Friday, January 11, 2013

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

One of my goals for our family's eating habits is to start eating wholesome breakfasts every morning. Usually our toddler and I have oatmeal or muffins for breakfast, but it's much harder to have a grab and go, healthy breakfast ready for my husband (the butter to my bread!) each day. He leaves very early, so I have to have it all made the night before. I usually fail in this department, mostly because he never *asks* for breakfast, and doesn't eat it unless I make him. But, I feel like skipping a meal is not great for the body, so I'm trying to get creative in my breakfast making! Enter these lovely little baked oatmeals to go. They're hearty, portable, and packed with flavor. The coconut flavor really shone through and complemented the chocolate perfectly. They have just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture is definitely that of baked oatmeal instead of a regular muffin- the tops are crunchy and the inside is pure chewy oatmeal.
The idea wasn't original to me, it's definitely been done before. I just checked out a couple recipes for the bones, and then slapped my own recipe togther from what I had on hand. The result was quite delicious, and easy! And fabulously versatile. You could make these every day for a month and still not run out of variations. I used applesauce- you could easily sub mashed bananas or coconut butter. I used brown sugar, but honey or even maple syrup would be really tasty! I decided on a mix of oats and bran cereal- you could use all oatmeal, add some flax, or quinoa, or other grains. Instead of coconut and chocolate chips you could use chopped apples and cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, or resh fruit. Regular milk, or coconut milk, almond milk, or even soy milk. Throw in some peanut butter!  I decided not to top them with anything, but you could easily add a streusal,  nuts, or sugar for a crunchy topping. Be creative! As long as you keep the wet/dry proportions approximately the same, these should be pretty hard to mess up (the batter should be wet, and pretty much like a muffin batter)!  Personally, I'd love to try making these with coconut milk and coconut butter. I love that coconut! 

Kiddo approved! 

Heart Health

Whole Grains- The complex carbohydrates in whole grains contain indigestible oligosaccharide carbohydrates, which are linked to helping prevent cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and help bolster blood vessels. Lignans and plant sterols may help lower cholesterol, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that may also help prevent heart disease.

Oats- Oats are a wonderful source of saponins, which bind to cholesterol in the digestive tract. They also contain soluble beta-glucan fiber which is helpful for reducing cholesterol. 

Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (

Apples (applesauce)- There’s a reason an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are packed with anthocyanins to protect against carcinogens and help lower LDL cholesterol, soluble fiber pectin to lower LDL, phenolic acids to help fight cancer, and rutin to maintain healthy blood vessels. 

Dark Chocolate – studies show that small amounts of dark chocolate each day may help lower the levels of C-reactive proteins in your blood, helping to reduce the inflammation that can lead to heart disease.

Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You,  The Reader's Digest Association

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup bran cereal
1/2 unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 T baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbs coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine everything but the chocolate chips and blend until everything is well moistened. Then, stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. They can be eaten warm, or stored for several days. They can also be frozen and thawed/reheated for breakfasts later!
See? Easy!

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