Maple Pumpkin Oats

I’ll confess, I am the kind of person who wakes up excited about breakfast!  These days, I look forward to warming up on chilly mornings with a bowl of hot oatmeal. Since oats can be boring on their own, I am always experimenting with new toppings and mix-ins. This pumpkin version though is one of my absolute favorites. Pomegranate seeds were a new topping addition that paired perfectly with the pumpkin! You’ll definitely start your day off on a healthy note since this bowl is full of soluble fiber, vitamin A, and Omega 3 fatty acids. The recipe below makes enough for one hearty bowl of oatmeal but feel free to double or triple the recipe to feed family or guests.

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Maple Pumpkin Oats

(Serves 1)


  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds


  1. Mix oats and milk in a bowl. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until oats have soaked up most of the milk.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon.
  3. Top with walnuts, pomegranate, and chia.

Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

Do you have a favorite breakfast food? If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may already know that my absolute favorite breakfast food is oatmeal. However, I am also a big fan of oats in another form… granola! Just like oatmeal, granola can be modified in a multitude of ways so you can never get bored. Use good ingredients and it can be a super healthy breakfast option that comes together in minutes. To mix things up, I added dried apricots to this mix and loved how it turned out! They pair really well with the coconut. Even if you aren’t normally a breakfast eater, you could easily eat this as a snack on its own or else topped with a little milk. Either way, it will be sure to satisfy your hunger as this granola is fulled with fiber, healthy fat, and protein.


Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola 

(Adapted from “How to Make Great Granola” from The Kitchn – Serves 5-7)


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (can sub almond milk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except apricots in a large bowl. Stir until oats coated well with oil mixture.
  3. Spread oat mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove granola from oven when evenly browned. Once cool, stir in apricots. Serve!


8 Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Oats

What are your favorite breakfast foods? Are you a fan of sweet or savory breakfast dishes? My favorite breakfast food is oats, which have become quite the staple for my first meal of the day. Not only can they be dressed up all kinds of different ways, they are also great for you! It is chock full of fiber, selenium, and magnesium and is one of the only foods that will actually keep me feeling full until lunch time.  In addition, a diet rich in the soluble fiber, beta-glucan, contained in oats has been shown to help lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol as well as your overall risk of heart disease by as much as 10%. (Source)

Oats post

Often, when I suggest eating oatmeal to patients, they are hesitant to try it because they feel it is too bland or boring. Others may already be eating processed oatmeal in packets which is great in theory, but is often chock full of sugar and fake flavorings. They are also expensive! However, if you buy plain rolled oats, they are always cheap and still have all their good-for-you fiber without the added chemicals and sugar. Whenever I prepare my oats in the morning, I use milk for the liquid rather than water for some additional protein and calcium. Plus, milk gives the oats a lot creamier texture as well.

Here are some of my favorite healthy ways to dress up oatmeal:

  1. Chopped apple, cinnamon, and walnuts
  2. Diced banana, peanut butter, dash of maple syrup
  3. Halved figs, vanilla, and walnuts
  4. Chopped pear, almond butter, cinnamon
  5. Chopped peaches, chia seeds, diced almonds
  6. Peanut butter and dark chocolate chips
  7. Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, walnuts
  8. Berries, coconut cream, and chia seeds

Do you like oatmeal? What is your favorite way to dress up your oats?

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin is one of the quintessential foods of fall. Just take a peek at Pinterest and you’ll see that the pumpkin craze has just about taken over! In the past, I have purchased canned pumpkin for adding to baked goods, oatmeal, etc. However, this weekend, I wanted to try making my own. Little did I know it would be so easy!


To make your pumpkin puree at home, all you need to do is buy a pie pumpkin at the store or farmers market. That’s right – make sure it is marked as a pie pumpkin and not just a regular jack-o-lantern one as those are just terrible for cooking. To make my pumpkin puree, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cut my pumpkin in half, scooped out the seeds, and placed it cut side down on a cookie sheet. I baked it for about 30 minutes or until it started to brown. After removing from the oven, I let it cool a bit and then scooped out flesh from the insides. I put the pumpkin flesh into bowl of the food processor, added 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and pureed it until smooth. So simple! I then used that to make this delicious smoothie for breakfast the following day.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

(Serves 1)


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut cream (or sub almond/soy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 2 dates, soaked overnight to soften
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Serve chilled. I enjoyed mine with a cup of coffee and a handful of roasted almonds. 🙂


Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

Browsing the bulk foods aisle at our Whole Foods is one of my favorite parts of our weekly shopping trips. Since moving to the city, we have been enjoying the larger store. The variety of grains, beans, nuts, seeds, etc, they have to offer is awesome! Each week we try to pick up something new to try out. Last week, I decided to grab a bit of black quinoa to experiment in a couple of dishes. Yesterday, I wasn’t sure what to have for breakfast, so I subbed this quinoa for oats. The texture of the black quinoa was a little chewier than other varieties, but still very tasty! It makes a great alternative to oats when you feel like you need something a little different for breakfast. One thing to note about black quinoa is that, in addition to the other healthy benefits of quinoa (lots of protein, fiber), it is high in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are responsible for black quinoa’s color, but are also a powerful antioxidant.

Breakfast Quinoa

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

(Serves 1)


  • 1/4 cup red, black, or white quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts


  1. In a small saucepan, bring milk and quinoa to a simmer on medium high heat. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and apple.
  2. Stir continuously until liquid is absorbed. (add 1/4 cup water if quinoa is not yet soft and all the milk has been absorbed.)
  3. Top with walnuts and serve.

Overnight Chia Breakfast Oats

I love waking up in the morning and not having anything to do but grab my breakfast and lunch straight from the fridge. However, the number of times in a week that I actually have the ambition to prep by breakfast and pack my lunch the night before is rare… except when I am craving a batch of overnight oats or chia “cereal”! (Check out my post from earlier this week on the benefits of chia!)
One night, I didn’t have enough chia or oats for a full serving of overnight goodness, so Will suggested I combine the two. I loved how this turned out! In the morning, I just scooped the oats into a mason jar, topped it with fruit, and I had a healthy, filling breakfast I can take on the go! This was the perfect recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux theme of “raising the bar of food in a jar”. Hope you enjoy!
Overnight Chia Oats Overnight Chia Breakfast Oats
(Serves 1)

  • 1 ripe banana (the more ripe, the better!)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond/soy milk)

Oat IngredientsDirections:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mash banana well.
  2. Stir in chia seeds and oats. Add coconut cream and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Continue to stir until well combined.
  4. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or portion out into a mason jar.

To serve, top with fruit, nuts, granola, etc. A couple of my favorite topping combos are: blueberries and almonds or walnuts and peaches.

Dietitian Debbie Dishes About Breakfast: 5 of My Favorite Recipes!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, it likely comes as no surprise to you that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! I know there are a lot of people who don’t feel the same way, and often skip this meal all together. Skipping is not the way to go though! Numerous studies have shown some of the health benefits of eating a good breakfast. Here are a few:

  • Those who have achieved significant weight loss and maintained that lost weight reported that they eat breakfast. (Source)
  • Adolescents who regularly ate breakfast were more likely to have a lower BMI than those who skip breakfast most days of the week. (Source)
  • Men who reported they regularly ate breakfast gained less weight over the 10 years of follow up than those who skipped this meal. (Source)
  • One study indicated that those who ate a higher percentage of their total daily calories at breakfast, gained less weight over the 3 years of follow up. (Source)
  • Adolescent girls who routinely ate breakfast had a higher daily intake of fiber and calcium and a lower BMI than those who skipped. (Source)

Now that you know why it is so important to incorporate breakfast into your day, here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas. Keep in mind, the best breakfast has a good bit of protein, fat, and whole grains to help you feel full until lunch time!

English Muffins


Apple Cinnamon Oats No Recipe: Just prepare oatmeal with milk and stir in chopped apples, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and a dollop of nut butter (like sunflower!)

Chia Breakfast Cereal

Do you have any plans for the 4th of July weekend?!