Chocolate Almond Soaked Oatmeal

Adapted from mywholelifefood.com Ready for a delicious chocolate treat?  For breakfast?  This oatmeal packs lots of powerful ingredients including cacao, chocolate in its whole, unrefined form. Soaking oats overnight makes them a snap to serve in the morning. No cooking needed-seriouly. Make these in several mason jars to have all week. In this version of soaked oats, we use cacao powder and almond butter to make a decadent subtly sweet breakfast. cacao contains an abundance of antioxidants, because it’s raw and pure. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and calcium.  Find it online or in your local grocery store. INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup steel cut oats (use rolled oats for a smoother oatmeal) 1/2-3/4 cup almond milk 1 tsp chia seeds 1 tsp flax meal 1 finely chopped medjool date or 2 tsp maple syrup 1-2 tsp cacao powder (unsweetened) 1 T almond butter 1/4 tsp. vanilla DIRECTIONS Place all ingredients in a bowl, mug or jar and stir well.  Refrigerate overnight.  Serve cold, room temp or warm slightly before eating. Be ready for big smiles, and requests for second helpings! More combinations to try. With your first 5 ingredients try some of these add ins: Blueberry Burst: cup blueberries and red grapes Raspberry Vanilla:  ¼ cup raspberries and 1 tsp vanilla Tropical:  ¼ cup pineapple chunks and 2 tbsp finely chopped coconut Apple Cinnamon:  ¼ chopped apple (Honey crisps are Jen’s favorite!) and 1 tsp cinnamon Design your own recipe with your favorite flavors! RATINGS “Superdy Duperdy YUM! That’s chocolately and yummy.” Asa, age 7 “Oh my goodness that’s beyond good, I love that it’s so fast and easy, too.” Jen,...

Breakfast Pitfalls and Solutions

The research shows that we should all probably care a little more about breakfast. Kids who eat breakfast have better concentration, cognitive function and do better in school (just drinking one glass of water may even improve test scores!) Despite what many of my teen patients think, skipping breakfast may also lead to excess weight gain. However, many of the typical breakfast food choices are not the most nutritionally sound. Here are some of the pitfalls I have noticed over the years in talking to my patients and their families about breakfast: NOT ENOUGH TIME: Families are busy, and we often don’t give ourselves enough time in the morning to make a nutritious breakfast. Slow down, and realize those moments you take feeding kids a healthy breakfast can lead to a more alert, and better performing child! NOT ENOUGH PROTEIN: Traditional breakfast is high in refined carbohydrates. This type of breakfast may cause a spike in insulin, which leaves kids hungry well before lunchtime (think, pancakes and syrup and the “food coma” soon after!)  Adding some protein provides a much slower release of energy, which may help kids to concentrate all morning. TOO MUCH SUGAR: American kids on average are getting 3-4 times more added sugar than what is recommended by experts like the American Heart Association.  Traditional breakfast food like flavored yogurt, cereal, and breakfast bars may provide a whole day’s worth off added sugar before kids even go to school (just one Pop-tart has 17 grams of sugar!) Be mindful of added sugar by avoiding sugary drinks, flavored yogurts and processed breakfast foods. Read labels(4 grams of...

Pumpkin Apple Flax Muffin (Gluten Free)

I have lately observed the increase in demand for gluten-free recipes.  Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. More and more people are being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, but want to be able to eat some of the recipes they love. I adapted this muffin recipe from one I found on bigeatstinykitchen.com.  It uses almond flour instead of wheat flour. Almond flour is pretty pricey, but can be made using blanched almonds and a food processor for a bit less money. I made a few modifications to this recipe, the main one being the addition of flaxmeal, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for brain functioning and development in kids.  I buy golden flax seeds in bulk, grind them in my Blendtec blender until they resemble a fine meal, and then store them in the refrigerator. The golden flax seeds have a light color so I can sprinkle it easily into soups, breads, smoothies, cookies, etc. without changing the look of my recipe. Don’t be afraid to keep baking these until they are really done in the center. It can be a bit mushy inside if you don’t. Some people liked the mushy undercooked consistency, but if you don’t then keep baking them. Take one out of the pan and cut into it if you are not sure. INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 2 large eggs 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil 3 Tbsp. apple sauce 1 diced apple, leave skin if desired 2 cups blanched almond flour 1/2 cup flaxmeal (golden flax meal works great)...

