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ingredients for home made gluten-free instant oatmeal from frannycakes

Homemade Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal

After the crushing revelation that Shamrock Shakes are not green smoothies, and that lattes and gluten-free doughnuts (sorry, Do-Rite) are not actually parts of a complete breakfast, I was left at a loss for what to start with as fuel for my days.

I eat breakfast in the office most days, due to a 2+ hour commute and a stomach that is even less of a morning person than the rest of me. So, I need something that transports easily and can be prepared with just a microwave and a spoon. Oh, and it has to be something my coworkers couldn’t mock me for, like they do for my love of Fruity Pebbles.

home made gluten-free instant oatmeal from frannycakes

The perfect solution? Instant oatmeal. The problem? It adds up pretty quickly and none of the grocery stores around me stock packets of the gluten-free variety. Oh, and the buckets of extra sugar they add to make it taste good…

What’s a girl to do? Make it at home!

It costs a whole heck of a lot less, can pack a nutritional punch, can be made in batches of any size and comes in an infinite number of flavors. So far I’ve made Dirty Chai, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Honey Ginger (my favorite), Maple Raisin, and Mocha.

how to make home made gluten-free instant oatmeal from frannycakes

I found a lot of recipes that included powdered milk, presumably to up the creaminess factor, but it is an ingredient most people don’t keep on hand. (And by most people I mean me). When I was creating my base recipe, it was important to keep things as simple as possible. I didn’t want to add dairy to something that should be vegan and dairy free (even Quaker Instant Oatmeal is dairy free) and I most definitely didn’t want to tell people to get an ingredient they otherwise wouldn’t keep in their pantry.

As I experimented, I found that simply grinding some of the oats made the oatmeal as creamy as its store-bought cousins. I couldn’t believe it was that simple. I also added chia seeds, which you could forgo if you don’t keep them on hand, for some protein and added vitamins.

ingredients for home made gluten-free instant oatmeal from frannycakes

Homemade Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 6
You can scale this recipe up or down to suit your breakfast needs
  • 175 grams (2 cups) + 35 grams (6 tbsp) gluten-free instant oats, divided
  • 76 grams (6 tbsp) sugar*
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 30 grams (3 tbsp) chia seeds
  • Mix-ins (optional, see suggestions below)
  1. Grind the smaller amount of oats in a food processor or spice mill.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, a stir to make sure the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  3. If you want to make all your baggies the same flavor, add your mix-ins now.
  4. Divide your ingredients evenly amongst 6 snack-sized plastic zip bags. If you want to add different flavors, you can add them to each baggie.
  5. To prepare, empty the baggie with your oat mixture into a bowl or mug. If you want to make it in a microwave, add a scant half cup of water and heat for 1:30- 2mins. Stir well and allow to cool slightly. If you hate the microwave, you can add a scant half cup of boiling water and let it sit until the oats are tender, about 3 minutes.
[i]These are suggestions per serving, so to make the whole recipe the same, you would have to multiply these amounts by 6.[/i][br][br][b]Dirty Chai[/b][br]1 tsp espresso powder[br]1/2 tsp cinnamon[br]1/8 tsp nutmeg[br]1/8 tsp cardamom [br]1/4 tsp dried lemon peel[br]1 tsp granulated honey (optional)[br][br][b]Ginger Honey[/b][br]2 tsp granulated honey [br]1 tbsp crystalized ginger[br][br][b]Mocha[/b][br]1 tsp espresso powder[br]2 tsp cocoa powder[br]1 tbsp brown sugar


gluten-free kisir with sorghum from frannycakes

Gluten-Free Kisir with Sorghum

There are a couple of very awesome things about this blog post. First, it is pomegranate season and I can get my hands on the fruit at nearly every grocery store and they aren’t going to break the bank. Heck, even Walgreens has fresh pomegranate arils next to the Naked juices and RedBull.

Second, I finally found an excuse to make whole-grain sorghum. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some quinoa on the regular, and rice is a staple in these parts, but sometimes you really need to try something new.

gluten-free kisir with sorghum from frannycakes

When I went gluten-free 8 years ago, it was a nerve-wracking, difficult process. There were so many foods with crazy names – back then quinoa wasn’t a culinary buzzword and no one had any idea how to pronounce it. And if you didn’t have a Whole Foods or an ethnic grocery store nearby, you were not going to find it.

But those foods are now routine and ordinary in my diet. I eat buckwheat soba noodles and black bean spaghetti. I get annoyed when Whole Foods tells me they can’t find a local grower of kohlrabi.

Gah. Something happened to me. I became adventurous when it came to safe foods just so that things stay interesting. Which brings me to sorghum. I have used “sweet” sorghum in my gluten-free baking for a few years now. In flour form it isn’t gritty like rice flour or strongly flavored like teff, amaranth or quinoa flours. So, when I stumbled across this bag of whole grain sorghum when I was grocery shopping, I just had to buy it.

