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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Baked Oatmeal with Cinnamon Apple and Walnuts



With the cold winter weather coming, warm oatmeal dishes become my go-to meals. On its own, oatmeal can be so plain but thankfully oatmeal is so versatile. By adding different fruits, spices (i.e. cinnamon, turmeric), syrups (i.e. maple, chocolate) , milks (i.e. vanilla almond milk, cashew milk) or even peanut butter, oatmeal can be transformed into something to satisfy your cravings. Even by baking oatmeal in the oven, the texture and taste of oatmeal changes into a hearty healthy dessert. Below is one of the best baked oatmeal recipes I have tried from the ohsheglows cookbook. Since I didn't have a pear on hand, I used green apples instead. The baked tart apples combined so well with the warm cinnamon oatmeal. This baked treat is great to store in the fridge and heat up the next day for breakfast or dessert making it an excellent meal prep staple. 

Below is the original recipe from ohsheglows:
  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 2 TBSP coconut or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 375’F. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
2 In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla and stir well to combine.
4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be soupy. Stir in the apples and pear.
5. Spoon the oatmeal into the casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the walnuts on top and gently press them down into the oatmeal with your hands.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes until the oatmeal is bubbly and the apples are fork tender.
7. Cool the oatmeal for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a splash of almond milk and drizzle of maple syrup if desired.
8. Cool the oatmeal completely before wrapping it up and placing it in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 weeks.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Halloween Vegan Chocolate Cake



Although Halloween has passed and Christmas season has already started, I figured it would be better to post this later than never. For the Halloween weekend, I had some friends over to surprise my boyfriend for his birthday. It didn't quite work out as planned; the surprise I mean, but the cake turned out well! This was my first cake creation and I really wanted to experiment with a unique recipe. As I searched for a chocolate recipe online, I came across Dana's 1 bowl chocolate hazelnut cake. The reviews were all positive and I thought...hmm a dairy-free cake made from applesauce, almonds, oats, flax seeds, maple syrup and coconut oil? If this turns out good, it'd be a hit, if not...well that's okay, I have time to go out and buy another one anyways so I had nothing to lose. Thankfully this cake turned out really good with a brownie-like texture of chocolatey goodness. 

Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker's 1 bowl chocolate hazelnut cake. I opted to use a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts. I also decorated the cake with chocolate covered strawberries and sprinkles.

Ingredients
CAKE
  • 4 flax eggs (4 Tbsp (18 grams) flax seed meal + 10 Tbsp water)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk + 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp (146 ml) maple syrup or agave nectar (sub honey if not vegan)
  • 2/3 cup (154 grams) cane or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (126 grams) melted coconut oil or vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (~486 grams) unsweetened applesauce (or other hearty fruit puree, such as beets)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup (120 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (if clumpy, sift)
  • 1 cup (118 grams) almond meal (finely ground from raw almonds)
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) gluten free oat flour (finely ground from raw oats)
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) gluten free flour blend (*see notes)
FROSTING / TOPPINGS
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (230 grams) dairy free dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) melted coconut oil or softened vegan butter, cut into slices (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/4 - 2 cups (~150 - 250 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (~175 g) roasted unsalted hazelnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter two 8" round cake pans (or line 24 muffin tins with paper liners). Dust with gluten free flour and shake out excess.
  2. Measure out almond milk and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle while moving onto the next step.
  3. Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Add baking soda to the almond milk vinegar mixture and stir.
  5. Add the sugar, maple syrup and almond milk mixture to the flax egg and beat/whisk to combine. Then add applesauce, vanilla, melted coconut oil, salt and mix.
  6. Add cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour and gluten free flour and beat/whisk to combine. If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more almond milk, but it should be perfect. It should resemble a semi-thick batter that’s pourable.
  7. Divide batter evenly between cake pans (if using muffin tins, it should be enough for roughly 24 filling generously 3/4 full).
  8. Bake cake for 35-45 minutes or more (cupcakes for about 29-35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top appears dry. Time will vary if you sub ingredients, as well as depending on the size of your pan.
  9. Let rest in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then carefully run a butter knife along the edges and invert onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.
  10. FOR FROSTING: Add almond milk to your rinsed out mixing bowl from earlier and microwave for 1 minute. (Alternatively, heat in a saucepan until just simmering and then transfer back to mixing bowl.)
  11. Immediately add chocolate to warm milk but don’t touch for 3 minutes so it can melt.
  12. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate, then add coconut oil or softened butter and cover. Let rest untouched for another 10 minutes.
  13. Use your mixer (or a whisk) to beat the mixture together. Then add 1 cup powdered sugar, mix again, and place in fridge to set for 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you tip it and it’s slow to move.
  14. Remove from fridge and beat again. If it’s still too thin, add another 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. I found that adding 1 3/4 cups total powdered sugar was perfect. Set aside.
  15. Transfer the bottom layer of the cooled cake to a serving plate/dish. Spread a semi-generous layer of frosting on the top of the bottom layer and top generously with hazelnuts. Press down with hands to settle them into the frosting (see photo).
  16. Carefully top with second layer and frost the top generously, then the sides. Using a butter knife yields a smooth surface. It should be the perfect amount of frosting - not too thick, not too thin.
  17. Add hazelnuts around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
  18. Will keep well-covered at room temperature for several days, though best when fresh. Refrigeration not necessary.