Archive

Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal’

Date Nut Bars

March 14, 2012 8 comments

I have been sick for the past week, so I’m a little slow with posting.  Haven’t really felt much like cooking or eating either.  However, now I’m taking medicine that must be taken on a full stomach.  I’m not a huge fan of eating in the morning.  I love breakfast foods, but there is something about eating them early in the morning that is unappealing. I get this honestly from my mom.  Having these tasty date nut bars around should make it easier to eat in the morning so I can take my medicine.

This is another adaptable recipe.  You can make them wheat-free or vegan.  If you don’t like walnuts, use pecans or another nut.  Not a fan of pumpkin seeds, then just use sunflower seeds.  Want real butter or coconut oil instead of canola oil, go for it. If you want them for dessert or a snack bar, feel free to add a few chocolate, carob, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips.  Don’t want to grind flax seeds? You can use sesame seeds or whole flax seeds.  You can add other spices – ginger, cloves, or cardamom.  If you love vanilla, you can add that too. Ok, I’ll stop now; you get the point.

I included substitutions in parentheses for most of the ingredients. Don’t let that limit you though.  This is a fun, easy recipe, so play around with it…

Date Nut Bars

Dry ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, not instant or quick

¼ cup gluten-free flour blend (or regular flour)

¼ cup maple sugar crystals (or date sugar or brown sugar is fine)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie or apple pie spice blend)

pinch of salt

¼ cup ground flax seeds (or whole flax seeds or sesame seeds)

1 cup walnuts, chopped (or almonds or pecans or hazelnuts or cashews)

½ cup dried raisins (or cranberries or cherries)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup dried, unsweetened coconut (or shredded sweetened coconut or coconut chips)

Wet ingredients:

½ cup dried dates (or dried apricots or dried figs)

⅓ cup canola oil (or butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)

¼ cup peanut butter (or almond butter or cashew butter)

¼ cup maple syrup (or honey or agave or golden syrup or molasses)

3 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Combine the dates, oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and hot water in a food processor.  Process until it is a thick paste.  Pour this date mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix well. 

Press into a parchment or foil lined 9”x13” pan (I sometimes use a rolling-pin to make sure it is pressed down firmly). Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Carefully lift the parchment or foil to remove the bars from the pan. Cool on racks.  Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Advertisements

Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

February 29, 2012 2 comments

The second Monday in February is National Oatmeal Monday and October 29th is National Oatmeal Day.  So depending on your perspective, this blog post is either a few weeks late or several months early!  Either way, hope you like oatmeal as much as we do.  We eat a lot of oatmeal.  We like rolled oats, steel cut oats, granola, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bars, and even instant oatmeal (nothing wrong with Kirkland’s organic instant oatmeal packets in a pinch).

Our favorite type of oatmeal is steel cut oats, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, they take a little longer to cook so they are usually saved for weekends. But with this recipe, you can enjoy them any day of the week.  They cook in a crock pot while you sleep!  Or for something different, you can make them in the morning and have delicious oatmeal for dinner.

I tend to like oatmeal that has texture and bite to it, while Matt likes it creamy.  This oatmeal turns out creamy, with a tapioca-like consistency.  If you use dried cherries, they make the oatmeal reddish brown (dried blueberries make it an interesting purplish brown color). It’s not the prettiest oatmeal, but it is tasty and hearty.

Update:  I had an aha moment while storing the leftover oatmeal:  this oatmeal is a little too creamy and sticky (for my taste, though Matt seems to like it just like it is).  To change the texture, next time I will rinse the oats a few times in a strainer before I add them to the crock pot.  I do this sometimes with basmati rice and it seems to keep the rice from clumping together. I think the oatmeal would benefit from this step, so time to update the recipe…

Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats (I like McCann’s Irish Oatmeal)

½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apples, apricots, figs, dates, or blueberries)

4 cups water

½ cup half-and-half (or milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave (optional)

2 tablespoon butter or vegan margarine (optional)

¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon

few grates of fresh nutmeg

pinch of salt

Optional toppings:  chopped fresh apple, bananas, shredded coconut, raisins (I think they get too squishy if you cook them overnight), almonds, pecans, walnuts, fresh blueberries or peaches, butter, brown sugar, honey, apple butter (my brother’s favorite oatmeal topping!), half-and-half, maple syrup cinnamon, etc. The possibilities are almost endless!

