Baked Nut Oatmeal

I have not always loved oatmeal, the texture used to really throw me off, it reminded me of wall paper glue with chunks (appetizing, I know). I have always enjoyed it baked in sweet treats but more recently, however, I have really begun to love it on its own. I was given this recipe a while ago and have finally gotten around to making it.

The first time I had baked oatmeal I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had it at this little bake shop and it was pure heaven, so sweet, rich, filling. I fell in love. This recipe does not replicate my first experience but provides a great starting point.

This version of baked oatmeal is a bit more firm than what I would typically like but had great flavor. I found it best warm  and think a drizzle of warm cream would be great on top. As this cools you can definitely cut it into bars so it would be easy to transport if you wanted. If you are wanting an easy homemade warm breakfast this is a good starting point and can be easily adapted to suit your family’s likes. I do plan on making this again with some changes.

I used fresh raspberries this go around but next time I will bake in some cranberries or blueberries. I plan to increase the liquid a bit and add some more brown sugar to increase the sweetness. It was a tad too bland for my liking but that was easily remidied by adding a bit of sugar before serving.

All in all, this is a great starting point and has potential.

I rate this recipe a 7 as is.

Baked Nut Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (I used Quick Cooking)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 TBS melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 1 quart baking dish with PAM
In a bowl  mix all dry ingredients. In another bowl mix all wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry, mix to wet. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake 35-40 minutes until set.
Scoop into bowls, serve with fresh fruit.

Granola Bars

I had about 3/4 cup of Rice Krispies cereal sitting in my cupboard (does this happen to anyone else? Having small random amounts of foods left over?). I was not in the cereal eating mood so turned to my online BFF Google.

About 30 seconds later my BFF  introduced me to this recipe. It calls for 1/2 cup Rice Krispies…perfect! I can finish this box up and use the newfound pantry space for a big bag of Cheetos, double win!

These bars were a cinch to make, you basically just dump a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, press in a greased pan and bake. Easy Peasy. I did adapt the recipe just a bit based on what I had on hand. The end result was great. Mine did not turn out quite as chewy as the original claimed (thus my removing ‘chewy’ from the title of these bars). There were still great. The flavor of the peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch was a winning combination and I found it rather addicting.
I easily ate 3-4 of these bars over about an hour by simply breaking peices off every time I went into the kitchen.  Next time I may not bake them quite as long to see if they will turn out a bit chewier, but I really did enjoy them crunchy. My only complaint was that they crumbled a bit when removing the edge peices. now worries, just  easier to shovel in my mouth.

These bars taste hearty yet sweet. I think these will be perfect to take on hikes, boating, sporting games. Pretty much anytime you need a sweet treat on the go this Spring and Summer. Don’t be afraid to mix and match ingredients to suit your family taste preferences. These would be great with almonds, cranberries and white chocolate or mini M&Ms and peanuts. Really, use your imagination!

I rate these an 8

Granola Bars
original recipe here

2 1/2 cups quick rolled Oats
1/2 cup Rice Krispies cereal (I used about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (my addition)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup  butter, softened  (I used 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with PAM.
In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir until combined well. Press into pan.
Bake for 16–20 minutes or until golden.

Cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Cut into bars.

Fruit and Nut Granola

July 006

As my faithful readers know, I typically post recipes for my favorite meal: Dessert. I rarely follow recipes for lunch and dinner and am not really a ‘breakfast person’ unless you count Peanut Butter oatmeal or cereal (no need to post a recipe). I really never eat breakfast unless I know I won’t get lunch until late in the day but am rarely hungry before heading to work. I have been looking for something transportable that I could snack on at my leisure to tide me over until lunch but that was not terribly unhealthy for me.  I decided to try my hand at granola and let me tell ya, it is addicting. I have been eating this for breakfast, snacks and desserts for a week now and have no intention on quiting anytime soon. I am an addict.

After searching through several granola recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, I decided to make up my own. The great thing about granola is that the recipe itself is so versitile and addaptable based on your tastes or ingredients on hand you really can’t mess it up. This is the recipe to which I am currently addicted. It is cruchy, has a nice balance of salty/sweet flavor which is complimented and deepened by the toasted nuts.

Granola can be a healthy snack but packaged granola can contain more than its fair share of sodium, fats and sugars (and can be very pricey!!). The thing I love about making this treat at home is that it is very inexpensive and  you can control the oil, sodium and sugars that you include (as well as the nuts, fruits and other goodies).  You can even make this recipe more healthy by adding a few TBS of wheat germ or flaxseed to the oat/nut mixture before baking.  Relatively speaking, this granola is fairly low in sugars (watch out for natural sugars in the dried fruit) and fat (depending on how many nuts and coconut you add).

I have eaten this for breakfast with vanilla or strawberry yogurt, with milk or on fresh fruit (I love raspberries, strawberries and blueberries). I enjoy this as a crunchy topping for ice cream, frozen yogurt or on warm pie filling (kind of like a crisp). Let’s face it, I have also eaten this plain by the bowl-full. SO good. I just can’t get enough.

Feel free to adjust the spices, nuts and fruit to suit your tastes. I have tried several different juices and really like either Cranberry Apple or Cranberry Raspberry. They provide a subtle base flavor to the granola that does not overpower the other flavors and adds that extra dimention of flavor that a milder juice (apple) would not. I would not use a heavily flavored juice as its flavors may compete with the overal taste of the granola in my opinion, (I did NOT like Tropical fruit juice, too acidic and overpowering).

You just can’t beat the flavor of toasted nuts, oatmeal, honey and fruit. The smell alone will draw you in and before you know it the flavor and crunch keeps you coming back for ‘just a little more’ until the whole batch is gone.

I look forward to adapting this recipe many more times.  I may add some white chocolate chips to the granola after it cools to add another flavor dimension. I may keep adapting this recipe as I am excited to incorporate peanut butter in my next batch and leave out the fruit.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Tropical Granola
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup pecan halves
In a small saucepan (if heating on stove) or Glass measuring cup (if heating in microwave) combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
Bring ingredients to a boil. Whisk till sugar is dissolved.
Pour syrup over dry ingredients. Stir to coats. Spread on baking sheet that has been sprayed with quick release spray.
Bake 20minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the following ingredients:
1 cup dried diced pineapple
1 cup dried diced mango
1 cup dried sliced banana chips (I used unsweetened)
Bake another 10 minutes till ingredients are dry. But watch carefully it can over brown quickly.
Cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool store in tightly covered tin.
Serve with plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt.
Fruit and Nut Granola
by bakingblonde
In a large bowl mix:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup flaked coconut
In a medium bowl combine
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried mango
In a small saucepan combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen CranApple or CranRaspberry Juice (thawed)
2 TBS canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBS honey
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
*salt (optional, I like to sprinkle a bit over the top before baking)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed with PAM. July 003
Bring the above ingredients to a boi, wisking constantly until all sugar is dissolved.  Carefully, pour hot syrup over dry ingredients. Gently stir to coat.
Evenly spread on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring well after 10 mintues.
At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the dried fruits.
Bake an additional 10 minutes, stirring well after 5 mintues for even baking. Bake in 5 minute increments (stirring after every 5) until ingredients are toasted and almost dry. Watch carefully it can burn quickly!
Allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Store in airtight container.