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Carrot Cake Oatmeal, or "How to Deal with a 5:30 a.m. Carrot Cake Craving"

The inspiration for carrot cake oatmeal came to me around 5:45 on a Tuesday morning.  It was not really a conscious decision, "Hm, I think I will make some...yes, yes, that's it...Carrot Cake Oatmeal!"  No, it was more like, "Huh, geez, we got a lot of carrots.  I should probably use those before they go bad..."

The kiddos adored it, the sweetness of the carrots meant that we did not need to add much sweetener (yah!), and my mind quickly started reeling at all the ways I could tinker with it...dollop of sweetened, whippeed cream cheese in top, anyone?

Two generous servings whip up really quickly (and, yes, I am considering making a baked version of this, the only problem is that carrots react with baking soda and result in the carrots turning green...they are still perfectly fine to eat, but not as aesthetically pleasing...).

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

1 c. gluten free oats
2/3  c. shredded carrots (approx. one largish carrot)
2-4 tbs. agave, honey, brown sugar, or other sweetener of your choice (depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal, and how sweet your carrots are!)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of salt
2 tbs. raisins and/or shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional)
2 tbs. toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)

In a large, microwave safe bowl, add gluten free oats and just enough water to cover the oats.  Add the shredded carrots (the carrots will release additional water in the oatmeal), and remaining ingredients.  Microwave for 1 minutes, stir, then microwave another 1 minute or so (this depends on your microwave, so check after 30 seconds).

Depending on your idea of "sweet" and the sweetness of your carrots, you may need to add additional sweetener.  Or, in the alternative, if you plan on going with the sweetened cream cheese, you may want to go easy on the sweetener in the actual oatmeal.  You decide...I promise not to judge.

I also made on batch of oatmeal with a dollop of whipped cream cheese, for this you just take 2 oz. vegan cream cheese, 2 tsp vegan butter, and 1 c. powered sugar and whip with a hand mixer, then dollop on top of your carrot cake oatmeal or, better yet, bury it in the center of the oatmeal and let it melt a bit and cling to spoon as you delve in!

This is one of those super easy recipes that can also help ward off a mad carrot cake craving at 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday...not that I know anything about that.


Back to School and Baked Spice Oatmeal

My mind has been preoccupied with all things "Back to School."  We have successfully purchased new clothes...and backpacks...and underwear...and shoes...and lunchboxes...  So now I obsess over what to put in those new lunchboxes, and what to have for breakfast on those hectic school mornings, and what snacks to pack, and how to provide "treats" when the other kids bring birthday goodies...

So I will start tackling these conundra one at a time and sharing my ideas here so that, hopefully, it will benefit someone else and perhaps said person will have one less thing to keep them up at night.  Yes, I am totally taking one for the team here.

So, the first thing I have to gush over is baked oatmeal.  I love oatmeal, and I firmly believe it is a heck of a lot better than over-processed sugar in a box ahem, I mean cereal.  And I have developed sneaky ways to make my children like oatmeal, and Baked Spice Oatmeal is one of them

Baked oatmeal is something like a slightly crumbly, warm oatmeal bar cookie.  You can cook it on a Sunday, let it cool, pop it in the fridge, and them microwave it for about 40 seconds during the busy mornings, add a splash of milk (or soy milk, if you prefer, like me), and dig in.  A hot breakfast in about the same amount of time it takes to pour a bowl of cold cereal.  And, the best part, it that the baked oatmeal stays lovely in the fridge for about a week, so you could very well have a whole week's worth of breakfasts ready with minimal effort!


Baked Spice Oatmeal

3 c. gluten free oats
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. soy milk (or almond milk)
3 tbs. ground flax seed + 9 tbs. warm water, whisked together
1/2 c. melted vegan butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. dried fruit (I like cranberries, but apricots, raisins, currants, or coconut would all be lovely!  You can also add some toasted almonds, if you are so inclined.)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.
3.  Stir in soy milk, flax/water combo, melted vegan butter, and vanilla extract.
4.  Stir in dried fruit, and nuts if so inclined, and spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
5.  Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and set.

Serve hot with a splash of soy milk.

Later this week, I will be posting another hot breakfast option:  CARROT CAKE OATMEAL!

A slightly blurry sneak peak!


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