Category Archives: Soul food

The place for all things yummy…

Spiced Orange Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal

Spiced Orange Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal

Hey there! It has been way too long since my last post, and I have greatly missed creating recipes and bloggin’ about life. I just finished my fall semester of school and nothing beats the feeling of having to do NOTHING!!! Now I am a busy-body, so this laziness won’t last very long, but I will enjoy it for a couple of days. I have to retrain myself to sleep past 8 am, which is kind of sad as a college student! This morning I got up at 6:30 (sigh), but I did use my time wisely! At the crack of dawn, I cranked out a new recipe: Spiced Orange Gingerbread baked oatmeal!

Spiced Orange Gingerbred baked oatmeal (3)

Now I love gingerbread, but being gluten free limits me in my cookie consumption, which isn’t a bad thing since it allows me to get creative. The base in this is oatmeal, so it’s hearty and filling, and the complex carbs and protein steady blood sugar levels much better than a regular cookie would. I made this and had it for breakfast with a boiled egg and it was awesome! Next time I make these, I might add 1/2c. or so of flax meal to boost those omega-3s! Boom!

As sweeteners, I used the classic molasses (because gingerbread!) and coconut sugar. If I were making this recipe just for me, I would cut back on the sugar, maybe to 1/3 or 1/4c, but when I bake new concoctions, the one comment that I always get from my dad is, “It’s good, it just needs to be sweeter.” Okay, my dad has a pretty intense sweet tooth that is hard to satisfy, but this time I tried to sweeten to his level without putting everyone else into a sugar coma. Coconut sugar has a caramel-like flavor that is fabulous in baking, but it tends to be slightly less sweet than white sugar. It also has a lower glycemic index, which means that it will not spike your blood sugar levels as badly as white sugar and white flour do.

For spices, I used the traditional gingerbread spices of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Such flavors are so warm and festive and Christmas-y! I also added orange juice and zest because it adds a tangy element that balances the sweet and spicy.


2c. gluten-free rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 T ground cinnamon

1/4 T each of nutmeg, cloves, and ground ginger

dash of salt

1/2c. coconut sugar

1/4c. molasses

2 eggs

splash of almond milk*optional

juice and zest of half an orange

  1. Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8 x 8 baking dish
  2. Combine the dry ingredients
  3. Combine the wet ingredients separately
  4. Then mix the wet and dry ingredients
  5. Add almond milk as needed to soften the mixture, if you want a chewy texture then leave this out.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes

Share and enjoy with your family!

I can’t wait to test this one out on my dad, hopefully it’s sweet enough for everyone!

Spiced Orange Gingerbred baked oatmeal (4)


How do you “healthify” your favorite holiday treats to keep your meals on track? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Lauren 🙂


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Barz


Fresh Spring Rolls with Thai Peanut Sauce


Mmmm Sweet Potato Muffins!


Seafood Paella with Edamame

Seafood Paella with Edamame

At last the semester is over and Winter break has begun! I ended the semester with a 3.88 GPA, so I was pretty pumped. It was by far the toughest semester I have witnessed yet, and I’d like to keep it that way, but we will see…

Anyways, I have been dying to start cooking real food again! Eating from the college cafeteria has its perks because I don’t have to cook anything, but it also means that I don’t get to cook anything, and that makes me sad.

SO now that I am home for the next three weeks, I have basically set up camp in the kitchen. Yesterday, I ran out of clean measuring spoons, so I decided that I had done enough baking that day…

I found this recipe for paella in a Self magazine a couple years ago and I have been putting off trying it because I have this thing about touching raw seafood. I have no problems with land-dwelling animals, but for some reason seafood freaks me out. Maybe its the smell that bugs me, I don’t know. But I really do love seafood, and so I decided that it was time for me to get over my little self and just cook me some shrimp! 🙂

I like recipes from Self because they focus on your health in most of their dishes. This one focuses on lean proteins from fish (which has hardly any fat) and edamame (soy beans), which is a complete plant protein. This comforting meal will fill you up and it only costs you 365 calories and 6g of fat per serving while providing 50g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 27g of protein! BOOM!

Also, since it is Christmas, we encounter that daunting tray of cookies and fatty foods all too often, and I really try to focus on eating light and super healthy when I am at home. If I do this, then I don’t feel like I am overdoing it when I go out and indulge. This meal is healthy and light, so it meets all of those standards as well.

This recipe calls for saffron, which I understand is pretty vital to this recipe, but I didn’t have any. It is also quite expensive and I didn’t feel like I would use it often enough to make it worth it. It still tastes amazing without it, but I’m sure it would be more authentic when it is included in the dish.

So! Ingredients…

  • 2c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2/3 c. red bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 c. green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. canned, diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 c. short grain rice ( like Arborio)
  • 1 c. frozen shelled edamame, thawed out
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. scallops, bite size pieces
  • 2 T. cilantro for garnish
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the broth; turn off the heat and add the saffron; let it sit.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil and cook onion and peppers over medium heat until soft, 5 min.
  3. Next, add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook this until the liquid is almost reduced, about 3 min.
  4. Stir in the rice, cooking about 1 min. Then add the broth and bring the whole thing to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it go for 15 min. covered. The rice will absorb all of the broth and become soft.
  5. Add the edamame and thawed seafood, and let it cook until the seafood is cooked, about 10 minutes. **The shrimp that I used was precooked and had the tails still attached. The scallops that I used WERE NOT pre-cooked, so they needed that extra time!**
  6. Let the dish rest for 5 min, garnish with cilantro. Serves 4 🙂
Fresh seafood mixed with rice, veggies and edamame

Fresh seafood mixed with rice, veggies and edamame

MMMM this stuff is good! My whole family loved it. My mama and I added a dash of red pepper flake to give it a kick and I highly recommend that addition! I will definitely make this dish again(maybe with saffron next time?) and will enjoy it with no guilt attached 🙂

Are there any light and healthy dishes that you enjoy often? Please share!

Lauren 🙂



Homemade Fig Lara Bars


Sweet Lentil Granola


Granola made of lentils? That’s what I was thinking when I first saw the recipe in an issue of Living Without magazine. Living Without is a magazine dedicated to recognizing all kinds of food allergies including dairy, nuts, soy, and in my case, gluten. They have some really nice recipes that I can use as […]