Oddly, the grocery store is very cathartic to me. Whether I'm stressed or just need a moment alone, I enjoy walking up and down the aisles, especially in Whole Foods, Wegmans or specialty purveyors, where I find unique ingredients and gourmet foods. At a recent trip to Whole Foods, I picked up an in-store newsletter, always full of money saving tips, coupons and recipes. Post shopping trip, I sat down at my desk and began thumbing through the pages, where towards the end of the circular I saw a recipe that looked healthy and delicious - Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares. With no added sugar and something that was easy to make and a perfect "grab-and-go" in the mornings, I thought it was worth a try.
- 2 cups 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 1/2 cups Everyday Value Organic Steel Cut Oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 (about 1 lb.) Pink Lady apples, cored and grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl
- Transfer to a parchment paper or foil lined 9in baking pan, pressing down and smoothing out the top
- Bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour
- After it's cooled, cut into squares to serve warm or at room temperature
*The recipe lists the Whole Foods brand, which I used, but I assume a comparable product would serve the same purpose in the recipe.
What I learned:
- I used one Braeburn apple (as it was what I had in the house) in place of the 2 Pink Lady apples, as noted above and it worked just as well.
- Be careful when grating the apple - I grated my thumb a few times!
- Substituting the Almond milk for another kind of milk (dairy, soy, rice) would work well, but I recommend sticking to the steel cut oats over Quick oats
- I like my oatmeal relatively bland in the morning - plain oatmeal, made with water and a few frozen blueberries thrown in- and I thought this recipe was bland. This is not a sweet, oatmeal raisin cookie type recipe, but literally tastes like a bowl of oatmeal formed into a bar. If you enjoy your oatmeal on the sweet side, than I would drizzle some honey on top of the bars after they have come out of the oven.
- I keep mine in the refrigerator, heated in the microwave if you would prefer them warm.