Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Although I’ve kind of been obsessed with smoothie bowls lately, I took a little oatmeal break and BOY WAS I IMPRESSED. I kind of forgot how good oatmeal was! Then the next day I came up with this Carrot Cake Oatmeal and it’s on another level. It’s sweet and warm and full of cinnamon and a ton of other good stuff. Perfect for a rainy day! Or any day, really.

Carrot cake is amazing (I need to come up with a recipe for this blog), and I would enjoy it in any form. But I’d have to say that eating it as oatmeal is probably second only to actual carrot cake. I used banana for some sweetness, carrots for carrotyness (duh) and some vanilla and cinnamon for that warm, spiced flavour. A good carrot cake also has raisins in it. I REALLY hope you like raisins because they’re awesome. In this oatmeal I used chopped dates, which are possibly even better than raisins. But you can use a handful of raisins if you ain’t got no dates lying around.

Enough talk about raisins. Lets discuss how freaking easy these oats are to make! Just shave some carrot, mash some banana, chop some dates and voila! You’ve got an awesome breakfast that is filling and can be topped just the way you want it, like a HARVEY’S for oatmeal. I topped mine with banana, some more cinnamon (I got the really big thing of cinnamon from Costco so I won’t be running out of that anytime soon), and some peanut butter, because what’s the point of breakfast without peanut butter? I think I’m going to spread some peanut butter on the next piece of carrot cake I have because it is a great combo. Go ahead and make these oats already so you can slap some pb on there!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quick cooking steel cut oats (or rolled oats or quick oats; just adjust the cooking time accordingly)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 a ripe banana (I like to save the other half for topping)
  • 1 large medjool date, chopped (or a handful of raisins)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Peanut butter and more cinnamon for topping:)

Directions:

  1. Mash the banana in a small pot. Add in the carrot, oats, chopped date, vanilla, cinnamon, and water and stir until combined.
  2. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the oatmeal to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and cook until your desired thickness is reached (I cook my quick cooking steel cut oats for 5-7 minutes. Read your oat package for more oat guidance)
  3. Scoop the oats into a bowl and top with the other half of the banana, some peanut butter, more cinnamon, or anything else your heart desires! Proceed to eat and enjoy;))

Hope you try out this DELICIOUS breakfast sometime! Have a great rest of the week and I will see you Friday!

Yours Truly,

Olivia

Zucchini and Olive Pasta Bake

It’s SUMMA TIME and there’s an abundance of zucchini! Zucchini is delicious fried, roasted, in a fritter, and in salad, but today we’re using it in a Pasta Bake. Our guest star is the olive, which adds so much dang flavour into the sauce. If you’re not a fan of olives you can leave them out, but you don’t know what you’re missing. Don’t be a party pooper and just throw them in there!

We’re using my fave kitchen tool again- the amazing veggie peeler- to create little zucchini rolls for the bake.

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The pasta that I used was Go Go Quinoa brand macaroni, and it usually takes about 4 minutes on the stove top to cook. I baked it in the oven for 10 minutes, and it was just slightly past al dente. So if you’re using just regular wheat macaroni or small shells (you don’t want to go any bigger with your pasta selection) that normally take 7-9 minutes to cook in boiling water, I bake them for 10-15 minutes for an al dente texture. My recipe below doesn’t account for that, so just keep in mind what kind of pasta you’re using when baking this bake.

And that concludes my Ted Talk about how great this pasta bake is! DEFINITELY try it out and let me know what you think because it is now officially one of my favourite recipes. Here it is!

Zucchini and Olive Pasta Bake

Serves: 3-4

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 200 ml can of sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Go Go Quinoa Macaroni **see note above if using a different pasta**
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the beans, olives, tomatoes, basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes, and some salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. While the sauce is simmering, use the veggie peeler to create as many zucchini ribbons as you can. The centre part of the zucchini, where the seeds are, won’t make nice ribbons, so you can dice it up at toss it in the sauce, making sure it has at least 10 minutes to cook in there.
  3. Add the macaroni into a small glass loaf pan or baking dish. Roll up each zucchini ribbon into a little rosette and place evenly spaced out in the pasta, like this:
  4. Once the sauce is done simmering, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the 1/2 cup of water to the sauce and bring it to a hard simmer before removing it from the heat. Scoop enough of it into the baking dish so that the pasta and zucchini are fully covered, about 2-3 cups of sauce. You may have some sauce leftover that you can eat with the pasta after it’s baked or save for later.
  5. Cover the glass dish with foil (shiny side down) and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Hope you like this pasta dish! See you Wednesday;))

Yours Truly,

Olivia;)

2 Summer Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls are my ABSOLUTE favourite breakfast! They’re so refreshing, and make me feel like I’m having a treat on vacation somewhere. You can pack a bunch of veggies in there without even noticing, and the topping combos are endless. ENDLESS!

It took me a while to get the perfect smoothie bowl thickness, but I think I’ve finally cracked the code. You want to have the ingredients as cold as possible, and limit the amount of watery fruits that you put in your smoothie. The base of all of my smoothies is a frozen banana, because that’s what makes them thick and creamy. If you don’t like banana you can try using mango, because I’ve found it has a similar effect. The ingredients might take a little while to come together in the blender, but eventually they’ll form a mixture that’s almost like soft serve in texture. Using a tamper is critical here, because you can continually push the ingredients towards the blender blades.

In this post, I’ve included two different recipes for summer smoothie bowls, because I couldn’t decide which one to pick! One has banana, berries, and spinach, and the other has banana, spinach, kale, and watermelon. Yum! My watermelon didn’t get completely frozen, and so the result was a slightly more watery smoothie bowl. Make sure that you leave it in the freezer at least overnight! These recipes are definitely some of my favourites though, because they TASTE LIKE SUMMER and allow you to get some greens in!

Lets talk toppings. Really anything goes when you’re topping your smoothie bowl, but some ideas are more fruit, granola, dates, nut, seeds, and nut butters. I like a few different toppings on my bowl because it keeps things interesting. Some granola recipes that go GREAT on smoothie bowls are my Nutty Granola and Chocolate Coconut Granola. I’ve also been known to top my bowls with a Seedy Energy Square or two….. it’s so good!

I hope that these recipes get you hooked on smoothie bowls!

Berry and Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana (sliced)
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup spinach (not packed)
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Toppings:

Directions:

  1. Add all of the smoothie ingredients to a powerful blender and blend on low, using the tamper to push the ingredients down.
  2. Once the ingredients are starting to come together, turn the speed to medium and continue using the tamper. It may seem like you need to add more water, but continue until a thick, soft-serve like mixture forms. This can take a few minutes.
  3. Scoop the smoothie into a bowl and top with the strawberries, granola, and peanut butter.
  4. Enjoy!

Greens and Watermelon Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana (sliced)
  • 3/4 cup frozen water melon chunks
  • 1/2 cup kale leaves (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup spinach (loosely packed)
  • 1 tbsp water

For the Toppings:

Directions:

  1. Add all of the smoothie ingredients to a powerful blender and blend on low, using the tamper to push the ingredients down.
  2. Once the ingredients are starting to come together, turn the speed to medium and continue using the tamper. It may seem like you need to add more water, but continue until a thick, soft-serve like mixture forms. This can take a few minutes.
  3. Scoop the smoothie into a bowl and top with the chopped dates, granola, and peanut butter.
  4. Enjoy!

I know I’ll be enjoying these bowls all summer long! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you Wednesday:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia