At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal (Soy, Wheat, Egg and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk and Nut-Free)

Happy New Year!  I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start!  Mine has been full of illness so far, but I am mostly better and no one else seems to be too bad off (though we've all had sinus issues, and my daughter isn't feeling so hot at the moment), so here's hoping the ickies will be gone soon! :)

Anyway, it has been way too long since I've posted a recipe, so I decided that (feeling 100% or not) a recipe you all shall get! :)  Hopefully it won't disappoint.

I don't know about you, but I love the idea of oatmeal.  I say that I love the idea of oatmeal, because I love the flavor, but I cannot get past the texture.  I can eat granola.  I can eat oatmeal cookies.  I can eat oatmeal bread and oatmeal muffins.  But oatmeal?  The cereal that you cook on the stove?  Oh, I want to like it.  I want to love it.  The texture, though, just is off putting to me.  It's just a bit too slimy for me, no matter how it's done.  I've had it made a million different ways, and the texture gets to me every time (until now, but I'll get to that in a minute).

I decided baked oatmeal might work.  Maybe it would be ok texture-wise.  I tried a few recipes that contained egg, and I can tell you this - not my cup of tea.  I always found that a bit spongy or omelette-like, and that's not what I was looking for at all in an oatmeal.  I am not one to easily give up, though, so I kept telling myself there HAD to be an egg-less, baked oatmeal that would work for me and my texture issues.  Well, you all, I found it!  I found an egg-less, baked oatmeal that tastes as good as it smells, AND that doesn't have an off putting texture (in my opinion). 

I found the original recipe on Summer Harms.  I modified it some to fit personal tastes, but let me tell you: this recipe is a winner!  Not only does it taste great hot, warm or cold, it is also soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), wheat, egg and fish-free, and can be milk and nut-free (see variations).

My husband decided that this year I should do a recipe rating system.  Since there are 5 people in my family, the rating system is total thumbs up out of a possible 10 thumbs up.  This recipe?  Well, it got 9 thumbs up out of 10 (my 4 year old was the only one to give it 1 thumbs up) without jam on it, and 10 thumbs up out of 10 with jam on it (see variations for more details).  As I said before, this recipe is a winner for young and old alike!  It tastes a little like a peanut butter oatmeal cookie with a soft, not quite chewy texture.  It's almost the consistency you get when you eat a peanut butter sandwich on soft, white bread, but with a delightful oatmeal cookie taste mixed it.  You'll just have to try it to see what I mean.  So very good!

Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

3 Cups quick cooking oats (gluten-free if you need it to be)
(Do not use instant oatmeal or old fashioned oats!)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if you need it to be)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(this is normally gluten-free, but make sure your brand says it is if you need it to be)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/3 Cup honey
(this is normally gluten-free unless it has something added to it, so be sure to check labels)

3/4 to 1 Cup soy-free peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
(this is normally gluten-free, but make sure your brand says it is if you need it to be)

1 to 1 1/2 Cups milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Grease a 9x13 glass pan and set aside.  (Note: Use whatever grease fits your allergen needs.  You can use butter, oil, lard, etc.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Add honey, peanut butter, vanilla and milk to the oat mixture and mix until well-blended.  (Note: The amount of honey, peanut butter and milk are based on personal preference.  If you like it sweeter, use more honey.  If you like it more peanut buttery and a bit more fudge-like texture, add more peanut butter.  If you like the idea of bits of peanut in your oatmeal, use the crunchy peanut butter.  If you like it more chewy, add more milk.  If you like it a bit drier, use less milk.  My personal favorite is to use 1/3 Cup honey, closer to 3/4 Cup creamy peanut butter and to start at 1 Cup milk and add a little more if needed to give it a soft cookie dough looking texture.)
  5. Scoop mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the middle is set.  (Note: You do not have to bake this oatmeal beyond having the middle set, which is more toward the 20 minute mark, sometimes even as little as 15 minutes.  If you like your oatmeal a little more crunchy/dry (though it won't be completely like that - it will be more like soft oatmeal cookies with a slight crunch on the edge), bake it a bit longer, though you shouldn't have to bake it past 30 minutes.  I normally bake mine for 25 minutes to get a soft bottom with a slight crunchy cookie-type top.)
  6. Enjoy hot, warm or cold.
Makes anywhere from 12 large servings (as seen in the picture below) to 24 small servings.

