Homemade Coconut Flax Instant Oatmeal

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This may come as a shock, but Aurelia does not always eat what I do or what I make for us. For lunch or dinner, this is often not negotiable and she just eats what she wants from what I’ve made. Breakfast gets more flexibility, because it’s often a matter of “must eat something” and “2 minutes or less”. Mornings are indeed rushed and while many times she’ll go for a “dippy” (over easy) or scrambled egg, other times she wants something sweet or I need to make something even quicker than an egg that doesn’t require clean up.

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I was buying these apple cinnamon instant oatmeal packets and dividing them in half to make 1/4 cup servings Aurelia could eat quickly and I could make easily. When the last box ran out, I decided to look for a brand without sugar (or fake sugar), but still with flavor. My quick search turned up nothing and I finally had the wits to just google a recipe and try to make my own. Old fashioned oats don’t cook quickly enough or get soft enough to replace the instant oatmeal packets. Luckily, I found this article on the “secret” to making homemade instant oatmeal: the blender! Brilliant. Just blitz a third of the oats in the blender and add to the other ingredients. I’m not a fan of the sugar or creamer (??) included in the linked article, so I just used the technique and came up with my own recipe. I’ve made it three times now, making more than 6 pounds. Geez. I put it in 2 quart jars and freeze it, but already we’ve gone through a couple because what do you know, I can’t stay out of it. Turns out that it’s the perfect middle of the night snack when I wake up hungry (yay, marathon training) or for my own quick breakfast. I keep a 1/4 cup scoop in the jar so I can easily measure out one for Aurelia and/or two for me.

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In one 1/2 cup serving: 107 calories, 17 g carbs (.5 g sugar), 3 g protein, 4 g fat

Don’t buy the packets anymore. Make this, keep it for ages, feed your babes breakfast, and add your own sweetener (stevia, honey, fruit, jam, etc) as needed. Here’s to whatever makes the mornings easier!

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Homemade Coconut Flax Instant Oatmeal

Ingredients:
6 cups quick oats
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1-2 Tbs cinnamon

Instructions:
In a blender, blitz 2 cups of the quick oats until ground. Pour into a large bowl, add the other 4 cups of oats, along with the other ingredients. Mix well. Store in an airtight container. To serve, combine 1/2 cup dry mix with 3/4 cup boiling water and let set for 1 minute to thicken before adding toppings (if desired) and eating. Use less water for a thicker oatmeal.

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Gluten/Sugar/Dairy Free Clean Eats Cake

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I’ve been writing down all my food in Cron-o-Meter for about a month now and while I’ve been keeping food logs on and off for ages, keeping track of macro nutrients takes food-awareness to a new level. It’s been tremendously helpful to identify when I’m hungry to see that I’m not getting enough fat or if my sweet tooth is too strong, I can see that I’ve been overeating carbs for a day or two.

I’ve been eating dark chocolate as a treat and a bit of frozen yogurt with Aurelia once a week or so, but you know me, I miss my everyday cakes. I’m far better without them, health wise, but the comfort is missing.

This is not German chocolate or plum cake or the like. I won’t try to pass it off like that. But it’s better in many ways. It’s real food, but without the gluten and sugar in traditional cakes or unusual flours found in many gluten free ones. It’s warm and starchy and satisfying. And when I have to log every bite, I can indulge without falling off course. Win!

Also, did you know that cinnamon help control blood sugar? Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. In 2009 Scandinavian researchers performed cinnamon research on 15 young, lean and non-diabetic participants. These healthy participants were randomly assigned to consume rice pudding without cinnamon, or with 1g or 3g of cinnamon respectively. It was found that the group that consumed 3g of cinnamon had significantly lower levels of insulin after the meal than the other groups, indicating that cinnamon can acutely decrease the insulin response of food consumption even in healthy persons, not just diabetics. (Brian St. Pierre, CISSN, CSCS)

I love cinnamon and the combination of the spice with the fat in the almond butter help with the digestion of the sugar in the banana, making this a dessert that won’t send you crashing soon after.

Ok, enough health reasons. It’s delicious and takes three minutes. That’s reason enough.

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Gluten/Sugar/Dairy Free Clean Eats Cake
Adapted from The Wannabe Chef

Ingredients:
1 small ripe banana
1 1/2 Tbs almond butter
1 egg
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

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Instructions:
In a microwave safe bowl, mash the banana into a smooth puree. Mix in the almond butter, egg, cocoa powder, and cinnamon until it forms an even batter. The batter will expand as it cooks in the microwave, so make sure the bowl is big enough. Microwave on high for 2 and 1/2 minutes until the center is set. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and enjoy hot, cold, or at room temperature.

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Maple Brown Sugar Spice Tapioca Pudding

I understand that there are some people that don’t like tapioca, but it makes no sense to me. Usually it’s a “texture thing.” Old fashioned tapioca has what I consider to be the glorious texture somewhere between caviar, chia seeds, and risotto. If you think you don’t like it or have only tried the horror in plastic cups from the grocery store, give this recipe a go. I have a feeling it will win you over.

I’ve made this recipe several times and like the slow cooker method a lot. Substituting maple syrup for some of the sugar and adding the spices was a first for me though and I will never go plain again. The flavor is reminiscent of horchata and Christmas and childhood bliss. Really. Further proof is how fast Aurelia can eat a bowl!

Maple Brown Sugar Spice Tapioca Pudding
Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:
1 cup medium or large pearl tapioca (not quick cooking)
4 cups cold water
3 cups whole milk
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:
Place tapioca in a medium bowl along with the water, cover, and let stand overnight.

Drain water from tapioca. Place the tapioca into a slow cooker along with the milk and salt. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Temper small amounts of the tapioca into the egg mixture until you have added at least 1 cup. Then add this back into the remaining tapioca in the slow cooker. Add the vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring at least once. Transfer the pudding to a bowl or jars and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour and then place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.