Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

Autumn is in full swing, and the apple and pumpkin recipes are going to keep coming around here! From Pumpkin Apple Spice Loaf to Pumpkin Muffins, and Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies to Apple Cinnamon Flax Muffin Bites, I love the flavors of this season and all the concoctions I’ve been cooking up. Today I’m sharing a recipe pulled from the archives, one of my earliest creations back when I first started cooking in college. This Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cake is perfect for a warming autumn breakfast that you can make and bake ahead while you get ready for your day, and it’s easy to whip up with ingredients you have on hand.

 

A gluten free apple cinnamon baked oatmeal cake, perfect to make and put in the oven to be ready when you are to start your day.

 

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Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cake

Few will dare to tread the path of roasting and carving their own pumpkin to reap the delicious rewards when Libby will do it for us. Whoever Libby is, millions of pie-makers around the country must thank her every November. I certainly do every time I whip up a batch of pumpkin muffins or a pumpkin pie. But just opening a whole can of pure pumpkin feels like a commitment. You’re going to have leftovers unless you’re making a pie or a Pumpkin Pouffle.

 

A gluten free pumpkin spice oatmeal cake for one, perfect to make and make while you get ready for an autumn day.

 

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Ode to Oats: Snickerdoodle Success

Happy Monday! Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start. I’m thankful the sun is shining, birds are singing, and spring is firmly in the air. While that means I’ll be munching on fresh fruits and veggies more than ever, I won’t be neglecting my oats anytime soon. I’ve shared the story of how I accidentally created my oatmeal cakes. These are a staple for me, usually eaten two or three or even four mornings each week! More in winter, a little less in summer. I still much prefer them to regular bowls of oatmeal because they’re more substantial, and it takes just as much effort to cook oatmeal on the stove when you factor in time spent standing over a pot, so why not have your cake and eat it too instead?

When I started blogging and reading other blogs, I discovered the phenomenon of so-called ‘overnight oats’ and literally hundreds of recipes. I tried a few of them, thinking that it combined oats with Greek yogurt, which I love, so it must be good. Truth be told, I was not blown away. The most promising combination basically tasted like those Chobani Oats yogurts, which is to say, oat-y yogurt. It was fine, but not what I was expecting. And overnight oats without yogurt did not float my boat, because I definitely prefer anything where oats are the dominant flavor to be served warm.

I’d also seen a few recipes for “growing” your oatmeal. I didn’t want to stand over the stove, so I ignored them. And then I found Chocolate Covered Katie’s voluminous oat trick. I gave it a try, and though my microwave is so touchy that I need to stand in front of it pushing start and stop for a few minutes, the whole cooking process takes about five minutes! However, though an awesome trick and one I am thankful to Katie for sharing, the resulting bowl of oats was a little too pudding-like for my taste. I stirred a little Greek yogurt in next time I tried, and that worked better for me. The third time, I hit the jackpot, by adding in some egg whites as well, and a bit of ground flaxseed. Together, these extra ingredients gave the oatmeal a slightly fluffier but more substantial consistency, and there was an extra punch of protein. I consume a bit more protein than average and can definitely feel it when I don’t have enough in the morning, so this was great.

 

Trying Katie's trick

Trying Katie’s trick

 

Finally, I discovered Peanut Butter Fingers, a blog I found because I was Googling to find deals on peanut butter (don’t ask, I’m a fiend, and I like peanut butter that happens to be a little bit pricier than average!) Julie’s recipe for egg white oatmeal provided the last tip I needed for a truly great bowl of oats. Her instructions included stirring every so often, which I had not thought to do when I reheated my oats the next morning after removing them from the fridge. So I ended up taking some ingredients and instructions from each recipe, and combining them to create the bowl that works best for my breakfast needs. There’s a saying about how all art builds on other art, and I think that’s true for cooking too – but I want to give credit where credit is due, so many thanks to both Katie and Julie! Below is the recipe for my Snickerdoodle Cloud Oatmeal Bowl. I wouldn’t have perfected it without them!

