baking it. That way, breakfast is ready in just about 30-40 minutes in the morning! The extras (if there is any left!) freeze really well too in a covered container, so you could double the recipe and make more to freeze some for later. My kids absolutely love this dish!

Additional Notes:

Timing – Don’t let the baked oatmeal overcook. Take it out exactly after 30 minutes, so the mixture won’t get too dry!

Sweetness factor – You can adjust the sweetness level according to your taste, and experiment using honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or chopped dates instead of the brown sugar. In general though, the more fresh, frozen or dried fruit you throw into the mixture, the more the natural sweetness of the dish will pop out and the less sugar you will need to add.

What I actually usually do is just put in 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in the mixture, add lots of dried and fresh fruit, then after it has come out of the oven I sprinkle over the top a teaspoon of brown sugar to make a very thin ‘fairy dust’ coating. The sweetness factor is just right for our family then! You could also drizzle a small amount of maple syrup over the top if you like instead before serving.

This recipe is egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free, so it’s suitable for those with allergies. I love the fact that I can just literally throw whatever I have available in the kitchen (within reason) into the recipe and it will still taste delicious. So go ahead and throw in those bananas slices, fresh or frozen or dried fruit, berries, nuts, chia seeds and ground flaxmeal. It’s really hard to go wrong!

(Source: Inspired by a recipe from Shauna Lammiman. I am grateful to her and my friend Anne for sharing the original recipe with me!)

 

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Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties

Here’s another easy to make plant-based, vegan recipe that packs a lot of nutrition for growing toddlers & everyone else in the family–Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties! Serve these as finger foods alongside cut up bits of fruits and vegetables, or dress these patties up by cutting pieces of bread into quarters and sandwiching the patties to make little sandwiches! Adding sweet potato into the recipe gives the patties a nice moistness. Once again, these patties freeze and thaw relatively well, so get out the ingredients below and make them for your next meal!

Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties 

Recipe by: Anna @ DietitianMom
Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 30-40 min (if baking)
Makes 10 patties (2.5 inches in diameter each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh kale (or spinach)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs + additional breadcrumbs for coating
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if needed for pan-frying)

Directions:

  1. If planning to bake these patties, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Make the flax egg: simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a container. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then whisk it quickly for 2-3 minutes before using.
  3. Wash and scrub the skin of a small sweet potato thoroughly, then pierce the sweet potato with a fork a few times. Cook it in the microwave in a covered dish for 3 minutes. Let it cool, before peeling off the skin and cutting the sweet potato into rough chunks. Put this into the food processor.
  4. Add into the food processor bowl the black beans, chopped kale, flax egg, paprika, oregano, fresh minced garlic or garlic powder, diced onions and pepper. Pulse a few times, stopping to scrap down the sides of the food processor, until the mixture thickens and can be molded. Don’t worry if the mixture is looking a little dry – it will still mold together nicely.
  5. Empty out the food processor contents into a large mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs and combine together. Taste the mixture and add salt if desired. 
  6. Using your hands hands, form the bean, kale and sweet potato mixture into patties. Dust both sides lightly with bread crumbs.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, well-seasoned skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the patties and cook on the first side for 5 minutes. Turn over carefully and cook 3-4 minutes longer, until browned.
  8. Alternatively, form all patties, coat with bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes on each side (flipping over once). Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before enjoying.

If you are using home cooked black beans, the amount needed would be about 10 ounces (or 300 grams) in weight. Salt may not need to be added if the canned beans used already have salt as an ingredient. If you are planning to serve this to a child under 1 year of age, make some mini patties first before adding salt to the rest of the mixture. Letting the patties sit out to cool down after baking also helps the patties to harden. Want a gluten-free version? Use cornmeal instead of the bread crumbs in the black bean mixture and also for coating. Adjust the size of the patties for adults and children in the family if desired. Enjoy!

blackbeanpattyvertical

Curry Chickpea Burger Patties

chickpea patty recipeWant something the whole family can enjoy? Try these Curry Chickpea Burger Patties.  They are  vegan, egg-free and dairy-free, and super easy to make and cook. The patties even freeze (and thaw out) well. And the best part? It’s toddler & child approved!

