Friday, November 29, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oats

You might know by now, based on my recent posts, that I have a bit of a problem (read: addiction) to baked oats.  I have to say, though, that with all the things out there in the universe that I can be addicted to, baked oats is probably a good thing.  Benefits:  it keeps my blood sugar stable for hours, it fuels my workouts and my busy days and I feel like I'm eating a treat most days (mini non-dairy chocolate chips...a tablespoon is like heaven.)

These Pumpkin Pie Baked Oats are one of the best I've ever made.  Seriously.  And, because I didn't make pumpkin pie yesterday for Thanksgiving, these totally filled that sad, little hole in my heart.  The best part - they are super easy to make!

1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats, pulsed in food processor (I use Trader Joe's)
3/4 to 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3T pumpkin puree (I used organic) *not pumpkin pie filling*
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1T mini non-dairy chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pulse the oats in a food processor to grind them down a bit, but not too much.  I do larger batches of this each week and store it in an airtight container in my fridge so that I can alleviate this step each time I make oats during the week.  In a bowl mix the oats and coconut milk. Add the spices and stir.  Last, add the pumpkin puree to combine.  Transfer to an oven-safe crock or bowl and bake for 25 minutes.

This was such a nice treat and didn't feel like a breakfast at all.  Win!  Try it - it's REALLY good!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Baked Oats, Oh My!

Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Baked Oats
Here's another recipe for my Baked Oats!  I made it a little differently today so I thought I'd share what I did with the oats before I mixed & baked them.

~ 1/2 cup gluten free oats
~ 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
~ dash cinnamon
~ pinch Himalayan sea salt
~ 1T chia seeds
~ 3/4 small banana
~ 1.5T peanut butter
~ 1.5T mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except banana & peanut butter in a bowl.  Pour into an oven safe bowl.  Slice the banana and layer the slices into the oat mixture.  Add the dollop of peanut butter right in the middle of the mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Let cool for about ten minutes before eating.

I like my oats to be somewhat smooth, so I ground them in the food processor.  I do this in big batches (maybe 3-4 cups) and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.   Pulsing the oats in the food processor doesn't make them into a flour (although it's easy to grind them into a flour for something like a mug cake) but rather gives a finer texture in the baked oats when they're ready to eat.

My favorite brand of gluten free rolled oats

Here's what the oats look like in the bag

Here's the oats after pulsing in the food processor

12 Days of Kindness in December

When I asked people on my Fit & Healthy Family Facebook page what they might like to see in my December Newsletter, I loved the response I received!  One of the suggestions, by my good friend Lauren, was to do a 12 Days/Acts of Kindness (like the 12 Days of Christmas).  

This resonated with me because I am always posting and sharing about the benefit of Random Acts of Kindness both by the recipients, but also by the people performing the acts.  Doing good deeds - genuinely, from the heart - for people has been proven to reduce stress, alleviate depression, improve energy and happiness and can also positively impact fitness & nutrition as the result of an elevated emotional state of awareness.

I plan on starting my 12 days on December 8th, my 37th birthday.  What better way to celebrate my birthday than by starting this Kindness Campaign?

I came up with a list of some kind deeds as a suggestion for anyone who'd like to participate.  What would you add to this list?

Please comment below and share your thoughts!

Are you signed up to receive my Fit & Healthy Family monthly newsletter?  if you haven't joined my mailing list, you can do so >>HERE<<

Random Acts of Kindness:
~ Hold doors for people when you're out and about.
~ Help an elderly person load their groceries into their car.
~ Greet everyone you see with eye contact and a genuine smile.
~ Make hot cocoa and bring it to people who work outside.
~ Pay for person behind you in the drive-thru or in line at the coffee shop.
~ Buy extra non-perishables and donate to your local food bank or church.
~ Make and deliver a meal for a friend who is sick or alone.
~ Send 3 handwritten thank you notes to people or businesses.
~ Donate a toy for a local children's Christmas gift collection or hospital.
~ Shovel snow for a neighbor.
~ Allow cars to merge or enter traffic in busy areas like shopping centers or give up the parking spot you were going to pull into.
~ Give 3 genuine compliments to people you see.
~ Call someone you haven't talked to in awhile and let them know you've been thinking about them.
~ Bake cookies for a friend or neighbor.

