I remember my initial reaction when I was first found out that I had to eliminate gluten from my diet. Naturally, I was devastated. No more pizza? Croissants? NO BREAD?!? NOOOOOOOOOO. “Kill me now/What the hell am I going to eat?/I hate my life” were some of my initial reactions. Once I stopped panicking, I started researching what I COULD eat, and the list was actually pretty long. Potatoes, rice, and corn were all okay, as well as quinoa, buckwheat, and GF oats. Not too shabby. I realized I could definitely live pretty well off these carbs. Plus, I’m lucky to live in a time and place where lots of gluten-free options are available.
Something kind of unexpected happened when I stopped eating gluten. My already huge love of food and all things delicious became even more profound. I’ve always loved to eat, and going gluten-free deepened my appreciation for every delicious bite I ate. My love for food also became about creating it too, and not just stuffing my face. My new dietary restriction gave me an opportunity to try new recipes, learn to be a better cook, and more courageous in the kitchen. It also gave me a springboard to share ideas and recipes with friends, family, and you, my awesome readers here on my blog.
American Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and it’s got me thinking about what I’m thankful for. As life has thrown me my share of challenges and sorrows, it’s also gifted me with opportunities and many blessings. What I’ve realized is that being happy feels a choice we make. It’s like if you opt to look on the bright side and choose gratitude daily, you’ll probably end up a whole lot happier.
I’m not saying I’m happy all the time, because really, that’s just insane. Can you even imagine how annoying that would be? It’s just at some point, when I stopped expecting my life to be a certain way, I became a whole lot happier and thankful for my life as it was. I am blessed with a loving family and great friends, I married the best guy I know, and I’m healthy. Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.
This recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast. I made a batch on Sunday and will enjoy throughout the week. It calls for quinoa flakes, which is a great complement to oatmeal. This breakfast is packed with protein, slow burning carbs, fruit, fibre, and yumminess. I’ve made it here with pears and vanilla bean, but it also works amazingly with apples and cinnamon. I like to switch it up so I don’t get sick of the same thing. I’m sure it’s great with bananas too (I’m a banana-hater, so I won’t be testing that anytime soon). I like that it tastes like dessert for breakfast, which is my favourite way to start the day.
Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (adapted from Lottie + Doof) Serves 6
- 4 cups pear, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (about 4 medium pears)
- 1 vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
- 1 cup quinoa flakes
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons melted vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups soy milk or other dairy-free milk
- 1 1/2 cup frozen berries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Equipment: 8″ square baking dish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add pears, half the berries, and two tablespoons agave nectar. With a sharp knife, slice vanilla pod lengthwise. Scrape vanilla beans from inside pod and add to pear mixture. Stir to combine. Spread fruit in even layer in greased baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Spread evenly over fruit mixture, pressing down slightly.
In another bowl, mix together milk, 4 tablespoons agave nectar, melted butter. Slowly drizzle mixture over oatmeal mixture, making sure milk moves through oats evenly. Scatter nuts and remaining berries over top.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and mixture has set. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with maple syrup if you prefer it to be sweeter. Serves 6 as main or 12 as a part of larger brunch spread.
Recipe Note: Quinoa flakes are dried and similar to oatmeal and available at health food stores. If you can’t find it, you can simply use all gluten-free oats instead. To make apple cinnamon version, use 4 cups of diced apples and 1 teaspoon cinnamon instead of pears and vanilla.