 

A cinnamon snickerdoodle cloud

A cinnamon cloud

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

Scrumptious snickerdoodle spoonful

Scrumptious snickerdoodle spoonful

1/2 cup milk of choice

1 cup water

1 egg white

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp flaxseed

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar or other sweetener

 

Instructions:

1. Use Katie’s voluminous oat trick the night before by stirring together all the ingredients and microwaving in a large bowl or measuring cup. But my recipe includes some extra thickening ingredients, so you will only want to microwave for 3 minutes or so (depending on your microwave) and if it’s anything like mine, you’ll need to stop/start more often! Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Leave the mixture in your fridge overnight.

3. The next morning, take out your oatmeal and microwave for 2 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir.

4. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

 

Have you tried any tricks from other bloggers and stumbled upon a new favorite recipe? 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

A Breakfast Is Born

Thinking-Out-Loud2

First things first – my initial thought I wanted to share with all of you this Thursday was one of thrills and thanks! (Yes, I like alliteration.) Yesterday’s WIAW post meant the first day of the month was also the first day my blog received over 500 reads. It’s not why I blog, but I’m so happy that people are interested in what I have to say, and I welcome any input on what you might like to read in future. More recipes, or ramblings on life, just post in the comments below!

Now, here’s what I was thinking about yesterday when I drafted this, when a friend of mine joked that I ate more oats than anyone she knew and I should have gone to her alma mater because then I would have been a Quaker. Now, I’ve shared a lot of oat-based recipes with you, but I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret – for the first 18 years of my life, I had a major aversion to oatmeal. Crazy, right? I just had this thing about any “lumpy” foods (I loved mashed potatoes, but refused to eat them if I found even a single lump, when the fork was put down for good). Neither the color nor texture of oatmeal was visually appealing. The first time I tasted it, I was five years old and had a bowl foisted upon me by my well-meaning grandmother, who is not known for her cooking. It was lukewarm and grayish and pretty much the opposite of appetizing, and that was it. I ate oatmeal cookies, especially because even before my wheat allergy was diagnosed I had bad reactions to a lot of other baked goods, but no oatmeal.

 

A bowl of oats

A bowl of oats

 

And then I arrived in Oxford for my first year at university. The food served up in my college dining hall was mostly unappealing, as it seemed to operate on the principle of maximum calories for minimum cash – good for starving students, but not so good for a student with a sensitive stomach and lots of allergies. To make matters worse, there was a small refrigerator in the hall of my dorm, but no kitchen, and we weren’t allowed to have cooking appliances in our rooms (because of the risk of burning down a beautiful 500-year-old building, to be fair!) There was a microwave on the floor above mine but I didn’t discover it until the spring. So for the first two terms, I pretty much subsisted on yogurt, salads, cheese, fruit and veggies, and other food eaten cold, and unfortunately, more junk food (chips and crisps and chocolate) which played a role in distorting my eating habits. The saving grace of this time was my electric tea kettle – the one appliance permitted in every room in Oxford, because it was always time for tea. I could boil water, so I could make anything to which you added hot water, which meant soup, and yes, oatmeal.

 

Matriculation at Oxford with my dear friend Elli

Matriculation at Oxford with my dear friend Elli

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Miniature Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

I enjoyed my pumpkin spice oatmeal cake so much, I decided to whip up another – but since I’d finished the pumpkin, I needed a new flavor palate. Enter apples and cinnamon, one of the best combinations for a warming winter treat known to all mankind! Perfect for these days when silver-white winter is supposed to turn into spring, but spring seems a little shy to come out and play…

 

Ingredients:

Bake in a ramekin...

Bake in a ramekin…

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I recommend using 2% or full fat for the creaminess)

1 egg white (substitute applesauce if desired)

1/2 small apple, cubed

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For ramekin: 1 tsp butter (can substitute olive oil or cooking spray)

 

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

...flip into a dish to ice and serve!

…flip into a dish to ice and serve!

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add in wet ingredients (only use 1 Tbsp of yogurt here) and cubed apple and mix well.

3. Melt butter in 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekin to coat inner surface. (You can also use olive oil or cooking spray, but I found that butter worked really well in this recipe to give the cake a yummy buttery crust).

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then set oven to high broil for an additional 5 minutes.