Rinse the oats in a strainer under running water.  Drain.  Put the oats into the crock pot.  Add the remaining ingredients (except for the optional toppings).  Stir well. Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. Stir. Serve.  This is great as-is or served with some of the optional toppings. 

Note about the photo:  I’m not much for breakfast foods in the morning (I prefer them around lunch or dinner). So the idea of taking an appetizing photo of brown oatmeal in the morning, before coffee, was daunting and not very appealing.  This photo is bad!  Sorry. But please do not let it dissuade you from making the oatmeal.  It tastes better than it looks (it would have to!).

Post 13/13 – Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

January 18, 2012 1 comment

Well, today marks the last day of the Baker’s Dozen of Blog Posts I started back on the 6th.  It’s been fun.  I’ve experimented with new recipes.  I’ve received excellent feedback and comments from people (thank you!).  I’ve started a habit of writing every day.  I’ve “met” some nice people and discovered several interesting blogs.  Glad I did it!

Wasn’t sure what to use as my “final” post and Matt suggested this one.  This is one of our favorite cookies. I like to use the jumbo raisin medley from Trader Joe’s (but beware, the raisins are huge and you gotta love raisins if you use them).  The “secret” to this cookie is soaking the raisins in the eggs and vanilla.  It makes them plump up and stay moist.   You could also use dried cranberries in place of the raisins.  Depending on how moist they are, you can choose to soak them in the eggs and vanilla or just mix them in later. If you decide to use chocolate covered raisins instead of regular raisins, don’t soak them in the eggs.  Just add the eggs and vanilla after you cream the butter and sugars.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 eggs

1½ teaspoons vanilla

1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup sugar

2½ cups all-purpose flour

½-1½ teaspoons cinnamon (or apple pie spice), amount depends on your preference

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Possible substitutes for raisins:  dried cranberries, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or chocolate covered raisins


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and add the vanilla.  Stir in the raisins.  Let this sit on the counter while you make the cookie dough.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt).  Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Then stir in the raisin mixture, rolled oats, and nuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  If you like thinner, crisper cookies, then you can use the “Katie Whack Method” – midway through cooking, pick up the cookie sheet (using a handy-dandy pot holder), and whack the cookie sheet on the oven rack so they deflate.  Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks. 

Post 6/13 – Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars

January 11, 2012 4 comments


This is a quick bar cookie, great for potlucks, bake sales, etc.  Usually, I have most of the ingredients in the pantry.  It is a good recipe for using bulk ingredients that you might buy at Costco (with just two of us, getting through huge bags of brown sugar, chocolate chips, and oatmeal can prove challenging).

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars 

1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened  (or unsalted butter)

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

½ cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky, natural is ok, but it works better if it isn’t separated)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

3 cups oats (I prefer old-fashioned for the texture, but quick oats will also work)

½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 350º F. Use an electric mixture to cream the butter and brown sugar (if the butter is soft enough, hand mixing is fine).  Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat well.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Add the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir well.  I do this step by hand so the oats don’t get broken up as much.  Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread in an even layer in a 12″x18″x2″ sheet cake pan lined with parchment paper (I use the butter wrappers to grease the parchment paper and then I use the wrappers to press the mixture into the pan).  You can also bake them in muffin tins to make little individual bars. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (it depends on your oven, the pan, etc.).

*Variations:
Decrease the chocolate chips and add some shredded coconut or chopped peanuts.  Or you can substitute other ingredients for the chocolate chips:   mini or regular M&Ms, mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate covered raisins, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips.