butternut squash baked oatmeal

I’m enjoying a vacation day today – in the middle of the week-
The air is brisk – the sun is shining-
Later, I have to make the icing for the Thanksgiving cake – stress, stress, stress….later

But, just now, all I have to do is (remembering Paris) sip my Grand Earl Grey from Comptoirs Richard a Paris, listen to the Food Network folks discuss Thanksgiving -
And Enjoy my Butternut Squash Baked Oatmeal, dotted with butter and blueberries, and topped with pecan-brown sugar-butter crumble.

Butternut Squash Baked Oatmeal
(adapted from here)

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz oats (not quick cook)
  • 1 T ground flax
  • 2 1/2 T dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t lemon zest
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c roasted butternut squash puree
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1 T butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1/4 c pecans chopped
  • 2 t melted butter
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
Mixing:
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl
  2. Combine vanilla, squash puree, and milk in a separate bowl and mix together well
  3. Add wet ingredients to oat mixture and stir together
  4. Pour into baking dish (my dish is about 1 quart; you could use 4 small fruit jars or 4 ramekins)
  5. Sprinkle blueberries over the top
  6. Toss the 1T (4 pieces) butter over the top
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes
  8. While baking, combine pecans, 2 t melted butter and 1 T brown sugar.
  9. After the first 15 minutes, remove baking oatmeal from oven and sprinkle pecan mixture over top
  10. Return to oven and bake additional 10 minutes
  11. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes before serving
…looks like fall – tastes like fall…

nutella and oats — nutella baked oatmeal

I have grown to love oats.  Oats in cookies, or granola, or coffeecake – I’ll try most any recipe if it contains oats.  I think I’m being healthy if I eat oats, and…I think the oats offset some of the other calories in the dish.  Well…the plan has worked for me for over a year now.  I lost several pounds last year, and I will always believe the oats were my partner in the success.

nutella baked oatmeal

 I thank My Friend J for introducing me to Nutella a few years past.  Many months, the jar sits on the shelf in wait.  Conversely, some months two jars pass over that same shelf.

BELLA Nutella’s web site is such inspiration for the Nutella lover, and there I found the recipe for the above pictured baked oatmeal.   I baked this little heart of oatmeal a few minutes too long.  Since I don’t like my oatmeal swimming in milk, I enjoyed the oatmeal a bit crumbly, but warm from the oven, chocolate brown throughout, and with undertones of nutella swirling through.

The recipe is adapted from here.  This is half the original recipe.

Baked Nutella Oatmeal
1 1/2 c oats
1/2 c whole milk
6 T Nutella
1 egg
1 T ground flax
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. pecans, toasted-cooled-chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together.  Spread into three, slightly buttered, small baking dishes.  Three oven proof coffee cups would make nice serving size portions. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on size of baking container chosen.

I roughly calculated calories–about 475 calories per serving.

10,891

espresso granola hearts

heart and angel wings…

Sometimes, it’s just pure luck.  This photo is actually from the end of the photo session.  Two of the three stacked, heart-shaped granola bars fell backwards.  It happened in slow motion, and I decided this session was over.  But, ahhhhh, look…..angel wings…and angel wings with hearts inside.

I love the light; I look for it, all day, every day.  It’s not really a conscious effort; it just happens.

These are THE best granola bars I have made.  They are no-bake (other than toasting nuts and coconut), and they are speckled with ground espresso beans.  You can enjoy your morning coffee and oats in one bite.

Look closely – the little dark spots are tiny bits of “let’s get this day started!”
Go ahead – click on the picture to enlarge the image; you need to see the espresso.

The ground espresso beans give these granola hearts a depth of flavor that compliments the other ingredients in the bar. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I kept going back to the storage tin to have ‘just one more’ of these bars.

Recipe adapted from Carter of ‘the kitchenette’  here.

If you want thin bars, use a 9″ x 9″ pan; thicker bars-use an 8″x8″pan; cute bars-use a heart shaped pan

Espresso Granola Hearts


Toast in 350 degree oven about 10 minutes; watch closely-coconut burns quickly
1 c. pecans (chopped after toasting)
1 c. slivered almonds
2/3 c. sweetened coconut

Let the toasted mixture cool while combining in a pan:
1/2 c. golden syrup (I used a mixture of mostly golden syrup and a little honey)
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 T ground espresso beans (I used Lavazza Qualita Oro Espresso Ground Coffee)
1 t. vanilla
Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until sugar dissolves.

