Tag Archives: oats


29 Nov

My meals have been pretty boring this week. I didn’t even make dinner last night — wasn’t hungry — so there isn’t much to share. You already saw lunch, and this has been breakfast for three days in a row:

Multi-grain hot cereal (a mix of rye, barley, oats, and wheat from Trader Joe’s) cooked with unsweetened almond milk, half a mashed banana, a pinch of salt, a little vanilla, and a hefty amount of cinnamon. After it is cooked, I top with peanut butter, the rest of the banana, and a little brown sugar. It’s perfect alongside my current favorite holiday tea, the Trader Joe’s Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea.

Yeah, that’s the closest thing to interesting food I’ve eaten this week. In fact, I’m about to eat some (free) leftover Little Caesar’s pizza, so you know I’m telling the truth.

I hope everything is more interesting in your kitchens this week!


Breakfast three ways

16 Oct

I tend to be in a breakfast rut of some kind or another, which you have definitely seen here (hello, a month or two of overnight oats). I’ve been mixing things up slightly of late, so I thought it would be fun to share three easy ways to get your mornings started off right. We have two different seasonally appropriate oats recipes and one savory pancake. Let’s start with the sweet stuff.

This week, I’m enjoying a new baked oatmeal recipe that I prefer to my old method. I present:

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (generally two large or three medium bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon liquid coconut oil, optional
  • Handful of chopped pecans, optional
  • Handful of chopped chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish or pie plate. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, spices, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and salt. Now add the banana, vanilla, milk, and coconut oil if using and stir until combined. Fold in the pecans and chocolate (I used half a square of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, chopped small, but feel free to use semisweet or chocolate chips or none, of course) if using. Spread in the prepared baking dish to fill the bottom. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top fairly evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, then place the dish under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize the sugar.

Serves 4.

This recipe is firmer and a little more cake-like than my pumpkin version, but it’s still best eaten with silverware. It isn’t overly sweet, so if you prefer a little more dolcezza in your mornings, feel free to up the sugar or drizzle a little honey or agave on your slice. I made this batch Sunday night and will eat it through Thursday morning. It reheats beautifully.

Here’s another seasonally appropriate oat recipe that serves one:

Butternut Squash Oats

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • A few pecan halves

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, and butternut squash. Heat over medium-high until it reaches a boil, then add the oats and reduce to a simmer (low on my hot stove, medium-low on a normal one). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the oats reach your desired consistency, about six minutes. Right before they’re done, add the sugar and spice (everything nice). Serve topped with pecans.

Butternut — or really any kind of sweet winter squash — is very similar to pumpkin in flavor profile, so while it isn’t a typical oatmeal add-in, it doesn’t taste out of place at all. The spices and pecans make it a warming, wonderful breakfast. Plus, it’s a great use for leftover roasted squash that is too scant for a lunch or dinner recipe.

And finally, I offer a savory take on breakfast or brunch:

Zucchini Sourdough Pancakes with Tomato Sauce

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 3 pinches of salt, divided
  • 2 drizzles of olive oil, plus more for cooking pancakes
  • 1/3 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (blended if you prefer that texture)
  • Fresh or dried oregano, to taste (I used three sprigs of fresh, but 1/2 teaspoon dried would be great, too)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced or a pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, freshly fed
  • 3/4 cup flour (I prefer white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper

Cut the ends off the zucchini and shred using a food processor if you have such fancy things or a cheese grater. Add to a bowl with one pinch of salt and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s softened. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, oregano, vinegar, pepper, and a pinch of salt and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce simmers and thickens, squeeze the moisture out of zucchini and add to a medium bowl. Combine with the sourdough starter, flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil just until mixed together. Now heat a skillet over medium or medium-low heat with a little oil. When hot, add 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls of batter to the pan, careful not to overcrowd. (I did 1/3 cups and made two batches of three pancakes each. Sprinkle pepper over the top and let cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom stops being batter.

Flip and cook another 2 minutes until set. I like to press down slightly after flipping. The pancakes are done when they firm and lightly golden.

Top with tomato sauce and eat immediately.

Serves 2.

These were a fun departure from normal pancakes, and they tasted especially delicious after my five-mile run Sunday morning. If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can also make them using your normal pancake base — just don’t add any sugar or sweet spices.

What’s your favorite breakfast recipe? Are you a savory or sweet fan? I like both, though I try not to add too much sugar to my sweeter breakfasts because then I crave it all day long. I like to use fruit to sweeten as much as I can.

This post has been linked up with In Her Chucks’ “What’s in the Box? #47”!

Two recipes

24 Jul

I made a couple of new things last week, so I wanted to share.

I started my days with a breakfast experiment:

I’m calling it an Overnight Oats Smoothie. I simply soaked raw oats in almond milk overnight and, in the morning, blended them with a frozen banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a dash of cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla extract. It was frosty and delicious, and it kept me full until lunch. Alongside it, I had my usual cup of tea (green with jasmine this time).

I followed with a lunch experiment:

This meal was a variation on Oh She Glows’ Spicy Potato ‘n Black Bean Burritos. Here’s my version:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 container cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Cumin, salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup kale, chopped or shredded
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup green salsa
  • 4 large tortillas

In a small or medium pot, add the sweet potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion reaches the desired texture. I like mine with a little brown showing, but just softened works, too. When they are almost done, add the garlic, stirring to prevent it from burning and sticking. Now add the sweet potatoes, mashing slightly if you prefer. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, nooch, and spices for about two minutes, then dump in the kale, beans, and salsa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is warm and the kale has wilted.

Serve in tortillas and add desired toppings (avocado slices, pepper sauce, more salsa, green onions, etc.). Makes 2 to 4 servings.

