Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Back to Basics: My After-Holidays Oatmeal Bake

shelled walnuts
I like adding walnuts to my oatmeal.
Image: Shutterstock
If you traveled like I did during the holidays, you may be feeling a little bit guilty about all those delicious cookies, glasses of eggnog, and carb-heavy meals. I generally follow the principal of living a generally healthy life; most of the time, I fix meals that are full of healthy ingredients and try to avoid overindulging on things like sweets and carbs.

Going into the holidays, though, I knew that I would be making some exceptions. I traveled home to Idaho for a week and a half, and we ate several meals out, had rich Christmas Eve and Day dinners, and drank a good amount of eggnog. I love allowing myself to indulge once in a while, and last week was definitely one of those times.

But.

Now, it’s back to real life. While those rich foods were oh-so-delicious while I was on vacation, they left me feeling heavy and bloated. I missed simple dinners and yoga. And now, it’s time to get back to that. This week, I’m back to cooking at home, and I started with making myself an oatmeal bake for breakfast this week. I find that breakfast is the easiest meal for me to eat unhealthy during because I  am slow moving in the mornings. Luckily for me, this oatmeal bake was super easy to make—and I can just microwave it each morning for a wholesome meal! Here’s what I did:

raw cocoa / cacao nibs
Cocoa nibs add a wonderful nutty taste and tons of antioxidants.
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats (I generally prefer steel-cut, but they take much longer to prepare)
2 cups milk of your choice (I used whole)
1 egg
1 cup fresh berries (I used raspberries)
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
½ cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Handful of cocoa nibs (optional)
1 tbsp mini semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix dry ingredients in a 9 x 12 casserole dish.
Stir wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, egg, honey) in a large bowl and pour over dry ingredients.
Mix it all up!
Place in a 375 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.

The result? YUM! The honey and banana make it sweet, but not too sweet. The nuts and cocoa nibs also provide a wonderful texture, keeping the oatmeal from feeling “mushy” like it sometimes can. I’m not much of one for eating the same thing ever day, but this I can handle J

Check out other healthy whole grain breakfasts here. I haven’t tried these, but they sure do look good. Maybe next week, once I gobble up the rest of my oatmeal bake!
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