Posts Tagged: oats

Kitchen Letters #4: Brunch Brings a Choco Nana Oatmeal “Shuffle” Bake

Dear World,

I am full of thoughts lately, always really, b u t e v e n m o r e l a t e l y ! !  In Austin, brunch is kind of a big deal, as if there weren’t enough social events occurring on a regular basis, brunch is thrown into the mix to add more fringe to already tethered t-shirt that is traffic in Austin.  My thought, STAY HOME!  Too often today we tie ourselves to the social obligations and financial obligations of going out and about on the town nary appreciating what we have in our home, whatever ‘home’ means to you.  In an effort to be both practical but not distress the abstract, I want to bring the conversation back to basics.  That’s why, I decided there’s nothing better than a little sassy  shuffle at home to go with your homemade noms–I’m still polishing my running man, it’s a mess…chachahca!  Although I’m normally more of a savory tooth when it comes to any food item before dinner, I couldn’t resist the idea of an oatmeal bake nuzzled in a gooey chocolate sauce.  May I introduce the Choco Nana Oatmeal “Shuffle” Bake…all rights reserved.  :p

So, let’s say a blissful brunch “bottoms-up” to this delicious treat, and be grateful for the leftovers.

Here’s my long awaited second video.  If you’ve forgotten the first video, you could turn your first at home brunch-bunch gathering into an all day culinary affair and make some homemade gluten-free pasta.  Delightful.

Videos are also streaming on the Connect a Bite YouTube channel, subscribe and never miss one!




 Choco Nana Oatmeal “Shuffle” Bake


  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, Bob’s Red Mill is what I use)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 very ripe banana (peeled)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 3/4 vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup walnut & pecan mixture (I like to break them up a little)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips (I used these Enjoy Life)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup (heaping) peaches (cut into slices)

Ingredients (toppings)

  • 1 ripe banana (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup walnut & pecan mixture (broken into pieces)
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Alteration to video:  added 1 to 2 tbsp water to make the sauce more fluid
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Have a 8 or 9” baking dish ready (or whatever deep dish you have handy)
  3. Plop and pour water, almond milk, coconut oil, banana, coconut sugar, maple syrup, ground flax seed, vanilla extract, and salt into blender container and blend until mixed, but some minor chunks remaind.
  4. Now, mix oats, chocolate chips, cinnamon and nut mixture (I use my hands)
  5. Now, in the baking dish, line the bottom with peach slices in rows (in a spiral if using a round dish).  Then sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  6. Over the fruit, distribute dry oats mixture evenly
  7. Pour the liquid mixture over oats evenly
  8. Place dish in the oven & bake for 40 minutes or until the dish is no longer runny and golden brown on the top
  9. While the oats bake, prepare coconut flake/nut mixture and chocolate drizzle
  10. In dry skillet, spread coconut flakes out with nuts over low to medium heat and toast until flakes are golden brown (careful not to burn)
  11. In a small sauce pan or skillet, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao (from ‘toppings’ list) and stir with spoon until well mixed and chocolate has melted.  Additionally, I amended what I did in the video and added a couple tbsp of water
  12. After taking out the bake, scoop out a portion onto a plate or bowl
  13. Top with coconut flake, nut mixture, then chocolate drizzle, then cut chunks of banana on top
  14. Apprécier avec le thé ou le café ! 😀



I hope this is just as delightful for all of you as it was for us.  Let me know what you think and if you made any alterations.  I end up tweaking this recipe each time I make it.  Also, I want to say a ‘web’ thanks to my love for putting so much thought and care into this video and my first–if you’re interested, Film Fringe, is his podcast with a close friend and also avid film lover!  We make a great production team, and I’m thankful he honored me with his talents. Love.

Alright all of you, be well and remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy and tasty regards,


Check out more Kitchen letters here!

New Year: Food for Thought (part 2)


HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!  I’m here this morning to top off the final six of my 12 foods, lessons, concessions, thoughts and ideas of 2012.  I’m a day late with this one, but here they are nonetheless!  Tell me what yours are if you can think of any.

