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Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats

Much like most of my creations in the kitchen, the inspiration for this recipe came from a half-full can of pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge, leftover from making some granola. For me, what I have available is my biggest inspiration when creating new recipes. I will almost always have something in my fridge to work with to use as a starting point if I am lacking creativity–whether it be an opened can of beans, a pre-cooked batch of quinoa or barley, vegetables or fruit that are about to go bad, or even leftover meals from the day before. These are the things I use to both create and challenge my creativity in the kitchen to see what I can invent out of them, while also, of course, limiting unnecessary waste. :-)

pumpkin spice steel cut oats

This recipe will work with any kind of oats, but if you have steel cut oats I do recommend using them as they have a nuttier flavour, which I thought complemented the other flavours in the dish quite well. This recipe is quite dense and filled with lots of protein and fibre, so it’s the perfect breakfast after a morning workout, or even just for those mornings you wake up a hungry beast, ready to eat the whole kitchen. (which is me, quite often…)

pumpkin spice steel cut oats 2

Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats

Serves One

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lowfat vanilla yogurt (or vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 5 pecans, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In a large microwave bowl, combine steel cut oats and water and microwave on medium-high for 15 minutes.

2. Once oats are cooked, remove from microwave and stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla extract.

3. Transfer oat mixture to a serving bowl and top with chia seeds, pecans, dried cranberries, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon to serve.

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Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

The other day while waiting for some water to boil over the stove (because somehow I still don’t own a kettle), I started thinking about alternative ways to sweetening teas. I have never personally been one to add milk or sugar to my tea, but I understand a lot of people do. I wanted to find a way to make a sweeter, dessert-like tea to enjoy before bed, without the added sugar–because a teaspoon of sugar here, and a teaspoon of sugar there will certainly start to add up! Especially when drinking tea in copious amounts like me. :-)

orange cinnamon orange pekoe tea

This recipe is super simple, and uses common ingredients you most likely already have on hand. It’s a great way to spice up traditional orange pekoe tea. The added ingredients bring out the subtle and mild flavours of the tea, so it’s perfect for those times you want a more powerful tasting drink, without the added sugar that comes along with other beverages.

Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

Makes One Cup of Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 orange pekoe tea bag
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

Prepare tea, and stir in orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Top with orange zest and cinnamon to serve. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon. Note: the orange zest sinks to the bottom, so don’t worry about them in your drink.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Over the weekend, I purchased some apple butter for the first time. I had never tried it before, but I had read about it and thought it sounded quite good! So when I saw it at Bulk Barn while I was picking up various nuts and grains, I knew I had to buy some. I brought it home, but I didn’t really know what to do with it, so with a quick search of the internet I discovered it goes great in oatmeal! And on my own, I have discovered it also goes great stirred into vanilla yogurt… yum!!

apple pie oatmeal

Dessert for breakfast anyone?! This recipe actually tastes like apple pie or apple crumble.  I loved every bite, it was just so flavourful and sweet–and perfectly in season with fall apples! :-) The apple butter added a whole new level of deliciousness, while the cinnamon and fresh apples gave the desserty flavour. The walnuts were the perfect topping, adding a nice crunch to finish. (I wouldn’t recommend skipping them!)

apple pie oatmeal 3

apple pie oatmeal 2

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Makes One Serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats (or other type of oatmeal)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. In a medium sized pot, bring water to a boil. Add oats, reduce to medium-low, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until oats are cooked and water is absorbed.
  2. While oats are cooking, in a small bowl stir together yogurt and apple butter until combined.
  3. Transfer cooked oats into serving bowl, and top with apple butter and yogurt mixture, and chopped apples.
  4. Finish bowl with cinnamon and chopped walnuts to serve.

Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

All day yesterday I was looking forward to dinner. It was one of those days where I had decided what I was going to make for dinner, before I had even thought about what to have for breakfast. This obviously lead to high expectations when dinner actually came, but because this recipe was adapted from a recipe on my all-time favourite recipe blog, ohsheglows.com, I knew it would exceed these expectations! I’ve been following Angela’s blog for over a year now, and I have fallen in love with every single one of her recipes that I have tried–and there are still many more I hope to try! This salad recipe is adapted (only slightly) from her Warm Spring Salad. Even though it’s not spring, I came across this recipe and just knew I had to make it for dinner. Maybe eventually I’ll get the hang of cooking in-season…

Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

I changed the dressing to a raspberry-lemon balsamic vinaigrette because I had just bought some fresh raspberries from the farm (yum!), and the dressing turned out super spectacular! I was really impressed at how easy and simple, yet so flavourful it was. I thought the raspberries complemented the strawberries nicely in the salad, and the lemon added a subtle tartness, which was also quite nice. I also used edamame beans instead of peas, red onion instead of leek, and served the entire salad mixture cold over a large bed of spinach, instead of hot out of the pan. This salad easily wins the salad of the week award!

Warm Spring Salad served Cold 2

Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

Makes Two Large Servings- With Leftover Dressing

Ingredients
For the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 tsp agave nectar, or liquid sweetener of choice

For the Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 15 asparagus spears, lightly steamed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 10 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 medium-sized red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 edamame beans
  • 4 cups baby spinach

1. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, asparagus spears, strawberries, red onion, and edamame beans until well mixed.
3. Split quinoa mixture over 2 plates, each with 2 cups of baby spinach.
4. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of dressing and enjoy!

Veggie-Packed Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl & Netflix

Today was a long day. And it was raining. And all I wanted when I finally got home was to snuggle up in blankets on my couch to watch Netflix while eating a hot bowl of something yummy. So I immediately got to work in the kitchen to work some magic, and oh how magical it was! The idea for the dish actually originated when seeing a spaghetti squash on my counter out of the corner of my eye while scanning my fridge. The same spaghetti squash that had been there for probably close to a month. Immediately I knew it was time to crack er’ open and see what could be salvaged.

 Now one thing that never fails to shock me is the shelf life of spaghetti squash, or any type of squash for that matter. Obviously they will last a lot longer than your average cucumber or tomato, but I always find that when I finally get around to using one that’s been sitting out for a very long time, I usually expect it to be mostly compost-worthy. But once I crack it open I’m always amazed to see that it’s still completely fine and good to eat! And oh how good it was…

I started with the spaghetti squash, because they do take a little while to cook, and then just let my little heart (and big tummy) take control for the rest. Other than the cooking time for the squash, it’s very fast and easy to prepare. I filled half the squash and just used it as my bowl, but I also ate a whole lot more than I would suggest for an average serving. Letting the veggies simmer for a bit let all the flavours combine and mix together as they cooked, so it really fit the “comfort bowl” category quite well in my opinion. The fresh herbs also add a ton of flavour to the dish, so I wouldn’t recommend skipping them.

Veggie-Packed Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl

Makes 4 small, or two very large servings

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1 small broccoli floret
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out insides with a spoon. Place halves face down on baking sheet with one inch of water, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until outside is soft when touched with a fork.

2. While spaghetti squash is cooking, sauté onion and red pepper in olive oil and garlic in a medium-large sized skillet over medium heat.

3. Meanwhile, boil broccoli in a small pot over the stove. Once partly cooked, strain water and add broccoli to onion and red pepper.

4. Once broccoli, onion, and red pepper are tender, add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, salsa, and fresh herbs, and reduce to low heat. Cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add spinach about 5 minutes before taking the spaghetti squash out of the oven.

5. Take spaghetti squash out of the oven, flip upright, and let cool until manageable to touch.

6. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash into spaghetti strands. Add desired amount of vegetable mixture on top, season with pepper to taste, and snuggle up in blankets to enjoy!