Well, it has been another busy weekend in our house. We got married…again! We had a beautiful day on Saturday with a very simple ceremony at the registry with a small group of guests, followed by a lengthy, relaxed brunch and some photos in the botanic gardens. It was chilly and windy in the morning but super blue and sunny all day, and we came home very tired but also very happy. We didn’t have a photographer and didn’t take all that many photos on the day, but I’ll share a few in a subsequent post. For now I think it might be good to have a change of topic here on the blog. Food: one of my favourite topics of all time!
Today I’m sharing my recipe for banana, apple and cinnamon baked oats. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered the deliciousness of baked oats, thanks to a number of American food blogs I was reading at the time. When I tried my hand at making them it was love at first bite, and I’ve since been coming up with a whole host of my own variations on the dish. I’ve always been a fan of oats in the morning, but only in the form of porridge, a very British breakfast staple that is popular here in Australia in winter. Baked oats boast all the deliciousness of porridge, but minus the preparation since they can be made ahead of time and conveniently stored in the fridge or freezer until required. Now that’s my kind of breakfast considering a) how tight our weekday morning schedule is, and b) how little brain activity I have at 5:30am.
This particular recipe that I’ve come up with is different to many others out there because it’s very low in sugar, containing zero added sugar and only a small amount of naturally-occurring fruit sugar per serving. Given that this is a sugar-free recipe, I find that the cinnamon and vanilla are a wonderful addition, as they contribute sweetness to the overall flavour but without adding any actual sugar content.
I have been enjoying playing around with sugar-free recipes like this one lately, as I have challenged myself to one month of sugar-free eating beginning on the first of August. So I’m still in the training phase at the moment. Sugar is currently my weak spot when it comes to my health. It’s delicious, it’s addictive and it’s destructive. I won’t go through all the reasons here on the blog why we should eat less sugar (in particular added sugar), as I think this has been well-covered in recent times by a number of high-profile celebrities/books/websites, but for me I am really hoping it will help with my skin. This year I have really made it a priority to address the adult-onset hormonal acne that I’ve had for about five years now. I have had it to varying degrees of severity throughout this time, but I am now at the stage where I am becoming very upset by it. I drastically reduced my (bovine) dairy consumption a few months ago to practically zero (with a little pause for our French holiday – whoops), and I am hoping that combined with a sugar-free diet I might see some results over time. I’ll give it six months. At the very worst I’ll be doing my teeth and my overall health a favour, so I figure I have nothing to lose! I have made a promise to myself to post about my sugar-free experience on the blog in early September so that I stay accountable and really see the challenge through.
I hope you enjoy these oats if you make them. They’re delicious and, of course, not too sweet, but if you’re not worried about sugar you could always add a tablespoon or so of honey to the mixture before baking. I like to serve squares of these oats topped with a spoon of no-added-sugar smooth peanut butter and a small handful of coconut flakes. Thanks to the fibre from the oats and fruit, the protein from the egg and goat’s milk, and the fat from the coconut, I find just one square keeps me full until mid-morning. That’s a major win considering I am pretty much constantly hungry!
PS. To anyone looking for sugar-free recipes, I also highly recommend my banana bread (which is also dairy, gluten and grain-free).
BANANA, APPLE AND CINNAMON BAKED OATS
- 1 medium-sized red apple, cored and chopped
- 2 ripe bananas (about 250g when peeled), well mashed
- 1 cup milk (I use goat’s milk but you could use regular dairy or any non-dairy milk)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- 1¼ cups quick oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir well (use a fork instead of a spoon to stir to help break up the raw egg) and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Transfer mixture to a well-greased 20cm square non-stick baking tin and bake for about 45 mins, or until the centre is just set. Cool completely then cut into four squares. Carefully remove squares from tin and transfer to an airtight container in the fridge (or freeze individually for later). Reheat pieces individually in the microwave, as needed.