Combine in a large bowl:
Toasted pecans/almonds/coconut
1 1/4 c. oats (not instant)
1 1/2 c. rice krispies
4 T. ground flax seed

Pour liquid over dry ingredients in bowl.  Stir until all dry ingredients are well coated.  Spread mixture into parchment lined (or buttered) pan.  Press firmly on the mixture to compact the ingredients.  Let cool for about 2 hours.  Slice and enjoy.  I wrapped the bars in parchment and stored them in a tin; they were fresh and crisp one week later.

Enjoy
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granola bars

Bulk Whole Foods oats make a star appearance in these chewy granola bars.  Loaded with nuts, seeds, and flax, the bars will quench your hunger for hours.

The recipe is adapted from here.

The bars are soft and chewy.  I keep them well wrapped and frozen; the texture is unaffected by freezing.

Granola Bars
Into large bowl, mix:
3 c. oats
1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamon
4 T ground flax

Add to above mixture:
1 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c coconut
1/4 c sesame seeds

In a food processor, mix:
1/2 c. dried apricots (I used dates)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c honey

Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and mix well.  (I used my best tools – my hands.)
Firmly press into parchment lined 9×13 pan; bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

The bars will cut easier if they are completely cooled.

oats in the coffee cake

The original recipe is labeled as ‘oatmeal cookie coffee cake.’

This coffee cake has a moist interior and is surrounded by a brown sugar crunch on the top, and slightly chewy crust on the sides.  I baked my coffeecake in a tart pan; thus, the baking time was much longer than the time specified in the recipe.  This extended baking time may have attributed to the chewy edge of the coffeecake. However, the presentation of the cake with it’s ruffled sides and light color oats strewn across the top make the cake a stunning breakfast/brunch/anytime treat.

Thanks, Liz at ‘A Whisk and a Prayer’ for sharing the recipe.  (original recipe here)

My adaptation of the original recipe included the following changes:
I used whole milk with 1/4 teaspoon of almond flavoring rather than the almond milk.
I used regular oats, and currents in the place of raisins.
I should have toasted the almonds as the recipe instructed.
I sprinkled a few oats across the top; they were a pretty contrast against the brown sugar topping.

just out of the oven:

a slice…

 …and a bite

 earthy oats against weather wood

 another bite…

 …and gone…DELICIOUS!

frangipane – blueberry version



I have probably grossly misused the word for the divine, almond pastry cream like mixture, frangipane. However, the almond flavor in frangipane is so intense, and I’m looking for a blueberry flavor just as intense.  Perhaps the oil in the almonds add to the intensity; that oil quality may not occur in blueberries.


Listed below are a couple of internet references related to frangipane.


from O Chef:
What is Frangipane?

 I have a cookbook that was written some time ago. In it there is a recipe for frangipan. The recipe resembles pastry cream. It mentions nothing about almond paste. Did frangipan always have almond paste in it?
 It is interesting how food and cooking terms can evolve over a few hundred years. The earliest reference we can find to frangipane dates from about the mid 1600s, and was applied to a custard tart that included both ground almonds and pistachios in the custard. Since then, it is most often used to refer to an almond-flavored pastry cream, but, like you, we have found a reference to a vanilla-flavored pastry cream without almonds also called frangipane. We have found a pastry shell itself that goes by the name, which may be stuffed with a savory filling rather than sweet. Finally, it can be a gooey, savory paste, used to stuff meats or fish before cooking.
Given all those choices, we vote for the almond-flavored pastry cream, and intend never to use the word for anything else! Nowadays, it is mostly spelled frangipane or frangipani.

Actually, frangipane can be any cream or custard-like substance with nuts.


I’m looking for a blueberry granola recipe with blueberry flavor as intense as that in my almond (frangipane) granola. Thus, an experiment is outlined before you.


Blueberry powder

Blueberry paste – this has the consistency of just made marshmallows

made from these dried blueberries (Simply the Best from Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA)
Photograph here should be of the frangipane-blueberry version; I’ll insert later.
Frangipane-blueberry version mixed with honey, and ready to pour over granola mixture.
Blueberry granola, 30 minutes out of the oven.  The blueberry flavor in this granola is not as intense as the almond flavor in my almond frangipane granola.  I’ve stored the granola in the freezer for a couple of weeks, to age.  

If the experiment is a success, I’ll update this post with the recipe.