Variations (Please keep your individual allergy and dietary needs in mind when using substitutions!):
  • Peanut-Free or Nut-Free:  If you cannot have peanut butter, you can sub any tree nut or seed butter for the peanut butter with success.  It will have a slightly different flavor, but should still be equally delicious.
  • Milk-Free: If you cannot have milk, you can sub any non-dairy milk, water or juice for the milk.  I've made it with juice before, and it makes it taste like peanut butter and jelly.  We even liked it better than when it was made with milk!
  • Grain-Free: If you have trouble with all grains, including oatmeal, sub quinoa flakes for the oatmeal and make as directed.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: If you do not like honey or don't have any or cannot use it, you can sub molasses or maple syrup.  You can also sub 1/3 to 1/2 Cup of brown or white sugar for the honey.  I've subbed with the brown sugar (I used 1/2 Cup), and it was very good!  You can even use Stevia or another sugar-free, approved for baking alternative, too.  Use this chart to help you determine how much Stevia to use in place of the sugar/honey.  Here is one for determining how much Splenda to substitute with.  Here's another conversion chart that may be useful: Sweetener Equivalency & Usage Chart
  • Topping Ideas: This oatmeal is great plain, but it is even better with jam on top.  You could also top it with raisins or anything that you like on top of oatmeal that would go well with peanut butter.  You could even melt some chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a great allergy-friendly choice) and drizzle them on top, or even top it with caramel sauce if you wanted a more "dessert" type feel.

This is an easy breakfast option that is whips up in minutes, bakes quickly and fills you up.
I hope you enjoy it!


What's your favorite breakfast dish?

Do you like baked oatmeal?

Would you like to see more recipes like this?

What is a recipe you've been looking for that you're having trouble finding that fits your dietary needs?

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Monthly Milestones 2015 {1}

Happy New Year! :)  I hope your new year has started off right. Mine's been a bit rough (illness-wise), but I'm still excited for this "fresh start".

Anyway, today is my first Monthly Milestones for 2015. As you can see, I've changed a few things, but the "rules" are still the same. I will be giving you updates on the first Saturday of every month on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc., and you can link up a post (or 3 or more) about some form of progress you are making, if you wish (see details below).  Being publicly accountable (as hard as it is) helps me out tremendously.  I hope you enjoy this link-up, will link up something inspiring and share it with others so that we can meet our goals together! :)

Here is how I am doing as of today:

Me as of today, January 3, 2015, at 229.5 lbs.
(Yes, this is a new outfit.  New year, new outfit! :)  The socks are subject to change, though! :D )

  1. I've lost a little.  I am very happy to say that my weight has gone down.  I went from 230.5 to 229.5.  Only a pound lost overall, but I'll take it! :)
  2. I am still trying to walk  on most days.  We've been on our winter break, so I have not gotten to walk on Monday - Thursday like I'd been.  I've tried to get some form of walking in at least a few times because I find that I NEED to walk to feel at my best, but I have admittedly not gotten out as much as I'd like.  Part of that has to do with illness, some of that with holiday plans, and some of that is just not taking the time to do it.  I look forward to preschool starting back up next week so that I can walk my daughter to school again, but there may end up being a delay on that since she's feeling a bit under the weather.  I'll explain more about that in my next point.
  3. Physically, I'm still not at my best.  I mentioned last month how I have been feeling "off" and dealing with more pain and fatigue (for even more details, go here).  I have been focusing more on eating right, and that makes a huge difference.  My migraine count has been down, and I'm sleeping better.  However, I got a nasty virus of sorts that kept me pretty miserable for a week, and I'm still not 100% over it.  My daughter is complaining of not feeling too great today (we've all had the same cold/sinus-type issues off and on since about mid-December), but thankfully so far she is not feverish.  There is a nasty flu going around, and I'm really praying that she hasn't gotten it.  Time will tell, and all I can do is do my best to keep things clean, and work on making sure my daughter (and the rest of us!) is getting the foods and rest she needs to fit the bug.  Prayers appreciated!  Thanks! :)
  4.  I'm still working on my new groove with my blogs.  I still want to post at least once a month on here and on Natural and Free, and I'm shooting for every other week and working my way to once a week.  I am not where I want to be, and things are taking a lot longer than planned, but it is what it is.  I haven't forgotten about you all, and I hope you haven't forgotten about me. :)
  5. I'm working on prioritizing better.  Last year, I made huge strides in my priorities, but I still feel they aren't 100% where they should be.  It is so much easier to check Facebook than it is to do the laundry or clean the bathroom.  I find that I can very easily waste time unless I determine not to.  I can get a lot done quickly if I just buckle down and do it.  I know someone out there can relate, at least I hope so! LOL :)  Anyway, that's one of my bigger goals this year: right priorities in all areas.  Not just having God and family in the right place, but also housework, exercise, meal prep, etc.  God and family are easy to put first, but the other stuff?  Not so much.  What can I say?  I'm a work in progress, too! :D

That's about it for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will link-up a post telling me all about it or even leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

Now It's Your Turn!

Grab A Badge!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)