7.  Soup:  Hot, brothy, or even creamy soups…what more can I say.  They ease digestion and help eliminate those pesky toxins whilst adding a savory treat to your palate.  My favorite lately, a simple miso (I vary the miso type) with wakame or dulse and these big straw like rice noodles, so deeeelish.  I was much more experimental in 2012 with soups, here’s hoping I make even more in 2013!

8.  Squash:  We have gone squash crazy this month, wherein I’ve prepared more dishes from squash than I thought possible.  What is more, most thick skinned squashes have a much longer ‘shelf-life’ than most other fruits and veggies, thus they sustained us when we hadn’t yet gone grocery shopping.  Best discovery, delicata squash.  I prepared a dish wherein I sautéed delicata squash with a gluten-free pasta, chickpeas and greens…savory and delicious.  This particular squash has a natural umami.  Most adored squash, butternut…I could eat this EVERY day.  Most fun squash, spaghetti!  Most underrated squash, pumpkin.

  1.  Tamales:  Yes, I started off the new year the correct way–for me that is–and I followed through with something I’ve wanted to do for years now, make tamales.  In fact, I finished off 2012 by making my first batch and started off the new year by amping up my filling.  With the help of my love, we made a killer batch of spinach, mushroom, black bean tamales, and then pumpkin black bean tamales.  They were both a hit, and tasted delicious!  This was another way for me to get closer to what I eat because oftentimes we’ll get fresh tamales at the market on the weekends, it was nice to have my heart and hands close to such a delicate and unique process.
Waits Spock Runner

Waits Spock Runner

  1.  Waits:  As some of you may know, my kittle’s name is Waits, and he has had an interesting food journey this year.  I felt a strong need to mention him in my top 12, mainly because I feel we often forget about how important the diet of those we are guardian’s to, is.  Waits started off the year eating the same hard food we’ve given him for a long time now, and then began to have issues with his gums and lil’ teeth. He’s also quite eccentric about how and from what source he will drink water.  Though some disagree, we, for a time, were feeding him wet cat food–to relieve the pain he was experiencing munching on hard food–and as we adopted him at an older age, he–in some previous life–must have been accustomed to eating either wild animals outdoors, or a strictly wet-food diet.  Then, post-cleaning, we transitioned him back to hard food, much to his dismay.  The great part about Waits’ food journey in 2012, is that we’ve discovered he loves nori, chickpeas and ALL salty foods, acorn squash, and almond milk.  We also found a way to peak his water interest.  With all of his food troubles this year there have been great revelations, so my  hope is to start preparing more out of the ordinary snacks for him…wahoo!

  2.  Oats:  Oh, what to say about Oats. :p  I mention these, mostly because they have been a breakfast standard for most of 2012.  We buy gluten-free whole rolled oats, and dress them up in all sorts of ways in the morning.  I don’t know where my morning appetite would be without oats!  Cool finding:  Blended oats with all my ‘fixins’ is rather scrumptious and a welcome texture change.

  3.  The Farmers’ Market:  Some of you may have previously read my post on why I like shopping at the farmers’ market, but regardless, I couldn’t leave the market off of my list because it has been a remarkable learning and growing experience for me.  I’ve come to understand even more, a sense of community I don’t think I truly understood before.  I’m getting to know some of the farmers and coming to understand their trade with more intimacy.  I tried to grow a few things in 2012, and hope to do more this year.  My weekend routine was not the same if I had to miss our market trip; thanks to SFC and everyone who has worked hard to keep these markets up and running.  Eating local has changed my life in many ways.

Again, thanks to everyone who made writing this blog in 2012, more special than I imagined.  With the multitude of blogs out there, if you’ve ever taken the time to read mine, I am truly appreciative.

And remember…bite responsibly!


Healthy and Happy New Year Vibes,




More Than This, It’s More Than Food (part 2)

You don’t have to feel like this about the state of your world…check out these household solutions.


