Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar

It’s the final countdown!

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect healthy breakfast for busy mornings on-the-go.

Two weeks (plus or minus a few days) until Baby D’s due date and things are getting real. I’m rushing around trying to get a bunch of things done before she gets here, but I’m also trying not to stress myself out too much because I know right now I need to be focusing on relaxing and not being too exhausted whenever I go into labor. I’ve got a few meals (and baked goods) stocked in the freezer and I have to say that one of the things I’m looking forward to the most are these Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar, so naturally I wanted to share them with you!


I’ve had these in my mind to make for quite some time, and I figured there’s no time like the present to give them a shot. I mean, who doesn’t want single-serve batches of brown sugar and maple-flavored oatmeal ready to go at a moment’s notice when they’ve got a newborn baby in their arms?

Not only is it a quick and easy breakfast or snack solution for what I’m sure is going to be a crazy time for us, I also hear oatmeal is good for lactation and, since I’m trying to breastfeed as much as possible, I want to get that milk flowing!

Two bowls of Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal with Maple and Syrup ready to be devoured for a healthy breakfast.

If you’re as much of a fan of Trader Joe’s as I am, then you may have come across THEIR version of freezer oatmeal packs which I absolutely love. I haven’t made them much since I’ve been working from home since I have a little more time (and the hubs likes his Protein Power Smoothie in the morning), but when I was working my 9-to-5 I loved being able to pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and have a delicious bowl of non-instant oatmeal on days it would otherwise be impossible time-wise.

There’s really not anything tricky about my version of Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar. In fact, they’re a meal-prepper’s dream come true. You’ll simply cook up some high-quality oatmeal on a morning you have a little extra time, flavor it with tasty (and very seasonally appropriate) maple syrup and brown sugar, dollop a hefty scoop of said oatmeal in some jumbo muffin tins, and pop them in the freezer.

Once they’re set, you can pop them out of their tins and wrap them up individually for an easy grab-and-go breakfast that everyone in your family is sure to love, not just busy breastfeeding moms!

Create your own Make-Ahead Oatmeal Freezer Cups by scooping homemade oatmeal into jumbo muffin tins and freezing!

Seriously, though, they are like a little taste of homey comfort food that you can enjoy on any day of the week. As long as you have a couple of minutes to give the cups a quick spin in the microwave, you’ll be setting yourself up for a REALLY good day with a tummy full of healthy, filling oatmeal that tastes like it took you at least an hour to make.

Now, enough about delicious Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar, on Friday I promised I would tell you about the fun, surprise-filled weekend we had. It was one we’ve had on tap for at least 5 or 6 months now, basically ever since we found out I was pregnant. Chris’ mom’s 70th birthday is this week (tomorrow, to be exact) and we wanted to do something really special for her.

Unfortunately, since I’m ready to pop any day now, we knew we wouldn’t be able to travel to celebrate with her, so we decided to bring the party here to Santa Barbara. We talked all of Chris’ siblings into coming to town (yes, all four of them, even his sister from Texas!) and rented a sweet house just up the road from ours.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar make the perfect balanced breakfast for a busy morning.

Chris was able to convince his parents to come visit, but mom thought she was just coming to see us and stay at our house. Little did she know that the whole family would be here, and staying at a beautiful vacation home to boot!

Long story short, we had such a great time hanging out with everyone and celebrating my MIL, but now I think we’re ready to slow down and really take in these last few days as a family of two (well, three if you count our fur baby). We have a couple of date nights and lots of relaxing in our future…Any other suggestions as to what we should do to savor these last few days before our little babe arrives? Let me know in the comments below! (And go make some Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar ASAP!)

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect meal-prep for busy mornings on-the-go.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect healthy breakfast for busy mornings on-the-go.
Print
Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These convenient, single-serving oatmeal cups are laced with maple and brown sugar and make the perfect on-the-go breakfast for busy mornings!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 18 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups coconut milk (two 13.5-ounce cans)
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Bring coconut milk, water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add oats. 

  2. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed into the oats, stirring occasionally, then stir in the brown sugar and maple. 

  3. Spray some jumbo muffin tins with cooking spray and scoop oatmeal evenly into the cups. Place in the freezer until solid, at least a couple of hours or overnight. 

  4. Remove the tins from the freezer and, using a butter knife or small offset spatula, gently loosen the oatmeal cups from each tin. Wrap each cup in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer.

