Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fruit Medley Baked Oatmeal

Sunday has kind of inadvertently turned into a brunch day for me. For the past month or so, it seems like it’s already lunchtime when I get around to thinking about what to eat, but I’m still in the mood for breakfast fair. Thank goodness for whoever invented brunch!

I bought old fashioned rolled oats in bulk several months ago and I’m always finding ways to spruce up the typical bowl of oatmeal. I turn to baked oatmeal as a quick and easy dish to throw together with a variety of ingredients. Today’s Fruit Medley Baked Oatmeal features fresh red strawberries, chunks of Fuji apple and chewy sweet raisins. Unsweetened applesauce and an egg substitute mixture of chia seeds and flax seeds mixed with water help bind everything together. The end result is a slightly sweet, fresh-tasting and cinnamon spiced dish that can feed the entire family, or be cut into slices and enjoyed throughout the week. You can use fruits you have on hand or go along with the mix. I'm also a fan of baked oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds, berry mixtures, and peaches and walnuts are a good mix too. Keep it simple with classic apple cinnamon or throw in macadamia nuts and dried papaya for a tropical twist.

Not your old bowl of oatmeal!
You can prepare all the ingredients and transfer them to the glass baking dish and bake right away, or cover and stick it in the fridge overnight and pop it in the oven in the morning!

We’re still having chilly mornings and nights here in southwestern Montana and this warm, hearty oatmeal is filling, but still bright, fresh and colorful enough to remind us that warmer weather is (hopefully) just around the corner.

Oats, chia seeds and flax are packed with fiber. Strawberries highlight antioxidants and vitamin C and the optional addition of peanut butter throws in some extra protein.

It’s easier than you think to give that boring, bland old bowl of oatmeal a bright, fresh and healthy makeover!

Fruit Medley Baked Oatmeal
(makes 6 to 8 servings)

• 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
• 1/4 cup stevia (I prefer Stevia in the Raw for baking. OR you can use brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• a pinch of ginger and pumpkin pie spice, optional
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt, I’d suggest leaving this out if you go ahead and add in the peanut butter.
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or non-dairy milk of your choice like soy, coconut, flax, etc.
• egg substitute- 1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 1/2 cup water
• 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon peanut butter, optional
• 1 cup strawberries, sliced thinly
• 1 medium apple, cut up into small chunks
• 1/2-1 cup raisins, depending on how many raisins you like in your oatmeal
Prepare and bake right away or refrigerate & pop it in the oven the next morning.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X9 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the chia seed/flax seed egg substitute together and set in the refrigerator to gel.

chia seed/flax seed "egg"
- Mix the dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl.
- Mix the applesauce and stevia together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients including the almond milk and vanilla extract and add the chia seed/flax egg mixture last and stir all the ingredients until combined.
-Next fold in the apples, strawberries and raisins.
- Transfer the oatmeal mixture evenly into the glass baking dish and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. If you would like the dish a bit more browned around the edges, bake for 3 to 5 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy drizzled with maple syrup, some almond milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg!

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