5. Use a knife to carefully pry the edges of the cake from the ramekin (easy as long as it was greased well!) and flip upside down into a dish.

6. Top with 1 Tbsp of yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

 

 

Eat up!

Eat up!

 

This is a perfect post-workout breakfast – you can come home, whip up the ingredients, and stick it in the oven while you shower and get ready, then eat before you leave. It’s also a perfect lazy morning dish, because you can just lounge around reading the newspaper and slowly waking up while the oatmeal cake bakes. Basically, it’s great for everyone! And it’s completely gluten-freeWhat’s your go-to breakfast?

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Miniature Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cake

Choosing to roast and carve your own pumpkin is an undertaking. Few will dare to tread this path to reap the delicious rewards when Libby will do it for us (whoever Libby is, millions of pie-makers around the country must thank her every November.) But when you’re just making breakfast for yourself, or even for your family, even opening a can of pure pumpkin can feel like a commitment. Unless you’re making a pie or a Pumpkin Pouffle, you won’t use the whole can in one recipe. I’m always thinking of new ways to use up the rest, and it isn’t difficult – who doesn’t love a little pumpkin stirred into their oatmeal? By the end of winter, even that gets a little boring, though; so when I whipped up what may be my last batch of Pumpkin Puffins for the season, I decided to get creative with the remainder of the can. Instead of simply stirring it into regular oats, I made a little cake to test out my new ramekins (the PB&J round just wasn’t enough!) I bought them with the intention of making mini quiches for my dinner party, but they needed a test run. And the test was a round of miniature pumpkin spice oatmeal cake, passed with flying colors!

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

Before baking, it looks just like regular cold oats...

Before baking, it looks just like regular cold oats…

1/4 cup pure pumpkin

1/4 cup milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

1 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I go for Fage 2% for the creaminess)

1 egg white (substitute applesauce if desired)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp flaxseed

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For ramekin: 1 tsp butter (can substitute olive oil or cooking spray)

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baked into a cake with a delicious buttery, pumpkin-y crust!

Baked into a cake with a delicious buttery, pumpkin-y crust!

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add in wet ingredients and mix well.

3. Melt butter in 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekin to coat inner surface. (You can also use olive oil or cooking spray, but I found that butter worked really well in this recipe to give the cake a yummy buttery crust).

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then set oven to high broil for an additional 5 minutes.

5. Use a knife to carefully pry the edges of the cake from the ramekin (easy as long as it was greased well!) and flip upside down into a dish.

6. Top with a little extra maple syrup and cinnamon, or a dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!

 

 

A warming winter treat to start the day off right - go ahead, take a bite!

A warming winter treat to start the day off right – go ahead, take a bite!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Moving Forward in Bites and Bounds

It’s only Wednesday and already I feel as if I’ve done enough this week to warrant a weekend of rest (which is not happening anytime soon, thanks to my recurring insomnia and realization that I’ve tried to cram an entire February of fun into about four days). Between school and my internship, running and yoga, finding time with friends and working on my Junior League volunteer commitment, and recently adding November Project to the mix, life’s been a whirlwind. But like Ferris Bueller (my film hero) tells us, life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. Not happening for this girl!

So I’m taking the time this week to tackle a few new challenges. I’m working to raise awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I can’t fully describe how healing it was to be able to write about my own experience on this blog, and to have that post hit an all-time high of readership. Even if just one person read it and was encouraged to seek help or to come forward with their own story, I would feel like I was able to make a difference, taking past pain and turning it into something positive and far greater than myself. It’s already been so much more. And as I said in that post, part of moving forward with my life is staying healthy and happy so that I have the energy to enjoy new experiences that I never would have thought possible. To that end, I’m running through the winter (race you to spring!) and hosting my first dinner party, but keeping what’s most important at the forefront of my mind all the while.

 

Salt lasers across the metatarsals

Salt lasers across the metatarsals

Staying motivated this winter has been easier than expected. I don’t mind the cold as much when I’m out on the run. I guess it’s because I’m constantly in motion and keeping my heart rate up in a way that even a brisk walk won’t do (and I walk A LOT). But even I’m getting tired of all the white and grey stuff falling out of the sky and turning to slush on city streets. This morning, I was confused because I thought my sneakers suddenly didn’t match – turns out, the white lines I had begun to think were part of the design are actually salt stains. So I’m happy we finally had a few days above freezing, looking forward to spring, and getting ready to start my runs under a rising sun (though the sunrise is magical!)

