Picnic in the Park (and Cashew Butter and Blueberry Cookie Recipe)

It was such a lovely sunny day yesterday that we decided to have a picnic in the park.  Me and the kids spent all morning baking some yummy and healthy vegan treats.  They really love baking!  It’s usually messy and slightly stressful for me, but also fun.  We made blueberry muffins from Keep It Vegan by Áine Carlin, pumpkin seed breakfast bars from Plant Powered Families by Dreena Burton and also these cashew butter and blueberry cookies.  The boys loved them!

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Oat & Banana Breakfast Cookies

I have found yet another way to combine oats and bananas to make a yummy, healthy breakfast!  And blueberries and chocolate for good measure.  These are so simple, you can add whatever you want, and they only take 10 minutes to bake, which is good because Rian really loves them now and keeps asking me to make them, so it’s only 10 minutes of listening to “Mommy, I want cookies!”Read More »

Chocolate Orange Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is still one of my favourite breakfasts.  So warm and comforting and delicious, but healthy too.  I had a bowl full of oranges and was craving chocolate so made these this morning.  I love orange and chocolate together so much!  The oatmeal has cocoa and fresh orange juice in it, it’s topped with a slice of fresh orange, and baked in the oven.  I made it in individual portions, you can use mini casserole dishes, ramekins or a muffin tin to do this.  Or just put the whole lot in a loaf tin or cake tin, and bake for about 5-10 minutes longer.  Rian loves this breakfast and thinks it’s chocolate cake!

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I always say this, but it’s just so handy to make baked oatmeal, just mix it up, put it in the oven and get other stuff done (or relax) while it bakes.  Easier than standing over a pot of porridge stirring it.  While it was cooking, I made fresh orange juice for me and Rian and then put the orange skins in some water to boil for a while so the house would smell even more orangey!

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Here’s a photo of Holly and Fred being cute this morning, just because.

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Here’s what it looks like baked in a cake tin as well.  So pretty.  It can be sliced up into wedges, which would be good for picnics or even a very healthy dessert.

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Ingredients:

Makes about 6 portions

3.5 cups of porridge oats

1/4 cup of cocoa powder (or cacao powder)

Juice of one orange (about half a cup, or store bought orange juice)

1.5 cups unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)

2 tbsp agave syrup (or other sweetener)

2 fresh oranges

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How it’s made:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Use ramekins or line a muffin tin, loaf tin or cake tin.

Mix the oats, cocoa, orange juice, plant milk and agave syrup in a bowl big.

Put the mixture into the ramekins or tin you’re using and press it down.

Slice up the fresh oranges and cut off the skin.  Press the slices lightly into the top of the oatmeal mixture.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes if doing individual portions, and 25- 30 minutes if doing one big tin of baked oatmeal.

 

Coconut Oat Bread

This is a variation of the 3 Ingredient Oat & Yoghurt Bread that I love so much, with a coconutty twist.  I came up with the idea when I wanted to make the oat and yoghurt bread but Vegan Daddy had bought coconut yoghurt instead of plain soy yoghurt.  I’m so glad that that happened otherwise I might never have discovered how delicious this bread is!

I like to make it slightly sweet with the addition of coconut sugar, and with a hint of vanilla.  It’s really, really easy to make and makes a lovely and healthy treat.  I like it on its own but it’d be nice spread with nut butter or blueberry jam.

If you don’t have coconut sugar or don’t want to add sweetener then you can simply leave it out, or can replace it with regular sugar, or other sweeteners like agave syrup or maple syrup.

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Ingredients:

1 500 ml tub of vegan coconut yoghurt

Oats

Desiccated coconut/coconut flakes

1 heaped tbsp. coconut sugar

1 level tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

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How it’s made:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Pour the tub of coconut yoghurt into a mixing bowl.

Rinse and dry the empty yoghurt tub.  Fill the tub with oats twice and pour them into the mixing bowl with the yoghurt.

Half-fill the tub with desiccated coconut and pour into the bowl.

Add the coconut sugar, baking soda and vanilla extract.

Mix it all up thoroughly with a spoon.

Use a non-stick loaf tin or line a loaf tin.  Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and press it down firmly.

Bake in the oven on a lower shelf for 40 minutes.

When done, leave to cool and remove from the loaf tin.

 

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

I had an exciting day yesterday for my blog.  I was included in this list of 20 Best Vegan Instagram Accounts to Follow on metro.co.uk along with some amazing bloggers that I love like Oh She Glows and Jack Monroe.  I was also shortlisted for the her.ie Blog Awards, which is a real honour.  The blog awards are sponsored by Aussie (a part of P&G) and I used this opportunity to highlight the fact that this company as well as many others carry out animal testing and to share my thoughts on that.  You can vote for me here if you like.  I’d really appreciate it.  I also have some really exciting news coming up in a few weeks, that I can’t wait to share with you all.