  5. When you’re ready to heat up your oatmeal, take one of the cups, unwrap it and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally if needed and top with any additional toppings you desire. Some of my favorites include nuts, peanut butter and more maple syrup.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar | CaliGirlCooking.com

Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosa”

Because when one can’t enjoy a mimosa, you might as well enjoy a fall-themed “faux-mosa!”

These Apple Cinnamon "Faux-mosas" are the perfect mocktail for fall.

Yes, I’m counting down the days until I can consume the real deal again, but until then I’ll have to say I’ve been pretty darn good at coming up with tasty alternatives – like this Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosa!”


It may be because this season is always met with so much anticipation, but it seems like every year once September or October rolls around I get the urge to make some sort of fall-themed mimosa. In fact, this exact same week last year I made this delicious Harvest Mimosa featuring pear, apple AND brandy, and you can bet it’s one of the first things on my list to make once Baby D arrives in just a few short weeks!

So here’s the deal with this Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosa”: My primary complaint about most virgin mimosa recipes is they either taste (a) too sweet from an overload of juices (both sparkling and still) or (b) the sweetness problem is overcompensated by using club soda to add bubbles, but then the drink tastes incredibly watered down.

Well, I’m proud to say this Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosa” solves both those problems!

An Apple Cinnamon "Faux-mosa" with tons of flavor - and perfectly acceptable for breakfast!

It took a bit of trial and error, but I tasted through a couple of brands of sparkling apple cider and found one that isn’t too sweet. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t write down the brand and discarded the bottle, but I highly suggest you make your own decision on this anyhow as the perfect “faux-mosa” is largely a matter of personal taste anyway.

You’ll also be adding some still apple cider on top of the sparkling apple juice, which tends to be a bit more concentrated. Plus, if you get your hands on a high-quality brand such as Trader Joe’s Honeycrisp Apple Cider, you’ll get tons more flavor in every sip.

Finally, an Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosa” just wouldn’t be a “faux-mosa” without a hint of orange juice. I mean, we need to make this drink acceptable for breakfast, don’t we?

Looking for a festive fall-themed nonalcoholic drink? These Apple Cinnamon "Faux-mosas" are the answer!

I don’t know what your plans are for this weekend, but we have some big ones (shhhh….it’s a surprise – I’ll fill you all in on Monday!) so some Apple Cinnamon “Faux-mosas” are definitely in my very near future.

Cheers to a relaxing weekend that I hope is filled with all the fall-themed things!

These Apple Cinnamon "Faux-mosas" are the perfect mocktail for fall.
Print
Apple Cinnamon "Faux-mosa"
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This virgin take on the mimosa features tons of apple-cinnamon flavor - perfect for kids, drinkers and non-drinkers alike!

Servings: 1 drink
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces sparkling apple cider
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Apple slice, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pour both apple ciders and orange juice into a champagne flute. Top with a dash of cinnamon and garnish with an apple slice.

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup

How about a hearty breakfast to kick off the week?

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is hearty, filling and delicious.

If you’re looking for the perfect dish to change up your morning meal game, this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is the answer!


If I had to choose to eat just one meal for the rest of my life, it would probably be breakfast. There are just so many possibilities! You can go sweet or savory, carb- or protein-heavy, big or small…pretty much anything goes. And you could say I’ve really run the breakfast recipe gamut here on CGC – posting everything from a Savory Bacon Oatmeal to these Breakfast Banana Splits to these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes. I hope you’re not sick of breakfast recipes, because they are just gonna keep on a-comin’.

But really, what we’re here to talk about today is my latest breakfast obsession: this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup! It’s got the perfect balance of cozy fall flavors while still hanging on to the last few hints of summer, and did I mention it tastes amazing? Seriously, if you haven’t enjoyed polenta loaded with your favorite roasted fruits for breakfast yet, your life is going to change completely as soon as you put a spoonful of this in your mouth.

A bowl of Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is the perfect start to a busy morning.

So here’s the scoop (literally): You’ll want to find some quick-cooking polenta and get a hold of the ripest, juiciest fresh pears and plums you can find. You’ll also need some almond milk, maple syrup and plenty of cinnamon (we’re talking sticks AND ground – no holding back here!)

Quick-cooking polenta is pretty magical in that you can make it in no time at all, so our Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is totally achievable even on weekday mornings.

While your polenta is cooking (in some glorious unsweetened vanilla almond milk to give it an extra creamy flavor), you’ll want to get your pear and plums sautéing in their delicious bath of browned butter and cinnamon. You’ll also want to be sure you have some toasted slivered almonds on hand –  these babies are the perfect finishing touch and add a nice hit of texture to the rest of the dish.

