Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp (in a Skillet!)

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Well, hello September!

There is a definite hint of Fall in the air these days. The temperatures have been cooler, at least in the mornings and evenings, and on more than one occasion I have found myself turning on the heat in my car during my drive to work. I’m feeling an eagerness to pull out my boots and scarves and warm sweaters, and to start baking with pumpkin. Coffee shops are welcoming back the ever-popular pumpkin spice latte, and even though I don’t drink the things (fake pumpkin flavour ain’t my thing), the fact that they’re available again excites me. I’m weird, and I know it. Fall is my favourite time of year, and the thought of its imminent arrival gives me a little thrill each time I think about it. I don’t know what it is about this season that makes me feel all the feels – I mean, the beautiful colours of the changing leaves speak for themselves – but there’s something more that I can’t quite put into words.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Despite my eagerness to bake everything pumpkin, right now I’m trying to use up the last of my summer favourites. I am lucky to know several people who were able to provide me with a steady supply of rhubarb all season long. At one point, I couldn’t keep up with the supply, and froze a big bag of the stuff for rainy day baking. As I was taking inventory of my freezer’s contents this past weekend, I came across that bag and decided that I’d better put it to good use before it reached the typical freezerburnt fate of many things that find their way into my little icebox of doom.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

In search of inspiration, I flipped through a few of my cookbooks. With the steady availability of recipes and food inspiration on the Internet these days, I find myself spending less and less time with my cookbook collection – something I hope to change. With a little bit of help from Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings, this crisp was born. I managed to use up my entire supply of rhubarb, and threw in a few apples from my neighbour’s tree that had fallen into my backyard for some added sweetness. Full disclosure: I maybe might have possibly jumped up and picked a few apples off of the tree, but only from the branches hanging directly above my backyard.

Consider this crisp as a delightful little merging of two seasons: the rhubarb of summer and the apples of late summer and fall. I find rhubarb a little bit too tart to be used by itself in crisps and crumbles, and I didn’t want to have to add a boatload of sugar, so the apples were the perfect compromise. And while not entirely guilt-free, I do feel that this crisp boasts enough healthful ingredients to justify eating for breakfast, as I have for the past couple of days.

Oh, and I baked this in a cast iron skillet because I just love using my cast iron skillet. I’m a rustic gal, what can I say? You can certainly use a large baking dish (11 by 7-inch), if you prefer. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp (in a skillet!)

Adapted from Whole-Grain Mornings. This recipe can easily be made gluten-free, as long as you make sure to use certified gluten-free oats. The almond meal adds a lovely extra bite to the crisp topping. I think if I make this again, I will add a little bit more cinnamon, so if you’re a fan like me, feel free to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon. Serve warm with ice cream for dessert, or with a splash of milk for breakfast. Serves 6 to 8. 

For the topping:

1 cup sliced raw almonds

2/3 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 TBSP. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 TBSP. cold unsalted butter

3 TBSP. buttermilk

For the filling:

4 cups chopped rhubarb

2 cups apples, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup coconut (or white) sugar

Juice from half a lemon

2 TBSP. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375°F. If using a baking dish, butter or spray with non-stick spray. If using a cast iron skillet, skip that step.

For the topping: Put the almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender, and pulse or blend for about 30 seconds, or until you have a medium-fine almond meal. Add the oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse or blend for a few more seconds, until combined. Add the butter and pulse/blend until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 30 seconds. Slowly add the buttermilk, and pulse/blend until the dough has come together.

For the filling: Mix together the rhubarb, apples, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish/cast iron skillet.

Pile/spread the topping over the fruit in an even layer. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before serving. Not too much though – I think this crisp tastes best when it’s still a little bit warm.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

I Like Cookies | Chewy Almond Butter Oatmeal & Dark Chocolate Cookies

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

I’m a bit of a cookie snob. I mean, not all cookies are created equal. You know?

For me, a good cookie has three requirements. First of all, and most importantly, a good cookie has to be chewy. Not hard, not cake-y, not crispy, but chewy. Secondly, I like cookies that have some heft. Don’t get me wrong, a good buttery chocolate chip cookie can easily win my heart. But most often, I love a cookie that’s got substance – oatmeal, coconut, raisins, chocolate – you know, good mix-ins! And finally, I really prefer cookies that are thick as opposed to thin. Thickness matters.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

We’re still talking about cookies. Don’t get distracted!

And if the cookies can maybe possibly be considered healthy…even better. Now, I’m going to use the term “healthy” quite loosely here. These cookies do have plenty of sugar. BUT! They are filled with many good-for-you ingredients like oats, flax, almond butter, coconut oil, and dark chocolate. If you use gluten-free oats, you can call these gluten-free. And if you use vegan chocolate (most good-quality dark chocolate is considered vegan), then they become vegan too. Which means we can share these cookies with all of our gluten-free and vegan friends! Bonus!

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

This is really good news for me because when I make a batch of cookies this good, I need to get them out of my house, like, immediately. Otherwise I will eat more than the daily recommended intake of cookies. Unless that number is somewhere in the double digits. In that case, I’m doing fine.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

These cookies are so darn chewy and so freaking good. Seriously. But please don’t take my word for it. Mix up a batch for yourself and then invite me over to help you eat them. I’m real considerate like that.

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Chewy Almond Butter Oatmeal & Dark Chocolate Cookies (adapted from Eat Live Run)

You have the option of making these cookies gluten-free, if desired. Just use gluten-free oats! If you want to make them vegan-friendly, just be sure to use vegan chocolate. Makes about 30 cookies. 