 

 

Bakery on Main Carrot Cake Oatmeal goes well with apple spice tea! I also had a Caramel Apple Cinnamuffin on the side...so many oodles of delicious oats.

Bakery on Main Carrot Cake Oatmeal goes well with apple spice tea! I also had a Caramel Apple Cinnamuffin on the side…so many oodles of delicious oats.

But my experiences didn’t just lead me to healing via exercise and eating right. They also taught me the importance of rest and relaxation. There’s a difference between being a bit of a sleepyhead, rolling out of bed anyway, and going out for a pre-school jog or meeting the November Project tribe to start my day off right, and truly pushing myself past the brink of exhaustion. Yesterday I woke up to the latter kind of feeling. So instead of going for 5 miles as planned, I stayed under the covers a little while longer, had a bowl of oatmeal with berries and some tea, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading off to my internship. It was the best choice I could have made, and this morning I woke up refreshed and ready to get outside and greet the sun.

 

 

That leisure time also gave me a few moments to go over the menu for my dinner party on Saturday. I’ll be serving three courses, making most of the food myself (a few friends are bringing side dishes, but most will provide the wine and laughter!) As I sat there going over recipes and making a shopping list to pick up any ingredients missing from my cupboard, I realized just how far I’ve come. I could never have cooked for other people when I was suffering, the thought of being around so much food was actually frightening, and baking as often as I do now? With all the taste testing? It was out of the question. A few years ago, I read Brave Girl Eating. The author’s daughter struggled with anorexia, and while I don’t have a family that understood my experience in the way that hers did, the idea that food is just too fraught with complications in our culture struck me. We literally have policy debates going on about food, which is necessary but sadly so. While I don’t think that food necessarily equals love, I do think that food is food, and it should be whatever we want it to be – a source of quelling our hunger or experiencing new tastes or something that brings us together with other people. No one should have to feel like their decisions about food are anyone else’s to make, or like they have to justify eating or not eating anything. Hungry for an apple? Eat one! (Even when others think it’s too “healthy” – that’s why I try to share as much of my way of life as possible, because I definitely eat fruits and veggies alongside baked goods and ice cream.) Want some steak frites? Have that instead! Not hungry at noon? Eat lunch at two! Do what works for you, and listen to your own body and mind. This is what I make up my mind to do every day, and so far, so good.

 

The reservoir may be frozen, but I'm secretly hoping one day the sun will overpower it so much it melts into instant spring (like in Narnia...)

The reservoir may be frozen, but I’m secretly hoping one day the sun will overpower it so much it melts into instant spring (like in Narnia…)

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Oodles of Oats

One of my favorite post-run breakfasts in winter is a warming bowl of oatmeal. All it takes is some good gluten-free oats, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, and some cinnamon to make a delicious dish. Sometimes I’ll toss in a little flaxseed, a few berries or bits of chopped apple, but slow-cooked stovetop oatmeal needs no fancy garnish!

 

But sometimes, despite my best efforts, I simply don’t have the extra few minutes necessary to stand over the stove. Life moves pretty fast, and while of course I try to stop and look around so I don’t miss it, there have been mornings where I can’t curb the pace for anything – I need to get in from a run, shower, and get back out the door! In times like these, I turn to pre-packaged oatmeal. Yes, it’s expensive, and there are added ingredients you’d prefer not to include when fueling your body, but I tend to use the 90/10 rule – if I’m cooking and focusing on fresh ingredients 90 percent of the time, there’s a little wiggle room the other 10 percent. And if instant oatmeal is my convenient indulgence…well, there are far worse indulgences in this world!

 

The options for certified gluten-free instant oatmeal have expanded over the past few years. I’ve tested a few, and have a few thoughts to share in case you find yourself in a breakfast bind and in need of guidance. I tend to go for the flavored versions when it’s instant, because often I am literally making my oatmeal in a to-go mug when I get to that point and can’t bring all my add-ins along with me. So without further ado, the three contenders:

 

Taste Test: Trifecta of GF Instant Oats!

