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Got Vegan Chocolate Oat Bars, Will Travel!

1 Oct

When we travel long distances, I usually carry fruits and some food with me. This past year, we have started our journeys in the early morning, so I have prepared many different types of breakfast bars. Some were crunchy and some were sweet. Some had dry cereal in it and most had some type of chocolate. I also made a very plain bread-type oat bar and topped it with jam. Here are some of the bars I’ve made and packaged in the last few months:

My family prefers the lighter, crunchier, and drier oat bars, while I tend to prefer the denser, chewier, and more moist ones. So here are two recipes for Chocolate Oat Bars: one crunchy with double chocolate and coconut, and one chewy with bananas and peanut butter. Both are addicting.

Crunchy Double Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

crunchy-vegan-double-chocolate-coconut-oat-bars

Heat in a small pot over a low flame:

  • 2 oz cacao butter

When melted, add in:

  • 1/4 c maple syrup or your choice of liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set aside. In a bowl, mix together about 2 1/2 c your choice of dry ingredients. My family loves this mix:

  • 1 3/4 c quick oats
  • 1/3 c semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips (if your family prefers a sweeter bar, increase the chocolate chips and decrease the amount of oats OR add tablespoons of Sucanat, to taste)
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Place a parchment paper on an 8 x 8″ pan (very important because otherwise the bar will stick to the pan even if it is greased). Place the mixed ingredients into the pan and pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Turn over carefully onto another sheet of parchment paper and bake for another 20 minutes. You want to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked and dry. When cooled, place in the refrigerator till it hardens. Slice into 8 pieces. Package or place in a container. It will last longer in the refrigerator, but will do well stored in the pantry for a week as well.

Chewy Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

Vegan Granola Bars

Mash in a bowl with a fork:

  • 2 large bananas, about 11 oz

Add in and mix to incorporate well:

  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Now add in about 3 c your choice of dry ingredients and mix well. I love this mix:

  • 2 T flax seed meal
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c your choice of chocolate: cacao nibs, dark chocolate or semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c chopped dates
  • 2 c rolled oats

Place in a greased (use coconut oil or other oil) 8 x 8″ pan. Pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until browned. Cool and place in refrigerator until it is easier to handle. Slice into 8 portions. Store in the refrigerator for a week.

Now that you have two kinds of bars, you’re ready to travel anywhere!

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Where’s My RAW Oatmeal?

4 May

I don’t know how my family transitioned into a less processed diet without our family’s staple raw breakfast: raw oatmeal. Made from oat groats, apples and dates, I was inspired to create this porridge from my old Muesli recipe. It really is delicious and when first transitioning into a more unprocessed and raw based diet, my husband would lovingly say, “I don’t want the cooked oatmeal, I want to eat the RAW oatmeal”.

When Karen Ranzi, author of Creating Healthy Children through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, had breakfast at our house one day, she wrote down the recipe immediately after eating two bowls. She said it would be the first thing she would make for her family when she returned home.

Needless to say, we eat it at least once a week. I hope you and your family enjoy it too!

Soak overnight, rinse and drain well:

2 cups raw oat groats (if you can’t find whole oat groats, you can use steel cut or rolled oats but these are not raw)

Blend in food processor (chunkier) or high speed blender (smoother and creamier) with about 1 cup of water and the rest of the ingredients:

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbspn lemon juice

1 cup dates, seeded

1 cup raw nuts, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained (optional)

3 apples, cored, no need to peel

Serve topped with other seasonal fruit (optional).

Raw Breakfast Granola

1 Feb

 

Raw Breakfast Granola

Mix all together in a bowl:
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (non-alcohol)
3 oz extra virgin coconut oil, melted
3 oz raw almond butter
3 oz raw honey

Mix all together in another bowl:
1 cup raisins
2 c dried shredded coconut
2 c raw oat groats, soaked overnight, sprouted for a day (place in colander with a cover, rinse twice)

Pour honey mixture into oats mixture.  Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  This is delicious alone, topped with fruit or served with your choice of milk.