Random Acts of Kindness for Children:
(my daughters helped come up with some of these)
~ Have your child pick out a toy to purchase and donate to a holiday toy collection.
~ Bake & decorate cookies for friends or neighbors.
~ Color & decorate holiday cards for a local senior center.
~ Color pictures for family members.
~ Make crafts and give them to friends.
~ Help someone who has gotten hurt.
~ Say good morning to teachers, school staff and classmates.
~ Allow a friend to get in line in front of you.
~ Write a thank you note to someone who has positively impacted you (teacher, coach, neighbor, babysitter, etc).
~ Help with household chores without being asked.
~ Go through your toys and put aside anything that you can donate to children in need
~ Smile at people!
~ Say please and thank you to people who help you.
~ Tell your friends how much they mean to you.
~ Invite a friend over for a play date
~ If a child is sitting alone at lunch, invite them to sit with you and your friends.
~ Offer to help mom and dad wrap Christmas presents

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blueberry Chia Baked Oats - Easy Breakfast Bowl

As promised, or rather, as I committed to myself...I made my oats for breakfast today!  I'm working on more balanced breakfasts in place of a grab and go Larabar.  I do love my Larabars, don't get me wrong.  But, I need to reserve them for an occasional treat, not breakfast every day.  My commitment is to make time to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast every day, even if I am in a rush.

Today's baked oats were good.  I will tweak them next time because I made them too watery today.  Sometimes eyeballing the ingredients doesn't always pan out!


  • 1/2 cup gluten free Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk (start with 3/4 cup and add more if needed)
  • 1T chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup frozen organic blueberries (no need to thaw)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • optional: 1T mini chocolate chips (I added them today - Enjoy Life brand mini non-dairy chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all ingredients in oven-safe bowl.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how much milk you used.  I needed the whole 30 minutes today.  Let it cool for a bit before eating.

When I stirred the oats before baking, they turned blue!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Drink Your Greens!

Drink Your Greens!

This is what I'm telling my kids.  They're picky.  One day they'll like a certain fruit or veggie and the next day...not so much.  I was pretty surprised when they asked my husband to make them edamame today.  Go girls!!

As they were eating their edamame, thoroughly enjoying popping the little beans out of the shells, I was in the kitchen prepping for and making green juices for today and tomorrow.  (Yes, I am fully aware that the best nutritional benefit comes when juice is consumed within hours, if not immediately after making it.  However, I figure it's still a better option tomorrow than some other things I could pull out of the fridge or pantry!)  When I was finished juicing, two of my three girls asked for their own glass of juice.  How could I not oblige?  Heck yeah girls, you can have some green juice!!!

I gave them some of the Kale, Apple, Orange.  Nearly as soon as I sat it down in front of them, I heard that super annoying noise that occurs when you sip through a straw into the bottom of an empty glass.  Yeah.  They inhaled that juice.  They asked me if they could start bringing juice to school to have with their lunch.  Again, HECK YES!!  If I can get them to have a green juice-a-day, I'm ALL FOR IT.  I'll happily make juices all the time if they will reap the nutritional benefits of that green goodness.

It took me an hour, but I got 4 x 24 ounce jars plus 3/4 jar (not pictured) for my husband plus the glass I gave to the girls.  Not bad!!  I used two small bags of baby spinach, one large bunch of kale, 5 oranges, 4 apples, 4 lemons, a small pre-cut container of pineapple, 6 mini cucumbers and a package of carrots.

The longest part of the process is washing and prepping the veggies.  Because I have an Omega juicer, I have to chop everything smaller to fit it through the hole on the juicer.  No worries...I know it's worth it.  

The juice combinations I made today were:

  • Kale, Apple, Orange
  • Kale, Carrot, Cucumber, Lemon
  • Spinach, Pineapple, Carrot

Prepped fruits & veggies (washed & cut)

Washed kale, I juice the stems too.