Taste Test: Trifecta of GF Instant Oats!

 

 

Glutenfreeda:

Glutenfreeda instant oatmeal packets come in six flavors – natural, apple cinnamon, banana maple, maple raisin, cranberry cinnamon, and strawberry brown sugar. I’ve tried them all, and my favorite is definitely the banana maple (perhaps because it reminds me of the taste of my marvelous muffins!) The apple cinnamon is also good. The strawberry brown sugar comes in third place, and the maple raisin and cranberry cinnamon finish off the podium simply because I couldn’t really taste the flavors – which is fine, I like plain oatmeal, but when you’re expecting something else it can come off as bland. I am also not a fan of raisins, so I’m a little biased. The natural flavor is definitely the best plain instant oatmeal, but I’m not including it in the flavor rankings for obvious reasons!

 

Glutenfreeda Banana Maple Oatmeal with Flax (I had eaten half the bowl already!)

Glutenfreeda Banana Maple Oatmeal with Flax (I had eaten half the bowl already!)

 

Banana Maple with Flax: stirred properly, there is a taste of real maple syrup, and there is a healthy helping of small chunks of dried banana as well. For best results, mix the oatmeal with hot water and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes; it soaks up the liquid to create a heartier portion just like slow-cooking oats. It’s a pretty thick consistency, which I like – I hate runny oatmeal!

 

 

 

 

Bakery on Main:

Bakery on Main instant oatmeal packets also come in six flavors – traditional, apple pie, blueberry scone, carrot cake, maple multigrain, and strawberry shortcake. I’ve tried the traditional, apple pie, and maple multigrain. I favored the apple pie over the maple multigrain, but for a good comparison have shown the maple here. The oatmeal is not quite as thick when adding the same amount of liquid and letting the oats absorb it for the same amount of time, but it is still very creamy and filling for instant oats.

Bakery on Main: Maple Multigrain

Bakery on Main: Maple Multigrain

 

 

Maple Multigrain: Not quite as much of a taste of maple syrup, but definitely still a good flavor and much better than being overly sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

Chex Gluten Free:

Chex cereal is great for gluten-free folks who still like some crunch to add to their morning bowl of milk or yogurt. I love classic Corn Chex, and some of the newer flavors are great (I hate that they don’t have plain Honey Chex, though – Honey Nut is not for the nut-free!) So I was excited to see the new Chex gluten-free instant oatmeal on shelves. (Psst…Chex also makes quick-cooking rolled oats, which are running a close second to my Country Choice rolled oats for use in some of my recipes). The instant oatmeal packets come in Original, Apple Cinnamon, and Maple Brown Sugar. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, Chex Apple Cinnamon and Maple Brown Sugar are the way to go.

Chex Maple Brown Sugar GF Oatmeal

Chex Maple Brown Sugar GF Oatmeal

Compared to Glutenfreeda and Bakery on Main, Chex Maple Brown Sugar definitely had the strongest maple taste. If you don’t like overly sweet oats, stick with the original flavor or try a subtler oatmeal from one of the other brands. The oats were thicker than average for instant oatmeal, but did not approach the same consistency as the other brands using the same amount of liquid (in fact, I had to spoon some out to prevent eating oatmeal soup). The packet contains 45g (relative to 48g for Glutenfreeda flavored oatmeal and 50g for Bakery on Main) so it isn’t a substantial difference, but I’d advise reducing the amount of water or milk added by a tablespoon or two.

 

 

To sum it up: all three brands offer some great options, and which one you prefer is going to depend on your personal tastes – do you like your oatmeal thick or do you prefer it to be a little more spoonable? Sweeter or subtler hints of flavor? Portion size? All good to consider! Personally, the win for me has to be Glutenfreeda – I just love thicker oatmeal, and it definitely hits the target in that regard. But I really like the others as well, and honestly I will probably buy whichever brand is on sale when I’m in need of some grab-and-go oats. So, for now…”oats-ver” and out!

