Strawberry-Oatmeal Squares

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These bake-ahead oatmeal bars will make mornings a cinch, whether you’re dashing to the bus or just making things a little easier on yourself during home school.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  1. In a bowl, combine the oats, pecans, baking powder, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. Melt the Earth Balance butter in the microwave, then combine in a bowl with the Ener-G eggs, soy milk, and maple syrup. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture. Stir in the strawberries.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Let cool, and then cut into 9 squares.
  4. Reheat individual square in the microwave just before serving in the morning.

Warm Cooked Oatmeal Sensory Bag

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This easy sensory bag is similar in concept to others I’ve made for Veronika (a smooshy texture, great for squishing in her hands), but adds a new element: warmth!

If you have a bulk canister of oatmeal, just whip up an extra big batch. I prepared 4 cups of oatmeal and divided it among two bags.

I added blue food coloring to one just for fun, but there’s no need. Other than that, I simply sealed the bags and gave them to Veronika.

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“Hot!” she said, and also signed the word for it. I took the moment to reinforce the word and sign for “warm”, to differentiate the temperature for her. She soon was happily smooshing fingers into the bags, rearranging them, lifting them up to test how heavy they were, and otherwise having a grand time.

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I caught her trying to run away with them, my imp!

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Once back in the kitchen, we briefly tried to make squiggles through the oatmeal with fingers or spoons…

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…but I think the oatmeal would have needed to be thicker for the lines to stay visible. Still, a nice pause for sensory play.

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Peanutty Overnight Oats

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These individual servings of overnight oats are perfect for hectic mornings since most of the prep happens the night before.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar
  1. Divide the oats and chia evenly among 4 small mason jars. Pour 1/2 cup milk over each serving and stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the raspberries and sugar together in a small bowl with a fork. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. In the morning, spoon 2 tablespoons raspberry mixture over each jar of oatmeal, along with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons banana slices. Drizzle with the agave nectar.

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Oatmeal with Sauteed Plantains

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Put a tropical spin on your kids’ morning oatmeal and everyone is sure to wake up on the right side of the bed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow ripe plantain
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2/3 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Peel and slice the plantain into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a plastic bag and add the brown sugar; seal and shake to coat.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the plantain and cook for about 4 minutes, until browned on all sides.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the water and apple juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the oats and cinnamon and continue to cook for 1 minute, until thickened.

Top the oatmeal with the plantain slices to serve!

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Oatmeal with Cinnamon Apples

Oatmeal with Cinnamon Apple

This cinnamon-laced oatmeal will warm up chilly fall mornings. I like to make it for the kids the night before, so they don’t have to wait for it to cool down from a boil first thing in the morning. Simply reheat individual servings just before breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 golden delicious apple
  • 2/3 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  1. Combine the water and apple juice in a saucepan; set aside.
  2. Peel, core, and dice the apple. Add to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the oats and cinnamon; continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the agave and soy milk; the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.

Have Breakfast Together

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All too often on weekdays, we eat breakfast in a rush and then it’s time to get everybody ready ready ready and out the door. On weekends, consider making breakfast feel extra special for your baby, even from a young age. This will help set the tone for the day and create bonding moments for your family. At almost seven months old, I can finally make Veronika and big brother Travis the same recipe – and mom and dad can enjoy this one, too!

The night before, prepare the apricot puree:

Combine 3 and 1/2 ounces dried apricots and 8 ounces water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, until soft. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Let cool, then refrigerate overnight.

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In the morning, prepare the oats:

In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup rolled oats and 10 ounces hemp milk (we like unsweetened vanilla). Bring to a boil and continue to cook just until thickened, stirring frequently.

Ladle into bowls, varying the serving size depending on family member; that means about 2 tablespoons for Veronika and about 1/2 cup for big brother! Stir 1 tablespoon apricot puree into each bowlful.

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Now that you have your meal, enjoy each other’s company! It was a delight watching these two dine together.

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Veronika decided she liked eating clumps by hand rather than spoonfuls.

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Other meals that will fit into a Baby Led Weaning menu plus appeal to big kids include: English muffins with non-dairy cream cheese;

Biscuit Cream Cheese

Melon – cut it into strips for baby, and cubes for big kids;

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Muesli made with oats, non-dairy yogurt, and chia seeds;

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and French toast fingers!

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For a super-easy French toast, dip slices of bread in a mixture of: 1 cup hemp milk, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cook for 4 minutes on each side and serve with raspberries.

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I also like to involve Veronika when I pause for my mid-morning snack. She loves to “share” my apple, and I always hand her my smoothie carton when I’m finished.

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Involving your baby in family meals right from the start will help set a great foundation for the years ahead.

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Apricot-Gingerbread Oatmeal

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We woke up to snow this morning! Which meant it was the perfect morning for a loaded bowl of oatmeal to warm us up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine the milk, oats, apricots, walnuts, cinnamon, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the molasses and vanilla.

Serve warm and be cozy!

No-Cook Overnight Oatmeal

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Let’s face it – mornings are crazy, amiright? High Five magazine must know it, because Travis’s January issue featured a great recipe that kids can help make the night before. Shake up these no-cook oats, and they’re ready to go for breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Handful of dried apricots or raisins
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a jar with a tightly-fitting lid.no-cook oats (2)
  2. Seal the jar and shake – kids will love this step!no-cook oats (3)
  3. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

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In the morning, simply uncap the jar and voila – breakfast is served. You can serve cold like muesli, or warm it briefly in the microwave.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Chewy Cookies

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These cookies are absolutely loaded with yummy ingredients, a few of which you can feel good about (rolled oats, shredded coconut), making it a treat you won’t mind giving your kids. You could also add 1 cup walnuts or raisins to the mix, if desired.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plain non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add the Ener-G eggs, milk, and vanilla; beat until combined.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and coconut.
  4. Roll the dough into balls of about 1 tablespoon, and bake in batches at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Let cool on the pans for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Quick Steel-Cut Oats

Quick Steel Oats.JPGI used to prep steel-cut oats at night, but somehow this was much easier when my son was a toddler versus now in preschool. And as much as I love the taste and nutrition in steel-cut oats, they’re way too time-consuming to make in the morning. Enter quick steel-cut oats, sold much like quick-cooking barley so that the cooking time is nearly a third. This recipe comes together while your crew is stumbling out of bed and getting dressed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quick steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  1. Combine the milk and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the oats, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes, until thickened. Cover and let stand for 1 minute.

We like the oats drizzled with maple syrup and then topped with strawberries and chopped pecans. How do you top your oats in the morning?