Transitioning into Raw Breakfast

26 Apr
I read somewhere that some families transition into raw by eating raw meals for breakfast and lunch and then eat comfort foods for dinner.  It has not worked that way for us.  I always offered something raw in each meal, but we never shared a raw meal together.  I have been preparing raw juices and raw green smoothies (the latter at least once a day) for my family for almost a year now.  Yet, it is only this week that as a whole family we have shared a purely raw meal for breakfast – and everyday this week!  What made this week a success?  I made a concerted effort to really think WHAT my husband and son would love to eat for breakfast.  Favourite non-raw items would be pancakes, waffles, Wheetabix boxed cereal (yuck), oatmeal, juices and fruits. How could I convert that these to raw?

Here is the breakfast plan that I pulled off last week with success.  “Success” means that my son and husband actually enjoyed it with no complaints AND for a whole week.

What was on the menu?  Green smoothies daily with one or two of the following raw foods: applesauce, banana with chocolate fudge, breakfast pudding, oatmeal or “muesli” and homemade raw yoghurt with fruit.  Never mind the rules about food combining and drinking greens before the meal or having fruits first… I’ll ‘teach’ them that later on, but for now I am pleased that they are satisfied with their raw breakfasts.

Our substitution for Wheetabix: pudding with ground flax seeds
Breakfast Papaya Pudding with Flax Seeds
Puree in a blender together:
2 small papayas
3 medium bananas
2 tbspn raw tahini
Top with:
golden flax seeds, ground in a coffee grinder (amount varies according to who is eating it and you can substitute this with other seeds or nuts)
berries 

Breakfast Mango Pudding with Flax Seeds
Puree in a blender together:
2 mangoes
1 banana
1 tspn raw tahini

Top with:
golden flax seeds, ground in a coffee grinder (amount varies according to who is eating it and you can substitute this with other seeds or nuts)

berries

Our raw oatmeal or “muesli”

Raw Oatmeal or “Muesli”
Soak overnight, rinse and drain well:
2 cups raw oat groats (if you can’t find whole oat groats, you can use steel cut or rolled oats but these are not raw)
Blend in food processor with:
3 apples, cored, no need to peel
1 cup dates, seeded (you can soak these overnight if you wish)
1 tbspn lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw nuts, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained (optional)
Top with honey and raw yoghurt if desired.

Raw Homemade Yoghurt topped with Raw Local Honey
I have been debating in my mind about raw dairy for the last few years.  In Ayurveda, dairy is best consumed if raw.  Some naturepaths, on the other hand, believe dairy in any form is not good for the body.  In my view, whatever is processed and whatever causes harm to an animal is bad.  Both cause toxins in our body because adulterated milk changes its natural state, making it more difficult for us to assimilate and digest AND inhumane treatment of animals for our benefit brings negative energy into the food we eat, which causes toxins in our body.  I don’t agree with consuming too much soy, so soy yoghurt and milk are out of the question.  (Click here for The Dark Side of Soy and Is Soy Healthy?)  I have bought packaged  organic rice milk – but really, it is ‘dead’ food, unless I make my own.  I could make fresh almond milk and try to make some kind of nut yoghurt but would my family eat it?  They haven’t enjoyed almond milk but admittedly, I’ll have to try  harder at it. So, that brings me down to raw dairy.   What is raw milk?  It comes from cow, goat or sheep and is unadulterated pure milk.  Rawmilk.com and Rawmilk.org are full of information. And after 2 weeks of trying raw dairy out, my son and husband are sold on it. 

Raw Yoghurt
Mix together:
1 quart raw milk (we use goat’s or cow’s, but prefer goat’s)
culture (1/2 cup of fresh live yoghurt or 1 packet of culture)
You can use your dehydrator and leave the mixture there for 48 hours until thick.  Or you can use a yoghurt machine (but this will heat your yoghurt over 115F and kill enzymes). Or find another warm place in your house – we used to use our oven with the light on.

Resources:
Dairy Connection – I have heard they sell the best pure cultures.
More on different methods of making yoghurt.

How about failures last week?

Raw Coconut Banana ‘Pancakes’ My boys are not into eating fruit leather, which these tasted like.  BUT with banana filling, they are delicious… at least I thought so.
Puree together:
2 bananas
2 fresh coconuts, juice and meat
Place on Tex-flex sheets in dehydrators for about 6 hours until dry but still pliable.  Fill with bananas and chocolate fudge.