Though it has still been 90 degrees *puhleeese crisp autumn weather come soon* Saturday found us making our way up to Solvang to pick some apples. You may remember we went apple picking in the Santa Ynez Valley last year too. Though we loved visiting the miniature donkeys, goats, and chickens, we decided on a new U-Pick orchard this year, and ended up at the darling Apple Lane Farm.
After the girls filled their bags (and their bellies!) to the top with apples we had to stop down the road to visit the miniature horses at Quicksilver Ranch. This may be my favorite road in all the world. Within a couple of miles you can pick apples or pumpkins, grab a delicious picnic from El Rancho Market, visit a beautiful park, see itty bitty horses, and go wine tasting. What could be better than that?! With the surplus of apples after our adventure, using them in a healthy breakfast the next day was only natural.
Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the apple flesh. You will need the flesh from two of the apples for the oatmeal mixture. Making apple bowls does take a little more time, but my kids loved them so much that it was worth it. On busier days I recommend forgetting about apple bowls and dumping the oatmeal into a 9x13 inch baking dish - it's just as delicious.
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
4-6 large apples, any local variety (2 apples if using a baking dish instead of apple bowls)
2 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy or almond milk
½ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
¼ cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon turbinado (or brown) sugar
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional - they add a nice pop of color!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut oil.
If using apples as bowls, cut top 1/2" off each apple. Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scoop out all the apple flesh and core, leaving 1/4" rim. If baking oatmeal in a baking dish, lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add scoops of flesh from two of the apples to the bowl of wet ingredients, and discard or snack on the rest (or drizzle it with lemon juice and save for salads at lunchtime. Stir the oat mixture into the wet ingredients. Spoon into apple bowls right to the top, or transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans and turbinado sugar. If using apple bowls, place into a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with pomegranate seeds if using.
This recipe will be featured with 8 other fall ideas from moms on DailyBuzz Moms on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Thanks DailyBuzz Moms!