The weather has been really nice here in Ireland for the last few days, so we’ve been making the most of it and going to the beach and the park a lot.  We tidied up our garden and cut the grass and next week I’m getting a picnic table for the garden so we can have vegan barbecues and eat outdoors all the time.  I’m really excited for summer to start.

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Oran waiting patiently for his breakfast

 

But today the weather has turned a bit bad again, so I felt like a warming breakfast.  I had half a tub of Violife vegan cream cheese in the fridge, which inspired me to make this Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal to go with it.  But you can use any brand of vegan cream cheese or leave it out altogether if you don’t have it.

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I’m so glad I did cos it was really, really delicious!  And the kids loved it.  It’s really healthy, full of goodness from the oats, carrots and raisins.  It’s naturally sweet with just a little bit of agave syrup added, as the carrots, raisins and mixed spice make it sweet enough.  It’s crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside, with lots of nice textures.  And is an easy way to sneak veggies into kids.

And the absolute best thing about making baked oatmeal is that you can get other stuff done while it’s baking, like the washing up that I left from the night before, or just sit down and relax!  Oh and it makes your kitchen smell really nice.

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I realise that I make a lot of oaty recipes on this blog, but you can’t have too much oats right?  They’re really nutritious, yummy and cheap.  I always think that you don’t need super grains like quinoa all the time.  Oats and other whole grains are just as good!

This recipe can also be completely gluten free if you use gluten-free oats, so suitable for us coeliacs.  It can be nut-free or soy-free depending on what plant milk you use.  It would also be really good with some walnuts or pecans in it, but I didn’t have any.  Just chop the nuts up small if you’re serving it to young kids.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

For the baked oatmeal

3 cups of oats (gluten free if required)

2 medium carrots, grated

1/2 cup of raisins

Optional:  Pecans or walnuts

The zest of 1 orange

2 tsps. mixed spice

1 tbsp. agave syrup

2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or other plant milk)

For the cream cheese frosting

100g vegan cream cheese (I used Violife brand)

1 tbsp. agave syrup

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How it’s made:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix in the agave syrup and almond milk thoroughly.

Press the mixture into a loaf tin or cake tin.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown on top.  The inside will be soft and moist.

For the cream cheese frosting, cream together the cream cheese and agave syrup.

Spoon the baked oatmeal into bowls and serve with a dollop of cream cheese frosting on top.  You can serve it in a bowl with almond milk too if you want.

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3 Ingredient Vegan Oat & Yoghurt Bread

This is the most simple bread recipe I’ve ever made and one of the most nutritious.  You don’t even need weighing scales, it takes two minutes to mix and pop in the oven, and doesn’t even have to be kneaded.  It also tastes really good!

One day when Vegan Daddy was in our local supermarket buying some gluten-free bread for me, they had no bread left so he had to ask at the deli counter because they have some there for making sandwiches.  He got in a conversation about gluten-free food with the woman working there, who gave him this recipe written on the back of a paper bag.

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I made it later that week and instantly loved it.  It has become one of our favourite breads since then.  Recently I’ve seen other people making a similar recipe but I make it with vegan soy yoghurt instead of dairy yoghurt of course.  I like to use Tesco Free From alternative to plain yoghurt, because it has no added sugar, but have also made it with Alpro plain soya yoghurt, which is lovely too.  I make it gluten-free but if you don’t need it to be gluten-free then you can make it with regular oats.

You can add extra stuff like seeds, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc. to make loads of different variations.  I like it with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, raisins or blueberries.

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With fresh blueberries

 

Ingredients:

1 500g tub of plain soya yoghurt

Oats

1 level teaspoon baking soda

A large pinch of sea salt (optional)

Extras like seeds, raisins or berries (optional)

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With sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

 

How it’s made:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Use a non-stick loaf tin or line a loaf tin.

Pour the soya yoghurt into a large mixing  bowl.

Rinse out the yoghurt tub and dry it.  Fill it with oats twice and pour them into the mixing bowl.

Add the baking soda and salt (and any extra stuff you want) and mix thoroughly.

Press the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes on the bottom shelf.

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Apple and Blackberry Breakfast Muffins

Another breakfast muffin recipe, this time with apple, cinnamon and blackberries.  These muffins are moist, subtly sweet, and a bit tart from the berries.  They remind me of apple and blackberry crumble and would be lovely to make in the autumn (and cheaper if you have can forage some apples and blackberries).  They’re quite healthy, oil-free, refined sugar-free and full of oats and fruit, so make a nutritious breakfast or healthy snack for kids.  They’re also nice warm with some vegan custard or cream!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of self-raising flour

1 cup of oats

A dash of cinnamon

2 tbsp. agave syrup

1.5 cups of unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)

2 grated eating apples

125 blackberries

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How it’s made:

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Use a non-stick cake tin (lightly oiled if you want) or silicone muffin cases.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, agave syrup, cinnamon and milk with a spoon.

Gently stir in the grated apple and blackberries.

Fill the muffin cases up to the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes in the oven until golden brown on top.

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