Curry Chickpea Burger Patties

Recipe by: Anna @ DietitianMom 
Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 30-40 min (if baking)
Makes 10 patties (2.5 inches in diameter each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 ounce or 540 mL) can of garbanzo beans (unsalted if possible), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 flax egg
  • ¼ cup of panko bread crumbs/regular bread crumbs + extra bread crumbs for coating
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder)
  • 1 and 1/2  teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt if desired
  • Olive oil for frying, if needed

Directions:  

  1. If planning to bake these patties, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until caramelized (this helps to bring out the overall flavor of the patties but you can skip this step if you’re pressed for time!)
  3. Make the flax egg: simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a container. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then whisk it quickly for 2-3 minutes before using.
  4. Place the drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, ¼ cup panko/regular bread crumbs, caramelized onions (or raw chopped onions and olive oil), flax egg, parsley, curry powder, chopped garlic or garlic powder, lemon juice, onion and black pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times, stopping to scrap down the sides of the food processor, until the mixture thickens and can be molded. Don’t worry if the mixture is looking a little dry – it will still mold together nicely.
  5. Roll mixture into the size of a ping pong balls; place these on a plate.
  6. Press into patties and coat lightly with bread crumbs.
  7. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pan-fry the patties until crispy, about 3 minutes on each side.
  8. Alternatively, form all patties, coat with bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes on each side (flipping over once). Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before enjoying.

If you are using home cooked chickpeas, the amount needed would be about 13 ounces (or 385 grams) in weight. Salt may not need to be added if the canned beans used already have salt as an ingredient. If you are planning to serve this to a child under 1 year of age, make some mini patties first before adding salt to the rest of the mixture. Letting the patties sit out to cool down after baking also helps the patties to harden. Make these patties into smaller sizes if desired for little fingers to enjoy. You can roll these into cute petite falafel balls! 

Simple Kale ‘Chips’ Recipe

DSC08680First, what is kale and why eat it? Kale is a dark leafy green packed with important nutrients like vitamins, fiber, calcium, antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Kale can be served in many different ways (see post The Wonders of Kale), but one way that may become a fast favorite in your household is to turn kale into ‘chips’! So how do you make them? Very simply! Here’s how:

All you need: A raw bunch of kale, olive oil and seasonings as desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325oF (or 170oC)
  2. Wash and pat dry 1 bunch of fresh kale.
  3. Cut (or simply hand tear) the leaves off the thick stems/ribs and into bite sized pieces.
  4. Put in a bowl, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil (at least 2 tablespoons to half a bunch of kale), then toss so that all the pieces are well coated.
  5. Put parchment/wax/baking paper on 1-2 baking sheets, then spread the pieces on evenly.
  6. Bake for 10-15 min, then turn the pieces over. Bake another 10-15 min or until the pieces are crisp, but not overly brown.
  7. Season and enjoy! Once cooled, keep in an airtight container and these ‘chips’ will stay crisp for up to 3-4 days!

If you like, you can sprinkle on a bit of salt or garlic salt once the chips are done. However, here are a few other simple but great tasting seasonings you can use for your family:
Vegan mozzarella or cheddar ‘cheese’ shreds
Rosemary
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Paprika (or cayenne pepper)
Pepper
Feel free to experiment and try a combination of seasonings. My favorite so far is rosemary and parmesan cheese with a touch of garlic/onion powder. Yum! And the taste? My husband says the kale chips taste a bit like Japanese seaweed because they are so crisp and papery thin!

Don’t want to make your own? I know that Trader Joe’s sells a small bag (2 ounces or 57 grams) of kale chips for approximately US $3.99. It has a long list of ingredients though: kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, carrot powder, red bell pepper powder, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, salt, garlic powder, chipotle powder. Not only is this relatively expensive (a bunch of raw kale costs only about US $1 and there is also the precut washed version for about a dollar more), this product may not be suitable for someone with particular food allergies like to nuts or seeds. And personally, I don’t think you need so many seasonings to make great tasting chips!

Whether your child normally likes vegetables or not, this is sure to be a winner for him/her and probably the rest of the family! By the way, you can bake and turn the leaves of other vegetables like swiss chard, beets, turnip greens or radish leaves into crunchy ‘chip’ snacks too!