Peach Jam

Recently I took the kids to a local peach orchard where we picked the most beautiful, scumptious peaches. In my quest to learn about canning, I decided we would make peach jam to preserve a little bit of summer. I’ve made freezer jam with my mom since I was a kid, and there is nothing like homemade jam, especially on top of a slice of warm, fresh bread. Yum!! Canning is not that hard as long as you have a little time and a few basic tools. We used pint sized jars. Today we made three batches at once which yielded about 6 pints. Here’s what we needed to get started: Large pot for water bath canning Rack (to place at bottom of the pot so jars do not touch the bottom of the pot and crack) Jar lifter (to pick up jars) Canning Funnel (to cleanly pour jam into jars) Magnetic lid lifter (to lift lids from hot water safely) Bubble remover (looks like a plastic knife, removes trapped bubbles) Dozen pint jars with lids (pictured is a tightener for jars, which I did not end up using) We used a low sugar pectin, so that we would be using a bit less sugar. The container has the recipe right in the label. There is a “no-sugar” version that uses fruit juice, and a “low-sugar” version that uses sugar plus fruit juice or water. We made the low sugar version with added water, and it was amazing. Of course it helps to have the sweetest local peaches you can find. The recipe can be multiplied by 3-4, but...

Oatmeal Breakfast Cakes

This recipe idea came from my friend Debbie who is a vegan and teaches vegetarian and vegan cooking.  I misplaced her recipe, but sort of recreated it the best I could. I hesitate to call these “pancakes” because even though they look like pancakes, they taste and feel quite different. They are dense like a bowl of oatmeal.  Imagine a yummy bowl of oatmeal that looks like a pancake!  I used almond milk which was delicious, and the banana adds a nice sweetness. I have a hard time getting Tiny Tasters together for tasting breakfast foods on the weekend, so I tried these on my own Tasters and my husband.  Make sure you have a good blender so that the oats get really ground up.  A food processor would also work well.  This is a great gluten-free breakfast if you you use gluten-free oats. INGREDIENTS 1¾ cup old-fashioned oats (gluten-free oats are optional) 1 ½ cup milk (almond or soy)- may need additional to thin the batter 2 baby carrots ½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking soda ½ ripe banana 1 tablespoon flaxmeal DIRECTIONS Heat nonstick pan or griddle to medium and spray with cooking spray. Combine ingredients  in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add additional milk if necessary to form a thin milkshake consistency.  Drop 2-3 large spoonsfuls of batter onto the pan. Cook on each side about 1-2 minutes until golden brown.  Makes about 8 medium sized cakes.   RATING “Okay . They are kind of thick but good with syrup.  They taste like oatmeal.” Zane, age 9  “Yum. They taste like oatmeal!” Asa, age 5...

Friteenie Frittatas

I have a lot of swiss chard growing in the garden. I asked friends for ideas on how to use it up, and one good friend suggested making frittatas.  Of course!  Like a giant baked omelette, frittatas are a wholesome vegetarian meal that can be served for breakfast or dinner. They are also a great way to use up extra veggies.  While I started making frittatas I saw a great egg muffin idea from a wonderful facebook page called, “Help! Mom’s on a Health Kick!”  Then it occured to me that I could make my frittatas TEENIE TINY by using muffin tins.  After all, things that are small and cute are much more appealing to young eaters.  I first started using white potatoes in my frittatas, but then decided that sweet potatoes work even better by introducing some nice color, nutrition and sweetness. I gave this to the Tiny Tasters today, and there were mixed reviews, as I expected.  Some kids couldn’t get enough, and some had enough after a bite.  I was proud to have gotten some of the “haters of all things green” to at least take a try! One step at a time! Baby food shortcut: This is a great older baby/toddler food for those who have already been exposed to eggs. The veggies are soft, mild-tasting, and easy to chew. Each frittata can be cut into even smaller bite-sized pieces that can be picked up with little fingers. Budget-Friendly:  This recipe makes about 6-8 servings. At six servings, that’s about $1.35 per meal!  Serve with homemade whole wheat bread, a side of apples and asparagus, as we...

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