I am told the chewy texture is similar to wheat berries or faro, so it is great for salads. It has a mild nutty flavor but none of the bitterness of quinoa. It works well as a substitute for bulgur/cracked wheat in this recipe, and I suspect it would be equally as delicious in other similar dishes.

gluten-free kisir with sorghum from frannycakes

Combine the nutty sorghum with fresh herbs and pomegranates and you have a delightful salad that is delicious both warm and cold. A perfect dish for in-season pomegranates (yay!) and the wild roller coaster that is a Chicago fall…

Gluten-Free Kisir
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 6
Kisir is a Turkish dish typically made from bulgur or cracked wheat, parsley and pomegranate molasses. I made this salad gluten-free by using pearled whole-grain sorghum in place of the bulgur. Sorghum has a texture similar to wheat berries which makes it an excellent choice for this salad. The mild, slightly earthy flavor is the closest of the gluten-free grains in flavor to wheat. The salad can be eaten warm or cold and makes for an excellent alternative to a sandwich for lunch. The time on this recipe looks like a lot, but if you put the grain on to cook and leave the prepping of the rest of ingredients until just before the sorghum is done cooking, you really only have about 15 minutes of active time total. This recipe is adapted from the October 2013 issue of Jamie magazine.
  • 500 grams (3 cups) dry, pearled sorghum*
  • 9 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small, sweet pepper or 1/2 of a large sweet pepper, pureed or finely minced**
  • 1/2 red jalapeño pureed or finely minced**
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped (about 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 cucumber chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 bunch green onions finely sliced
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine the water and the sorghum. Generously salt the water (2 large pinches of sea salt is perfect) and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pot leaving the lid slightly askew. Cook the grains for 55-60 minutes.
  2. About 15 minutes before your sorghum is cooked, chop your vegetables and herbs.
  3. When your sorghum is cooked and the water is mostly absorbed- it will be chewier than quinoa or rice – drain any excess water (if there is more than a couple of tablespoons).
  4. Add the pomegranate molasses, sweet pepper, jalapeño, tahini, cumin, black pepper and garlic to the cooked sorghum. Stir for about 10 minutes, making sure that everything is combined well and that the grain is absorbing the flavors.
  5. Now, add about 3/4 of each of the following: pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, mint and parsley. Stir until you have an even distribution.
  6. Use the remaining herbs and vegetables as a garnish when you transfer the salad to a serving dish.
* Bob’s Red Mill has recently started selling [url href=”http://www.bobsredmill.com/Gluten-Free-Sorghum-Grain.html”]whole grain sorghum[/url] as part of their Grains of Discovery line. I found it at my local whole foods, but you can also get it from a number of online stores such as Amazon and Vitacost.[br][br]** I just finely minced the peppers. It was easier than pureeing them and the dish works just fine that way.


gingered apricot almond chia pudding | gluten free, dairy free, vegan | from frannycakes

Gingered Apricot & Almond Chia Breakfast Parfait

gingered apricot almond chia pudding | gluten free, dairy free, vegan | from frannycakes
I am the opposite of a morning person and I have the Starbucks habit to prove it. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

And we all know my penchant for fruity pebbles. And gluten-free doughnuts. And Iced Dirty Soy Chais (my favorite barista calls it a dirty hippie). And, while I don’t suffer from sad desk lunches, I definitely eat sad desk breakfast. A bowl of cereal or granola at my desk while I try to get through my second (or third) cup of coffee.

Those might be some terrible morning habits. Talk about a double crash at 10am. You can do better than that. I can do better than that. Let’s make a pact. Real breakfast.

But we can pretend that it is something else. Like a parfait. A superfood power parfait. I think I could definitely live like this. Plus, the chia seeds give me omega-3s. The ginger is anti-inflammatory. Healthy fats in the almonds help fuel your brain.

Here’s to (almost) desert for breakfast. And for getting the morning started right.

Gingered Apricot & Almond Chia Breakfast Parfait
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 5 mins
Serves: 2
I might be hooked on this chia pudding business.
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 35 grams (1/4 cup) chopped, dried apricots
  • A handful of dried apricots and roughly chopped or slivered almonds to garnish
  1. Whisk together the almond milk, almond butter, agave, ginger and salt so that it is smooth.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds and dried apricots. Chill for about 2 hours, shaking every half hour or so to make sure the chia seeds don’t clump together.
  3. Top with dried apricots and almonds to serve.


We are all stories in the end, so make it a good one, eh? - Quote from Doctor Who

Hello 2013. I’m glad you made it. I have big plans for you. Now let’s have soup.

It’s a new year. A clean slate.

So, eyes front soldier.

I can tell you what there will not be. In my life or on this site. There will be no checking over my shoulder to see what I should have done. No looking in the mirror and wondering why. No questioning my choices. No, as MammaCakes woud say, should-a, would-a, could-a ‘s. It’s all about the path ahead. It is time to look forward. To think about where I am going.

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