Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

While I was living in London, I discovered British flapjacks, often individually wrapped by the checkout counter in grocery stores.  They’re easy to grab and seemingly healthy – like a soft granola bar. I assumed they were a relatively smart snacking choice until, while eating my second (or third or fourth), I realized that they’re no different from American granola bars; sugar with some oats.

 

Isabel visited Boston this past weekend, so we got to do some healthy holiday baking. Inspired by flapjacks and the date and oat slices in one of my favorite cookbooks, Breakfast, Lunch and Tea: The Many Little Meals of the Rose Bakery, we decided to bake our own, healthier oat gingerbread bars.

 

These gingerbread bars have a soft base and topping made from gluten free oats, coconut oil and fresh ginger. Between the oat layers is a ginger spiced chewy date layer, which provides most of the sweetness. Cut these bars into any size (the smaller you cut them, the more crumbly they get) and enjoy for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea. Or drizzle with a little melted white chocolate and serve for dessert.

 

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

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Vegan Eggnog French Toast

Vegan Eggnog French Toast | ourfourforks.com

French toast isn’t something I make often for a couple of reasons. It seems complicated – more so than pancakes or waffles, though I can’t figure out my logic here – and too heavy for just an ordinary breakfast.

 

This vegan eggnog french toast debunks those beliefs, especially if you have some extra vegan eggnog smoothie on hand. Simply dredge some gluten free bread in healthy eggnog, lightly brown on both sides in a skillet and – done: vegan eggnog french toast.

 

I made my vegan eggnog french toast using the master bread recipe from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (if you’re gluten free, get this book!), substituting the four egg whites with two flax eggs. To make the loaf, I used the gluten free flour blend demonstrated on the Gluten Free Girl blog. Any gluten free bread should work, but I’d suggest a heartier bread rather than something pre-sliced.

 

For this recipe, I used some extra vegan eggnog smoothie (which I made with Vega’s new protein powder), but other eggnog recipes should also work.

 

Vegan Eggnog French Toast | ourfourforks.com

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Vegan Eggnog Smoothie

Vegan Eggnog Smoothie | ourfourforks.com

Breakfast decisions are difficult for me because I want it all. My go-to is oatmeal or granola, but when I’m trying to pack in some more nutrition (or eat light before workout), I make smoothies. Usually, they’re pretty boring: frozen bananas, frozen berries, flax, protein powder, cinnamon and kale (of course).

 

But when Vega sent me their new Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake, I decided it was time to change it up. I’ve made vegan eggnog before, but I had never thought to add protein powder to it and make it a full meal. I’ve been a longtime fan of Vega, but their new Vega One vanilla shake is amazing; not only does it taste better (think more of a smooth flavor, less of the typical protein powder grittiness), but it has more protein, greens, vitamins and minerals. It is still 100% made from real, whole foods without anything artificial. Eggnog for breakfast? Yes.
 

Vegan Eggnog Smoothie | ourfourforks.com

Acorn Squash With Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing

Acorn Squash with Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing | ourfourforks.com

The year my mom made wild rice stuffing instead of her traditional stuffing (the recipe for which is written on torn pieces of paper and impossible to recreate) the family was up in arms. She agreed to never stray from her bacon-sausage-liver-butter classic again, but her jump outside the box made me realize that stuffing doesn’t have to be paired with turkey on Thanksgiving. Her wild rice stuffing was great – and, though not rich enough for our holiday standards, would be perfect stuffed into peppers, sweet potato or just as a side.

 

This gluten free cornbread stuffing is savory and satisfying; healthy enough for those days where you want some Thanksgiving flavor without such heaviness. Here, I used it to stuff acorn squash, but I’ve also baked it in a pie pan and served it as a side. The key to this stuffing is the cornbread; it needs to be dried out in the oven so that it doesn’t completely fall apart in the stuffing. I also wouldn’t recommend cornbread that is too sweet – slightly sweet is ok (to get the sweet-savory thing happening), but some recipes use too much sugar for a stuffing recipe.

 

Acorn Squash with Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing | ourfourforks.com

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Butternut Squash Burgers

Butternut Squash Burgers | ourfourforks.com

Veggie burgers sometimes get a bad rap for being too crumbly, too starchy, too soy heavy, too soggy leftover… the list goes on. These butternut squash burgers are none of these things. They hold together perfectly, are crispy on the outside and taste even better for lunch the next day. I used butternut squash because of my CSA, but I think any squash-like substance would be a fine substitute; sweet potato purée, canned pumpkin, acorn squash…

 

To follow through with the fall theme, I topped these squash burgers with sautéed leeks and apple butter, but traditional burger toppings would taste good too.

 

Butternut Squash Burgers | ourfourforks.com

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