On Thursday, I ate half the recipe for lunch topped with pepper sauce. I started with 1/4 and was still very hungry, so I went back for seconds and was STUFFED. I used Trader Joe’s brown rice tortillas, which have the worst consistency ever. They crumble as soon as you look at them, which is why I ate the second one Ethiopian-style:

Messy but delicious. I polished off the leftovers on a different set of small tortillas, which were really tasty but decidedly not gluten-free.

Have you done any kitchen experiments lately?

Empty pantry scramble

8 Jan

My bank account is so close to empty right now that every In N Out order – and, heck, dollar in the parking meter – stings. So I decided to spend no money yesterday (which addresses my financial goal) and cook using only what we had in the fridge and cabinets (touching on my dairy-free one, since we have very little in the apartment). Here’s what I was working with:


Food cabinet. This is where I keep my beans, grains, peanut butter, oils, vinegar, and such. Eventually this will go in the pantry . . . once it has shelves.


Grapefruit and tomato (that ended up being rotten – blech) on the counter.


Spice cabinet. I also keep tea and a few random things in here. This, incidentally, is my favorite thing about the kitchen.


Fridge scariness. Normal things, plus really old takeout.


Freezer. Apparently it only contains, flours, sugar, vodka, and ice.

For breakfast, I decided to go with a classic bowl of oats:


Ugly but delicious. In the mix: Trader Joe’s hot breakfast mix (oats, barley, rye, and wheat) with peanut butter, homemade pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, a splash of coconut milk, six (yes, six) chocolate chips, and a pinch of raw sugar. ‘Twas delicious. A couple of hours later, I made Mr. X a slightly different oat combo (jam instead of PB) and we split the grapefruit.

For lunch, I was excited to use up two little zucchini (and the tomato and partial onion, but both ended up being deceased). I decided to give farinata a new twist:

It was incredible. I know I said the last one I made was the best, but this one was even better. It contained: garbanzo flour, water, garlic, nooch, oregano, zucchini, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. I sauteed the zucchini and topped the farinata with it after about a minute on the stove.

I dusted off the slow cooker (literally — the thing was pretty dirty inside) to make dinner:

Weirdly glowing barbecued lentils and rice with steamed Swiss chard. The meal contained: dry brown lentils, dry brown rice, water, garlic, a tad of zucchini, barbecue sauce, chard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. For the entree, I added half a cup of lentils, a cup of brown rice, three cloves of chopped garlic, and three cups of water to the slow cooker and set it on high for about three hours. When everything is cooked, I added a small amount of zucchini (what was left over from lunch) and about a half cup of barbecue sauce. I didn’t measure, just pouring and mixing until it coated everything well. Then I put the lid on and set it to low for another three-ish hours, when we were ready to eat. It made a lot! Probably four servings.

Just before eating, I prepared the chard: set a pan over medium-low, washed the chard, tore it, and tossed it in the pan without drying it. About a minute later, it was lightly wilted. I plated it and squeezed a little lemon juice on top, as well as salt and pepper. Yum!

While dinner simmered in the slow cooker, I decided to throw together some dessert:

PB&J Cookies! These contained: unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, oats, raw sugar, peanut butter, canola oil, water, salt, vanilla, and jam. I’ll share the whole recipe tomorrow, but I will tell you now that they are awesome!

All in all, I was really excited about the success of my experiment and plan to try the challenge again soon. Not next Saturday, though, since we’ll be celebrating our anniversary. 🙂

Failures and successes

30 May

I don’t document many kitchen failures on this blog. Truthfully I don’t make a lot of terribly risky things, so that’s part of the reason. However, so as not to be disingenuous, today’s post will spotlight two not-so-successful endeavors of the past week. The first:

Um, yeah. Yummy? Blech. This was a certifiable vegan overnight oats failure. I mixed 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of water, and a few frozen blueberries into a tupperware container in the fridge overnight, assuming they would absorb all the liquid. Yeah, not so much. Instead, my bowl was filled with soggy, liquidy oats. Not appetizing. This was Monday morning, and I showed you in my last post the oatmeal I made my lazy way. That night, I made stab number two at overnight oats, which was far, far more successful:

I combined 1/2 cup of oats with 3/4 cup of homemade almond milk and half a mashed banana. Oh, and blueberries again. The result was still a little liquidy, but it was delicious. At work, I topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter and a splash of coconut milk creamer.

So tasty and soothing. I highly recommend.

Another failure was my lunches for the week. I thought a little snack plate featuring lettuce wraps would be fun:

Looks pretty enough, right? It was a fail, pure and simple. Clockwise from top left, you have lettuce from the farmers market, white bean spread, sugar snap peas from the farmers market, chopped pepitas, and Chipotle Brown Rice. The bean dip is based on the White Bean Aioli from Veganomicon, and it’s just not that tasty. I wanted to like it: navy beans, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice — what’s not to like? There’s just something off about it. Maybe it was too thin? Here’s it wrapped up:

I think I failed at bringing enough food, too. That’s why I included some of the rice intended for book club. Speaking of the rice, book club was cancelled due to the threat of imminent death (i.e. scary tornado warnings following the Joplin disaster), so the rice is ours. Woo hoo! It came out crazy spicy, but I love it. Here’s how you make it. The chipotle sauce is borrowed heavily from Veganomicon, by the way.

Chipotle Brown Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the peppers
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cook the rice the way you like. I’m lazy and use a rice cooker. When rice is done, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee, stirring frequently, until both have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir for about 30 seconds. It’ll smell incredible.
Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Then puree it in a blender, food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender (my method of choice). When fairly smooth — a few chunks are fine — mix into the brown rice, stirring well. Adjust for salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.
This was delicious on its own. My favorite, though, was topped with some of X’s Spicy Portobello Chili and nutritional yeast.
Spicy, savory heaven.