Friendly Food Snobs


slow cooker steel cut oats + musings about motherhood

slow cooker steel cut oatsEight months into motherhood and what have I learned? Be okay with unfinished. Nothing is going to be perfect. Ride the wave. And if I am still wiped? My mom taught me to quietly whisper to myself “this too shall pass”. And it’s so true. The weeks and months swim by and old challenges become new triumphs. It’s still dark in the mornings when we wake here in Toronto. Neil is running out the door after an early morning play session with Oscar and I am still nursing in the night so knowing that breakfast is made makes the day feel great. This recipe has been saving us of late. Steel cut oats are a commitment, as they take much longer to cook than oats but they are packed with protein and keep you feeling full longer.  I put a batch in the slow cooker Sunday afternoon. It’s foolproof and ready in 2 hours with minimal effort. I store in a container in the fridge and we have breakfast for a few days.

Slow cooker steel cut oats

1 cup steel cut oats
pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups water
1 tbsp coconut oil

Coat inside of the slow cooker generously with coconut oil. Leaving any leftover chunks in there. Combine remaining ingredients and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once, or on low for 6 hours. Top and enjoy with more cinnamon, milk, banana slices, almond butter, raisins, dates, walnuts, maple syrup, goji berries, anything you have on hand. Recipe makes four servings and keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Wishing you happy mornings!

baked oatmeal bars

Oatmeal, cinnamon, bananas and berries. Humble, and so satisfying. I’ve been devouring these oatmeal bars after being up in the night with our four month old son Oscar. (Oats are great for nursing!) These bars are simple to make and I’ve even served them as a make-ahead breakfast for overnight guests.  Recipe makes 10 servings, but you can easily half it. I’ve also packaged and frozen these individually and they still taste delicious.

baked oatmeal bars

4 ripe bananas cut into slices
2 cups thawed and drained frozen blueberries or mixed berries (can also use fresh)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups large flake oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
coconut oil for greasing baking dish

Heat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a 9 x 13 (or similar size) baking dish with coconut oil. Layer the bananas, then half of the berries. Bake for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl mix the oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Pour over the bananas, gently pressing down with your hands. Then combine the milk, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla and pour over the oats and bananas. Sprinkle remaining berries and walnuts on top and bake for 35-40 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool, slice into desired slices and enjoy!

blueberry buckle


blueberry buckle

Two pints of fresh blueberries plus lemon zest go into this cake. It’s so delicious it got half eaten by Neil and my Dad before I could shoot it! Truth be told, I had a big slice too. The recipe was a childhood favourite of Neil’s that his stepmother Liz used to make every summer when local blueberries were in season. So I give you photos of a half eaten cake that was so good it couldn’t sit on the counter untouched any longer. The recipe feeds at least 8. And it’s wonderful with a side of ice cream or whipped cream.

blueberry buckle

Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
2 pints fresh blueberries (or 2 and 1/2 cups)

Ingredients for the crumble topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Then using a spatula whip the butter with the wet ingredients and then combine with the blueberries. Mix the crumble topping ingredients with a fork until it looks like small pebbles. Grease a large deep pie plate or 8 inch spring form pan. Pour into greased dish and top with crumble. Bake 350 degrees about 40 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean. Be sure to place a cookie sheet under the dish when baking. Sometimes those sneaky blueberries can really expand. Enjoy as dessert or in the morning with coffee.

wild blueberry earl grey granola

earl gray granolaearl gray granolaIt’s spring in Toronto. Days are longer, nights are shorter and the tulips and birds are making their appearance. This time of year has me wanting a refreshing, but satisfying breakfast.

Tea and homemade granola (my mango coconut granola post here) are two of my favourite things. So when Alokozay Tea asked me to create a recipe with their loose leaf earl grey tea, breakfast granola was the first thing that came to mind. I sipped this classic tea as I made the granola and what’s not to love about a food product that’s delicious and can be delivered to your door after easily ordering online? Earl grey tea traditionally has great floral and citrus notes so adding dried wild blueberries and lemon juice to the granola keeps it light tasting and extremely addictive. This recipe made enough for six generous servings over yogurt at home, plus two portions I gifted away to friends. Keeps well once completely cooled in an air tight container for two weeks, or freezes well.

wild blueberry earl grey granola

5 tbsp brewed Alokozay Earl Grey Loose Leaf tea
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 and 2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds or sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
juice of half a small lemon
1 cup dried wild blueberries

Brew 1 heaping tablespoon of loose leaf earl grey tea to 2/3 cup of water. Mix wet ingredients and add to dry. (Leave out the blueberries.) Pour into a glass baking dish and bake on the middle rack at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes. (A dark metal pan can quickly burn granola, so use glass if you can, if all you have on hand is metal then reduce the heat to 250 degrees.) Stir every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in the dried wild blueberries. Let cool before storing. Delicious with plain yogurt or as a breakfast cereal. Enjoy!

Ps. Want a coupon for Alokozay Tea, Friendly Food Snobs? Check out this link. Alokozay Tea is available for purchase at Metro, Bulk Barn and Food Basics and Adonis.

sweet potato smoothie


I heard stories about a sweet potato smoothie. Cautious, yet optimistic I decided to try it out for myself. With this recipe I was hooked. Think less sweet potato-y, and more creamy and delicious smoothie. Perfect for cold winter mornings when you want the benefits of a smoothie, but need a break from the green ones. Enjoy!

sweet potato smoothie

1 large sweet potato (boiled or steamed and peeled)
1 banana
2 medjool dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop protein powder (I like sprouted brown rice)
I boil the sweet potato the night before and peel it cold in the morning. Combine all ingredients in blender. Makes two beautiful servings.

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