oatmeal, four ways

oatmeal 4 ways

I've been eating so much oatmeal lately, and I've been mostly enjoying it on the savory side, which is why a couple weeks ago, I was chomping at the bit to post about buttered corn oatmeal and oatmeal topped with bacon, eggs, scallions, and za'atar. I might have even said some things, like "I suppose there might come a day when I'll eat sweet oatmeal voluntarily." And I even posted these super hearty recipes first in spite of my sweet versus savory oats instagram poll, where sweets oats totally dominated with an insane lead (why are you still following me??).

But even though I'm only now getting around to posting it, trust that I worked on this sweet oatmeal post a week or two before falling madly in love with savory oats. So although I now look at all these perfect mulberries and luscious honey drizzles with regret (it should be bacon crumbles and runny egg yolk!), you can trust that these recipes were created by someone who was still in love with sweet. (And full disclosure, I totally had the tahini date syrup one the other night).

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basic oatmeal

1 cup old fashioned oats*
2 cups your milk of choice
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat, stirring every minute or so. Once it comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and the oatmeal softens and cooks through. Everyone prefers a different doneness, so taste it while you cook, and stop cooking once it's done to your liking.

*If you're cooking for someone who can't eat gluten, make sure you get gluten free oats.

oatmeal 4 ways

baklawa oatmeal

cardamom + walnuts + raw pistachios + honey*

Top with a small handful of walnuts and pistachios, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with a small pinch of cardamom. Feel free to lightly toast the walnuts (or not!), but leave the pistachios raw.

oatmeal 4 ways

tahini date syrup oatmeal

tahini + date syrup + sesame seeds

Drizzle with tahini, then drizzle with date syrup, and sprinkle with sesame seeds (feel free to use both black and white seeds for extra contrast). If you don’t have date syrup, feel free to use honey (or a mixture of honey and molasses).

oatmeal 4 ways

galaktoboureko oatmeal

orange blossom water + honey* + vanilla bean

Mix about 1/8 teaspoon of orange blossom water with a little honey, drizzle over oatmeal, and sprinkle with 1/2 of 1 scraped vanilla bean in the center.

oatmeal 4 ways: rose berry

rose berry oatmeal

raw pistachios + almonds + berries + rosewater + honey* + rose petals (optional)

Top with raw pistachios, slivered or sliced almonds, berries (pictured: mulberries and pitted cherries). Mix a little honey with just a few drops of rosewater (less than 1/8 teaspoon), and drizzle on top. Sprinkle with a couple rose petals.

* Feel free to use agave instead of honey in any of these recipes to make them vegan. Date syrup or maple syrup also would work well in the galaktoboureko oatmeal.

stuffed dates 9 ways: classic desserts

stuffed dessert dates

And my most visited post of 2017 is . . . stuffed dates! This time around, I thought I would revive the concept of stuffed dates eight ways with a bunch of new ideas (and a few of my favorites from last time) organized around a particular theme: classic desserts.

Five are gluten free, four are vegan, three are both. Most are healthy, or at least healthy-ish. And isn't that just the balance you want to strike for your New Year's Eve party tomorrow? If I see another Christmas cookie this week, I might scream, but I don't feel ready to re-commit to healthy eating just yet. Late December is all about walking that line, and then hopefully bringing some of that balance into the new year with us, despite all our best intentions to become perfect people.

And why not ring in the new year in style, and with minimal effort? Just pit a few dates, cobble together some odds and ends, and you've got something nourishing, simple enough that you don't even need a kitchen, and as cute as a button. Most of them are phenomenally portable for packed lunches, potluck offerings, and airplane snacks. On the other hand, date energy balls, while also portable and healthy, require a food processor, and often end up looking like utilitarian blobs, which are tasty and get the job done, but aren't so easy on the eyes.

Stuffed dates also make it easy to accommodate multiple dietary restrictions at one time. Need something that's both dairy and gluten free? Try the baklawa stuffed date! Need a dessert that's low glycemic index and grain free? Try the tiramisu date! Need something for your vegetarian paleo friend who is carb-loading for a marathon? Try the persimmon pudding stuffed date! (but check with them first because that's kind of a lot).

persimmon pudding

persimmon pudding

ripe persimmons + cinnamon + nutmeg

Stuff each date with a small wedge of persimmon. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon, and a little bit of nutmeg.

chocolate covered pretzel dates

chocolate-covered pretzel

pretzel nuggets + chocolate

Stuff each date with a pretzel and dip the bottoms in chocolate.

apple crisp date

apple crisp

granny smith apple slices + streusel topping

For 8 dates: combine 3 tablespoons oats (gluten free, if necessary), 1 teaspoon sugar, a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and 1 tablespoon butter (or 2 teaspoons oil). Microwave for 30 seconds just to melt, then stir. Cook for 30 to 60 more seconds, until crispy and golden brown.

Stuff each date with a slice of apple, and pack the streusel topping around it. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

baklawa dates

baklawa

walnut + cardamom + chopped pistachios

Stuff each date with a few broken walnut pieces. Roll the pistachios in a pinch or two of cardamom, and pack the pistachios in the remaining space.

raspberry cheesecake

raspberry cheesecake

cream cheese + honey + graham cracker crumbles + raspberry halves

Sweeten the cream cheese with a little honey (the date will add a lot of sweetness—you can even skip the honey if you'd like). Stuff each date with a layer of graham cracker crumbs, a layer of cream cheese, another light sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs to garnish, and a halved raspberry.

pecan pie date

pecan pie

shortbread + pecan

Cut or break the shortbread into small chunks. Stuff each date with a chunk of shortbread and one pecan.

s'mores date

s'mores

roast mini marshmallow + graham cracker + chocolate dip

Roast the marshmallows with a culinary torch, gas stove, or warm them in the microwave for a couple seconds. Stuff each date with a couple marshmallows and a chunk of graham cracker, and dip the bottoms in chocolate.

Use vegan marshmallows to make this vegan.

tiramisu dates

tiramisu

Turkish coffee + cocoa powder + honey + mascarpone

Roll the dates in equal parts finely ground coffee and cocoa powder (if the dates are dry and not sticky, brush them with a little water, let them sit for a few minutes, and dry off any excess water before rolling). Stuff each date with honey-sweetened mascarpone, and dust with a little more cocoa powder.

banana split date

banana split

banana + whipped cream + chopped peanuts + sprinkles + halved cherries

Stuff each date with a banana slice. Top with whipped cream, peanuts, sprinkles, and a 1/2 maraschino cherry.