Roasted Cauliflower with Figs and Mint

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This is the most wonderful side dish. The flavors are familiar, but surprising together. Buttery, well roasted cauliflower with soft figs, sharp balsamic, and bright mint. Do it.

Roasted Cauliflower with Figs and Mint
Wildly adapted from Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
1/4 cup + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 dried figs, coarsely chopped
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar

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Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle over the 1/4 cup olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss a bit to coat and evenly spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast, stirring once with a spatula, until golden brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.

Into a skillet, add the teaspoon of olive oil with the garlic and figs and cook until they’re softened, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the hot cauliflower to a serving bowl and add the fig and garlic mixture, the mint, and balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve warm or at room temperature.

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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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