Washed and cut apples - 2 Gala, 2 Granny Smith

R to L
*Spinach, Pineapple, Carrot
*Carrot, Kale, Lemon, Cucumber
*Kale, Apple, Orange (x2)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Baked Quinoa Flakes - Gluten Free, Vegan Breakfast

Baked Quinoa Flakes Breakfast Bowl
Gluten Free & Vegan Breakfast

Baked Quinoa Flakes Breakfast Bowl

It's finally that time of year when I want warmer breakfasts.  Too cold to have a shake first thing in the morning, I have been being super lazy and having some kind of bar in the morning, and usually not until around 10 or 10:30.  Gasp!!  I know, right??  The girl who encourages people to eat within an hour of waking - a good, balanced meal that will stabilize blood sugar for the whole morning.  Yeah, I surely have NOT been taking my own advice.  And I *feel* it.  It's not a great feeling.

Therefore - it's baked oats season, friends!!  I am committing to having a balanced breakfast every morning going forward.  I know that it will set me up for a good nutritional day, AND will also keep my mood more stable without those emotional dips that go hand-in-hand with blood sugar dips.

Back to my pantry raid this morning.  I searched all over for my gluten free rolled oats from Trader Joe's and - AHHHHHH - there were NONE!  Yikes, add that to the list, ASAP.  I did, however, find a box of Ancient Harvest quinoa flakes hiding in there with my other gluten free pastas and such.  I figured, hey, it's a hot cereal like oats, so WHEEEE let's do it!

You might know enough about me to know that I create recipes all the time...but I rarely measure anything.  I'm big on eyeballing my ingredients.  Therefore, the following is an approximation.  My advice is to make it according to how I have it noted, then adjust as necessary.  It will most definitely thicken during baking time, so it needs to look watery when you put it in the oven.  I didn't take pictures during my prep today, but you can check my Baked Oats recipe for step by step pictures where it shows what the bowl looks like when it goes into the oven.

Baked Quinoa Flakes Breakfast Bowl:

  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (or water, your choice!)
  • dash of sea salt
  • generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1T natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk quinoa flakes, coconut milk, salt & cinnamon in a bowl.  Add to a non-stick ceramic crock or bowl.  Layer in the bananas and strawberries.  Add the peanut butter in the center (it gets gooey and it's perfect to get a little bit with each bite!)  Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and firm.  Let it cool a bit before serving.  It WILL be super hot!

If you make this, leave me a comment and tell me what you substituted to make it your own!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Very Veggie Scramble with Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Very Veggie Scramble with Sweet Potatoes

I like making my Very Veggie Scramble because, well, I'm still not a big fan of eggs and this scramble is great for masking the eggy flavor.  Whatever works, right??

I grabbed the handful of veggies I had on hand for today's scramble.  This time of year it's easy to find prepped sweet potatoes at most grocery stores.  Sometimes I pick these up when I know I can use them quickly and easily in my recipes.  Today was a good day for it because my kids are all home from school.  I couldn't spend too much time doing prep work in the kitchen.

Very Veggie Scramble:

  • 2 cage-free eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper (I used orange - opt for Organic)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup chopped vidalia onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach (opt for Organic)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • Spices (I used garlic salt, cumin & Mexican Fiesta seasoning)
  • Optional: goat cheese, chopped avocado, chili sauce

Beat eggs in a bowl with your spices, then add all veggies.  Mix to coat veggies evenly.  In a shallow pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and let it warm.  Add your veggie & egg mixture and scramble it until your desired doneness.  I like mine to brown up, so I cook it for several minutes.  Serve hot, sprinkled with goat cheese, avocado, chili sauce or whatever floats your Very Veggie Scramble boat!  I added goat cheese to mine.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cubed sweet potato, peeled.  (I bought mine pre-prepped)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1T coconut oil
  • Spices to your liking (optional - I did not use any)
Heat a shallow pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.  Once it melts, add the sweet potato and onion.  Stir to coat evenly and allow it to cook for ten minutes or so.  I covered mine during cooking so it would cook a bit faster.

All veggies - washed, cut & ready to go!

I love this Artisana coconut oil!

Opt for cage-free eggs (and local!) whenever possible

My favorite spices - I use them in everything

I have WAY more veggies than egg in this scramble.

KK approved!

She liked the goat cheese and mushrooms the most

Very Veggie Scramble with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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