Oh! And we can’t forget the maple syrup. I know it’s a bit indulgent, but adding some to the polenta as it cooks adds the perfect hint of sweetness to the base of the dish, and I MIGHT also highly recommend drizzling some on top of the assembled dishes when you’re ready to dig in. Can one ever have too much maple syrup as we officially find ourselves celebrating fall in all its glory? I think not.

Whip up some Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup the next time you're looking to change up your breakfast routine.

Speaking of fall and all its glory, I can’t believe it’s already October! Where in the world did September go? I’m continuing to hustle to get some yummy recipes lined up for you while I’m out in maternity leave, but if you have anything specific you’d like to see here on the blog for the holidays, please send suggestions my way!

I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with delicious breakfasts, filling breakfasts like this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta! Xx

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This new take on polenta features pears and plums sauteed in cinnamon and brown butter, crunchy toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking dry polenta
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 plums, thinly sliced
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and unsweetened vanilla almond milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt, then sprinkle in the dry polenta. Cook according to polenta package directions. Once polenta is almost through cooking, stir in maple syrup. Keep warm.

  2. Place butter and cinnamon stick in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook until butter is melted and takes on a golden-brown hue, then add sliced plums and pears and sprinkle on ground cinnamon. Sauté until fruit is soft but not mushy, then remove from heat and take out the cinnamon stick.

  3. Spoon a hearty scoop of the polenta into a bowl, top with sautéed fruit and then sprinkle on toasted almonds. Drizzle on more maple syrup if desired.

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup | CaliGirlCooking.com

Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel

Yep, we’re looking forward to the weekend already.

These Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel will be your new favorite Sunday morning breakfast!

I don’t know about you, but for me, once Wednesday rolls around I’m already thinking about wrapping up my week and getting ready to enjoy the weekend. In fact, earlier this summer I took a tip from Lee at Fit Foodie Finds and tried to manage my time so that I could take most Fridays off, or at least only work half a day. Now that I’m trying to get tons of stuff prepped for when baby comes those Fridays off are few and far between, but it doesn’t stop me from spending the last couple days of the week thinking about what I’m going to do (and eat!) over the weekend – enter these Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel!


Creating a date caramel sticky bun and incorporating the yummy taste of toasted hazelnuts was another random idea that came to me with no formal inspiration whatsoever. This doesn’t happen very often (and, in fact, I wish it happened more) so when I do have these out-of-nowhere inspirations, I’m sure to act on them ASAP.

You might remember that I’m a huge fan of cinnamon rolls (like these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze and these Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting), but I had yet to foray into the world of sticky buns. I turned to one of my favorite bakers, Thomas Keller, and his Bouchon Bakery cookbook to get a rundown on what exactly I needed to do to make these happen.

Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel are a unique take on the classic breakfast baked treat.

Now, we all know that Mr. Keller doesn’t cut any corners, so I took liberties to shorten the process up a bit where I thought it was needed and round the measurements out to those that a normal person would use without needing a kitchen scale. I of course also made my own date caramel rather than the cookbook’s version of the sticky filling and subbed in toasted hazelnuts in lieu of the traditional pecans.

As much as I tried to simplify the process for making these Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel, they are still a bit of a process. You’ll want to start the dough and make the date caramel a day before you plan on baking the buns, and if you want to devour them for breakfast then you’ll have a bit of an early wake-up call but trust me, it’s so worth it! And, I mean, if you want to sleep in a bit and not serve them until closer to lunch (brunch?) I’m sure you’ll have plenty of takers on your hands.

The dough for Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel is studded with so many delicious ingredients.

No matter when or how you decide to bake them, these Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel are uber-delicious and bound to become a new family favorite. They’re best fresh out of the oven, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a whole batch of them waiting for me in the freezer for after Baby D is born.

A batch of Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel is all you need to make your weekend morning great.

While these definitely deserve to be baked up this weekend, they’d also be the perfect breakfast treat for Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas morning. And the date caramel makes them healthy, right??

This post contains affiliate links.

These Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel will be your new favorite Sunday morning breakfast!
Print
Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel
Prep Time
1 hrs
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 25 mins
 

The classic bakery breakfast pastry gets a modern-day makeover with hazelnuts in lieu of pecans and a healthier date caramel filling.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the date caramel:
  • 20 pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
For the buns:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. The day before you plan on baking your buns, prep the dough and date caramel. Soak the pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and transfer to a food processor with the rest of the date caramel ingredients. Process until caramel is smooth and transfer to a resealable container to store in the refrigerator overnight. 

  2. Next, prep the dough. Add the flour and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low for 15 seconds.

  3. Add eggs, milk and salt and mix on medium-low for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, a little at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and mix on low for another 5 minutes.