1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups regular oats (or gluten-free, if desired)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1 cup almond butter

2 TBSP. ground flax mixed with 6 TBSP. warm water (aka. a flax “egg”)

2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your cookie sheet(s) by lining them with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla and ground flax + water mixture. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients along with the dark chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

Roll the dough into small balls (golf ball size) and place three inches apart on the cookie sheets (12 per sheet). Do not flatten the dough balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy and just barely beginning to brown around the edges. Let cool for 5-10 minutes (or until set) on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer. I imagine these would freeze well too, but they were eaten too quickly for me to need to do such a thing!

Almond Butter Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Have a great weekend friends!

The Mystery of the Two-Ingredient Pancake

Two-Ingredient Pancakes | Once Upon a Recipe

Two-ingredient pancakes. Yep, you read that right. And if you’ve been hanging out on the internets lately, you’ve probably seen this phrase creeping around. Banana + egg = pancake. I know what you’re thinking.

Come on now, don’t pee in my eye and tell me it’s raining. An egg and a banana coming together to taste like a delicious, fluffy, buttery pancake? Not possible. 

Because I thought it too. And after thorough testing, I have confirmed that it is, in fact, a big, fat lie. The two-ingredient pancake does not taste anything like a real pancake. I know, I almost fell over in my chair too. (Not).

Two-Ingredient Pancakes | Once Upon a Recipe

However, let me explain a little bit more. While the two-ingredient pancake does not taste like an actual pancake, it does have a few things going for it. First of all, it does taste…good. I was a bit worried that it was going to taste like a banana-flavored omelette (which did not sound at all appealing to my taste buds), but thankfully that was not the case. It tastes more like a thin eggy…pancake. I made my pancake a three-ingredient pancake and added a teaspoon of ground flax seed, which may have helped a little bit with the texture. I topped it with peanut butter, sliced apple, sliced almonds, and hemp hearts, but the topping possibilities are really quite endless. The banana provides so much sweetness that I did not feel the need to add syrup or honey.

Secondly, I felt surprisingly satisfied afterwards. Mind you, I did make two pancakes. I wake up ravenous every morning and an egg and a banana ain’t going to tame this hungry beast. I’m not one of those girls who can eat like a bird and be a happy camper. I get hangry (which in case you’re behind with the times, is the equivalent of hunger-fueled anger). Anyways, my two pancakes left me feeling full for a few hours afterwards. Two pancakes paired with a piece of fruit made a really great breakfast to start the day.

Two-Ingredient Pancakes | Once Upon a Recipe

Thirdly, these “pancakes” are a great option for anyone looking for gluten-free breakfast meals. Whether you’re on a gluten-free diet, or are trying to change things up a bit, these pancakes would be a great option to throw into the breakfast rotation. Here is the nutritional information for one pancake (with 1 tsp. ground flax).

Nutritional Info for Two-Ingredient Pancake

And finally, if you’re like me and have more ripe bananas hanging out in your freezer than you know what to do with, these pancakes will help you work through your supply. Oh, and if you start your day off with these pancakes, you can totally not feel bad about eating cookies for the rest of the day. Kidding. (sort of)

Two-Ingredient Pancakes | Once Upon a Recipe

Two-Ingredient Pancakes

1 small (very) ripe banana, mashed

1 large egg

1 tsp. ground flax (optional)

Toppings: Nut butter, hemp hearts, fruit, coconut, nuts, agave, whatever your little heart desires!

Mix the egg and banana together well. Add the ground flax, if desired. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Pour the mixture into the skillet. Allow the pancake to cook for a few minutes. Once it is easy to flip, do so and allow to cook for another few minutes. Serve immediately with the toppings of your choice!

Disclaimer: The only way I would choose these pancakes over real pancakes would be if the world was ending and the only way to save it would be to never eat real pancakes again, but…in the name of health, these are a pretty great option. Try ’em!

Snack Attack | Brownie Larabar Bites

What if I told you that I made something healthy that tastes like a brownie? That you can totally enjoy, guilt-free, for a snack or a burst of energy before or after exercise. What if I told you that these “brownie bites” have no added sugar or fat, are vegan and gluten-free, and are made with only 5 ingredients. Bonus? They can be whipped up in just minutes.

About a year and half ago, whilst in the throes of a one-month challenge of eating no grains, I was searching for a healthy, filling, and nutrient-dense snack to eat between meals or before exercise. No grains meant no easy-to-grab items like granola bars, and I’d totally had my fill of trail mix, apples smothered in peanut butter, and veggies and hummus. One day while at the grocery store, I picked up a Larabar to try, after reading the ingredient list and determining that it passed the grain-free test. It was satisfying, both in taste and in curbing my appetite, and I appreciated the short ingredient list (just nuts and dried fruit). However, at $2.49 a pop, these little bars are a pricey snack.

Thankfully, these bars are a cinch to recreate in your own kitchen at a fraction of the cost. All you need is a food processor and a good supply of dates and nuts. Then, you can jazz up these little bites with additional flavors, like cocoa powder, coconut, spices, and extracts. Larabar has an impressive variety of flavors, from key lime pie to cappuccino, and peanut butter and jelly to ginger snap.

Without further adieu, here is my recipe for brownie Larabar bites. But be warned, once you pop one of these little nuggets of joy, you won’t be able to stop. Stash them in an airtight container in the fridge and grab them as needed for quick snacks or exercise fuel. They also do a mighty fine job of silencing a late-night sweet tooth. Not that I have that problem.

Brownie Larabar Bites

Makes 8-10 golf ball sized bites.

1/2 cup whole almonds

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans)

10-12 Medjool dates, pitted

4 TBSP. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients into a food processor and process until everything is finely ground and the mixture comes together in your fingers. Roll the mixture into small balls and store in an airtight container (I put mine in the fridge). You make also form the mixture into actual bars, but the recipe will yield a smaller amount (likely about 4 bars).

%d bloggers like this: