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Well, getting back into clean eating mode has proven a little more difficult than I expected. Mostly because it’s freaking freezing outside and who wants to eat a cold salad when there’s a windchill of negative 10? Someone, maybe, but not me. Soup is a great alternative, but eating it every single day gets old real quick.

So the trick, which I am far from mastering, is eating clean, energy dense foods that are still warm and satisfying. Mac and Cheese only satisfies one of these goals it turns out. I’ve had a couple of successes though.

My greatest accomplishment so far this winter is definitely a Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal, which has received rave reviews and requests for more. I’ve made it twice.

Here's the first batch.

Here’s the first batch.

After the first batch, my health-conscious dad said, “I wish you hadn’t made that cake, it tastes too good.” So that is an indication of what kind of flavor and consistency this thing has. But I promise, that is its only similarity to cake! It’s not quite vegan, but almost, and almost all of the ingredients are lovely clean foods with super nutritional qualities. There’s nothing in it that should be alarming in any way.

It is based off of Whole Living’s Baked Oatmeal recipe, but with a whole bunch of substitutions.

banana-berry baked oatmeal up close1

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook TIme: 50 minutes; Serves: 9

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 t. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 3 Tbl. Baking Stevia
  • 3 Tbl. Brown Sugar
  • 2 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. Butter, melted & cooled (I know, I’m sorry.)
  • 2 Tbl. mashed overripe banana*
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, sliced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Cups Frozen Mixed Berries
  • Honey for topping (optional)

*Use a mortar and pestel, (or a small bowl and an ice cream scoop) to crush a banana into a pasty baby food consistency. Try to mash any chunks so it is smooth. To yield two tablespoons you’ll need one small banana, or half of a big one.

Directions

  1. Soak Steel Cut Oats in 1/2 Cup of Almond Milk. (Make sure the oats are completely immersed in liquid. They need to soften before baking.)
  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  4. Mix rolled oats, sugar, salt, spices, half the almonds & baking powder in smallish mixing bowl.
  5. In a different mixing bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, sugar, stevia, vanilla, butter & mashed banana. Whisk until fully blended.
  6. Layer the banana slices on the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Top banana slices with half of the berries.
  8. Drain milk from the steel oats back into the liquid mixture. Whisk.
  9. Add steel oats to the dry mix. Mix together.
  10. Add the dry mixture to the baking dish, covering the fruit. (If adding in the wet steel oats made the whole thing a little pasty, that’s fine, just use a rubber scraper/spatula to get the anything sticking to the mixing bowl.)
  11. Use the scraper or a butter knife to smooth out the oats, so that the layer is fairly even.
  12. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the dish, making sure to distribute it.
  13. After you’ve added it, it helps to shimmy the dish a little bit so that the milk can fall through the oats and cover the fruit on the bottom as well and distribute evenly throughout the dish.
  14. Top with the rest of the berries and almonds.
  15. Bake about 50 minutes. Check it by poking it with a fork. It should be more solid than normal oatmeal.
  16. When finished baking, let stand 5-10 minutes.
  17. Serve warm. (I recommend topping it with honey but I’m told that is not necessary.)
One slice, just out of the oven!

One slice, just out of the oven!

I love this oatmeal. It is very filling and it tastes amazing. Substituting mashed bananas and egg whites for the full eggs doesn’t seem to have any effect, and the baking stevia is a great replacement for refined sugar. Same with the almond milk, which I used in place of regular milk. It cuts down on the amount of dairy and actually adds to the nutty flavor. If you are really concerned with fat though, you could use skim milk and I don’t foresee any problems. Adding steel cut oats to the regular oat base gives it that chewy, cake-y vibe that makes it seem infinitely more indulgent than it actually is. The spices interact in a really interesting way with the berries and just everything about it is warm and comforting… aka the perfect January food. I guess it probably seems like a breakfast food but I think it works well at any point of the day.

Also it is really great reheated, so it wouldn’t be a problem at all to make this the night before. If you keep it more than two days I recommend topping a slice with a teaspoon of almond milk before sticking it in the microwave.

The only problems with it is that now that I’m writing this post I really want to make some more right now!

seriously, yum.

seriously, yum.

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