Dressing Up | Oatmeal

There’s little that can be as filling as oatmeal for breakfast. It’s full of good carbs and, when cooked well and mixed with the right things, it’s downright COZY. It’s also a milk-booster for nursing moms, so sign me up! However, the same thing over and over for breakfast can get boring, and for me to eat breakfast, it basically has to be ready to eat when I get up with little or nothing more to do than pop it in the microwave. So my stipulation in searching out these options were that they 1) had to be make-ahead-able or require extremely little effort and 2) had to really vary in flavor so I don’t get sick of this nutritious goodness. Here are some great ideas for dressing up your morning bowl.

Classics:

  • maple syrup, pecans, bananas (super easy if you just keep chopped pecans on hand–I’m actually SUPER lazy and pull out as many pecans as I need the night before–and slice the banana in the morning)
  • diced apples, cinnamon, and walnuts
  • blueberries and brown sugar (totally works with any frozen berries too, especially if you’re already heating up the oatmeal again)
  • peaches and cream–add nutmeg and cinnamon to basically have peach pie for breakfast (I absolutely use frozen peaches for this)

Fun ideas:

  • mango and coconut (and cashews? Maybe?)
  • yogurt and orange marmalade
  • peanut butter and strawberry jam
  • banana and molasses
  • maple, brown sugar, sweet potato, and pecans
  • chocolate chips and raspberries
  • banana and nutella

Savory: Totally appropriate for lunch or a quick, solo dinner as well as breakfast. I had to give these names so that my sweet tooth and I are more likely to make them!

  • The Grits Treatment: cheddar cheese, scallions, and a sprinkle of paprika
  • Mexi-Oatmeal: avocado, salsa, and a fried egg
  • The Baked Potato: cheddar, fresh tomatoes, chives, and bacon
  • Oatmeal a la Provence: apples, rosemary, and gruyere

 

What are your best oatmeal hacks? Any favorites that aren’t on this list?

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Almond Flour Drop Biscuits

I’ve had The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook for several years and have made a few things out of it, but when spelt is an available option, almond flour is less appealing. However, in an active effort to waste less this year, I’ve been searching for ways to use up the almond meal I’m left with after making almond milk. Between that, a request for take-out pizza for dinner (to which I’m allergic), and a lack of bread in the house resulting in a much-craved sandwich being out of the question, out came the cookbook and my gumption the other night, and these biscuits appeared on my plate.

Now let’s be clear, they’re not the flaky goodness your grandma made growing up. These are different in texture, but they have their own kind of appeal. I had mine with a fried egg and some sautéed kale, and I really enjoyed the bit of sweetness they brought. The boys thought they were great, even after their requested pizza! They’re really versatile, too. You could easily sub coconut oil, increase the sweetness, add in some orange zest and dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (which I maybe tried…this child within me has zero self-control, okay?!), or fresh berries, then maybe dust with coarse sugar before baking…all of a sudden you have gluten-free scones!

I love that they’re so filling. Three is too many for me, which is saying something! I can eat one as soon as I wake up in the morning (a necessity these days…baby girl must burn through whatever I store up for overnight because we wake up grumbly!) then have a banana or a little something else at breakfast time with my boy, and I’m actually full till lunch. UNHEARD OF around here. I also don’t mind that my son loves them (at least when they’re chocolate studded) and I can feel confident that he’s actually getting a little protein punch with his sugar.

The cookbook author, Elana Amsterdam, has a helpful blog that you might want to peruse. She posted a very similar biscuit recipe on there that I’m going to try out next time.

 

Classic Drop Biscuits

Adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam
Makes: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, eggs, and vinegar. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined. Drop the batter onto the baking sheet in eight equal mounds about 2-inches apart.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the center of the biscuit comes out clean. Let the biscuits cool briefly on the baking sheet before serving warm. (If making scones with chocolate chips, let them cool on a baking sheet for longer…you may otherwise wind up with fewer taste buds than you had before…)

 

Any great almond flour/meal recipes from your kitchen? I’d love to try them out!

9 Great Chicken Salad Ideas

We love roasted chicken at our house. LOVE it. Doesn’t hurt that it goes on sale every Monday, so I can buy an organic chicken already roasted for cheaper than I could make it, should I so choose (although it’s yummier when we make it, so that happens pretty often too). There are plenty of ways to serve a roast chicken, but whipping up a quick chicken salad is one of the easiest things to do. A whole chicken turned into chicken salad can feed us for so many days! However…I just can’t get on board with eating the same thing four days in a row. Some people can do that, but I prefer a little more variety. Toss in a little of this and a little of that and you have an entirely new lunch! Here are some ideas for riffing on chicken salad.

Classic
The root of it all. The mother of all chicken salads. The staple of your Great-Aunt Nellie’s lunch diet for approximately 79.5 years.
Dressing: mayonnaise, salt, pepper, maybe a dollop of mustard
Add: shredded/chopped chicken, chopped pickles and celery, hard-boiled eggs if you’re feeling fancy

Tarragon
This tastes so much more fancy than the time required really merits.
Make the dressing first so the flavors have some time to ooze together: mayo, olive oil, juice of half a lemon, chopped tarragon, a very well endowed chopped clove of garlic (or three), and salt and pepper.
Add: chopped chicken.
Enjoy: quickly if you want to get any at all. This one’s a crowd-pleaser.

Coronation
My riff on the British staple. Not as good as when eaten in England, but I’ll take what I can get.
Dressing: one part mayo, one part plain yogurt, good shakes of both curry and cumin, juice of half a lemon
Add: chicken, halved grapes (or raisins, if you must), slivered almonds
Enjoy: on whole grain bread while listening to the angels sing around you. In British accents.

Autumn
Inspired by a delicious version I had at a local diner.
Dressing: olive oil, a dollop of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, bit of mustard, salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary and/or sage
Add: chicken and chopped pistachios
Enjoy: over lettuce. Or make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and serve on one of Mom’s rolls.

Thai
Rough recipe from an old friend.
Dressing: mostly just your favorite peanut sauce
Add: chicken, chopped bell peppers, cole slaw cabbage, peanuts, and chopped cilantro
Enjoy: when it’s really warm out, you don’t want to generate heat by cooking, and you would like Thai takeout but it’s not in the budget or is too much effort to pick up. BOOM.

Fresh Mex
Dressing: one part sour cream or plain yogurt, one part your favorite salsa
Add: chicken, roasted corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and ¼-inch cubes of pepper jack
Enjoy: on Taco Tuesday

Italian
Dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, dollop of mustard, salt, pepper, chopped basil and oregano
Add: chicken, diced marinated artichoke hearts, and garbanzo beans
Enjoy: alongside homemade foccacia

Spring
Dressing: mayo or plain yogurt, olive oil, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper, chopped mint
Add: chicken, peas
Enjoy: if you like mint

Honey Almond
Inspired by a favourite at a local deli bar.
Dressing: dollop of mayo, olive oil, squirt of mustard, a bit of honey, salt, pepper, and chopped sage if you have it
Add: chicken, slivered almonds
Enjoy: whenever the mood strikes…you’ll probably have all this on hand

Any great chicken salad recipes at your house? Do share!