Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

I'll start by stating the top five reasons I prefer baked oatmeal over the 'regular' oatmeal:
1. The smell of freshly baked 'something' that invades the house
2. It looks and feels like a 'real food' (can even be cut into pieces!) as opposed to the mushy look and feel of the 'regular' oatmeal
3. The kid not only that he'd eat it, but loves it! Can't say the same about the mushy stuff.
4. It's easily transportable - can be cut into squares or bars and taken to work/school as a mid-morning/afternoon snack
5. The flavors are nicely blended and have the luxury to take their time and develop nicely during baking as opposed to just adding fruits and vanilla to the stove top cooked oatmeal.

Top (and only) reason I don't make baked oatmeal that often:
- The baking itself take ~45 min., as opposed to ~10-15 min. of cooking the oatmeal over the stove to - not ideal on a work day morning. 

I used a 10x10 square baking pan, and my recipe yields about 4 to 6 breakfast servings or ~ 12 snack-sized bars.

Preheat the oven at 350F.

In a large bowl, combine together:
- 1 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style)
- 1/4 cup honey**
- 1 whole egg
- pure vanilla extract

After all ingredients combined, add:
- 2 cups rolled oats (not the instant oats)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries (or your fruit(s) of choice)

Pour the mixture into a parchment paper lined 10x10 square baking pan and bake for ~ 45 minutes (until top and sides are golden and all the liquid has absorbed).
Enjoy it warm or cold!

**I used honey for this everyday type of recipe (especially since I've made it two days in a row), as opposed to agave syrup which is not considered suitable (a lot of debating going on) for daily use - but great for occasional use (although it's so tempting to use it often  because of its really low IG).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate cheesecake for breakfast? Need you ask? Just bring it to me! [just kidding, 95% of the times, my breakfasts consists of plain yogurt (Balkan style) with flaxseed (seeds, not oil) and berries - strawberries today to be precise].

But this cheesecake turned out fantastic! Irresistible!
The recipe is not complicated either, and makes enough for extra helpings (although...). It all started because the tub of ricotta gave me the look each and every time I'd open the fridge door. I've been brainstorming on how to get rid of it for the past few days, until the creativity stroke me last night. Turned out well!

Recipe goes like this:

Preheat oven at 350F.

For the crust:

Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour it over a mixture of:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup agave syrup

Using the back of a tablespoon, press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-in round cake pan (lined with parchment paper and buttered - don't forget to butter the sides as well!)

For the filling:
- 1 tub ricotta cheese (475g)
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1 large egg
- pure vanilla extract
Mix the above in a large bowl until just combined. 

Add and stir in the mixture:
- 1 & 1/4 cup (unsweetened, organic) chocolate chips - melted

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust and bake for ~ 1 hour, until the sides start to pull away from the pan. Let cool completely before cutting ( ideally, refrigerate before cutting - but it's completely understandable if you can't find the patience to wait that long). 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Double-chocolate Walnut Brownie

This blog post was supposed to be about whoopie pies, but due to the unexpected disappearance of the butter milk, brownies came to the rescue today, 39 days (1 month and 8 days) after the National Brownie Day.

Yes, National Brownie Day exists, it is celebrated on December 8th of every year, and was "introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the twentieth century" (source). 

(On a side note, today - January the 15th - is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day in the States.)

 Back to the brownies. My double-chocolate walnut brownies. Recipe makes ~16 squares (10 in square baking pan).

Preheat oven at 350F. 

In a large bowl, over the stove top melt together:
- 1/3 cup (unsweetened, organic) chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup butter

When melted completely, add and mix well:
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Fold into the mixture:
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
-  1/2 chopped walnuts

Pour the batter and spread evenly into a 10-in parchment paper lined baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until brownie begins to pull away from the edges of the pan). 
Cool completely before cutting. Oh well... I personally never follow this rule when I bake with chocolate chips - purely decadent, the melted chocolate chips trapped inside the hot brownie...mmmm.... Anyway, back to reality, cut in 16 pieces and enjoy as is, or topped with melted chocolate (which would make it triple-chocolate walnut brownie), shredded coconut, chocolate ganache, and so on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Orange Ginger Loaf

 I go through a phase right now, when all my teas are anything-ginger, so it was about time the ginger went out of the cup and into the baking pan.
And since oranges are among the top 3 fruits I absolutely love, it was about time for them to hop in as well.

This is another super easy recipe, just mix the ingredients together, pour into parchment paper lined pan and bake. Nothing more!

Preheat the oven at 325 F.

In a medium bowl, add together and mix well after each addition:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup agave syrup
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp grated orange rind
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (~juice from 1 orange)
- 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder.

Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined loaf pan and bake ~ 1 hour. 

Yes, it's that easy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies (whole wheat)

One of the easiest recipes of all times and the classic perfect little treat for the Sunday night before going back to school after the Christmas break.

Recipe takes less then 10 minutes to make. Another ~10 to bake. And you end up with 20 yummy cookies.

Preheat oven at 375 F.

In a large bowl, mix together:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1 whole egg
- pure vanilla extract

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

and mix well. Do not overmix.

Fold in 1 cup (organic, unsweetened) chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon (I used the ice cream scoop) onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for ~9-10 minutes until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer on wire racks to cool completely.

Just a peek:

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