Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon Oatmeal

The Rising Spoon Blog: Vegan Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon Oatmeal
During the spring and summer, my general breakfast fare is comprised of two over easy eggs,  pan-fried avocado and a piece of whole wheat toast schmeared with peanut butter & honey. 

Now that the temps are cooling, I'm back to craving my wintertime breakfast staple: warm old-fashioned oats (oatmeal). Frankly, I'm overdue for a healthier breakfast. Don't get me wrong, eggs, avocado & peanut butter toast are healthy, but I need more fiber in my diet. 

With that goal in mind, oatmeal is perfect. The creamy oats, warm spices and crunchy toppings form a comforting breakfast, while the fiber and protein from the whole grains keep me full all morning. 

Seriously, folks. If you're not on the oatmeal bandwagon, it's time to join! 

Any form of oatmeal—whether it be steel cut oats, rolled oats (a.k.a. old-fashioned oats), or quick-cooking oats—is a breakfast power house. It will stave off hunger until lunchtime and it's super healthy. The fiber cleans out all the gunk in your system, the protein keeps you full and it's heart-healthy. How can you beat that?

Plus, it's a secret-weapon for most active people. Oatmeal keeps you full and energized. The good carbs leave you feeling satisfied, not bogged down, which equates to less snacking. So, if you're trying to lose weight, eating oatmeal is a great way to incorporate whole foods into your diet, while also shrinking your waistline. 

On top of all those benefits, oatmeal is also inexpensive. You can purchase a large can or bag for only 3-4 dollars. A single serving is 1/2 a cup, so the container will last awhile. 

You don't have to go crazy with toppings, either. Use what's on hand or buy toppings in bulk and when they're on sale. 
The Rising Spoon Blog: Vegan Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon Oatmeal
The most popular oatmeal additions are ground cinnamon, some type of fruit (you can use frozen), sugar or maple syrup and chopped nuts. If you want an extra nutritional boost from all natural supplements, stir in flax seed, chia seed or a highly quality protein powder

Again, these toppings are not absolutely necessary. However, they're excellent for sneaking in extra nutrients & vitamins, so consider purchasing them in small quantities from the dry goods section of your local market or online. Then you'll have a few different ingredients for oatmeal or other recipes for months to come. 

Vegan Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon Oatmeal 
Warm oats spiced with pumpkin pie seasonings and cinnamon, sweetened with real maple syrup and topped with chopped walnuts and frozen blueberries. Adding unsweetened vanilla almond milk and pumpkin puree after cooking make the oats super creamy. A healthy, filling and vegan friendly way to start your morning.
Serves: 1

1/2 cup of organic rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
1 cup of water (or substitute your favorite milk to make it creamier)
Pinch of sea salt (optional)
(I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (get my homemade recipe here)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of 100% pumpkin puree or maple spice pumpkin butter
Real maple syrup, honey or raw sugar, to taste 
1/8 cup walnuts, chopped or crushed (optional)
1/4 cup of frozen or fresh organic blueberries (optional)

Portion out the oats and water (or milk) into a microwaveable bowl, add a pinch of salt (optional) and cook for 2 1/2-3 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the oats are soft. Keep an eye on them while they're cooking, especially if you're using milk, as the oats tend to boil over very quickly if you aren't paying attention! Using an oven mitt or towel, pull the bowl out of the microwave (it will be hot). 

Stir in the 1/4 cup of whatever milk you prefer to make the oatmeal creamier. I love homemade almond or coconut milk. Add more milk if you like your oatmeal less thick. The longer the oatmeal sits, the  more it will thicken, so if you like it creamy, you may need to add more milk if you don't eat it immediately. Stir in the ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree and sweetener of choice (real maple syrup, honey, raw sugar). If desired, top with walnuts and blueberries. Eat while it's still hot! 

Notes & Tips
If you don't have pumpkin puree on hand, no worries. Just add a bit more pumpkin pie spice a little at at time til it's pumpkiny to your liking.

If you enjoy your oatmeal with more sugar, try using sweetened vanilla almond milk.

Taste the oatmeal after you've added everything. If it doesn't have enough pumpkin, cinnamon or sweetness to it, add more until it pleases your taste buds. 

Use whatever toppings you have on hand. Experiment with different fruits, nuts, seeds and spices. 

Additional Topping Ideas
Nuts & Seeds:  walnuts, almonds, cashews, roasted pumpkin or squash seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds (let the chia seeds soak in the water/milk for 10 minutes before cooking the oats in order to plump up)
Fruitsdiced apples or pears, bananas slices, dried cranberries, raisins
Butters: peanut, almond, apple, pumpkin 

Real Food Resources

Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms

"This e-book is perfect for busy folks who need help maximizing their time in the kitchen so they can fix nutritious, real food snacks and meals to eat at home and on the go. In addition to realistic advice, this book provides recipes for real food staples you can make in bulk ahead of time, which ensures you always have nutrient dense foods at hand. And it’s especially helpful if you’re interested in implementing homemade fermented foods into your diet."

Gluten-Free Vegetarian: 80+ Soy-Free, Meatless Real Food Recipes

"If you're looking for simple recipes that will inspire you to eat more vegetables and begin a clean eating lifestyle, look no further. Hannah's ebook is chalk full of flavorful, diverse dishes sure to make both your belly and body happy. Even better, the emphasis on fresh, approachable ingredients ensures the recipes are easily adaptable so that omnivores, pescitarians, vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy this cookbook."

Question for Discussion: What are you favorite mix-ins for oatmeal?

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