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Oodles of Oats: A Gluten Free Instant Oatmeal Taste Test

One of my favorite post-run breakfasts in winter is a warming bowl of oatmeal. All it takes is some good gluten-free oats, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, and some cinnamon to make a delicious dish. Sometimes I’ll toss in a little flaxseed, a few berries or bits of chopped apple, but slow-cooked stovetop oatmeal needs no fancy garnish!

 

But sometimes, despite my best efforts, I simply don’t have the extra few minutes necessary to stand over the stove. Life moves pretty fast, and while of course I try to stop and look around so I don’t miss it, there have been mornings where I can’t curb the pace for anything – I need to get in from a run, shower, and get back out the door! In times like these, I turn to pre-packaged oatmeal. Yes, it’s expensive, and there are added ingredients you’d prefer not to include when fueling your body, but I tend to use the 90/10 rule – if I’m cooking and focusing on fresh ingredients 90 percent of the time, there’s a little wiggle room the other 10 percent. And if instant oatmeal is my convenient indulgence…well, there are far worse indulgences in this world!

 

The options for certified gluten-free instant oatmeal have expanded over the past few years. I performed a gluten free instant oatmeal taste test and have a few thoughts to share in case you find yourself in a breakfast bind and in need of guidance. I tend to go for the flavored versions when it’s instant, because often I am literally making my oatmeal in a to-go mug when I get to that point and can’t bring all my add-ins along with me. So without further ado, the three contenders:

 

Taste Test: Trifecta of GF Instant Oats!

Taste Test: Trifecta of GF Instant Oats!

 

 

Glutenfreeda:

Glutenfreeda instant oatmeal packets come in six flavors – natural, apple cinnamon, banana maple, maple raisin, cranberry cinnamon, and strawberry brown sugar. I’ve tried them all, and my favorite is definitely the banana maple (perhaps because it reminds me of the taste of my marvelous muffins!) The apple cinnamon is also good. The strawberry brown sugar comes in third place, and the maple raisin and cranberry cinnamon finish off the podium simply because I couldn’t really taste the flavors – which is fine, I like plain oatmeal, but when you’re expecting something else it can come off as bland. I am also not a fan of raisins, so I’m a little biased. The natural flavor is definitely the best plain instant oatmeal, but I’m not including it in the flavor rankings for obvious reasons!

 

Glutenfreeda Banana Maple Oatmeal with Flax (I had eaten half the bowl already!)

Glutenfreeda Banana Maple Oatmeal with Flax (I had eaten half the bowl already!)

 

Banana Maple with Flax: stirred properly, there is a taste of real maple syrup, and there is a healthy helping of small chunks of dried banana as well. For best results, mix the oatmeal with hot water and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes; it soaks up the liquid to create a heartier portion just like slow-cooking oats. It’s a pretty thick consistency, which I like – I hate runny oatmeal!

 

 

 

 

Bakery on Main:

Bakery on Main instant oatmeal packets also come in six flavors – traditional, apple pie, blueberry scone, carrot cake, maple multigrain, and strawberry shortcake. I’ve tried the traditional, apple pie, and maple multigrain. I favored the apple pie over the maple multigrain, but for a good comparison have shown the maple here. The oatmeal is not quite as thick when adding the same amount of liquid and letting the oats absorb it for the same amount of time, but it is still very creamy and filling for instant oats.

Bakery on Main: Maple Multigrain

Bakery on Main: Maple Multigrain

 

 

Maple Multigrain: Not quite as much of a taste of maple syrup, but definitely still a good flavor and much better than being overly sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

Chex Gluten Free:

Chex cereal is great for gluten-free folks who still like some crunch to add to their morning bowl of milk or yogurt. I love classic Corn Chex, and some of the newer flavors are great (I hate that they don’t have plain Honey Chex, though – Honey Nut is not for the nut-free!) So I was excited to see the new Chex gluten-free instant oatmeal on shelves. (Psst…Chex also makes quick-cooking rolled oats, which are running a close second to my Country Choice rolled oats for use in some of my recipes). The instant oatmeal packets come in Original, Apple Cinnamon, and Maple Brown Sugar. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, Chex Apple Cinnamon and Maple Brown Sugar are the way to go.

