One of my goals this summer has been to start consistently eating breakfast. It’s not so hard when you don’t go into work until 9:30 am, but once fall comes around and I’m back to my 8 am schedule …. let’s just say sleep will start becoming more of a priority than breakfast. So I’m a big fan of anything that will let me sleep a few more minutes. And if that means an already prepared breakfast, well, I’m in!
If you’ve never had steel cut oats before, I would seriously reconsider. Especially if you’re any kind of oatmeal fan to begin with. I’ve stopped buying the yummy Quaker Oats packages because it seems silly to spend the money when you can just as easily make oatmeal the old fashioned way. Steel cut oats have a firmer consistency than regular oatmeal; they have more of a bite to them, which I really like. This recipe is great because you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand (almonds, cranberries, raisins, walnuts, etc.).
Overnight Oatmeal: Steel-Cut Oats
Adapted from this recipe.
- 1 1/2 c. steel cut oats
- 6 c. water
- 1/4 c. raisins
- 1 cinnamon stick or 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a large saucepan, boil the oats in the water for 1 minute. Stir in the raisins and cinnamon stick. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature. The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy, about 10 minutes. Top your oats with your favorite oatmeal toppings to sweeten the taste. I like brown sugar and maple syrup; Will likes PB&J.
*The prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated up to 1 week. Rewarm in a microwave and thin with water if necessary before serving.
Make ahead breakfast
One of my favorite meal memories as a kid is chili night. It’s a little ironic because the chili I liked as a kid is the complete opposite to what I eat now. Back then I didn’t like beans, so my mom would make me a special “beanless” chili that was mostly just ground beef, tomatoes, and spices. Now, of course, I load up on the beans and leave the beef out. Go figure. Anyway, what really sticks in my memory is not the chili – it’s the cinnamon rolls. Gooey, slightly spicy cinnamon rolls. We usually got our cinnamon rolls from an Amish bakery outside of my hometown and they were delicious. We had this meal at school a lot, too (anyone know who came up with chili & cinnamon roll combo?) and my twin sister would always con people out of their cinnamon rolls by offering to give them her chili. We liked our sweets 🙂
My version of chili is full of beans and veggies and as hearty as any meat-based chili you might find. But, as in childhood, the cinnamon rolls are the star of this meal. They take some time to prepare, because they contain yeast, but they are absolutely worth the extra time. The recipe poster claims they rival Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and I’m in agreement. These are a big hit at work parties, too!
Chili & Cinnamon Rolls
Hearty Veggie Chili
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 small carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can tomato puree (diced tomatoes are also good)
- 1 packet chili seasoning, or your favorite combo of spices
Heat olive oil in dutch oven or other sturdy pan. Add veggies and saute until soft. Add beans and chili seasoning, stirring to make sure all ingredients are coated with the seasoning. Add tomato puree and stir well. Cook on medium heat 10-20 minutes. The longer you leave it on the stove top, the more the flavors meld together. Serve with vegan sour cream, crackers, or Fritos chips and corn on the cob. And cinnamon rolls, of course!
The cinnamon roll recipe can be found here. I use Quick Rise yeast and the flax egg replacer and the result is huge, fluffy, and gooey cinnamon rolls. A note on the frosting – more powdered sugar equals a thicker frosting. If you want more of a glaze, just use a cup or so of powdered sugar.
Better-then-Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
When I was in college, I worked at a law firm. Right before I left for grad school, some of my co-workers had a going away party for me. A lot of them gave me little mementos to remember them by but one that seemed to stand out was a waffle iron. At this point in my life, I wasn’t much into cooking (they recognized my voice when I called in for take-out at my favorite Thai restaurant) and I couldn’t think of any reason I’d need/want a waffle iron. It’s the thought that counts, though, so I stowed the waffle iron away in a “kitchen tools” box and it headed down to the bayou with us. At some point, the iron made it out of the box and onto my counter. And as it turns out, you really don’t need to be much of a cook to use a waffle iron 🙂 The unexpected little gadget has been helping me make delicious vegan brunches for years now. Here’s the recipe I use – it couldn’t be quicker and easier to remember ….
Easy Vegan Waffles
- 1 c. flour
- 1 c. soymilk
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 1 Tbsp. syrup
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
Whisk all ingredients. Pour batter into waffle iron; indicator light tells when they are ready (approx. 3 minutes).
Couldn’t be easier, right? I usually double the recipe because these freeze really well. I’ll also spice things up by adding blueberries or chocolate chips to the batter. Serve with margarine and maple syrup.
I’ve been going into work later this summer (9:30 am to be exact) so that gives me plenty of time for a healthy breakfast. Even when I go back to my normal hours this fall, I am still going to make a point to eat breakfast in the morning. This particular breakfast is tasty and quick, with just a little planning ahead. Baking bread on the weekend can provide delicious breakfasts and snacks all week. I have my wonderful mom to thank for this particular recipe – the best banana bread I’ve ever had. Combining the bread with a fruit smoothie is a great way to sneak in extra servings of fruits into your diet. And did I mention it’s fast and easy!?
Banana Berry Smoothie
- 3 frozen strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1-2 Tbsp agave nectar, depending on how much sweetness you want to add (agave nectar is a vegan’s answer to honey — it’s made from cacti and is a delicious sweetener)
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
Toss everything in your blender, blend for about 30 sec., and enjoy!
Mom’s Banana Bread
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. vegetable shortening
- egg replacer equal to 2 eggs (I use Ener-G egg replacer, but I bet flax eggs would be good, too!)
- 2 Tbsp. soy milk
- 1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer bowl, beat sugar and shortening with electric mixer until light, scraping sides of bowl often. Add one “egg” at a time, and the soy milk, beating till smooth after each addition. Add flour mixture and banana alternately to creamed mixture, beating till smooth after each addition. Turn batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.