  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding a small sprinkle of flour if the dough gets too sticky to handle. Transfer dough to a bowl coated with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.

  5. After the first rise is complete, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface once again and knead gently for just a few minutes. Return dough to the bowl, cover once again and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. 

  6. The next morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface once again, and roll dough out into a 16-inch square. Also remove the date caramel from the refrigerator at this time to let it come to room temperature.

  7. Spread 2-4 tablespoons melted butter onto dough with a pastry brush.

  8. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar and then sprinkle this mixture over the melted butter on the dough. Let sit for a moment while you prep the oven and baking pan.

  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a jumbo muffin tin or popover pan generously with nonstick cooking spray. Place 2 tablespoons of the date caramel in each cup followed by 2 tablespoons of the toasted hazelnuts. 

  10. Now, return to your dough and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts over the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough up into a cylinder and trim off the ends, pinching it together at the seams. Cut the cylinder into 6 equal pieces and place each piece in one of the muffin tins, on top of the date caramel and hazelnuts. Press your finger into the middle of each one to spread it to the edges. 

  11. Place sticky buns in the 350 degree oven and back for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden. Immediately invert onto a Silpat. If any of the caramel stays stuck in the pan, simply scoop it out with a spoon and on top of the now inverted buns. Let cool completely (or almost completely) before serving.

Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Matcha Macadamia Latte

Today I present to you one of my newest favorite things!

This Matcha Macadamia Latte is an easy alternative to coffee, and so delicious!

Matcha Macadamia Lattes have completely stolen my heart, and I’m not one bit upset about it.


It’s no secret that nut milks have become one of the hottest food trends over the past decade. They’re now mainstream at Starbucks and often the main form of calcium and protein you’ll find in any semi-health conscious person’s kitchen. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find a gallon of regular milk in anyone’s refrigerator these days.

While the hubby and I are certainly not lactose-intolerant, we keep a stash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk on hand as our main “milk” source for two primary reasons: (1) We love adding it to our morning Power Protein Smoothie and (2) It is shelf stable until opened and keeps much longer than regular milk, so we don’t have to worry so much about spoilage.

Almond and cashew milks have proven to be the reigning stars of the nut milk world, but on our trip to Kauai this past July, I ordered a Macadamia Latte and was soooo excited to learn that no, it was not flavored with overly sweet macadamia nut flavored syrup, but it was in fact made with macadamia nut MILK. I knew I had to get my hands on some as soon as we got home, and get my hands on some I did. I found this Milkadamia brand on Amazon, and also discovered that our local, slightly more “upscale” grocery store stocked the same brand.

A Matcha Macadamia Latte made with Milkadamia, available on Amazon!

Since we don’t own an espresso machine (yet), I started out by adding it to my regular ol’ cup of half-caf joe in the morning in lieu of creamer, but I was still craving more of that macadamia flavor. I started brainstorming how I could make my latte without an espresso machine, and remembered that I had a stash of matcha in the pantry alongside a brand new matcha whisk. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with my macadamia nut milk and I had to do it ASAP!

Really, though, this is another “recipe” that could almost not even be called a recipe. We’re talking three ingredients that even the biggest novice in the kitchen could throw together. But it’s way too good not to share! Seriously, get yourself on Amazon right this instant and order the ingredients (and maybe a matcha whisk, because we’re trendy like that) so you can whip up a Matcha Macadamia Latte STAT. You will most definitely not be sorry (and your Instagram feed will look fab as well.)

Whip up this easy Matcha Macadamia Latte with macadamia nut milk, matcha powder and a matcha whisk!

So aside from making Matcha Macadamia Lattes all day every day this weekend, what else have you got planned? We’re taking it easy with a quiet Saturday at home, then we’re headed to Ojai on Sunday for a quick overnight stay – our last little getaway before baby comes! We won’t have too much time there but are trying to squeeze in as much as possible. Any suggestions for what we should do or, more importantly, where we should eat?

Have a great weekend, friends!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

This Matcha Macadamia Latte is an easy alternative to coffee, and so delicious!
Print
Matcha Macadamia Latte
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Your matcha will never be the same when you turn it into a latte with creamy macadamia nut milk and a touch of honey. It's to die for!

Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Servings: 2 lattes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces macadamia nut milk
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • Honey, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat up milk (either on the stovetop or in the microwave) and then whisk in matcha powder. Divide among two mugs and sweeten with honey, if desired.

Matcha Macadamia Latte | CaliGirlCooking.com