Chex Maple Brown Sugar GF Oatmeal

Chex Maple Brown Sugar GF Oatmeal

Compared to Glutenfreeda and Bakery on Main, Chex Maple Brown Sugar definitely had the strongest maple taste. If you don’t like overly sweet oats, stick with the original flavor or try a subtler oatmeal from one of the other brands. The oats were thicker than average for instant oatmeal, but did not approach the same consistency as the other brands using the same amount of liquid (in fact, I had to spoon some out to prevent eating oatmeal soup). The packet contains 45g (relative to 48g for Glutenfreeda flavored oatmeal and 50g for Bakery on Main) so it isn’t a substantial difference, but I’d advise reducing the amount of water or milk added by a tablespoon or two.

 

 

To sum it up: all three brands offer some great options, and which one you prefer is going to depend on your personal tastes – do you like your oatmeal thick or do you prefer it to be a little more spoonable? Sweeter or subtler hints of flavor? Portion size? All good to consider! Personally, the win for me has to be Glutenfreeda – I just love thicker oatmeal, and it definitely hits the target in that regard. But I really like the others as well, and honestly I will probably buy whichever brand is on sale when I’m in need of some grab-and-go oats. So, for now…”oats-ver” and out!

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Sweet and Saucy Cinna-cakes

Pancakes. Flapjacks. Hotcakes.

Whatever you want to call them, good old-fashioned pancakes are delicious. My traditional birthday breakfast has always consisted of pancakes with strawberries and bananas, drizzled with maple syrup. Lately I’ve been experimenting with my own batter, because I like to use whole foods as much as possible and to try different combinations of flavors. I already have a favorite basic pancake recipe that uses oats, but after whipping up so many flourless oat muffins I got to wondering if I could do the same with pancakes. This morning, I landed on a winner…so good, I just had to share!

I started with rolled oats. Frequent readers will realize by now that I am obsessed with oats. I often use them as a base rather than gluten-free flours, simply because I’m not a big fan of rice flour and many of the others use nuts as a base or additive, and I’m also nut-free. The good news is, they work great as a base for pancakes. I almost called these oatcakes, but there is already a food called oatcakes (very popular in the UK!) and that would be confusing. So I decided on Saucy Cinna-cakes, because the next ingredients to go in the bowl were applesauce and cinnamon, one of my favorite flavors (similar to my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins). From there, I figured out the rest, and after a failed first flip, the rest of the batch came out hot, creamy, cake-y and delicious!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (here, I abandoned my usual Country Choice in favor of Chex quick-cook rolled oats, because I didn’t want to bust out a blender and the slightly broken-down consistency is better for the batter. Up to you to try your favorite brand!)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (you can also use one of the seasonal apple flavors – Dannon Greek Caramel Apple is scrumptious, as is the Chobani 2% Apple Cinnamon)

1 large egg OR 2 egg whites

2-3 tsp cinnamon

1-2 tsp stevia or other sweetener (to taste)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chopped apples

1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

Optional: berries, powdered sugar, or any other preferred pancake toppings.

 

Batter = light and frothy and bubbly

Batter = light and frothy and bubbly

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, mix the oats, applesauce, yogurt, egg, cinnamon, sweetener, and baking powder. Beat until batter is light and frothy.

2. Bring a nonstick pan to medium heat and coat well with oil or butter.

3. Measure out just under 1/4 cup of batter and pour into pan. You can usually fit two cinna-cakes in the pan at a time.

4. Let cook for 2 minutes, watching to ensure there is no burning. Carefully flip each cake (this can be tricky!) and let cook another 1-2 minutes.

5. Transfer cinna-cakes to plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. It should yield 4-5 small cinna-cakes.

Cinnacakes cooking (pre-flip!)

Cinnacakes cooking (pre-flip!)

6. Chop 1/2 a small apple and toss with cinnamon. Ensure the pan is still greased well, and toss apples in to cook for 5-10 minutes (the exact time will vary based on how thoroughly you like your apples cooked, I like them with a little bit of crunch!)

7. Pour maple syrup over the cinna-cakes. Top with the apples and fresh berries.

8. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

 

 

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