Hello Everyone,

Before I complete this series, I would like to thank anyone I know who has participated in helpful and lively discussions about food connection lately and the many roles food plays in our lives’.


What’s That?:  (SIDE NOTE:  I’m only mentioning a few methods, but know there are a lot more!)

Oats/Oatmeal/Whole Rolled Oats (Avena Sativa):  A staple in so many homes (and I’m not talking about the flavored kind), there’s always extra uses for this grain.

1) CLARIFY:  For those of you who have oily skin or just want to clarify your skin after a rough week (especially to my dancer and actor friends out there, that extra make-up can be very tough on your face), I suggest making this mask.  (TRIPLE THREAT)  Combine 1/2 ripe tomato, 1 tsp lemon juice, and 1 tbsp oatmeal into a blender until smooth.  Apply mask to face and neck, hang out for a little while and then rinse.  Check out Vegan Beauty Review for more info. 😀  2)  SOFTEN & TIGHTEN:  Simplicity.  This is where I fall.  If you don’t have a lot of product sitting around the house, I suggest cooking up about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oatmeal (depending on how much body you’re going to cover) and after it has cooled to a warm temperature, spread the oats onto your face and body if so inclined.  Let it dry and rinse off in the shower.  You’ll notice your skin will feel especially soft and moderately tighter.  If you’re into baths, try soaking in a calming oat bath.  Try adding the oats to a cheesecloth bag, nut milking bag, or something of similar texture to not make a big mess in the tub.  You can also add your choice essential oils.  3)  DEODORIZE: Kitty got carried away one afternoon, evening, anytime!?  Pour some of those oats into a small bowl or shallow dish, and set them into the room where the culprit odor lingers.  Bam, odor-free zone very soon!

By: Jaime Harder Caldwell, M.A., R.D., Oxmoor House

Olive Oil (Olea Europaea):  Originating in the Mediterranean, though rarely produced there now, this oil is extracted from the pulp of the olive.  A delicious and nutritious (forgive me) fat for semi-regular consumption, but there are many other uses to this fabulous food.

1)  REMOVE & MOISTURIZE:  If you’re looking for an alternative that’s an implied resourceful tool for beauty, I highly recommend olive oil.  Though there are many brands of olive oil sold that are at their core, diluted with other vegetable oils, I still feel that this is a better alternative than buying a bunch of overpriced ‘eye-make-up’ removers. So, what you’ll need to do is have a bottle of oil specifically for the use of ‘beauty’ not cooking (I don’t specify between extra virgin and virgin for this purpose).  I either put the oil directly onto my fingertips if I am applying it directly to eyes for moisturizing or you can apply the oil to a cotton ball or pad.  For small areas, try dipping a cotton swab into the oil and lightly rub area around eyes.  Maybe you did a hack job on your eye-liner or something of that nature, the oil will help break down the substance without much abrasion being done to your skin.  Be wary about rubbing too hard around the eyes, the skin here is very sensitive.  2)  SHAVING:  For all the women and the gentlemen who have issue with skin irritation after shaving (or while you’re shaving), or maybe you’re using eco-friendly razors with less lubricant on the device, I recommend trying olive oil.  This may seem like the strangest practice to implement, but it not only helps to soften the hairs on your body to start, it also creates a smooth and evened surface for the razor to pass over without nicking your skin.  The bonus, it leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft afterwards with a flattering glow.  3)  FRESHEN UP YOUR WOODEN FURNITURE:   Combine about a tsp+ of olive oil with small amount of lemon juice/lime juice or vinegar (increase this amount and the olive oil amount increases), and with an old dish cloth, rub this solution into the dry cracks of your antiques or newly purchased furniture pieces to keep them shiny and conditioned.

I hope these and the previous post are helpful tools for repurposing those kitchen foodstuffs!  Again, let me know what home and beauty recipes you come up with or have practiced.


And remember…bite responsibly!


Healthy Regards,